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.”
September 27 2018
Díaz-Canel and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro spoke at an event organized in solidarity with the two nations, in the emblematic New York church
President Díaz-Canel repeated Fidel’s historic visit to the Riverside Church back in 2000. Photo: Leticia Martínez
Located in Upper Manhattan, New York, and bordering the renowned neighborhood of Harlem, the Riverside Church has been the scene of memorable speeches by numerous historic leaders, such as Martin Luther King, who on April 4, 1967, delivered his famous sermon entitled “A Time to Break Silence (Declaration Against the Vietnam War); and Nelson Mandela, shortly after his release in 1990.
Harlem became a symbol of solidarity with Cuba on September 18, 1960, when then Prime Minister, Fidel Castro Ruz, arrived in New York heading the Cuban delegation to participate in the 15th Session of the UN General Assembly. Due to the attacks of the Eisenhower administration, which forbade him from leaving the island of Manhattan, the Cuban leader was welcomed at Harlem’s Hotel Theresa, where he held meetings with Malcom X, and with the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, among other personalities.
Forty years later, on September 8, 2000, the leader of the Cuban Revolution would repeat the visit to this New York neighborhood, on the occasion of the UN Millennium Summit,and deliver a speech at this same church.
DÍAZ-CANEL REPEATS FIDEL’S HISTORIC VISIT
The President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba received a warm welcome in the historic Riverside Church, where he was surrounded by friends of the island.
He was also joined by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was welcomed with cries of “Long live Venezuela!”
Two young doctors, Joaquin Morante and Sitembile Sales, who trained at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, thanked Cuba for its solidarity and commitment to train young people from all over the world for the benefit of those most in need in their own countries. “We will follow the example of the Cuban people,” they noted.
Next to speak to the enthusiastic crowd was President Nicolás Maduro. “I came to New York, to the United Nations, to bring the truth of the Venezuelan people. I also wanted to return to this historic church in Harlem and reiterate our love and commitment, and share this moment with our brother Miguel Díaz-Canel and the people of Cuba,” he stated.
“We have been victims of immense imperialist aggression, but today I can say that the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela is still standing, alive and victorious,” Maduro concluded, to huge applause.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel began his speech by reiterating the fraternal relations and common struggle of Cuba and Venezuela. “Today at the United Nations, two sister peoples raised their voices. Venezuela denounced all the aggression to which it has been subjected and also ratified its decision to continue the Bolivian revolution, as a legacy faithful to Comandante Chávez,” he noted.
“Cuba also raised its voice with Venezuela, to support Venezuela, to support Nicaragua, to support Puerto Rio, to support Latin America, to support the Palestinian and Saharawi people, and to support all the just causes of the world. And also to denounce, once again, the unjust blockade that, for almost 60 years, the United States has imposed on us,” he continued.
“For Maduro, for Venezuela, for the Cuban delegation, it is very emotive to be here with you, friends of Cuba and Venezuela here in New York. Miracles like these happen in this city only here, in the Riverside Church,” the Cuban President stated, before stressing that this meeting, in a cathedral of faith and solidarity, was a gathering of brothers and sisters, of friends, of equals.
“Fidel taught us that to cooperate with other exploited and poor peoples was always a political principle of the Revolution and a duty to humanity,” Díaz-Canel explained.
“Cuba also owes a lot to international solidarity and to the help of many friends and activists here in the United States, among whom are many Cuban residents,” he continued.
“The most recent demonstration of this was the fight for the return of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters and, before that, the return of little Elian to Cuba,” the Cuban leader noted.
He stressed that bilateral relations with the United States continue to be characterized by the economic blockade, which constitutes an obstacle to the development of the Cuban people and has caused huge deprivation to Cuban families.
The solidarity event concluded with performances by local dance groups in honor of the guests.
Source: La Santa Mambisa
September 29 2018
Words of President Miguel Díaz-Canel at the meeting with Cubans residing in the United States
Good evening, compatriots:
Compatriots. I was thinking about that word: compatriots. It sounds so common when you’re in the Homeland and so special when you’re away from it. I was wondering if that only happens to Cubans, because of what Martí said about the tenderness mystery of our people, about “that sweetest word: Cuban …” or it only happens here, in officially hostile territory.
