– Raul Castro Ruz •
Fidel engaging in increasingly intense and valuable activities • Willing to hold talks, on an equal footing, with the United States • Cuba will accept foreign investment: capital, technology and markets
• Strengthening our defensive capacity • A special effort must be made in food production to save on imports • Our people will never give in to pressure or blackmail from any country or group of countries
(Translated by ESTI)
Friends accompanying us here today;
People of Camagüey, good morning;
Exactly one year ago, as we were listening to the speeches given by the Commander in Chief in Bayamo and Holguín, we could hardly even suspect what a hard blow was awaiting us.
Next July 31 will be the first anniversary of Fidel’s Proclamation, and to the delight of our people he is already taking on more and more intense and highly valuable activities, as evidenced by his reflections which are published in the press, even though, not even during the most serious moments of his illness, did he fail to bring his wisdom and experience to each problem and essential decision.
THOSE WHO ARE AMAZED AT OUR PEOPLE’S CAPACITY TO RISE TO THE LEVEL OF EVERY CHALLENGE, NO MATTER HOW GREAT, DO NOT KNOW THEM VERY WELL
These have truly been very difficult months, although with a diametrically different impact to that expected by our enemies, who were wishing for chaos to entrench and for Cuban socialism to collapse. Senior U.S. officials even made statements about taking advantage of this scenario to destroy the Revolution.
Those who are amazed at our people’s capacity to rise to the level of every challenge, no matter how great, do not know them very well, since this is really the only behavior consistent with our history.
The battle waged by many generations of Cubans is well-known, from La Demajagua and Moncada, right up to the present, always facing enormous obstacles and powerful enemies. So much sacrifice and difficulties! How many times did we have to recommence the struggle after each setback!
Suffice it to recall that in the years following that July 26, 1953, we spent years in prison, the exile, the Granma, the guerrilla and the clandestine struggles, until five years, five months and five days after the attack on Moncada, victory was attained on the first day of January, 1959.
In those days, much like what is happening today even within the very United States, lies could not hide reality, although our people then were much less educated and less politically aware than they are now.
The vast majority of Cubans joined the cause headed by a leader who brandished the truth like his main weapon against the enemies of his people, who instead of making demagogic promises warned them, from his very first speech in Havana, that perhaps everything would be much more difficult in the years ahead.
The conclusion of the U.S. government hierarchy at that time was also consistent with its history: they had to destroy this people who dared to dream of justice, dignity and sovereignty, and if not, make them suffer to the utmost. The example set by Cuba was far too dangerous in a poor, subdued and exploited continent.
But they were unable to bring us to our knees. Our response was to massively transform ourselves into combatants; to stoically withstand shortages and difficulties; to sweat in the fields, factories and trenches; to wage countless victorious battles and to establish landmarks in internationalist aid.
Before the mortal remains of each of the 3,478 victims of terrorist acts directly organized, supported or allowed to happen by the United States authorities; before the fallen in defense of the Homeland or in the fulfillment of their internationalist duty, our people confirmed their commitment to their heroes and martyrs, to their Mambi heritage and to the examples of Martí, Céspedes, Maceo, Gómez and Agramonte, perpetuated by men such as Mella, Martínez Villena and Guiteras, symbols of the ideas and actions of an infinite number of anonymous patriots.
In essence, this has been the last half century of our history. There has been not one minute of truce in the face of the policies of the United States government, aimed at destroying the Revolution.
HEROIC DEEDS TAKE PLACE EVERYDAY, IN EVERY CORNER OF THE COUNTRY
In this forging of effort and sacrifice, the morale and conscience of this people has reached new heights; sons with the stature of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González have been born, able to assume with serenity, valor and dignity the duress of an unjust imprisonment, scattered in different prisons of the United States.
They are examples, but they are not exceptions, since millions of Cuban men and women are not intimidated by danger or hardship.
