Raúl praises the hard work across the country following Hurricane Irma

Source:  Granma
September 15 2017

By : Leticia Martínez Hernández | internet@granma.cu

The President of the National Defense Council led a meeting to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Irma and the actions to be taken during the recovery phase

raul praises sept 2017.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

The President of the National Defense Council, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, led a meeting with Party, state and government leaders on Wednesday, September 13, during which the damages caused by Hurricane Irma were evaluated, and the actions to be undertaken during the recovery phase outlined.

Raúl recognized the hard work in each of the areas affected by the devastating meteorological event, which struck virtually the entire island. He noted that if any benefit can be obtained from this difficult situation, it is to immediately collect experiences to better prepare for future events of this nature.

The President warned that the present hurricane season, which has been described as intense, extends until November 30, an evident product of climate change and to which we must adapt.

The Army General called to continue working tirelessly to calmly resolve problems and to keep the people informed by all possible means on the situation facing the country.

Forced to evacuate to 1,738,000 people

During the meeting it was highlighted that given Irma’s path across several provinces, authorities were forced to evacuate to 1,738,000 people, of them 86% were sheltered in the homes of neighbors and relatives. The head of the National Civil Defense General Staff, Major General Ramón Pardo Guerra, reported that more than 26,000 people remain in evacuation centers.

As he noted, the National Office of Statistics and Information is working to assess the damages, and preliminary figures are expected to be released in the coming days.

Alfredo López Valdés, minister of Energy and Mines, stated that the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric power station in Matanzas had suffered the strongest and most difficult impact to be solved in this sector, as its sea water supply system, a key element in the cooling process, was destroyed by huge storm surges.

Highly specialized staff are working to compensate for damages and to ensure the plant is back in operation in the next few days.

Work ongoing day and night

In addition, 15 transmission lines suffered damages, and more than 3,600 posts and 2,039 kilometers of power lines were affected. Work is ongoing day and night to restore service, the minister stressed, emphasizing that this was the first time the power system had ceased to operate throughout the entire country.

Around 90 oil wells, located on the north coast of the western and central regions, were also damaged by the storm surges caused by the hurricane.

López Valdés praised the work of the mixed brigades which, on orders of the Army General, were created in the affected territories for debris clearing, tree pruning, and the transportation of utility poles.

Finally, he explained that the major efforts to restore electricity are concentrated in the provinces of Villa Clara and Ciego de Ávila, territories with the most complex impacts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Construction is participating in the recovery efforts with more than 20,400 construction workers and 855 engineering machines, devoted to debris collection, the repair of roads, bridges and drains, as well as the repair of housing and public buildings.

Cement and roof tile factories are producing at full capacity

Sector Minister René Mesa Villafaña noted that the major impacts of the hurricane were concentrated on housing, especially damage to roofing. Although the exact figures regarding the damage are not yet available, efforts are already underway to help those whose homes were destroyed, for which cement and roof tile factories are producing at full capacity. The Camagüey tile factory is also expected to begin operations in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the most serious damages to agriculture were seen in the poultry sector, as dozens of egg production sheds lost their roofs. Julio A. García Pérez, first deputy minister of Agriculture, explained that the production of feed, plantain and corn crops, as well as fruit trees, have also been affected.

Work is now intensifying in the reactivation of the varied crops campaign, for which, he said, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides are available.

On this point, José Ramón Machado Ventura, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, considered that, despite the damages, the agricultural sector is in better conditions than in previous situations to recover from Irma’s impact.

The health system maintained services

Public Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda reported that the health system maintained services during the passage of the hurricane, and that to date there have been no outbreaks of communicable diseases in evacuation centers or any territory. Regarding Cuban collaborators working in the Caribbean countries hit by the cyclone, he noted that they are well and have joined the recovery efforts in these islands.

Ojeda revealed that 516 health units were damaged, and work is underway to restore them in the shortest possible time. He added that the current priority is environmental sanitation and vector control, for which all necessary resources are available.

Finally, regarding the effects on tourism, sector Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz explained that more than 51,000 vacationers were on the island when the hurricane hit, of these some 45,000 were located on the northern coast. About 10,000 tourists were evacuated from the Santa María, Coco and Guillermo keys.

He noted that the damaged infrastructure is being repaired, to ensure it is ready for the upcoming high season beginning in the first half of November.

Raul:  we’ll come through this once again

On closing the meeting, President Raúl reiterated the need to deal with problems intelligently, taking into account the best experiences put into practice in the face of similar events, especially at the local level. In this regard, he mentioned the efforts deployed in Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, following the impact of hurricanes Sandy in 2012, and Matthew in 2016, respectively.

