Monday, November 30, 2015

Toronto Celebrates Cuba's Contribution to Southern Africa Liberation Struggles
TML, November 28, 2015

Prof. Isaac Saney addresses the event, "Africa's Children Return," Toronto, November 13, 2015.
A lively and successful public event to mark the 40th Anniversary of Operación Carlota -- Cuba's mission to Angola from 1975 to 1988, as well as Cuba's other contributions to Africa, took place November 13-14 in Toronto. The event, "Africa's Children Return!," was held at the Steelworkers' Hall and organized by the Canadian Network on Cuba, the Chair of Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, the Canada-Cuba Friendship Association (Toronto), A Different Booklist bookstore and others. The Cuban Consul General in Toronto Mr. Javier Dómokos Ruiz was also present at the event.

The opening session of the program began with a tribute to Jorge Risquet, an historic personality and member of Cuba's revolutionary leadership who played a key role in supporting the anti-colonial struggles in Africa from the early 1960s. Professor Isaac Saney, a Cuba specialist, author and lecturer at Dalhousie University, paid a moving tribute to the life and work of Risquet, highlighting his important contributions as Cuba's main diplomat and negotiator during the period Cuba was assisting the Angolan people to secure their independence in the face of war with South Africa. A minute's silence was observed to honour this great Cuban revolutionary and internationalist who passed away on September 28.

Left: Prof. Saney pays tribute to Jorge Risquet (pictured behind);
right: Nicolas Hernandez Guillen.
The other presentation at the opening session was made by Nicolas Hernandez Guillen, the grandson of Cuba's National Poet, Nicholas Cristobal Guillen (1901-1989). Nicholas Hernandez Guillen is a noted scholar and president of the Nicolas Guillen Foundation which works to preserve and popularize the work of Cuba's National Poet. The main theme of the presentation highlighted the work of the great Afro-Cuban poet to render and champion the contributions of the Afro-Cuban people to nation-building in Cuba as well as of infusing African themes, songs and rhythms into literary form. It was noted in the presentation that Guillen always sympathized with the African peoples' anti-colonial struggles, particularly after he was exiled from Cuba as a result of his political activities in the 1950s. He subsequently wrote poems such as "Mau Mau" about the Kikuyu people's fight against colonialism in Kenya. Hernandez Guillen noted that when Cuba intervened to assist in Africa it was because Cubans in general, and especially Afro Cubans, identified with Africa, their motherland. He noted that his grandfather's life and work helped forge closer fraternal ties between Cuba and Africa.

The second day opened with the screening of a film depicting some of Cuba's contributions to the African people's independence struggles in the Congo and elsewhere. Professor Isaac Saney then outlined Cuba's decisive role in supporting the independence struggles of the peoples of southern Africa, in particular, the military and material assistance provided to the Angolan people to secure their independence in 1975. The new Angolan republic was under direct military threat from the South African apartheid state which saw the nascent black "communist" government as a threat. Professor Saney highlighted the importance of Operación Carlota (1975-1988), the 15-year campaign in which Cuba assisted Angola to defeat the South African military invasion which had resulted in over 1.5 million people killed and billions of dollars of lost revenues to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other countries in the region. More than 330,000 Cubans served with Operación Carlota and 2,000 Cubans died defending Angolan independence and freedom. It was pointed out that Cuba bore the cost of this enormous act of solidarity entirely by themselves using their own resources and personnel.

Professor Saney drew particular attention to the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in which the combined Angolan and Cuban forces dealt a mortal blow to the South African army -- the nail in the coffin of the apartheid regime. The victory at Cuito Cuanavale raised the prestige of Cuba in the eyes of the African peoples and strengthened the movement to bring an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa. The victory also had the effect of consolidating the Cuban revolution itself. Professor Saney pointed out that the significance of the military victory at Cuito Cuanavale was acknowledged by Nelson Mandela, who in a speech in Havana in 1991, stated that it was the Cuban and Angolan victory in this epic battle that directly contributed to securing his freedom after 28 years in the prisons of South Africa and helped to bring down the apartheid system itself.