This is my first visit to New York and, as you will suppose, I bring a very intense program, inside and outside the High Level Segment of the United Nations General Assembly, but I wanted you to know that we are committed to finding the space to share with you , Cubans and Cubans residing in the United States.
In less than two months it will be the 40th anniversary of the so-called “First Dialogue of the Cuban Government with people representing the Cuban community abroad” or “Dialogue of 78”.
Although I was a student recently admitted to the University, I remember very well that first contact, for the documentary “55 brothers”, where some of you appear so young that now it is difficult to identify them.
In the family separated by emigration, that dialogue had a tremendous impact. And in those that we did not have emigrated family, also, because anyone had a girlfriend, a classmate or a neighbor who emigrated to the United States, so I think that nobody was indifferent to that meeting from which the first momentous changes in the Cuban migration policy and in the treatment of our nationals abroad.
The fundamental objective was then and continues today to strengthen and strengthen ties with Cubans living abroad.
The meeting was November 20 and 21, 1978, a period -of those that have always lasted little in relations with our powerful neighbor- in which discrete changes began to take place in the policy of the United States government toward Cuba.
The first bilateral diplomatic contacts had already been established and there was a growing trend of peaceful and constructive rapprochement of our community residing abroad with their country of origin.
But that was still a difficult stage to develop our ties. The terrorism originated in the United States against Cuba continued generating a degree of distrust that forced to prioritize the defense of the country and made it difficult to approach, even with the willingness of both parties to advance in the rapprochement.
In spite of the difficulties, the tendency in favor of understanding and links was imposed year after year, with concrete advances.
Emigration ceased to be politically homogeneous and ceased to be called “exile” in block, with the impetus of new migrants and new generations of Cubans and despite the minority and extremist current that still promotes confrontation among Cubans living abroad. and his country.
Today, as in 1978, our Government wants to reiterate its willingness to continue developing a frank and broad dialogue with our nationals abroad, based on mutual respect, respect for Cuba’s sovereignty and independence and with the commitment of end the unjust blockade imposed on our people.
I do not forget for a second the price that the community of Cubans living in the United States and Puerto Rico had to pay, even in lives, for opening the rough road, full of dangers and difficulties that has brought us to this moment. And I would like to pay tribute, especially to the initiators and their martyrs: Carlos Muñiz Varela and Eulalio Negrín Santos.
Unfortunately Carlos’s son, Carlos Muñiz Pérez, could not join us tonight. His father was murdered in Puerto Rico on April 28, 1979, for promoting the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, a purpose for which Cubans abroad continue to fight.
Indispensable in an encounter like this, the evocation of José Martí, architect and tireless promoter of the unity among all Cubans, in function of the supreme objective: the struggle for independence, sovereignty and self-determination of Cuba.
As the 150th anniversary of the beginning of our wars for independence and the 60th anniversary of the Revolution approaches, we return to the national history seeking to interpret its visible and secret springs and unity appears to us as the central, determining element. Every time it failed, we lost. Only when we shield it, we won. Martí saw it before anyone else and therefore founded a Party for the nation, not two or ten for the useless fight that confronts and weakens.
It is those fundamental contributions of José Martí that bring us together around their legacy as they brought together many of us in this room to participate in the act in which the equestrian statue was unveiled in the 13 de Marzo de La Habana park Old, to pay just tribute to the 165th anniversary of his birth. By pure coincidence today exactly 8 months of that unforgettable act.
That beautiful replica of the statue that exists for many years here in New York, synthesizes the Cuban passion for our National Hero and that the project came to a happy conclusion was the work of many, among them some of you, Cuban and Cuban residents in the U.S. To all those who in one way or another contributed to the success of such a beautiful purpose, I reiterate our gratitude.
This meeting is for us, too, a tribute to the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, principal architect of the strengthening of ties with Cubans living abroad.
His strategic vision, continued by the First Secretary Raúl Castro Ruz, led us to promote the most profound immigration reform carried out during the last 60 years, the cornerstone of our government’s policy towards its nationals abroad.
Let me confirm that the strengthening of the links between Cuba and its nationals abroad is continuous and irreversible, as a sign of the continuity of the Revolution and the unity of the Nation.
Irrefutable example of that continuity and unprecedented fact until today, is the decision that all Cubans abroad, without exception, participate actively and totally voluntarily in the debate on the Project of new Constitution that Cubans want to give us for the present and the future of the Homeland.
