Cuba’s President participated in activities on the occasion of President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing in ceremony

Díaz-Canel in Caracas
Cuba’s President participated in activities on the occasion of President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing in ceremony

Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
january 11, 2019 09:01:45

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Photo: Estudios Revolución
CARACAS, Venezuela.–This city of hills awoke yesterday, January 10, to accompany Nicolas Maduro during swearing-in activities, following his overwhelming victory in elections this past May 20, in which almost six million Venezuelans supported his Presidency with their votes, some four million more than his closest opponent obtained.

Also on hand was the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who tweeted upon his arrival “Cuba defends and supports Venezuelan sovereignty and Bolivarian integration.”

Leaders from more than 120 nations have expressed support for Maduro on the occasion and some 90 sent delegations to the swearing-in ceremony for his second term in office.

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Photo: Estudios Revolución

Counterpunch: 60 Years of Defending Cuban Sovereignty

 

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By Arnold August

When Fidel Castro triumphantly announced the people’s victory on January 1, 1959, it had been barely 15 years since the U.S. had savagely bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This atrocity marked the passage of the baton of barbarism from the inhumanity of World War II to the U.S. Since the devastating atomic bombing, it has been documented that the U.S., in its insatiable drive for world domination, has killed more than 20 million people in 37 nations. Innumerable murderous invasions have taken place around the world, such as in Korea, Vietnam and the Playa Girón military intervention that was defeated by Cuba in less than 72 hours. All of this constitutes an uncivilized foreign policy reminiscent of WWII cruelty. What would have happened to Cuba and Latin America had the Revolution led by Fidel Castro not defeated the U.S. incursion?

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As Washington continuously beefs up its economic and military imperial overreach, its ongoing international gunboat diplomacy is now backed up by more than 800 military bases (from giant “Little Americas” to small radar stations) virtually all over the world, including Guantánamo. All of this foreign policy and more, such as the increasing use of the Internet as the new road to regime change (e.g. in Cuba, especially since 2014), constitute the daily staple of arrogant threats, murderous aggression and cynical interference by the U.S. All of this happens every day on many occasions through allied states, such as Israel’s ongoing slow genocide against the Palestinian people. The post-WWII violation of other countries’ sovereignty and international law occurs with virtually no international protection. The blockade against Cuba is a case in point of international impunity. The peoples of the world, such as the Cubans, can rely only on their own forces and support from the peoples and progressive nations in the world struggling to maintain a multi-polar world to resist U.S. domination.
The Cuban Revolution has been curbing the U.S. for 60 of the 75 years since the inauguration of the “new face” of the post-WWII barbaric epoch. This period, based on inhumanity to the extreme, shifted from Europe and East Asia to the U.S., only 90 miles from Cuba’s shores. Think of this geopolitical and historical reality as people in every corner of the planet reflect today upon the historic significance of the 60th anniversary.
The Genocidal Blockade

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IN IMAGES: 60 years since Fidel entered Havana triumphant January 8, 1959

IN IMAGES: 60 years since Fidel entered Havana triumphant
January 8, 1959, after a journey of more than a thousand kilometers taken by the Rebel Army across the island following the triumph of the Revolution, the Caravan of Liberty, led by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, entered the Cuban capital

Author: GI news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 8, 2019 10:01:1

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Columbia military base, now the Ciudad Escolar Libertad, Havana, January 8, 1959. Photo: Archive
Every year, Cuban youth and outstanding figures reenact the journey across the island of the Caravan of Liberty, led by Fidel from January 2 to 8 of 1959, culminating in a gala event at the former Columbia Military Base, now the Ciudad Escolar Libertad educational complex.

The caravan members participate in official events in each province along the route traveled by the triumphant Rebel Army, visit historical sites, combatants and relatives of the Revolution’s martyrs, among other activities.

Below, we offer iconic images of the 1959 Caravan.

THE CUBA OF TODAY

Today, 60 years after the Caravan of Liberty, Granma offers some examples of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in key sectors:

EDUCATION

In preschool, primary, special and secondary education, the continuity of studies is guaranteed to 1,606,500 students.

Higher Education guarantees the enrollment of 155,000 students, cost-free.

CULTURE

Cubans enjoyed more than 9 million artistic and cultural activities across the island in 2018.