Professor John Kirk, another Cuba specialist at Dalhousie University and author of the newly-published Without Borders: Understanding Cuban Medical Internationalism, spoke on Cuba's enormous contribution in the sphere of public health and other forms of assistance to other nations and people around the world. He highlighted Cuba's exemplary work to confront and control the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, as well as Cuba's overall contributions internationally in health care, literacy and other fields. While many of the so-called advanced countries were cringing at the thought of intervening in the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Cuba simply took action as part of its social-responsibility to humanity, Professor Kirk noted. He paid tribute to the fearless Cuba health care workers who carried out their duties with skill and professionalism. He also noted that since that experience, Cuba has been providing training to large groups of people in various countries on how to contain Ebola based on their experience in Africa. Professor Kirk also noted Cuba's selfless efforts to educate and train without cost young people from around the world as doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals -- particularly those from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean who are in need of medical professionals. Professor Kirk said that in his experience the Cuban medical system is one of the finest in the world and that Canada and other countries could learn much from how health care is guaranteed as a right in Cuba.

The final presentation of the program was an informative film about the popular mass movement in Burkina Faso that overthrew the corrupt 27-year rule of Blaise Compaoré in 2014. Compaoré took power after the assassination of President Thomas Sankara, the popular leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Sankara, who defended the independence of Burkina Faso, brought in many social reforms modelled after the Cuban revolution, which he admired. The film, introduced by Amet Lo of the Justice Committee for Thomas Sankara and the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa, shows the youth and students organizing to demand that Compaoré step down. It depicts their striving for political empowerment and a democratic government in Burkina Faso that reflects the aspirations of the people.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Does anybody know who Ana Belén Montes is?

