Cuba will continue to raise the banners of peace, solidarity and cooperation with peoples

Cuba will continue to raise the banners of peace, solidarity and cooperation with peoples
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 closing ceremony of the International Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba and against imperialism, at the Palace of Conventions, on May 2, 2024.
Dear friends, dear friends, defenders of international solidarity;
Sisters and brothers of the Cuban Revolution:
To all of you we would like to thank you for being here in Cuba.  We thank you for your participation in the Meeting, in which we share the same sentiment and the same commitment: that of human solidarity, which is also for you with your expressions, solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and with the struggle of the peoples for their true emancipation.
To celebrate International Workers' Day, as we did yesterday in Cuba, together with representatives of the working class and solidarity movements and friends of Cuba is a great honor and a gesture of courage that our heroic people thanks you all for.
It is also an honor for the Cuban people the significant presence and participation of young people in the May Day International Brigade and in the trade union delegations that visit us (Applause).
In this Meeting, which has been held as part of the activities to commemorate International Workers' Day, more than 1,000 delegates have participated, and 70% of them are coming to Cuba for the first time. This means that Cuba continues to be a point of reference and a meeting place for those of us who aspire to a better world; this means that the family of solidarity is also growing; and this means that in the new generations the feeling of solidarity is also germinating (Applause).
These have been days of intense days.  We recently held two days of wide-ranging debate and analysis on the exclusionary and unjust International Economic Order and also on the proposals for a much-needed New International Economic Order.
Yesterday, friends and organizations in solidarity with Cuba from Canada, Uruguay, the United States, Argentina and Ecuador were also honored and awarded. To all of them we reiterate our congratulations and our gratitude.
We also salute the work of the Latin American and Caribbean Continental Network of Solidarity with Cuba and just causes (Applause); the approval of more than 100 resolutions against the blockade in the United States; the 40th anniversary of an uninterrupted friendship with the Australian friends of solidarity, who will visit us in December of this year; and also the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Che Guevara brigade, present here (Applause).
We acknowledge the valuable work of trade union and solidarity organizations in Europe and the United States to disseminate the results of the International Tribunal against the blockade, which took place in Brussels in November 2023.
We highlight the importance of the continental meetings of solidarity with Cuba, which are planned for this year in the People's Republic of China for the Asia-Pacific region, and in France for the European area (Applause).
We are certain that these events will also be scenarios of vital importance for the continuity and strengthening of the movement of solidarity with Cuba.
We are also grateful for the demonstrations, car and bicycle caravans, sit-ins and other public actions that take place every weekend, every month, in different cities around the world, led by you, demanding the lifting of the tightened blockade and the exclusion of Cuba from the list of countries that allegedly support terrorism.
We recognize the importance of continuing to promote the movement of international brigades and group visits to Cuba, because there is no better way of getting to know our reality than by sharing with us, as you have done in these days, living our resistance, our creativity and our spirit of struggle and victory.
At the same time, each friend who visits us is further evidence that Cuba is not alone or isolated, but continues to beat in the hearts of millions of women and men around the world.
We distinguish the generous efforts you make to combine solidarity actions with cooperation projects. From here we ratify that Cuba will continue to raise the flags of peace, solidarity and cooperation with the peoples.
The three declarations approved today by acclamation also represent the feelings of the Cuban people, of its workers and peasants, of its intellectuals and artists, of its youth and students, and constitute for us a commitment.
The work of the three commissions reflects the understanding of the participants of the global scenario and the situation in Cuba. It also reflected the coincidence that exists regarding the main demands of the island's friends.
Our people yesterday gave a demonstration of unity and discipline in all the municipalities of the country. Economic conditions forced us to celebrate the historic International Workers' Day with rallies and not with the traditional and massive parade in Havana; but in almost all provinces and municipalities, in spite of the orientations, there were parades (Applause). This has a lot to do with the revolutionary fervor, and it was a day of extraordinary joy.
It was also a worthy tribute to the legacy of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, paradigm of the solidarity of the Cuban people, in the context of the 65th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution.
In this way, the May Day rallies and parades, led by the people, in which you, international delegates, participated, is also a reliable demonstration of the unity, commitment and support for the Revolution, that Cuba lives and works and that we are going all out.
In the face of enemy media and subversive actions aimed at provoking a change of regime in Cuba, the vast majority of the humble and working people have demonstrated, once again this May Day, in squares and cities, that they are ready to defend their independence, their sovereignty, their right to live in peace, without blockades, without sanctions and without surrender, without selling out or kneeling down, without renouncing their history and their principles (Applause).
