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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

Cuba reiterates unconditional solidarity and support for President Maduro and the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution

Source:  Granma
August 6 2018

Leading the commemoration of the 8th anniversary of ALBA were Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, then President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, and President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moro. Photo: Juvenal Balán

The revolutionary government of the Republic of Cuba forcefully denounces the attempted attack on the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, which occurred Saturday August 4, during a military parade in Caracas, on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the founding of the Bolivarian National Guard.

This terrorist act, presuming to ignore the will of the Venezuelan people, is yet another desperate attempt to achieve via assassination what has not been possible in multiple elections, or through the 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chávez, the 2003 oil industry lock-out, or the unconventional war conducted with media campaigns, sabotage, and violent, cruel acts.

The revolutionary government once again condemns the operation being carried out against the legitimate government of Venezuela, as part of imperialism’s policy of harassment to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, that includes the arbitrary, aggressive U.S. Executive Order describing Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy” of the United States; unilateral economic sanctions in violation of international law; the statement by the U.S. Secretary of State asserting that the Monroe Doctrine remains in full effect and calling for a military coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela; and the U.S. President’s threat of using “a possible military option” against the country.

July 14, 2017, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz warned:

“The coup plotting aggression and violence in Venezuela hurts all of Our America and only benefits the interests of those who are intent upon dividing us, to exert their domination over our peoples, regardless of the conflicts generated with incalculable consequences in the region, as we are witnessing in different places around the world.

“We forewarn today that those who attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, via unconstitutional, violent, coup-plotting methods, will assume a serious responsibility before history.”

The revolutionary government expresses its full, unwavering solidarity with Venezuela and its unconditional support to President Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic-military of the Bolivarian Chavista people.

As the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, said this past July 17, within the context of the Sao Paulo Forum’s 24th meeting, we must “strengthen the conviction that to fight for Venezuela is to fight for the region’s integration, for respecting the sovereignty and independence of Our America.”

Three Mambises of our times

Source:  Granma
February 25 2018

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, in the tribute ceremony held in the Capitolio building, February 24, 2018, “Year 60 of the Revolution”

Compañeras and compañeros:

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Today, February 24, we celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the resumption of our War of Independence called for by José Martí.

The profound significance of this date marked the maturity and the crystallization of the project proposed by Martí, who in order to lead it and to make it happen, founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party.

When everything seemed lost, his ability to find an alternative and overcome any setback, led him to summon the people to a definitive effort: the war that he believed necessary when he thought it unavoidable. He continually called for national unity, articulating the best traditions of the past, without overlooking all those who were willing to sacrifice and give their lives for a greater cause.

A month later, on March 25, 1895, in Montecristi, the Dominican Republic, Martí, along with Major General Máximo Gómez, signed the Manifesto which set out the scope and aims of the struggle. Together they left for Cuba to join the liberation struggle, landing at Playitas de Cajobabo on April 11, just like Major General Antonio Maceo had done a few days before at Duaba.

As Fidel stated on the 100th anniversary of the Ten Years War, “Martí gathered up the flags of Céspedes, Agramonte, and the heroes that fell in that struggle and led Cuba’s revolutionary ideas in that period to their highest expression.”

Three brave compañeros

There is no better moment than this to award the honorific title of Hero of Labor of the Republic of Cuba – in fitting recognition of a lifetime of work committed to the Revolution – to three brave compañeros who already hold the honorable title of Heroes of the Republic of Cuba. I am referring to José Ramón Machado Ventura and Comandantes of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés Menéndez and Guillermo García Frías.

José Ramón Machado

As for Machado Ventura, I could highlight that he joined the struggle against the tyranny as a medical student at the University of Havana, and 65 years ago he participated in the first March of the Torches, in January 1953.

In 1957 he joined the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra and served as a doctor and guerilla fighter in various battles. He was a founder of the Second Front; and organized and led the Military Health Department until the end of the struggle, where he was wounded in combat. He developed a broad network of field hospitals and dispensaries which not only offered services to combatants but also, and most importantly, the area’s population, who in many places had never seen a doctor before.

After the triumph of the Revolution he was appointed Head of Medical Services of Havana and of the FAR(Revolutionary Armed Forces) and later Minister of Public Health.