The exploit occurs daily in every corner of this land, as our brave athletes are demonstrating at the Panamerican Games.
And so it has been during the more than 16 years of the Special Period, of sustained effort by the entire country to overcome the difficulties and press onwards –and so it must still be, since we have not yet come out of the Special Period.
Thus, it is twice as commendable that a province attains the status of Outstanding, which as we all know is bestowed after evaluating the results obtained in the main fields.
This year, the provinces of Ciudad de La Habana, Granma, Villa Clara and Camagüey attained this distinction, and we congratulate them on behalf of the Commander in Chief, of the Party and of all the people, for having reached this important triumph. Also to Cienfuegos, Matanzas and Sancti Spiritus for the acknowledgement received, and to Las Tunas for displaying heartening advances.
In order to decide which of them would be the venue of this main celebration, the Political Bureau especially considered the day-to-day efforts, silent and heroic in the face of difficulties. And in this way, the people of “El Camagüey”, as the Mambi used to call it, achieved these results.
The advances are the fruit of the efforts of hundreds of thousands of comrades; of the laborers, peasants and the rest of the workers; of the indispensable contributions of intellectuals, artists and workers in the cultural sector; of the heroic housewives and retirees; of the student members of the Middle-level Education Students Federation and the Federation of University Students; of our children; of the Cuban Women Federation, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Association of Combatants and the community Party cells who make such an important contribution to society.
Without them, without the daily work, study and sacrifice of so many men, women and children, the bugle of the Agramonte cavalry would not be resounding anew on these great flatlands.
Well then, it should not happen as it does in baseball, where the victories go only to the players and the defeats go to the team manager. It would not be fair to fail to publicly acknowledge the important role played by the leaders of the Party, the Government, the UJC and the mass and social organizations at every level, as well as the numerous administrative cadres to attain this success.
In particular, I should like to stress the good work of comrade Salvador Valdés Mesa, the current Secretary General of the Workers Union Central, who for a long time and up to 13 months ago, was the First Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, and the excellent relief provided until the present by comrade Julio César García Rodríguez.
WE NEED TO BRING EVERYONE TO THE DAILY BATTLE AGAINST THE VERY ERRORS THAT AGGRAVATE OBJECTIVE DIFFICULTIES STEMMING FROM EXTERNAL CAUSES
It is only fair and necessary to acknowledge what has been achieved in recent years, in these provinces and in the rest of the country, but with a clear conscience about our problems, our inefficiencies, our errors and our bureaucratic and/or slack attitudes, some of which gained ground in the circumstances deriving from the Special Period.
Pointing out the important results attained in these provinces does not mean that we ignore that the rest of the country is working. In the eastern provinces, for example, it has been necessary to do this under very difficult conditions, with a shortage of resources resulting from both objective and subjective reasons.
Nevertheless, efforts do not always bring the results hoped for. Efficiency largely depends on perseverance and good organization, especially of systematic controls and discipline, and in particular on where we have succeeded in incorporating the masses to the struggle for efficiency.
We need to bring everyone to the daily battle against the very errors which aggravate objective difficulties derived from external causes, especially those induced by the United States’ economic blockade which really constitutes a relentless war against our people, as the current administration of that country is especially bent on finding even the slightest of ways to harm us.
One could point to a myriad of examples. I shall limit myself to mentioning the obstacles to the country’s commercial and financial transactions abroad, often directed at the purchase of food, medicines and other basic products for the people, and the denial of access to banking services through coercion and the extra-territorial imposition of its laws.
There are also the almost insurmountable obstacles imposed by that government that goes to ridiculous lengths to prevent its people from traveling to Cuba and also on the Cuban residents there coming to visit their relatives; the denial of visas not just to our officials, but to artists, athletes, scientists and, in general, to anyone who is not willing to slander the Revolution.
As our Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently denounced, we can add to all of this the obstacles to the fulfillment of what is established in the migratory agreements with regards to the minimum number of visas to be granted annually.
