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.
Doctors Joaquin Morante and Sitembile Sales, who trained at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, expressed their eternal gratitude to Cuba. Photo: Leticia Martínez
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.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros was welcomed with cries of “Long live Venezuela!” Photo: Leticia Martínez
“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.
During his stay in New York Fidel participated in an act of solidarity with Cuba in the Riverside Church in Harlem, in Manhattan. Photo: Estudios Revolución
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.
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.
He died on Saturday September 15 in Buenos Aires, at 86 years Roberto Guevara, brother of Che. Roberto was the fourth son of the Guevara de la Serna family.
As Ernesto and his other brothers he grew up in a progressive family. This influence will lead him to become involved in the Argentine left, even more so when his brother Ernesto “Che” Guevara becomes one of the Commanders of the Cuban Revolution.
His younger brother Juan Martín remembers his two brothers: “Roberto and Ernesto were very close until adolescence. They moved with the same bar of friends. Roberto was not as touched or a vagabond as Ernesto. He was sedentary, reasonable. He was always a good student, he became a lawyer, he married a young girl with a good family Matilde Lezica, with whom he had five children; settled in San Isidro; Later, she separated, remarried and had two other children. Like every good lawyer, everything was done according to the rules. “
Just as Ernesto pursues a career in medicine to help sick people, Roberto dreams of defending the most needy, of the injustices that were committed and decides to study law.
Then upon receiving, he tries to put a study. The task was not easy, because it lacked resources. It is there that what was the “Nana” of the children of the Guevara, the “Gallega” Carmen Arias and her husband Alfredo Gabela, lends him the money to rent the office and furnish it. This Galician was the one that had given her the nickname “Tete” to Ernestito when they lived in the yerbatera plantation in Misiones.
The Guevara, despite the myths that they were from a wealthy family, were very far from that reality. They always lived as a middle class family, even impoverished.
Roberto manages to reunite with his brother the “Che”, when he made his trip to Punta del Este. There several of his brothers and relatives accompanied him during some days in Uruguay. This would be the last time both brothers saw each other. With the assassination of Ernesto Guevara in Bolivia in 1967, Roberto moved to this country on October 11, as a representative of the family and as a lawyer, in order to verify the truth of his death. The Bolivian military authorities hide the body and Roberto returns with many doubts about the veracity of his death. For this reason, he travels to Cuba and meets with Fidel Castro, who confirms that his brother was murdered on October 9.
During the 70s, he joined the PRT-ERP with his brother Juan Martín, an Argentine Guevarist organization run by Roberto Santucho.
Juan Martín was arrested on March 5, 1975, becoming hostage of the military after the coup d’état. During his prison, it was Roberto who practiced as his lawyer, at very difficult times, for those who defended political prisoners.
It was not until March 10, 1983 that he was released. While Roberto left for exile, after Videla’s coup d’etat. In these circumstances he was named Secretary General of the PRT, by one of the fractions in which this party was divided.
In October of 1981 Roberto is arrested in Mexico accused of participating in the kidnapping of the niece of the candidate for the presidency by the National Action Party (rightist), Pablo Emilio Madero. A few days later on October 28 he is released.
Upon returning from European exile, Roberto and his other companions founded the Movement in Defense of National Heritage (MODEPA). This small organization was closely linked to the Argentine Communist Party, forming part of the foundation of the People’s Front.
Since the death of Che the family made a pact of silence. Just a few years ago, Juan Martín became the family spokesperson. While Roberto and his sister Celia avoided any public declaration.
A few years ago breaking with this family commitment of silence, Roberto received me in his office in the Courts area, with the agreement previously agreed to speak only of the “Gallega” Carmen Arias. At that time I was making a documentary about the life of Che’s Nana. Another requirement was not to take pictures or film. Only record the audio of the interview.
As always in these cases, Che’s goblin was around in the interview.
In these last years I tried without luck, to be able to interview him again. As it happens in many cases, his death won me by the hand.
On behalf of the Guevarista International we tell you.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he talks to the media during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Sept. 18, 2018.
| Photo: Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he may not attend the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York over fear of his life.
During Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s press conference Tuesday (Sept. 18) he says he is unsure of whether he’ll participate in the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York that starts this week for safety concerns.
“You know they have me in their sights to kill me … I want to go to New York, but I have to take care of my security,” Maduro said at a news conference, without elaborating.
Maduro has several times accused Venezuelan ex-military officers of conspiring to overthrow his government with the help of U.S factions based out of Florida. The head of state has also said that Colombian right-wing factions are also to blame for the attempt on his life.
Venezuela’s president survived an attack on his life during a military parade celebrating the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard in the capital of Caracas on Aug. 4. “They have tried to assassinate me today, and everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right and the Colombian ultra-right,” Maduro said the same day.
Seven soldiers were injured in the event. Dozens of suspects have been arrested, including several military officials.
In recent days the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro hinted toward military action against Venezuela. During a three-day visit to Colombia, the secretary general said: “As for a military intervention (in Venezuela) we should not rule out any option. … Diplomatic action is the place to start, but we must not rule out any actions.”
After being denounced by the communist party of his own country of Uruguay, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and even the right-wing Lima Group, Almagro denied saying he made any mention of military action in the South American country. He then compared the economic situation in Venezuela with the Rwandan genocide.
Maduro has not attended a General Assembly since 2015. The 73rd session began Tuesday and will run until Sept. 30.
Today we discuss the decline of the American Empire in a two-part interview with Chris Hedges about his new book.