The state budget supports the operation of nearly 5,100 sports facilities, and more than 616,000 hours of radio and television broadcasting.

HEALTH

51% of the state budget goes to the health, social welfare and education systems.

More than 13,000 health institutions provide coverage to the entire population.

Cuba has more than 94,000 doctors, representing 8.2 doctors per thousand inhabitants, as well as 19,000 dentists, and 85,000 nurses.

At the end of 2018, for the second consecutive year, and with four fewer deaths than the previous year, Cuba saw the lowest infant mortality rate in its history, at 4.0 per thousand live births.

HOUSING

More than 2,568,000 homes have been built since the triumph of the Revolution.

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The people cheer Fidel and the bearded Rebel Army troops. Photo: Archive

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Fidel Castro enters Santiago de Cuba in 1959, accompanied by Celia Sánchez. Photo: Archive

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Fidel and Raúl Castro on the balcony of Santiago de Cuba’s City Hall. Photo: Archive

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The triumph of the Revolution. Photo: Archive

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January 3, Fidel meets Camilo Cienfuegos, who reports important developments in the center of the island. Photo: Archive

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Fidel enters Havana, January 8, 1959. Pictured as well are Juan Almeida Bosque, Camilo Cienfuegos, Augusto Martínez Sánchez and other rebel leaders. Photo: Archive

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Fidel enters Havana. Photo: Archive

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The Caravan traveled along the Malecón and up 23rd Street. At the Radiocentro, Fidel spoke with several artists, and amidst joyful crowds continued on to Marianao. Photo: Archive

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Photo: Archive

The event held in Havana to mark the arrival of the Caravan of Liberty lasted until 2:00am on the 9th. Photo: Archive

José Ramón Fernández Álvarez dies

José Ramón Fernández Álvarez dies
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba and retired Brigadier General passed away in the early hours of Sunday, January 6, at the age of 95

Author: Digital news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 7, 2019 10:01:25

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Photo: Granma archives
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba and retired Brigadier General, José Ramón Fernández Álvarez, passed away in the early hours of Sunday, January 6, at the age of 95.

Familiarly known as “El Gallego Fernández,” he was born November 4, 1923, in Santiago de Cuba. From a young age he participated in the revolutionary struggle against the Batista dictatorship, in conspiratorial movements with different military and political groups. He was imprisoned for almost three years on the Isle of Pines for these activities.

With the triumph of the Revolution, he joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces, participated in the fight against counterrevolutionary bandits, as well as in the direction of the battles in Playa Girón, under the orders of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.

Fernández held different responsibilities within the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, including director of the Rebel Army Cadet School, the School of Militia Officers of Matanzas, and the Militia Battalion Schools of the province of Havana, and was head of the Combative Training Directorate and FAR deputy minister.

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A Constitution enriched by the contributions of the Cuban people

A text enriched by the contributions of the Cuban people
Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, presented December 21 a detailed report to the National Assembly of People’s Power on the results of the popular consultation process on the draft Constitution, including the most debated issues and significant changes to the text

Author: Granma news staff | informacion@granma.cu
january 3, 2019 09:01:27

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This process of popular consultation on the draft Constitution of the Republic of Cuba is a genuine expression of the democratic and participatory nature of our socialist system. Photo: Studios Revolución

THE proposed Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was described as a text that has gained in quality in terms of its wording and content, enriched by the proposals emanating from the people, in the report presented December 21 by Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State, during the Second Ordinary Period of Sessions of the National Assembly of the People’s Power’s Ninth Legislature, on the results of the popular consultation process.

The resulting document is a genuine expression of the democratic and participatory nature of our socialist system. The broad popular participation in the process reflected the high degree of cultural and political education of the Cuban people and their commitment and majority identification with the perfecting of the country’s political, economic and social system.

It also highlights the transparency, organization, responsibility and rigor with which the preparation and realization of the consultation assemblies on the draft Constitution were carried out, as well as the collection, processing and analysis of the population’s proposals at all levels.

DEVELOPMENT AND RESULTS OF THE CONSULTATION

As agreed by the National Assembly of People’s Power in its ordinary session of July 21 and 22 this year, the draft Constitution of the Republic was submitted to a popular consultation process August 13 through November 15, 2018.

