Seven key points to clarify the Washington-Havana discussions

Source:  Granma

May 25, 2015

It has been five months since Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced on December 17 their intention to open a new chapter in relations between the United States and Cuba. 

After an historic meeting between both leaders at the 7th Summit of the Americas, on May 21, the third round of conversations began in Washington, with the goal of raul y obama panama 2015 1advancing toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in both countries,.

Although talks between the U.S. and Cuba are already, in themselves, a milestone for us and cuba hold second round of talkstwo neighboring countries which have lacked formal ties for more than half a century, they only mark the beginning of a much longer and complicated process.

Inaccuracies and distorted information have accompanied this process from the beginning. Granma shares with its readers seven key points which clarify the dimension of what is happening between Havana and Washington and the coming stage.

  1. The two Presidents made a decision, now comes the implementation.

On December 17, among other decisions of importance to both peoplesRaúl Castro and Barack Obama simultaneously announced their intention of re-establishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, severed more than half a century ago.

However, in order for this step to be realized, the Presidents’ decision must now pass through the official channels of their respective countries.

This process is being advanced by the delegations which met in Havana and Washington for various rounds of conversations and technical encounters.
These meetings are important as they establish the bases on which diplomatic relations will operate, so as not to repeat past mistakes.

  1. Neither party has imposed conditions for the reestablishment of relations.

One of the mass media’s main lines of attack against the conversations has been to talk of “conditions” imposed by the two parties.

Both the Cuban and U.S. diplomats have clearly stated that the work environment has been marked by respect and professionalism, with conversations taking place in a climate of reciprocity and free from interference.

What Cuba has done since the beginning of this process is highlight aspects which would must be resolved before further progress can be made; including the end of the country’s unjust inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the restoration of banking services for its mission in Washington, which has been without these services for more than a year.

Reports indicate that both issues are in the process of being resolved.

U.S. representatives have questioned restrictions on the mobility of their staff at a future embassy in Havana (the movements of Cuban diplomats in Washington is currently limited), as well as Cubans’ access to their facilities.

In this regard, Cuba has insisted on the importance of adhering to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, which establishes the importance of observing the laws of the host country and not interfering in its internal affairs.

Members of a mission must be able to interact with citizens of the host country, but also respect local norms, a Cuban diplomat recently explained.

  1. Reestablishment of relations is not the same as normalization of relations

Another common mistake often made, is confusing the process of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the normalization, which is a longer and more complex process.

After embassies have been opened in both capitals, the challenging search for “normality” between both countries, which share a tumultuous history, will begin.

Cuban authorities have highlighted various points which they consider to be vital to addressing normalization: the lifting of the blockade; the return of the illegally occupied Guantanamo Naval base territory, an end to subversive radio and television broadcasts; the cancellation of U.S. plans to promote regime change; and compensation for the damages caused to the Cuban people over half a century of aggression, among others.

It has never been stated that these issues need to be resolved in order to open embassies, as some media agencies have erroneously stated, although U.S. authorities have recognized Cuba’s position.

“Completely normal relations do not include an economic embargo, or economic sanctions,” a U.S. State Department official – who asked to remain anonymous – recently stated.

Without a doubt, this new stage includes discussion of other important issues for both countries. But Cuba has clearly expressed that it can not be expected to “give something in exchange.” Cuba does not apply any sanctions on the United States, nor does it have military bases in U.S. territory, or promote regime change.

Likewise, Cuba has said that the U.S. cannot demand that the country renounce its ideals of independence and social justice, nor cede a millimeter in its defense of national sovereignty.

  1. Washington’s change of policy is a victory for the Cuban people and Latin American integration

It wouldn’t be conceited to recognize, as the majority of the international community has, that Cuba has arrived at this point as a result of almost half a century of heroic struggle and loyalty to its principles.

CELAC 11Likewise, it wouldn’t be possible to analyze a policy change of this magnitude without understanding the new era our region is experiencing, and the firm and courageous demand made by the governments and people of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

In the 2nd CELAC Summit held in Havana, an unprecedented regional document was signed: the declaration of the hemisphere as a Zone of Peace, which recognizes “The inalienable right of every state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to guarantee peaceful coexistence among nations.”

