Caribbean Heroes Park Inaugurated in Cuba

Sources: radioreloj.cu & minrex.gob.cu

April 26 2019

.- The monument to the heroes of the Caribbean reflects the dedication of the martyrs who fought for a free and sovereign Caribbean, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Rogelio Sierra said.

caribbean heroes park inauguratedDuring the inauguration of the Caribbean Heroes Park in Havana, with the presence of First Vice-President Salvador Valdes Mesa, Sierra added its coherence and interests identify the unity of our region.

The diplomat recalled that January 1, but of different centuries, is a symbolic date for the Caribbean because it marks the triumph of the Haitian Anti-slave Revolution and the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel.

The President of the National Assembly of People´s Power, Esteban Lazo; Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, and the First Secretary of the party in Havana, Jose Antonio Torres Iribar attended the inauguration of the Caribbean Heroes Park.

Members of the Caribbean and Latin American diplomatic corps accredited in Cuba, ministers, representatives of national agencies and institutions closely linked to the Caribbean, members of the Caribbean Association of Cuba and the Chair of Caribbean Studies at the University of Havana also participated, as well as a large representation of students from the 14 member states of the Caribbean Community.

During the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rogelio Sierra Díaz, referred to the importance of the event, and highlighted the historic bonds of solidarity, brotherhood and gratitude that unite Cuba and the Caribbean. The Vice Chancellor highlighted “today we inaugurate a work that symbolizes the courage and commitment of those who made the independence and sovereignty of our peoples possible”.

The Ambassador of Grenada, Hon. Ms. Theresa Clair Clarice Charles, Dean of the Caribbean diplomatic corps, underscored the current relevance of CARICOM-Cuba relations, while thanking the Cuban government and people for their solidarity and cooperation throughout more than 40 years of exchanges. In her words, she said “we are grateful that Cuba has designed and built this monument, it is an imperishable symbol of our historical relations.”

Dr. Eduardo Torres Cuevas, President of the Academy of Cuban History and Director of the José Martí National Library, explained to the audience the symbolism of the sculptural work dedicated to the Caribbean heroes and said “this monument depicts unity. By building this park we are crowning a symbol that reflects all the intensity and capacity of our peoples. ”

As part of the ceremony Mr. Ellsworth John, Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,  and Mr. Rogelio Sierra Díaz, the Cuban Vice-Chancellor, laid a wreath before the monument that pays tribute to the Caribbean heroes.

Cuba established diplomatic relations with the first four Caribbean countries on December 8, 1972. Since then, relations have been positive and have deepened from historical ties, based on the principles of solidarity, brotherhood and gratitude.

The Park of the Caribbean heroes pays tribute to personalities symbolizing the solidarity and bravery of the Caribbean peoples in their struggles against colonialism and for independence.

Schools: The life and soul of the Revolution

Source:  Granma
April 26 2019

by: Vivian Bustamante Molina | internet@granma.cu

schools the life of the revolution 1.jpgPhoto: Endrys Correa Vaillant

miguel diaz sept 2018cEducation is defended with commitment, soul, creativity, and by example, and with these convictions educators will march on May Day, said Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, during a National Seminar to prepare for the coming academic year, yesterday. The first session was devoted to analyzing the Ministry of Education’s (MINED) work in 2018.

This concept, he said, was reaffirmed by young leaders from Manicaragua and Cienfuegos, who reported impressive results in their schools, emphasizing the importance of personal example and dedication.

During his comments, Diaz-Canel established a collective reflection, seasoned with remembrances of his student days and those spent in leading the Ministry of Higher Education, noting the continued relevance of foundational precepts of Cuban education, jose ramon fernandez.jpgcherished by teachers and professors over the years, including Fidel Castro and José Ramón Fernández, who we all recall affectionately, as a revolutionary and pedagogue, he said.

The main task at hand, he pointed out, is the improvement of teaching, with experimental projects underway in a several institutions, the results of which will be generalized.

He noted that despite the difficult times, a new special education school was recently inaugurated in Santiago de Cuba, with another to open soon in Villa Clara, examples of what a Revolution can do.

The work of teachers and professors merits more recognition

He emphasized that the work of teachers and professors merits more recognition.

Teresa Amarelle Boué, Party Political Bureau member and secretary general of the Federation of Cuban Women, honored Ena Elsa Velázquez, Minister of Education, with the Ana Betancourt Order, for her career as an educator and government leader. Distinctions were also awarded to pedagogical schools and provincial education directorates with the best results in 2018.

The meeting was also attended by Roberto Morales Ojeda, Political Bureau member of the Party and vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, and Olga Lidia Tapia, member of the Central Committee Secretariat, and other leaders.

Cubanas, Mujeres en Revolución

 

Film:  Cubanas, Mujeres en Revolución  Sunday April 21 @ 12:30 pm 

474 24th St
Oakland, CA 94612
$10 donation (nobody turned away for lack of funds)
Don’t miss the showing of the film Cubanas, Mujeres en Revolución,  a documentary by Maria Torrellas.
 

