Cuban President to Speak at NYC’s Riverside Church
19 September 2018,
by Khanyisile Ngcobo
EFF leader Julius Malema addresses members of the media at a press
conference in Braamfontein. Picture: Itumeleng English/African
News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says Africa needed one language uniting it if it is to be an equal competitor with the West.
Malema said this in reaction to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s announcement that kiSwahili will be included as an optional second additional language to be offered in South African schools.
“We managed to get the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) to approve the listing of kiSwahili as an optional second addition language to be offered to different learners. We currently have 15 non-official languages in the National Curriculum Statement, which will include your French, German, Mandarin,” Jacaranda FM quoted Motshekga as saying.
KiSwahili is the first African language to be included in the list.
She added that, unlike the other languages included in the list, kiSwahili did not have the support of its mother country and instead would be supported by the department.
Motshekga explained the significance of having kiSwahili included in the list, saying it was important because it was broadly spoken across the continent.
Malema, speaking at an EFF briefing, lauded the inclusion of kiSwahili as among the first steps needed towards decolonisation.
“Decolonising Africa starts with simple things… it starts with doing away with colonial symbols and colonial ways of doing things. We must, and even if it’s not our generation, generations to come must have a language that unites Africans like kiSwahili.
“KiSwahili can be developed and become a continental language and we do away with speaking to each other in English.”
KiSwahili will be implemented from 2020.
Source: The Mast
By Larry Monze on September 27, 2018
DR Fred M’membe says late revolutionary icon Fidel Castro was a true Pan Africanist. The Socialist Party (Zambia) 2021 presidential candidate says the “selflessness of the Cubans cannot be written in one sentence, on one page, in one book” because “it’s endless, it’s boundless.”
During the just ended 3rd annual conference on Pan Africanism Today held in Winneba, Ghana, Socialist movements honoured six individual veterans and two organisations for their contribution to the struggles of the masses against imperialism and capitalism.
Ghana’s founding president Kwame Nkrumah was honoured posthumously for the foundation he laid on promoting Pan Africanism. Others were Fieldmore Mapeto from South Africa, also posthumously, who was instrumental in the African National Congress’ liberation movement; El Harif Abdalah, a Moroccan revolutionary who has been detained several times for fighting for the rights of the people of Western Sahara; Dr Nkrumah’s disciples: G. A. Balungu and Capt Kugu Chigata, who were both instrumental in defending the spirit of Pan Africanism.
The conference also honoured Frantz Fanon, and Cuban internationalists, who participated and died in the liberation struggles of many African countries such as Angola and Congo DR; and members of the Polisario Front in Western Sahara, a movement that keeps resisting Morocco’s annexing of their land.
Dr M’membe, the SP Deputy General Secretary, who handed the Cuban award, said any Pan Africanism that excludes Cuba was not Pan Africanism.
“This joyous evening [Saturday] brings with it also sad memories. It reminds us of the pain our comrades had to endure, it reminds us of death, but on top of that, it also reminds us of betrayal,” he said.
Dr M’membe noted that over 2,000 Cubans perished in defence of the independence of the African continent and much more so of Angola paving way to the independence of Namibia, and freedom in South Africa.
“Sometimes one wonders what these internationalists died for, especially when one looks at the banditry that is in Angola, the corruption that is in South Africa – how people have enriched themselves very quickly for the freedom that so many people died for,” he said.
“Comrades, armed struggle is not an easy thing. When you enlist to be a combatant, you are enlisting to die and the possibility of death is extremely high. Thousands of combatants, internationalists, passed through our continent and many of them died. We cannot forget both the deaths and the betrayal. Comrades you cannot talk about Pan Africanism without the Cubans. Any Pan Africanism that excludes Cuba is not Pan Africanism. Today, when we talk about Pan Africanists, the name of Fidel [Castro] is always and will always be high on that list. Fidel was a Pan Africanist. Che was a Pan Africanist. Commandante Raul [Castro] is a Pan Africanist.”
Dr M’membe said all the Cuban combatants that passed through Africa, that passed through Cuito Cuanavale (Angola) were Pan Africanists.
“We are not just honouring Cubans here, we are honouring Pan Africanists. But these Pan Africanists we are honouring this evening have something unique to teach us, that were taught by Fidel. Fidel made it very clear that those who are not ready to fight for others will not be able to fight for themselves,” he said.
