Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Criticizes the Human Rights Council, but Seeks Cuba’s Reelection as a Member

Taking as a given his presence in the organization during the next period, he promised the Island would defend a “universal vision, but from the South.” (Minrex)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 March 2023 — On Tuesday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez accused the United Nations Human Rights Council of caving to the “imperialist interests” of “powerful governments” and accused the Geneva-based organization, of losing “credibility.” The diplomat took advantage of his speech to request, however, Cuba’s reelection as a member of that international organization.

Rodríguez dedicated a good portion of his statement to criticizing U.S. foreign policy toward the Island and said that no State “has the authority” to judge another with regard to human rights, as no one is “exempt from challenges.” He compared the Council to the “extinct Commission on Human Rights” and stated that it “imploded” because it became a “tribunal” to evaluate nations.

Cuba could be reelected as a member of the Council in October for the 2024-2026 period, and several countries, stated the Minister, have offered the Cuban government their “valuable support” in those elections.

Taking as a given his presence in the organization during the next period, he promised the Island would defend a “universal vision, but from the South,” aligned with “the poor, the forgotten and excluded,” so long as its membership is ratified.

However, the pebble in the Cuban diplomat’s shoe continues to be the U.S., signaled the Minister. The Island will not fold, he said with his usual rhetoric, to those “masters of finance, markets and weapons.” He did not miss an opportunity to express dismay at “the genocidal policy of the blockade” and to enumerate, on the podium, the list of business opportunities with foreign companies that have been blocked by the U.S. sanctions.

Rodríguez was thorough in his listing of the Island’s financial problems, which he attributed, as usual, to the embargo. The United States, he said, is responsible for the “deterioration in consumption and living standards of families,” for “inflation, prices, and salaries,” the food and medicine shortages, and also for the interruptions in electrical services, not to mention “industry, construction, services, commerce, investment, health and education.”

But what really bothers the Minister is the inclusion of Cuba on the “arbitrary list” of state sponsors of terrorism developed by the State Department, on which it remains to this day, awaiting the Biden Administration’s decision on whether or not to maintain it.

On Tuesday, the report, which states the reasons for which the U.S. Government did not remove the Island from the list, was published and although “it does not constitute a new announcement” on what will occur in the future, on Tuesday the Minister as well as the official government press were quick to condemn this “infamous and unfounded” measure of the Ubuted States.

Rodríguez continued his diatribe against the Biden Administration with which Havana is attempting a second diplomatic “thaw,” accusing it of financing “destabilizing and ’regime change’ operations.” He added that the U.S. discredits Cuban doctors and promotes “censorship and manipulation of large social media platforms against Cuba.”

The result, he said, is the emigration of “qualified people and those of working age.” The Minister confirmed that his government insists “firmly and irreversibly” on socialism as an economic and social model, “with a wide majority and active support of the people.” He didn’t mention at the Council that those who peacefully oppose the government suffer surveillance, persecution, arbitrary trials, and high prison penalties in jails where human rights are systematically violated.

During his visit to Geneva, Rodríguez held several meetings with high ranking dignitaries of the United Nations and diplomats from the Island’s allies, such as Venezuela and Vietnam.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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