This policy encourages those who turn to illegal emigration and are received there as heroes, often times after endangering the lives of children, and in spite of the fact that such an irresponsible behavior puts at risk not only the safety of Cubans, but also of Americans, the ones who the government constantly claims to be protecting, since whoever risks trafficking with human lives for money, would probably not hesitate in doing so with drugs, arms or other such things.
Cuba, for her part, will continue to honor her commitments to the migratory accords, as she has done until today.
The past twelve months have constituted a remarkable example of our people’s maturity, steadfast principles, unity, trust in Fidel, in the Party and above all in themselves.
Despite our deep sorrow, no task was left undone. There is order in the country and a lot of work. The Party and the Government bodies are functioning on a daily basis in the collective search for the most effective response possible for every problem.
There is not one issue pertaining to the development of the country and the people’s living conditions that has not been dealt with responsibly, working to find a solution. There is no task in the Battle of Ideas, the Energy Revolution and others promoted by the Commander in Chief that is paralyzed. As it is always the case in matters of such magnitude, we have had to make adjustments and postponements, and others might be needed in the future, due to material imperatives and the threats we are all aware of.
OPERATION CAGUAIRÁN HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE TO SUBSTANTIALLY STRENGTHEN OUR COUNTRY’S DEFENSIVE CAPACITY
At the same time, our people have continued since then, with serenity, discipline and modesty, to prepare themselves to face up to any enemy military adventure.
Hundreds of thousands of militiamen and reservists of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, together with officers, sergeants and soldiers in the regular army have carried out Operation Caguairán, allowing for a substantial increase in the country’s defense capability, attaining levels of combat readiness that are superior to those of any other period.
It is a great effort in moments when our resources are scarce, but it is simply essential. It shall continue, as it has up till now, with the greatest of rationality, both from the material point of view as well as in the use of our people’s time.
We cannot fool around with defense! The Commander in Chief directed and reaffirmed it yet once again just a few days ago. For us, as I have said so many times, avoiding a war is tantamount to winning it, but to win it by avoiding it, we must sweat a lot and invest quite a few resources.
The resounding popular response to the Proclamation of the Commander in Chief threw all the enemy plans into crisis mode; but the enemy, far from evaluating the reality and correcting its errors, insists on stubbornly crashing into the same rock. They speculate about an alleged paralysis in the country and even about a “transition” in progress. But no matter how hard they close their eyes, reality shall take care of destroying those stale, old dreams.
As the press has reported, Operation Caguairán will carry on in the next months. It will allow us to train about a million compatriots and will have as its crowning glory the Bastion 2008 Strategic Exercise which will take place at the end of the year.
By that date, therefore, we shall be better prepared to resist and win on all fronts, including defense.
OUR PEOPLE WILL NEVER GIVE AN INCH BEFORE PRESSURE OR BLACKMAIL BY ANY COUNTRY OR GROUP OF COUNTRIES
By that time the elections will also have taken place in the United States and the mandate of the current president of that country will have concluded along with his erratic and dangerous administration, characterized by such a reactionary and fundamentalist philosophy that it leaves no room for a rational analysis of any matter.
The new administration will have to decide whether it will maintain the absurd, illegal and failed policy against Cuba or if it will accept the olive branch that we offered on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Granma. That is, when we reasserted our willingness to discuss on equal footing the prolonged dispute with the government of the United States, convinced that this is the only way to solve the problems of this world, ever more complex and dangerous.
If the new United States authorities were to finally desist from their arrogance and decide to talk in a civilized manner, it would be a welcome change. Otherwise, we are ready to continue confronting their policy of hostility, even for another 50 years, if need be.
Fifty years seem like a long time, but soon we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution and the 55th anniversary of Moncada, and among so many tasks and challenges those years have gone by and we have hardly noticed. Furthermore, practically 70% of our population was born after the blockade was imposed, and so we are well trained to continue resisting it and finally defeating it.
