Fidel Castro Ruz – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 12, 1992
An important biological
species is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive
elimination of its natural habitat: Humankind. We are becoming aware
of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be
said that consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this
appalling environmental destruction.
They were born from the
former colonial metropoli. They are the offspring of imperial
policies which, in turn, engendered the backwardness and poverty that
have become the scourge for the vast majority of humankind.
With only 20 percent of
the world’s population, they consume two-thirds of all metals and
three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide. They have poisoned
the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air. They have
weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the
atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the
catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.
The forests are
disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile
soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are
becoming extinct. Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate
efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World
countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations, exploited and
plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed
for all this.
The solution cannot be to
prevent the development of those who need it the most. Because today,
everything that contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is a
flagrant violation of the environment.
As a result, tens of
millions of men, women and children die every year in the Third
World, more than in each of the two world wars.
protectionism and the foreign debt assault the ecological balance and
promote the destruction of the environment. If we want to save
humanity from this self-destruction, there must be a better
distribution of the wealth and technologies available on the planet.
Less luxury and less waste in a few countries so there is less
poverty and hunger in much of the world.
Stop transferring to the
Third World lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment.
Make human life more rational. Adopt a just international economic
order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without
pollution. Pay the ecological debt, not foreign debt. Eradicate
hunger and not humanity.
Now that the supposed
threat of communism has disappeared and there is no more pretext to
wage cold wars or continue the arms race and military spending, what
then is preventing the immediate use of resources to promote Third
World development and combating the ecological destruction
threatening the planet?
Enough of selfishness.
Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity,
irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we
should have done a long time ago.
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