Trump was not elected because of the Podesta emails or because of Russian Box on Facebook. Trump was elected because of the massive social inequality and the sense of entrapment, the frustration and the rage on the part of a betrayed working class and they were betrayed primarily by the Democratic Party in this sense because the Democratic Party continued to speak as if it cared and protected their interests and yet, especially under the Clinton administration, sold them down the river.
In his seminal work on moral man and immoral society, the eminent American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr famously observed that no nation has ever made a frank avowal of its real imperial motives.
It always claims to be primarily concerned with the peace and prosperity of the people whom it subjugates. As with its imperial predecessors this has been equally true of the United States for well over a century now. But historians are warning that the age of American Empire is coming to an end.
In his latest book, America The Farewell Tour, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author Chris Hedges argues that the nation is at the precipice of an emerging dystopia and overseeing this descent at the highest levels of government is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists, and war mongering generals.
Chris is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, a former war correspondent and author of eleven books.
I am pleased and honored that he joins me now On Contact to discuss his latest work.
Hello Chris, thank you and it’s a pleasure to see you again …don’t do too good a job … well I really can’t after such an excellent book and this is certainly long overdue. You write that short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt the collapse of the American Empire appears unstoppable meaning that the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or at most two.
That’s a very narrow window.
Well, all the signs are there. Seventy, roughly seventy percent of the American population are living in severe economic distress; the complete paralyzation of the political system; it’s been captured by this corporate cabal and redirected all of the institutions and mechanisms of government to their own enrichment and consolidation of power, the burlesque that now takes the place of political the political process especially the electoral process, the burlesque which takes the place of the news on CNN which it’s all about revenue it’s all about it’s not about news anymore it’s that fusion of entertainment or I would say the masquerading of entertainment ,trivia celebrity, celebrity gossip as news and the de-industrialization of the country …
Forces on the left are mobilizing in Latin America and the Caribbean to confront the right wing offensive which, encouraged and financed by the United States, is underway in the region, with the use of strategies meant to foment political destabilization and discredit progressive governments in power and former elected leaders.
Political leaders, intellectuals, and representatives of social movements are evaluating the unfavorable correlation of forces developing over the last few years, and charting action plans, taking the victory of progressive candidate
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in Mexico, as a positive sign.
“The storm arrived and shut the window opened at the end of the 90s… The question now posed, for the Brazilian left especially, is how to open the window again,” recently wrote Valter Pomar, a member of Brazil’s Workers’ Party and a professor of International Affairs at the Federal University, in his essay on how to move forward.
In his opinion, the left needs strong candidates to challenge the right in elections, but this is not enough since the strategic “utility” of legislators and government leaders rises and falls in accordance with political perspectives and the level of organization outside of the institutional environment, implying the need for a change in methods on the left, and a recovery of spaces lost alongside the working class.
In Latin America, “The challenge for this possible left is that of building alternatives to capitalism in the economic field, where the current plan is the Uber-ization of the economy; total deregulation – except when the state is needed to dismantle a progressive gain; but above all, build alternatives in the cultural field, challenge capitalist hegemony in the cultural (and media) environment to construct a people, not consumer citizens deluded with false middle class hopes,” writes political analyst Katu Arkonada on the teleSUR blog.
Likewise, essayist, journalist, sociologist, university professor, and political analyst Olmedo Beluche, wrote in Rebelión: “Without nationalization of the national banking and financial system, without state control of foreign trade; and without the nationalization of large industries, that is, without truly socialist measures, Latin American governments in general are at the mercy of the bourgeoisie, of imperialism, and economic sabotage, as the case of Venezuela has repeatedly shown.”
This contradiction, he argues, explains the limitations of the left and the difficulty it faces in responding to the offensive being mounted by national right wing forces supported by U.S. imperialism, plus the reformist attitude of leaders who docilely accept the formalities of bourgeois institutions.
The majority of analysts agree that the progressive cycle on the continent is in crisis, but not coming to an end. Although some popular governments were removed from office via elections (Argentina) or through semi-legal or judicial maneuvers (Brazil), the progressive era’s hard core of change has not collapsed: Bolivia and Venezuela, accompanied by Nicaragua and the Cuban Revolution.
“The two projects, along with Nicaragua and Cuba, which propose going beyond capitalist relations in the long run, are on their feet, indicating that the strategic battle of our time is defending these processes,” as was made clear during the 24th annual meeting of the São Paulo Forum, held in Havana this past July.
At this gathering of the region’s political forces, proposals were made for sustained action based on the idea that government positions won by the left must reinforce their legitimate hegemony and build popular power. Peoples with political consciousness are always the best antidote to the return of the right in the Americas.
STRATEGIES FROM THE LEFT
– Systematically and creatively disseminate the economic, social, and political gains of popular governments that, for one reason or another, have suffered reverses, as well as those which have endured.
– Strengthen a constructive, serene debate on the historic, political, and ideological limitations of each process.
– Seek more efficient mechanisms for organization, consciousness building, and political participation of the social base committed to post-neoliberal change.
– Renovate relations between government political parties and popular movements with nationalist and patriotic positions, taking a favorable position on the need for a state that assures democratic functioning in the construction of consensus.
– Build consensus among segments of society that share, or could share, demands, interests, and revolutionary or progressive change.
– Strengthen the cause of Puerto Rican independence, as a symbol of the anti-colonial struggle to be defended.
– Build active participation of the people and national majorities in the political process of each country.
– Provide decisive support and encourage liberation efforts and anti-capitalist ideas within social movements.
– Promote efforts to advance the integration of what Martí called Our America.
– Support, in all international spaces available, any action taken to reduce the level of domination and hegemony of the United States in our countries, as essential and possible.