Bothers and sisters, participants in this International Meeting in Solidarity with Cuba and Anti-imperialism;
Welcome, everyone! To this home from home! Cuba is and always will be home to the workers, because in Cuba it’s the workers who are in power (Applause). Not kings, or billionaires, or the representatives of some oligarchy: the Cuban workers! (Applause).
We are grateful to you, the attendees, for your participation in this gathering, at which we share the same sentiment and the same commitment: human solidarity, solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and the causes pursued by the peoples for their true emancipation.
Celebrating International Workers’ Day in the company of representatives of the working class in the movements for solidarity and friendship with Cuba is a great honor and a courageous gesture for which our heroic people offer their heartfelt thanks. It represents due homage to the legacy of Commander-In-Chief Fidel Castro, a paradigm of the Cuban people’s solidarity.
You have come at one of those moments that have become commonplace in a country subjected to a brutal blockade in which life involves such difficulties as an energy crisis and shortages of all kinds.
The plan was to meet in our public squares on May 1, to celebrate Labor Day together. The weather obliged us to postpone; but to quote the proverb, to bad weather (put on a) good face.
As we are used to seeing an opportunity in every challenge, we shan’t complain about the rain, we shall celebrate the 205th anniversary of one who described the exploitation of man by man as the fruit and essence of capitalism and called for unity among all the world’s workers in pursuing their emancipation.
It will be Friday May 5 when we’ll be celebrating International Workers’ Day in our squares, with parades and mass meetings. And we’ll be commemorating also the 205th anniversary of the greatest thinker with the interests of the workers at heart: Karl Marx. So, Arise ye workers from your slumbers! (Applause).
Dear bothers and sisters:
In the present times, we realize that it’s an act of true commitment, courage and extraordinary effort to visit Cuba. The Cuban people and its leaders are infinitely grateful to you.
The world is in the throes of a systemic, multidimensional crisis of capitalism, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the armed conflicts.
April 28 last marked two centuries since the then Secretary of State (and, later, president of the Union) John Quincy Adams, pronounced his “ripe fruit” theory regarding Cuba; I quote: “There are laws of political as well as physical gravitation; and if an apple severed by its native tree cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its own unnatural connection with Spain, and incapable of self-support, can gravitate only towards the North American union which by the same law of nature cannot cast her off from its bosom”.
How wrong Adams was!
Between that April announcement and the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine in December 1823 was a span of eight months. “America for the Americans.” And today, when we are researching, when we are reading critically about what these 200 years of applying the Monroe Doctrine – closely linked to the “ripe fruit” theory – have meant, we must ask ourselves: Which America and which Americans were they talking about? It wasn’t about seeking American integration and deploying all the human potential, resources, culture and history of America to the mutual benefit of all our peoples and countries. Their conception was that Latin America and the Caribbean should belong to the United States. That’s the trap in this doctrine, and that’s where we need to know how to draw the line and have the awareness to forge anti-imperialist unity and commit to the fight against imperialism.
Those ideas, which are hegemonic, which are of domination, which reflect arrogance and contempt for the peoples of Latin America, were also apparent in relation to Cuba when, in the 1960s, a US State Department official wrote a memorandum recommending to the US government, since most Cubans supported the Revolution, stifling the Cuban economy, so as to produce dissatisfaction, disruption, disengagement and social upheaval, which would soon put paid to the Revolution.
This same hegemonic, interventionist doctrine, which treats the Latin American and Caribbean peoples with contempt, led to the founding of the Organization of American States, defined by Raúl Roa [Cuba’s then foreign minister] as a “Ministry of Colonies”.
All these are hegemonic platforms of domination, arrogance and contempt; therefore our response must be, as we have discussed at this event, anti-imperialist unity!
Since those times, for 200 years, the policy of our powerful neighbor has been unchanged: appropriate Cuba, Latin America and all our natural resources.
Washington is seeking to internationalize the Monroe Doctrine and, 200 years on, renews it with policies of blockade, sanctions, political/judicial measures, walls, interference, media circuses and wars.
