CUBA Says “Not So Fast” to Rich Countries at World Food Summit in Rome

Posted on June 6, 2008


In true Cuba style, the World Food Summit would not conclude until the Cubans pointed out the long history of hypocrisies, deceits, and obfuscations characteristic of the global north and especially, the US. Cuba knows that the the western countries are largely going through the motions in addressing the “food crisis.” As a result, the Cubans put a fierce challenge to the rich countries tat the summit to do the right thing. Luckily, in this important effort, Cuba has the support of Venezuela, Argentina, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

GRANMA
June 6, 2008

FAO Summit Concludes
Call for Urgent Action on Food Crisis

Cuba warns of a lack a political will of the wealthy countries, criticizes
role of the United States.

ELSON CONCEPCION PWREZ, special correspondent
elson.cp@granma.cip.cu

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 to 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.