Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America

Source:  presstv.com
April 12 2015

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has slammed the West’s “soft” campaign to destabilize Latin American countries.

cristina fernandez 3During her address at the 35-nation Summit of the Americas in Panama City on Saturday, she said the attempts always originate in some NGOs that “we never know who finance them.”

She warned that the destructive attempts “aim at the destabilization of governments in the region, of the governments that have done the most for equality, for education and social inclusion.”

Pointing to the “major accomplishments” of the Latin American governments in the areas of human rights, social inclusion, health, and education, Kirchner said the West lends support to “governments with neoliberal policies that shattered people.”

She also denounced the Western attempts to combat “governments that can show their credentials of having been the ones that have included their countrymen the most.”

Malvinas Islands

Elsewhere in her remarks, the Argentine president criticized the UK for considering her nation a “threat” and thus justifying an increase in its military presence in the Malvinas Islands, known as the Falklands to the British.

“The United Kingdom declared my country a threat to its won territory, the Malvinas Islands: 2.3 percent of UK’s budget is allocated to defense. It is also absurd,” she added.

Britain declared Malvinas as part of its overseas territories in 1833. Argentina calls it an occupation and has time and again challenged the British military presence in the archipelago, which is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Argentina’s coast.

Row over the islands turned into a bloody war in 1982. The conflict then claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 Britons and three islanders.

Tensions between Argentina and the UK mounted again in 2013, after a London-backed referendum asking the islanders to decide whether to remain under the British rule. Some 99.8 percent people voted to remain a British territory. The Argentine government challenged the vote calling it “a British manoeuvre lacking legal value”.

Source:  Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America  presstv.com

FIFA Scandal: Trinidad Gets Extradition Papers for Jack Warner

Source:  World Soccer
July 23 2015

Trinidad and Tobago’s attorney-general Garvin Nicholas has received a US request for the extradition of Jack Warner, telling reporters his office will evaluate the documents from the US Justice Department.

warner arrested“I can tell you that I have this evening received a formal request for the extradition of Mr. Jack Warner with the supporting extradition package,” Attorney General Garvin Nicholas told reporters. “The process is now for me to examine the documentation and consider the evidence and decide whether to issue the authority to proceed.” However, the extradition will not be an easy task. Warner is leader of Trinidad’s Independent Liberal Party, as well as a member of parliament, which would mean he could be shielded from the extradition request due to diplomatic immunity

Warner is due to appear before a court on 27 July. He is resisting extradition on US charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering in the ongoing Fifa corruption case. The 72-year-old has also been accused of stealing aid money intended for the victim of the Haiti earthquake.

Warner is out on bail, has consistently maintained his innocence and claims he will not receive a fair trial in the United States. The former head of CONCACAF also claims he will prove a link between FIFA and the outcome of his nation’s elections in 2010.  . He says he has documents linking FIFA’s resigning President Sepp Blatter to money transactions related to corruption in these elections. But Nicholas dismissed arguments that Warner’s extradition was or could be a domestic political issue. “The matter has absolutely nothing to do with politics, ” he said. “This is an extradition request that was made by the United States government. We’ve dealt with several extraditions over the last few months.”

Trinidad legal experts believe Warner’s extradition could take up to five years to resolve – by which time he will be 77.

US prosecutors allege South Africa paid $10m in 2008 to Warner and two other Fifa executives as payment for them supporting its bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Football Federation Australia has also alleged Warner stole $500,000 from Australia’s failed 2022 World Cup bid, syphoning payment intended for CONCACAF to be used to build a centre of excellence.

FFA president Frank Lowy said in June that Australia’s A$46 million bid for the tournament, which received just a single vote, was doomed from the start.

The Australian Federal Police are investigating the bid for irregularities.

Jeffrey Webb, Warner’s successor at CONCACAF, recently agreed to be extradited to the United States after being detained at this year’s Fifa congress in Zurich.

