Statement by H.E. Mr. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the United Nations high level meeting to celebrate and promote the International Day for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. New York, September 26, 2018.
Mr. Secretary General;
Distinguished Heads of Delegations;
It is said that when the eminent physicist Albert Einstein was asked with what weapons a hypothetical Third War would be fought, he answered that he only knew that the Fourth would be fought with sticks and stones.
Sadly, he did not live enough to see that his emphatic calls to put an end to the arms race using the nuclear technology would be unheeded and that the manufacturing of those weapons would grow dramatically, to the point of eliminating any possibility of survival if hardly a small part of them were to be used.
That is why we think it is our unavoidable duty to join the commemoration of the International Day for the Complete Elimination of Nuclear Weapons every September 26, for it contributes to achieve the purpose pursued by the UN of preserving international peace and security.
We are proud that such an achievement is based on an initiative first promoted by the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which was later on embraced by the international community.
To Cuba, this appeal that is launched every year is also a much deserved tribute to the memory of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who struggled tirelessly in favor of nuclear disarmament, an issue to which he devoted numerous Reflections and all of his energy.
Cuba supports the statement made by the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Seventy three years after the criminal atomic bombings over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, humanity continues to be threatened by the existence of approximately 14 400 nuclear weapons; 3 750 of them have been deployed and almost 2 000 are in a state of operational alert.
Cuba rejects the security policies and military doctrines based on nuclear deterrence. We embrace the words expressed by Fidel in 1979 when he stated, and I quote: “The clashing of weapons, the threatening language and the overbearing behavior in the international arena must cease. Enough of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved by nuclear weapons! Bombs may kill the hungry, the sick and the ignorant; but they cannot kill hunger, disease and ignorance”, end of quote.
Latin America and the Caribbean takes pride in having been the first densely populated region in the world proclaiming itself as a Nuclear Free Zone under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which was enacted in 1967. Our peoples’ willingness was ratified in the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, a document that was signed by the Heads of State and Government of the region on the occasion of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in January of 2014.
Cuba is strongly committed to strengthening and consolidating multilateralism and complying with international treaties on disarmament, particularly to the goal of a nuclear free world. On January 31, 2018, as an expression of that willingness, Cuba became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We will persist in our aspiration that this Treaty, which proscribes the use, existence and development of nuclear weapons and reiterates that these are inhuman, immoral and ethically indefensible, could be some day implemented and complemented with efficient measures conducive to the complete elimination of those arsenals in an effective, transparent and irreversible way.
The use of nuclear energy and technology has contributed to the social and economic development of our nations. Consequently, we reaffirm the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy without any discrimination.
We reject the decision of the US Government to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran Nuclear Agreement. The non observation of these international commitments goes against the rules of coexistence among States and will have serious consequences for stability and security in the Middle East.
Before concluding, I would like to share with you some excerpts of the speech delivered by Army General Raúl Castro, the First Secretary of our Party, at the Rio + 20 Summit: “Let’s put justifications and selfishness aside and work for solutions. This time everyone, absolutely everyone, will suffer the consequences (…) May plundering end; May the war end; let’s move towards disarmament and destroy the nuclear arsenals.”
Thank you, very much.