Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Fri Aug 23 17:48:46 MDT 2002

This has been posted to CubaNews list and
is being reposted here because I'm sure the
information contained in it, giving a Cuban
view of social, economic and ecological
issues in todays world will be of interest to
Marxists everywhere. I hope you will pass
this on to other lists on which you post.

Perhaps we can have some discussion on
these matters here on the Marxism list?

Walter Lippmann


Next week the World Summit on Sustainable
Development will begin in Johannesburg an
event of significance to human beings who
live on this planet. As the world we inhabit
moves toward deeper crisis and insecurity,
the question posed by Fredrick Engels over
a hundred years ago resonates with greater
relevance and eloquence than ever:

Socialism or barbarism, which will be the
future and the fate of human society?

Will the needs of private individuals, private
corporations and private property determine
the structure and functions in human society?

Or will the needs of the great majority of the
human family finally take the stage and
determine the destiny of our world?

A group of Cuban Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) as well as some of
the international NGOS based in Cuba will
participate in the gathering with a thought-
out analysis and platform. The complete
document is available at the FILES section
of the CubaNews list. It's detailed and will
provide a more complete and rounded
discussion of these issues than has been
seen previously. The Cuban NGOs explain
that "Johannesburg is the next battleground
on which the progressive and enlightened
forces of civil society will fight the diabolical
stratagems of those whose only aim is to
further the financial interests of their multi-
millionaire companies."

Beyond the points made here in the short
introduction below, the Cuban NGOs
explain the ways the bloc of developed
nations ahve spread its production and
consumption practices worldwide. The
repercussions of the greenhouse effect
and climactic change are being spread
across the world. Constant economic
growth based on production and
consumption patters that are irrational,
involving the exhaustion of non-renewable
resources. They point to the increasing
use of severely polluting energy sources
such as fossil fuels (aka "petroleum").

Special emphases is also placed on the
problem of HIV-AIDS, in which Cuba has
played a unique role in fighting the high
cost of aids medications and care.

Education, health care, and participatory
democracy are needed to genuinely
secure human rights, which are, as the
Cuban NGOs point out, "universal,
indivisible and interdependent, and that
consequently, the violation of any affects
to some degree [undercut] the proper
enjoyment, or the ability to exercise,
all the others [that is, human rights].

The Cuban NGOs strongly advocate the
transformation of the WTO, World Bank
and IMF into structures supporting
sustainable development in a new
international economic order.

What's given here is but a tiny element
in this timely and eloquent analysis as
well as the practical propositions it puts
forth for solutions to problems addressed.

I STRONGLY recommend that you print out
this document, read it carefully and share
it with others. And if readers are active on
other e-mail list, please copy this to those
other lists. Thanks in advance for helping.

Here is the document's introduction:


The main purpose of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development to be held in Johannesburg is to review
compliance with the aims and commitments agreed at the
so-called Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992. The focus will be
on a work programme referred to as Agenda 21, aimed at
ensuring sustainable bases for world development, thereby
diverting the planet from its already evident path to
destruction; a parallel objective is to bring about a
pattern of wealth distribution which is just and fair to the
peoples that are victims of underdevelopment and

Today's world situation is very different from that of 10
years ago, when the selfish, callous attitudes of most of
the nations responsible for the present state of affairs
seemed to be giving way to a spirit of recognition of, and
cooperation over, humanity's problems.

The realities of the present unipolar world, far from
promoting and consolidating a universal commitment to
finding solutions, confront us with an even more tragic,
sombre scenario. The developed nations, again heedless of
the stark realities of the world's economic, social and
environmental plight, are defaulting on the commitments they
made at that time, and even rejecting earlier agreements
with similar aims. Led by the US, the bloc comprising
Canada, Japan, Australia, Norway and New Zealand is denying
support for identifying financial needs and technology
transfer on preferential terms, while pushing for cutbacks
or denial of technical aid, regardless of the effect of such
policies on vital issues such as the environment, or of a
social nature, namely, poverty and disease. Other developed
countries are adopting positions that include equally
negative and dangerous attitudes.

Civil society is facing a challenge whose outcome will also
determine its own fate. Protecting the natural environment
and safeguarding the Earth and the human race concerns
everybody, rich and poor alike. The problems of the
environment are compromising the future of humanity. The
nations of the Third World - the main victims of
exploitation and starvation - are demanding a new world
order which will end the madness that is threatening our

The Summit in South Africa should adopt a plan that will
facilitate implementation of Agenda 21 and clarify the terms
for compliance with the agreed measures; it should also
identify the related costs, sources of funding and
accountable parties.

As a contribution to a debate that would achieve results of
this nature at the World Summit, the Cuban NGOs and
international NGOs based in Cuba have agreed on the present
document, in which we analyse each of the agenda items to be
debated and set out our position on these.

Full Cuban NGO statement available at CubaNews:


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