Prior to the consultation, working infrastructure was established to collect and process all the information derived from it, and those responsible for chairing the assemblies were trained to ensure the smoothest process.

The popular consultation process saw:

• 133,681 meetings, of which:

79,947 were of the general population

45,452 were held among groups of workers

3,441 among campesinos

1,585 among university students

3,256 among high school students

8,945,521 people attended these meetings
1,706,872 comments were made, of which:
783,174 proposals

666,995 modifications

32,149 additions

45,548 deletions

38,482 requests for clarification

This information was processed according to each of the paragraphs of the document submitted for consultation, and those that were very similar were grouped into 9,595 standard proposals (each conformed of an average of 78 individual proposals).

Also evaluated were the 2,125 proposals submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), received from Cubans residing abroad. Of these, 1,150 were modifications, 350 additions, 406 deletions and 219 requests for clarification. A total of 978 standard proposals were derived from these.

In total, the web page enabled by MINREX received 4,751 visits from 123 countries, although proposals were only registered from 58. The vast majority of these do not question the essence of the Cuban system.

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The deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power undertook an exhaustive study of the changes to the document resulting from the popular consultation. Photo: Estudios Revolución

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Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, at the central act to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, in Santiago de Cuba

After 60 years of struggle, sacrifices, efforts and victories, we see a free, independent country, the master of its own destiny
Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, at the central act to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, in Santiago de Cuba, January 1st, 2019, “Year 61 of the Revolution”

Author: Raúl Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
january 2, 2019 18:01:31

As part of Our America, our respect and solidarity with sister nations has, and will be, invariable.

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Photo: Estudios Revolución

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

SANTIAGO women and men;

Compatriots of all Cuba:

We gather today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the revolutionary triumph of January 1st, and we do so again in Santiago de Cuba, cradle of the Revolution, here in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where the immortal remains of many of the best children of the nation are venerated, very close to the tombs of the National Hero, of the Father and Mother of the Homeland, and of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution.

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 who gave their lives over more than 150 years of struggle.

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We Will continue to be victorious Speech by President Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President

We will move forward. And we will continue to be victorious
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the close of the Second Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of People’s Power’s Ninth Legislature, Havana International Conference Center, December 22, 2018, “Year 60 of the Revolution”

Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | internet@granma.cu
december 24, 2018 18:12:41

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Photo: Estudios Revolución
(Council of State transcript, GI translation)

Dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Party Central Committee;

Compañeros Machado and Lazo;

Deputies;

Compatriots:

Our first words on Educator’s Day are to congratulate and recognize Cuban teachers who, more than their time, dedicate their life’s purpose to us.

The year 2018 is almost at an end, and we gather again for the traditional embrace and evaluation of a crucial period in the history of the Cuban Revolution.

The year we bid farewell to today will remain in our national memory as the year in which a new generation, gradually and progressively, in a clear expression of continuity, began to assume the principal leadership tasks, with the good fortune of maintaining the guidance of the Historic Generation, in particular, of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

During the months since the Assembly sessions of April, we have relied on that guide in the face of the most difficult and unexpected challenges, and found in his confidence and collective leadership the fundamental resources to come here today to render accounts, committed to the solution of the problems that most concern the people, which are those that absorb every minute of our days, and every element of our energies.

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Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, delivered during the inauguration of the 16th ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana

The greater homeland calls us to unite and continue forging our second, definitive independence
Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, delivered during the inauguration of the 16th ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana

Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | internet@granma.cu
december 17, 2018 17:12:42

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The Alliance is an unquestionable paradigm of solidarity, cooperation, and consensus among its members, Cuba’s President said. Photo: Juvenal Balán
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, during the inauguration of the XVI ALBA-TCP Summit, in Cubanacán Protocol Hall, December 14, 2018, Year 60 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript-GI translation)

Esteemed Presidents, Prime Ministers, and heads of delegations, distinguished guests:Esteemed colleague David Choquehuanca: Who among us does not remember that December 14, 2004, the gala in Carlos Marx Theater, and Fidel placing the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Order on Chavez’s chest?