  1. The United States has changed its methods, not its objectives

One of the greatest questions which has followed this process is what does the U.S. policy change entail and how far does it go. There is no easy answer and perhaps it is too early to carry out a thorough analysis.

When President Obama made his announcement, he said that after 50 years of a failed policy, it was time to try something new.

Obama speaking in Panama noted – in reference to Cuba – that “The United States will not be imprisoned by the past – we’re looking to the future.”

However, U.S. authorities have stated on various occasions that its methods, not its objectives, are changing. These objectives have been – since January 1, 1959, to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

In his speech during the 7th Summit of the Americas, Obama commented, “We’re not in the business of regime change,” remarks which filled many with hope.

However, millions of dollars are still being openly channeled toward financing subversion in Cuba, to which must be added other undeclared funds.

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the audience during the closing ceremony of Cuban communist congress in HavanaFor their part, Cuban authorities have never demonstrated naivety. “No one should dream that the new policy announced means acceptance of the existence of a socialist revolution 90 miles from Florida,” said Raúl in his speech during the 3rd CELAC Summit.

  1. Obama can do more

In addition to the December 17 announcement, Obama also implemented a group of measures modifying a small number of blockade regulations, although the aggressive policy remains in force.

obama in congressCuba has recognized Obama’s decision to engage in a debate with Congress in order to put an end to the blockade, something no other U.S. president has done.

Nonetheless, reports by the media that the President “has done everything possible,” are false.

If he is determined, Obama can use his broad executive powers to substantially modify the application of the blockade, even without the approval of Congress.

He could – for example – permit, in other sectors of the economy, all that he has authorized in the arena of telecommunications, with evident objectives of political influence in Cuba.

  1. The issue of sovereignty is no longer off-limits

One of the lessons of the last five months – and perhaps the last year and a half of discreet conversations – has been that Cuba and the U.S. can address any issue as long as it is done within a framework of respect.

Cuba has demonstrated its willingness to discuss topics which have historically been used and manipulated to attack our county, such as democracy, free speech and human rights, about which the nation has much to show and contribute.

Perhaps the most important point of all, and that which summarizes this article, is that the greatest challenge facing Cuba and the United States is establishing a relationship of civilized co-existence based on respect for their profound differences.

Source:  Seven key points   Granma

Ecuador: Regional Destabilization Attempts Linked

Source:  TeleSUR

Ecuador’s president said right-wing opposition groups throughout the region are coordinating their destabilization efforts and using similar tactics. 

Rafael CorreaWith similar discourse and tactics across the region, President Rafael Correa contends that destabilization attempts against Latin America’s progressive governments are being coordinated regionally. He said that there is a concerted effort by the regional right-wing opposition that seeks to bring about regime change.

“In Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, in Bolivia and, in Ecuador we see common criteria. And this is articulated. They are the same strategies, and these actors are in contact,” President Correa told the foreign press. “There is a national articulation of this, and an international articulation.”

Permanent demonstrations, the creation of incidents, and open defiance of the law

Naming the tactics of permanent demonstrations, the creation of incidents, and open defiance of the law, Correa said there is a pattern of actions utilized by the opposition which are seen repeatedly. Analysts have recognized that a common demand of opposition forces is the return of free market economies and the strengthening of the private sector.

“Today we see that there is a concentration of traditional powers that we call in Latin America the traditional right. Who is part of this? High level executives, industrialists, traders, bankers who have been affected by the actions taken by the governments of the new left that are of a social character,” Juan Paz y Miño, a professor at the Catholic University of Ecuador, told teleSUR English.

Psychological warfare being waged on citizens through the media

As part of the opposition’s strategy, President Correa said that there is psychological warfare being waged on citizens through the media, manipulating information to serve the interests of the elite, and that to combat this the region must unite through integration efforts.

Political analyst Edgar Allan Garcia told teleSUR English,“UNASUR and ALBA are playing an important role, and the fact that CELAC had its first full session in Havana, Cuba was a sign for the United States to understand that it cannot continue manipulating the region.”