Cubanas, Mujeres en Revolución  is a 90 minutes film with English subtitles produced by Resumen Latinoamericano. It has been shown in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, Spain, France, Canada, England, Turkey, Australia, Sweden, and in the US in San Francisco CA, New York and Washington DC. This film evokes the continuous role of women in the Revolution, both in the guerrilla struggle and in the construction of the new Cuban society, through the testimonies of heroines such as Vilma Espín, Celia Sánchez and Haydée Santamaría, the founding figures of the Revolution, and also of contemporary women from different sectors of Cuban society. Reflections and life experiences that show how these women were nourished by the values built in the revolutionary struggle in the late 1950s.

Why do Cuban women support the Revolution so firmly?

Source:  Granma
March 8 2019

by  Fidel Castro Ruz

why cuban women support the revolution

Photo: Granma Archives Endrys Correa

Cuban women support the Revolution so firmly, so enthusiastically, so loyally… because it is a revolution that means double liberation for women. Women are a part of the country’s most humble sectors… women face discrimination not only as workers, but as women as well

I told a compañero that this phenomenon of women in the Revolution was a revolution within another revolution. And if we were asked: what is the most revolutionary thing that the Revolution is doing, we would answer that the most revolutionary thing the Revolution is doing is precisely this; that is, the revolution that is taking place within the women of our country. If we were asked: what are the things that have taught us the most in the Revolution, we would answer that one of the most interesting lessons that revolutionaries are receiving in the Revolution is the lesson that women are giving us. (…)

What is occurring to us, in reality, is that this potential force is superior to what the most optimistic of us could have ever imagined. And that is why we said that, maybe in the background, unconsciously, unconsciously there was some prejudice, or there was some underestimation, since reality is demonstrating, just beginning to march along this path, all the possibilities and all the roles women can play in a revolutionary process (…)

If women believe that their situation within society is optimal, if women believe that the revolution’s function, its revolutionary function within society, has been fulfilled, they would be mistaken.

It seems to us that women must still struggle a great deal, that women must work hard to reach the place they should really occupy (…)

If women in our country were doubly exploited, doubly humiliated, that means simply that, in a social revolution, women must be doubly revolutionary.

And this perhaps explains, or contributes to explaining, and it can be said that it is the social base that allows an explanation as to why Cuban women support the Revolution so firmly, so enthusiastically, so loyally. Simply for this reason:

Because it is a revolution that for women means two revolutions; because it is a revolution that means double liberation for women. Women are a part of the country’s most humble sectors… women face discrimination not only as workers, but as women, as well, within this exploitative society.

That is why the attitude of women in our Revolution, in our country, reflects this reality, reflects what the Revolution has meant for women. And the popular sectors, the popular sectors support the Revolution to the same extent that the Revolution has meant liberation for them (…)

It only remains to say, with all my strength: Long live Cuban women! Long live the revolutionary spirit, the discipline, the devotion of Cuban women!

Long live the female revolution within the socialist revolution!

Source: Speech during the closing session of the Fifth National Plenum of the FMC, December 9, 1966.

After 60 years of struggle, we see a free, independent country, master of its own destiny

Source:  Granma
January 2 2018

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, at the central act to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, in Santiago de Cuba, January 1st, 2019, “Year 61 of the Revolution”

fidel enetrs havan

We gather today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the revolutionary triumph of sixty 6January 1st, and we do so again in Santiago de Cuba, cradle of the Revolution, here in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where the immortal remains of many of the best children of the nation are venerated, very close to the tombs of the National Hero, of the Father and Mother of the Homeland, and of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution.

Heroic sacrifices of our people

raul 75.jpgI do not come here to speak in a personal capacity; I do so in the name of the heroic sacrifices of our people, and of the thousands of fighters who gave their lives over more than 150 years of struggle.

It seems incredible that destiny has reserved us the privilege of being able to address our compatriots on a day like today, commemorating six decades of triumph, an occasion on which, under Fidel’s command, the Cuban people attained political power for the first time, and the Mambises were able to enter Santiago de Cuba victorious, coincidentally 60 years after the establishment of absolute U.S. imperialist domination of Cuba.

A few months ago, in La Demajagua, we gathered to remember the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Cuba’s independence wars, October 10, 1868; a date that marks the beginning of our Revolution, which survived moments of bitterness and disunity, like the Pact of Zanjón, and brilliant episodes like that carried out by Antonio Maceo in the Baraguá Protest.

Marti and the Mambises

jose marti and the cuban flag.jpgThe Revolution was revived, in 1895, thanks to the genius and ability of Martí to bring together the best and most experienced leaders of the Ten Years’ War, and prepare the “Necessary War” against Spanish colonialism.

When the colonial army was practically defeated, with little combative morale, besieged by the Mambises across almost all of the island and depleted by tropical diseases which, in 1897, to mention just one example, caused 201,000 losses among its troops; the victory was usurped by the U.S. intervention and the military occupation of the country, which gave way to a long period of oppression and corrupt governments, subservient to its hegemonic designs.

Not even in these difficult circumstances was the redemptive fire of the Cuban people extinguished, manifested in figures of the stature of Baliño, Mella, Villena, Guiteras and Jesús Menéndez, among many others who did not resign themselves to living in dishonor and ignominy.