I was struck by the fact that today the cables of the international agencies, as always, with their media intoxication, manipulated the number, the content and the success of the May Day celebration in Cuba. Some of them said: thousands of Cubans participated in very small, non-traditional events.
We have to make it very clear to the imperialist gentlemen that thousands of Cubans did not take part: more than four million Cubans took part! (Applause).
I believe that all of us are convinced of the complexity of the international and regional situation, which moves us to concern and also summons us to action.
This event is taking place at a time of extreme global complexity: there are threats to world peace, war is the language used by the hegemonic powers to resolve conflicts; poverty is growing; the impact of climate change is increasing; there is a depletion of natural resources, and a growing inequality between the poor and the rich, which explains and expresses the limits to which the current International Economic Order has reached. This current International Economic Order must be changed, and this change must also be promoted through unity and solidarity.
We must constantly analyze the contradictions of this world full of uncertainties that we must change.
In the midst of the most colossal scientific and technical development of all time, the world has gone back three decades in terms of reducing extreme poverty, with levels of famine not seen since 2005.
Eight hundred million people in the world suffer from hunger; 760 million people, mostly women, cannot read or write.
The so-called Third World has more than 84 million children out of school; there are more than 660 million people without electricity, and only 36% of the population uses the Internet in the least developed countries and landlocked developing nations.
When turning to financial markets, the nations of the South have faced interest rates up to eight times higher than those of developed countries. About one-fifth of developing economies liquidated more than 15% of their international foreign exchange reserves to cushion the pressure on domestic currencies.
By 2022, twenty-five developing nations had to devote more than one-fifth of their total income to servicing public debt, amounting to a new form of slavery. That year alone, global military spending, as mentioned here, reached $2.24 trillion.
Achieving universal inclusive participation in the digital economy will require at least $428 billion to be invested in our countries by 2030. This demand could be met with just 19% of that annual expenditure on armaments.
The International Monetary Fund's financial support to the least developed countries and other low-income countries, from 2020 to the end of November 2022, did not exceed the equivalent of what the Coca-Cola company has spent just on advertising its brand in those last eight years; meanwhile, less than 2% of the already deficient Official Development Assistance has been able to be devoted to science, technology and innovation capacities in our countries.
According to ECLAC, in 2024 the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean will continue on the path of low growth, and all sub-regions will grow less than in 2023.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, we will continue to be the most unequal region on the planet.
There are 183 million people in this region who qualify as poor, equivalent to 29% of the population, and 72 million of them live in extreme poverty. It is deeply distressing that half of these figures correspond to children and adolescents.
Job creation between 2014 and 2023 was the lowest in the region since the 1950s. Of the 292 million employed people, one in two are in informal jobs and four out of ten have incomes below the minimum wage. The gender gap in employment and income is widening.
Four out of every five children under the age of ten in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot read or write.  And these are not data invented by Cuba, they are in ECLAC's Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, published in December 2023 in ECLAC's Social Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean; in the United Nations' Report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024, published in January 2024; and in The Crossroads of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, a report by UNICEF and the World Bank dated March 2023.
That is why our peoples have a historic thirst for justice. And, in the face of so much uncertainty and despair deployed by the capitalist elites, we need more and more certainty and confidence in the triumph of our ideas, in the triumph of unity and in the triumph of solidarity.
Far from globalizing solidarity, friendship and respect, the world resorts to war, sanctions, coercive measures, pressures, blockades, walls and, above all, war and genocide.  This shows that capitalism has no answer to the current problems of humanity.
There we have the case of Palestine. In some way and on more than one occasion, we have all pointed out the dangers of the impunity with which Israel acts, thanks to the complicity and support of the U.S. Government and despite the serious risks of regionalization of the conflict in the Middle East, a serious threat to peace and international security. Only an imperial mentality, an interventionist purpose can deny that peace and stability in that region depend, in the first place, on a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which contemplates the creation of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and guaranteeing the right of return of the refugees to their land.
Together with you, we demand the immediate entry of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations (Applause).
We cannot be indifferent to the daily crime that for 75 years has been committed against the brotherly Palestinian people. Nothing can justify the brutal Zionist escalation of the last six months, the grave violations of International Humanitarian Law, the war crimes and crimes against humanity that have turned a tiny strip of inhabited land into a training camp for a bloodthirsty army.
The United Nations Security Council must fulfill its mandate and put an end to the impunity of Israel, the occupying power, before the questionable credibility of its resolutions, besieged by the imperial veto of the United States, ends up disappearing in the rubble of Gaza.
Cuba has always been in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.  Today hundreds of Palestinian students are studying in our country, with them we have a permanent exchange, with them our people have paraded in front of the US Embassy in Cuba demanding an end to the aggression against Palestine. Together with them we have shared talks, debates and also demonstrations of public expression.