The intensified economic, financial and commercial blockade is the main obstacle to Cuba’s economic and social development; it is applied by US imperialism as a means of repressing the Cuban people, breaking their unity and faith in the Revolution, in socialism, in the party and in the government. And to make bite deeper, as if that weren’t enough, they have included us, yet again and entirely without grounds, on the spurious list of States Sponsors of Terrorism.
During 2022, we were stricken by two major accidents and a natural disaster, as has been mentioned here several times: the explosion at the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, the fire at the supertanker base in Matanzas, and the scourge of Hurricane Ian in western Cuba. In all three cases, as with our response to COVID-19, the Cuban people demonstrated its ability to rise to the occasion, and through willpower, solidarity and unity we were able to cope and move on.
The results in three processes of participative democracy, staged just in the last six months, show the people’s trust in the Revolution – the boundless effort to ensure social justice at its core, and in the leadership of the revolutionary process. This was shown by the people’s approval of the Family Code, the elections of the delegates to the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power and, more recently, the election of representatives which culminated in the constitution of the 10th Legislature of the National Assembly of the People’s Power.
In this context, what are we asking of you, our friends from the world over, the people who have taken Cuba and the Cuban cause to heart? We attach high priority to escalating condemnation the blockade in all its manifestations, while continuing to demonstrate that, despite the siege and the pressures, Cuba can progress and develop. But, as I said recently in my acceptance speech at the National Assembly of the People’s Power, we must “beat the blockade without waiting for them to lift it!” And you, friends, who represent international solidarity with Cuba, are also an essential part of that joint challenge.
It is also a political and ethical imperative to denounce the inclusion of Cuba on the spurious list of States Sponsors of Terrorism, which should never have happened. Apart from being arbitrary, unjust and immoral, it has serious implications for the economy and a discouraging and intimidating effect.
It is also necessary to intensify activism and awareness among the social networks and digital platforms, on which major battles are now being waged against the campaigns of lies launched by US imperialism’s media emporia and their internal and external operators, in their attempt to discredit and destroy the Revolution.
What do we value, what do we ask of you? First and foremost, in response to this aggressive imperialist policy: a growing solidarity with Cuba movement, in the midst of the tremendous challenges and an extremely complex international scenario. And increased robustness and coordination among the political forces and movements – social, popular, solidarity, pacifist, trade union, student, rural workers’, women’s, youth, religious, of graduates of Cuban schools and associations of Cubans resident abroad, among others.
It is also heartening to note the increase in journeys to Cuba, as a safe destination, in open rejection of the restrictions imposed by Washington and the media campaigns launched from Europe and elsewhere.
We appreciate the public acts of protest against the blockade, represented by the Bridges of Love caravans and other initiatives, which have become daily occurrences, mainly at week-ends, all over the world.
We welcome the idea of holding in the second half of this year the 7th African Continental Meeting in Solidarity with Cuba, in South Africa.
We support the European Unblock Cuba campaigns and the multiple solidarity initiatives which are gradually becoming a broadly-based political movement in Europe against the blockade.
We welcome the political consensus and expression of solidarity that has been achieved via the Latin American & Caribbean Continental Network in Solidarity with Cuba and Just Causes, and the Caribbean Solidarity with Cuba Network.
In difficult times, a lot of people ask: Why socialism in Cuba? Not everyone is prepared to live with an economic straightjacket, which has been opportunistically tightened more than once. This situation is so damaging to Cuban society and families that there are those who say we should give up on socialism.
Why did the Cuban Revolution choose the socialist path to prosperity? Because it’s the only alternative to capitalism; because it’s the best way to give power and the decisions about the country and the future, to the people. (Prolonged applause).
The Cuban Revolution is not just the response of a people to an intolerable set of abuses, after centuries of colonialism and 60 years of neocolonialism. It’s the reaction of a continent and a world plagued by injustices. That’s why we’ve never been alone in our struggles. You yourselves are an example! (Applause).
