In the hour of the furnaces, ALBA is giving light

In the hour of the furnaces, ALBA is giving light
Dear brother Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and host of this timely ALBA-TCP Summit;
Dear Brothers Comandante Daniel Ortega and President Luis Alberto Arce;
Dear Brother Prime Ministers Skerrit, Gaston, Ralph and Philip;
Representatives of the family of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People's Trade Treaty;
Dear Arreaza, Executive Secretary of ALBA-TCP:
First of all I would like to thank you for convening us in "the hour of the furnaces".  José Martí defined "the hour of the furnaces" as that revolutionary time of being together and I quote his words: "in the work of foresight and order, of broad judgment and cordial action, all those who have a chest to attack, and a mind to see from afar, and hands to execute. And without misgivings and without exclusions. And without forgetfulness of the true and the just. And without tenacious antipathies. It is the hour of the furnaces, in which nothing but light must be seen", and ALBA is precisely giving light.
I invoke José Martí in this land of liberators, because no one brought us closer and better to Bolivar and his integrationist ideal, which finally transcended from the dream to the reality of Our America, when two profoundly Bolivarian and Martí leaders such as Commanders Chávez and Fidel Castro founded this alternative to the neoliberals' trade, this alliance of dreams that did so much in such a short time in favor of our nations.
Fidel, so precise and fair in his words, defined Chávez as "the best friend the Cuban people had throughout its history". Both of them, with their efforts and actions for the emancipation and development of Our America, proved to be close friends and brothers of all Latin American and Caribbean peoples by planting the seed of ALBA, the first realization of a brotherhood that still has a promising road ahead.
This is the Alliance of solidarity and cooperation, victorious over the selfish pragmatism that only bets on profits and the market.
It is the Alliance of the Miracle that made seemingly impossible projects and feats that, in the social order, have benefited millions of citizens in the region.
It is the Alliance where many found for the first time an answer to demands that, for centuries, were not offered by development models where the human being is secondary.  
It is the Alliance of unity, which allows us to face challenges and threats together.
Cuba will always be present in ALBA-TCP because, over and above the blockades and difficulties decreed by empires and mercilessly imposed by the current international order, deeply unjust and excluding, our Alliance has proven how and how much can be done from the South, if this solidary integration prevails.
Dear brothers and sisters:
This meeting could not be postponed. The international and regional situation arouses concern and summons us to action.
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 government of the United States and in spite of 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 all refugees to their land.
From this tribune of free, independent and sovereign peoples, we demand the immediate entry of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Organization (Applause).
We cannot be indifferent to the daily crime that has been committed against the brotherly Palestinian people for 75 years.
No one 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, ends up disappearing in the rubble of Gaza.
In 2014, in the face of facts as serious as those that outrage us today, the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, left the following written: "The genocide of the Nazis against the Jews reaped the hatred of all the peoples of the Earth. Why does the government of that country believe that the world will be insensitive to this macabre genocide that today is being committed against the Palestinian people? Is it expected to ignore how much complicity there is on the part of the North American empire in this shameless massacre?"
They sound like words written for today. That is why I insist that all the peoples of the world should make the Palestinian cause their own.
Brothers of ALBA-TCP:
The Monroe Doctrine, two centuries after it was enunciated, continues to threaten the destiny of Our America.
Imperialism persists in its project of domination over our lands. It finances and promotes violence, destabilization and hate speeches. It attacks leftist and progressive forces and seeks to erase the history of struggle and resistance of the peoples.
In the face of imperialist pretensions, we reaffirm our absolute commitment to unity, the defense of our sovereignty and peace.
We reaffirm the unwavering will to continue strengthening CELAC.
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 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 to restore former Vice President Jorge Glas to his condition 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 is a matter of the utmost importance for the present and the future of the peoples.
Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters of Our America:
On behalf of the Cuban people, Party and Government, I congratulate the Venezuelan people for the development of the new electoral process in a climate of peace and in adherence to its Constitution.  They have achieved this in spite of the attempts of some sectors to resort to violence and to retake the failed methods that caused so much pain and mourning more than once to the noble Venezuelan families.
We are not talking about old plans.  They are as recent as the assassination attempt against brother Maduro just a month ago.  We strongly support the timely denunciation of our Venezuelan brothers and sisters about these plans, which try to prevent the electoral process from taking place in a climate of peace and security.
We reject, once again, external interference and impositions that seek to influence the functioning of Venezuelan institutions.
We denounce the application of unilateral coercive measures by the United States, in violation of International Law, and demand that they be lifted in their entirety, immediately, permanently and unconditionally (Applause).
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.  There is an illegal traffic of arms and ammunition into Haiti from the United States that must be stopped.
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 selfless 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 Haitians in need (Applause).
We have proposed, through CELAC, the creation of a Single International Solidarity Fund for Haiti's Recovery, which would draw on contributions from the international community and address the priorities of the Haitian people.  International banking institutions should channel contributions to this fund.  Haiti's debt should be cancelled.
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.
We support the right to independence of the Puerto Rican people, and express our solidarity with the Argentine people.
The Caribbean will always find in ALBA-TCP an ally in the defense of its interests and claims.
We appreciate the firm support of the Alliance to the struggle for the end of the genocidal and illegal blockade of the United States Government against the Cuban people, which has been intensified to extreme levels in recent years.  We also appreciate the valuable support for the legitimate demand to exclude Cuba from the arbitrary unilateral list of alleged State sponsors of terrorism.
Our struggle will continue, year after year, until the U.S. Government lifts this cruel, immoral and unjustifiable policy.  The Cuban people deserve to live in peace and, on an equal footing, to demonstrate all that we would be capable of advancing and building in socialism.
Dear brothers and sisters:
As the year 2024 advances, the threats and challenges to the Cuban Revolution remain and even grow, but 65 years of resistance and heroic creation do not pass in vain.  We face each day with the impetus of struggle and work that characterizes revolutionaries and with the experience gained in more than 150 years of struggle, together with the exemplary Historic Generation headed by the leader of the Revolution, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who on commemorating another 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 also despises us.
At the end of his emotional words that day, Raul conveyed a synthesis of the lessons learned from the years of revolutionary combat with Fidel and expressed the decisive importance of unity, of not losing serenity and confidence in the triumph no matter how insurmountable the powerful obstacles of the enemies or how great the dangers may seem, and of learning and drawing strength from every setback until transforming it into victory.
Today I say before you, brothers and sisters of the Bolivarian Alliance, that 2024 will also be a year of triumphs and results, of unity and progress. We will not renounce our dreams nor will we betray the legacy of the heroes, living or dead, of Our America.
We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the founding of this emancipating and unitary alliance, successfully promoted by two great, unforgettable, eternal leaders of Our America: Commander Hugo Chávez Frías and Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
We do so with the renewed commitment to continue working for its consolidation and the preservation of its humanist and social essence.  We do so inspired by the example set every day by Army General Raúl Castro.
Our commitment to integration and unity is invariable, and from now on also with the 2030 Agenda.
We will continue working tirelessly for an ALBA of victories, for an ALBA of peace and unity, for an ALBA of solidarity and cooperation.
You can always count on Cuba's modest but determined contribution.
Let us make the dreams of the founders of this Alliance come true!
In this union is and will be our strength.
To Victory Forever!
Together we are invincible!
Thank you very much (Applause).
(Source: Granma)
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