Ambassador to the United Nations Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla
Remarks on "Measures to Eliminate Interational Terrorism"
United Nations General Assembly
New York, New York
October 1, 2001
In a speech delivered just two days ago before one hundred thousand countrymen,
President Fidel Castro stated:
The unanimous shock suffered by all peoples of the world on September
11, due to the insane terrorist attacks against the American people, has created
exceptional conditions for the eradication of terrorism without the need to
unleash a useless and perhaps endless war.
Terror has always been an instrument of the worst enemies of Mankind bent
on suppressing and crushing the peoples struggle for freedom. It can never
be the instrument of a truly noble and just cause.
Later on, he went on to add:
Many seem not to have realized yet that, on September 20, before the United
States Congress, the end of independence was decreed for every other state --without
exceptions-- as well as the end of the United Nations role.
Cuba was the first country to speak of the need for an international struggle
against terrorism just a few hours after the tragedy brought on the American
people on September 11. We also said that: `None of the present problems of
the world can be solved by force. [...] The international community should build
a world conscience against terrorism. [...] Only the intelligent policy of seeking
strength through consensus and the international public opinion can decidedly
uproot this problem [...] this unimaginable event should serve to launch an
international struggle against terrorism. ...] The world cannot be saved unless
a path of international peace and cooperation is pursued.
I harbor no doubts that the Third World countries --I dare say almost
everyone of them without exception, despite their political and religious differences--
would be willing to go alongside the rest of the world in this struggle against
terrorism as an alternative to war.
For these people, saving peace with dignity, with independence and without
a war is the cornerstone of the struggle that we should wage together for a
truly just world of free peoples.
International cooperation should be arranged to launch effective global actions,
in accordance with International Law, the Charter of the United Nations and
the relevant international conventions, based on the extraordinary power of
consensus and the sovereign and combined will of all States.
Cuba has expressed: It would suffice to return to the United Nations Organization
the prerogatives that it has been deprived of and let the General Assembly,
its most universal and representative body, be the center of that fight for
peace --regardless of its limitations due to the arbitrary veto right of the
Security Council Permanent Members, most of them also a part of NATO-- and for
the eradication of terrorism with total and unanimous support from the world
opinion. [ ] It is indispensable to return to the United Nations its role
in the attainment of peace.
The United Nations Organization is precisely that universal coalition we need
to fight terrorism. No amorphous and unpredictable coalition, NATO or any other
military organization, or group of States regardless of its power-- could
replace the United Nations in a global and legitimate action against terrorism.
The United Nations should not give up its functions or prerogatives in favor
of something imposed by any country, nor should it indulgently serve hegemonic
It befits the United Nations, and no one else, to address in a deep, calm, resolute
and forceful way, the serious challenges of a globalized world, including terrorism
as a matter of urgency.
The United Nations counts on the universal involvement of States. It has a historical
and moral authority, as well as principles and rules accepted by all; and it
is entitled to adopt and codify standards. It can act on all areas, and its
numerous and diverse bodies have great potential.
We support the Secretary Generals statement that: This Organization
is the natural forum in which to build such a universal coalition. It alone
can give global legitimacy to the long-term struggle against terrorism.
The United Nations even has the prerogative to use force to defend the principle
of collective security. However, this exceptional prerogative must be used with
utmost prudence and responsibility.
The United Nations has made great efforts to fight terrorism, as reflected in
the existing Conventions and other recently adopted instruments, as well as
the many resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and other bodies.
To move forward, we must address all forms and manifestations of terrorism in
every corner of the world with absolute honesty and avoiding hegemonic interests
or national ambition, and State terrorism cannot be the exception.
The overwhelming political will of States to fully implement international instruments
must prevail without any double standards, or political selectivity, without
treating differently those who live in affluent societies and without allowing
States and their armed forces, especially the most powerful, to act in disregard
of legislation and International Law.
We share the calls for prudence and moderation coming from all regions. One
cannot respond to the September 11th terrorist attacks with vengeance and war
actions that would lead to a still unimaginable spiral of violence and barbaric
acts. The solution cannot be to pass legislation or decrees that condone summary
executions, that let States kill foreign citizens or act covertly in other countries
disrespecting laws and borders, or use force within other States. That would
divert the world from its purpose of eradicating terrorism, and would mean the
end of collective security mechanisms. It would mean the rule of force and the
beginning of the end of the so often proclaimed rule of law.