by the Cuban Committee for Humane Treatment for Ana Belen Montes
The pain caused by prison is the hardest one, the most devastating one, the one that kills youintelligence and dries out your soul, leaving scars imprinted in it, which will just never go away’.
José Martí
Does anybody know who Ana Belen Montes is? A question frequently asked by friends of the mate kidnapped by the USA.
Born in Eastern Germany on February 28th, 1957, a Puerto-Rican holding an America citizenship and public officer GS-14, working for the DIA was prosecuted and condemned as a spy because of informing the Cuban government about aggression plans to be directed against the Cuban people, something which didn’t affect her country’s national security neither put any innocent lives in danger.
In 1979, as she was 22 years old, the University of Virginia granted her a bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. Later on, she acquired a Master’s Degree in this speciality. In 1985 she was hired by the DIA. Due to her capabilities, she was sent to the Air Force Base in Bolling, Washington, where she worked as a specialist in intelligence investigation. In 1992 was promoted to the Pentagon as an analyst.
Using a fake position, she was located for a while in the diplomatic representation in La Habana in order to ‘study‘ the Cuban military. In 1998 she was sent again by the DIA to the island to observe the development of Pope John Paul II visit to the island.
Besides having a sweet face, an eternal smile and very good manners, she was very modest. While living alone in a simple apartment on the north side of the American capital. She climbed up until she became first level analysis at the Pentagon, Senior Analyst. She rapidly was granted access to almost everything known to the intelligence community related to the Island. Due to her position, she belonged to a super secret ‘inter-agencies work group on Cuba’, gathering all most important analysts in federal agencies, such as the CIA, the White House itself and the State Department.
She was arrested by agents of the FBI on November 20th, 2001, while being in her office at the DIA headquarters in the Bolling Air Base in Washington DC. Some days later she was accused of conspiracy to commit espionage in favour of Cuba. She was brought to court and at some point in time was sent to a federal prison specialized in criminal with mental or physical illness, this was done although she was not ill in any way.
During trial she transparently and bravely declared to have followed her consciousness: ‘There is a Italian say which best describes what I believe: ‘the entire world is one country. In this ‘global country’ the principle of loving others like loving one-selves is an essential guide in order to have harmonious relationships with our neighbour countries’.
‘This principle means tolerance and understanding for different ways of acting of other people. It establishes that we treat other nations in the way we wish to be treated, with respect and consideration. This is a principle that, in my understanding, we have never applied towards Cuba.
‘Your Honour, I became involved in the activities that brought me here in front of you because I followed my consciousness more than obey the law. I find that our government’s politic towards Cuba is cruel and unfair, profoundly unfriendly, therefore I considered myself morally obliged to help the Island to defend itself from our efforts of imposing our values and political system on them.
‘We have shown intolerance and rejection to Cuba during for decades. We have never respected Cuba’s right to decide their own destiny, its own ideals of justice and equality. I do not understand how we keep on trying to dictate …how Cuba is supposed to choose its leaders, or not, and which are the most appropriate laws for this nation. Why we cannot let them choose the way they prefer to conduct their internal businesses, the way USA has been doing for more that two centuries now?
‘My biggest desire would be now to see a friendly relationship emerge between the USA and Cuba. I do hope that my case, in some manner, stimulates our government to give up hostility against Cuba and could work together with Havana, in a spirit of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding.
‘Today we see, more than ever, that intolerance and hatred –towards individuals or governments- only spreads pain and sorrow. I do hope that the USA can develop a Cuban politic based on appreciation to a neighbour, recognizing that Cuba, just like any other nation expects to be treated with dignity, not rejection.
She is currently imprisoned in the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, within the military headquarters at the Air Base of the USA Navy, Fort Worth, Texas. She is confined in the psychiatry area, although she is free from any illness of this kind. This place is evidently extremely dangerous because there are indeed people within who are actually ill and this can have an serious impact on her mental state.
Ana is nowadays imprisoned with some of the most dangerous women in the USA, where she has had neighbours such as the housewife who strangulated a pregnant woman to steal her baby, also a nurse who killed four of her patients with massive adrenaline injections, and last but not least, Lynette Fromme, The Noisy, a follower of Charles Manson who tried to assassinate former President Gerald Ford.
She is kept under extreme isolation:
  • She’s not allowed to receive any visits other than her father and brother
  • She‘ not allowed to use a telephone
  • She’s not allowed to read any newspapers or magazines, neither watch TV
  • She’s not allowed to receive any post
  • Nobody is allowed to search about her health or the reason why she’s being kept in a psychiatric institution although she is not ill
  • She’s not allowed to have contact to any other residents in the institution
  • Letters directed to her are returned using certificate mail
  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons has informed she is allowed to have contact only with close family members, because accused of espionage
Ana Belen Montes is due to recover her freedom in 2027, 12 years from now. She’s been in prison already for 13 years now.
She never received any money from the Cubans, she was never enrolled through any sordid blackmail tactic. She did not act upon vengeance of desire to obtain power in any way. Perfectly knowing the risks she was taking, she faced them following profound love to justice and sincere solidarity towards Cuba.
Therefore, she deserves the greatest respect from all who love Martí’s homeland.
Also be aware that throughout the world many committee are being raised in order to support a fair treatment as well as liberation of this friend, who defies the vengeance of the empire in such a dignifying manner, without giving up her love to Cuba and humanity in general.
For any more information, please contact the Cuban Organizing Committee, Dr. Nestor Garcia Iturbe, under:
Criminal detachment from the suffering of others, petrifies...José Martí

Saturday, August 15, 2015


On the occasion of his 89th birthday, the Canadian Network On Cuba sends its heartfelt congratulations to Fidel, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution. It is deeply humbling to have lived and witnessed Fidel's uncompromising and indefatigable dedication to justice and human dignity.

On October 16th, 1953, in the wake of the heroic Moncada revolutionary action, Fidel declared, "History Will Absolve Me."

History has not only absolved but also vindicated Fidel!

This vindication is crystallized in the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. On January 1st, 1959, the Cuban people under the leadership of Fidel took control of their country and destiny. Their successful resistance of the empire is the concrete reflection of the principled and dignified politics and leadership of Fidel. 

No words can adequately convey the transcendent and singular meaning of Fidel; his significance extends beyond the geographical boundaries of Cuba. Fidel has made and continues to make an invaluable contribution to the global struggle for a better world, demonstrating  what can be achieved by holding aloft the banners of Justice, Peace, Internationalism and Human Dignity. In this spirt, we declare along with the peoples of the world: 


¡Viva Fidel!