Any of you who have recently been in the country can attest to the extraordinary popular mobilization around that consultation. And I urge you to contribute your opinions to the improvement and development of our Nation: sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable.
In Cuba we say that none of us only knows and can as much as all of us together “and in that whole we include you.
Only the consensus of what we all contribute will lead to the construction of a society that is ever more just and inclusive and will prevail in Marti’s preaching that the “First Law of our Republic is the cult of Cubans to the full dignity of man”.
The participation of Cubans living outside the country in this debate process is consistent with our participatory democracy and a mirror of the current moment of our history, characterized, among other aspects, by growing and diverse links among Cubans living in the country. abroad and its country of origin.
At this point, let me exemplify with figures the impact of this process, which has allowed the strengthening of these links between the Nation and Cubans residing abroad, taking as a point of reference a before and after January 14 2013, the date on which a set of migratory measures that work with total normality and have been widely accepted.
- More than 5 years after its application, the increase in departures from the country with current passports continues, a period in which 2 million 674 thousand 76 trips were made by our nationals.
- In parallel, there is a sustained increase in the entry of Cubans living abroad, mainly from the United States. From January 14, 2013 to January 14, 2018 there were 2 million 080 043 entries, of which 1 million 585 575 from the United States.
- In 2017, 432 786 entries were from that country, a record figure in this indicator. In the first seven months of 2018, they reach 301 987, which means a growth of 20%, compared to the same period in 2017. From this trend it is foreseeable that for the first time in 2018 the figure of half a million will be exceeded. of travels of Cubans residing in the United States to our country.
However, it will not be possible to achieve completely normal relations in the migratory field until the Congress of this country abrogates or eliminates the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act, which stimulates the continuity of an irregular flow and restricts the possibility of Cubans to obtain visas for Visit the United States and establish normal contacts with your family members.
These data are irrefutable and show that today, Cubans travel increasingly, do not emigrate massively.
This is the result of Cuba’s constant and growing steps in migration matters; despite the fact that, unfortunately, since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the United States government used migration from our country as the spearhead of its policy of aggression against Cuba.
Today, no one disputes that the vast majority of Cubans abroad, and their families in Cuba, supported and support the process towards the normalization of relations between Havana and Washington, which began on December 17, 2014, interrupted unilaterally by the current US administration with the complicity of minority but extremely reactionary sectors of the Cuban community in this country.
Following the Presidential National Security Memorandum on the Strengthening of United States Policy towards Cuba, signed and released by President Trump on June 16, 2017, in Miami, at an event whose insulting invoice offends history and dignity of our people, has resumed the old and unsuccessful formula to intensify the blockade and subversion against Cuba.
To this is added the suspension of consular services in Havana and the expulsion of a large number of Cuban diplomatic officials in Washington and their families, many of whom worked in our only Consulate in this country, with the consequent negative impact on thousands of Cubans who require these services and the effects on their right to travel and even emigrate, if that is their wish.
The mandatory transfer to Colombia and Guyana – to this last country as of June of this year – of Cuban citizens wishing to obtain immigrant visas, and third countries for all Cubans who wish to obtain a visa to travel temporarily to the United States , makes the process practically unviable, demanding high economic, human and safety costs for travelers.
For our part, we have reiterated the willingness to talk with the government of the United States, on the basis of equality and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country, as well as to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest.
We will continue working to preserve the spaces of exchange established in recent years. For that reason, from the first moment, our Government decidedly supported the Project “Arts of Cuba” with which, more than 400 Cuban artists who live and work inside and outside the Island, recently showed the best of our culture to the American people in the Lincoln Center of this own city.
If the regression in relations has not been greater, as was the desire of the anti-Cuban ultra right, based in South Florida, and of some allies within the Government, all interested and benefited in maintaining an atmosphere of confrontation between both countries, it has been due to the strong opposition of numerous sectors and personalities in the United States, including you, who along with other Cubans who reside in different countries, were able to verify and receive the benefits of a different relationship with Cuba.
I urge you to continue working to enforce the will of 63% of Cubans living in this country, who advocate the end of the blockade, according to the most recent survey of the International University of Florida (FIU), one of whose authors It’s Professor Guillermo Grenier.
Putting an end to the blockade, we would be eliminating, without doubt, the main obstacle to the economic development of Cuba and to relations with the United States and with the compatriots living here.