Some who have been influenced by enemy propaganda or are simply confused, do not perceive the real danger or the undeniable fact that the blockade has a direct influence both on the major economic decisions as well as on each Cuban’s most basic needs.
Directly and on a daily basis, it weighs heavily on our food supply, transportation, housing and even on the fact that we cannot rely on the necessary raw materials and equipment to work with.
The enemy established it half a century ago for this reason, as we were saying, and today it still dreams of forcing us to submit to its will. President Bush himself insists on repeating that he will not allow the Cuban Revolution to continue. It would be interesting to ask him just how he intends to do that.
How little they have learned from history!
In his Manifesto published on June 18, Fidel said to them once again what every revolutionary on this island is convinced of: “They shall never have Cuba!”
Our people will never give an inch of ground under the attempt of any country or group of countries to pressure us, nor will it make the slightest unilateral concession to send any kind of signal to anybody.
WE HAVE A DUTY TO PRECISELY IDENTIFY AND PROFOUNDLY EVALUATE EVERY PROBLEM WITHIN OUR RANGE OF ACTION
With respect to the economic and social tasks ahead of us, we know the tensions that Party cadres are subjected to, especially at the base, where there’s hardly ever a balance between accumulated needs and available resources.
We are also aware that, because of the extreme objective difficulties that we face, wages today are clearly insufficient to satisfy all needs and have thus ceased to play a role in ensuring the socialist principle that each should contribute according to their capacity and receive according to their work. This has bred forms of social indiscipline and tolerance which, having taken root, prove difficult to eradicate, even after the objective causes behind them are eradicated.
I can responsibly assure you that the Party and government have been studying these and other complex and difficult problems in depth, problems which must be addressed comprehensibly and through a differentiated approach in each concrete case.
All of us, from the leaders to the rank-and-file workers, are duty-bound to accurately identify and analyze every problem in depth, within our working areas, in order to combat the problem with the most convenient methods.
This differs greatly from the attitude of those who use existing difficulties to shield themselves from criticisms, leveled against them for not acting with the necessary swiftness and efficiency, or for lacking the political sensitivity and courage needed to explain why a problem cannot be solved immediately.
I will limit myself to drawing your attention to these crucial issues. A simple criticism or appeal will not solve these problems, even when they are made at a ceremony like this. They demand, above all else, organized work, control and dedication, day after day; systematic rigor, order and discipline, from the national level down to the thousands of places where something is produced or a service is offered.
I REMIND YOU THAT NOT ALL PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED OVERNIGHT
This is where the country’s efforts are headed, as they are in other areas of similar importance and strategic significance. We are working hastily but not desperately, avoiding unnecessary public statements so as not to raise false hopes. And, again, speaking with the sincerity which has always characterized the Revolution, I remind you that all problems cannot be solved overnight.
I am not exaggerating when I say that we face a very trying international economic situation, where, in addition to wars, lack of political stability, the deterioration of the environment and the rise in oil prices —apparently an irreversible trend— we now face, like comrade Fidel has recently denounced, the decision made primarily by the United States, to transform corn, soy and other food products into fuel. This move is bound to make the price of these products, and those directly dependent upon these such as meats and milk prices, climb dramatically as it has been the case in recent months.
I will just mention some figures. Today, the price of an oil barrel is around 80 dollars, nearly three times what it was only 4 years ago, when it was priced at 28 dollars. This has an impact on practically everything, for, to produce anything or to offer any kind of service, one requires a given quantity of fuel, directly or indirectly.
Another case in point is the price of powdered milk, which was 2,100 dollars the ton in 2004. This already placed great strains on our ability to make this product available, as its import meant an investment of 105 million dollars. A total of 160 million dollars were spent to purchase the needed quantities in 2007, as prices shot up to 2,450 dollars the ton. In these four years, nearly 500 million dollars have been spent in these purchases.
