Two speeches by Bruno
Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba's minister of foreign affairs, at the COP16 of the UNFCCC, Cancun, Mexico
December 8, 2010 -- Translation by Granma International -- Powerful
forces are assuring us without hesitation that climate
change does not exist, that there is nothing to be
concerned about and that the serious problem
bringing us here today is a total fabrication.
are those in the United States Congress who are
currently opposing the ratification of the weak
agreements which control the proliferation of
nuclear weapons, in a senseless crusade whose sole
purpose is to retrieve a small part of the power
that they lost barely two years ago.
They are the ones who want to reduce
taxes for the 10% of the population who control 90%
of the wealth, the same individuals who are opposed
to the health reform, unemployment benefits and any
proposal that signifies a small step toward progress
The fact is, and those of us meeting
here know it very well, that climate change, plus
the serious threat of a military conflagration of
nuclear dimensions, constitute the gravest and most
imminent dangers that humanity is confronting in
terms of its survival.
The absence of progress toward a
real solutions to both problems is the result of the
irresponsible attitude of those who promote and
benefit from plunder, disasters, wars and the
tragedy being experienced by our peoples.
It is the duty of all of us to
demand that those bearing the full historical
responsibility cease squandering and irrationally
consuming the limited resources of our planet and
direct the million-dollar sums that they currently
utilise for making war to the promotion of peace and
the sustainable development of all nations.
One year ago in Copenhagen, there
was a failure to respond to world expectations at
the 15th Conference of the Parties to this convention, with the vision of achieving a global
accord which would confront climate change in a just
and effective way.
What predominated there were anti-democratic
procedures and a total lack of transparency. A group
of countries, headed by the United States, the
largest per capita and historic polluter, hijacked
the negotiations process and imposed an apocryphal
document that does not even resolve the challenges
identified by the most conservative scientific
investigations into the issue. Copenhagen turned out
to be a disaster.
The United States and the European
Union then proceeded to launch a campaign of
political, financial and conditional pressure in
relation to official development assistance in an
attempt to give legitimacy to the non-existent "Copenhagen
The recently disclosed US
documents, including the one registered as 249182,
10BRUSSELS183, dated February 17, 2010, are of
particular interest. It refers to actions – and I
quote – "To neutralize, co-opt or marginalize" a
group of states among which Cuba is mentioned. I
have this document here and others in my possession,
which demonstrate the perfidious diplomacy of the
powers in relation to climate change
Climate change is a global threat
which also requires global solutions that are just,
equitable and balanced and which involve all the
countries of the world. For that reason, after an
arduous effort, we adopted the Framework Convention
and its Kyoto Protocol, and for that reason its
cardinal principles are as valid today as when we
It is widely acknowledged that the
principal cause of the alteration of the world
climatic system is the pattern of unsustainable
production and consumption that prevails in the
developed countries. It is also acknowledged that
the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities and the respective capacities of
states constitutes the cornerstone of a just and
The countries of the global South are not
responsible for the lack of agreement to halt
climate change. Rather, we are the victims of the
lack of progress and the egotistical attitudes of
those who are already enjoying the overexploitation
of the planet’s exhausted resources. The small
islands, even more vulnerable, merit special
consideration and treatment.
The World People’s Conference on
Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which
took place last May in Cochabamba, Bolivia, made essential
proposals that must be taken into account.
A long-term agreement has to
guarantee a perspective of sustainable development
for the countries of the Third World and not an
additional and stifling restriction on attaining it.
That implies that their greenhouse gas emissions
must inevitably grow in order to meet the needs of
their economic and social development. The Framework
Convention established that and the developed
countries must accept it.
In the framework of a second period
of commitments within the Kyoto Protocol, the
industrialised countries have to assume binding,
quantifiable and more ambitious obligations in terms
of reducing their emissions.
It is necessary and urgent to adopt
today, here in Cancun, concrete decisions on a
second period of commitments to the Kyoto Protocol.
There is a group of developed countries, in this
same negotiation process, trying to eliminate the
Kyoto Protocol on the pretext that it covers only
20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the
Framework Convention covers 100% of those emissions
and this is simply an egotistical pretext.
A least one clear and precise road
map must emerge from this meeting in Cancun, moving
toward the solution of the central problems of
climate change, looking ahead to the 17th COP in
Durban, South Africa, in one year’s time.
Combating climate change involves
confronting poverty and social inequality. It
implies an obligation to transfer technology from
the industrialised North to the underdeveloped South.
It requires facilitating financial resources that
will allow developing economies to face up to
adaptation and mitigation, and to make available new
funding over and above existing official development assistance commitments, which are constantly more
precarious and conditional.
While it would seem viable that
agreements in the context of adaptation and the
transfer of technology can be reached in this conference, it is essential for us to define
financial mechanisms or genuinely significant
resources for confronting the effects of climate
These mechanisms could not function
within the structure of the World Bank or any other
institution of the Bretton Woods system, because
that would involve conditions, discrimination and
exclusions. The Bretton Woods institutions are as
historically responsible for climate change as the
governments of developed countries.