Nor was the Centenary Generation, which under the leadership of Fidel assaulted the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks on July 26, 1953, willing to tolerate, 100 years after Martí’s birth, the crimes and abuses of a bloody tyranny, completely subordinated to the interests of the United States.

Those who fell on July 26

Moments of profound pain and sadness ensued, after the setback and the vile assassination of many of the revolutionary fighters participating in these actions, powerfully denounced by Fidel in his historic defence “History will absolve me,” which became the program of the Revolution.

fidel under arrestA few meters from here lay the remains of the fallen on that July 26, and other martyrs of the insurrectional feat, including also the brave young Santiago people of the clandestine struggle, and the children of this city who fell in glorious internationalist missions.

In the hard years of imprisonment and ill-treatment, the fervor and commitment to recommence the struggle did not falter; the prestige and authority of the revolutionary leader grew to join new forces against the dictatorship.

frank pais.jpeg

Frank Pais

There was no rest during exile in Mexico; it served to prepare the next and decisive stage of battle that brought us on the Granma yacht to Las Coloradas on December 2, 1956. The delay in arriving to Cuban coasts, due to the hazardous voyage, prevented the scheduled synchronization with the Uprising of Santiago de Cuba, on November 30, organized by the bold and courageous young leader of the July 26 Movement, Frank País García, who had not yet turned 22, his age when brutally murdered by the henchmen of the tyranny, July 30, 1957.

 

Neither could the disaster of Alegría de Pío, which almost annihilated the expeditionaries, extinguish Fidel’s optimism and faith in victory, convictions that led him to exclaim on December 18 when we were reunited, with just seven rifles: Now we have won the war!

From Santiago de Cuba, as a result of the tireless efforts of the clandestine movement led by Frank País, we received in the Sierra Maestra the first reinforcement of young combatants, weapons and ammunition, which was a crucial contribution to the fighting capacity of the nascent Rebel Army.

Months of incessant fighting ensued, first in the Sierra Maestra, and then the struggle spread to other regions with the opening of new fronts and columns, and with the defeat of the great offensive of the Batista troops against the First Front led by Fidel, which marked the beginning of the strategic counter-offensive and the radical turning point of the war that led to the defeat of the regime and the seizure of revolutionary power.

The tyranny has been overthrown

Already on January 8, 1959, upon his arrival in Havana, the Commander of the Revolution expressed, (I quote): “The tyranny has been overthrown, the joy is immense and yet there is still much to be done. We do not fool ourselves into believing that from now on everything will be easy, perhaps from now on everything will be more difficult.” (End of quote).

It did not take long for Fidel’s premonitory words to become a reality. A stage of struggle began that shook the foundations of Cuban society. On May 17, just four and a half months after the triumph, in the Comandancia de la Plata, in the heart of the Sierra Maestra, the first Agrarian Reform Law was promulgated in compliance with the Moncada Program, an event that upset the powerful economic interests of U.S. monopolies and the Creole bourgeoisie, which redoubled the conspiracies against the revolutionary process.

bay of pigs us defeated

Defeated counter revolutionary after the mercenary invasion at Playa Giron in April 1961

The nascent Revolution was subjected to all types of aggressions and threats, such as the actions of armed gangs financed by the U.S. government; assassination plans against Fidel and other leaders; the murder of young literacy teachers, many of them still adolescents; sabotage and terrorism throughout the country with the terrible toll of 3,478 dead and 2,099 disabled; the economic, commercial and financial blockade, and other political and diplomatic measures in order to isolate us; the campaigns of lies to defame the Revolution and its leaders; the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón in April 1961; the October Crisis in 1962, when the military invasion of Cuba was being prepared in the United States; and an endless list of hostile acts against our homeland.

Not a minute’s calm over the 60 years
No one can deny that the Revolution that was born that January 1st, has not had a minute’s calm over 60 years. We have seen twelve U.S. administrations that have not ceased in the effort to force a regime change in Cuba, one way or another, with varying degrees of aggressiveness.

The heroic people of yesterday and today, proud of their national history and culture, committed to the ideals and the work of the Revolution, which four generations of Cubans have already joined, have managed to resist and win over the six decades of uninterrupted struggle in defense of socialism, always based on the closest unity around the Party and Fidel.

Only thus can we understand the feat of having withstood the tough years of the Special Period, when we were left alone in the middle of the West, 90 miles from the United States. Then, nobody in the world would have bet a penny on the survival of the Revolution. However, the challenge was endured and overcome without violating a single one of the ethical and humanist principles of the revolutionary process, and was worthy of the invaluable support of the solidarity movements that never stopped believing in Cuba.

Now once again, the U.S. government seems to be taking the course of confrontation with Cuba, and presenting our peaceful and solidary country as a threat to the region. It resorts to the sinister Monroe Doctrine to try to roll back history to the shameful era in which subjugated governments and military dictatorships joined it in isolating Cuba.

