A “preventive war” is taking place in Libya using the protection of civilians as a pretext to plunder the country’s resources, Cuba’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today, calling for Libyans to be left alone to decide their destiny.
“The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), supposedly to avoid a massacre, launched a military attack against a sovereign State without there being any threat to international peace and security, and unleashed a ‘change of regime’ operation,” Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said.
Stressing the importance of Libya’s independence and sovereignty, he said its people should be allowed to decide what kind of rule they want without any foreign intervention.
Mr. Rodríguez noted that the former Cuban president Fidel Castro had warned about NATO’s intention to intervene in Libya as early as February and said that since then Cuba has defended not a particular government but the principle that “the assassination of thousands of innocent people with the dubious objective of protecting other civilians is something unacceptable.”
After forces supporting then leader Muammar al-Qadhafi cracked down against a popular uprising, the Security Council authorized Member States in March to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.
Members of NATO subsequently carried out air strikes and, following months of fighting between pro-Qadhafi forces and rebels, the National Transitional Council (NTC) has recently assumed authority over the country.
But Mr. Rodríguez said: “The military intervention in Libya and the growing threat against Syria have been the opportunistic and defensive responses given by the United States and Europe to the collapse of their system of domination and plunder in Northern Africa and the Middle East, the emergence of genuinely popular movements in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries, in order to secure huge reserves of oil and water and confiscate financial assets in times of global economic and social crisis.”
“In this war, waged with the most advanced and lethal military technologies, the means of communication have been used as combat weapons by the financial and media emporiums which are profiteering from the war and the reconstruction operations as if they were anti-crisis instruments,” Mr. Rodríguez said.
He warned against any intervention in Syria, where authorities stand accused of committing serious human rights abuses while cracking down on a similar pro-democracy movement.
“It is the task of this General Assembly to exercise its powers to prevent a military aggression against Syria. The public opinion should receive objective information and speak up against the war.”
During his address, Mr. Rodríguez also spoke of the negative effects of the long-standing United States economic, commercial and financial embargo on his country.
“The economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba has been tightened and the damages it has caused have totalled $975 billion according to the present gold price,” he said, while reiterating his country’s willingness to normalize relations with the US.