This time the impact has been very strong and spread throughout most of the country, he said, but with the hard work that is being done, we’ll come through this once again.

 

A call to our combative people

Source:  Granma
September 11 2017

Raúl Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu

We face the recovery with the example of Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana, Fidel Castro Ruz, who, with his unwavering confidence in victory and iron will, taught us that nothing is impossible.

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Hurricane Irma, with its destructive power, battered our island for 72 hours, beginning the morning of September 8 until this Sunday afternoon. With winds that surpassed 250 kilometers per hour on occasion, it crossed the north of the country from Baracoa – hit hard by another phenomenon of this type almost a year ago – to the outskirts of Cárdenas. However, given its immense size, practically no province was spared its effects.

Described by experts as the largest ever to form in the Atlantic, this meteorological phenomenon caused severe damage to the country, which, precisely because of its scope, has yet to be quantified. A preliminary view shows evidence of an impact on housing, the electrical system, and agriculture.

hope amid destructionPhoto: Jose M. Correa

It also struck some of our principal tourist destinations, but damage will be repaired before the beginning of the high season. We have on hand for this the human resources and materials needed, given that this constitutes one of the principal sources of income in the national economy.

These have been difficult days for our people, who, in a few hours time, have seen what was constructed with great effort hit by a devastating hurricane. Images from the last few hours speak for themselves, as does the spirit of resistance and victory of our people that is regenerated with every adversity.

The unity of Cubans has prevailed

In these difficult circumstances, the unity of Cubans has prevailed, the solidarity among neighbors, discipline in response to instructions issued by the National Civil Defense General Staff and Defense Councils at all levels, the professionalism of specialists at the Institute of Meteorology, the immediacy of our communications media and its journalists, the support of mass organizations, as well as the cohesion of National Defense Council leadership bodies. Special mention for all of our women, including leaders of the Party and government, who with aplomb and maturity provided leadership and confronted the difficult situation.

The days that are coming will be ones of much work, during which the strength and indestructible confidence in the Revolution of Cubans will again be demonstrated. This is not a time to mourn, but to construct again that which the winds of Irma attempted to destroy.

With organization, discipline, and the coordination of all our structures, we will move forward as we have done on previous occasions. No one should be fooled; the task we have before us is huge, but with a people like ours, we will win the most important battle: recovery.

At this critical moment, the Cuban Workers’ Federation and the National Association of Small Farmers, along with all other mass organizations, must redouble efforts to eliminate as quickly as possible the trail left by this destructive event.

One principle remains immovable: the Revolution will leave no one unprotected and measures are already being adopted to ensure that no Cuban family is left to their fate.

As has been customary every time a meteorological phenomenon has struck us, there have been many expressions of solidarity received from all parts of the world. Heads of state and government, political organizations, and friends in solidarity organizations have expressed the desire to help us, whom we thank in the name of more than eleven million Cuban men and women.

fidel sierra maestra.pngWe face the recovery with the example of Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana, Fidel Castro Ruz, who, with his unwavering confidence in victory and iron will, taught us that nothing is impossible. In these difficult hours, his legacy makes us strong and unites us.

Raúl Castro Ruz

Havana, September 10, 2017

Nicolás Maduro pays respects to Jose Marti and Fidel Castro

Source:  Granma

August 16 2017

by: Yaima Puig Meneses y Yudy Castro Morales | internet@granma.cu

The Venezuelan President was accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez  Parilla

raul y nicolas aug 2017 1.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros visited the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, yesterday August 15, accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, to pay his respects to Cuba’s national hero José Martí and Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, on the 91st anniversary of his birth.

The two leaders, along with First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, observed the changing of the guard ceremony at the graves where the remains of Martí and Fidel rest.

The first tribute was to the Teacher, in his mausoleum, where they deposited white roses alongside the single starred flag.

Before the granite boulder that holds Fidel’s ashes, they placed flowers, since the Venezuelan President could not miss a visit on the 91st birthday of the Comandante en Jefe who always championed the Bolivarian Revolution.

The group also paid tribute to July 26 Movement martyrs and those who gave their lives as internationalists after the triumph of the Revolution in January of 1959.

raul y nicolas aug 2017 2.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

In a brief tour of Santa Ifigenia, Raúl spoke with Maduro about Cuba’s history, explaining why Carlos Manuel de Céspedes is considered the country’s founding father; recalling Mariana Grajales and María Cabrales, mother and widow of General Antonio Maceo, respectively; and informing the visiting President about several officers in the War of Independence who are buried in the historic cemetery.

Stopping alongside the tomb of Frank País García, they also left flowers, and Raúl recalled the valiant youth who was murdered, as was his brother Josue, by the Batista dictatorship.

