Raul Castro Highlights Role of Latin American Integration

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raul in santiago
During his speech, Raul denounced the imperialist strategy to destroy organizations such as CELAC and UNASUR. (Photo: ACN).

The success of CARICOM, and the participation of all members of CELAC, as well as those of ALBA, have contributed to the advance of regional integration

Remarks by Army General Raul Castro in the ceremony held in Santiago de Cuba to mark the 65th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks

As I noted last December, today I will offer the central remarks of this act, the Army General began.

None of those who had the privilege of participating in these actions under the command of Fidel, could imagine that we would still be here today, in a free country. We celebrate this 65th anniversary in Santiago de Cuba not only due to its history, but also in recognition of the work undertaken here to benefit the people, under the leadership of Lázaro Expósito Cantro, Party first secretary in the Province, alongside Beatriz Jhonson Urrutia, a vice president of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba and president of the government in the territory.

Likewise, work is ongoing to meet the demands of the population, making the most of our own resources, which further contributes to the budget. The enthusiasm of the people of Santiago is palpable. However, much remains to be done to ensure that Santiago de Cuba is more beautiful, clean, and disciplined every day, worthy of guarding the remains of the National Hero, the Father and the Mother of the Homeland, and the historic leader of the Revolution.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC

Some days ago, the National Assembly approved the draft Constitution of the Republic, which will now see a mass popular consultation process, before returning to the Cuban Parliament to approve the final document that will be put to a national referendum, Raúl explained.

The Army General stressed the importance of the updating of the country’s Constitution.

THE NATIONAL ECONOMY

As a consequence of first the devastating drought, then Hurricane Irma, heavy rains and Tropical Storm Alberto, as well as the tightening of the U.S. blockade, the Cuban economy continues to suffer various problems, although it has seen modest growth, Raúl highlighted.

This situation means that exports must be strengthened.

Raúl recalled that the greatest source of resources are savings, which more than a slogan must become a duty.

LATIN AMERICAN INTEGRATION

Another of the issues addressed by the Army General were the positive results of regional integration. He likewise denounced the imperialist strategy to destroy organizations such as CELAC and UNASUR, founded on the basis of unity amidst diversity.

The success of CARICOM, and the participation of all members of CELAC, as well as those of ALBA, have contributed to the advance of regional integration.

In 2014, the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace was signed by CELAC heads of state and government. The document reiterates the permanent commitment to the peaceful solution of disputes, to ensure an end to the threat and use of force in our region.

The U.S. government has declared the validity of the Monroe Doctrine, summarized as “America for the Americans” (read “the U.S.”), which means that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are subject to intervention.

The United States government is implementing a racist, xenophobic agenda, and with the complicity of certain governments, has attempted to revive the fledging OAS.

The recently concluded São Paulo Forum in Havana was essential as part of the political coordination of leftist forces of the region. The final declaration of the event is a program for the struggle of leftist parties and social and popular movements.

SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELA AND NICARAGUA

The Army General expressed the Cuban people, Party and government’s solidarity with the peoples and revolutionary governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua.

We reiterate the call for freedom for Lula da Silva in Brazil. There is no doubt that if elections were to be held tomorrow, Lula would win the Brazilian presidency in the first round.

RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES

Relations with the United States are maintained through official channels, with collaboration continuing on a limited number of areas.

Since the reestablishment of diplomat relations was announced, clear differences on various issues have been voiced, however, Cuba reiterates the will to work toward improved relations on the basis of equality.

In August 2017, under the pretext of alleged “sonic attacks” which are as of yet to be proven, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. have been increasingly strained, Raúl noted.

Likewise, the application and extraterritorial nature of the U.S. blockade has been tightened, in particular the persecution of international financial transactions.

The Army General recalled the infamous memorandum of 1960, in which a U.S. official noted that the majority of Cubans supported the revolutionary government and that “The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship (…) to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

“I have never read anything more cynical than those words” Raúl stressed.

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