New lies against Cuba

Increasingly, senior officials of the current administration, with the complicity of certain lackeys, disseminate new falsehoods and again try to blame Cuba for all the ills of the region, as if these were not the result of ruthless neoliberal policies that cause poverty, hunger, inequality, organized crime, drug trafficking, political corruption, abuse and deprivation of workers’ rights, displaced people, the eviction of campesinos, the repression of students, and precarious health, education and housing conditions for the vast majority.

They are the same who declare the intention to continue forcing the deterioration of bilateral relations, and promote new measures of economic, commercial and financial blockade to restrict the performance of the national economy, cause additional constraints on the consumption and welfare of the people, hinder even further foreign trade, and curb the flow of foreign investment. They say they are willing to challenge International Law, to contravene the rules of international trade and economic relations, and aggressively apply extraterritorial measures and laws against the sovereignty of other states.

I reiterate our willingness to coexist in a civilized manner, despite the differences, in a relationship of peace, respect and mutual benefit with the United States. We have also clearly indicated that Cubans are prepared to resist a confrontational scenario, which we do not want, and we hope that the levelest heads in the U.S. government can avoid.

Cuba is accused again, when it has been demonstrated that external debt, uncontrolled migratory flows, the plundering of natural resources, are the result of the domination of transnational corporations in the continent.

The force of truth

The force of truth has thwarted the lies, and history has put the events and protagonists in their places.

All that can be attributed to the Cuban Revolution and the epic written by this heroic people is the responsibility that emanates from their example, as a symbol of full independence, victorious resistance, social justice, altruism and internationalism.

cuban doctors arrive in sierra leone.jpg

Cuban doctors arrive in Sierra Leone

As part of Our America, our respect and solidarity with sister nations has, and will be, invariable; in which more than 347,700 Cuban doctors and health workers have offered their services, many of them in remote and difficult places, and more than 27,200 young people have been professionally trained. This shows confidence in Cuba.
A few weeks ago, thousands of Cuban doctors who offered their services in Brazil returned, with dignity, with the recognition and affection of millions of patients, especially from rural areas and indigenous populations, whom the new President slandered and condemned, in order to destroy that social program and with it fulfill the directions of the extreme right in Florida, which has hijacked United States policy toward Cuba, to the pleasure of the most reactionary forces of the current U.S. government.

 

We have seen it all before

Sixty years after the triumph, we can affirm that we have seen it all before; we are not intimidated by the language of force or threats, they did not intimidate us when the revolutionary process was not yet consolidated, they will not even remotely achieve it now that the unity of the people is an indestructible reality; because if yesterday we were few, today we are an entire people defending their Revolution (Applause).

On July 26, here in Santiago, I explained that an adverse scenario had formed, and again the euphoria of our enemies had resurfaced, and the haste to materialize their dreams of destroying the example of Cuba. I also pointed out the conviction that the imperialist blockade of Venezuela, Nicaragua and our country was tightening. Events have confirmed that assessment.

After almost a decade of practicing unconventional warfare to prevent the continuity, or impede the return of progressive governments, Washington power circles sponsored coups – first a military coup to overthrow President Zelaya in Honduras, and later they resorted to parliamentary-judicial coups against Lugo in Paraguay, and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.

They promoted rigged and politically motivated judicial proceedings, as well as campaigns of manipulation and discredit against leftist leaders and organizations, making use of monopoly control over mass media.

lula da silva 1In this way, they succeeded in imprisoning compañero Lula da Silva, and deprived him of the right to be the Workers’ Party presidential candidate, to avoid his certain victory in the recent elections. I take this opportunity to appeal to all the honest political forces of the planet to demand his release, and an end to the attacks and judicial persecution against former presidents Dilma Rousseff, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Those who entertained the illusion of the restoration of imperialist domination in our region should understand that Latin America and the Caribbean have changed, and so has the world.

For our part, we will continue to actively contribute to the processes of consensus and integration in the region, based on the concept of unity in diversity.

We have contributed to the peace process in Colombia, at the express request of its government, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the National Liberation Army, and we will continue to do so, above all risks, grievances and difficulties.

The political and moral authority of Cuba

The political and moral authority of Cuba is based on the history, conduct and united, conscious and organized support of the people.

raul bids maduro farewell.jpgTherefore, no threat will make us withdraw our solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The aggressive actions against this sister nation must cease. As we warned some time ago, the repeated declaration of Venezuela as a threat to the national security of the United States, the open calls for a military coup against its constitutional government, the military training exercises undertaken in the vicinity of Venezuelan borders, as well as tensions and incidents in the area, can only lead to serious instability and unpredictable consequences.

The region resembles a large prairie in times of drought. A single spark could cause an uncontrollable fire that would damage the national interests of all.

It is equally dangerous and unacceptable that the United States government unilaterally sanctions and also proclaims the Republic of Nicaragua a threat to its national security. We reject the attempts of the discredited OAS, Organization of American States, to interfere in the affairs of this sister nation.

Faced with the Monroe Doctrine, the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana by Heads of State and Government, which some allies of the United States now seek to disregard, must be applied and defended, for the good of all.

The greatest lesson

The greatest lesson that revolutionaries and progressive movements can draw from the situation that has shaped is that of never neglecting unity with the people, and not desisting in the struggle in defense of the interests of the oppressed, however difficult the circumstances.