That day, Fidel evoked what Céspedes said: “Venezuela, which opened the path of independence to Spanish America and traveled this path gloriously until the march concluded at Ayacucho, is our illustrious teacher of freedom …”That December 14, ALBA was born and Cuba celebrated.Who among us can forget the joys of that day when Chávez and Fidel signed the birth certificate of a new integration project between equals?Who among those who lived it is not moved by the memory of the brotherhood those men shared, who not only had great dreams, but gave them poetic names and made them come true?During one ALBA Summit, Chávez recalled the day when Fidel named the mission that, thanks to this integration alliance, has already provided surgery for different ophthalmological pathologies to more than 2,800,000 Latin Americans and Caribbeans. Nothing less than a miracle.We also heard him talk about the dawn that inspired him to name ALBA, the event we celebrate today.It is hard to believe that all this would emerge in the mind of the Bolivarian leader in December of 2001, with Venezuela faced by an employer lock-out, a prelude to the coup that would take place the following year.After a long night thinking about alternatives to counter the imperialist ALCA project (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas-FTAA), the light of dawn appeared and with it the idea. A meeting of the Association of Caribbean States was held on Margarita Island and Chávez announced his project. Fidel, who was there, not only applauded with enthusiasm, but on his return to Havana, wrote requesting details.Chávez admited to him that it was only an idea. Three intense years later – facing coups, a blockade, and aggression of all kinds, the two sign a declaration providing for the founding of ALBA.

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Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, delivered during the inauguration of the 16th ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana

The greater homeland calls us to unite and continue forging our second, definitive independence
Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, delivered during the inauguration of the 16th ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana

Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | internet@granma.cu
december 17, 2018 17:12:42

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The Alliance is an unquestionable paradigm of solidarity, cooperation, and consensus among its members, Cuba’s President said. Photo: Juvenal Balán
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, during the inauguration of the XVI ALBA-TCP Summit, in Cubanacán Protocol Hall, December 14, 2018, Year 60 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript-GI translation)

Esteemed Presidents, Prime Ministers, and heads of delegations, distinguished guests:Esteemed colleague David Choquehuanca: Who among us does not remember that December 14, 2004, the gala in Carlos Marx Theater, and Fidel placing the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Order on Chavez’s chest?

That day, Fidel evoked what Céspedes said: “Venezuela, which opened the path of independence to Spanish America and traveled this path gloriously until the march concluded at Ayacucho, is our illustrious teacher of freedom …”That December 14, ALBA was born and Cuba celebrated.Who among us can forget the joys of that day when Chávez and Fidel signed the birth certificate of a new integration project between equals?Who among those who lived it is not moved by the memory of the brotherhood those men shared, who not only had great dreams, but gave them poetic names and made them come true?During one ALBA Summit, Chávez recalled the day when Fidel named the mission that, thanks to this integration alliance, has already provided surgery for different ophthalmological pathologies to more than 2,800,000 Latin Americans and Caribbeans. Nothing less than a miracle.We also heard him talk about the dawn that inspired him to name ALBA, the event we celebrate today.It is hard to believe that all this would emerge in the mind of the Bolivarian leader in December of 2001, with Venezuela faced by an employer lock-out, a prelude to the coup that would take place the following year.After a long night thinking about alternatives to counter the imperialist ALCA project (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas-FTAA), the light of dawn appeared and with it the idea. A meeting of the Association of Caribbean States was held on Margarita Island and Chávez announced his project. Fidel, who was there, not only applauded with enthusiasm, but on his return to Havana, wrote requesting details.Chávez admited to him that it was only an idea. Three intense years later – facing coups, a blockade, and aggression of all kinds, the two sign a declaration providing for the founding of ALBA.

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ALBA-TCP is a necessity. Photo: Studios Revolució                                    Its first name was the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, since it was an integration project countering the Free Trade Agreement. Eleven months later, at the Summit of the Americas, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the proposal for an imperialist backed alliance, the FTAA, was buried by the peoples of the region, in an act of rebellion and solidarity, led by Chávez, who was already making continental history.After its first five years, in 2009, the meaning of ALBA’s first letter was changed. It was still ALBA but no longer an alternative, but rather an alliance, and with the contribution of Bolivia it became the ALBA-TCP.

Thus, today we celebrate 14 years since the birth of ALBA and nine years of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Agreement, ALBA-TCP.