He is a founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and in 1975 was elected as a member of the Political Bureau. He was First Party Secretary in various provinces.
Since 2011, he has served as second secretary of the Central Committee. He is a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.

Ramiro Valdés

Ramiro Valdés Menéndez joined the revolutionary struggle at a young age. He participated in the March of the Torches in January 1953 and in the attacks on the Moncada Garrison that same year, during which he was injured. He was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines and lived in exile in Mexico, where he joined the Granma expedition.

He was involved in multiple battles in the Sierra Maestra, and participated alongside Che in the invasion of the West as second commander of the Ciro Redondo Column No. 8.

Since the triumph of the Revolution he has occupied important posts, including Minister of the Interior on two occasions, and as a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, a position which he currently holds. He is a member of the Party Political Bureau.

A lot more can be said about each one of these figures on this occasion, but in the case of Ramiro, I have always admired him because he is the only one of us who – in addition to those actions taken some months before Moncada, during which we marched in the first March of the Torches led by Fidel 65 years ago – was wounded in the taking of the main post during the Moncada assault; where he was shot in the heel with the bullet lodging itself in his foot. When we met up, or when we were brought together again at the Vivac (prison) in Santiago de Cuba, he showed me his blood-stained socks, but said he didn’t know where the bullet was. The years went by and he began to limp in the Sierra Maestra because of a callus he had on the sole of his foot. On various occasions he was unable to continue marching with the rest of the initial group of the liberation war, until one day, he began to scrape away at the callus with his own knife until the bullet of the Moncada attack appeared, shot by an enemy as he fell to the ground mortally wounded.

There are dozens or hundreds of heroic feats or important acts linked to each one, and which of course were not even recorded in the few campaign diaries that were written. What is more, unlike the rest of us in the liberation war, Ramiro had the good fortune and honor of being the second commander of the Column led by Che to Las Villas.

Guillermo García

Guillermo García Frías, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, organized a network of campesinos to help the Granma expeditionaries and take them to the Sierra Maestra. An astute man, he personally led Fidel and the other combatants to Cinco Palmas and recovered various rifles.

He was the first campesino to join the Rebel Army, with an outstanding record, first as a combatant and later as second commander of the Third Front when it was founded in early March 1958, led by then Comandante Juan Almeida.

There are hundreds of anecdotes about Guillermo; of the early days and following the Granmalanding, we will only touch on some aspects. It was he who led Fidel and two other compañeros, Faustino Pérez – who was a doctor – and Universo Sánchez, one of which was unarmed having left his rifle behind on treating the wounded in the first clash at Alegría de Pío.

That is to say that Fidel arrived to the Sierra Maestra with two other combatants, only one of which was armed. It was Guillermo García that got them around the blockade on the old road from the Pilón sugar mill to the municipal capital of Niquero; it was he who – fulfilling other urgent missions given him by the Comandante en Jefe, from Purial de Vicana, or Cinco Palmas de Vicana, where they first set up camp – gathered together almost all of us who originally joined up, including Ramiro himself, Almeida, Che, Camilo; and thus the initial group of three, then five more, then eight, gradually reuniting this important group of compañeros.

One of the first actions he took in support of the nascent guerilla force, was the number of rifles he collected in the days following these events of which I am speaking, from the 15th to the 18th, which together with the few we already had weren’t event sufficient to form a platoon, but were enough to launch the first attack; and although it might not have been the best moment to do so, with hundreds of soldiers hot on our heels, Fidel said that, with this first battle, we had to show the people that the guerillas were still here and would continue the war. This was the reason behind the battle of La Plata, barely a few weeks after this initial group, with the help of Guillermo García, were reunited. Other tasks would follow later.

As the first campesino to join the Rebel Army, he was also the first to be promoted. He had an outstanding track record, first as a combatant and then as second commander of the Third Front, under the command of Almeida.

After the triumph of the Revolution, he occupied various positions in the Revolutionary Armed Forces. Later he also served, among other roles, as a Political Bureau delegate in the former province of Oriente; a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, Minister of Transport, and President of the Flora and Fauna Enterprise Group, where he has done an outstanding job.

He was a member of the Party Political Bureau from 1965 through 1986, and is currently a member of the Central Committee and Council of State.