For us, in the complex international situation, the words of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution remain entirely valid, on presenting his central report to the First Party Congress, in 1975, when he said: “As long as there is imperialism, the Party, the State and the people, will pay maximum attention to defense services. The revolutionary guard will never be neglected. History teaches all too eloquently that those who forget this principle do not survive the mistake.” (End of quote).

Correspondingly, we will continue to prioritize defense training tasks, at all levels, in the interests of safeguarding independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and peace, based on the strategic concept of the War of the Entire People, as is reflected in the recently approved Constitution of the Republic.

It is our duty to meticulously prepare ourselves for all scenarios in advance, including the worst, not only on the military level; so that we leave no room for the bewilderment and improvisation that flourishes in those with scarce will when the time to act arrives, but with the optimism and confidence in victory that Fidel bequeathed to us, and in close contact with the people, we can find the best solution to any challenge that may arise.

The economic situation

Specifically, one challenge that we will face in the year that begins today is the economic situation, hard-pressed by the external finance strains, due to the losses of export revenues, and the tightening of the U.S. blockade and its extraterritorial effects.

As expressed by our Minister of Economy and Planning at the last session of the National Assembly, the cost to Cuba of this arbitrary measure, calculated according to internationally approved methodology, amounted to 4.321 billion dollars last year, equivalent to almost 12 million in damages every day, a fact that is overlooked by analysts who tend to question national economic performance.

Regardless of the blockade and its reinforcement, we Cubans have enormous internal reserves to exploit, without increasing the external debt. For this it is necessary, in the first place, to reduce all non-essential expenses and save more; increase and diversify exports; raise the efficiency of the investment process and enhance the participation of foreign investment, which, as stated in the guiding Party documents, is not a complement, but a fundamental element for development.

miguel diaz 10cIn that same scenario, in the National Assembly on December 22, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, took stock of the state of the economy during 2018, and the plan for this year, where he stressed that the economic battle remains the fundamental and the most complex task, and added that it is that which today demands the most from all of us, because it is the task most anticipated by our people.

With this purpose, he explained that a more proactive, intelligent and concrete attitude is required of leaders, promoting – not hindering or delaying – reliable and specific solutions to problems, with the continuous and intense search for flexible and efficient responses. At the same time, he called for more coherence with the Conceptualization of the Economic and Social Model, and to be more systematic and precise in the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution.

It is opportune to state that the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba firmly supports the pronouncements and actions undertaken by compañero Díaz-Canel since he took office at the helm of the state and the government, including his work system, based on visits to territories and communities; the link with collectives and direct exchanges with the people; the promotion of the accountability of leaders through the press and on social media; as well as the systematic control of the main development programs and the promotion of a collective leadership and management style in state and government bodies.

Transferring responsibilities t0 the youth

Without wishing to make a hasty assessment, I can say that the process of transferring the main responsibilities to new generations is going well. I’d go further – it’s going very well, without setbacks or surprises, and we are confident that thus we will continue. (Applause)

Those of us young people who then had the privilege of fighting under Fidel’s command, more than 65 years ago, from the Moncada, the Granma, the Rebel Army, the clandestine struggle, Girón, the confrontation with counterrevolutionary gangs, the internationalist missions and up to the present, together with the heroic Cuban people, are deeply satisfied, happy and confident to see, with our own eyes, how the new generations assume the mission of continuing the construction of socialism, the only guarantee of national independence and sovereignty.

It is 60 years since January 1, 1959. However, the Revolution has not aged, it is still young, and this is not merely rhetoric, it is historic confirmation, since from the very first moments its protagonists were young people, and this has been the case throughout these first six decades.

cuban youth.jpg

The revolutionary process is not circumscribed to the biological lifetime of those who initiated it, but to the will and commitment of the young people who ensure its continuity. The new generations have the duty to ensure that the Cuban Revolution is forever a Revolution of young people, and at the same time, a Socialist Revolution of the humble, by the humble, and for the humble. (Applause)

On this significant date, the fitting tribute to Cuban women can not be absent, from Mariana to today, always present in our struggles for the emancipation of the homeland and in the construction of the society we are building today. (Applause)

Compañeras and compañeros:

The Second Ordinary Session of the current legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power approved the new Constitution of the Republic, which will be submitted to a referendum February 24.

Previously, for a period of almost three months, a broad popular consultation process was undertaken, in which citizens freely expressed their opinions on the content of the draft, leading to the modification of 60% of the articles, in a clear demonstration of the profoundly democratic nature of the Revolution, where the major decisions that define the life of the nation are devised with the contribution of all Cubans. Our media provided detailed coverage of the process, which frees me from elaborating on the subject. In a few days, a tabloid of the definitive text of the new Constitution will begin to be distributed.

I only wish to add the confidence that once again our noble and courageous people will demonstrate at the polls on February 24, the majority support for their Revolution and Socialism, ratifying the Constitution in the year in which we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first Magna Carta of Cuba, approved in Guáimaro by the initiators of the war for independence.