Source:  Jack Warner extradition papers arrive in Trinidad  World Soccer

Dialogue Widens in Ecuador as President Faces ‘Soft Coup’

Source:  TeleSUR
22 July 2015

Members of the PAIS Alliance party movement are committed a national dialogue across Ecuador despite calls for an uprising against the government.

ecuador dialogue widensMore and more leaders have committed to participate in the Ecuador’s National Dialogue for Equality and Social Justice amid calls for continued protests against the administration of President Rafael Correa. 1,400 mayors and other authorities of the PAIS Alliance party met with President Rafael Correa to discuss strategies to strengthen the dialogue in various places across Ecuador.

The need for peaceful dialogue

President Rafael Correa stressed the need for peaceful discourse when some members of the opposition support a “soft coup”. “There is a soft coup in the making,” the president told the press. “While there are people with good intentions who are democratically exercising their right to protest because they disagree with aspects of this government, there are others who have been for months, I mentioned this over a year ago, are trying to destabilize the government and wear us down as much as possible.”

RELATED: Indigenous Organizations Reject CONAIE Call for Uprising in Ecuador

Those present at the meeting with President Correa and other leaders of the PAIS Alliance party movement discussed how the national dialogue can be supported to ensure greater communication between citizens and the national government.

A debate on equality and social justice

“The Citizen’s Revolution has always been open to dialogue with citizens, but today this dialogue has a specific objective,” Secretary General of the PAIS Alliance Party Doris Soliz told teleSUR. “It is a debate on equality and social justice. How Ecuadorean society is comprised, and in what direction it should continue growing. We have put forward a theory, that we must improve the inheritance and capital gains bills, so that unfounded wealth speculation is avoided.”

The National Assembly is putting forward its own dialogue, and United Front block, made up of 14 political parties and organizations has said that they are working to promote debate in all corners of the country. “This political debate is put forward and deepened by political organizations that are today making this call, and we the leaders of these political organizations of the United Front are ready to debate with ideas,” said President of the United Front Fabian Solano to teleSUR.

Dialogue and debates have been held in neighborhoods throughout the nation, to discuss wealth redistribution and the future of the country. While increasingly more sectors are opening themselves up for debate, the opposition is moving forward with plans for an indigenous-led uprising and national strike, insisting that the dialogue would not serve their interests.

Source:  Dialogue Widens in Ecuador as President Faces ‘Soft Coup’  TeleSUR

Ecuador: President Correa call on citizens to “be prepared” for destabilization attempts

Source: andes.info

23rd July 2015

Ecuador in the midst of a ‘soft coup’

Rafael CorreaPresident Rafael Correa met Thursday with governors and political heads from all provinces to define actions that will be executed in the Alianza PAIS (AP) political movement in view of destabilizing attempts from the opposition to weaken the government using different strategies.

“We are before a soft coup; there is an ongoing process of protests, slander, they try to cause financial panic, a psychological war to weaken the government, avoid governability or destabilize it and we need to be ready for these circumstances,” Correa told journalists after the meeting that lasted about three hours which took place in the 24 de mayo school.

Work harder for the country

The head of state also indicated that the best strategy to face the “national strike” planned for August and organized by union, indigenous and social organizations from the opposition, is “to work harder for the country telling them that we will not go back to the past.”

Provincial authorities received the president amid applause and expressed their support for the Citizen Revolution project with slogans.

correa and provincial authoritiesDuring the event, authorities talked about strategies to face the political moment the country is going through and told experiences they have had in their provinces during talks with citizens within the framework of the national dialogue on equity and social justice promoted by the government.

Among the high-authorities that participated in the meeting were vice president Jorge Glas, minister of the interior José Serrano, executive secretary of AP Doris Soliz, the secretary of political management Viviana Bonilla and foreign minister Ricardo Patiño.

 “We cannot move backwards”

During his intervention, minister Serrano affirmed that the opposition is preparing a second coup attempt after the “disastrous” September 30, 2010 when a police protest led to violent acts and the kidnapping of president Correa at a hospital. 10 people died on that day and tens were injured.

He also pointed out that all authorities working in provinces must fight for the present and future of Ecuador to be filled with equity and social justice. “We cannot move backwards, we will constantly evaluate ourselves to see how many people consider us real leaders and worthy representatives of the Citizen Revolution,” he said.

