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 )