gave the following speech
to the international conference
financing for development
in monterrey, mexico
beginning of the speech,
the delegates from the united states,
following instructions from
A Better World is
By Fidel Castro
Not everyone here will share
my thoughts. Still, I will respectfully say what I think.
The existing world economic
order constitutes a system of plundering and exploitation like no other in
history. Thus, the peoples believe less and less in statements and
The prestige of the
international financial institutions rates less than zero.
The world economy is today a
huge casino. Recent analyses indicate that for every dollar that goes into
trade, over one hundred end up in speculative operations completely
disconnected from the real economy.
As a result of this economic
order, over 75 percent of the world population lives in underdevelopment,
and extreme poverty has already reached 1.2 billion people in the Third
So, far from narrowing, the gap is widening.
The revenue of the richest
nations, which in 1960 was 37 times larger than that of the poorest, is now
74 times larger. The situation has reached such extremes that the assets
of the three wealthiest persons in the world amount to the GDP of the 48
poorest countries combined.
The number of people actually
starving was 826 million in the year 2001. There are at the moment 854
million illiterate adults while 325 million children do not attend school.
There are 2 billion people who have no access to low cost medications and
2.4 billion lack the basic sanitation conditions. No less than 11 million
children under the age of 5 perish every year from preventable causes
while half a million go blind for lack of vitamin A.
The life span of the
population in the developed world is 30 years higher than that of people
living in Sub-Saharan Africa. A true genocide!
The poor countries should not
be blamed for this tragedy. They neither conquered nor plundered entire
continents for centuries; they did not establish colonialism, or
re-established slavery, and, modern imperialism is not of their making.
Actually, they have been its victims. Therefore, the main responsibility
for financing their development lies with those states that, for obvious
historical reasons, enjoy today the benefits of those atrocities.
The rich world should condone
their foreign debt and grant them fresh soft credits to finance their
development. The traditional offers of assistance, always scant and often
ridiculous, are either inadequate or unfulfilled.
For a true and sustainable
economic and social development to take place much more is required than
is usually admitted. Measures as those suggested by the late James Tobin
to curtail the irrepressible flow of currency speculation --albeit it was
not his idea to foster development-- would perhaps be the only ones
capable of generating enough funds, which in the hands of the UN agencies
and not of awful institutions like the IMF, could supply direct
development assistance with a democratic participation of all countries
and without the need to sacrifice the independence and sovereignty of the
The Consensus draft, which the
masters of the world are imposing on this conference, intends that we
accept humiliating, conditioned and interfering alms.
Everything created since
Bretton Woods until today should be reconsidered. A farsighted vision was
then missing, thus, the privileges and interests of the most powerful
prevailed. In the face of the deep present crisis, a still worse future is
offered where the economic, social and ecologic tragedy of an increasingly
ungovernable world would never be resolved and where the number of the
poor and the starving would grow higher, as if a large part of humanity
It is high time for statesmen
and politicians to calmly reflect on this. The belief that a social and
economic order that has proven to be unsustainable can be forcibly imposed
is really senseless.
As I have said before, the
ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the
wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor
and the hungry but they cannot kill ignorance, illnesses, poverty or
It should definitely be said:
"Farewell to arms." Something must be done to save Humanity! A
better world is possible!