We have told those young people that they are also children of Cuba (Applause), and all Cubans feel like fathers and mothers of those young Palestinians who study with us, who also share the daily life of the Cuban people.  We are doing everything possible so that they may be forged as good professionals, as good patriots, so that in the future they may be useful to their people and their cause (Applause).  In all of them we see every time decision and commitment to the Palestinian cause, and that is why we are sure that from here, from Cuba, they are also part of the present and the future of Palestine. Long live Free Palestine! (Exclamations of: "Long live!").
Likewise, we express our support for the cause of the Saharawi people who can continue to count on a faithful and loyal friend in Cuba.
We support the cause of the Syrian people (Applause).
We also express our support for the young people who are demonstrating today in the universities of the United States and who are being repressed and brutalized by the police (Applause).
With regard to our region of Latin America and the Caribbean, it is known to all that the Monroe Doctrine, two centuries after its enunciation, continues to threaten the destiny of what Martí called Our America.
Imperialism persists in its project of domination over our lands, finances and promotes violence, destabilization, and increasingly engenders hate speeches, attacks leftist and progressive forces and seeks to erase the history of struggle and resistance of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.
In spite of the sanctions and coercive measures imposed by the United States, in addition to the pressures and blackmail on our nations, the nature of the revolutionary processes in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua was preserved; the governments of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras, governments headed by López Obrador, Lula, Petro and Xiomara (Applause), together with their peoples, contributed to maintain the correlation of forces in favor of progressivism in our region.
The right wing, however, has shown a capacity for reaction to hinder the management of governments that assumed mandates with leftist social agendas, and its strong opposition overthrew some governments and continues to torpedo others.
In some countries the progressive forces were unable to return or maintain executive power, and the effects are visible with governments servile to the United States, potentially very dangerous for peace and stability in Latin America and the Caribbean, because they are countries and governments that have opened their borders to the U.S. Southern Command.
The United States has opted for the erosion of progressivism and the deepening of divisions within the alliances to hinder its progress and prepare right-wing alternatives with the possibility of returning to power.
A special mention within all this situation deserves our dear Caribbean brothers and sisters, who stoically resist the pressures of the United States to divide them and achieve the breakage of their cherished and historic unity.
From here we reiterate our strongest condemnation of the violent raid by the Ecuadorian police on the diplomatic headquarters of Mexico in Quito on April 5. This flagrant violation of International Law, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, of the right to asylum and of the sovereignty of our beloved Mexico, is absolutely unjustifiable.
We urge the reinstatement of former Vice President Jorge Glas to his status prior to the assault of the Mexican Embassy and to redirect his case in accordance with international law.
Ten years after the adoption in Havana of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, we call for the respect and strict compliance with its postulates: that the region continues to be internationally recognized for its commitment to peace and regional stability.  This is a matter of utmost importance for the present and future of the peoples.
We congratulate the Venezuelan people for the development of the new electoral process in a climate of peace and in compliance with its Constitution, for the fulfillment of the electoral schedule despite the threats and actions of the right wing in complicity with the United States. The assassination attempt against Nicolás Maduro, our brother Venezuelan president, has not been absent either, an issue on which we have expressed our complete repudiation (Applause).
Thirty electoral processes carried out in the twenty-four years of the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution endorse the credibility and strength of the Venezuelan electoral system.
We reiterate once again Cuba's rejection of external interference and impositions that seek to influence the functioning of Venezuelan institutions and affect the stability and tranquility that characterize the society of that brotherly country.
We express our recognition and full solidarity support to our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, who are resisting the media siege and the interference attempts of imperialism and its allies to break their constitutional order.
To the Plurinational State of Bolivia we extend our support and solidarity in the defense of its sovereignty over its natural resources and in the face of destabilizing attempts.
The sister Republic of Haiti is facing a new and very serious crisis.  The international community owes a great debt to its people, who were subjected to repudiatory punishments by imperial powers and have been forced to unjustly pay a high price for leading the first social revolution of the continent.
Haiti needs real, sufficient and effective development assistance and cooperation, not aggression and interference in its internal affairs (Applause).  The Haitian people have the right to find a peaceful, sustainable and lasting solution to the challenges they face, based on full respect for their self-determination, sovereignty and independence.
Cuba has offered fraternal and disinterested cooperation to Haiti in areas of great impact for its people: even in the current circumstances we maintain a medical brigade there that provides services to the children of that people in need (Applause).
We also endorse the just demands for reparations and compensation for the damages of slavery and colonialism of our Caribbean brothers and sisters who need and deserve fair, special and differentiated treatment.
