Statement of Ambassador Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, at the commemorative event of the 91st Anniversary of the Birth of the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.

Dear friends of the Solidarity Movement with Cuba in the United States;

Dear brothers and sisters of the diplomatic missions to the United Nations who have joined us in this special occasion;

Once again, I wish to reiterate what we have said on many occasions, when we referring to the figure of the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution: We will never be able to speak about Fidel in the past tense. I’m sure this is the feeling of everyone gathered here today.

The truth is that we are commemorating this 91st anniversary of his birth without his physical presence, which causes us sadness and an inevitable hollow feeling in our hearts.

But we have not gathered today to grieve or mourn his physical loss. We are here today to celebrate his life, to express our pride for having had the privilege of fighting alongside him and having him as a guide during these difficult years for Cuba and for the world; for being also protagonists of this work of love that is the Cuban Revolution, to which he devoted all his energies. We are here to celebrate his life because Fidel has not died, Fidel has multiplied in all of us; and each one of us is Fidel.

We celebrate the life of a man who gave his own life to the cause of the common good, to the cause of the dispossessed of the Earth; who taught us that principles are not negotiable and that we must uphold our principles at any sacrifice. He also taught us how to live with dignity, to raise our voice against injustice and discrimination; to never give up; to challenge the dominant forces. Fidel taught us the value of unity.

Fidel will remain the voice of rebellion, of resistance, of hope. Fidel will remind us day by day that the struggle for social justice has no borders and that solidarity with other peoples of the world, with those in greatest need, must be an essential quality of every revolutionary.

Fidel will continue to teach us that all who fight for a truly just cause must be persevering, that we must not under any circumstances accept defeat; that we must always maintain an unwavering faith in victory.

That is the reason why we have resisted almost 60 years of hostility and harsh economic, commercial and financial blockade.

That is why our sleep has not been disturbed by the recent steps taken by the current United States Administration, which has decided to revert to the old policy of hostility towards Cuba and to reinvigorate the blockade, this time under the pretext of so-called "concerns" about the situation of human rights and democracy in Cuba.

As our President Raul Castro has said, we reject the intention to manipulate the human rights issue against Cuba. Our country has much to be proud of in terms of achievements in this area, and does not have to receive lessons from the United States or anyone else.

It is therefore worth reiterating, once again, that Cuba is ready to continue negotiating outstanding bilateral issues with the United States, on the basis of equality and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country.

But it is also worth recalling that we will never give up the construction of our Socialism and that we will not deviate from the path that the Cuban people have sovereignly chosen. We learned this conviction from Fidel.

It is also worth remembering his words in the statement delivered on June 1, 2002, when, addressing another president of the United States who also issued orders to intensify the policy of hostility against Cuba, he said, And I quote:

"Show some respect for others and for yourself. The criminal blockade you have promised to tighten will only multiply the honor and glory of our people against which all your genocidal plans will smash, I assure you!" (end of quote)

Dear brothers,

Fidel is and will continue to be alive in each one of us, in each one of you, members of all generations of the solidarity movement with Cuba in the United States: those who contributed to the formation of the 26th of July Movement in the early 1950’s of the last century; those who joined and supported from here the struggle in the Sierra Maestra mountains; those who hosted Fidel at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem; the courageous precursors of the Antonio Maceo and the Venceremos Brigades; those who did not hesitate to risk their own lives to break the blockade in the caravans of Pastors for Peace; those who accompanied the battles for the return of Elián and the Five Cuban Anti-terrorist Heroes to their Homeland; and those who in all these years, including the young people who accompany us today, have supported the fight against the illegal and criminal blockade of the United States against Cuba. In all of them, in all of you, the spirit of Fidel remains present.

And that same spirit is also present in the solidarity we have received from the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe represented here.

Brothers and Sisters,

I will conclude by recalling a short fragment of Ignacio Ramonet's book "One Hundred Hours with Fidel". In the last minutes of this extensive interview, he asked the Commander-in-Chief:

"Have you ever thought of retiring?"

And Fidel replied:

"We know that time goes by and human energies are depleted. But I am going to tell you what I said to the members of the National Assembly on March 6, 2003 when I was re-elected President of the Council of State. I told them: "Now I understand that my destiny was not to come to the world to rest at the end of my life. And I promised to be (...) as long as necessary, as long as I was aware that I could be useful (...) ¿How long will I remain? That must be decided by the people..." (End of quote).

And your people, Fidel, that is no longer just the Cuban people, but are all dignified men and women who, like you dear brothers and sisters, do not rest in this struggle for a better and more just world, we have all decided that you will be eternally present, that your ideas and your example will always be alive, that our strongest commitment will be to continue your legacy.

Long live our undefeated and ever present Commander-in-Chief Fidel!

Long live the Cuban Revolution!

Ever onward to victory!

Homeland or Death! We shall overcome!