Over time, joining the two founding states, one of which I am honored to represent, were Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and GrenadaMay my first words today be a tribute to this commitment and its realization. To the dream, to the dreamers, and to all those who made it possible that, in less than 15 years, we have settled debts accumulated over centuries.We are proud and pleased to recall the works of our integration: the more than 11,000 doctors from ALBA countries trained in the Latin American Medical Schools of Cuba and Venezuela; the 2,223,035 Latin Americans and Caribbeans who received eye surgery; the more than 30 million ophthalmological consultations; the one and a half million disabled persons identified and assisted; the 4,163,767 people who learned to read and write in the region, via the “Yes, I can” method; the three ALBA-TCP countries declared Illiteracy Free Territories: Venezuela in 2005, Bolivia in 2008, and Nicaragua in 2009.Others, like El Salvador, are moving steadily forward to achieve this. These are the accomplishments, despite the serious impact on these programs of the economic war suffered by Venezuela. Experts agree that there is no precedent for a social conquest of this magnitude by any other integration mechanism.But we have results to show not only in the social arena. There is the ALBA Bank, which offers financing to our nations for economic projects of interest.And there is investment of income, from the sale of fuel through fair payment agreements, for social development and in agriculture, fishing, industry, and naval repairs; for the creation of industrial and mining capacity; and road, water, airport, port, and tourism infrastructure.Who can ignore the solidary help of Cuban and Caribbean doctors and electrical workers, Venezuelan, Bolivian, Nicaraguan, Cuban, and Salvadoran rescue workers, scientists from our nations, when we have needed it the most?We speak, proudly, of help offered without conditions, respectful of national interests and the laws of each country. There is no room for political pressure, or of any kind, between us. The Alliance is an unquestionable paradigm of solidarity, cooperation, and consensus among its members. These values ​​constitute our main strength.

We are also conscious of our collective potential, which our needs call for, to become decisive actors in the times in which we live.It is necessary to act with audacity and realism, and adjust proposals to match real potential.Fundamentally, we need to articulate plans, projects, and focus the limited resources that we have.Above all, we must take into consideration the adverse international and regional economic environment and the impact of coercive, unfair unilateral measures against several of our countries. Even in these difficult circumstances, it is possible to move forward.
The current situation demands, even more, unity and political consensus among our countries and decisive efforts to confront the imperialist strategy of division. The unwavering conviction that Our America is one, from the Río Bravo to Patagonia, is imperative, and that we have a fundamental duty to prevent them from plundering our natural resources and subjugating us to their hegemony.The hostility of imperialism is today directed against our most genuine values. They are bothered by the solidarity that characterizes us; they do not tolerate social justice, and even less equity in the distribution of income. They irrationally hate the peoples’ sovereign vocation and do not respect our right to the political systems we choose. They undermine sustainable development and living harmoniously with the environment.

16th ALBA-TCP Summit

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All attending the ALBA-TCP Summit agreed that current challenges require unity and joint action. Photo: Juvenal Balán

They disdain and attack the Latin American and Caribbean vision of unity, South-South cooperation, and the search for economic complementarity. Their onslaught has a single goal: taking control of the immense natural resources of a region that, for a long time, has been considered their back yard.

Thus they have resurrected the principles of the Monroe Doctrine, the “law” of regional subordination to the interests of U.S. capital – a policy that was conceived with this goal more than 195 years ago, and its essence has remained invariable. Given this reality, it is our duty to oppose these pretensions, in no way veiled, to unearth their spirit.

“Let us put forward the social, let us be deeply humanistic, let us put forward the pain of our people to strengthen social cohesion, that is ALBA,” said Chávez in his historic address in Mar del Plata, of November 2005. This brief review here shows us how much was accomplished.It must not be forgotten that all this was achieved under fire – subversion, coups or threats of coup, the threats that never end … the blockade that never ceases.