Of course, we support in a very heartfelt manner the right to independence of the Puerto Rican people (Applause).  And we express our solidarity with the situation that the beloved Argentine people are experiencing today (Applause).
What to tell you about Cuba, if you know it.  We are not exempt from the consequences of the multidimensional crisis of today's capitalism.  Our situation is further aggravated by the economic, commercial and financial blockade applied by the United States for more than six decades, intensified to the extreme by the administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.  Both administrations have tried to suffocate our economy while allocating millions of dollars to subversive plans and media campaigns aimed at breaking the national unity around the Revolution and the Party.
We consider that there are two components of this imperial purpose to destroy the Cuban Revolution: economic asphyxiation and media intoxication.
With regard to economic asphyxiation, we can say that it has its references in the Mallory Memorandum of April 6, 1960, in which it was intended that in order to overthrow the Cuban Revolution it was necessary to have a policy of maximum pressure which would provoke the economic asphyxiation of the country, which would then lead to popular discontent, which would complicate the social situation and this would lead to an explosion with which the Revolution would fall.
This has worsened in these times, as you have denounced, and it has worsened even more when we were placed on a list of countries that supposedly support terrorism, which you know is not true: Cuba supports solidarity.  Cuba does not send armed forces or troops to any country in the world to attack; we did it in Angola at the request of the African countries and it was to put an end to apartheid and to achieve independence together with the Africans of those countries (prolonged applause). The troops we send to the world are troops of doctors, teachers and internationalist aid workers! (Prolonged applause).
You have been able to appreciate in these days, when you have exchanged with labor centers, in cities and camps you have visited, the difficulties we face and the creative and determined effort of our people to overcome the difficulties, and this keeps intact the will to continue building an ever more just, prosperous and sustainable socialist society, an endeavor that receives extraordinary encouragement with the countless displays of solidarity from millions of friends around the world, like yourselves.
As for the media intoxication, we can say that there is a well-orchestrated and articulated campaign by the U.S. Government with the international media, and especially in the social networks to discredit the Cuban Revolution.  That is why the social networks also become today a combat trench, and a cell phone to defend ourselves in that trench also becomes a rifle.
These networks are equally dangerous, in them Cuba is attacked and there is digital murder, virtual lynching, assassination of reputations and leaderships; there is a whole capitalism of surveillance.
It must be said that social networks have become the biggest hate factory and platform for cultural colonization by the United States. There is cyber-bullying, induction to violence, exacerbation of individualism and narcissism; it is filled with slander, perjury, defamation.  There is an exploitation of the imaginary and of people's feelings, and, as a famous Brazilian academic - also mentioned by Frei Betto in a conference in January this year in Cuba - says, all those who are users of social networks become at the same time free labor, free raw material and finally merchandise, because all our data are sold as merchandise; therefore, it is also a sophisticated system of exploitation. That is why we have to educate our people in the ethical use of social networks to defend just causes and also to promote knowledge, solidarity, respect and cooperation.
In this media intoxication campaign there is already a script that is written: protests are called for, then it is articulated that there is police repression, that there are political prisoners, that the government does not care for the people and that regime change is necessary. These are the concepts of the Unconventional Warfare applied by the Government of the United States against Cuba and other countries in the area.
In view of this, we have set as our priorities to continue strengthening our unity based on the call made by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz in his speech on January 1st, on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, when he said that unity was the most precious thing we had and that we had to take care of it like the apple of our eye.
How do we try to strengthen unity?  By seeking more participation of our people in all processes and decision making.  That is why we are constantly encouraging the creation of spaces where the people raise their concerns, criticize, propose and from there make decisions; spaces where besides proposing solutions, they participate in the implementation of those solutions, and spaces where the people can also make popular control of everything we do together and in which we participate, because that is how we face adversity; By working in this way we overcome the challenges imposed on us by the blockade and the policy of maximum pressure from the United States; and if by working in this way we achieve results and the results are shared among all of us, we are strengthening unity.
We have also set as a priority to improve ideological work, and for us the concept of ideological work means, above all, what is done well in favor of the Revolution and in favor of our people.  That is why we are insisting that all the institutions work properly, that all the programs go ahead.
We have established a work system in which the main leaders of the Revolution are visiting every month all the provinces of the country, and every month we visit a different municipality of the country. Then we appreciate the places that work well and are inspiring, because in those places the workers' collectives and the leadership, in spite of the intensified blockade, are capable of doing things in a better way, with more efficiency, with more commitment, and those become inspiring.
