From: Bob Witanek <email@example.com>
PACIFICA: It was the largest gathering of presidents and prime ministers in one room in history. In his keynote address, Pres. Clinton used his 14 minutes to call on other nations to get tough on international crimes like terrorism and illicit drugs. And he warned the world body to cut some of the bureaucracy because it is turning the American people off. But it was Cuba's Fidel Castro, leader of the sole remaining communist country in the hemisphere, who got the longest and loudest applause. During his turn at the podium, Castro became the voice for the entire developing world. The Cuban leader is known for delivering speeches that can last hours at a time. But his address to the UN was short and powerful. Pacifica now brings it to you in its entireity. Speaking through a translator, Fidel Castro:
FIDEL: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies ... Half a century ago, the United Nations organization was born after the conclusion of a monstrous war. An average of 10 million lives were lost at its peak moments. At present, twenty million men, women and children are dying every year of hunger and curable diseases. Some wealthy nations have a life expectancy of up to 80 years while others have hardly 40. So there are billions whose lives are cut off. How long shall we wait for this carnage to end. The cold war is over but the arms race goes on. And nuclear and military hegemonism perpetuate themselves. How long shall we wait for the total removal of all weapons of mass extermination, for the universal disarmament, and for the elimination of the use of force, arrogance and pressure in international relations.
The obsolete veto privilege and the ill use of the security council by the powerful are exalting a new colonialism within the very United Nations. Latin America and Africa don't have one single permament member of the Security Council. In Asia, India has a population of almost one billion, but it does not enjoy that responsibility. How long, how long shall we wait for the democratization of the United Nations and for the independence and sovereign equality of states to become a reality. How long before non-intervention into the internal affairs of states and true international cooperation take their rightful places.
Breakthroughs in science and technology are increasing daily by the numbers. But their benefits do not reach the majority of mankind. They essentially continue to be at the service of a reckless consumerism which is wasting limited resources and seriously threatening life on earth. How long shall we have to wait before rationality, equity and justice pervail in the world.
The forests are decreasing, the air is being poisoned, the rivers are being contaminated. Countless species of plants and nimals are perishing. The soils are impoverished. Old and new epidemics are expanding grows, and the legions of the dispossessed continue to multiply. WIll the next generations reach the promised land pledged half a century ago.
How many hundreds of millions have already died without ever seeing it. How many have fallen victims of oppression, hunger, poverty, and unhealthy living conditions. How many more will still die. We lay claim to a world without hegemonism, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without outrageous acts against the sovereignty of any country. A world of respect of the independence and self determination of peoples. A world without universal models that totally disregard the traditions and culture of all the components of mankind.
WE LAY CLAIM TO A WORLD WITHOUT RUTHLESS BLOCKADES THAT CAUSE THE DEATHS OF MANY MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN, YOUTHS AND ELDERS, LIKE NOISELESS ATOM BOMBS!
We lay claim to a world of peace, justice and dignity where everyone without exception has the right to well being and to life. Thank you very much.
PRESIDENTS AND PRIME MINISTERS OF STATES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD: Massive and interminable applause!
Transcribed by Bob Witanek <firstname.lastname@example.org>