At the conclusion of the “Dialogue of 78,” the Commander-in-Chief emphasized to the participants: “Do not be discouraged by someone’s bad faith. Never be discouraged by campaigns, intrigues, lies, insults. Hold on to the conviction that you have done something absolutely right, the most correct thing to do. And I am sure that both you and we will always be satisfied with this effort that we have made together. “
Just in twelve days, we will mark one more anniversary of the Demajagua shout. 150 years ago, the revolutionary uprising led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes launched the Cubans, forever, on the long road to the struggle for independence and the Forge of the Nation.
Since then, it has been an extremely difficult task, and faced by dangers and threats, in the conditions of a small country, victim of colonialism and slavery and very close to a power in expansion. The struggle of the Cubans for their sovereignty has been and is an epic in time and Cubans who today do not live in the country have a legitimate participation. That was the spirit that the Dialogue of 78 gave us.
I urge you to strengthen unity for the sake of independence, the sovereignty of our country, and the elimination of the blockade, and I reiterate our deepest will to continue strengthening ties with all Cubans of good will, as well as our thanks for the innumerable signs of support and solidarity that have given us in this long struggle and these days in officially hostile territory.
We will never forget the opportunity you have given us today to approach the extended Fatherland in you, here in the same city where they say that the humble Cuban émigrés gave Martí the title of Apostle.
The weeks and months to come, reserve us the intensity of the creation of a new law of laws, which you also have to enrich with your analyzes and contributions. Together we will fulfill the Martian yearning of a Republic with everyone and for the good of all.
“That is my dream,” said the Apostle in Tampa, “everybody’s dream: the palms are brides waiting and we have to put justice as high as the palms.” We count on you. We are Cuba.
Thank you very much.
(Unofficial version taken from The Sleepless Pupil )
It is impossible to be here, speak from this rostrum on behalf of Cuba, and not recall historic moments of the General Assembly which are also part of our dearest memories: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro and the “Chancellor of Dignity”, Raúl Roa, just to mention the most significant, have brought here not only the voice of our people but also the voice of other Latin American and Caribbean, African, Asian, non-aligned peoples, with whom we have shared more than half a century of struggles for a fair international order, which is still far off being attained.
It is absurd but consistent with the irrationality of a world in which the richest 0.7% of the population owns 46% of all the wealth, while the poorer 70% of the population can access only 2.7% of it; 3.460 billion people survive in poverty; 815 million go hungry; 758 million are illiterate and 844 million lack basic services of drinking water. All these figures, by the way, are prepared and regularly used by global organizations, but it seems that they have failed to raise sufficient awareness of the so-called international community.
These realities, Madam President, are not the result of socialism, like the President of the United States said yesterday here. They are the consequence of capitalism, especially imperialism and neoliberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to that system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.
Capitalism consolidated colonialism. It gave birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid and spread wars and conflicts; the breaches of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; repression of workers, minorities, refugees and migrants. Capitalism is the opposite of solidarity and democratic participation. The production and consumption patterns that characterize it, promote plundering, militarism, threats to peace; they generate violations of human rights and are the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.
No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, who have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems.
The truth is that while it is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change, 1.74 trillion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.
Climate change is another unavoidable reality and a matter of survival for the human species, particularly for Small Island Developing States. Some of its effects are already irreversible.
Scientific evidence indicates there is an increase of 1.1° C relative to pre-industrial levels, and that 9 out of 10 persons living in urban areas breathe polluted air.
However, the United States, one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today, refuses to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans.
In addition, and as if there were not enough threats to humanity and its dazzling creations, it is a fact that the military and nuclear hegemonism of imperialism is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment with this goal, on January 31, it became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
In this organization that was born out of the human desire to overcome the destruction left by a terrible war with the dialogue between nations, it is not possible to keep quiet about the danger looming over all of us, with the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions”, the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called “soft coups” and interference in other States’ internal affairs, recurrent forms of action by some powers, using the most diverse excuses.
The international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all is a must. However, its discriminatory and selective manipulation with claims of domination, violates the rights to peace, self-determination and development of the peoples.
Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of the information and communication technologies to attack other states.
The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and rules of International Law to advance towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world, are required in order to ensure peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions for systemic problems.
Against that logic, the threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions which increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the U.S. government and its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council in order to impose their political agenda, pose huge challenges and threats within the United Nations itself.
