President of Cuba: Solidarity Remains an Indestructible Weapon of Struggle and a Message of Peace

Orinoco Tribune, July 24, 2023 —

The following is the English translation of the speech delivered by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the Republic of Cuba, at the People’s Summit Solidarity Festival, in Brussels, Belgium, on July 17, 2023 (stenographic version from the Presidency of Cuba).

Brother Centella;
Brother Manu;
Sisters and brothers from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe;
Comrades who fight for social justice (Applause):

I was told that someone was asking if we were going to be at this event, and we ask you: do you think we would have missed this event? (Exclamations of: “No!”) How could we be in Brussels and not be with you?

Now when we are here, when I see so many young people, so many people committed to the most just causes in the world, so many people in solidarity, feeding that feeling of solidarity, which is what we have to globalize throughout the world, I am thinking of Fidel (Applause and exclamations of: “Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!”, and of: “I am Fidel! I am Fidel!”).

We are truly very honored to be with you at this Summit of the Peoples.

Here we are by principle, by convictions, because this is a truly plural, open, and participatory space. This is a meeting place for representatives of Latin American, Caribbean, and European civil society. Therefore, this is the best of the summits, because here the people speak (Exclamations and applause).

It is in this space where an alternative model of sustainable development is promoted, based on cooperation and integration. A space where we say no to exclusion, where we say no to consumerism, which degrades and preys.

It is this Peoples’ Summit where a more just world is demanded to combat the deep systemic crisis of capitalism, inextricably associated with the unjust prevailing international economic order. And it is here where the participants endorse the largest, longest, and most just claim of our people.

It is on behalf of the Cuban people that I thank the Peoples’ Summit for having dedicated a workshop today to the cruel and illegal policy of siege, harassment, and persecution against Cuba, and that, as a result of that workshop, it has been agreed upon to convene an International Tribunal Against the Blockade of Cuba, in November, here in Brussels (Shouts and applause).

We are sure that the most forceful denunciation of the genocidal and criminal nature of the blockade will come from that Tribunal (Shouts and applause), and the denunciation of the infamy of including Cuba in the spurious list of states supposedly sponsoring terrorism.

It will also be an opportunity to denounce the extraterritorial effects of the blockade on European citizens and companies, which have worsened with the entry into force of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

The economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States on Cuba is neither moral nor ethical, nor humanly acceptable (Shouts of: “Down with the blockade!”). Firstly, because it constitutes a flagrant, massive, and systematic violation of the human rights of an entire people: the Cuban people. One cannot speak of human rights without knowing the genocidal nature of a policy intentionally conceived and rigorously applied so that the needs and material deficiencies of millions of people lead them to despair, to economic suffocation to the point of generating a social explosion that leads to a change of government.

Those who promote and reinforce it in a perverse way know that this is the main obstacle to the economic and social development of the country, and it is a tripping point to the implementation of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development until the year 2030 that we have conceived in Cuba.

Dear friends:

I have spoken to you about the issue of human rights because it has been one of the most manipulated issues in relation to Cuba, as part of the construction of pretexts to justify the policy of pressure against our country.

We are not the only victims of this other perverse game that accuses the victim to justify the abuse of it. Other progressive nations, with sovereign, independent policies that challenge imperial hegemonism, know very well the cost of these manipulative practices that are raised with constant campaigns of disinformation and lies, slander that is aimed, first of all, at the political leadership that they want to sweep away.

They try to isolate us, to silence us, to prevent us from denouncing hegemonic policies, blackmail, and punishment against those who do not submit and maintain their dignity. Here before you we express our conviction that no one should expect us to back down, to kneel and ask for forgiveness for defending the right to be different (Shouts and applause).

“Revolution… is to fight for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the basis of our patriotism, our socialism, and our internationalism.”

With that sentence ends the concept of revolution that Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro bequeathed to us. With that concept we respond to those who expect us to give up (Shouts and applause).

We will continue to denounce the political manipulation of human rights, along with the selectivity and double standards of many western countries and some NGOs.

We will continue to promote dialogue and international cooperation on human rights, but always on the basis of respect and non-interference in internal affairs.

We will also maintain our activism in human rights organizations, because our rights are being violated, and those who accuse us of violating them are the great violators of our rights and the rights of many other people (Applause).

Cuba will continue to advance in its efforts to achieve the fullest enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We will continue to improve our legal and institutional framework on human rights, adapted to our conditions and our laws, but without external pressure or interference.

Dear colleagues and partners:

Cuba developed and produced the first COVID-19 vaccine in Latin America and the Caribbean (Applause and exclamations of: “And yes, and yes, and I do want to be a Latin American power!”), and was the first country in the world to carry out a massive vaccination campaign against the pandemic in the pediatric population over two years of age. All this under the effects of a blockade that deepened to extreme levels never seen before during the pandemic. And we achieved it due to the heroism of our people and the courage of our scientists (Applause). And there is one of our scientists, a member of one of the Cuban vaccine teams (Cheers and applause).

Brother Petro, president of Colombia, has arrived! (Applause and exclamations of: “Long live Colombia! Long live Petro!”)

Welcome, brother Petro.

Well, he was telling you that despite the smear campaigns, our Cuban doctors provided care in more than 50 countries, including European nations (Applause). “Doctors and not bombs,” Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro announced one day (Applause and exclamations of: “You hear, you feel, Fidel is present!”). That is and will always be our motto: saving lives and sharing what we are and have at the price of any sacrifice! (Applause).

Sisters and brothers:

We firmly reject the imperial aggressions against the progressive and left-wing processes in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Here together with you, we express our solidarity with the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution in Venezuela (Shouts and applause), with Sandinista Nicaragua (Shouts and applause), with the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Shouts and applause), with the government of President Gustavo Petro in Colombia, and we support his peace process (Shouts and applause), with Lula in Brazil (Shouts and applause), with Mexico in solidarity led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Shouts and applause), with the brave Xiomara Castro in Honduras (Shouts and applause), all the leaders of our region who are showing their own ways to correct the painful experiences that neoliberalism in its worst version has left on their societies.

We also support the cause of the Palestinian people (Cheers and applause), the Saharawi people, and the independence of Puerto Rico (Cheers and applause), and the sovereignty of Argentina over the Malvinas, Sandwich, and South George Islands (Cheers and applause).

We endorse our support for the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted at the 2nd CELAC Summit, in Havana, in January 2014 (Applause). We want peace, and we want a better world! (Applause.)

Facing the right-wing and extreme-right circles in the European Parliament, sympathetic to the interests of the terrorist and ultra-conservative sectors of Miami and the United States Congress, who are trying to confront and divide us, we advocate that relations between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean be based on non-interference and respect for the sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples (Applause and exclamations of: “They will not pass, they will not pass!”, “And no, and no, and I don’t want to be a US colony!”).

Dear sisters and brothers:

Once again, on behalf of the Cuban people, I thank you for the continued solidarity actions carried out by political forces, social and popular movements, pacifist, union, student, peasant, women’s, youth, religious, and the patriotic Cubans residing abroad (Applause and exclamations of: “Cuba is not alone! Cuba is not alone!”).

We are convinced that solidarity cannot be blockaded in the same way that food, medicine, and equipment are blockaded. Solidarity only recognizes human needs and demands and places those who give and receive it in the highest echelon of our species. Solidarity will remain an indestructible weapon of struggle and at the same time a permanent and inexhaustible message of peace that cannot be silenced.

“Homeland is humanity,” José Martí said. You know that you have earned a place in the hearts of our people.

Long live solidarity! (Shouts of: “Long live!”)

Ever onward to victory! (Exclamations.)


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