Currently, the price of powdered milk is over 5,200 dollars the ton. Therefore, should domestic production not continue to increase, to meet consumption needs in the next 2008, we would have to spend 340 million dollars in milk alone, more than three times what was spent in 2004. That is, if prices do not continue to rise.
In the case of milled rice, it was priced at 390 dollars a ton in 2006 and is sold today at 435 a ton. Some years ago, we were buying frozen chicken at 500 dollars a ton. We made plans on the assumption its price would go up to 800; in fact, it went up to its current price of 1,186 dollars.
This is the case with practically all products the country imports to meet, essentially, the needs of the population, products which, as it is known, the people purchase at prices which have practically remained unchanged in spite of the circumstances.
And I am talking of products that I think can be grown here –it seems to me that there is plenty of land– and we have had good rains last year and this. As I drove in here I could see that everything around is green and pretty, but what drew my attention the most, what I found prettier was the marabú (a thorny bush) growing along the road.
NOBODY — NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN ANY COUNTRY— CAN AFFORD THE LUXURY OF SPENDING MORE THAN THEY HAVE
Therefore, any increase in wages or decrease in prices, to be real, can only stem from a greater and more efficient production and services offer, which will increase the country’s incomes.
No one, no individual or country, can afford to spend more than what they have. It seems elementary, but we do not always think and act in accordance with this inescapable reality.
To have more, we have to begin by producing more, with a sense of rationality and efficiency, so that we may reduce imports, especially of food products –that may be grown here– whose domestic production is still a long way away from meeting the needs of the population.
We face the imperative of making our land produce more; and the land is there to be tilted either with tractors or with oxen, as it was done before the tractor existed. We need to expeditiously apply the experiences of producers whose work is outstanding, be they in the state or farm sector, on a mass scale, but without improvising, and to offer these producers adequate incentives for the work they carry out in Cuba’s suffocating heat.
To reach these goals, the needed structural and conceptual changes will have to be introduced.
We are already working in this direction and a number of modest results can already be appreciated. As demanded by the National Assembly of the People’s Power, all debts to farmers were settled; in addition to this, there has been a discrete improvement in the delivery of inputs to some productive sectors and a notable increase in the prices of various products, that is to say, the price the state pays to the producer, not the price the population pays, which remains unchanged. This measure had an impact on important production items, such as meat and milk.
PRODUCING THE MOST MILK POSSIBLE
With respect to milk production and distribution, we are aware that the material resources we have managed to secure for the livestock industry are still very limited. However, in the last two years nature has been on our side and everything indicates that we will reach the planned figure of 384 million liters of milk, which is still far lower than the 900 million we were producing when we had all the fodder and other required inputs.
In addition to this, since March, an experiment has been underway in six municipalities —Mantua and San Cristóbal in Pinar del Rio, Melena del Sur in La Habana, Calimete in Matanzas, Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos and Yaguajay in Sancti Spiritus—where 20 thousand liters of milk have been directly and consistently delivered by the producer to 230 rationed stores and for social consumption in these localities every day.
In this fashion, we have eliminated absurd procedures through which this valuable food product traveled hundreds of miles before reaching a consumer who, quite often, lived a few hundred meters away from the livestock farm, and, with this, the product losses and fuel expenses involved.
I will give you one example or maybe two in order to mention one from Camaguey. Currently, in Mantua, one of the western most municipalities in Pinar del Rio, 2,492 liters of milk, which meet established consumption needs, are being distributed directly to the municipality’s 40 rationed stores and 2,000 liters of fuel are being saved every month.
What was the situation until four months ago?
The closest pasteurizer is located in the Sandino municipality, 40 kilometers away from Mantua, the most important town in the area. Thus, in order to deliver the milk to that plant, a truck had to travel a minimum of 80 kilometers –because distances are different– each day to make the round journey. I say “a minimum” because other areas of the municipality are even farther away.
