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Mr. President, Fellow Delegates
Although it has been said of us that we speak at great length, you may rest assured that we shall endeavor to be brief and to put before you what we consider it our duty to say. We shall also speak slowly in order to co-operate with the interpreters.
Some people may think that we are very annoyed and upset by the treatment the Cuban delegation has received. This is not the case. We understand full well the reasons behind it. That is why we are not irritated. Nor should anybody worry that Cuba will not continue to the effort of achieving a worldwide understanding. That being so, we shall speak openly.
It is extremely expensive to send a delegation to the United Nations. We, the underdeveloped countries, do not have many resources to spend, unless it is to speak openly at this meeting of representatives of almost every country in the world.
The speakers who have preceded me on this rostrum have expressed their concern about problems the whole world is concerned about. We too are concerned about those problems and yet, in the case of Cuba, there is a very special circumstance, and it is that, at this moment, Cuba itself must be a concern for the world, because, as several delegates have rightly said here, among the many current problems of the world, there is the problem of Cuba. In addition to the problems facing the world today, Cuba has problems of her own, problems which worry her people.
Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the world wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite some time. The dangers that other peoples of the world can regard as more or less remote are dangers and preoccupations that for us are very close. It has not been easy to come to this Assembly to state the problems of Cuba. It has not been easy for us to come here.
I do not know whether we are privileged in this respect. Are we, the Cuban delegates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have received? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confinement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us, hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.
Perhaps not one among you, fellow delegates, you, who are not the individual representatives of anybody, but the representatives of your respective countries and, for that reason, whatever happens to each of you must concern you because of what you represent, perhaps not one among you, upon your arrival in this city of New York, has had to under go such personally and physically humiliating treatment as that which the President of Cuban delegation has received.
I am not trying to agitate in this Assembly. I am merely telling the truth. It is about time we had an opportunity to speak. Much has been said about us for many days now, the newspapers have referred to us, but we have remained silent. We cannot defend ourselves from such attacks in this country. Our day to state the truth has come, and we will not fail to state it.
As I have said, we had to undergo degrading and humiliating treatment, including eviction from the hotel in which we were living and efforts at extortion. When we went to another hotel, we did all in our power to avoid difficulties. We refrained from leaving our hotel rooms and went nowhere except to this assembly hall of the United Nations, on the few occasions when we have come to General Assembly. We also accepted an invitation to a reception at the Soviet Embassy, yet this was not enough for them to leave us in peace.
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