January 4, 2017
Remarks by Jennifer Bello Martínez, a member of the Council of State and President of the Federation of University Students in José Martí Plaza de la Revolución, January 2, 2017, “Year 59 of the Revolution”
Friends from around the world accompanying us today,
People of Cuba:
Photo: Anabel Díaz
The landing of the Granma expeditionaries
Called together by history, the present and future, we come together at this historic Plaza only two days after the 58th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the heroic uprising in Santiago de Cuba, the landing of the Granma expeditionaries, and Revolutionary Armed Forces Day.
This celebration has special motives which, for every Cuban, represent commitment, will, and confidence in the future of the socialist Revolution true to the ideas of Fidel and Martí.
We dedicate this commemoration to Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution and our youth, heirs and continuators of our people’s struggles and victories.
A united people
What will take place this morning, is only possible because there exists a united people, the ultimate expression of a Revolution of workers; campesions; students; soldiers; noble men and women who are proud of this society.
Last December marked two years since the announcement of the decision by Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations and initiate a process toward the normalization of bilateral relations.
We would not have arrived at this historic moment if it were not for the resistance of the Cuban people, their loyalty to the ideals and principles that have guided them throughout their history as a nation.
Demanding the lifting of the blockade
Much remains to be done to advance in this process, which will be long and as part of which complicated problems accumulated over more than 50 years must be solved. Cuba will not stop demanding the lifting of the blockade, which causes damage and deprivation to our people, nor stop demanding the return of the territory occupied by the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo, against the will of the Cuban government and people. Neither will it stop demanding an end to subversive and interventionist programs intended to provoke changes in the political, economic and social order freely chosen by our people.
A demonstration of this has been the mobilization and energetic participation of students and the entire society, which like a hornet’s nest, we proclaim before the world to defend every conquest. The vanguard will continue to be the vanguard, forever patriots and anti-imperialists.
Just as Army General Raúl Castro Ruz remarked in his speech last September 17, during the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Venezuela: “Cuba will never renounce any of its principles or compromise its sovereignty and independence. Cuba will not cease defending its revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals, or supporting the self-determination of all peoples.
As part of the country’s defense preparation we conducted the Bastión 2016 Strategic Exercise, in order to update and carry out actions outlined in defense plans and to combat different enemy actions. Bastión 2016, an essential element to the implementation of the doctrine of “War by the Entire People,” once again demonstrated the unbreakable will of the Cuban people to defend their sovereignty and preserve the work of the Revolution.
Always at the ready to conquer what is to come
Precisely these principles have been those for which we have struggled since the cry of independence, and we are showing this with this Military Review and March of the Combatant People, which bears within it our history, our symbols, the rebelliousness, and heroism of this people. Marching by will be the mambises, (independence fighters) who the homeland will contemplate with pride, on their horses and with their machetes of liberation.
A replica of the Granma yacht, representing the feat accomplished by those 82 expeditionaries who made possible the dream of national liberation, this time will set sail upon a joyful sea of children, the next generation waving their blue neckerchiefs, with the commitment to be the future and be always at the ready to conquer what is to come.
In tight ranks, four columns of youth will march, representing those brave guerillas who created the Rebel Army; from their blood the new homeland emerged: free, combative, and invincible.
Recalling the epic of Girón and the Literacy Campaign
The epic of Girón, decisive for the nascent revolution, will also be recalled. Parading through the Plaza will be 90 combatants from that heroic battle, representing the Rebel Army, the police, and the newly formed National Revolutionary Militias. The decision to bear any cost necessary for the cause of socialism continues to motivate the millions of Cubans who populate this island.
Today, as well, we remember the Literacy Campaign work done by children and youth, with love and bravery, represented by 90 students from the Enrique José Varona University of Pedagogical Sciences, wearing the uniforms which illuminated this plaza when our people raised the banner proclaiming, before the world, that Cuba was an illiteracy-free territory.
Also marching will be seven blocs of combatants who completed missions in more than 40 nations, where they served as examples of respect for the dignity and sovereignty of the country. The confidence gained in the hearts of these peoples, was the fruit of the impeccable conduct of our soldiers.
Our girls and boys are hope, the most pure essence of the Revolution’s work. Representing all of the country’s children here are young members of La Colmenita, (Children’s theater company) little hardworking bumblebees who share love, peace, and wisdom with their honey.
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
Under the gaze of José Martí, our troops composed of youth from the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Ministry of the Interior academies; from the three valuable armies; soldiers, and militias will march, and pay heartfelt tribute to the thousands of combatants who keep the peace and provide tranquility for the Cuban people.
Representing the popular character of the country’s defense, the provincial, municipal, and neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution will parade, along with Production and Defense Brigades and our university militias, who respond to the nation’s call: Present!
The people of Havana, representing all of Cuba, will fill the Plaza de la Revolución with the responsibility to continue struggling for our sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.
Since October 10, 1868
Younger generations, as symbols of life, love, human justice, and Revolution, will demonstrate their commitment to the homeland, our Party, to Fidel and Raúl. We walk these streets with the enthusiasm and the drive that characterize Cuban youth, committed to defending this sky and our only flag.
Since October 10, 1868, Cuban men and women have decided to live in a free, sovereign, independent Cuba. No one can make us forget our history, or the symbols of this people’s resistance.
We make our own the ideas of the historic leader of the Revolution, expressed in the plenary session of the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba: “To our sisters and brothers of Latin America and the world, we must convey to you that the Cuban people will triumph … We will set forth on the path and perfect what we must perfect, with absolute loyalty and our forces united, like Martí, Maceo, and Gómez, in an unstoppable march.”
Eternal glory to those who have died for the homeland!
Long live the Cuban Revolution!
Long live Fidel, forever!
Viva Cuba Libre!