Precisely on December 14, 2004, Fidel reflected on the context in which ALBA was conceived: “The battle now is harder and more difficult. A hegemonic empire, in a globalized world, the only superpower that prevailed after the Cold War and the prolonged conflict between two radically different political, economic, and social concepts, constitutes a huge obstacle to what in needed today to preserve, not only the most elementary rights of human beings, but even our own survival. “Some will say: what has changed? What we changed was changed. And it was not insignificant. Let us remember only the most notable:As a consequence of the earthquake in Haiti, January 12, 2010, ALBA-TPC countries approved an action plan to contribute to the reconstruction and development of this sister country of the Caribbean in the areas of health, finance, energy, agriculture and food sovereignty, education, construction, security, transport, and logistics.Despites its shortcomings, ALBA-TPC has carried out concrete projects to unite the strengths of member countries for the benefit of our people in food, the environment, science and technology, fair trade, culture, education, energy, industry and mining, health, telecommunications, transport, and tourism.Today I am particularly interested in highlighting the political and moral power of our Alliance: The ALBA bloc, since its emergence, has defended firm, correct positions strongly condemning the genocidal U.S. economic, commercial, and financial blockade of Cuba.

ALBA energetically supported the government of President Evo Morales in denouncing the calls made by separatist groups in Bolivia, which contributed to halting these attempts at division.

It was ALBA, the voice of our voices, that was raised in international forums to win approval of the Managua Summit Accord, in which heads of state rejected the coup in Honduras.It was ALBA countries which, in the 2008 Annual Assembly of the Organization of American States, were able to vacate the infamous 1962 expulsion of Cuba as a member of the OAS.

ALBA’s support for the World Summit of Peoples on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Plurinational State of Bolivia, in April 2010 has been decisive.Our solidarity is fundamental to the people of Puerto Rico in their struggle for independence and national sovereignty. How valuable is the establishment of the Council of Social Movements, the meetings of these Movements in Tintorero, Venezuela, in 2007, and in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2009 and 2010, and the initiatives and positions taken on important issues on the international agenda.

Brothers and sisters:Everything we have achieved together could be just another chapter in our region’s efforts to unite – which our enemies thwarted – if we do not recognize the new dangers and threats facing ALBA.The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Nicaragua have been the main targets of the most recent attacks aimed at dismantling even the slightest progress in terms of sovereignty and social justice.But ALBA-TPC is, at the same time, an insurmountable bastion resisting the attempts of reactionary forces to isolate Venezuela and Nicaragua.It is imperative to defend, against all odds, the full relevance of the Alliance as a space of resistance, dialogue, and struggle, of which we feel an indissoluble part.

Hence our recognition and solidarity with President Nicolás Maduro Moros and with the democratically elected government of Venezuela, and with Sandinista Nicaragua led by Commander Daniel Ortega Saavedra.We will always stand beside Venezuela and Nicaragua, brothers in struggle and in dreams for the dignity of our peoples.We cannot be naive or silently accept the aggression orchestrated against other sister countries. It is not possible to underestimate the vast resources our historic adversaries have deployed to derail governments, impose chaos, and overthrow democratically elected authorities, or to prevent progressive and popular forces from maintaining government power.Interference in the internal affairs of states, political subversion, economic aggression, its social impact, and constant threats to use force, constitute real dangers for peace and security in the region.Observance of the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace is essential to preserve stability in the area.It is imperative to defend the ethics and honesty of public administrations and to reject the use of the courts in politics, as the people’s will is ignored with alarming frequency, as has happened in Brazil, where vengeful judges, now associated with the right, insist on the practice to accuse and convict progressive leaders.

It is necessary to build a front, as broad as possible, that brings together left and progressive forces, movements, and social organizations in the region, to face these challenges.And we cannot forget for a moment the most important and vital of the tasks we share: to engage permanently in the construction, strengthening, and defense of unity. This is our most precious asset. A debt to our heroes and a commitment to our children.As Fidel said, “the age of egoism must end.”

ALBA-TCP is a necessity. As a genuine Latin American and Caribbean mechanism, it has shown, more than once, that it is an effective space for joint action, unity, defense of just causes, integration, cooperation, and solidarity.

The peoples of Our America hold painful memories. It is not possible to forget the lessons of the past, the cruel, dark years of military dictatorships and the impact of neoliberalism, which they are trying to reinstate, with policies of coercion, humiliation, and isolation with disastrous consequences for our region, as always, with the United States as their main promoter.

With increasingly aggressive actions and language, today the empire insists on reestablishing colonial subordination to the government in Washington and U.S. corporations.

