Cuba’s Raul Castro urges end to US embargo at UN development speech


Cuban President Raul Castro called for an end to the US embargo against his country and for the creation of new financial infrastructure to assist developing countries, during a speech to world leaders at a UN development summit on Saturday.

Castro, who addressed the United Nations for the first time, spoke during a three-day summit where leaders are discussing a set of global development goals, which are benchmarks to be met by 2030, adopted Friday.

Castro called on leaders to change the current international economic landscape by resolving debt issues, building a new financial architecture and ending developed countries’ “monopoly on technology and knowledge.”

While welcoming the re-established diplomatic relationship with the United States, Castro decried the economic sanctions still in place.

“The economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists as it has been for half a century bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people,” Castro said.

The Cuban president noted that despite the sanctions, Cuba has made progress and has even offered limited financial help to other developing countries, which it will continue to provide.

“We shall never denounce honour, human solidarity and social justice, for these convictions are deeply rooted in our socialist society,” he said.

Castro will also speak on September 30 during the high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, which is marking its 70th session this year. US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be among the speakers that day.

Castro officially took over the presidency of the Caribbean island nation from his ailing older brother Fidel Castro in 2008.