Revolution did not arrive at our shores as an import, it was born of specific socio-historic conditions and was nearly 100 years, of struggle against injustice, in the making. Its strength derives from its authenticity.
When the socialist community collapsed, and with it COMECON, and the Cuban economy shrank by over 30%, the Revolution grew politically and morally, with Fidel at the helm of a party of unity aware of its strength. The country needed five years to stop the decline and return to some degree of growth. But we grew! That is true socialism.
The alleged “Caribbean soviet satellite” survived more than the economic and political demise of the European soviet bloc; it survived the ideological disintegration and moral collapse of political parties and organizations it regarded as a role model. We were never a satellite!
All this happened in a context marked by the euphoria of neoliberalism in Latin America: even the cemeteries and parks were sold off, and the FTAA proposal was promulgated.
When Cuba was not seduced by these overtures, which rapidly revealed their sole result of increasing the indebtedness of the peoples, these acts of economic warfare became laws.
In the 1990s, while socialism in Europe was crumbling and the Revolution stood firm, the US congress passed two bills: the Torricelli Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996. These were signed respectively by the Republican George Bush Sr. and the Democrat Bill Clinton, with a view to garnering votes and money from the Florida right-wing faction.
ncredibly, this involved the repeal of what up to then had been a presidential prerogative, according to the experts.
It is incredible that our ability to develop is constrained by two laws of another country. Check the statistics and you’ll see how the surges in migration flows coincided with the periods of greatest pressure and closure and, vice versa, how there were periods in which the migration flow was reversed when the restrictions on exchanges were eased.
What resistance and willpower have taught us is that justice for all can only be achieved through socialism – the society for which were are fighting and will go on fighting! (Applause).
Capitalism, or rather dependent capitalism, governed Cuba for 60 years and left in its wake a degree of injustice so extreme that it provoked the hemisphere’s most radical revolution.
Abandoning socialism after those lessons of history is not an option, because we didn’t choose it at random; we chose it responsibly as an expression of the most advanced universal thinking on social justice.
Socialism is so effective in serving that noble, humanist aim, that even hamstrung, besieged, persecuted by the most powerful empire in history, we could not be suppressed or subdued.
So certain is it that only socialism offers a future of social justice that we believe that to be the primary motive for the blockade; namely, to forestall the success of an anti-capitalist, socialist system situated just 90 miles from the empire! (Prolonged applause)
Brothers and sisters:
This is a moment for reaffirmation: we reaffirm that in the present complex international context, Cuba is maintaining its foreign policy of principles, solidarity and defense of just causes.
And I will restate some concepts that were aired earlier, at the opening of today’s session, by Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs:
We reaffirm our unwavering support for Venezuela’s Bolivarian and Chavist revolution, for the civil-military union of its heroic people and legitimate president, comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros. (Prolonged applause and exclamations)
We reaffirm our solidarity with Sandinista Nicaragua, its people and president Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra (Prolonged applause and exclamations); also our solidarity with the Plurinational State of Bolivia; with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in Brazil, leader of Brazil’s Workers’ Party (Applause); and our unshakeable support for the efforts of the Argentine Republic to recover sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding waters (Applause); our commitment to the government of President Luis Arce, of the Movement for Socialism, in Bolivia, for his efforts in the country’s recovery and the struggle against the coup d’état mentality (Applause); we also support the Peruvian people’s cause, the government of Honduras and that country’s president, Xiomara Castro.
We shall continue to defend the legitimate interests of the Caribbean nations and support their claim for reparations for the effects of slavery and colonialism.
Especially, we reaffirm our commitment to the brother people of Haiti and to the self-determination and independence of Puerto Rico.
We are grateful to our friend Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, for his firm support for and solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. (Applause).
We maintain our unconditional position regarding a broadly-based, just and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict by means of an equitable, definitive negotiated political settlement that guarantees the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to exist as a sovereign and independent state within the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. (Applause).
We stand by our unconditional solidarity with the brother Sahrawi people and its right to self determination. (Applause).
