Cuban statement at World Food Summit

Campaign News | Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Rich countries are accountable for world crisis

Cuba stressed in Rome today that hunger and

malnutrition are the consequences of an international world order that maintains and deepens poverty, inequalities and injustice.

In his statements at the World Summit on Food Security, Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura criticized developed countries for

their responsibility in today’s food crisis, which have imposed a commercial liberalization among unequal actors.

As a result of financial recipes based on structural adjustments, developed countries caused the bankruptcy of many small producers in the South and they turned countries that used to be self-sustainable, into importers of food said Machado Ventura, PL news reported.

The Cuban First Vice President, who heads the island?s delegation to the three-day summit underway at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that the crisis can be successfully addressed at its very roots.

Machado Ventura explained that the situation can not be countered with palliative measures or with symbolic donations, which would neither meet the actual needs nor result into sustainable actions.

Rich nations have enough resources to reconstruct and boost agricultural production in the South, though political will is what is needed, said the Cuban First Vice President.

If NATO's military spending in a year would be reduced by 10 percent, it would translate into 100 billion dollars that could be used to condone the foreign debt of South countries, which dedicate 345 billion dollars annually to pay their debt, Machado Ventura pointed out.

He also recalled that an extra 130 billion dollars would be available each year if the so-called First World honoured its commitment to allocate 0,7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product for Official

Assistance for Development.

The Cuban First Vice President explained that 12 years ago, FAO established the goal of reducing the number of malnourished people to a half by 2015, an objective that now seems an illusion.

Likewise, during its 2006 Summit in Havana, the Non-Aligned Movement called for the setting up of a peaceful and prosperous world and a fair and equitable world order, he recalled.

Machado Ventura stressed that at Cuba’s initiative, the phrase stating that access to food is an inalienable human right has been confirmed since 1997 by consecutive resolutions adopted by the former UN Human Rights Commission.

He concluded his statement by quoting Cuban Revolution Leader FidelCastro in his speech at the UN General Assembly in 1997, when he said: “bombs may kill the hungry, the sick and the ignorant, but they can not kill hunger, disease and ignorance”

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