At the UN, Cuba reports progress in the achievements of Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations, October 17 (RHC)-- Despite nearly 60 years of U.S. blockade, Cuba currently excels in social indicators and meets several goals set by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Ana Silvia Rodriguez, Cuba´s Deputy Representative to the United Nations made that statement on Wednesday at a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

“Although Cuba is a small island developing state, subject to the adverse effects of powerful hurricanes, droughts and climate change, it is currently the second in the world with the lowest value in the Multidimensional Poverty Index,” she recalled, and added that the island is the only nation in Latin America and the Caribbean that has eliminated severe child malnutrition, according to the 2018 UNICEF Report.

Also, it ranks fifth among the first 14 countries to reduce the Hunger and Malnutrition Index on a sustained basis for several years, said the Cuban diplomat.

Rodriguez stressed that the commitment to definitively eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions could be achieved if nations such as the United States, which devote multimillion-dollar resources to military expenditures, dedicated them to development.

The day before, in the debate 'Eradication of poverty and other development issues' of the Second Committee of the United Nations, at its 74th session, Cuba reaffirmed its commitment to South-South cooperation and international solidarity to overcome these problems.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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The diplomat recalled that Washington's aggressiveness is part of the application of its economic, commercial and financial blockade.

Cuban Ambassador Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Pedro Luis Pedroso denounced at a meeting of Heads of Delegations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) the effort of the United States to hinder the commercial relations with the island.

“Last year, the current administration has significantly increased its commercial and financial encirclement measures against my country. It has imposed additional measures to hinder foreign trade and increased the persecution of our banking-financial relations with the rest of the world,” Pedroso said.

The diplomat recalled that Washington's aggressiveness is part of the application of its economic, commercial and financial blockade, a policy in force for 60 years, strengthened by U.S. President Donald Trump.

This upsurge has also implied a more intense and punitive application of extraterritorial measures, such as the full activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, the Cuban permanent representative warned.

Regarding Title III, the diplomat pointed out in the WTO that it allows the initiation of claims before U.S. courts against investors from third countries that invest in the greater of the Antilles.

"This is totally illegal and contravenes the most basic norms of international law and commerce," he said.

Pedroso expressed at the forum that the Helms Burton Law is an instrument of economic warfare and political coercion that intends to dictate to third countries how they should conduct their economic relations with Cuba, in frank violation of international law.

In his speech, the ambassador drew attention to the prevailing scenario, which has resulted in the economic trade slowdown in almost 90 percent of the world, according to the latest evaluation of the International Monetary Fund.

Although the situation is negative for all countries, it is suffered more by small economies and island developing States, especially affected by climate change and global economic turbulence, Pedroso added.

"Cuba's position in this complex scenario remains attached to the legitimate interests of the developing countries to whose alliances we belong," he said urging to defend multilateralism, bet on transparency and inclusiveness, and make decisions by consensus.

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70,000 people forced to flee amid Turkey's Syria assault, U.N. says

Qamishli, Syria – The U.N. says 70,000 people in northern Syria have been forced to flee because of Turkey's assault on U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. Turkish warplanes and artillery blasted targets across the Syrian border Friday on the third day of the offensive.

The city of Qamishli in northern Syria is a very important city for the Kurdish population, reports CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata. It sort of serves as their administrative center. But it's is only about a mile and a half from the Turkish border, which means it's vulnerable to airstrikes, artillery and mortars.

A couple of nights ago, Qamishli came under a mortar attack. Three mortars slammed into the neighborhood, killing one person on the spot. Two people were injured and are now fighting for their lives in a hospital.

This kind of random violence in the area has sparked a mass exodus of Qamishli. There was a bottleneck Thursday on a main road leading south, away from Turkish airstrikes and mortar attacks. Families didn't want to take a chance with their young children on attacks like this.

The Turkish government has defended its military operation, saying it's clearing the area of terrorists. But more and more, it's starting to look like a campaign of ethnic cleansing – forcing the local Kurdish population away from cities and villages. Instead they're putting in place many Syrian Arabs who sought refuge in Turkey, people who don't come from the region. That has now become a point of discussion not only among the local population, but also among the international community.



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Hope results in millions of signatures

Millions of signatures will be delivered to the UN Secretary-General by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez in response to the Empire attacks against the Bolivarian nation as well as the threats looming over the regional and world peace. Venezuela, nonetheless, still represents hope.

In March 2015, the U.S. president Barack Obama declared the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela “a threat to the national security of his country” by presidential order. It was so serious on a par with unbelievable, that it would have been a funny statement if such decision would not turn into a pivotal moment in the U.S. policy towards the South American country and its revolutionary process.

Millions of Venezuelans and people of good will all around the world rejected the decree and began a process of signature collection drive supporting the campaign whose message ratified that Venezuela was not a threat to no one or anything, on the contrary, “Venezuela is Hope.” Millions of Cubans signed as well.