After 60 years of struggle, sacrifices, efforts and victories, we see a free, independent country, the master of its own destiny. On imagining tomorrow, the work done allows us to glimpse a dignified and prosperous future for the Homeland.

Bearing in mind Cubans’ heroic history of struggle, on behalf of our people, with total optimism and confidence in the future, I can exclaim:

May the Cuban Revolution live on forever!

Thank you.

(Ovation)

Raul: The revolution is a symbol of full independence, resistance, altruism and internationalism

Source:  TeleSUR
January 1 2019

raul 2019

Army General Raul Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, spoke during the Central Act in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the  triumph of the Cuban Revolution, January 1. Raul spoke in the Santa Ifigenia patrimonial cemetery, of the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba.

RELATED:  60 Years of Defending Cuba Against a Barbarous Empire

The Cuban Revolution stopped the abject military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and was led by Fidel Castro and others, such as Ernesto Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and Raul Castro, among others.

60th anniversary of the Revolution

“Sunrise in Cuba on the 60th anniversary of the Revolution, yes to the celebration, to joy, to the tireless defense of everything we build and raise together,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel stated earlier on his Twitter account. At the same time leaders, political and social organizations from all over the world have sent congratulations to Cuba for the anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution. Bolivian President Evo Morales stated that “with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the light of hope and invincible will was born for the liberation of the peoples.”

“Santiago de Cuba is the cradle of the revolution,” is how Raul Castro started his speech, in which he honored the sacrifice of the Cuban People during 60 years of revolution, and during the years of fight against the Batista dictatorship.

The triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, was made possible thanks to the efforts of many young revolutionaries backed by the Cuban people who sacrificed everything for the emancipation of their country, according to Castro. Raul Castro named and thanked the efforts made by people like Frank Pais, who “was killed at the age of 22, by the minions of the tyranny,” backed by the United States.

The younger generations

“The optimism and the joy of Fidel for the victory,” continue today in the Cuban revolutionary process that continues to be young and fresh as “the process of transferring the main obligations of the revolution to the younger generations is going well, very well,” according to the Comandante Raul Castro.

“Together with the heroic Cuban people, we feel deeply happy and confident when we see our own eyes, that the new generations continue with the goal of building socialism, the only guarantee of national independence and sovereignty.”

The Cuban Revolution was not the war against Fulgencio Batista and his troops, the Revolution is based on the advancements made in favor of the Cuban people. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution began a time of important struggles to change the foundation of the society, a fight for the structure of socialism in the Caribbean island.

RELATED: Cuba Celebrates 60 Years Since Key Revolutionary Victory

“I believe that this is a decisive moment in our history: tyranny has been overthrown. The joy is immense. And yet, much remains to be done. We do not deceive ourselves, believing that everything will be easy from now on; perhaps everything will be more difficult in the future,” said Fidel after the triumph and Raul quoted him during his speech.

Interventionist acts against Cuba

Since the beginning of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the changes made by the new order were criticized and attacked by international powers, mainly by the “U.S. imperialism (..) No one can deny that since the #CubanRevolution was victorious on that first of January, it has not had one minute of appeasement in 60 years.”

The interventionist acts against Cuba have been crystal clear and well documented for 60 years since the triumph; “bands armed and financed by the American government, attempts to assassinate Fidel and different revolutionary leaders. The economic, commercial and financial blockade, and other political and diplomatic actions. International lying campaigns. The attempted invasion of Playa Giron … and an endless list of hostile acts against our homeland.”

The Cuban Revolution has surpassed “12 U.S. administrations that have not stopped trying to impose destabilization in Cuba.” Raul Castro has warned against the new attempts of the U.S. government, led by the Donald Trump administration, that “seems to take again the road of open confrontation with Cuba, and makes an appeal to the dark Monroe Doctrine.”

According to Raul Castro, the U.S government, backed by its think thanks “fuse new falsehoods and again try to blame Cuba for all the ills in the region as if these were not the result of terrible neoliberal policies,” policies mainly sustained by economists and intellectuals based on the U.S. or from some international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (WB).

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There are new forms of interventionism propagated in the Latin American region, “they are the same ones that declare the intention to continue forcing the deterioration of bilateral relations and promote new measures of commercial and financial blockade.” The revolution has resisted against countless aggressions, with an indestructible link to the Cuban people who gave the necessary strength for it.

Attack on progressivism

However, Castro warned against the new forms of attacks, that are now not only focused on Cuba but on every possible space of progressivism. The “imperialist” forces “say they are willing to challenge international law, contravene the rules of international trade and aggressively apply extra-territorial measures and laws against the sovereignty of other states.” By qualifying other countries as “treats to national security,” as they have done with Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, “the extreme right in Florida has hijacked the US policy against Cuba,” and against progressivism.

“I reiterate our conviction to live in a civilized manner, and in a condition of respect and peace with the United States. We are also prepared to resist a confrontation, which we do not want,” stated Castro. He also warned interventionist agents against plotting against the Cuban people, as they are prepared to “face any aggression. (…) The greatest lesson that revolutionaries and progressive movements can draw from the situation that has been forged is that of never forgetting unity with the people and never ceasing to support the most dispossessed.”

