Giving up the US dollar will free developing countries from Washington’s “sanctions, blackmail, aggression, and slander,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel told RT in an exclusive interview due to air on Thursday.
The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency enables the US to pursue an “aggressive hegemonistic policy of building walls, imposing punitive sanctions, blackmail, aggression and slander,” Diaz-Canel said. Against this policy – which has seen Cuba embargoed for six decades by the US – Diaz-Canel added that “BRICS provides a brilliant alternative for economic integration, especially for developing economies.”
Since it was first coined in 2001, BRICS has grown from an acronym for five emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – into an informal alliance that has overtaken the US-led G7 bloc in its share of global GDP, has its own development bank, and counts Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Argentina among 19 prospective members.
Amid calls for a common BRICS currency to settle trade bills, members of the group have begun to conduct more bilateral trade in their own currencies, eschewing the US dollar.
“I believe that we need to recognize the leading role of Russia in shaping this multipolar world,” Diaz-Canel said, stating that continued “de-dollarization” will lead to “more inclusive and more mutually beneficial trade” for those who reject the US’ “lies and empty promises.”
Although Cuba is not a member of the BRICS group, the island nation has been a close partner of Russia since the days of the Soviet Union, and trade between Moscow and Havana tripled last year to $452 million. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko visited Cuba last week, where he announced that Russian firms were planning more investment in the country’s tourism sector.
“It is at times like this that we get friends from other countries supporting us with real actions and under conditions that are not harmful to our independence,” Diaz-Canel told RT.
RT’s entire interview with the Cuban leader airs on Thursday.