I have the honor of addressing you from my position as Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to sincerely congratulate you and the entire Cuban people for having fulfilled in advance the goal proposed by the World Food Summit, which took place in Rome 1996, and which proposed to reduce by half the number of malnourished persons in each country by 2015.
As you will surely recall, you honored us with your presence at that Summit and gave a brief but impressive speech, which still remains in the collective memory of our Organization. You concluded your speech by saying, "The bells tolling today for those who die of hunger today, will toll tomorrow for humanity in its entirety if humanity does not wish, or know how or is not wise enough to save itself." And it is said that you stated in the press conference following the aforementioned Summit that even if the goal were to be met, you would not know what to say to the other half of humanity not yet liberated from the scourge of hunger. These are concepts which preserve all their significance and value today.
Since then 17 years have transpired and I now have the great satisfaction of communicating to you that, in accordance with the decision of member countries and for the first time in its history, the FAO Conference, to take place this June in Rome, will adopt the total eradication of hunger as the number one goal of our Organization.
On this occasion, Cuba and the other 15 countries which have had the most success in reducing hunger will be honored. All of them will be presented with a certificate of recognition for having fulfilled in advance the Summit goal. The countries accompanying Cuba are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, Samoa, São Tomë and Príncipe, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Reiterating my congratulations for the important achievement reached by your country, I convey my best wishes for well-being and success to you and the entire Cuban people.
With my great esteem and appreciation
Fidel Castro Ruz