The milk that children and other consumers in Mantua receive on a regulated basis, once pasteurized at the Sandino plant, returned, shortly afterwards, on a vehicle which, as it is logical to assume, had to return to its base of operations after delivering the product. In total, it traveled 160 kilometers, a journey which, as I explained, was in fact longer.
I don’t know if at the moment this is still the case but some time ago, as I was touring the southeast of Camaguey and in a place known as Los Raules –my namesake– I asked a few questions. It happened that all the milk produced at Los Raules was brought to Camaguey for pasteurizing, and the milk assigned to the children at Los Raules had to be taken back there after that. Is that still the case?
On one occasion, not long ago, less than a year, I asked if that insane and absurd crisscrossing had been eliminated. I assure you that I was told it had, and now we are finding out this.
Try thinking about things like these and you’ll see the spending they mean.
The commendable aim of all of this crisscrossing was, as we can see, to pasteurize all milk. This measure makes sense and it is necessary in the case of large urban centers —even though it is customary in Cuba to boil all milk at home, whether the milk is pasteurized or not— and all milk needed to supply cities will thus continue to be stocked and pasteurized, but it does not prove viable for a truck –or hundreds of trucks– to travel these long distances every day to deliver a few liters of milk, to places which produce enough of it to be self-sufficient.
As from the victory of the Revolution, the Cubans have learned to travel from west to east, mostly from east to west really, but our wishes to travel have led us to make the milk travel as well.
In addition to the municipalities participating in this experiment, which I mentioned already, another 3,500 rationed stores in other municipalities and provinces are also directly distributing milk, and over 7 million liters of milk have already been distributed.
This procedure will gradually begin to be applied in more and more places, as expediently as possible but without any rash attempts at making it a general formula. In all cases, its application will be preceded by a comprehensive study that demonstrates its viability in a specific place and reveals the existence of the needed organizational and material conditions.
We will continue to work in this direction until all of the country’s municipalities that produce the needed quantities of milk become self-sufficient and can complete, within their jurisdiction, the cycle which begins when a cow is milked and ends when a child or any other person drinks the milk, to the extent that present conditions allow.
That is to say, the chief aim of these efforts is to produce as much milk as possible, and I say this is possible in the overwhelming majority of municipalities, except for those in the capital of the country, that is, those which are not in the outskirts of the city, because there they can produce milk too. There are already some capital cities in various provinces that can produce enough in their main municipalities; such is the case of Sancti Spiritus. And, we must definitely produce more milk!
I mean, the main purpose is to produce more milk to first ensure what we need for our children. We are talking about a basic food for children, and for the ill people; we cannot fool around with that either. But we should neither renounce the possibility that others may also receive it in the future.
Additionally, this program intends to continue increasing fuel savings; something very important, too.
This program responds to today’s existing situation, where dreams of the vast imports of fodder and other inputs of decades past, when the world was very different from what it is today, are just that: dreams.
This is but one example of the abundant resources that become available when we organize ourselves better and analyze an issue as deeply as required, mindful of all the involved factors.
WE ARE STUDYING THE POSSIBILITY OF SECURING MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENT
I reiterate that our problems will not be solved spectacularly. We need time and, most importantly, we need to work systematically and with devotion to consolidate every achievement, no matter how small.
Another nearly endless source of resources —if we consider how much we squander—is to be found in saving, particularly, as we said, the saving of fuel, whose price is increasingly prohibitive, and very unlikely to decrease.
This is a task of strategic importance which is not always undertaken with the necessary care, and wasteful practices have not yet been halted. The example with the milk is enough.
Wherever it is rational to do so, we must also recover domestic industrial production and begin producing new products that eliminate the need for imports or create new possibilities for export.