¡Viva  La Revolución Cubana!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

7th Biennial Convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) Sets Work to End the U.S. Economic Blockade of Cuba and to Strengthen Canada-Cuba Relations 

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) held a very successful 7th Biennial Convention in Toronto from May 30 -31, 2015. Delegates and alternate delegates from 19 member organizations were joined by observers and invited guests including His Excellency Julio Garmendía Peña, Ambassador of Cuba to Canada, Javier Domokos Ruiz, Toronto Consul General of Cuba and other Cuban diplomats.

The Convention had the distinct honour and privilege of hosting Fernando González Llort, one of the Five Cuban Heroes who had been imprisoned unjustly in the United States for defending Cuba from terrorist attacks launched from the United States and/or by U.S. citizens and covert agencies and for defending Cuba's right to independence and self-determination.

Fernando Gonzalez participated in his capacity as Vice-President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). He was accompanied by Sandra Ramírez Rodriguez, Director of the North American Desk of ICAP. Also, present was Dr. José de Jesús Portilla García, who had just completed nine-city tour to raise awareness about Cuba's extensive and unprecedented internationalist solidarity with the peoples of Africa, and in particular its recent contribution to addressing the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Dr. Portilla Garcia has had a distinguished career as a surgeon, university professor and head of the Department of Health for the province of Havana. He was also involved in a number of Cuban medical missions to Africa including to the former Republic of Congo and Angola.

On behalf of La Table de Concertation de Solidarité Quebec-Cuba, Christine Dandenault and Genevieve Royer delivered a message of greetings to the Convention. The National Network on Cuba from the United States also sent a written greeting of support.

Conference Highlights.

Fernando González Llort spoke to a standing room-only audience gathered at the United Steelworkers Hall on Cecil Street in Toronto to celebrate the freeing of all the Five Cuban Heroes. Fernando declared his admiration and appreciation for the contribution of the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement to the struggle to win their freedom stating: "On behalf of my four brothers and our families, thank you. This victory belongs to all of you."

Fernando also emphasized that the international solidarity movement with Cuba still faces the task of ending the ongoing U.S policy of hostility and aggression against the island nation. He noted that the struggle "hasn't ended. We won a battle but the blockade remains and Guantanamo base is still there [illegally on Cuban territory]. The blockade impacts all aspects of Cuban life." He reiterated that Havana is committed to maintaining its internationalist foreign policy of helping other countries. In Cuba "solidarity is part of our culture," he stated.

Fernando invoked Cuba's long struggle to realize and achieve independence, self-determination and a just society, a struggle that stretches back to the 19th century. The victory of December 17, 2014 cannot be divorced from the profound history in which it is embedded, he said. The freedom of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero and Obama's new policy are the culmination of Cuba's struggle for national affirmation, liberation, independence and social justice. Fernando also stressed that for the people of Cuba "the knowledge of our history, and our principles are going to keep the Cuban Revolution strong."

Dr. José de Jesús Portilla Garcia also addressed the gathering about the role of Cuban doctors in the fight against Ebola. He explained the human-centred health care system that has emerged in Cuba despite the U.S. economic blockade. He emphasized that in Cuba healthcare is a human right enshrined in the Constitution and guaranteed by the Cuban state. Dr. Portilla Garcia further noted that despite being a poor country Cuba has provided medical assistance to other countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean based on a spirit of internationalism. This is something that he and all Cubans are committed to and very proud of.

 Ambassador Garmendía Peña’s on 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games
At the Saturday, May 30 public meeting Ambassador Garmendía Peña announced the launch of Cuba Pan Am 2015, the new website designed to provide the latest news and information in English, French and Spanish about Cuban sport and the country's participation at the 2015 Pan American Games that will be held in Toronto from July 10-26, 2015. Facebook and Twitter pages were also launched, which together with the website will provide updates about the Cuban team and what to expect at the games. 
The website address is:,
Twitter: @cubapanam2015 and Facebook: Cuba Pan Am 2015.

