By Larry Moonze on January 4, 2019. THE Cuban Revolution has not aged, it is still young, says Communist Party of Cuba First Secretary Army General Raul Castro Ruz. And Castro says the US blockade costs Cuba an equivalent of US$12 million in damages every day, “a fact that is overlooked by analysts who tend to question national economic performance.” During the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Revolution in Santiago de Cuba on Tuesday, Castro said after six decades of struggle, sacrifices, efforts and victories, “we see a free, independent country, the masters of its own destiny.”
“I do not come here to speak in a personal capacity; I do so in the name of the heroic sacrifices of our people, and of the thousands of fighters…. It seems incredible that destiny has reserved us the privilege of being able to address our compatriots on a day like today, commemorating six decades of triumph, an occasion on which, under Fidel’s command, the Cuban people attained political power for the first time, and the Mambises were able to enter Santiago de Cuba victorious, coincidentally 60 years after the establishment of absolute U.S. imperialist domination of Cuba,” he said.
“It is 60 years since January 1, 1959. However, the Revolution has not aged, it is still young, and this is not merely rhetoric, it is historic confirmation, since from the very first moments its protagonists were young people, and this has been the case throughout these first six decades. The revolutionary process is not circumscribed to the biological lifetime of those who initiated it, but to the will and commitment of the young people who ensure its continuity.”
Castro said the new generations had the duty to ensure that the Cuban Revolution was forever a Revolution of young people, and at the same time, a Socialist Revolution of the humble, by the humble, and for the humble. Castro said no one could deny that the Revolution that was born that January 1, had not had a minute’s calm over 60 years.
“We have seen twelve US administrations that have not ceased in the effort to force a regime change in Cuba, one way or another, with varying degrees of aggressiveness,” he said. “The heroic people of yesterday and today, proud of their national history and culture, committed to the ideals and the work of the Revolution, which four generations of Cubans have already joined, have managed to resist and win over the six decades of uninterrupted struggle in defense of socialism, always based on the closest unity around the Party and Fidel. Only thus can we understand the feat of having withstood the tough years of the Special Period, when we were left alone in the middle of the West, 90 miles from the United States.”
Castro said at that point, nobody in the world would have bet a penny on the survival of the Revolution. “However, the challenge was endured and overcome without violating a single one of the ethical and humanist principles of the revolutionary process, and was worthy of the invaluable support of the solidarity movements that never stopped believing in Cuba,” he said.
Castro noted that again the US government seemed to be taking the course of confrontation with Cuba, and presenting “our peaceful and solidary country as a threat to the region.” He said Washington was resorting to the sinister Monroe Doctrine to try to roll back history to the shameful era in which subjugated governments and military dictatorships joined it in isolating Cuba.
“Increasingly, senior officials of the current administration, with the complicity of certain lackeys, disseminate new falsehoods and again try to blame Cuba for all the ills of the region, as if these were not the result of ruthless neoliberal policies that cause poverty, hunger, inequality, organized crime, drug trafficking, political corruption, abuse and deprivation of workers’ rights, displaced people, the eviction of campesinos, the repression of students, and precarious health, education and housing conditions for the vast majority,” Castro said.
“They are the same who declare the intention to continue forcing the deterioration of bilateral relations, and promote new measures of economic, commercial and financial blockade to restrict the performance of the national economy, cause additional constraints on the consumption and welfare of the people, hinder even further foreign trade, and curb the flow of foreign investment. They say they are willing to challenge International Law, to contravene the rules of international trade and economic relations, and aggressively apply extraterritorial measures and laws against the sovereignty of other states.”
He reiterated Cuba’s willingness to coexist in a civilized manner, despite the differences, in a relationship of peace, respect and mutual benefit with the United States. Castro said Cuba was accused again, when it had been demonstrated that external debt, uncontrolled migratory flows, the plundering of natural resources, were the result of the domination of transnational corporations in the continent.
“The force of truth has thwarted the lies, and history has put the events and protagonists in their places,” he said. “All that can be attributed to the Cuban Revolution and the epic written by this heroic people is the responsibility that emanates from their example, as a symbol of full independence, victorious resistance, social justice, altruism and internationalism.”
Castro said 60 years on, Cuba can affirm that “we have seen it all before; we are not intimidated by the language of force or threats, they did not intimidate us when the revolutionary process was not yet consolidated, they will not even remotely achieve it now that the unity of the people is an indestructible reality; because if yesterday we were few, today we are an entire people defending their Revolution.” He explained that an adverse scenario had formed against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Castro reminded Cubans how Washington power circles sponsored coups – first a military coup to overthrow President Jose Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and later they resorted to parliamentary-judicial coups against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.
Castro said they succeeded in imprisoning Lula da Silva in Brazil and deprived him of the right to be the Workers’ Party presidential candidate, to avoid his certain victory in the recent elections. “Those who entertained the illusion of the restoration of imperialist domination in our region should understand that Latin America and the Caribbean have changed, and so has the world,” he said.
“For our part, we will continue to actively contribute to the processes of consensus and integration in the region, based on the concept of unity in diversity. We have contributed to the peace process in Colombia, at the express request of its government, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the National Liberation Army, and we will continue to do so, above all risks, grievances and difficulties. The political and moral authority of Cuba is based on the history, conduct and united, conscious and organized support of the people. Therefore, no threat will make us withdraw our solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…. The region resembles a large prairie in times of drought. A single spark could cause an uncontrollable fire that would damage the national interests of all.”
He said for Cuba, the complex international situation validates Fidel Castro’s words in 1975, when he said: “As long as there is imperialism, the Party, the State and the people, will pay maximum attention to defense services. The revolutionary guard will never be neglected. History teaches all too eloquently that those who forget this principle do not survive the mistake.” Castro said Cuba would continue to prioritize defense training tasks, at all levels, in the interests of safeguarding independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and peace, based on the strategic concept of the War of the Entire People, as is reflected in the recently approved Constitution of the Republic.
“It is our duty to meticulously prepare ourselves for all scenarios in advance, including the worst, not only on the military level; so that we leave no room for the bewilderment and improvisation that flourishes in those with scarce will when the time to act arrives, but with the optimism and confidence in victory that Fidel bequeathed to us, and in close contact with the people, we can find the best solution to any challenge that may arise,” he said.
Castro said one challenge that Cuba would face in 2019 “is the economic situation, hard-pressed by the external finance strains, due to the losses of export revenues, and the tightening of the US blockade and its extraterritorial effects. “As expressed by our Minister of Economy and Planning at the last session of the National Assembly, the cost to Cuba of this arbitrary measure, calculated according to internationally approved methodology, amounted to 4.321 billion dollars last year, equivalent to almost 12 million in damages every day, a fact that is overlooked by analysts who tend to question national economic performance,” said Castro.
“Regardless of the blockade and its reinforcement, we Cubans have enormous internal reserves to exploit, without increasing the external debt.”