Commit to dialogue

Bonilla, on the other hand, invited governors and political heads to defend the project and commit to dialogue. “The government is carrying out a national dialogue process that aims at debating on the model of the country we want, a fair, egalitarian and caring Ecuador. But it is not only about talking but to propose, to encourage citizens to present their coherent proposals with legitimate positions,” she affirmed.

support for correaGovernors and political heads of provinces showed their support to the head of state.

Regarding the opposition protest planned for August 3, Zamora’s governor Fernando Dávila said the march arises from misinformation since this is the province the Ecuadorian government has invested more resources.

The meeting with governors, political heads of provinces took place a day after the Ecuadorian chief of state met with authorities from the Decentralized Autonomous Governments to analyze their participation mechanism in the dialogue process on equity and social justice and to establish a “political route for 2015-2017.

Source:  President Correa called on citizens to “be prepared” for destabilization attempts  andes.info

Fidel Castro Sends Letter to teleSUR Marking 10th Anniversary

Source:  TeleSUR
July 23 2015

fidel 70Patricia Villegas Marin,
President of teleSUR

Dear Patricia,

I could not let the 10th anniversary of the launch of teleSUR pass without sending you this message. Its creation was an initiative by the unforgettable Hugo Chavez, who was aware of the importance of promoting Latin American integration and offering objective and accurate information, in the face of the monopoly of the transnational news companies and the challenges that lied ahead.  Deeply bolivarian, he wanted the transmission to begin on July 24, a historic day that marks the birthday of the Liberator, Simon Bolivar.

In its journey filled with lessons and experiences, there has not been a significant political, economic, social event in which teleSUR was not present with immediacy, objectivity, and accuracy. Likewise, men, women, and children from diverse social, ethnic, and religious groups, indigenous peoples, black people, the dispossessed and the most humble people with their dignity and natural intelligence and their moving, and in many cases heartbreaking, stories have found a place at the channel.

I want to let you know I am regular viewer of the channel, it is where I get a big part of my information. The Cuban people have shown an eagerness and a preference for teleSUR’s signal. teleSUR is a trench of ideas.

The dreams and the seed planted by Chavez will continue to grow beneath the commitment that saw it created as a bridge in the process of Latin American integration and the development of the necessary unity of our peoples.

TeleSUR reaches the most remote parts of the world with its message and way of expressing itself. I congratulate all teleSUR’s contributors for their efforts and the results achieved in such a short time, and you, in particular, for your brilliant leadership.

With friendship,

Fidel Castro Ruz

Source:  Fidel Castro Sends Letter to teleSUR Marking Anniversary  TeleSUR

Speech by Cuban FM at opening of Cuban embassy in the US

Source:  Cuban News Agency

July 20 2014

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla delivered a speech at the ceremony to re-open the Cuban embassy in Washington DC this morning.

bruno rodriguez washington july 20 2015Her Excellency Mrs. Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State;

Officials of the US Government accompanying her;

Honorable members of Congress;

Esteemed Representatives of the US Organizations, Movements and Institutions who have made huge efforts in favor of the change of the US Cuba policy and the improvement of bilateral relations;

Esteemed Representatives of the Organizations and Movements of the patriotic emigration;

Distinguished Ambassadors;

Comrades of the Cuban Delegation;

José Ramón Cabañas, Chargé D’ Affairs;

Officials and workers of the Cuban Embassy;

Esteemed friends;

The flag that we revere at the entrance of this room is the same that was hauled down here 54 years ago, which was zealously kept in Florida by a family of liberators and later on by the Museum of our eastern city of Las Tunas, as a sort of premonition that this day would certainly come.

Flying once again in this place is the lone-star flag which embodies the generous blood that was shed, the sacrifices made and the struggle waged for more than one hundred years by our people for their national independence and full self-determination, facing the most serious challenges and risks.

Today we pay homage to all those who died in its defense and renew the commitment of the present generations, fully confident on the newer ones, to serve it with honor.