Regional integration efforts and socially progressive policies

Having identified the existence of transnational cooperation among opposition groups, Latin America’s left-wing governments will continue presenting a united front through regional integration efforts and socially progressive policies.

Source:  President of Ecuador Asserts Regional Destabilization Attempts Linked

Source:  TeleSUR

Ecuador at CELAC meeting: Let us bring tangible benefits to the people

Source:  TeleSUR
May 5 2015

Ecuador’s foreign minister is pushing for the regional organization to move beyond a space for political dialogue and bring tangible benefits to the people.

Ricardo Patiño

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño (L) talks to teleSUR alongside Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, Quito, May 4, 2015. | Photo: Ecuador Foreign Ministry

CELAC foreign ministers are meeting in the capital of Ecuador Tuesday to discuss the regional organization’s political plan, which aims to bring tangible benefits to the people of the region.

An exhaustive consultative process

Specifically the ministers from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will be discussing the 2020 CELAC Development Plan, a document that Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said has undergone an exhaustive consultative process.

CELAC was created in 2011 in order to provide a space for dialogue among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, but Patiño argued that it must go further. “We have seen that the proposal of development for the region is a way for us to connect with our people, space for political dialogue is important, but falls short, our citizens are interested in concrete benefits that the region will receive and there is much that can be achieved with this proposal,” Patiño told teleSUR.

The Ecuadorean foreign minister met Monday with the CELAC Quartet, comprised of Ecuador — as the current pro tempore leader of the organization — Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

How can we be tuned in with our people directly?

In the meeting Patiño further emphasized the need to make the work of CELAC directly relevant to the citizens of the member-states. “Let us have a vision of our development, we should think how we can be tuned in with our people directly, beyond everything that this space for political dialogue represents, we must put forward an additional element so we can go further with CELAC,” said Patiño.

Patiño also met Monday with the foreign ministers of the leftist ALBA bloc of nations, who act in coordination at gathering of larger regional bodies such as CELAC.

Reducing poverty and inequality

The 2020 CELAC Development Plan proposes key development goals, including:

  • reducing extreme poverty and inequality;
  • providing greater support to educational, science and technological initiatives;
  • increasing efforts to protect the environment and combat climate change; and
  • greater investment to infrastructure development.

Source:  CELAC Meeting Proposes Plan to Tackle Poverty, Climate Change  TeleSUR

The 7th Summit of the Americas will be interesting

Source: progresoweekly
Jane Franklin • April 1, 2015

Workers conduct demolition on the White House's North LawnThe White House is desperately trying to preserve the OAS as its primary organization for managing Western Hemisphere Affairs. After all, the Organization of American States is based in Washington and it used to work for the White House. Although it nominally includes all 35 nations of the Western Hemisphere, the Kennedy administration, gearing up for Operation Mongoose, engineered Cuba’s suspension in 1962.  After that, the U.S. president never had to meet the Cuban prime minister or president face-to-face at the OAS Summit.

2012: OAS votes for Cuba

But in 2009 a major change took place: the OAS voted to end Cuba’s suspension. President Obama made it clear he would not attend the next Summit, in 2012, if the president of Cuba attended.

CELAC 11Meanwhile, Latin American and the Caribbean States were creating a different model for the hemisphere – the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. CELAC was formally established in 2011 in Venezuela, with the initiative of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. CELAC includes all 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, and excludes the United States and Canada.

Leaders of Latin American and Caribbean states pose for a photo during the 33-member CELAC summit in CaracasAt the 2012 OAS Summit, the Final Declaration demanded an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and an end to Cuba’s expulsion. The United States and Canada vetoed. So that OAS Summit ended without a Final Declaration.

Embrace Cuba or be isolated

obama troubledWhen several countries planned to boycott the 2015 Summit if Cuba were not present, President Obama had two choices. He could refuse to attend and therefore be totally isolated or he could join in welcoming Cuba back into the OAS and be a statesman!

