Delegates to the gathering in Havana represented 80% of the earth’s population
Geostrategic Analytical Review
A meeting of the Group of 77 and China took place on September 15-16 in the Republic of Cuba where frustrations with the existing world system were articulated by the participants.
A declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit demanded the restructuring of the existing economic order which continues to be dominated by the capitalist mode of production, exchange and social relations. (https://www.diplomacy.edu/resource/g77-havana-declaration-on-current-development-challenges-the-role-of-science-technology-and-innovation/)
Founded in 1964, today the organization has 130 member-states from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America. The summit has a rotating chairpersonship shared by all of the geopolitical regional affiliates.
The summit occurred during a period of intense hostilities from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) towards the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. Cuba, which has maintained an independent path of socialist development for more than six decades, remains under the draconian sanctions and blockade engineered and enforced by Washington.
In addition, the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine since February 2022 has been utilized by the NATO countries as a means of further isolating Moscow and its allies. The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden continues to provide arms, military training, intelligence assistance, direct economic grants and diplomatic cover for the Zelensky government in Kiev.
U.S.-NATO sanctions against the Russian Federation have aggravated already existing social problems stemming from the unequal distribution of economic resources and political power. In most countries around the world there have been sharp increases in the cost of agricultural products and fuel prompting an inflationary spiral not experienced in the capitalist states in four decades.
Gathering Comes During Historic Period
Nonetheless, the convening of the G77+China Summit in Havana illustrates the resolve of the governments and peoples of the Global South to maintain their focus on changing the status-quo. Cuba represents to the Global South a symbol of defiance as well as an alternative way of organizing society.
This summit came in the immediate aftermath of the BRICS Plus (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) meeting in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa where six new members were added to the organization. The Africa Climate Summit (ACS) in Kenya, held after BRICS, emphasized the debt owed by the western industrialized states to the people of the former colonial and semi-colonial nations which have suffered enslavement and economic domination for centuries. Any transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy power sources cannot occur without the West accepting its responsibility for the current environmental crisis.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the chair of the G77+China for the next year, told the delegates:
“As announced by our foreign minister on the eve of the present event, this is an austere summit; I hope you will forgive any shortcomings you may encounter. Cuba is literally besieged by a six-decade blockade and beset by all the problems that go with that siege, which has recently been intensified. We are also faced, of course, with the immense challenges generated by the prevailing unjust international order; but we are not alone. It was almost 60 years ago that our common difficulties and the hope that together we could face them and prevail, generated the idea that led to the formation of this group. We are the Group of 77 and China. And we are more. As you will realize in the coming days, we lack a lot of things, but we’re not short of feelings: of friendship, of solidarity, of humanity. Neither are we lacking in the will to make you feel welcome. Here, you are at home. You can also be sure that we will do everything to ensure that our deliberations lead to tangible results, in the climate of solidarity and cooperation that underpins the success of any collective endeavor.” (https://en.granma.cu/cuba/2023-09-15/diaz-canel-it-is-necessary-to-dismantle-now-the-international-barriers-that-have-obstructed-access-by-the-developing-countries)
The measures imposed upon Cuba exposes the hypocrisy of the U.S. which over the last several decades have levelled sanctions against other states such as Haiti, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, among others. As a result of these draconian sanctions and wars of genocide and occupation, millions have been sickened, disabled and killed.
Biden spoke before the United Nations General Assembly 78th session in New York City on September 19 denouncing what he characterized as aggression, presumably in relation to the Ukraine conflict. However, not once did the president of the leading imperialist state refer to the pain and suffering inflicted on billions around the world due to U.S. domestic and foreign policies.
China and the G77
The People’s Republic of China is not an official member of the G77 although Beijing is collaborating closely with its affiliates and institutional structures. China was represented in Havana by Communist Party official Li Xi. The CPC delegate said that relations with the Global South continue to be a priority for the Chinese government.
In a report on the summit published by the state-owned Xinhua news agency in China, it states that:
“During his welcoming speech at the summit, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel highlighted China’s efforts to promote international cooperation. ‘The Global Development Initiative promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping is an inclusive and coherent proposal in keeping with a just and equitable new international order,’ he said. Citing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as an example, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani said at the summit that China is aimed at creating a balanced and inclusive scenario based on cooperation with all.” (https://english.news.cn/20230917/e295f6c98b204c4f99bf57c504c8aa26/c.html)
China’s advances in the economic, military and diplomatic spheres have been a major cause of concern for successive U.S. administrations both Democratic and Republican. Moreover, Beijing’s approach to foreign policy distinguishes the socialist state from the western imperialists who routinely interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Beijing has assisted many developing countries in building infrastructure which promotes technological advances, communications and mass transportation. While the U.S. and other imperialist states have pursued their foreign policy based upon unilateralism, emerging blocs of countries committed to multilateralism are making a profound contribution to the ideological struggle that is intensifying between the Global South and the industrialized North.
G77+China and the Contradictions within the United Nations
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the summit in Havana where he appeared to be supporting the arguments advanced by the Global South in their demands for a just world order. Every year the UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly for the lifting of the blockade against Cuba. Nevertheless, the U.S. rejects these resolutions while continuing its unjust attacks on the Cuban people.
Xinhua in its report on the G77+China Summit as it relates to the role of Guterres, noted:
“Speaking at the summit’s opening ceremony, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the voice of the Group of 77 and China will always be essential for the UN system. Terming the group ‘a champion of multilateralism,’ Guterres called on G77 and China to ‘champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries; and champion a system that delivers for all humanity and not for the privileged.’”
Despite these sentiments expressed by the Secretary General, the UN system remains unjust in many respects. One glaring injustice is the denial of Africa and Latin America a permanent seat on the Security Council with veto power.
Dialogue and decisions on many key questions including climate change, are still disproportionately carried out to the benefit of the imperialist states. These obvious contradictions between what is expressed and the actual operations of the UN, has weakened the authority of the global body.
In 2023, as the number of displaced persons internationally have exceeded 110 million along with the burgeoning food insecurity compounded by the heightening tensions in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific, there is a need for a reformed United Nations which reflects the demographic composition of the planet. This reformed UN system cannot be realized absent a major shift in the overall distribution of economic and political authority on a world scale.