Why don’t we just implement the promised strengthening of the General Assembly as the main organ of deliberation, decision and representation. The reform of the Security Council must not be delayed or prevented, as this organ is in need of adjusting to the times by democratizing its membership and working methods.
Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of humanity, and I quote: “We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs”.
More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.
Our America is currently undergoing a stage of persistent threats, inconsistent with the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, signed in Havana by the Heads of States and Government on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in 2014.
The current U.S. administration has proclaimed the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine and, in a new deployment of its imperial policy in the region, is attacking Venezuela with special cruelty.
It is in this threatening context that we wish to reiterate our absolute support to the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and its legitimate and democratic government, led by the constitutional President Nicolas Maduros Moros. We reject the intervention attempts and sanctions against Venezuela, aimed at suffocating her economically and hurting Venezuelan families.
We likewise reject the attempts at destabilizing the Nicaraguan government, a country of peace that has made remarkable social, economic and public safety progress in favor of its people.
We denounce the politically-motivated imprisonment of former president Luiz Incicio Lula da Silva, and the decision to prevent the people from voting and electing Brazil’s most popular leader to the Presidency.
We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations who demand legitimate reparation for the horrible effects of slavery as well as the fair, special and differential treatment that they deserve.
We reaffirm our historic commitment with the self-determination and independence of our brother people of Puerto Rico.
We support Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands.
We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two States, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against the civilian population in Gaza.
We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Saharan people, and support the search for a final solution to the question of Western Sahara, which will allow the exercise of self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.
We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed in
Syria, without foreign interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention, carried out without the legitimate authorities of the country.
The continued expansion of NATO towards Russian borders is causing serious threats, worsened by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.
We demand compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear deal.
We welcome the process of rapprochement and dialogue among the Koreas. This is the way to achieve a lasting peace, reconciliation and stability in the Korean peninsula. At the same time, we strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unfair sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and foreign interference in Korean internal affairs.
The violations of the rules of international trade and the sanctions against China, the European Union and other countries will bring about harmful effects, particularly for developing States.
We favor dialogue and cooperation, thanks to which we can report today that the Cuba-EU Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation has provisionally entered into force and is a good foundation to develop beneficial ties between the Parties.
The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to artificially fabricate under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody’s interests.
This in contrast to the fact that we have formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas.
Our peoples share increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, which are expressed in the arts, sports, science, the environment, among others. The potential for a fluent business relationship is well known and a genuine and respectful understanding would be in the interest of the entire region.
However, the essential and defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade, which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order. It is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire Nation.
It is the most comprehensive and long-standing system of economic sanctions ever implemented against any country. It has been and continues to be a major obstacle to the country’s development and to the realization of the aspirations to progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.
As has been said for so many years in this same place, due to its aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.
On behalf of the Cuban people, I would like to thank this General Assembly for the virtually unanimous rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against my country.
Nevertheless, the actions of the U.S. government against my country go farther. They include public and covert programs of gross interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. To this end, tens of millions of dollars that are officially allocated in its budget are used, in violation of the standards and principles upon which this organization rests, and in particular, of Cuba’s sovereignty as an independent nation.
Cuba stands ready to develop respectful and civilized relations with the U.S. government on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. This is the will of the Cuban people and we know this is a shared aspiration by most U.S. citizens and, particularly, by Cubans living there.
We shall continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to our people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.
Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and an equal footing. We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditionalities.
In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!
The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable Nations. This is the path that our people has freely chosen.
The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.
In this conviction, we began a constitutional reform process, a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum. I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.
The principles of foreign policy will remain unchanged. As the First Secretary of our Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, said in his statement on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the United Nations, and I quote: “The international community will always be able to count on the Cuba’s sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being”.
The Cuba on behalf of which I speak today is the proud successor of that independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity policy with the poorest of this world, producers of all the wealth on the planet, although the unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty on behalf of words like democracy, freedom and human rights, words which the rich have actually emptied of meaning.
It has been exciting and pleasant to take the floor at the same rostrum from which Fidel expressed powerful truths 58 years ago that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen of worthy green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade.
I bid you farewell in the hope that the noble aspirations of most of Humanity will be achieved before younger generations take this rostrum to demand the same as we do today, and our historic predecessors did in yesteryear.
Thank you very much.