The unity of the people

“We are not intimidated by the language of force or threats. They did not intimidate us when the revolutionary process was not consolidated. They will not succeed now that the unity of the people is an indisputable reality. Today we are a whole people defending their revolution.”

As the “imperial fence is closing” on Latin America, specifically on “Venezuela, Nicaragua and our country (Cuba),” Castro called for more unity in the continent, and as “the revolution is a symbol of full independence, resistance, altruism and internationalism,” the Cuban people will help and defend the principles of sovereignty and self-determination of every person in the region.

RELATED: 60 Years On, Revolution Still Alive in Cuba

Castro recounted the coups made against several progressive governments in different countries in the region, starting with a coup in Honduras, and with parliamentary and judiciary coups in other countries. He called for the freedom of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was put in jail “denying him of sure victory in the previous elections;” as well as he called to put an end to the persecution against former presidents; Brazilian Dilma Rousseff and Argentine Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Castro warned the interventionist forces that they “need to understand that Latin America and the Caribbean have changed. We base ourselves on the concept of unity in diversity. As the moral and political authority of Cuba is based on history, therefore, no threat will make us desist from our solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The aggression against this sister republic must cease,” said Castro.

Commander Raul Castro concluded his speech by saying that “in this significant date we cannot forget about the Cuban women, who are always fighting for the emancipation of their homeland and in the construction of the homeland that we build today. LIVE FOREVER THE CUBAN REVOLUTION.”

“A Lot Remains to Be Done”: Interview with Aleida Guevara

Source:  Internationalist 360
October 8 2018

by Ron Augustin

aleida oct 2018
Aleida Guevara March, the daughter of Ernesto Che Guevara and Aleida March, recently traveled to Europe, where she participated in several discussion rounds explaining the popular consultations taking place in Cuba for the country’s proposed constitutional reforms. She also campaigned against the U.S.-sanctions against her country. Before returning to her work as a pediatrician at William Soler Children’s Hospital in Havana, we had the following talk with her.

Aleida, you had a meeting with the European Parliament’s United Left Group in Strasbourg. Can we expect a resolution from this parliament against the economic and financial blockade that the United States has maintained and intensified against Cuba for almost 60 years?

Indeed, for a while now they have started to work on the proposition of a motion that is to include a number of concrete measures. At the UN General Assembly, the European Union already voted unanimously against the U.S. blockade year-on-year for the past few years. This is due mainly to the pressure by European enterprises, because the U.S. sanctions extend to every transaction with institutions supposed to have the least link with our country, and there are enterprises that already have important stakes in the Cuban economy, such as Melia in the tourist industry.

Cuba’s latest report to the UN assesses the damages caused to the Cuban economy by the U.S. blockade at 134 billion dollars so far, for this year alone at four billion dollars. Can you give us an idea of the damages caused to the Cuban people that cannot be quantified?

True, it is impossible to put a figure on all the human costs incurred by the blockade. There are technologies to which we have no access, and people spend much time and effort to find alternatives. Because of the blockade, Europe refuses to sell us milk powder, and we have to buy it in New Zealand. The journey this milk powder has to take in order to arrive in Cuba not only increases its costs, but the almost insurmountable difficulties to subvert the sanctions often result in months and months of delays before it arrives where we need it. As a medical doctor I sometimes have to work with inferior products or improvise solutions because we cannot get the right medicine or we don’t receive it in time. For all Cubans, it is an every-day struggle.

The blockade exists because the United States is telling the other Latin American countries: if you act like Cuba, those will be the consequences. What happens is that we have developed far beyond the effects they expected. That is why we continue to fight the blockade, because we want the other peoples of Latin America to realize that, yes, another way of life is possible. But in order to live another way of life, we have to be the masters of what we produce. That is what the US doesn’t want to forgive us, and that’s why the blockade persists. They know that once the blockade will be finished, the Cuban revolution will grow and multiply.

At present, close to 10 million Cubans are discussing the project for a new Cuban constitution. In total, 135,000 meetings have been planned for a period of three months to discuss the 224 articles proposed by the National Assembly. It’s not the first time that the constitution will be revised after a broad popular consultation. What’s new?

After the efforts of the past two or three decades to re-dynamize the economic model and the decision-making structures, also known as the “rectification” and “actualization” programmes, it was necessary to adapt the constitution to the new realities created by these. I think we talked about these in our previous interview (cf Monthly Review January 2017). The General Assembly’s propositions contain paragraphs that can be traced back to the thinking of Marti, Fidel and Che, or, as we call them, “articolos martianos, fidelistas y guevaristas”. But the modifications discussed at present mainly cover the acknowledgment of several forms of property, including people’s property, mixed property and private property. There are provisions to limit the accumulation of private capital. The role of the market is acknowledged, but the state has put mechanisms in place in order to control that the market serves public interest. Marriage is defined as the union between two persons, and not only anymore between a man and a woman. There will also be changes in the structures of the state and its decision-making processes. For instance, municipal autonomy will be improved in order to respond more efficiently to the needs of communities and reinforce citizen’s participation.