Few days after the issuing of the decree, the Cuban Five, who had returned home in 2014, traveled to the sister nation for the first time. It was there, in Venezuela, where they fled the flag of solidarity by rejecting such ridiculous accusations that the U.S. government would utilize then to justify in far-fetched ways, the attacks against the Bolivarian Revolution.

The Cuban Five also met some of the Cuban collaborators who worked in different states of the sister nation. They signed against Obama’s decree. In one of those magical exchange of opinions, Rene Gonzalez said:

“I see you here and I see raw talent dressed in white coats, in red jerseys, or formal clothes singing beautifully. I do see a huge threat. We are a terrible threat. There are millions of people who are going to be freed from illiteracy, unhealthiness; people destined to be consumed so others can profit from consumption, and our people will free all of them and will make them feel human beings; (our people) will make them claim their rights, dignity, the right to live. Therefore, on behalf of those you are going to free, I show my gratitude and I ask you to strengthen such a threat!”

These days, the U.S. attacks against Venezuela and our collaborators seem to reach excessive dimensions as well as the aggressive media campaign unleashed in some countries, the U.S. economical and financial blockade against Cuba remaining in full force, solidarity is again holding up the flags.

Meanwhile, in this rebel and heroic island, people help each other to overcome hardship. We also show our commitment to the truth and justice to say that Cuba and Venezuela embrace hope. Hence, schools and workplaces, neighborhoods, companies, and factories, people in general signed again supporting Chavez and Bolivar’s motherland with the same conviction and energy with which we defend and support one of our owns.

Perhaps your signature, or mine, your name or your co-worker’s, remain unknown. Perhaps the battlefield to solve this domestic affair will not be the UN, or the letters sent to the Secretary-General, or the many injustices perpetrated in several parts of the world, which Cubans have learned firsthand.

Signing for Venezuela is like signing for your dignity; for championing who we are; for our historical memory; for ratifying ourselves in the same side of those who profess love and show gratitude; for sharing everything we have; for being HOPE no matter what.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Venezuela Presents 13m #NoMoreTrump Petitions to UN

Vicepresident Delcy Rodriguez also gave the U.N. general secretary the agreement between the government and the opposition, and evidence of paramilitary camps in Colombia.

As promised, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez handed to United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres, the more than 13 million petitions signed from around the world for the #NoMoreTrump campaign during a side meeting at the 74th general assembly taking place this week in New York.

In a press conference held before meeting with Guterres, Rodriguez reminded reporters that the signatures were collected during a month-long campaign against the United States government's full economic blockade on Venezuela that began Aug. 5. The signatures "will be held at the UN headquarters in Venezuela,” the vice president said.

During her Friday speech to the high-ranking assembly members, Rodriguez stated that the U.S. has placed "over 350 unilateral coercive measures on Venezuela, including the seizure of Venezuelan assets abroad." She stated that "the brutal financial blockade" has cost the nation up to US$130 billion "and is a blatant theft of our resources."

We gave UN Secretary General the certificate with the more than 13 million signatures rejecting the intevention of @realDonalTrump in our nation. We also shared with the GS information about the terrorist camps in Colombia

Previously, the Venezuelan leader said of the #NoMoreTrump campaign: “The petition is the expression of the will of a people who want peace, progress, tranquility and above all want to guarantee a free and sovereign homeland.”

Vice president told the secretary general about the paramilitary camps located in Colombia, and gave him a copy of the agreement between president Nicolas Maduro and opposition sectors at the National Dialogue Table for Peace, too.

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Cuban FM develops extensive work agenda at UN

Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Affairs, met on Friday with his counterparts from Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay and Guatemala as part of his bilateral agenda at the UN General Assembly.

Rodriguez Parrilla held meetings this morning with Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico, Stef Blok of the Netherlands, Antonio Rivas of Paraguay and Sandra Jovel of Guatemala.

He had signed a memorandum of understanding with Malta on Thursday and had an exchange with his Liberian counterpart, Gbehzongar Milton Findley.

This week, Cuban FM has had an intense program in the framework of the high-level segment of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly highlighting the high-level meeting dedicated to universal health coverage where he outlined Cuba's achievements in this field.

In these forums, the Cuban diplomat has denounced the effects of the US blockade against Cuba, the first hurdle for the development of the Caribbean country and the achievement of Agenda 2030.

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What China told the world at the UN General Assembly

China addressed the world on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly, the annual forum in New York City where even world leaders who don't believe in globalism make a pilgrimage to see and be seen. While China's Xi Jinping rarely attends, he did send chief diplomat Wang Yi to speak on Friday.

