El Blog de Mariela Castro

Eight Session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, “Measuring democratic governance: the art of the possible”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member of the Cuban Parliament, I would like to socialize some ideas about the subject that brought us here today, because I consider that there are no unique patterns for democracy. The common denominator of democratic systems is that they are the expression of people‘s sovereignty and of the exercise of their right to freely determine their political, economic and social system. The nation’s government systems are, furthermore, intrinsically linked to their historic conditions.

The exercise of democracy always presupposes the direct or indirect participation of the people in the fundamental decisions that concerns them. It also presupposes their direct control on the way they are represented. It also implies their total involvement over their countries’ natural resources, their economy and income distribution.

The exercise of democracy also means a major participation in the decision making process of  vulnerable groups like women, young people, the poor, African descendants, the disabled, indigenous populations, and the LGBTI community.

For the effective exercise of democracy at the national level, a fair, democratic and international order is needed, as recognized by successive General Assembly resolutions. A full international cooperation, with no preconditions or political impositions, is needed as well for the promotion and protection of all human rights.

This cooperation should be in conformity with the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the international law and with full respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, the non-use of force or the threat of force in international relations and non-intervention in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State,

The existing inequity in the international relations lacerates the exercise of democracy. It is also affected by the increasing gaps between the rich and poor nations.

The enforcement of unilateral sanctions and other coercive measures undermine the countries’ possibilities to fully satisfy the need of the population, to end poverty and to achieve sustainable development.

The economic, financial and commercial blockade that the Cuban population have endured for more than 5 decades, limits the country’s economic and social development and it is a massive and flagrant violation of the human rights of a whole nation. In spite of that, we have strengthened our democracy with a higher level of people’s involvement. The Cuban population participates increasingly in the decision making process that affects their lives. They also debate about the ways and means to exercise democracy taking fully into account their interests and aspirations.

Democracy is a concept in constant evolvement, but without any doubt it must be a way for exercising the power of the people. That’s why we are interested in this space for exchanging ideas and experiences.

Finally, we cannot forget that the exercise of democracy requires of a new international political and economic order. It is extremely difficult to measure democratic governance. If a measure system containing universally agreed indicators is developed, it will have to appraise the external and internal conditions that affect, in a way or another, the democratic governance of each country. It should be built on the basis of national realities. There cannot be stand alone parameters or indicators for measuring democratic governance. If we were to do it, such exercise could not be carried out within the context of the ideological and power concepts that prevail in the current international relations.

Thank you very much.

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