Cuba has urged the UN Security Council to play an active role in stopping Israeli abuses of international law. It has also repeated its support for the Palestinian bid to be a full member of the UN, and criticised those countries who refuse to support it. In making these calls, Cuba shows its solidarity with the oppressed around the world. During a UN debate on the Middle East on 18 January, UN representative for Cuba, Pedro Nunez Mosquera demanded change, whilst at the same time exposing the limitations of these channels, dominated by the interests of the imperialist powers.
Mosquera denounced Israel's increasing demolition of Palestinian homes, which leaves families homeless and often having to pay for the demolition themselves. Despite the demolitions contravening UN international law, 2011 has been a record year for demolitions, with 622 Palestinian structures destroyed. Mosquera drew attention to the expansion of national park space in East Jerusalem, an area where settlement growth and house demolitions combine to create rapid expansion of the racist and brutal occupation. He also spoke of a 40% increase in settler violence. Mosquera not only denounced Israel's actions, but criticised the apathy of the UN Security Council, urging them to play an active and practical role in preventing abuses of International law.
Mosquera used the opportunity to reiterate Cuba's support for full recognition of Palestine at the UN. Cuba and the ALBA countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda, have repeatedly criticised the countries including the US and Britain, that have vetoed or remained silent on the bid for statehood.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez argued in an open letter to Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General in September 2011:
'It is impossible to ignore the crisis in the United Nations. In 2005, before this very same General Assembly, we argued that the United Nations model had become exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian issue has been delayed and is being openly sabotaged reconfirms this. For several days, Washington has been stating that, at the Security Council, it will veto what will be a majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. In the Statement of Recognition of the Palestinian State, Venezuela, together with the sister Nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), have denounced that such a just aspiration could be blocked by this means. As we know, the empire, in this and other instances, is trying to impose its double standard on the world stage: Yankee double standards are violating international law in Libya, while allowing Israel to do whatever it pleases, thus becoming the main accomplice of the Palestinian genocide being carried out by the hands of Zionist barbarity […] Long-live free, sovereign and independent Palestine!'
As well as calling for solidarity with Palestine, Cuba exposed the imperialist role the UN plays in the Middle East whilst powerful countries hold court. Countries which have the right to veto hold overwhelming power, and use it in their interests; Mosquera described their ability to manipulate the Council, drawing attention to recent UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011) on Libya. The resolutions condemned violence and resolved to ‘use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians’ yet in reality, these resolutions meant NATO bombs, military intervention and the massacre of over 60,000 Libyans. Mosquera argued that the same 'recipe for pressure' was being placed on Syria, as competing countries repeat the preparations for intervention so recently practiced in Libya.
Cuba's call for the UN Security Council to uphold international law, and its support for the Palestinian bid for full recognition at the UN, raises public attention and challenges countries to act in solidarity. Cuba is clear in its demand - the illegal occupation of Palestine, and violent and racist settler expansion, will not be tolerated. Mosquera’s intervention critically explains the role that is currently being played in the Middle East by the powerful, imperialist players - the same that call for war, exploit resources around the world, and that consistently refuse to support Palestine.
Full self determination for nations!
Freedom for Palestine!
Rachel Francis for Rock Around the Blockade