In this connection, we are currently studying the possibility of securing more foreign investment, of the kind that can provide us with capital, technology or markets, to avail ourselves of its contribution to the country’s development, careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past, owed to naivety or our ignorance about these partnerships, of using the positive experiences we’ve had to work with serious entrepreneurs, upon well-defined legal bases which preserve the role of the State and the predominance of socialist property. ¡
We shall step up our cooperative efforts with other nations more and more, aware that only united, and on the basis of utter respect for the path chosen by every country, will we prevail. Proof of this are the steps we are taking forward next to our brothers in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, and our solid ties to China and Vietnam, to mention but a few noteworthy examples of the growing number of countries in all continents with which relations of all kinds are being re-established and extended.
We will continue to make a priority of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the growing international movement of solidarity towards the Revolution. We will also continue to work with the United Nations Organization and other multilateral organizations of which Cuba is a member, which respect the norms of international law and contribute to the development of nations and to peace.
THE ONLY THING THAT ANY CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY SHOULD NEVER QUESTION IS OUR UNWAVERING DECISION TO BUILD SOCIALISM
Many are the battles we face simultaneously and which require us to bring together our forces to maintain the unity of the people, the Revolution’s greatest weapon, and to take advantage of the potential of a socialist society like ours. The coming People’s Power elections will be a new opportunity to demonstrate how extraordinarily strong our democracy —a true democracy—is.
It is the duty of each and every one of us, of Party cadres especially, not to allow ourselves be overwhelmed by any difficulty, no matter how great or insurmountable it may seem to us at a given moment.
We must remember how, despite the initial confusion and discouragement, we managed to face up to the first, harsh years of the Special Period early the last decade, and how we managed to move forward. What we said then we can more justifiably repeat today: Yes, we can do it!
In response to bigger problems or challenges, more organization, more systematic and effective work, more studies and predictions on the basis of plans where our priorities are clearly established and no one attempts to solve their problems at any cost or at the expense of others.
We must also work with a critical and creative spirit, avoiding stagnation and schematics. We must never fall prey to the idea that what we do is perfect but rather examine it again. The one thing a Cuban revolutionary will never question is our unwavering decision to build socialism.
It was with the same profound conviction that, in this very place, on July 26, 1989, exactly 18 years ago to this day, Fidel historically and prophetically affirmed that, even in the hypothetical case that the Soviet Union were to collapse, we would continue to move forward with the Revolution, determined to pay the steep price of freedom and to act on the basis of dignity and principles.
History has offered abundant proof that our people’s determination is as hard as rock. To honor this determination, we are duty-bound to question everything we do as we strive to materialize our will more and more perfectly, to change concepts and methods which were appropriate at one point but have been surpassed by life itself.
We must always remember — and not to repeat it from memory like a dogma, but rather to apply it creatively in our work every day—what comrade Fidel affirmed on May 1st, 2000, with a definition which embodies the quintessence of political and ideological work:
“Revolution means a sense of our moment in history, it means changing all that ought to be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is being treated and treating others like human beings; it is emancipating ourselves by ourselves, and through our own efforts; it is defying powerful and ruling forces inside and outside of the social and national spheres; it is defending values that are believed in at the cost of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism; it is fighting with audacity, intelligence and realism; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is the profound conviction that there is no force in the world capable of crushing the strength of truth and ideas. Revolution is unity, it is independence, it is fighting for our dreams for justice for Cuba and for the world, it is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.”
The best tribute we can pay the Commander in Chief today, the greatest contribution to his recovery we can make, is to ratify the decision to make a guide of those principles and, most importantly, to act in accordance with them every day, at whatever post has been assigned us.
True to the legacy of our glorious dead, we will work tirelessly to wholly meet the directives of his Proclamation, the many he has given us since then and as many as he gives us in the future.
There is no room for fear of difficulties or danger in our country, which shall never lower its guard before its enemies. That is the essential guarantee that, in our squares and, should it be necessary, in our trenches too0, these are the cries that shall always resound in our land:
Long live the Revolution!