“The Cuban Revolution has survived close to 60 years of a blockade and all sorts of provocation, intimidation, threats and so on because they were able to fight for others and die for others. They died for us and because they were able to die for us, they were able also to defend their homeland of Cuba, the land of Jose Marti, the land of Fidel and we can say the land of Che and the homeland of all revolutionaries, heart of all revolutionaries. This honour to the Cubans comrades, reminds us also not only the captain we honoured here, it reminds us also of all the revolutionaries that fought in Cuito, SWAPO combatants, our comrades from uMkhonto we Sizwe, including Fieldmore and some of them died.”
Dr M’membe said the occasion reminds “us of Chris [Hani], it reminds us of so many things, it reminds us of the battles that we continue to wage but today we are not waging it against the Apartheid regime.”
“We are waging that battle against our fellow comrades. People who were our comrades, people we shared trenches with, people we shared suffering with, people we never thought can be our enemies,” he said. “Comrades, the selflessness of the Cubans cannot be written in one sentence, on one page, in one book. It’s endless, it’s boundless. We, who have remained on this continent have no right whatsoever to be ungrateful to the Cubans. We have a debt to pay, not necessarily to the Cubans, but to humanity as Fidel taught us. This gathering should put us on that path for the repayment of this debt to humanity.”
Dr M’membe told the Cuban delegation that was among the 400 participants from 60 countries from around the world that attended the conference, that it was a great honour to honour the Cubans.
“Comrades, you have come 8,000 kilometres from the Island. When talk of the island, we revolutionaries we talk of one island, we only knew of one island for a very long time and that was only Cuba,” said Dr M’membe. “We didn’t know that there were many other islands, we only knew one island.”
Transcript of the speech, courtesy of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry
Ambassadors, heads of delegations of the countries members of the United Nations Organization, President-elect of the General Assembly, Mrs. Maria Fernanda Espinoza, may I extend to you the congratulations on behalf of the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – our government – on assuming the presidency of the 73rd session of the General Assembly as the first Latin-American woman to be president of a General Assembly session. In this occasion, we have been invited to work and address an important and vital issue, entitled as follows: “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”. So we are here to make the United Nations relevant for all people.
This is precisely a noble purpose up to what the United Nations system has to build in light of the 21st century: a century of great opportunities and certainly a century that will make the difference regarding the human liberation processes – political liberation, peoples’ liberation – that, sooner or later, will impact significantly on the future of the United Nations Organization.
The current United Nations Organization was born at the end of Second World War (1945). During the 20th century, its configuration expressed the conflicts and forms of actions by the bipolar world of the postwar years and, after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90s, we moved to a unipolar world.
The correlation of forces in the world, regarding the world system, has always influenced the United Nations Organization, directly. However, in order to be relevant – according to the purpose of this 73rd General Assembly – this organization has to express the wishes, the way of being, the culture, the political thinking, the strength and the hopes of the majorities in the world.
That is why Venezuela is here today; to say its truth; I bring the truth of a combative, heroic and revolutionary world; I bring the voice of a homeland that, throughout history, has refused to surrender to injustice, to the empires of the past – slaver and colonialist – and the empires of today – equally slaver and neocolonialist. I bring the voice of a heroic people that arose from the heroic resistance of the aborigines, from the indigenous peoples that for centuries resisted the domination by colonial empires. I bring the voice of the people having the honor of being the great Liberator Simon Bolivar’s home, the most important leader of a generation of liberators of the Americas, who accomplished, 200 years ago, the heroic feat of founding a continent, a region, a dream: The independent republics of this world region.
Venezuela is a historic people which is both a home and a school of republican values; a home and a school of rebelliousness; a home and a school of dignity and values such as equality; such is our obstinate homeland that for centuries has searched its Independence and sovereignty.
I speak on their behalf before this scenario which has witnessed the most evil and embarrassing attacks in the last years; for our country is a harassed and attacked country. Yesterday, in this same place, the President of the United States of North America once again attacked the noble people of Venezuela and supported, as he said, the doctrine founded by the empire of the United States 200 years ago, which determined their interventionist role, their intended role of judge, party and police of the world: the Monroe Doctrine. Yes, the president of the most powerful imperial nation, the United States of North America, was in this same place, supporting James Monroe’s doctrine, who, at that time, said “America for Americans”, meaning that the rest of America had to belong to them as the backyard for the interests of Washington elite groups that already conducted the configuration of that nation as a former colony of the British empire.