CNC Sets Its Program of Work
Extensive reports by the CNC executive and CNC member organization were presented covering the two years since the 6th Convention. The reports illustrated the breadth and depth of Canada-Cuba solidarity activities from Vancouver to Halifax. These activities encompassed the political, social and cultural spheres. Highlights of the CNC's work included the following:

 The very successful cross-Canada tours of Geraldo Alphonso and Dr. Portilla Garcia, and
 The international symposium Africa's Unknown War: Apartheid Terror, Cuba & Southern Africa Liberation.
 The struggle to free the Cuban Five and the tremendous joy at their liberation -the scope and diversity of this work encompassed a variety of arenas, from political work with parliamentarians and unions to cultural performances and festivals to ongoing information meetings, conferences, pickets and leafleting.

Recognizing that the movement in solidarity with Cuba has arrived at a new moment which poses specific challenges, CNC delegates resolved to mobilize Canadian public and political opinion to end the US economic blockade of the island, return Guantanamo Bay and to challenge the disinformation campaign against Cuba. Based on the reports, discussions and deliberations, resolutions were adopted to strengthen and guide the CNC's work over the next two years and measures were taken to update the CNC's by-laws.

Special attention was also paid to other areas of ongoing work including the highly successful Ernesto Che Guevara Voluntary Work Brigade and the annual Pastors for Peace Caravan, and the ongoing work with Canadian parliamentarians. Delegates also pledged to mobilize support for the Cuban participating in 15th Pan American Games that will be held in Toronto and its environs from July 10th-26th, 2015. The Convention also committed to support a symposium in Toronto in 2015 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Operación Carlota, the beginning of Cuba's internationalist mission in Angola that was crucial to the success of the southern African national liberation and anti-colonial struggles.

A new CNC executive was elected to implement the Convention's decisions and realize the work plan for 2015-2017: Michel Dugre, Julio Fonseca, Don Forman, Elizabeth Hill, Isaac Saney, Aaron Shields and Saleh Waziruddin. The executive subsequently selected Elizabeth Hill and Isaac Saney to continue as co-chairs. Isaac Saney was also re-appointed National Spokesperson and Elizabeth Hill Treasurer, with Saleh Waziruddin assuming the position of Secretary.

The exciting and full two-day program reflected the rich, dynamic and spirited Canada-Cuba solidarity movement, which has been in existence for more than fifty years. It is a movement rooted in the overwhelming respect and admiration of Canadians for Cuba's considerable achievements and affirmation of its right to independence and self-determination despite facing the unceasing aggression of the United States. This respect and admiration have forged unbreakable ties of friendship and solidarity between the peoples of Canada and Cuba.

For information, contact:
 Isaac Saney
CNC National Spokesperson
Tel.: 902-449-4967

Monday, February 9, 2015

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the Third CELAC Summit, held in Costa Rica, on January 28, 2015, "Year 57 of the Revolution".

(Council of State Transcript)