Loyalty to the Revolution

Regarding characteristics shared by these three Mambises of our times I can cite their loyalty to the Revolution and to Fidel, their commitment to work, modesty and humility, which have made them worthy of the recognition and respect of the Cuban people.

It is not by chance that we are commemorating this date in the Capitolio building, whose tenacious restoration, has enabled the attributes of one of the most important buildings in the country to be highlighted, and in whose crypt rest the ashes of the Unknown Mambí, before which an eternal flame burns as a tribute of the people to their founding fathers and the glorious Liberation Army, and is surrounded by the flags of nations of the continent.

Today, this building is the headquarters of the National Assembly of People’s Power. It is also irrefutable proof of the care and interest that must always be put into preserving the cultural heritage of the nation.

Let me take this solemn moment to extend a well-deserved congratulations to Havana City Historian, Eusebio Leal, and those collaborators who have been most closely associated with the massive restoration of the Capitolio; including architect Perla Rosales; engineers Mariela Mulet, Yohanna Aedo and Tatiana Fernández; restoration expert Patricia Coma; professor Juan Carlos Botello and his students from the Vocational School; historian Lesbia Méndez; director of the City Historian Office’s Construction Enterprise, Conrado Hechavarría; and German expert Michael Diegmann.

On a day like today, as we honor those noble Cubans who in 1895 returned to the battle field to free Cuba, I repeat Fidel’s words spoken in 1965: “We would have been like them then, and they would have been like us now!” This is the commitment we have upheld and will also be that which guides the present and future generations, in order that the Homeland continues to be free.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

Raúl receives Namibian Prime Minister

Source:  Granma
February 16 2018

The two leaders held a friendly conversation discussing the excellent relations shared by their peoples and governments, and reaffirmed their intention to work on strengthening these ties

raul receives pm of namibia.jpg

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, yesterday February 15, received her Excellency Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, who is making an official visit to our country.

The two leaders held a friendly conversation discussing the excellent relations shared by their peoples and governments, and reaffirmed their intention to work on strengthening these ties. They also addressed a variety of issues on the current international agenda.

Accompanying the distinguished guest were Peya Mushelenga, minister of Yrban and Rural Development, and Namibia’s ambassador in Cuba, Jerobeam Shaanika.

Also participating on the Cuban side were First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz; and First Deputy Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina González.

Raúl Castro: An increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible

Source:  Cubadebate
December 8 2017

raul in antigua dec 2017.jpg

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit. Antigua and Barbuda, December 8, 2017, “Year 59 of the Revolution.”

(Stenographic Versions – Council of State)

Honorable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda;

Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Granada and President of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom);

Honorable Prime Ministers and Presidents of the other member countries of Caricom;

His Excellency Ambassador Irwin Larocque, Secretary General of Caricom;

His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States;

Her Excellency June Soomer, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States;

Distinguished Heads of Delegations, Ministers and Special Guests:

I wish to express to the people and authorities of Antigua and Barbuda sincere gratitude for the expressions of friendship we have received since we arrived in this country and convey the appreciation and gratitude of the Cuban people and government for the expressions of solidarity of the Caribbean brothers after the physical fidel 26disappearance of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who was the initiator, guide and maximum promoter of political ties and cooperation between our countries.

Remember his words on December 8, 2002: “The only way out for our people is integration and cooperation, not only among States, but also among the various regional schemes and organizations.”
I am grateful for the determination of the Honorable Gaston Gaston Browne Antigua 2cBrowne and his government team, who despite the difficulties they face after the destructive passage of Hurricane Irma did not cease in their efforts to guarantee the conditions for the successful celebration of this, the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit .

A day like today, 45 years ago, the prime ministers of four countries of the Anglophone Caribbean, recently reached their independence, Errol Barrow, of Barbados; Forbes Burnham, of Guyana; Michael Manley, from Jamaica, and Eric Williams, from Trinidad and Tobago, decided to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

We will never forget that decision, which was a fundamental step for breaking the diplomatic and commercial siege against Cuba. It also allowed deepening the relations between the peoples of Our America, united by centuries of history, culture and neighborhood.

With pride we also celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Caricom-Cuba Summits, whose agreements and results have emanated a deeper and more effective relationship, based on solidarity and cooperation.

