Raul’s Formal Presentation at ALBA Meeting

Posted on April 18, 2009

Raul Castro, left, with has his arm around sec...
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Havana. April 16, 2009


Cuba reaffirms vocation of solidarity with the people of the Americas
• Speech by President Raúl Castro Ruz, in the public segment of the 5th
Extraordinary ALBA Summit, Cumaná, Venezuela, April 16, 2009

Compañero Chávez;

Dear Presidents and heads of delegations from sister ALBA nations;

Distinguished guests

Speech by President Raúl Castro Ruz, in the public segment of the 5th
Extraordinary ALBA Summit, Cumaná, Venezuela, April 16, 2009The economic and
social crisis now is global in nature and is not only limited to the
financial sector. It’s a world disaster with profound structural roots. It
includes a sharp fall in stock market value and productive activity; the
freezing of and higher cost of credit and the economic recession in the
principal powers of the First World. It is accompanied by the withdrawal of
world trade and an increase in unemployment and poverty. It is affecting and
will considerably damage the lives and well-being of billions of human
beings. The countries of the South with be, as always, the ones that suffer
the most.

These are the consequences of irresponsible practices tied to deregulation,
financial speculation, and the imposition of neoliberalism. Also present is
the United States’ abusive use of the privileges bestowed on them in the
current international economic order which allows them to finance a culture
of war and unbridled consumerism, unsustainable no matter how you look at
it, by printing money without backing.

But deep down, the crisis is a foreseeable result of the capitalist system
of production and distribution. The neoliberal policies of the last three
decades have increased its magnitude for the worse. In the search for
solutions, those who are primarily responsible end up concentrating power
and wealth even further, while the poorest and most exploited assume the
majority of the costs.

The response cannot be a solution negotiated behind the back of the United
Nations by the Presidents of the most powerful countries.

The crisis will not be resolved with either administrative or technical
measures because they are by nature structural, have systematic reach and
increasingly affect the economy of the globalized and interdependent planet.
The role and the functions of financial institutions like the International
Monetary Fund, whose disastrous policies have decisively contributed to the
origin and reach of the current crisis, should be strengthened even less.

Nor does the G-20’s solution resolve the inequality, injustices, and
unsustainability of the capitalist system. It is the same rhetoric of those
solemn declarations by the Northern countries that they will not apply
protectionist measures and that they will not allocate new aid, which does
not change the foundations of the underdevelopment that condemns us.

The World Bank – which is not exactly a defender of socialist principals –
already spoke about this six months ago at the previous G-20 meeting in
Washington. It counted 73 protectionist actions applied by members of the
G-20 itself. An increase in the Official Development Assistance has also not
been visible.

Dear colleagues

The ALBA countries have the privilege of having a modest plan for
integration, constructed on the foundations and principles of equality,
whose very nature doesn’t allow for the practices that started this crisis.
Our countries do not have the capacity, by ourselves, to structurally
transform the international economic order, but we do have the power to
establish new foundations and construct our own economic relations.

Our most important programs are not subject to the whims of financial
speculation or the uncontrolled fluctuation of markets. The damage that we
are suffering is undeniable. This is a crisis that nobody can escape from
but today we have the instruments to partly counteract its effects.

In these efforts, the work that we have been carrying out in ALBA member
countries and Ecuador (since November, 2008) is particularly significant; in
order to create the Unique Regional Compensation Payment System (SUCRE) that
will be a fundamental factor for boosting the trade and economic integration
between us.

Today we can verify the advances achieved in the development of this
initiative that is a first step toward the goal of having a common currency.

Cuba reaffirms the vocation of solidarity that has characterized its links
with the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. The crisis presents us
with enormous challenges, of incalculable and unpredictable dimensions. We
have no other option than to unite with each other to face it.

Thank you very much.

Translated by Granma International

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