It is not about an act of charity
but, above all, a moral and legal obligation
resulting from thce commitments assumed in the onvention. The crumbs promised in Copenhagen were
extremely meagre and have not even materialised; nor
will market mechanisms or neoliberal policies, which
no longer have any credibility whatsoever, help us
The terrible floods which Venezuela
and Colombia are suffering right now invoke all our
solidarity and are evidence of the urgency of the
The world order is unsustainable. In
order to survive, human society will have to
organise itself in another way. The time has come to
act. Time is running out. Another year has been lost
since the deception of Copenhagen. The peoples
cannot wait for the powerful.
Thank you very much.
We Cubans are
dissatisfied with the documents presented
Cuban Foreign Minister
Bruno Rodríguez, at the closing session of COP16, Cancun, Mexico
December 11, 2010 -- Translation by Granma International
Thank you very much, dear
Patricia [Mexico's Foreign
Minister Patricia Espinosa, chair of the summit].
I should like to acknowledge Mexico
and your effective presidency that has brought us to
I understand the tiredness of all of
us in this room and I also understand your
I believe that this conference
stands in sharp contrast with the failure of
Copenhagen in terms of the universal participation
in democratic and transparent procedures.
One year has passed since Copenhagen,
a year of undue pressure, political imposition,
financial pressure on the part of a group of
countries to try to legitimate that non-agreement,
that disagreement, which was translated into a sad
document in that long night, longer than this one,
It has been made clear in secret
documents recently disclosed, that there has been a
degree of conspiracy among certain powers – in the
words of the document itself – to marginalise,
neutralise or co-opt some countries, among which
Cuba is mentioned, as are Venezuela and Bolivia.
In Latin America and the Caribbean,
the Plurinational State of Bolivia exercises a
fundamental leadership, and represents for us the
vindication of the original peoples, of the original
cultures of America.
President Evo Morales is an Aymara
leader, a leader of the social movements.
A democratically elected president,
who has been subjected to undemocratic attempts to
expel him from government, who is at times attacked
by the right with arrogance and racism.
We are learning from original
cultures what I think is a universal value today,
which is the need to attain a balance between humans
and nature. I also understand that the peoples have
to be heard in this hall and lament the fact that,
in these summits, there if often little popular
I consider that non-governmental
organisations, the social movements must have a part
in these processes.
And that in every major decision,
such as the one which concerns us today, there
should be consultation with the peoples, because we
are talking about the survival of the human species,
no more nor less, we are talking about the survival
of human beings.
The Bolivian delegation is speaking
here in the name of the peoples of our America and
deserves consideration and recognition in Cuba’s
We Cubans are dissatisfied with the
documents presented, I am going to argue on the
basis of three elements which I consider essential.
First, because it does not include any clear or
adequate greenhouse gas reduction targets, and we
know from the course of the discussion that has
taken place in this conference that they would lead
by 2020, in the worst of cases, to a 6% increase in
emissions by the developed countries based on 1990
levels, or in the best of cases to a reduction of
only 16%, which would imply an increase in
temperature superior to 2.5 degrees Celcius up to 5 degrees C.
Speaking of average temperatures,
there are today more than 20 million hungry people
on this planet, island nations at risk.
What would happen on the planet if a
temperature increase should be produced such as the
one described and about which there is
unquestionable scientific evidence? I consider that
this is an issue of extreme urgency and of profound
concern, which the documents do not fulfill and that
we should try to compile adequate and emergent
formulas in future sessions, before the next
conference in Durban.
Second, it seems to me that key to
this process is the agreement that there is going to
be a second period of commitments to the Kyoto
Protocol is key in this process, and it is my
delegation’s interpretation that what is reflected
in these documents is a clear commitment that we are
going to go to that second period of the Kyoto
I am a realist, I understand that
tonight we are not going to be able to establish
quantities or specific national commitments, but
that we are confirming in this meeting the principle
of common but differentiated responsibilities,
according to the capacities of states, and that here
there have been agreements that we are going to a
second period of Kyoto commitments.
And third, I am concerned at the
way in which contributions and finances are being
approached; I recall the figures of that
unprecedented night in Copenhagen, the language of
the documents, I recall that ambiguity and note with
concern that when US$100 billion is mentioned, one is
talking of mobilisation efforts, that when $30
billion is mentioned, one is talking of an
approximation to that figure, and I have not seen
here any concrete commitment regarding the source of
I understand, I interpret that what
the documents contributed by your presidency say, is
that there is a commitment on the part of the
governments of the developed countries to contribute
these figures. On the basis of these considerations,
Madam Chair, I would first like to make a request to
respect the consensus, and to listen to the
proposals of the Bolivian delegation, and I would
also like to support the proposal of the Venezuelan
delegation, likewise supported by Saudi Arabia, that
the corresponding working groups make a decision on
these documents, before doing so, that is to say,
directly in this plenary.
Once again, Madam Chair, I reiterate
my acknowledgement of the contribution of Mexico and
your own, Patricia.
Thank you very much.