We also visit the places that work badly, and we try to establish a matrix between what works well, so that it is inspiring, and what works badly, so that, inspired by this, we can move forward, and that what works well becomes a rule and not an exception.  In the last months we have also been able to appreciate how we have an intermediate position where things that worked or had a bad performance last year are now starting to move towards a good performance, contributing to the people and to the Revolution.
Here we raise then the concept of creative resistance.  The issue is not only to resist: the issue is to resist, to grow, to overcome difficulties and move forward, and not to condemn the economic and social development of our country.  As we did during the pandemic, when with Cuban vaccines, with the participation of all our people, with our health system, we were able to face that pandemic at a time of an intensified blockade; when they denied us the right to have medical oxygen; when they denied us the right to sell lung ventilators and to be able to acquire vaccines, and those things were done by the Cuban people with their talent, their will, their determination and their commitment (Applause).
We are convinced, and we appreciate it every day in our exchanges with the population, that this country has enough dignity, talent and will to rise above the siege with its own efforts and, moreover, to overcome it.
A third priority is the implementation of a group of economic measures that will gradually lead us, in the midst of this complex situation, to a macroeconomic stabilization and also to a whole group of actions that will allow us to strengthen the national economy, the national productions, the best relationship between the state sector and the non-state sector of the economy according to the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, and here everything will depend on our capacity to execute and implement adequately the measures already announced and others that will also be applied in these times, which are not at all part of a neo-liberal package, as Yankee imperialism has tried to manipulate.
The first measure taken was to raise income in the Health and Education sectors.  No neo-liberal program begins or even does so by raising incomes in sectors that are very committed to society and which are so important for the life and education of our people.
In all the measures that are being applied, the criterion is always that they are applied when the conditions are created and when the compensation measures are in place to prevent them from affecting the sectors that may be in a situation of greater vulnerability.  That approach is not capitalist, that approach is not neoliberal: that approach is a social justice approach that can only be achieved with socialist construction (Applause).
The fourth priority is the call within our society, with our people, for a process of reflection, debate and analysis to distinguish deviations and negative tendencies, which in these times of economic crisis have proliferated in our society, in order to counteract, eliminate and overcome them.  All these are tasks, priorities of the first order that require the critical observance and firm combat of all Cuban revolutionaries, of all our people, and we have supported them with processes of popular discussion.
We are developing three processes that began with the militancy of the Party, but which are now in all the workers' collectives and are going to reach the community level, where we are reflecting on the speech of the General of the Army on the 65th Anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution; on the economic measures announced by the Prime Minister in the last session of the National Assembly last December 2023, and also on a material prepared by the Central Committee of the Party in relation to the negative tendencies.
Dear sisters and brothers of solidarity:
Cuba has resisted more than 60 years of a genocidal blockade, simultaneous with terrorist attacks and countless actions to destroy the Revolution.
Today we are living through one of the most difficult moments in the face of the reinforcement of economic, commercial and financial persecution, but the unity of our people keeps us firm in the defense of our social conquests. That is the legacy of Fidel and Raúl and it is our commitment to the present and to the future!
Our struggle will continue day by day, week by week, month by month, year after year, until the U.S. Government lifts this cruel, immoral and unjustifiable policy.
Our people deserve to live in peace and equal conditions, to really show what we are capable of advancing and building in Cuban socialism (Applause and exclamations of: "Long live Cuba!").
That is why we face each day with the impetus of struggle and work and with the experience gained in more than 150 years of struggle, together with the exemplary Historic Generation headed by the current leader of the Cuban Revolution, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who on commemorating the 65th anniversary of the triumph of 1959 has exalted, above so many virtues of the brave Cuban people, the sacred unity that is the basis of every triumph over the neighboring empire that despises us.
In that speech Raúl himself transmitted to us a synthesis of the lessons he learned from sharing the years of revolutionary struggle with his brother Fidel, and in that way he expressed to us that unity was very important and decisive in the present times -and that is what we are defending-; not to lose serenity and confidence in the triumph no matter how insurmountable the obstacles, how powerful the enemies or how great the dangers may seem, and to learn and draw strength from every setback until transforming it into victory.
From Martí, Fidel, Raúl and Che we learned the value of solidarity; we learned to give solidarity and to be grateful for the solidarity you give us.
From here we pronounce ourselves for a No to war, to hegemony, to interference, to coercive measures, to aggressions, to the building of walls and blockades.
Long live friendship, peace, solidarity and unity among our peoples and all the workers of the world! (Exclamations of: "Long live!").
In the struggle for peace, solidarity and cooperation, you can always count on Cuba's modest but decisive contribution! (Applause).
Always onward to victory! (Exclamations of: "Always!")
(Source: Granma)
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