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 | email@example.com
december 17, 2018 17:12:42
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.