The rectification and actualization campaigns have changed the management structures of the state and the economy. Close to half a million jobs have been privatized. What has been the impact on the agricultural sector?

My eldest daughter is an economist and works in agricultural research, so I have the chance to be pretty well informed on the subject. What we try to do by any means is to increase productivity. A policy of better remuneration for agricultural products has been put in place. We are not only investing in the development of harvesting technologies, but also in processing technologies. For instance, we have a lot of mangoes, so there’s a lot of scope for canned mangoes, mango compote etc. We are aspiring at self-sufficiency for basic foodstuffs, so we are stimulating sustainable agriculture, biotechnologies and urban agriculture. In order to preserve the land, we practice crop rotation and use crops that help protect other crops, without using manure or pesticides. For the planting of rice, for instance, we are using a small fish that lives on bacteria and parasites that could affect rice crops. Overall, we aim at organic components in order to benefit products that are as healthy as possible.

Your father’s intellectual legacy is in the care of the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara, directed by your mother. For the past twenty years or so, the center has been instrumental in the publication of Che’s writings and texts related to the history of the struggles in which he participated. Can you say something about the center’s present state of affairs?

The Centro is still being managed by my mother, although she would like me to take over. My brother and I are helping her, but I don’t want to take on that responsibility now because I have too much to do as a pediatrician. In any case my mother is still very active, an amazingly sharp person, and, for her age, which I am not allowed to divulge (laughs), also astonishingly strong and rapid. Since 2014, the archives of the center have been included in Unesco’s Memory of the World Register. Together with publishers such as Ocean Sur and Ocean Press we have published close to 20 titles, and more books are in preparation. For the future, we try to focus on the influence of Che’s ideas in various fields. In June this year, on Che’s 90th anniversary, we organized a conference with students at the University of Santa Clara, to discuss the current relevance of Che’s thoughts. The conference’s findings may serve as a kind of introduction to studies already in preparation on the subject.

You are traveling quite a bit in capitalist countries. When you are in Europe, for instance, what shocks you most?

Oh there’s a whole list. One of the things that strike me most is to see how “Old Europe” is busy destroying, one by one, practically all its achievements acquired during centuries of struggles. The gaping loss of security at work, the privatization of the education and health sectors, the reduction of allowances and pensions, and people hardly react! All those things concern the future of society. For people to be free, they need culture, education, so that nobody can be manipulated and used by others thinking instead of them. Society needs men and women in good health, so health is a non-negotiable human right. Those are matters that are shocking me a lot, because I don’t see much reaction on the part of the people for the defense of their rights. It’s incomprehensible because the peoples of Europe have ancestral cultures, cultures of struggle, a culture of resistance, it was in this continent that, next to the most awful, the most beautiful experiences of humanity emerged. And what is left of these?

There are two things I will never accept, colonialism and racism. What many people do not realize, is that Europe’s wealth is built on five centuries of exploitation of third world peoples, and that there is something like a historical obligation of reparation, of solidarity at least. At one point or another in time, all peoples have been migrants. If one wants to slow down the present migration movements to Europe, all it takes would be to stop the war in Syria, to stop the support of terrorists, to create jobs within the migratory zones. But a majority of people cannot or doesn’t want to make the connection.

There are things that keep surprising me. The international press, television, is such a venom. When I come to Europe, I have to smile when they talk to me about freedom of expression, about freedom in general. I ask myself “what freedom” when, as soon as I switch on the television, I am being told what clothes to buy, what car to choose, what food to eat, what nonsense to consume. People are treated like animals in a slaughterhouse, permanently shelled by stupid propaganda. Thus, people don’t even see anymore what is happening around them. Hardly worried about anything but to consume and live a bit better, not seeing that all that depends of the exploitation, to this day, of millions of human beings. So when I arrive here and they start talking about freedom and democracy, I have to smile. Time ago, it annoyed me. Now, I can laugh about it, but often I ask myself, when will people realize that being free means having access to education and to the kind of information that allows people to react. So, a lot remains to be done. I think that, nevertheless, people always have a part of goodness, of sensibility, and that it is up to us to learn and touch this sensibility.

Ever since I was a kid, I have learned some very basic concepts. I cannot live without revolution. For instance, I have been proposed a job as a pediatrician outside of Cuba, but I have said that that would not be useful, because the aim of my way of working is that patients don’t have to come back to me all the time. My way of working is to stabilize them. I have been taught that medicine cannot be a commerce, it must be a human right. I have been taught to say what I think and to defend my principles, wherever I am, wherever it may be. I cannot live another way. One day, someone asked me: “doctor, if you had to put things into balance, what would you put first, the revolution or your daughters?” And I replied: the revolution, because I want my daughters to grow up with the same dignity with which I grew up. One always has to pay attention to ideology, because we live in a world in which we are continually being bombarded with loads of obscenities. And I always say, I’m a communist, I don’t take no shit, you understand? If I’m a communist, I’m not so stupid. I also want happiness, good things, but for all. I cannot benefit from something if I know that my colleagues aren’t benefiting as well, I can’t. We have to share and we have to grow, of course, but without losing the ideals with which we have grown as human beings.