Esteemed President Luis Guillermo Solís; Esteemed Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean; Esteemed Heads of the Delegations and guests accompanying us:
Our America has entered a new era and has advanced, since the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in its goals of independence, sovereignty over its natural resources, integration, the construction of a new world order, social justice and democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.
Today there is a commitment to justice and the rights of the peoples which is superior to that in any other historical period. Together, we are the third largest economy in the world, the area with the second largest oil reserves, the greatest biodiversity on the planet and a high concentration of the globe’s mineral resources.
To develop unity within diversity, cohesive action, and respect for differences will remain our primary purpose and an inescapable necessity, because the world's problems are serious, and great dangers and tough challenges persist which transcend national and even sub-regional possibilities. Over the past decade, economic and social policies and sustained growth have allowed us to confront the global economic crisis and made possible a reduction in poverty, unemployment and unequal income distribution.
The profound political and social transformations carried out in several countries in the region have brought dignity to millions of families who have escaped poverty. But the Latin American and Caribbean region remains the most unequal on the planet. On average, 20% of households with the lowest incomes receive 5% of total income; 167 million people still suffer from poverty, one in five children under-15 live in poverty, and the number of illiterates exceeds 35 million. Half of our youth do not have secondary education or a ninth grade education, but, in the lower income sector, 78% do not complete their studies. Two thirds of the new generation do not reach university.
The number of victims of organized crime and violence, which threatens the stability and progress of nations, is increasing. What would be the thoughts of the tens of millions of marginalized on democracy and human rights? What would their opinion be regarding political models? What would they argue about election laws? Is this the civil society which governments and international organizations take into account? What would they say if they were consulted on economic and monetary policies?
Little do many of the industrialized States have to show our region in this respect, where half of youth are unemployed, the crisis is heaped onto the workers, and students are repressed while the bankers are protected, unionization is prevented, lower wages are paid to women for equal work, inhumane policies are applied against immigrants, racism, xenophobia, violent extremism and neo-fascist tendencies are on the rise, and where citizens do not vote because they see no alternative to political corruption, or they know that election promises are soon forgotten.
To achieve social inclusion and environmental sustainability, we are obliged to create our own vision regarding economic systems, patterns of production and consumption, the relationship between economic growth and development, and also, the effectiveness of political models.
Photo: Estudio Revolución
We must overcome the structural gaps, ensure high quality free education, free universal health coverage, social security for all, equal opportunities, the full exercise of all human rights for all people. Within such efforts, an elementary duty will be solidarity and defense of the interests of the Caribbean and, in particular, Haiti.
A new international economic, financial and monetary order is required, where the interests and needs of the countries of the South, and of the majority, are accommodated and prioritized, in which those who impose the concentration of capital and neoliberalism do not prevail.
The [UN] post 2015 Development Agenda must provide solutions to the structural problems of economies of the region, and generate the changes that will lead to sustainable development.
It is also essential to build a world of peace, governed by the Principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law, without which development is impossible.
The signing by heads of state and government of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace marked a historic step forward and provides a reference for relations between our states and with the rest of the world. Solidarity in Our America will be decisive to advancing common interests.
We express vigorous condemnation of the unacceptable and unjustified unilateral sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and the continuing external intervention aimed at creating a climate of instability in this sister nation.
Cuba, profoundly familiar with all these tales, having endured them itself for over 50 years, reiterates its firmest support to the Bolivarian Revolution and the legitimate government led by President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
We join the Argentine Republic in its claim to the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas. We support the South American nation and its President Cristina Fernández, who faces attacks from hedge funds and the decisions of venal courts, in violation of the sovereignty of this country.
We reaffirm our solidarity with the people and government of Ecuador, led by Rafael Correa, in support of their demand for compensation for environmental damage caused by transnational Chevron in Ecuador's Amazon. As we have said before, the Community will be incomplete as long as Puerto Rico is absent. Its colonial situation is unacceptable, and its Latin American and Caribbean character leaves no room for doubt.
In the Colombian peace process, the agreements reached by the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army in the conversations taking place in Havana are significant. Never before have they advanced so much in the direction of achieving peace.
Cuba, in its capacity as guarantor and venue of these talks, will continue providing the necessary facilities and contributing as much as possible to an end to the conflict, and the construction of a just and lasting peace in the sister nation of Colombia. We resolutely support, as we have done to date, the just demands of Caribbean countries for reparations for the damages caused by slavery and colonialism, as well as resolutely opposing the decision to deprive them of vital financial resources on the basis of technocratic pretexts characterizing them as middle-income countries. We recognize the excellent developments achieved in the CELAC-China Forum and regional links with the BRICS group.
