Cuba: The Rich and Powerful Impede Solutions to Hunger

“Cuba will not remain silent and become an accomplice to the demagogy and opportunism, or to the inaction and omission in meeting the responsibilities outlined to save the life and dignity of 862 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.”

By Elson Concepcion Perez,
Granma, June 6, 2008

ROME, June 5.— The summit on food security, the effects of climate change and bio-energy came to a close at midnight Thursday with the commitment of heads of state and government, ministers and other representatives to take on the urgent task of guaranteeing the world’s food supply and eradicating hunger as an ongoing national policy.

While there was consensus to support the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its effort to achieve world food security, several representatives of underdeveloped countries said the document fails to point to the responsibility of the wealthy nations for the current crisis.

Statement from the Cuban Delegation

Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic Collaboration (MINVEC) Orlando Requeijo read a document from the Cuban delegation that warns that the content of the final summit declaration is the result of a lack of political will of North countries to promote a fair and lasting solution to the world food crisis.

The statement goes on to note that the United States, the only country that opposes the right of the population to food, was the main country responsible for frustrating the hopes of the international community, confirmed in the vast majority of the interventions at the summit.

Cuba further notes that the text of the summit declaration lacks an objective analysis of the main causes of hunger in the world. Nowhere in the document is there reference to issues such as the impact of agricultural subsidies and the monopolies of food distribution that has ruined farmers in the South. Also left out is the sinister strategy to convert grains and cereals into fuels, the effect of unsustainable production methods, out-of-control consumption rates in the North, climate change, the consequences of financial speculation and the increase in food prices.

“Why refuse to include the principle of joint but differentiated responsibilities, or the reference to the Framework Convention on Climate Change? Why question measures to restrict exports when they are rightfully justified,” asks Cuba.

Cuba will not remain silent and become an accomplice to the demagogy and opportunism, or to the inaction and omission in meeting the responsibilities outlined to save the life and dignity of 862 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

The document notes that the island will continue working in defense of justice, equality and solidarity.

It promotes scrapping the unjust world order that maintains hunger and poverty and adopts negligent texts like the final summit declaration, despite the urgent needs of the hungry.

Ending the Blockade

The Cuban delegation also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the US policy of blockade and aggressions that uses food as a tool of political and economic pressure. The Cuban declaration, read by Orlando Requeijo at the final plenary session, acknowledges the support received from the overwhelming majority of nations, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean, of the island’s efforts to bring an end to the US blockade that seeks to use hunger to break the independence championed by the Cuban people.

The document concludes:

“Cuba won’t oppose the consensus, because despite all the limitations, we respect the criteria that it could be a step in the process to eradicate hunger. We reaffirm our support of the FAO and its director general in carrying out of his important post.

“We hope that the conference has at least served to create greater awareness about the serious and urgent problems facing the great majority of underdeveloped countries. We will be working with all of those committed with the cause of a more just world, free of starvation. We continue without real and sustainable answers to the problem of world hunger. The rich and powerful continue to impede solutions… We will continue struggling so that in the not too far future hunger can become something that was eradicated from the history of humanity.”

In the final plenary session, the representatives from Venezuela, Argentina, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia supported Cuba’s statement.

Posted in Cuba, Food and Farming
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