Vienna Summit a victory, says Cuban Vice President

Campaign News | Saturday, 13 May 2006

First time such a meeting has condemned blockade

Vienna, May 12 (Prensa Latina): The final declaration of the IV Europe-Latin America and Caribbean Summit is a victory for the Cuban Revolution, declared Vice President of the State Council Carlos Lage at the close of the ministerial session in Vienna Thursday.

The foreign relations ministers approved the projected document that the Heads of State and Government will formally approve today, but they are unlikely to make any changes.

In his conference with Cuban media, Lage said this is the first time that a meeting of this stature firmly rejected the US blockade of Cuba and supported the UN resolutions on this matter.

The Cuban delegation firmly defended the position that Cuba is more than a democracy, it has made a profound social change for the benefit of her people in the face of adversaries? interests in opposition, he said.

Lage called the US administration by name when denouncing the genocidal war against Iraq, the blockade and aggressions against Cuba, and said it was the greatest violator of human rights in the world, although the EU-LAC did not want to even approach expressly condemning the United States.

Giving examples of the ministerial declarations, Lage mentioned that the Austrian foreign minister said the EU sanctions against Cuba were now suspended and would be revised in June to reach a common position.

However, he warned, the true strategic alliance of Europe is not with Latin America and the Caribbean, and while the EU has no reason to sanction Cuba, it has been the US accomplice in Iraq and the secret CIA flights, and its offered aid is continuously more conditional.



We have been summoned to this meeting with the objective of consolidating a bi-regional strategic partnership. In all earnest, I must speak my mind. In reality, what was proclaimed in 1999 and is seeking consolidation, does not exist - and from our viewpoint, it is not possible under the current circumstances.

The EU is losing weight and ground in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it is obviously focused on its recent expansion to the East and on its relations with the United States.

The involvement of Latin America and the Caribbean in the foreign trade of the EU has a downward trend and currently accounts for merely 5%.

High subsidies and tariffs for agricultural products still remain on the part of the EU.

The EU, just like almost all developed countries, fails to comply year after year with the commitment of targeting 0.7% of GDP as Official Development Assistance, as agreed in 1970, 36 years ago - and what is more, such assistance is increasingly subject to conditionalities, entails a high cost and increasingly serves the interests of the developed countries. The fight against drug trafficking and the control over immigration flows absorb ever-increasing funds, while education, health and infrastructure receive increasingly less resources. The cancellation of the debt and even the military expenditure associated with the so-called peace missions start to be tallied as development aid.

The truth is that the real strategic partnership of the EU is with the United States, the hegemonic power and the policeman of the current international economic and political order. This order is unfair and exclusion-oriented, but it has benefits for both the US and the EU and prejudice to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU is the creditor of a foreign debt that has already been paid off more than twice - and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are the debtors.

The EU exports high-technology products that Latin America and the Caribbean have to pay for by exporting, mainly, raw materials.

The EU benefits from the migration of an ever-increasing number of professionals and technicians trained in our region through enormous efforts.

The EU is an ally of the United States in NATO, while the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean can be one of the “dark corners of the world” that President Bush threatened to strike by surprise.

The concepts of “limited sovereignty,” “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect,” which are upheld by the EU, are contrary to the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, which presupposes full observance of International Law and the sovereignty of nations.

The manipulation of the issue of human rights, democracy and terrorism is later used to justify aggressions, sanctions and blockades.

A few examples would suffice. The EU secretly agreed not to vote for Cuba for the Human Rights Council, while looking the other way when it comes to condemning the crimes and tortures in Iraq, Guantánamo and other secret prisons, even right on its soil. Despite that, Cuba was elected with the vote of 135 countries, nearly all of those in the Third World.

The EU has never demanded that Luis Posada Carriles, the bloodiest terrorist on the Western hemisphere, be prosecuted.

The governments of the EU have never uttered a single word in favor of the release of five Cuban youths unjustly imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism.

Cuba defends the convenience for the world of a strategic partnership between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, but not the one we claim to have today, but a real partnership in which these and other issues can be discussed with openness and concrete actions can be undertaken.

These words may sound blunt to some. It is not my fault. I was only allocated five minutes and there was no time to embellish them. In any case, they have been uttered with the utmost respect for and sympathy towards the peoples of Europe - and with a sense of responsibility to the problems facing our region and the world.

Thank you very much.

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