We reiterate our concern regarding the enormous and growing military expenditures imposed on the world by the United States and NATO, such as the attempt to extend their aggressive presence to the borders of Russia, with which we have historic, fraternal and mutually beneficial relations. We energetically oppose the imposition of unilateral and unjust sanctions on this nation. The growing aggression of the NATO military doctrine and the development of unconventional warfare - which have already had devastating consequences and grave results - threaten peace and international security.
For Cuba, the principal of the sovereign equality of all states and peoples’ right to self-determination is inalienable.
The United Nations General Assembly must use its faculties to safeguard international peace and security, given the Security Council’s double standards, excesses and omissions.
Full membership must be offered to Palestine without further delay, to which the people and government of Cuba convey their solidarity.
The Security Council’s veto, which ensures that Israel’s crimes go unpunished, must end. Africa, where our roots also lie, does not need advice or interference, but the transfer of financial resources, technology and fair trade.
We will forever defend the legitimate interests of the nations with which we struggle, shoulder to shoulder, against colonialism and apartheid, and with which we maintain relations of fraternity and cooperation.
We always remember their unwavering solidarity and support. Cuba’s voice will tirelessly defend just causes and the interests of Southern countries and will remain faithful to their objectives and common positions, in the knowledge that homeland is humanity.
The foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution will remain faithful to its principles. Esteemed colleagues: Last December 17, saw the return to the homeland of Cuban anti-terrorists, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, who together with Fernando González and René González are a source of pride and an example of conviction.
The President of the United States acknowledged the failure of the nation’s policy toward Cuba, implemented for over 50 years, the country’s complete isolation as a result; and the damages which the blockade has caused to our people. He has ordered a review of the obviously unjustifiable inclusion of the island on the list of state sponsors of international terrorism. Also on that day, he announced the decision to reestablish U.S. diplomatic relations with our government.
These changes are the result of almost a century and a half of heroic struggle and loyalty to principles of the Cuban people. They were also made possible thanks to the new era our region is experiencing, and to the firm, valiant demands made by the governments and peoples of CELAC.
These changes vindicate Our America, which worked in close collaboration, in the United Nations and all other spheres, to achieve this objective. Preceded by the Alba Summit in Cumaná, Venezuela, the discussions held in the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Puerto España, Trinidad and Tobago, led President Obama, at that time recently elected, to propose a new beginning with Cuba. In Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012, a strong debate took place in which the blockade was unanimously and categorically rejected, compelling an important U.S. leader to describe the occasion as the great failure of Cartagena, or disaster – was the exact phrase – and during which Cuba’s exclusion from these events was debated.
Ecuador, in protest, had decided not to participate. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia stated that they would not attend another summit without the presence of Cuba, a sentiment which received support from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
The Caribbean Community assumed a similar stance. Mexico and the remaining nations also agreed. Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela, before his inauguration, resolutely announced that he would invite Cuba, with full rights and equality of conditions, to the Seventh Summit of the Americas, and that is what he did.
Cuba immediately confirmed that it would attend. This demonstrates Martí’s precision when he wrote “One just principle from the depths of a cave is more powerful than an army.” (Applause) To all those present, I express Cuba’s most profound gratitude. To the 188 states which voted against the blockade in the United Nations; to those who made a similar demand at the General Assembly and international summits and conferences; and to all the popular movements, political forces, parliaments and personalities who tirelessly worked to achieve this objective, on behalf of Cuba, I sincerely thank you. To the people of the United States who expressed growing opposition to the hostile policy and the blockade, imposed for over five decades, I also convey our appreciation and friendly sentiments.
These outcomes show that governments with profound differences can find a solution to their problems, through respectful dialogue and exchanges on the basis of sovereign equality and reciprocity, for the benefit of their respective nations.
As I have repeatedly stated, Cuba and the United States must learn the art of civilized co-existence, based on respect for the differences which exist between both governments and cooperation on issues of common interest, which contribute to solving the challenges we are facing in the hemisphere and the world. However, it must not be supposed that, in order to achieve this, Cuba would renounce its ideals of independence and social justice, or abandon a single one of our principles, nor cede a millimeter in the defense of our national sovereignty.
We will not invite, or accept any attempt to advise or exert pressure regarding our internal affairs. We have earned this sovereign right through great sacrifices and at the price of great risks.
Could diplomatic relations be restored without resuming the financial services of the Cuban Interests Section and its Consular Office in Washington, denied as a consequence of the financial blockade? How can diplomatic relations be restored without removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of international terrorism? What will be the future conduct of U.S. diplomats in Havana, in regards to observing the diplomatic and consular norms established by International Conventions?
This is what our delegation has said to the State Department during the bilateral talks held last week, and more meetings are required to address these issues.