Terrorist acts are usually carried out by extremist groups, and even by lone
individuals. Faced with an event of this nature however grave-- the right
to self-defense must not be invoked by a powerful State to unilaterally unleash
a war that could go global and have unpredictable consequences bringing the
death of an unthinkable number of innocent people. Instead, that right must
be exercised as the right of all to the common defense of all. The South countries
would eventually be the potential victims of actions of force if today we accept
war under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Cuba supports the many ongoing initiatives and those under discussion, which
might contribute to UN actions, including those submitted by the Non-Aligned
Movement, such as the call for a high level conference on international terrorism,
the creation of an international cooperation center, and the negotiation of
a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. We are also willing to
consider constructively other initiatives that might contribute to the struggle
against terrorism and might have the legitimacy invoked by the Secretary General.
While the Security Council has made specific efforts and adopted several resolutions
in the past, terrorism has been an area in which prudence has prevailed. In
the few cases where specific acts of terrorism have been addressed, this has
been done to meet the specific interests of some of its Permanent Members.
On the other hand, Cuba appealed to the Security Council to act in 1976 when
Cubana Aircraft CU 455 was blown up in flight, killing 73 people on board. However,
draft resolution S/23990 submitted by Cuba was not even considered.
I have just reviewed that draft resolution once again, comparing it to the one
the Security Council adopted last Friday night, and I have found that although
ours was more moderate, it proposed some of the concepts and measures contained
in the recent one.
In its preamble, the Cuban draft considered the suppression of international
acts of terrorism essential for the preservation of international peace and
security. It emphasized the need to deal effectively with terrorism. It reaffirmed
that it was every States duty to refrain from organizing, instigating,
assisting, participating in and consenting to terrorist acts within its territory.
Our text took note that one Permanent Member of the Security Council had stated
that it had evidence in its possession relating to that act. It also took into
account the fact that the mastermind of the terrorist act, Orlando Bosch, resided
in the territory of that same State, where by the way-- he still lives;
and that the co-author, Luis Posada Carriles, had been later employed by the
Government of that same State after the appalling crime. The Cuban draft resolution
also urged the Council involvement in the struggle against international terrorism,
invoking Chapter VII of the Charter.
The Resolution did not ask for the use of force or sanctions, but simply asked
the Council to condemn the bombing of the passengers aircraft in flight;
to indicate the obligation to clarify the crime and to punish the guilty parties.
It asked the State concerned to provide all the information and evidence in
its possession relating to the past and current residence of the terrorists
who were in its territory, and to adopt effective measures to prevent its territory
from being used to prepare, organize and carry out terrorist acts against Cuba.
And it asked the Council to keep that matter under consideration.
After Cuba spoke, the Permanent Member concerned took the floor for five minutes
only to state the following: I frankly cannot help but wonder why we are
here By meeting today we lose our most valuable commodity: time.
And that was the end of the meeting.
However, after a quick and not particularly transparent negotiation, the Security
Council has recently adopted a resolution that orders States to work on urgent
legislative modifications, that demands immediate reports and creates a sort
of antiterrorist general headquarter.
The Council has decided to fight terrorism in many different areas, from economic
and financial areas to illicit drug trafficking, border control, money-laundering,
forgery of documents, traffic in explosive materials, nuclear, chemical, biological
and other weapons. It also deals with issues relating to transnational organized
crime, weapons of mass destruction, communications technologies, and the exchange
of intelligence information on individuals and entities that practice terrorism.
The implementation of that resolution requires the previous identification of
those persons and a clear definition of what is to be considered a terrorist
act. It is not difficult to guess where those interpretations will come from.
The Security Council has been pushed to give legal support to hegemonic and
arbitrary decisions made by the ruling Power, which violate the Charter and
International Law, and that trespass on the sovereignty of all States. To achieve
that, it usurps once again the functions of the General Assembly, the only body
whose universal composition and democratic method could legitimize such far-reaching
decisions. The Council uses the unbelievable method of making it mandatory for
all States to accept some rules contained in conventions against terrorism,
which are up to every State to decide whether they want to be signatories or
The Security Council, a hostage of the veto right, could only exercise a selective,
capricious, arbitrary and ineffective dictatorship, instead of the moral leadership
required for a comprehensive struggle against terrorism in a globalized world.