He supported the Monroe Doctrine. And you may be wondering about the reason for such fierce attack by the American power, expressed at all levels by President Donald Trump. It is a historic conflict as we have said to the world many times, as our people well knows. It is the conflict between the interventionist imperial, neocolonialist Monroe Doctrine against the historic, Independence, republican, Simon Bolivar’s doctrine, of rebelliousness, dignity, justice, liberty and equality. It is an old conflict; an old contradiction due to an imperial doctrine aimed at dominating our region. During the 19th century, it was aimed at dominating our region only; however, in the 20th century, it was intended to dominate the world and in the 21st century it tries to continue governing, conducting, blackmailing and arranging the world as if it were their property. In our region, it is a 200-year contradiction between the republican libertarian flags which, in the 19th century – the time of Simon Bolivar and the liberators – advocated for a world of equilibrium and respect and the pro imperialist and interventionist flags that promoted the domination of the region by an elite group that already had the control of the power in Washington.
It is an old conflict we know very well. Today, Venezuela is a victim of a permanent aggression in the economic, political, diplomatic and media fields by those who govern the United States of North America and support the Monroe Doctrine to justify the ideological, political and diplomatic aggression against our beloved homeland.
Our reason for being here is the reason. Why is Venezuela being politically, economically and diplomatically attacked? First of all, Venezuela has built an autonomous project of democratic revolution, social vindication, and construction of a self and new model of society, which is based on the historical roots of our nation, on the identity of our country and on the own culture of our Latin-American region.
For 20 years, they have been intended to stop the course of our history, the development of a revolutionary project that arose from the own struggle root of our people and region. Secondly – and perhaps more understandable- for global geopolitical reasons, Venezuela is the nation with the largest oil reserve of the world, internationally certified. Venezuela as founder of OPEC, Venezuela a country with 100 years of oil production, discovered and certified internationally the largest oil richness of the world; Venezuela has also significant natural and mining richness. Today, according to international standards, our country is certifying the potentially biggest gold reserve of the world.
The world must know that currently, apart from being the biggest international oil reserve, Venezuela is certifying, under international standards, the biggest gold reserve of the world and the fourth gas reserve of the world as well. The significant natural resources, important geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-strategic position have lead the oligarchies of the continent and those who dominate from Washington, to consider dominating and controlling the political power in Venezuela. In the present, Venezuela is victim of a permanent aggression.
In the economic sphere, during the last two years, Venezuela has been subjected to a set of illegal unilateral measures of economic persecution and blockade; we have been restrained from using the international currency, –the dollar- via positions of use of dominion by the authorities of the US Department of Treasury. Currently, Venezuela cannot negotiate any international transaction in dollars. Did the world know that Venezuela is persecuted from an economic, commercial and monetary point of view? Today, Venezuela is target of a set of illegal and unilateral mechanisms of economic sanctions.
Yesterday, the President of the United States announced, precisely on this same platform, new and alleged economic and financial sanctions against our country in the sanctuary of the law and international legality. Did the United Nations System know that the unilateral sanctions, using the dominion, the status of the currency and the financial persecution are considered illegal from the standpoint of international law? Venezuela is subjected to a permanent media aggression as well; attempts to forge a file have been made to justify an international intervention. We know that it is an intended international intervention, a military intervention to control our country. At global level, a file has been forged through the media against our country to pretend a humanitarian crisis that uses the United Nations concepts to justify a coalition of countries led by the Government of the United States, and their satellite governments in Latin America, to get its hands on our country. A migration crisis, that goes without saying, has been forged by several means, aimed at diverting the attention from the real migration crises in the world that show the disadvantages of the southern countries. The migratory crisis in Central America, Mexico, and Latin America arising due to the announcement of a retaining wall against our peoples, a dividing wall against them. Nobody wants to talk about this situation. A double-standard treatment has been intended over the real status of the Caribbean and Latin American migrants who have been persecuted along the border with Mexico; they have been separated from their families, their kids have been kidnapped; and no response is given about this issue or about the serious migration crisis caused by the destruction in Libya by NATO and the war against Syria, resulting in the migration of thousands of African and Middle-East brothers. It is an issue that is intentionally masked.
A global media campaign about an alleged migratory crisis in Venezuela has been deployed to justify a humanitarian intervention, as announced for years. It is a plan similar to the weapon-of mass-destruction plan used in Iraq; it is the same plan that justified the intervention in other countries, this time under a form of a great brutal psychological warfare campaign. Today, Venezuela is also the victim of a diplomatic nature aggression. Yesterday – dear brothers and sisters of the governments of the world – we witnessed direct threats to cut aid, to withdraw aid or blockade aid from the international support and aid systems for the governments and peoples of the world on the need of it by the President of the United States.