José Martí and Fidel Castro

We evoke the memory of José Martí, who was fully devoted to the struggle for the freedom of Cuba and managed to get a profound knowledge about the United States: In his “North American Scenes” he made a vivid description of the great nation to the North and extolled its virtues. He also bequeathed to us a warning against its excessive craving for domination which was confirmed by a long history of disagreements.

fidel y nixon 2We’ve been able to make it through this date thanks to the firm and wise leadership of Fidel Castro Ruz, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, whose ideas we will always revere with utmost loyalty. We now recall his presence in this city, in April of 1959, with the purpose of promoting fair bilateral relations, as well as the sincere tribute he paid to Lincoln and Washington. The purposes that brought him to this country on such an early time are the same that have pursued throughout these decades and coincide exactly with the ones that we pursue today. Many in this room, whether politicians, journalists, outstanding personalities in the fields of arts or sciences, students or American social activists, have been able to treasure unlimited hours of enriching talks with the Commander, which allowed them to have a better understanding of our reasons, goals and decisions.

This ceremony has been possible thanks to the free and unshakable will, unity, sacrifice, selflessness, heroic resistance and work of our people and also the strength of the Cuban Nation and its culture.

Several generations of the revolutionary diplomacy have converged in this effort and offered their martyrs. The example and vibrant speech of Raúl Roa, the Chancellor of Dignity, have continued to inspire Cuba’s foreign policy and will remain forever in the memory of the younger generations and future diplomats.

Greetings from President Raul Castro

I bring greetings from President Raúl Castro, as an expression of the good will and sound determination to move forward, through a dialogue based on mutual respect and sovereign equality, to a civilized coexistence, even despite the differences that exist between both governments, which makes it possible to solve bilateral problems and promote cooperation and the development of mutually beneficial relations, just as both peoples desire and deserve.

We know that this would contribute to peace, development, equity and stability in the continent; the implementation of the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which was signed at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States held in Havana.

Completing the first stage of the bilateral dialogue

Today, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of embassies complete the first stage of the bilateral dialogue and pave the way to the complex and certainly long process towards the normalization of bilateral relations.

The challenge is huge because there have never been normal relations between the United States of America and Cuba, in spite of the one and a half century of intensive and enriching links that have existed between both peoples.

The Platt Amendment, imposed in 1902

The Platt Amendment, imposed in 1902 under a military occupation, thwarted the liberation efforts that had counted on the participation or the sympathy of quite a few American citizens and led to the usurpation of a piece of Cuban territory in Guantánamo. Its nefarious consequences left an indelible mark in our common history.

In 1959, the United States refused to accept the existence of a fully independent small and neighboring island and much less, a few years later, a socialist Revolution that was forced to defend itself and has embodied, ever since then, our people’s will.

I have referred to History to reaffirm that today an opportunity has opened up to begin working in order to establish new bilateral relations, quite different from whatever existed in the past. The Cuban government is fully committed to that.

Only the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade which has caused so much harm and suffering to our people; the return of the occupied territory in Guantánamo and the respect for Cuba’s sovereignty will lend some meaning to the historic event that we are witnessing today.

Every step forward will receive the recognition and the favorable acceptance of our people and government, and most certainly the encouragement and approval of Latin America and the Caribbean and the entire world.

Independence, sovereignty and non-interference

We reaffirm Cuba’s willingness to move towards the normalization of relations with the United States in a constructive spirit, but without any prejudice whatsoever to our independence or any interference in the affairs that fall under the exclusive sovereignty of Cubans.

To insist in the attainment of obsolete and unjust goals, only hoping for a mere change in the methods to achieve them will not legitimize them or favor the national interest of the United States or its citizens. However, should that be the case, we would be ready to face the challenge.

We will engage in this process, as was written by President Raúl Castro in his letter of July 1st to President Obama, “encouraged by the reciprocal intention of developing respectful and cooperative relations between our peoples and governments.”

Respect and recognition to the President of the United States

From this Embassy, we will continue to work tirelessly to promote cultural, economic, scientific, academic and sports relations as well as friendly ties between our peoples.