Under the same precepts that plagued Our America with pain and misery in the name of freedom – as Bolivar warned early on – the old practices return with new trappings.Dear colleagues, sisters and brothers:José Martí was barely 24 years old when he wrote in a single paragraph a history lesson that we should all know. Martí said: “Pizarro conquered Peru while Atahualpa warred with Huascar; Cortés beat Cuauhtémoc because Xicoténcatl helped his endeavor; Alvarado entered Guatemala as the Quichés surrounded the Zutujiles. Given that disunity has meant death, what vulgar understanding, or petty heart, must be told that our life depends on unity?

“Compañeros:

Before initiating the remarks, I wish to thank on behalf of our government and the entire people of Cuba, the position taken by ALBA-TCP countries during the debate and approval of the resolution to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba, in the last session of the United Nations General Assembly.I acknowledge the coherence, courage, and dignity shown by our sister Caribbean nations, refusing to give in to pressures, which we strongly condemn.

Likewise, I reiterate our opposition to the insistence on including them among middle-income countries, and to the unjust measures against them as non-cooperative jurisdictions, while we support their just demand to receive compensation for the damages caused by slavery.In the name of our Revolution and our people, I would like to share with you the profound legacy of the most devoted follower of Marti among Cubans. Fidel taught us that “our peoples have no future without unity, without integration”.

Bolívar and Martí, Fidel and Chávez bequeathed us invaluable teachings, among them loyalty to principles. Their lessons show us the route to follow in this decisive hour for the greater homeland, which calls on us to unite and continue forging our second, definitive independence.

I believe it is timely, during this stage of struggle and resistance, to recall what the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, said in Cartagena de Indias in October of 1995, and I quote: “We are not mere spectators. This world is also our world. Nothing can take the place of our united action, nobody will speak for us. Only us, and only united, can we reject the unjust global political and economic order that some intend to impose on our peoples. ”

Let us thus defend the noble ideas that we share in ALBA-TCP, with all our strength.Thank you very much. (Applause)

The U.S. Immigration Service, Ended Services In Cuba

Cuba: A U.S. obsession
The Trump administration has closed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Havana, as of December 10, requiring Cubans to travel to the office in Mexico City to acquire visas to the U.S.
Author: Gabriela Ávila Gómez | informacion@granma.cu
december 12, 2018 16:12:25 

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With the blockade, the Cuban Revolution will not make it to 1961 that is 1962 no 1964 … Photo: Lema
Cuba has, for years now, been a recurrent theme on the agenda of the many U.S. administrations that have passed through the White House. The same phrases are repeated and the rhetoric is the same, and while bilateral relations had improved briefly, the Trump government has done away with that progress, almost entirely.
One of the latest moves took place on International Human Rights Day, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “celebrated” by announcing that he had sent a letter to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez – that reached the press before its recipient – in which he expresses his “concern” for human rights in Cuba.
Despite the fact that Cuba’s commitment to human rights has been demonstrated time and time again, and noted by representatives of multilateral organizations who have visited the island, U.S. attacks have not ceased. Immediately after the Pompeo letter was published, many Cuban figures and leaders responded through various media:
The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, tweeted, “The U.S. has no moral authority to talk about human rights; its discourse is hypocritical, dishonest, and reflects double standards. Does anyone know of a more cruel violation of human rights than the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba?”
Also on Twitter, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez addressed Pompeo, demanding: “Lift the blockade. Reestablish the issuing of visas for Cubans. Stop the repression of immigrants, minorities, and the poor.”
Likewise, the Foreign Ministry’s General Director for the United States Carlos Fernández de Cossío stated, “If the United States were truly interested in the human rights of Cubans, it would not impose a criminal economic blockade that punishes the entire country, nor create more obstacles to orderly emigration and consular services, on which tens of thousands of Cubans depend.”
Fernández de Cossío was referring to the Trump administration’s decision to close the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Havana, as of December 10, requiring Cubans to make the journey to the USCIS office in Mexico City, which has assumed jurisdiction over immigration and travel to the United States previously addressed here.
It should be recalled that as of November last year, the majority of USCIS services in Cuba were transferred to U.S. consulates in other countries, but now, with the closure of the office in Havana, permanent residents in that country will be also affected. If while in Cuba, they lose their “green card” which serves as a re-entry permit to the United States, these individuals are obliged to rearrange their papers elsewhere.The decision will also affect the Family Reunification Program.