We have listened to the statements issued by several governments demanding better mechanisms to access financing, to access development to which our peoples are entitled to. Yesterday, the President of the United States, in this very platform, threatened the governments of the world to submit to its designs, to its orders and to cooperate with its policies in the United Nations system, or he would act accordingly. Venezuela has been attacked with a fierce diplomatic offensive at all of the United Nations system bodies, supported by satellite kneeled governments blackening the honor of the peoples that they are called to represent.
Venezuela has been subjected to permanent political aggression. On September 8th, the New York Times published an article evidencing the participation of officials of the White House and the government of the United States, in meetings to bring about a military coup and cause a change of government, a change of regime in Venezuela. The investigation published by the New York Times – replicated by the Times magazine, the Washington Post and the world press – simply confirmed the conspiracy, the permanent aggression by factors of the government of the United States against a constitutional and strengthened democracy; a democracy supported by the people, such as the Venezuelan democracy. We had already denounced in due course, the attempts of violence against the Constitution, the attempts of disturbances and military coups against the constitutional and revolutionary government over which I preside in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, by popular will and popular vote.
After announcing and publishing the failed attempts of disturbances and military violence – the New York Times published details on how US officials in Colombia, supported by the Colombian government and Colombian institutions, met and offered their encouragement and support for this attempted change of regime. Should the United Nations system, Should the union – I am addressing my Latin American and Caribbean brothers – Should Latin America and the Caribbean accept these methods that so hurt our region in the entire 20th century? How many military interventions? How many coup d’états? How many dictatorships were imposed during the long and dark 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean, and who did it favor? Did it favor the Peoples? What interests did they represent? The interests of the transnational companies, the unpopular interests; long dictatorships, like Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, were faced by our peoples due to the stubbornness of the American elites and the Monroe Doctrine to deny the right earned by ourselves to govern our countries the way we need, and build specific economic, political and cultural systems of the region.
That is why I come here, to bring the truth of a fighting people; Venezuela has been targeted by a seemingly never-ending political and media campaign. That is why we bring our homeland’s truth to this honorable UN General Assembly; after the failure published and announced by the New York Times of these illegal, unconstitutional and criminal attempts of regime change, after the democratic presidential election, last May 20th, when I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, obtained 68% of the popular votes through free elections – the 24th election in 19 years, of which 22 have been won by the revolutionary forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at different levels of approval, against the opposition forces of our country; after the failure of the attempted military coups, candidacies and electoral tactics supported by Washington, with the huge electoral victory attained by the People, last August 4th, I was a victim of a terrorist attack with drones that tried to kill me in a military event on one of the main avenues in Caracas. If it had been executed as planned, it would have been a massacre, an assassination of the institutional, political and military high command of our nation, Venezuela.
On August 4th, the perpetrators, the terrorists, those who attacked me with drones – this is the first attack with drones known in the world history of terrorist violence – were captured by the security bodies and State police agencies. The 28 perpetrators were captured thanks to different investigation procedures. They are convicted and sentenced. As I informed to different governments of the world, all the investigations about that terrorist attack indicate that it was prepared, financed and planned in the territory of United States of America. I have informed to the Government of United States – by diplomatic means – the name, the responsibility and the evidences of the intellectual perpetrators, financers and planners of this serious terrorist attack. According to investigations, this attempt and the actual perpetrators – as they have admitted – were trained and prepared for months in Colombian territory under the protection and support of Colombian authorities; and according to the latest investigations and captures – as unveiled to the media – the perpetrators mentioned some of the diplomatic members of the Government of Chile, Colombia and Mexico who would help them to escape after the terrorist attack.
I would like to ask the United Nations system to appoint a special delegate of the Secretariat of the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation internationally about the implications and responsibilities of this terrorist attack perpetrated in our country. Venezuela is opened; the doors of our country and our judicial system are opened in order to determine the direct responsibilities of this aggression, the most serious in the political history of our country for its implications. They tried to provoke a chaos in our homeland, they tried to rip the State’s head off to justify a domestic struggle, a domestic violence and justify the activation of mechanisms beyond the United Nations multilateral system, of a military intervention as occurred in other countries in the past.
Officially, Venezuela proposes -Ambassador, Minister for Foreign Relations – to conduct an independent international investigation to determine the truth about these events. I have expressed to the Government of United States – who has denied its participation in the preparation and execution of these attempts -, that it will be great if they heed my call to include high-level FBI professionals and scientists in this investigation to clarify and help the Venezuelan justice to find the truth.