We favor continued development and strengthening of the close, friendly bonds with Syria, based on respect for self-determination, territorial integrity, rejection of terrorism and of the imposition of economic sanctions by foreign powers or international organizations. (Applause).
Our greetings to the workers of brother socialist countries. (Applause).
Cuba champions peace, cooperation, solidarity, multilateralism and dialogue, as the bases for conflict resolution and advocates the creation of a new international economic order.
In parallel with this International Meeting in Solidarity, elsewhere in Havana the third round of talks is under way between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army of Colombia (Applause). Cuba’s commitment to peace in Colombia is unalterable; we will do everything in our power to ensure the success of this keenly pursued initiative of the Colombian people and our region (Applause). We are committed also to compliance with the proclamation of Latin America & the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, as approved at the CELAC summit in 2014.
We are aware that in many countries in Asia & Oceania, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America and Latin America & the Caribbean, the workers stage mass demonstrations in response to neoliberal policies that guarantee them neither employment nor social security. To all of them, we pass on a message of solidarity from the trade union movement and the Cuban Revolution, in the just causes they are now pursuing (Applause).
We confirm our conviction that the great problems that mankind is facing now and will face in the future can only be solved through cooperation and solidarity and not by confrontation.
The triumph of the Cuban Revolution is a triumph of our people and also of the peoples represented by the international delegations and all the peoples friendly to Cuba (Applause).
The resilience of the revolutionary process within Cuban society cannot be explained except in terms of the will of the people and the laudable role of the international solidarity you offer us (Applause).
Those who remain until Friday – is that asking too much? – will witness how Cuba’s workers and people, despite the privations, celebrate International Workers’ Day with joy and unity, on this occasion differently, but with the same spirit, enthusiasm and unshakeable faith in our victory (Applause).
You have the eternal, sincere gratitude of all our people for joining us in our ceaseless struggle against the blockade.
On behalf of our people, party and government, I promise that we will preserve the revolutionary legacy of Fidel, Raúl and the many generations of Cuban patriots who fought to bring about a sovereign, independent, solidarity-embracing, democratic, socialist and noble homeland, which we are duty bound to defend at all costs (Applause). That is the message we send with love and firm resolve to you and all the friends and peoples the world over.
The uncertain and threatening world scenario and the stark extremes forced on us by the enemies of the Revolution in seeking our subjugation through starvation and want of all kinds, sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of many, as to the real prospects for the victory we aspire to.
In history, Cuba has been through many situations like today’s, but perhaps the darkest was that experienced during several days by the survivors of the Granma’s landfall. 13 days after dispersing, following the baptism of fire at Alegría de Pío, Fidel met up again with his brother Raúl and four others, in the middle of the night in a out-of-the-way spot known as Cinco Palmas. They hugged each other. Fidel asked how many rifles they carried; Raúl replied: “Five”. “With my two, seven” said Fidel, “Now we’ll win the war for sure!” According to Raúl, at that point he thought his brother had lost his mind. Win the war, indeed! (Applause).
Many years after several such moments, Cuba lost its markets and socialist solidarity, while the empire and former socialists joined forces to impose a double blockade on us. Once again, as in the tank at the Bay of Pigs, Fidel led the epic battle for Cuba and socialism.
Raúl, at the head of an army which, while remaining armed, dedicated itself to producing food and medicines, showed the way and proclaimed” “Yes, it can be done!” (Applause).
The generation which now carries the main responsibilities in the party, the state and the government are from that school; we are convinced that, indeed, it can be done! And that yes, we’re winning the war! (Applause).
Then as now as always, we rely on your solidarity.
Unity and hope are our present and future; your solidarity reinforces unity and magnifies hope.
Human solidarity cannot be blockaded, it remains an indestructible weapon of struggle and combat and, at the same time, an everlasting message of peace that can never be silenced.
Homeland is mankind! A mankind that supports the workers!Solidarity for ever!
We shall win! We shall certainly win!
Ever on to victory!