We have shared with the President of the United States our willingness to advance toward normalization of bilateral relations, once diplomatic relations are reestablished, which would imply the adopting of measures by both parties to improve the climate between the two countries, to resolve other pending problems, and move forward on cooperation.
The current situation discreetly opens an opportunity for the hemisphere to encounter new, superior ways to cooperate, which would serve the two Americas. This would allow pressing problems to be resolved, and open new paths.
The text of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace constitutes an indispensable foundation for this, including the recognition that every state has the inalienable right to chose its own political, economic, social, cultural system, without interference of any kind on the part of another state, which constitutes an undeniable principle of international law, The principal problem has not been resolved.
The economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes great human and economic damage and violates international law, must end.
I remember the memorandum written by Undersecretary Mallory, in April of 1960, which, given the lack of an effective political opposition [in Cuba], proposed the objective of creating hunger, desperation and suffering to provoke the overthrowal of the revolutionary government. Now, everything seems to indicate that the objective is to create an artificial political opposition though economic, political and communications means.
The reestablishment of diplomatic relations is the beginning of a process which can progress toward normalization of bilateral relations, but this will not be possible as long as the blockade exists, or as long as the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base is not returned (Applause), or radio and television broadcasts which violate international norms continue, or just compensation is not provided our people for the human and economic damage they have suffered.
It would not be ethical, just, or acceptable that something were requested of Cuba in return.
If these problems are not resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States makes no sense.
Neither can it be expected that Cuba would agree to negotiate aspects mentioned with respect to our absolutely sovereign, internal affairs. Progress was made in these recent negotiations because we treated each other respectfully, as equals.
To continue advancing, this is how it must be. We have carefully followed the U.S. President's announcement of some executive decisions to modify certain aspects of the blockade's application. The measures announced are very limited.
Prohibitions on credit and the use of the dollar in international financial transactions remain in place; individual travel by U.S. citizens is hampered under the system of licenses for so-called people-to-people exchanges; these are conditioned by subversive goals; and maritime travel is not allowed.
Prohibitions remain on the acquisition in other markets of equipment and technology with more than 10% U.S. components, and on imports by the United States of goods containing Cuban raw materials, among many, many others. President Barack Obama could decisively use his broad executive powers to substantially modify the application of the blockade, that which is in his hands, even without a decision by Congress.
He could permit, in other sectors of the economy, all that he has authorized in the arena of telecommunications, with evident objectives of political influence in Cuba.
His decision to hold a discussion with Congress on eliminating the blockade is significant. U.S. government spokespeople have been very clear in specifying that they are now changing their methods, but not their policy objectives, and insist on continuing to intervene in our internal affairs, which we are not going to accept. Our U.S. counterparts should not plan on developing relations with Cuban society as if there were no sovereign government in Cuba. (Applause).
No one should dream that the new policy announced means acceptance of the existence of a socialist revolution 90 miles from Florida.
They want so-called civil society to be present at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, and this is what Cuba has always said. We have protested what has occurred at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle, at the Summits of the Americas in Miami and Quebec, at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, and whenever the G-7 or International Monetary Fund meet, when civil society is placed behind steel fences, faces brutal police repression, or is confined to locations dozens of kilometers from the events.
Of course Cuban civil society will attend, and I hope there are no restrictions on our country's non-governmental organizations, which obviously have no interest, or any status within the OAS, but are recognized by the UN.
I hope to be able to see in Panama the popular movements and non-governmental organizations which advocate for nuclear disarmament, for the environment, against neoliberalism, the Occupy Wall Street and the indignados of this region, university and high school students, farmers, trade unions, communities of original peoples, organizations which oppose the contamination caused by fracking, those defending the rights of immigrants and denouncing torture and extrajudicial executions, police brutality, racist practices, those who demand equal pay for women for equal work, those demanding compensation for damage caused by transnational corporations. Nevertheless, the announcements made December 17 have generated world recognition, and President Obama has received very broad support within his own country. Some forces in the United States will try to abort this process which is beginning.
They are the same enemies of a just relationship between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean, those who disrupt bilateral relations with many countries in our region with that nation, those who always blackmail and pressure.
We know that ending the blockade will be a long, difficult process, which will require the support, the mobilization and resolute action of all persons of good will in the United States and the world; approval on the part of the United Nations General Assembly, during its next session, of the resolution calling for its elimination; and in particular, concerted action by Our America.
Esteemed Heads of State and Government,
Dear friends,
We congratulate Costa Rica, President Solís and his government for the work done at the helm of CELAC. We welcome and offer our full support to Ecuador and President Correa, who will lead the Community in 2015. Many thanks. (Applause).