When I arrived in New York this the afternoon, I heard that some journalists had asked President Donald Trump if he was willing to meet with Maduro (that’s how people call me) with Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela. Apparently, President Donald Trump in one of his today’s interventions said that if it helps Venezuela, he was willing to do so. Well, I ratify on this platform, that despite the great historical differences, ideological and social differences – since I am a worker, a bus driver, a man of the people, I am not a rich man, I am not a millionaire – despite all the differences deemed as enormous, the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, is willing to shake hands with the U.S President. I am willing to sit and talk about the bilateral differences and the matters of our region.
I believe so. Venezuela is a friendly country. Venezuelans do not hate the United States; on the contrary, we appreciate the United States, their culture, their arts, their society. We differ from the imperial concepts that took over the political power in Washington since the foundation of that nation.
In 1826, our Liberator Simon Bolivar said prophetically: “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with hunger and misery in the name of liberty”.
It was a prophetic vision. It was hard to see at early times the future in the 20th century. Do we have differences President Donald Trump? Of course we do. But differences lead to dialogue. Those who are different are called to put their good will and words on the table. President Donald Trump said he is worried about Venezuela, that he wants to help Venezuela.
Well, I am willing to talk, with an open agenda about the topics that the United States Government wants to discuss, with humility, frankness and honesty. As president of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela raises the flags of dialogue among civilizations. As president of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela permanently promotes and practices the political and international dialogue, the solution of the international conflicts through the dialogue, the understanding and the pacific uses of politics and not by force.
Venezuela is significantly experienced in bodies such as OPEC, to manage situations of divergence and build consensus and agreements. Recently, in Algeria, we attended the meeting of the OPEC monitoring committee. It was an extraordinary meeting with the representatives of the monitoring committee, since we are part of it, and the representatives of 24 States with the greatest oil reserves and producers of the world. And despite the cultural, political, geostrategic and geopolitical differences, we reached an agreement, a single voice to continue stabilizing the oil market at fair, reasonable and stable prices.
We believe in the political dialogue as a way to find solutions and solve conflicts. They have tried to demonize the Bolivarian Revolution through an unprecedented brutal campaign. First, against Commander Hugo Chavez Frias, founder of our Revolution and eternal commander in the heart of Venezuelans, and then against this humble man who is standing here, bringing the voice of a people that supports its Revolution and democratically supports its actions.
Therefore, I reaffirm the desire for international and national political dialogue. I know that governments represented in this room are interested in reaching peace with sovereignty, independence and justice in Venezuela. I welcome all those from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America who wish to help respecting the country’s sovereignty, without interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs so that they can support us, join us in a process of sovereign dialogue for Venezuela’s peace, democracy, justice, future and prosperity; a noble nation which deserves peace, a future and the best.
We bring good news from a country that has not given up and shall not do so. Good news from a nation that is consolidating its democracy; good news from a country that is building its own social model, its own welfare state by means of new formulas to protect its elders, its pensioners, its children, its young people, its women, the neediest sectors, its working class. We also bring good news regarding the efforts for an economic recovery; in fact, I activated, in August, an Economic Recovery, Growth and Prosperity Program which is succeeding in placing the bases of a new economy, not dependent on oil revenues, a diversified economy, of sustainable growth and prosperity building, heading towards a new kind of social model.
We believe in a different world; our generation witnessed the so-called bipolar world, the so-called Cold War which some apparently want to bring back again through attacks against China, Russia and modest countries like Venezuela. However, provoking a fight against countries like Russia and China is a contradiction of what a humanitarian international policy should be, meaning one which recognizes the emergence of new poles of power and the need to build a multipolar world.
Venezuela is a country which advocates for and is committed to the construction of a pluripolar and multicentric world, where all the different regions (Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and North America) can live together in balance and peace, respecting our cultures, religions, idiosyncrasies, identities and economic and political models. There is not a unique economic model; we must not allow the imposition of a single cultural model, a single political model; they intend to impose a single thought for humanity. I say no. We vindicate the cultural, religious and political diversity of humanity of this world. Therefore, in the Non-aligned Movement, we advocate for the emergence of such a world of justice.
We assume and declare our solidarity with the Arab people of Palestine; justice shall arrive to Palestine so that their historic territories, established in 1967 by this United Nations Organization, are respected.