A sign of that everlasting friendship was the support that we offered each other before the passage of the two intense hurricanes that hit our region last September. I want to thank you for the expressions of brotherhood and Caribbean solidarity that we received.

A significant step

In this regard, the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between the Civil Defense of Cuba and the Caribbean Agency for Disaster and Emergency Management is a significant step.

In the next triennium we foresee the continuity of joint projects, the result of the political will of our governments, such as the Regional School of Arts in Jamaica and the Center for the Stimulation of the Development of Children, Adolescents and Youth with Special Educational Needs, based in in Guyana, which have made progress in their implementation process.

We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. The 5,432 young people from the Caribbean who have been trained and the 723 currently studying in them, as well as the 1,762 Cuban collaborators present in all the Caricom countries, including 1,469 in the health sector, are part of the contribution from Cuba to the development of the Caribbean peoples.

We intend to advance in the development of trade and investments. Between 2014 and 2016 the commercial exchange grew by 70%. This year marches at a good pace. The broad and diverse participation of Caribbean companies and agencies at the Havana Fair, last month, predicts higher growth.

We welcome the implementation, in January 2018, of the Second Protocol to the bilateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a document that expands the tariff preferences granted by Cuba and that facilitates access to our markets.

Dear Presidents and Prime Ministers and Guests:

How shall we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis that this hemisphere and the world are suffering? We must do it with unity in our diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among us.

The dangers for the survival of the human species increase. The consequences of the application of concepts not universally accepted as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” are used to cover up interventionist and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security and call us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

We should articulate to demand a fair action by the industrialized powers for the mitigation and adaptation of the effects of climate change, in particular with financial resources and technology transfer; to agree on approaches to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, to collectively address the mechanisms of domination imposed on us by the unjust international financial system.

I reiterate Cuba’s invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment.

We support the demand, equally just, to receive cooperation according to their real situation and needs, and not on the basis of per capita income statistics that classify them as middle income countries and exclude them from the flows of financial resources indispensable for its development

We join our voice against the persecution by transnational financial capital centers that seek to damage the international reputation of the Caribbean countries and hinder their economic development through inclusion in spurious and unilateral lists and singularization in dangerous supranational endeavors, supposedly for the confrontation to corruption.

We strongly support the just demand of the Caribbean Community for compensation from the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery and trafficking.

We also have an urgent duty with our peoples to advance with increasingly solid steps towards the political, economic and social integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Regional integration

Today, the successful trajectory of Caricom, the participation of all its Member States and Cuba in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Association of Caribbean States, as well as the membership of some of us in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, have contributed to the advancement of regional integration, which we must continue to promote. On the other hand, participation in Petrocaribe has represented a guarantee and significant contribution to the development of our countries.

I would like to highlight the signature by the Heads of State and Government of the region of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, on the occasion of the II Summit of Celac, held in Havana in January 2014, which constitutes the basis for the development of relations of mutual respect between the States and the commitment of these with the strict fulfillment of their obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and self-determination of peoples.

Venezuela

That is why we must not allow the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, one of our Latin American and Caribbean nations, to suffer continuous actions that pursue the destruction of its constitutional order. Cuba reiterates its permanent solidarity and support for the heroic Venezuelan people, its civic-military union and the Bolivarian and Chavez government led by President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Haiti

I underline the historical and ethical responsibility of our nations with the sister Republic of Haiti and the need to contribute to its development, with strict adherence to the will of its government and the legitimate needs of its people.

The blockade of Cuba

We Cubans deeply thank our Caribbean brothers for their unalterable position of respect and solidarity towards our country. We will never forget the permanent support for resolutions against the blockade of Cuba, as well as the numerous expressions of solidarity in the general debates of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and in other international forums.

This support is even more relevant in the face of the setbacks caused by the actions of the new government of the United States against Cuba. The blockade is the biggest obstacle to the economic and social development of our country, and to Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with the world.

Caribbean brothers:

“In the faithful of America are the Antilles,” José Martí wrote in 1894, the most universal of Cubans. His ideas, widely shared today, give us the conviction that an increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible; you can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude and support of Cuba.

Thank you very much (Applause).