We would like to convey the Cuban government’s respect and recognition to the President of the United States for urging the US Congress to lift the blockade as well as for the change of policy that he has announced, but in particular for the disposition he has shown to make use of his executive powers for that purpose.

We are particularly reminded of President Carter’s decision to open the respective Interests Sections back in September of 1977.
I am pleased to express my gratitude to the Government of the Swiss Confederation for having represented the Cuban interests for the last 24 years.

On behalf of the Government and the people of Cuba, I would like to express our gratitude to the members of Congress, scholars, religious leaders, activists, solidarity groups, business people and so many US citizens who worked so hard for so many years so that this day would come.

To the majority of Cubans residing in the United States who have advocated and called for a different kind of relation of this country with our Nation, we would like to express our recognition. Deeply moved, they have told us that they would multiply their efforts and will remain faithful to the legacy of the patriotic emigration that supported the ideals of independence.

We would like to express our gratitude to our Latin American and Caribbean brothers and sisters who have resolutely supported our country and called for a new chapter in the relations between the United States and Cuba, as was done, with extraordinary perseverance, by a lot of friends from all over the world.

I reiterate our recognition to the governments represented here by the Diplomatic Corps, whose voice and vote at the UN General Assembly and other fora made a decisive contribution.

From this country José Martí organized the Cuban Revolutionary Party to conquer freedom, all the justice and the full dignity of human beings. His ideas, which were heroically vindicated in his centennial year, continue to be the main inspiration that moves us along the path that our people have sovereignly chosen.

Thank you, very much.

Source:  Speech by Cuban FM at opening of Cuban embassy in the US  Cuban News Agency

Raul: We will continue the process of transformations in Cuban society at our own pace

Source:  Granma
July 6 2015

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closure of the National Assembly of People’s Power Eighth Legislature’s Fifth Period of Ordinary Sessions, in the Havana Convention Center, July 15, 2015, Year 57 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript)

raul july 2015Compañeras and compañeros:

Over the last few months we have witnessed several events of great importance to the country, about which you and our people have been informed in a timely fashion.

As is customary, deputies have received abundant information about the performance of the economy during the first half of the year, and estimates through the end of the year.

The decelerating growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product – known as GDP – a trend which has appeared in recent years, has clearly been reversed. As of June 30, the GDP had grown 4.7%, and we estimate that at the conclusion of the year it will stand at about 4%. And this is very good, considering that last year we only grew 1%. Nevertheless, to reach the expected 4%, we must work hard and in a very disciplined manner, above all in the economic sphere, as Minister of the Economy Marino Murillo indicated.

Production 

Despite several unmet projections, production in the sugar industry and manufacturing increased, as well as in construction, commerce, tourism, and agricultural production, despite the fact that the latter is suffering the effects of the prolonged drought occurring throughout the national territory.

I must emphasize, in this context, the need for more rational use of this vital resource, as several compañeras and compañeros have said. At the end of June, water stored in reservoirs stood at only 38% of capacity – today it stands at 36.1%, as the president of the Water Resources Institute, Inés María Chapman, reported – with the least favorable situations existing in the provinces of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Las Tunas, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus and Pinar del Río.

Difficulties

One of the most disappointing aspects of the plan’s implementation is to be found in the transportation sector, which led to difficulties in the economy’s performance, a result of organizational shortcomings and the low level of technical availability in the railroad and automotive systems, associated with the lack of replacement parts and problems in maintenance and repair. This situation was aggravated by delays in the arrival to the country of equipment projected for last year and this year, the majority of which should arrive in 2015.

In addition to the above is the decision adopted in the recent Council of Ministers meeting, to distribute means of transportation, as well as construction equipment, from state reserves, and expedite the ordering of equipment initially under consideration for the 2016 plan.

Social services

During the first half of the year we have faced severe external financial constraints. Nevertheless, the country has continued rigorously fulfilling its payment obligations to foreign creditors and providers, a practice which favors the gradual re-establishment of the national economy’s credibility, despite the U.S. blockade which remains in full force.

