Cuba is firmly convinced that the humanitarian situation in Haiti is not an issue to be addressed by the Security Council but rather by the General Assembly

• Speech by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of
Foreign Affairs, to the special session of the UN Security Council about Haiti, April 6, 2011


Mr. President of the Republic of Colombia and the Security Council, Juan Manuel Santos:

Mr. President of the Republic of Haiti, René García Preval:

Barely 12 months ago, more than 150 governments and other international agencies committed ourselves in the headquarters of this organization to make substantial support available for the recovery and reconstruction of Haiti after the disastrous earthquake of January 12 of that year. As a statement, it was a commendable demonstration of solidarity.

The nine billion dollar amount promised for the reconstruction, of which five billion were to be delivered in the first two years, plus the important donations in kind, although insufficient, reflected an undeniable willingness to contribute. The stated principle of directing this aid according to the priorities established by the Haitian government, in order to strengthen the state’s authority, reflected universal respect for the sovereignty of this long-suffering country and for the prerogatives of its governmental authorities.

There appeared to be universal willingness to provide assistance to this heroic nation, the first on the American continent to break free of its colonial yoke and abolish slavery.

Unfortunately, what has occurred since then has not been consistent with the spirit which predominated during that conference of March 31, 2010. Many of the self-proclaimed ‘principal donors’ continue, however, to devote exorbitant resources to war and military intervention.

The amount of financial and material help promised, although insufficient given the magnitude of the problem, has yet to be dispensed. The will of the Haitian government has not been respected, nor has attention been paid to its priorities. The reconstruction of Haiti, to which we all committed ourselves, remains unresolved.

In the months immediately following the terrible earthquake, it seemed as if Haiti was being torn into pieces by the more powerful and industrialized countries which distributed their aid arbitrarily and arrogantly, through voracious companies and some of their richest nongovernmental organizations.

Still today, the channeling of funds and resources outside of the Haitian government’s programs, and beyond its control, continues, leading to waste, corruption and the meeting of marginally important, or selective, needs.

Cuba shares the concerns expressed by the CARICOM heads of state in the statement released during their intersession meeting of February 26, when the Recovery Fund, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), its methods of work, the necessary respect for the priorities of the Haitian government, and the failure to deliver promised resources, were critically addressed.

Mr. President:

Cuba has concentrated its efforts within the area in which the greatest impact could be achieved – public health – an element which is essential to Haiti’s sustainability and social stability.

In full cooperation with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and under the direction and according to the priorities of the Haitian government, we have worked tirelessly to set in motion a program to reconstruct the national public health system, which is fundamentally based on meeting the health care needs of the 75% of the population with the least resources, at a minimum cost.

Since January 12, 2010 through the present, almost two million patients have been treated, more than 36,000 surgeries have been performed and almost 8,500 births attended. More than 465,000 patients have received rehabilitation services.

Services are being provided in 23 community reference hospitals, 13 health centers, two ophthalmology surgical units and within the Public Health Laboratory. A Comprehensive Hygiene and Epidemiology Program is being developed In the country’s 10 departments.

The cooperative program led by Cuba is being implemented by 1,117 collaborating health professionals; 923 are Cuban and 194 from various other countries who have completed their training in Cuba.

The resources generously contributed in solidarity by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, have been critical. We have worked closely with Brazil, through a tripartite agreement with Haiti.

Cuba has also received support from various countries in the implementation of this health program. Namibia, Norway, South Africa, Australia and Spain have contributed, along with individual donors, somewhat more than 3.5 million dollars.

We are willing to work with any country or organization which, in a strictly humanitarian fashion, with full respect for and in coordination with the Haitian government, is wiling to participate in the reconstruction and development of the public health system.

Simultaneously, Cuban doctors have confronted a serious cholera epidemic. Towards this end, 67 units were established in which more than 73,000 patients were treated, one third of all the cases recorded in the country. Among them, only 272 people died, for a mortality rate of .37%, five times lower than that of the rest of the institutions present in Haiti. This has required selflessness and a spirit of sacrifice in treating patients, especially during all hours of the night. For the last 77 consecutive days, our medical and nursing personnel have not lost one cholera patient.

The creation of proactive monitoring teams, the ‘Into the Sub-communes’ program, was a novel effort which allowed for the assessment of almost 1.7 million people living in communities without access to medical services and the diagnosis of 5,300 cases of cholera within their own homes.

I am reporting these facts in all modesty, only to support with concrete examples, our conviction that Haiti requires substantial and unselfish help, closely coordinated with its government, which contributes to the country’s development and overcoming the immense difficulties and socioeconomic inequality affecting the country, which are disrupting its stability and hindering progress for its people.

Mr. President:

Haití does not need an occupying force; it is not and cannot be converted into a United Nations protectorate.

The role of the United Nations is to support the Haitian government and people in the consolidation of their sovereignty and self-determination. The MINUSTAH forces have been in the country under a very specific mandate to promote stability, which should have been, and should be, rigorously respected. MINUSTAH has no political authority to become involved in internal affairs which are the sole purview of Haitians and should not do so. It is not acceptable that it participate in electoral options or pressure sovereign authorities in one way or another. Nor does it have any authority to speak in the name of Haiti.

Cuba is firmly convinced that the humanitarian situation in Haiti is not an issue to be addressed by the Security Council but rather by the General Assembly, whose authority has frequently been usurped. This is not a question which threatens international peace and security, nor will it be resolved by military forces prepared for peacekeeping operations. The serious consequences of the omissions, the excesses, the double standards and anti-democratic procedures this Council perpetuates are well known.

The problems of this sister country are essentially the result of centuries of colonial and semi-colonial plunder, of underdevelopment, of the imposition of one of the longest and bloodiest dictatorships in our region and of foreign intervention.

The unalienable right of the Haitian people to independence and self-determination must, finally, be respected.

Haiti needs resources for reconstruction and resources for development. It requires humanitarian commitment and not interference and political manipulation. What is needed is a minimum of generosity instead of so much self-interest.

Thank you very much.

Translated by Granma International



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