Terrorism cannot be eradicated if some terrorist acts are condemned while others
are silenced or justified. It is an ethical imperative, for example, to put
an end to the use of veto to prevent international actions from protecting the
Palestinian people against the countless State terrorism acts they are suffering.
It is Cubas opinion that any use of force against terrorism should require
explicit and previous authorization of the Security Council, as provided by
the Charter. Cuba also believes that neither of the two resolutions adopted
by the Council in the wake of the September 11 attacks could be invoked to unleash
unilateral military or force actions.
Despite some arbitrary methods and decisions by the Security Council, our country
will cooperate, as always, in good faith with the Council in accordance with
the Charter, and will enforce its own legislation sovereignly adopted by our
people according to international law, and which strongly and firmly opposes
any act of terrorism, whoever its perpetrator might be, as well as other serious
international crimes being committed in the world.
This statement we can make with the full moral strength that emanates from our
straight behavior. Our finances are transparent and our banks do not treasure
any laundered or illegitimate money. Our institutions are not involved in illegal
sales of information or technology nor do we tolerate the traffic in arms or
dangerous substances. Likewise, our borders do not protect transnational crime.
The specific measures put forth in the resolution adopted by the Security Council
and that Cuba supports must be applied first of all to the large banks where,
as everyone knows, money is laundered.
I must categorically state that Cuba will never take part in any military action.
In my memory today are the 3478 Cubans who have died the victims of acts of
aggression and terrorism, and the claim for justice of 2099 people who are disabled
due to those same acts.
In my mind is also Felix García, a diplomat with the Cuban Mission to
the United Nations, who was murdered here in New York, exactly on September
11, 1980. His murderer was arrested last November in Panama, together with Luis
Posada Carriles, during an Ibero-American Summit. They had been working on a
plot to assassinate President Fidel Castro and to that end they were to blow
up a university auditorium where thousands of students would be gathered. Posada
Carriles and his group have neither been extradited nor punished. There are
reasons to fear their escape even before they are taken to a court of law or
with total impunity.
In the 1990s alone, a total of 68 terrorist acts were perpetrated against
Cuba, 33 of them in the last five years.
Our country speaks with full moral authority because it has never committed
any terrorist act, not even the attempt to eliminate in an act of legitimate
self-defense-- the direct perpetrators and authors of such abominable crimes,
financed and carried out against our people by the Cuban American National Foundation
and other mob groups in Miami. However, over the last few years, bombings, assassination
attempts against Cuban leaders and attacks against crucial facilities for our
economy have been organized with total impunity from abroad.
Only our peoples consideration and respect for the victims of the September
11 attacks, as well as the seriousness of the current situation that brings
us together to seek for constructive solutions, have inspired me to contribute
to the spirit of this debate by avoiding any mention of the origins of terrorism
against Cuba, by not making specific reference to the real causes, the accomplices,
the real culprits, the financial flows, the venal courts that absolve criminals
and the territories where terrorist organizations acting against Cuba are based.
I share the hope that the September 11 tragedy will lead to reflection and,
in line with the desire of the American people, to changes in those policies
that encourage and basically justify terrorism against my people. Terrorism
against Cuba must be brought to an end.
I must state that, in face of impunity, Cuba has every right to defend itself
against terrorism. The five Cuban youth, who are unjustly incarcerated and enduring
a humiliating treatment in Florida, do not repent of having saved heroically
the lives of both Cubans and Americans.
As President Fidel Castro has indicated: Cuba, with the moral authority
of being the country that has suffered the most and the longest from terrorist
actions, the one whose people are not afraid of anything because there is no
threat or power in the world that can intimidate it, claims that it is opposed
to terrorism and opposed to war. Although the possibilities are now remote,
Cuba reaffirms the need to avert a war of unpredictable consequences whose very
authors have admitted not to have the least idea of how the events will unfold.
Likewise, Cuba reiterates its willingness to cooperate with every country in
the total eradication of terrorism.
Whatever happens, the territory of Cuba will never be used for terrorist
actions against the American people and we will do everything within our reach
to prevent such actions against that people. Today we are expressing our solidarity
while appealing to peace and calmness.
Finally, the President of our country, expressing the unanimous sentiment of
our people, stated:
Our independence, our principles and our social achievements we will be defend
with honor to the last drop of blood, if we are attacked!