Amidst these difficulties, we have been able to maintain social services for the population – a question we will never neglect – and, as evidence of this, we can point out that the country’s epidemiological situation has improved substantially.

What’s more, monetary and financial stability has been maintained. Inflation, in general, has been contained to predicted levels, between three and five percent, although we cannot ignore the justified concerns of the population regarding the high prices of agricultural products, which are increasing more than the average salary.

You have noticed that on this occasion, unlike previous sessions of the National Assembly, information has not been included on progress in the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines approved by the 6th Party Congress, given that we considered more convenient a focus on the development of a draft report on this issue to be presented at the 7th Congress in April 2016, just as was called for by the Central Committee Plenum held yesterday.

Updating our economic and social model

I will, however, refer briefly to the principal tasks undertaken in the interest of updating our economic and social model. Among these is the elaboration of the theoretical conceptualization of socialism in Cuba, and the strategic guidelines and sectors to be included in the economic and social development plan through 2030. Both documents will be among those analyzed during the next Party Congress.

At the same time, progress continues in the strengthening of the role which the socialist state enterprise must play, as the fundamental element in the national economy, adjusting approved measures in a timely fashion and incorporating others related to more flexible functioning and to salary systems based on the results of work.

Likewise, several changes have been implemented in the economic planning process, in accordance with the perfecting of the enterprise system, which has facilitated the more comprehensive incorporation into the plan of policies approved as part of the implementation of the guidelines, and the programming of monetary balances in the plan and state budget.

Monetary unification

Progress continues in the completion of the group of measures directed toward monetary unification, an extremely complex process which is indispensable to the efficient performance of the economy. It is worth reiterating what has been said on numerous occasions before our Parliament, about bank deposits being guaranteed, in international currencies, Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos (CUP), as well as cash held by the population, or national and foreign incorporated entities.

In the same way, the experimental process of creating non-agricultural cooperatives continues to advance, with the priorities of consolidating those which are in place and gradually advancing in the constitution of new cooperatives, without repeating the distortions already identified.

Self-employment

Along with this, slightly more than half a million Cubans are functioning as self-employed workers in multiple activities, a figure which will continue to increase in a gradual fashion, as restaurants and services for the population are transferred to this management mode, while preserving state ownership of buildings.

We will continue the process of transformations in Cuban society at our own pace, which we have chosen with sovereignty, with the majority support of the people, in the interest of constructing a prosperous and sustainable socialism, the essential guarantee of our independence.

International action

The first half of the year has been characterized by intense international action.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Third Summit, held in January in Costa Rica, expressed the firm demand that the economic, commercial and financial blockade be ended, and called upon President Obama to utilize with resolve his broad executive authority to substantially modify the application of this policy. Just days later, the African Union Summit made a similar statement.

The 7th Summit of the Americas, attended for the first time by Cuba, held in Panama in April, provided a propitious opportunity for the region to reiterate its support to the just struggle of our people against the blockade, and insist on the necessity of modifying hemispheric relations in this era, when it can no longer be treated as a back yard.

Precisely in Panama, we held a meeting with the President of the United States.

Foreign policy 

My words at the two events reflected the invariable, principled foreign policy position of the Cuban Revolution, and expressed loyalty to the ideas which our people have defended, despite dangers and challenges, with the guidance of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. This frees me from repeating them here today, since they are well-known to you.

Solidarity 

Nevertheless, I must reiterate our solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the government headed by President Nicolás Maduro, in the face of destabilization attempts and any act of external intervention. We were pleased to learn of the results of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s primary elections, while we are carefully following the dialogue underway between this country and the United States.

We denounce the destabilization campaigns against the government of President Rafael Correa and the Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador, to which we confirm Cuba’s solidarity.

An imperialist and oligarchic offensive 

We notice that an imperialist and oligarchic offensive has been put into practice against Latin American revolutionary and progressive processes, which will be decisively confronted by our peoples.

This Parliament sends solidarity greetings to President Dilma Rousseff and the Brazilian people who defend the important social and political progress of regional integration and of the countries of the South against attempts to reverse these.