His decision to try being a statesman contributed to the secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba that began almost two years ago and led to the announcements of last December 17, which included a plan to re-establish relations between the two countries and to release on that very day the three members of the Cuban Five still in U.S. prisons along with the release of Alan Gross, the State Department secret operative who was imprisoned in Cuba. In addition, Cuba would release some other people in prison for spying.

President Obama wanted these announcements to lead to setting up embassies in Havana and Washington before the OAS Summit in April, setting the stage for him to act as a statesman. But there are obviously major obstacles to the establishment of diplomatic relations when the United States continues its trade embargo against Cuba, keeps Cuba on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and occupies Cuban territory at Guantánamo. Yet some progress seemed to be taking place in the first two negotiating sessions.

Venezuela is not a threat to the US

But Washington is Washington. Imperialism is imperialism. And on March 9, a week before a third round of negotiations, President Obama declared that Venezuela is an extraordinary threat to national security. This boomerang returned to its source more rapidly than usual. The whole world could plainly see that it is the United States that threatens the national security of Venezuela, rather than Venezuela threatening the national security of the United States. Perhaps the White House assumed that improved relations with Cuba would muffle reaction to the threat against Venezuela.

Cuba, ALBA in support of Venezuela

To the contrary, President Raúl Castro flew to Venezuela to join ALBA leaders in support of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America is another 21st-century organization that aims for cooperation among Latin American and Caribbean nations, using barters and mutual economic aid. For example, Venezuela provides oil to some countries at subsidized prices. President Obama knows full well how overthrowing the current Venezuelan government would adversely affect those nations.

The New York Times knows this, too, which is why it prefers not to mention the word ALBA. The Times reported that President Castro arrived in Venezuela “for a meeting of left-leaning nations” — not even naming ALBA, much less describing what ALBA signifies.

Meanwhile the third round of negotiations ended quickly after only one day – the day before President Castro flew to Venezuela. In his speech at the ALBA Summit in Caracas, President Castro said, “The United States should understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba.”

The OAS Summit meeting in April in Panama will be interesting.

Jane Franklin is the author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History.  Some of her work is available at http://www.janefranklin.info

Source: The OAS and Cuba-U.S. negotiations progresoweekly

Over 5 Million Signatures against US’ Aggressions on Venezuela

Obama venezuela is not a threat

As of early Sunday morning, 5 million, 1,058 signatures had been collected, Mayor Jorge Rodriguez announced.

Venezuelan officials reported on Sunday that over 5 million signatures have been collected in the campaign against President Barack Obama’s March 9 executive order arbitrarily declaring Venezuela an extraordinary threat to its national security to justify further aggressions against the South American country.

Mayor of the municipality Libertador de Caracas, the country’s capital, Jorge Rodriguez, who also heads the Campaign “ObamaRepealtheDecreeNow,” indicated that as of this Sunday morning just over 5 million signatures had been collected.

The aim – 10 million signatures for the Summit of the Americas

The aim of the campaign is to gather at least 10 million signatures to be presented at the Summit of the Americas, which is scheduled to take place in Panama City next April 10 and 11.

Rodriguez told state-owned Venezuelan Television (VTV) that the campaign has been very well received by Venezuelans, who have gone to the different designated locations in the country to sign the petition.

“As of this Sunday morning, 5 million 1,058 signatures have been collected in solidarity with the defense of the sovereignty of Venezuela,” Rodriguez said.

The mayor condemned Washington’s newest aggressions against Venezuela, and described them as acts of interference in the internal affairs of the country and against the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Widespread condemnation around the world of Obama’s executive order

The Obama executive order on Venezuela has been widely condemned around the world and by international organizations such as the Organization of American States, UNASUR, CELAC, among many others.

A recent poll showed that 92 percent of Venezuelans reject any U.S. intervention in the country, while 64 percent disagreed with sanctions imposed on Venezuelan officials by Washington,  while 62 percent thought that the U.S. government’s perception of what is really happening in Venezuela was wrong.

