Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the 15th ALBA-TCP Summit, held in Caracas
(Council of State transcript / GI translation)
Compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
Esteemed Heads of State and Government;
Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests:
This March 5, on which we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the passing of President Hugo Chávez Frías, founder together with Fidel of ALBA, my first words are dedicated to reaffirming our tribute to his work and his example and the unwavering loyalty to his legacy.
Today, ALBA has as its strategic and urgent task the joint defense of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The military threat, hostility and economic aggression of U.S. imperialism against Venezuela; the neoliberal onslaught to reverse the social gains; the interference against the sovereignty of progressive governments; the attempts to dismantle the progress in the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, destabilize the region and pose risks to regional peace and security.
The United States, since 1999 when Comandante Hugo Chávez became President, and even more so when compañero Nicolás Maduro did so, has resorted to methods of unconventional warfare, with the aim of defeating this country, the owner of immense riches coveted by imperialism. President Donald Trump has just renewed the executive order that declares Venezuela an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
The threats to peace and stability in Venezuela also represent a threat to regional peace and stability.
Some appear to have forgotten the lessons of the past, the cruel years of the military dictatorships, the impact of neoliberalism; that they attempt to reinstate the disastrous consequences that the policies of extortion, humiliation and isolation had for our region that, as then, have the United States as their chief articulator.
They openly announce the full validity and relevance of the Monroe Doctrine which proclaims colonial subordination to the governments and corporations of Washington and that, as Bolívar warned, plagued Our America with sorrow and misery in the name of liberty.
Once again, they underestimate our peoples.
We proclaim unwavering support for the Bolivarian Revolution and the civic-military union of its people, led by their President, compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros.
We condemn the unilateral coercive measures and external interference against the Bolivarian and Chavista process that threaten the peace and dialogue between Venezuelans, with destabilizing purposes, and create hardships for its population.
Cease the economic aggression against Venezuela so that its people can enjoy the rights conquered by their Revolution.
We reject the exclusion of President Nicolás Maduro from the 8th Summit of the Americas. This illegal decision is unacceptable and interventionist, whilst it takes the hemisphere back to stages that appeared to have been overcome.
Exclusions do not contribute at all to peace, dialogue or hemispheric understanding.
It is unacceptable that a group of countries, with no right or mandate, intend to speak for the region and serve as an instrument of aggression against a member of the Latin American and Caribbean family, using as a pretext an alleged rupture of the democratic order, precisely in a country that has undertaken more than twenty electoral processes and has now called presidential elections, as was previously demanded, even via violent methods.
Why don’t they denounce the covert coup d’états, the massacres, the forced disappearances suffered by the peoples of the region?
Nor do we recognize any moral authority of the discredited Organization of American States (OAS) to give lessons in democracy, governability or constitutionality.
They violate the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, during the 2nd CELAC Summit, in Havana, and evade strict compliance with the obligation not to interfere, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other state, and observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and the self-determination of the peoples.
The only solution to the problems of Venezuelans is in the hands of Venezuelans themselves.
I speak on behalf of our Revolution and our people, as will any other Cuban compatriot from this position in the future, who will always know, as Fidel believed, that “Our peoples have no future without unity, without integration.”
Bolívar and Martí, Fidel and Chávez bequeathed us invaluable teachings, among them loyalty to principles. Their lessons show us the course to follow in this decisive hour of the Great Homeland, which calls for our unity to forge together our second and definitive independence. Thank you very much. (Applause).