Just days before the 70th birthday of contemporary China, the Chinese foreign minister struck a reflective tone on China's rise from poverty to become the UN's second-biggest funder. He also listed his country's stance on several controversial issues around the world. Here are the top lines:


Wang emphasized a point that he has repeated throughout the week's events in New York, that China intends to mind its own business, and wants others to mind theirs -- as did several others earlier in the week, including US President Donald Trump.
"China is guided by the principle of independence.... We will neither subordinate ourselves to others, nor coerce others into submission," Wang said. "China will remain committed to the basic principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in other country's internal affairs as enshrined in the UN Charter."

Developing the rest of the world

China is undertaking vast economic projects around the world, including the controversial acquisition of major infrastructure from Sri Lanka to Greece, and major inroads into African markets.

"China stands ready to share its development experience with other countries and provide necessary assistance in time of need," Wang said. "Yet, we have no intention to export our development model or to lecture others."

On building that wall

In what sounded like a direct subtweet of Donald Trump's exhortation to "build the wall" on the US-Mexico border, Wang said, "Erecting walls will not resolve global challenges, and blaming others for one's own problems does not work."

The US-China trade war

He continued by criticizing the use of tariffs, a favored negotiating tool for Trump which has also escalated the US-China trade war. "The lessons of the Great Depression should not be forgotten. Tariffs and provocations of trade disputes, which upset global industrial and supply chains, serve to undermine the multilateral trading regime and global economic and trade order. They may even plunge the world into recession."

"Let me make it very clear," he said later, emphasizing a point frequently made by Chinese officials: "China is a country with a 5,000-year civilization, 1.4 billion hardworking and courageous people, and a vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers. China will not ever be cowered by threats, or subdued by pressure."

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

"Unilateral withdrawal from the INF" -- which the US did -- "will cause multiple negative impacts," he said, adding that "China is opposed to the deployment of land-based intermediate-range missiles in Asia Pacific." In August, Chinese officials warned the US against deploying such missiles in Asia.

The US and China both blame the other for militarization in the contested South China Sea, which China claims nearly in its entirety, to the consternation of neighboring nations in the area.

Wang also announced that China had started domestic procedures to join the Arms Trade Treaty.

The Iran nuclear deal

"The Iranian nuclear issue affects world peace and security. All parties need to work together to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and ensure that this historic outcome is not derailed." Iran has increasingly breached the deal's terms since the US withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions. China is a major buyer of Iranian oil.

"Given the growing tensions in the Middle East and the Gulf region, China proposes the following: the Iranian nuclear issue should be speedily brought back to the track of the JCPOA; the Gulf countries should be urged to establish a platform for dialogue and consultation; and countries from outside the region should play a positive role in maintaining security in the region," he said.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

"The Palestinian issue must be put at the top of the international agenda. What we lack is not a grand design, but the courage to deliver on the commitments and the conscience to uphold justice. There should be no more regression from the two-state solution and the 'land for peace' principle, which represent a bottom line of international justice," said Wang.
"For the Palestinian people, to establish an independent state is their inalienable right, something that should not be used as a bargaining chip."


Afghanistan has elections coming up this weekend, and Wang promised to "contribute our share" to the country's reconstruction. "What we hope to see is a united Afghanistan where all political parties and ethnic groups together determine the future of their nation, a stable Afghanistan that resolutely combats terrorism, and an Afghanistan that lives in harmony with its neighbors and becomes a positive force for maintaining peace and stability in the region."

North and South Korea

"The realistic and viable way forward is to promote parallel progress in denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism and to accommodate the concerns of all sides and gradually build trust through phased and synchronized actions," he said. Beijing maintains a close connection to Pyongyang, and Wang also urged the UN Security Council to consider rolling back "DPRK-related resolutions" -- many of which impose sanctions on the isolated country.


"The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement. No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken," said Wang. China, India and Pakistan all claim parts of the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Climate change

While China has taken a prominent role in climate-related events in UNGAs past and present, Wang was pretty circumspect about climate in his speech. "We will deliver what we have signed up to, fulfill our obligations, and work with real actions to contribute to the building of a clean and beautiful world," he said.
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Leaders at UN demand end to the US blockade on Cuba

The demand for an end to the US blockade against Cuba was voiced by representatives from all over the world, during speeches at the general debate of the 74th session of the General Assembly, which continues this Friday.

Suriname's President Ashwin Adhin said on Thursday that his country strongly disapproves of 'the economic, financial and commercial blockade of more than 50 years against the Republic of Cuba and its people.'

The vast majority of nations have repeatedly taken a stand against the blockade policy and one may wonder if it is now, finally, the time to understand that the continuation of this mechanism is and will continue to be counterproductive, Adhin stressed.

For his part, President of Sao Tome and Principe Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho once again renewed his support for the Cuban people and called on the international community to make greater efforts to lift the blockade.

He also referred to the importance of normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.

Meanwhile, Nauru's President Lionel Rouwen Aingimea thanked the Cuban government for strengthening the health sector of that small State in Oceania.

Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has approved 27 resolutions calling on the US government to end, without any conditions, its blockade policy against Cuba.

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