UNITED NATIONS- It was 26 years ago and Cuba's then-leader, Fidel Castro, foresaw today's global economic crisis, a Cuban official said on Wednesday.
During a conference of nonaligned countries in 1983, Castro said in a speech that declining foreign trade, hunger and unemployment would eventually take their toll on the global economy, Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz told a U.N. meeting on the world economic downturn.
The current state of the world economy and its gloomy outlook should lead to a profound reflection in governments and in the most lucid minds of the developed world, the minister quoted the former communist leader as saying 26 years ago.
That prognosis remains completely valid, Malmierca Diaz told the U.N. General Assembly. If anything has changed, it is that the issues then raised have worsened.
Castro, who took power in a 1959 revolution and rapidly steered the Caribbean island leftward, has long criticized the capitalist system. The United States for decades has isolated the communist-ruled country 90 miles (145 km) off the coast of Florida.
Malmierca Diaz added that measures recommended by the G20 club of big developed and developing nations would not be sufficient to solve the global crisis because they are not aimed at eliminating the causes of the crisis -- namely capitalism.
The minister also called for the end of the Bretton Woods institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and said the United Nations should host an international conference to refound the world's financial and monetary system.
Castro retired as Cuba's president in February 2008 due to health problems and was succeeded by his brother Raul, but he retains a powerful voice through columns in state-run media.
(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Louis Charbonneau and Peter Cooney)