Whenever Cuba was faced with challenges and emergencies, Russia has extended its generous hand
Granma, Cuba, December 2, 2022 — 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, at the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, on November 22, 2022, ” Year 64 of the Revolution.”
(Shorthand Versions – Presidency of the Republic)
Dear Mr. Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation;
Dear Comrade Melnikov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation;
Thank you for the warmth of your friendly arms and for the opportunity to address the plenary session of the State Duma. (Applause).
On behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I convey the warmest and most affectionate greetings to all the deputies of this legislature. (Applause).
Parliamentary relations between Russia and Cuba constitute an important pillar of bilateral ties and a key element for the promotion and development of our economic, commercial, financial and cooperation ties.
In recent years, these relations have deepened significantly, the exchange between our delegations has grown, even in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chairman of the State Duma visited Cuba in February this year and soon the Chairman of the National Assembly of People’s Power, comrade Esteban Lazo Hernandez, will visit Moscow.
Our people are sincerely grateful for the resolution that this legislative body has been passing annually for more than 25 years, demanding the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy imposed for more than 60 years by the Government of the United States of America on Cuba. We appreciate and value this gesture very much.
Dear Members of Parliament:
Cuba’s economic situation is complex at the present time due to a group of factors fundamentally of an external nature. In the first place, the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade by the United States in a way that is unprecedented in the history of this cruel and genocidal policy.
Since 2019, the former President of the United States Donald Trump implemented 243 measures that have affected the main sectors of the economy that contribute to the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030; the vast majority of these measures are maintained in force by the current Administration of President Biden.
To this must be added the economic impact of COVID-19, especially on international tourism, the main source of income for the Island, as well as the effects of climate change and the current global crisis.
In these difficult circumstances, Cuba can count on the support and understanding of its closest friends, among which are the Russian Federation and, of course, the deputies of this legislative body who can play a fundamental role in the promotion of important projects in the economic sphere (Applause).
Political relations between the Russian Federation and Cuba are excellent, there are broad coincidences on the main issues of the international agenda and a decisive cooperation in international bodies. However, we still have to achieve the full development of our economic, commercial, financial and cooperation ties to bring them to the same level of our political relations today, and it must be a priority. It is the task of both legislative bodies to work in this direction.
I would like to emphasize that, despite the difficult circumstances of today’s world and the complex situation that both the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba are experiencing due to the sustained increase of unjust sanctions by the imperialist powers against our two nations, we have successfully developed a group of cooperation and mutual exchange projects for which the Cuban people is grateful, which include the geological prospection and work with oil in the Boca de Jaruco wells, where new technologies have been applied causing an increase in production and yields.
A new facility for the diagnosis and repair of the Kamaz technologies existing in our country has recently opened in the Mariel Special Development Zone with the investment of a Russian company.
We have been working, with the support of the Russian Federation, on the modernization project of an important steel plant in Cuba, Antillana de Acero, and we expect to conclude the first phase of this project in the coming months.
On the other hand, the modernization works have been completed at the Villa Clara mechanical plant, another important steel development enterprise in our country.
The Russian Federation has supported us with humanitarian aid in several complex moments for our country, such as the incidents of the explosion of the Saratoga Hotel, the fire at the oil storae facility in Matanzas Bay, Hurricane Ian, and also in the pandemic peaks we faced during COVID-19.
The facilities created by the Russian Government to grant scholarships for university and postgraduate studies to a group of Cuban professionals, are working very effectively and expanding their potential.
Furthermore, Russian businessmen had an important presence at the Havana International Fair as we corroborated with the Ambassador in Cuba when we inaugurated the pavilion of the Russian Federation before leaving for this tour.
We have also received support with locomotives for the Cuban railroad; we have received a lot of support when we have made requests for fuel to face the energy situation of our country.
I would also like to highlight a particular episode we faced in Cuba during COVID-19. If it had not been for the effort, understanding and support of the Russian Federation, we would have had many difficulties when in the middle of the pandemic peak with the Delta strain, we had a problem in our oxygen production plant. At that time, our intensive care wards had a large number of patients who needed oxygen, and due to this interruption and the increase of oxygen consumption, our reserves were practically depleted. We made a request for support to the Government of the Russian Federation, which immediately responded with an airplane loaded with oxygen containers which arrived in Cuba. Subsequently, that plane travelled around Latin America and the Caribbean to find other supplies for more than two months. And day by day, in two trips, those aircrafts brought oxygen balloons which made possible to mitiate the effects of that terrible and dramatic situation.
This is a gesture that we will never forget, because it is a help that is given from understanding, from solidarity, from a deep humanist conviction in the midst of a difficult moment. Only true friends do that (Applause).
Cuba strongly condemns the sanctions that are unilaterally and unjustly imposed today on the Russian Federation. The causes of the current conflict in this area are to be found in the aggressive policy of the United States and the expansion of NATO towards Russia’s borders, which Cuba has systematically denounced in international forums. Cuba, as it has expressed on many occasions, is in favor of a negotiated solution to the current conflict.
Dear Members of Parliament,
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the heroic Russian people and Government for the gesture of dedicating a square in this memorable city of Moscow to place a monument dedicated to the invincible historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz (Applause). The sincere recognition of all our people for this symbolic gesture also goes in my words; this act summarizes a history of solidarity and brotherhood that can never be forgotten.
Every time Cuba was faced with challenges and emergencies that seemed impossible to face and solve, Russia was of one of the first to extend its generous hand and thanks to it we overcame the challenges. These are the reasons why we feel the warmth offered by a beloved family.
Thank you very much (Applause).