Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel addresses the General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Qin Lang)

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Wednesday blamed the current global economic and health crisis on neoliberalism and capitalism.

In an address to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) virtual global summit on COVID-19, the Cuban leader warned that “unemployment has multiplied and social vulnerability is on the rise, increasing inequality and poverty.”

However, the novel coronavirus pandemic is not the only factor to have undermined wellbeing around the world, said Diaz-Canel. “The terrible impact and disastrous consequences of the pandemic throughout the world are not due to this lethal virus alone.

Years of neoliberal policy and savage capitalism, governed by market forces, are the deepest cause of the grave global situation,” Diaz-Canel said.

Some 305 million jobs have been lost to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, said the Cuban leader, citing experts.

Diaz-Canel called for “coordinated actions” to prioritize the rights of workers, and noted that Cuba has succeeded in providing its people with healthcare and other basic needs despite a decades-old trade embargo by the United States.

As a founding member of the ILO, Cuba is willing to continue to strengthen multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation, and to make progress toward a more just world, he said.

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