On behalf of the government and people of Cuba, I am deeply grateful to the Group of 77 and China for the confidence placed in Cuba to preside this year over such a broad and representative world of nations. We commend the laudable work carried out by Pakistan as the head of the Group during 2022.
We are highly honored to represent this diverse and vibrant grouping in a time of monumental challenges for developing countries. We do so with total dedication and a proven commitment to never abandon the nations with whom we share a history of abuses, to which our peoples were subjected, with the knowledge that we are united in brotherhood by our shared hopes and goals.
We are deeply proud of the history that we have forged as a Group in almost six decades of existence, as much as we are impressed by the road that lies ahead of us toward the realization of our true, common, and historic claims. We will fight for them with the certainty that, in our diversity, we share the same aspiration to live in a better, fairer world.
Our nations remain at the rear of global development, while bearing the consequences of the multiple crises and inequalities resulting from the current unjust international order.
This is a profoundly undemocratic order designed to perpetuate an imbalance which, despite the historical demands of the countries of this Group, sustains the wealth of a few at the expense of the impoverishment of the majority, keeping the peoples at an economic and social disadvantage, permanently condemned to underdevelopment, poverty, and hunger.
This is not the first time we have said this. Since its founding in the promising decade of the 1960s, the Group of 77 has called to change the unjust global order, so that we may emerge from the conditions of absolute disadvantage in which centuries of colonialism and dependence have plunged us. All the podiums in the world would be too few to say so.
In 1979, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution defined this group in unforgettable words. Fidel Castro said: "If the Non-Aligned Movement, which had begun a few years earlier, came to be the political conscience of the countries emerging from colonialism and neocolonialism and trying to fully realize their independence, the Group of 77 emerged as their economic conscience."
It is that consciousness that brought about unity among such diverse countries, regions, identities, cultures and levels of development. And history has confirmed the value of this unity. We have remained committed to this unity from the first UNCTAD Conference and the Declaration on a New International Economic Order, through the Rio Summit, the principle of special and differential treatment, and the Official Development Assistance target, to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. The South has been the cornerstone of multilateral development negotiations.
To make it clear that, as the Latin American poet Mario Benedetti wrote, "The South also exists," we have acted together. And it is with the strength of the two-thirds of the world that we represent that we have managed to make progress on certain objectives and ideals; but many substantial issues remain pending, to which are now added the problems of the post-pandemic world.
As the UN Secretary General acknowledged to the Group of 77 plus China last September, "as we move towards the halfway point in the 2030 Agenda, far from improving, the world is going backwards.
"The COVID-19 pandemic and an uneven recovery have cost us at least three years of progress, while developing countries are drowning in debt, with no fiscal space or access to financial resources to invest in recovery."
Today, more than ever, it is imperative to reach consensus on the issues that affect us as countries and as a group. Only in this way will we be able to come closer to the aspirations of the historically neglected peoples and their yearning for social justice.
In these difficult and convulsive times, there is a proliferation of attempts to fracture the countries of the South. Let us give a lesson in unity! Let us demonstrate the value of cooperation and solidarity!
As proclaimed by Fidel, founder and tireless defender of unity as an unavoidable premise of all actions: we must unite today to build the tomorrow we yearn for, to vindicate the always-excluded, to rescue faith in humanity!
Count on Cuba and its unwavering commitment to work tirelessly, together with all the members of this indispensable grouping, in the defense of the supreme interests of our nations.
Cuba is also counting on you, and hopes that the spirit of unity and solidarity that gave birth to the Group of 77 and China will prevail over the petty interests of those who seek to maintain the current unjust economic order.
We firmly believe in multilateralism and in the immeasurable power of unity in diversity that Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, has defended as a banner and guide for the construction of the consensus that is needed to overcome our current challenges and build the just world to which we aspire.
It will always be the hour of unity, but today it is an imperative, the greatest of all urgencies! Let us take action to break, at last, the knots that hold back the possibilities of real progress for the peoples of the world. They have the right to a more humane, uplifting and dignified existence, and it is the duty of their leaders to fight for it. ¡Sí se puede!
Thank you very much.
Miguel Díaz-Canel is the President of the Republic of Cuba.