Source: Over 5 Million Signatures against US’ Aggressions on Venezuela  TeleSUR

4 Million Venezuelans Condemn US Sanctions

The number of signatories to petition calling for an end to sanctions has quadrupled in a matter of days.Over 4 million Venezuelans have signed a petition calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to repeal his executive order on Venezuela, Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodriguez announced Friday.

venezuela protest against imperialismAt the start of this week, the petition had just 1 million signatures.

Over 3.7 million tweets and retweets

Rodriguez told state media the signature drive is likely to heat up even more when volunteers begin a new door-to-door collection campaign on Friday. Online, he stated over 3.7 million tweets and retweets had been made supporting the petition campaign.

Launched just over a week ago, the petition calls on Obama to rescind a recent order declaring Venezuela a national security threat and hitting Caracas with new sanctions.

Urging “Obama to repeal the Executive Order against Venezuela …”

The petition can be signed here, and urges “Obama to repeal the Executive Order against Venezuela and normalize diplomatic relations with the legitimately elected government of President Nicolas Maduro and reaffirm the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.”

The Venezuelan government will take the signatures to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, to be held in April.

Condemned by Latin American nations and regional bodies

Along with the 4 million petition signatories, the U.S. sanctions have been condemned by Latin American nations and regional bodies.

The latest statement against the sanctions was issued Thursday by the Community of Latin American States (CELAC).

CELAC is made up of all of the countries of the Americas except the U.S. and Canada; all of its member countries voted unanimously for the resolution demanding the United States rescind the sanctions and engage in bilateral talks with Venezuela.

Source: 4 Million Venezuelans Condemn US Sanctions TeleSUR

Raul: We must call upon all the peoples and governments of Our America to mobilize and be alert in defense of Venezuela

Source:  Granma

The United States must understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba, or intimidate Venezuela. Our unity is indestructible. (Applause)

Raúl Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu

March 18, 2015

(Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the 9th Extraordinary ALBA-TCP Summit, convened in solidarity with the sister nation of Venezuela, held in Caracas, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, March 17, 2015

Council of State transcript)


Raul at ALBA Summit

Photo: Estudio Revolución

Esteemed Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America;
Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests;
Compañeras and compañeros:

ALBA brings us together today to reaffirm our firmest support for the Bolivarian people and government in the face of the latest interventionist measures and threats from the U.S. government against Venezuela.

The facts demonstrate that history cannot be ignored. The relations between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean have been marked by the “Monroe Doctrine” and the objective of exercising domination and hegemony over our nations.

Bolivar:  The United States seems destined to plague America with misery in the name of liberty

Bolívar had anticipated that the United States, “seems destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of Liberty” and Martí fell in combat before concluding the letter in which he explained the “duty of preventing the United States from spreading throughout the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America.”

Later came the military interventions, the coup d’états, the manoeuvres to overthrow nationalist or progressive governments, the backing of bloody military dictatorships, the undercover operations, the support for terrorism and subversion, as well as the appropriation and plundering of our resources to perpetuate dependence and underdevelopment.

The audacity to carry out a socialist revolution just 90 miles from the US

The triumphant audacity to carry out a socialist revolution just 90 miles from the United States, has meant immense sacrifices, suffering, loss of life and material deprivation for the Cuban people, subject to, since that very revolutionary triumph, 56 years ago, every kind of hostility, including the support and organization of armed bands in the mountains from the end of that same year of 1959 – that is, since the very year of the triumph of the Revolution – the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and the formalization of the blockade in 1962, all with the stated intention of defeating the Revolution and changing the political, economic and social order we freely chose and subsequently confirmed in a constitutional referendum.

The result has been a resounding failure, the harming of our people and the complete isolation of the United States in its intentions, as recently recognized by President Barack Obama on announcing a new policy and resolving to open another chapter. However, his government spokespeople insist on clarifying that the objectives persist and only the methods change.

The triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution was an extraordinary milestone

The triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution was an extraordinary milestone in the history of Venezuela and the whole region, which had begun to awaken from the long neoliberal slumber. An era of change commenced in the continent and other nations decided to embark on the path towards full independence and integration and again take up the flags of our national heroes.

