We are touched to see, once again, that we have so many good friends here. The work you have done over these years has been particularly important and helpful. You know very well what these expressions of solidarity mean for a country like Cuba, a small, blocked and rebel Island, that continues and will continue to withstand.
The strong support we have always received from the worthy sons of this country, who are increasingly demanding the unconditional lifting of the blockade and the normal relations between the two nations, have been fundamental.
We have followed with close attention the discussions in the panels and workshops held at the Conference.
Highly sensitive issues have been addressed, such as Cuba's role in the liberation of Africa; democracy in Cuba; the racial theme; and the empowerment of women; as well as problems directly linked to the current state of relations between Cuba and the United States, like the return of the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo and the fight against the blockade, among other aspects.
A special mention deserves, for what it means to all of us, the space dedicated to remembering the legacy of our Commander-in-Chief and Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
So many things could be said about Fidel that would be impossible to summarize in a few words. Fidel stood out for his solid political thinking and his condition of a leading Statesman; his virtue to always maintaining a constant and direct connection with his people; he is one of the greatest exponents of our time of the ideas taken up by the Liberators of America.
Fidel was and remains today the voice of rebelliousness, resistance and the hope of the peoples around the world for a better future. He taught us and continues to teach us that the struggle for social justice has no borders. Fidel turned solidarity with other peoples of the world into an essential quality of the Cuban Revolution.
Likewise, Fidel was and is the most accomplished expression of perseverance, of the conviction not to accept defeat in any way and to maintain an unshakable faith in victory. This condition has become an attribute of all our people and has marked what has been and what is today the Cuban Revolution, which has firmly resisted for almost 60 years of aggression and fierce blockade.
Fidel is still and will always be alive in each one of us, because it is impossible to speak about him in past sense.
The large number of topics addressed, and the depth of the discussions in this Conference are a clear expression of the interest of the participants in embracing the widest possible elements that characterize today's Cuban society, in which the common ground has been and still are the huge efforts made by the Revolution to reach growing levels of social justice for all.
As you know well, -and you know better than anyone because you live and work here-, those efforts of the Revolution are made under very difficult conditions as a result of the policy of blockade, that this is the major obstacle to Cuban development.
So the battle is not over, and that’s why we consider it vital that in the Conference several panels had been devoted to reviewing the work of the Solidarity Movement with Cuba, analyzing its perspectives and setting goals for future actions.
Sometimes, we have talked with some people who believe, in good faith and perhaps because they do not have all the information, that the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States meant the end of all problems. You know very well it is not so.
Some progress has been made in bilateral relations, mainly in diplomatic affairs, dialogue and cooperation on various issues of common interest. However, these steps, together with the executive measures adopted by the previous US Government, although they are in the right way, are still insufficient.
But the reality is that the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba remains in force, including its extraterritorial scope, and continues to cause enormous damage and deprivation to our people and our economy.
The reality is that the return of the territory illegally occupied by the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo is still pending, against the will of Cuban people.
Therefore, Cuba will continue to present to the United Nations General Assembly the draft resolution entitled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".
That is why the Cuban people will continue to demand respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And in that battle, your solidarity and mobilization are needed now more than ever.
In today´s world, where so much injustice prevails, where racist and xenophobic attitudes have re-emerged with unusual strength, where inequalities are exacerbated, where an unjust economic order is fostered and where the intention is to impose on the peoples the philosophy of war, your work will not only benefit Cuba; it will transcend our borders and will be part of the struggle for that better world that we believe possible.
I leave this conference convinced that the most important outcome of the discussions over these two days has been that we have worked together in the pursuit of the same objective. Our past and present history has taught us that only unity paves the way towards victory.
We can and we must move forward together to achieve this great goal that we have set ourselves, even if there is diversity of views, because diversity enriches and helps when, as in this case, we share common goals.
There is still a long way to go. You can be absolutely certain that Cuba will continue to work towards normal relations with the United States, on the basis of equality, reciprocity and respect for the sovereignty of our country.
Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz said in the most recent Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States held last January in the Dominican Republic, and I quote:
"Cuba and the United States can cooperate and coexist in a civilized way, respecting differences and promoting all that benefits both countries and peoples, but it must not be expected that Cuba make concessions inherent to its sovereignty and independence."
This statement leads us to evoke once again our Commander-in-Chief Fidel, because we learned from him that a socialist Revolution, to be true, must maintain firmness in principles. And, as we have expressed in another gathering with our brothers from Harlem, there should be no doubt that we will continue to defend these principles today and in the future, whatever the scenario might be. And we are deeply convinced that in this battle, which is not over, we will continue to count on your firm support.
¡Viva Cuba libre!
Patria o Muerte ¡Venceremos!