Soldier of ideas

 

It is unquestionable that Fidel is incarnated in the hearts of millions of Cubans and admirers throughout the world.

We evoke him dressed in his customary olive green uniform with its epaulets of Comandante en Jefe, with his upright gait, friendly manner, inquisitive gaze; and the deep anti-imperialist convictions he shared with Martí; his iron will to overcome the hardest blows, his wisdom… and above all his infinite love for humanity, for the poor, to whom he dedicated his entire life.

The eminent Cuban writer, debater, professor and diplomat Raúl Roa García said of Fidel, “He hears the grass growing and sees what’s happening around the corner.” He is our undefeated Comandante, confronting any danger whatsoever to safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of Cuba. He is the man who, alongside the people, defeated a bloody military dictatorship and the dark imperialist designs of 11 U.S. administrations, which failed in their efforts to eliminate, even with attempts on his life, the example, the symbol, the soldier of ideas he was.

Che’s farewell letter to Fidel

It’s worth recalling the farewell letter Che Guevara wrote to Fidel, in which the legendary Argentine-Cuban said, “I have lived magnificent days at your side and felt the pride of belonging to our people in the luminous and sad days of the Caribbean (missile) Crisis.

“Few times has a statesman shone as brightly (as you did) on those days. I am also proud to have followed you without hesitation, identifying with your way of thinking, seeing, and evaluating dangers and principles.”

Today, the prolific seeds he sowed in millions of followers across the entire planet are flowering. And resounded in the sure words of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closing of the constituent session of the National Assembly of People’s Power 7th Legislature, February 24, 2008, when he said, “Fidel is Fidel. We all know it well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work when he is no longer physically present. Although his ideas always will be those which have made it possible to uphold the bastion of dignity and justice our country represents.” He was not mistaken.

This August 13, when Fidel would have celebrated his 91st birthday, he continues among us, surrounded by the affection of his people. He bequeathed to us his abiding guidance, his revolutionary firmness, his unwavering optimism and confidence in victory. Thus our best tribute will be making a reality of his principles every day, regardless of where he might be.

 

Fidel: An example of revolutionary conviction and permanent faith in victory

Source:  Granma
August 11 2017

Raúl Castro’s words, as early as 1959, summed up the significance of Fidel’s example and his lasting presence among the Cuban people

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“Fidel is wherever work is undertaken; spiritually Fidel is wherever the Revolution advances. Fidel is wherever an intrigue is destroyed, wherever a Cuban is working honestly, wherever a Cuban, whoever he may be, finds himself doing good, wherever a Cuban, whoever he may be, is defending the Revolution, Fidel will be there.”

Cienfuegos, September 5, 1959

Raúl Castro Ruz

Related information

Fidel’s doves

Cuba Expresses Solidarity with Nicolas Maduro and Lula da Silva.

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The Cuban president has condemned the attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

Source:   Cuba Inside the World
July 15 2017

President Raul Castro has repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government as it faces “an unconventional war” led by “imperialism” and the country’s “oligarchy” in a bid to topple President Nicolas Maduro with a coup.

RELATED: Ecuador Ratifies Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty

During a speech marking the end of the Cuban Congress’s extraordinary session, Castro condemned the opposition violence initiated in April on the streets of Caracas and other cities as “fascists actions.”

He mentioned the videos showing several young Venezuelans being burnt alive during anti-Maduro protests.

He urged the opposition to stop the “terrorist violence” designed “to oust” the president, and called for Maduro’s opponents to accept the Bolivarian government’s offer of dialogue.

Stop attacking Venezuela

Castro also asked the Organization of American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro to “stop attacking Venezuela” and “manipulating reality.”

“Venezuela’s legitimate right to find a peaceful solution to its domestic affairs should be respected with no foreign interference,” he said, adding that only the sovereign Venezuelan people are entitled to use the right to self-determination.

Cuba’s President also condemned the “political persecution” of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, recently condemned to a 9-year prison sentence over bribeery and money-laundering charges.

Lula denies any wrongdoing.

Raúl bids farewell to President Maduro

Source:  Granma

December 16 2016

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

Also returning to Venezuela with Maduro were First Combatant Cilia Flores; Ricardo Menéndez, vice president of the Councils of Ministers for Planning and Knowledge, and Minister of Planning; Eríka Farías, vice president and minister for Social Participation; Admiral Carmen Meléndez, minister of Defense; Eulogio del Pino, minister for Oil; and Wilmar Castro Sotelo, minister of Agriculture, who also participated in the solidarity event supporting the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held at the Havana International Convention Center, to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) and 22 years since the first encounter between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.