We carry with us the flag of the Palestinian people. We support the UN call for an end to the infamous and criminal 50-year-blockade against the Cuban people. We have had enough of anachronistic methods that they intend to continue imposing against the Cuban people, and now against other peoples like Venezuela.
So we raise our two hands to vote on the United Nations Resolution, which in the next few days will be carried out to reject the blockade and economic-financial persecution against Cuba, and demand its immediate lifting, in a world to be built, in a world to be made.
200 years ago, our region was plagued by colonies, slavery and injustice. 100 years ago, as peoples, we struggled for freedom. Today, in the 21st century, the moment has come, the opportunity has come. Undoubtedly, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with Simon Bolivar’s revolutionary ideas, with the example and legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez – whose voice still resonates here in this room demanding justice and justice for the world, demanding the cessation of the imperial practices of threats, coercion and extortion against peoples – we can say that in 20 years of revolution, the last 3 have been the hardest years: years of harassment, aggressions and attacks.
Today, on September 26th, 2018, I can say that we have faced political, media, diplomatic, economic and financial persecutions, but I also can say that today Venezuela is stronger than ever. We have learnt how to resist and draw the strength from our historic roots to stand up, victorious and willing to continue advancing in the construction of our own social model, which it is the Socialist Revolution of the 21st century; we say it to the four winds, it is a new revolution, of independence, dignity and justice.
Today, we are stronger than ever. Yes, I was a witness, we were witnesses two days ago of the tribute to Nelson Mandela; speaking about Mandela is speaking about rebellion. Many people have tried to create a wrong picture of Mandela like a dump person, somebody who did not fight. Mandela is synonym of rebellion against injustice, bravery, courage and the challenge to the oppressors. We are followers of Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the great African leaders who have raised the struggle for equality, justice and against slavery, racism and colonialism in all its forms.
We saw the tribute to Nelson Mandela and we thought how much this world has changed. Just 30 years ago Mandela was considered a terrorist by the United States Congress and the North American governments. Just a few years ago Nelson Mandela was still on the list of sanctioned people. It may sound familiar to you: Nelson Mandela, the terrorist, the sanctioned, the persecuted, and the abandoned. The world has changed a lot since then. Currently, Nelson Mandela is a flag that we embrace with love, with conviction. He is a symbol of what it is possible to do if the rebellion, the struggle, and justice are able to conquer the noble hearts and minds of the peoples.
I trust in the future of humanity, in the destiny of my country, in the common future of this community represented here in the United Nations Organization, and I must say, after having resisted coup d’état attempts, terrorist attacks, that: I trust the human being, the future of humanity. Venezuela says to the United Nations: We trust in the noble ideals of the Venezuelan people that do not give up, and will not surrender. Thank you very much, dear compatriots of the world. Count on Venezuela for the great causes of the future of this organization, and the future of a multipolar world! Good evening to all of you, thank you.
September 30 2018
met in New York on Sept. 28, 2018. | Photo: Prensa Latina
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with renowned U.S. actor Robert De Niro Friday where the importance of cultural ties between two countries was discussed. The actor asked the governments of Cuba and the U.S. not to build cultural walls between people and rather build bridges to connect them.
The meeting took place in the Dakota building in front of which musician John Lennon was assassinated, in New York city where apart from De Niro, producer and executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival Jane Rosenthal, Katie Holmes, Alex, and Carol Rosenberg, founders and organizers of the Havana Film Festival in New York and other artists, philanthropists, and cultural promoters from the U.S. were present.
Criticizing the current Trump administration’s approach to Cuba, De Niro added, “While there are many problems between the two countries, I hope they eventually disappear, but the current (U.S.) President is not helping with the situation.”
Diaz-Canel expressed his gratitude for being invited by the U.S. artists and wished for more cultural ties in the future. He also recalled artistic links between the two countries giving examples like links in jazz, Ernest Hemingway’s closeness with Cuba, etc.
The president congratulated the successful Festival Artes de Cuba held at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. in March which saw the participation of more than 400 Cuban artists.
He also highlighted Cuba’s artistic education system which is universal, free and of high quality, despite U.S. blockade on Cuba.
De Niro also expressed his fondness of Cuba, a country he visited twice. “I love going to Cuba, I did not know I was so known there, people took pictures of me, they followed me, I was surprised, it was something wonderful,” he said.
Both the Cuban president and the actor reiterated their support for building stronger cultural ties as according to De Niro, “politics comes and goes, but culture remains.”