ALBA UNASUR, CELAC were born, which united, in their diversity, previous groupings and initiatives of genuine Latin Americanist and Caribbean calling, founded on principles of solidarity, cooperation, social justice and defense of sovereignty.

PetroCaribe was an extraordinary, generous and humanistic contribution of President Hugo Chávez Frías

PetroCaribe was an extraordinary, generous and humanistic contribution of President Hugo Chávez Frías. Now they want to destroy PetroCaribe to threaten its member states, submit them to the oil multinationals and separate them from Venezuela. They do not realize that our peoples have decided, irrevocably, to continue our unstoppable advance and fight for a multipolar and just world, where those who were historically excluded have a voice, hope and dignity.

U.S. imperialism has attempted, without success, practically all possible formulas to destabilize and subvert the Bolivarian Chavista revolution, to recuperate its control of the largest oil reserves on the planet, and deliver a blow to the integrationist, emancipation process underway in Our America.

US able to sacrifice peace and the direction of hemispheric and regional relations for reasons of domination and domestic politics

The arbitrary, aggressive, unjustified executive order issued by the President of the United States regarding the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s government, describing it as a threat to its national security, shows that the United States is able to sacrifice the peace and the direction of hemispheric and regional relations, for reasons of domination and domestic politics.

The idea is untenable that a country like Venezuela – which has shown so much solidarity, never invaded or harmed any other, and contributes in a significant and altruistic manner to the energy security and economic stability of a considerable number of nations of the continent – could represent a threat to the security of the greatest super-power in history.

We support the honorable, valiant, constructive position taken by President Nicolás Maduro

We support the honorable, valiant, constructive position taken by President Nicolás Maduro, (applause) who, despite the seriousness of this threat, has extended his hand to the President of the United States, to initiate a dialogue based on international law and mutual respect, which could lead to the unconditional revocation of President Obama’s executive order and the normalization of relations. (Applause) ALBA and CELAC should join in this proposal.

Today Venezuela is not alone, nor is our region the one it was 20 years ago. We will not tolerate the violation of sovereignty or allow peace in the region to be broken with impunity.

As we have reiterated, threats to the peace and stability of Venezuela represent threats to regional stability and peace, as well.

Peace on our feet, not on our knees, peace with dignity and development

The peace which Venezuela today demands and which we all need, a “peace with justice, with equality, the peace on our feet, not on our knees, is peace with dignity and development,” as Maduro said, is the peace to which we committed ourselves in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted by the II CELAC Summit in Havana.

Our country’s position under these circumstances remains unchanged. I reiterate the firm solidarity of the Cuban Revolution with the Bolivarian Revolution, with constitutional President Nicolás Maduro and with the civic-military union which he heads. (Applause) I reiterate our absolute loyalty to the memory of Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías, the Cuban Revolution’s best friend. (Applause)

As has been stated, we reaffirm once again, “The Cuban collaborators present in the sister country, will continue to fulfill their duties under any circumstances whatsoever, to the benefit of the fraternal, noble, generous people of Venezuela.”

The United States must understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba, or intimidate Venezuela. Our unity is indestructible. (Applause)

Nor will we concede one iota in the defense of sovereignty and independence, or tolerate any type of interference or conditions on our internal affairs.

Nor will we cease to defend just causes in Our America and the world, nor will we ever abandon our brothers in the struggle. We have come to close ranks with Venezuela and ALBA, and reaffirm that principles are not negotiable. (Applause)

We will attend the 7th Summit of the Americas

To defend these convictions, we will attend the 7th Summit of the Americas. We will present our positions, with firmness, clarity and respect. We will reject with determination any attempt to isolate or threaten Venezuela, and demand a definitive end to the blockade of Cuba.

Cuban civil society will be the voice of those without a voice, and we will expose the mercenaries who will appear there as Cuba’s civil society

We must call upon all peoples and governments of Our America to mobilize and remain alert in the defense of Venezuela. Solidarity is the foundation of unity and regional integration.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

Source:  We must call upon all the peoples and governments of Our America to mobilize and be alert in defense of Venezuela Granma