In early May, we attended the impressive commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the victory over fascism in Moscow, an episode that no one can distort or erase from the memory of humanity.

We warned early on, in this very hall, that the attempt to extend NATO to Russia’s borders would bring serious threats to international peace and security.

Russia

Today we reaffirm that the intention of imposing sanctions on Russia will harm the interests of Europe, and bring greater instability and new dangers. This position was put forward once again by Cuba at the Second CELAC-European Union Summit, where we also ratified our disposition to dialogue and cooperate with the European bloc, with which we are negotiating an agreement on this matter. On this occasion our delegation was led by First Vice President compañero Miguel Díaz -Canel.

We welcome the agreement reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Security Council group of permanent members plus Germany. We reiterate our support for the inalienable right of all states to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This result demonstrates that dialogue and negotiation are the only effective tools to resolve differences between states.

Pope Francis

At this time, we are preparing to receive Pope Francis in September, with the affection, respect and hospitality he deserves.

His advocacy of peace and equity, the eradication of poverty, protection of the environment and his analysis of the causes of humanity’s problems arouse worldwide admiration, which we have all followed closely, especially during his memorable tour of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

It was already reported that on July 20, as a result of the negotiations taking place in a respectful manner, and on an equal footing, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States will be officially restored, and embassies will reopen in the respective capitals; firstly ours.

Normalization

Thus the first phase of the process initiated on December 17 will have concluded, and a new, long complex stage will then begin, on the path toward the normalization of relations, which will require the will to find solutions to problems that have accumulated for more than five decades and affect the ties between our countries and peoples. As we have said, it’s a question of establishing a new type of relation between the two states, different from those of all our common history.

As indicated in the Statement of the Revolutionary Government of July 1, it is inconceivable, while the blockade is maintained, that there be normal relations between Cuba and the United States.

President Obama

In recognizing the call by President Obama on the U.S. Congress to lift the blockade of Cuba, reiterated in his statement last July 1, we hope that he continues using his executive powers, that is, those decisions that he as President can adopt without Congressional involvement, to dismantle aspects of this policy, which causes damage and hardships to our people. Naturally, the parliament, namely Congress, is responsible for the rest of the blockade measures.

To normalize bilateral ties it will also be necessary that the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base is returned; illegal radio and television transmissions to Cuba ended; programs aimed at promoting destabilization and internal subversion eliminated; and the Cuban people compensated for the human and economic damages caused by the policies of the United States.

Changing everything which must be changed is the sovereign and exclusive domain of Cubans. The Revolutionary Government is willing to advance in the normalization of relations, convinced that both countries can cooperate and coexist in a civilized manner, to our mutual benefit, beyond the differences we have and will have, thus contributing to peace, security , stability, development and equity in our continent and the world.

An extraordinary example of solidarity, altruism and personal courage

Compañeras and compañeros:

A few weeks ago, the homeland received the members of the “Henry Reeve” Contingent who participated in the battle against Ebola in West Africa, where they provided an extraordinary example of solidarity, altruism and personal courage in confronting this deadly epidemic. Our eternal tribute to Jor­ge Juan Guerra Rodríguez and Reynaldo Vi­lla­franca Antigua, the two collaborators who died of other diseases contracted during the fulfillment of that mission.

In addition, a Cuban medical brigade, which will return in the coming days, assisted with great spirit of solidarity the victims of the earthquakes in the mountains of Nepal.

Our country will continue to fulfill, in accordance with its means, and with our internationalist duty to support peoples in need, as today tens of thousands of compatriots in over 80 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia are doing, under the principle that those who can defray the collaboration do so, and we will continue helping those who do not have the resources.

July 26th

In just 10 days we will celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks and the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Santiago de Cuba. There we will share with this valiant people the joy at these events – valiant like the rest of the country, including the Isle of Youth and adjacent keys (applause) – and hear the words of the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura (applause).

Anyone who today compares this heroic city with that which was left after being ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, less than three years ago, will understand that nothing is impossible for a united people, like ours, willing to fight and defend the work of their Revolution.

See you in Santiago,

Thank you very much. (Prolonged applause)