Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro affirmed that “We are very happy to be in the Cuban homeland and receive, as always, all expressions of fraternity and true friendship,” speaking during the Act of Solidarity with the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, held at the Havana International Conference Center in the context of the 15th ALBA-TCP Political Council, this April 10.
“The affection between Cubans and Venezuelans is true love, it is true affection, it is shared solidarity based on the truth of our history,” stated the President, who has received huge support from the Cuban people and all their mass organizations.
Maduro expressed his gratitude for the support of the Cuban youth and working class, and noted their role in reinforcing the truth.
“This ALBA Political Council continues to chart a course. Nothing has been freely given to us in the lifelong struggle for dignity, for the independence of our people,” Maduro added.
The President of the homeland of Simón Bolívar recalled that April 10 marks the anniversary of the founding of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, through which José Martí sought to take leadership and set out the doctrine, strategy and reorganize forces in the 19th century struggle for independence. He noted that this was a foundational century, in which the idea of seeking equality and the right to life of our peoples, who until then only knew colonial vassalage, emerged. The domination of European imperial powers had until this point been absolute and hegemonic.
Maduro also stressed that back then our peoples had been subjected to colonialism, racism and three centuries of domination, the extermination of indigenous populations, and the enslavement of our African ancestors.
He noted that while the nineteenth century had examples of struggle in Bolívar, Sucre, Ayacucho, and Martí, the twentieth century saw the emergence of U.S. imperialism. This was a century full of episodes of intervention, gunboat diplomacy, the political cudgel; the beginning of the affiliation of the oligarchies of our countries with the interests of the imperialist elite that has always directed the fate of the United States.
Maduro also explained that the Organization of American States (OAS) was born as the successor organization to the Pan-American Conferences that Martí denounced, in which the hegemonic policies that the United States had drawn up across our continent were expressed.
“Since the founding of the Organization of American States, as has been discussed today in the ALBA Political Council - 69 years have passed - and in 69 years the history of the OAS is a history of utmost disgrace, of the subordination of the local oligarchies of our countries to imperialist interests, in all circumstances and at all times,” he stressed.
CUBA MUST BE PROUD OF ITS EXAMPLE
Venezuela has experienced the same situation as Cubans did during the first years of the Cuban Revolution, Maduro said. During the years 1959-1962, the OAS was the setting for the preparation of attacks on Cuba, all orchestrated by the government of the United States; and thus began a process of hounding and harassment through the media and political and diplomatic campaigns. Such actions would lead the Foreign Minister of Dignity, compañero Raúl Roa García, to describe the OAS as the “Ministry of Colonies” of the United States, the Venezuelan President noted.
Cuba was not expelled from the organization before, as they hoped that through the invasion of Playa Girón, a puppet government would be installed on the island, and in that scenario the OAS would be there to recognize the legitimacy of that government and justify the call for a U.S. intervention in Cuba, Maduro explained.
But Cuba demonstrated its strength and proved that it could confront imperialism, Maduro noted. After the victory at Playa Girón, achieved in just 72 hours - an extraordinary feat that represented the first defeat of imperialism in the Americas - the prestige of Fidel and the Cuban Revolution increased for the peoples of the world, he said.
The Venezuelan President highlighted that this episode was followed by another campaign, attempting to isolate the island from the rest of the Americas, when all Latin American governments, except Mexico, broke off their relations with Cuba.
Nicolás Maduro acknowledged his great admiration of Fidel, Raúl and all the Cuban men and women who defended their dignity, as the Cuban Revolution marked a historic example of what was possible and what was necessary to ensure our countries - always underestimated by the North - could determine their own paths forward. Cuba marked an era, he added, which is why she must be proud of her example and of the spiritual, moral and political force she has imprinted on the peoples of the world.
Maduro also indicated that the strength of ALBA is the force of all, and that with 13 years of the practical implementation of the word solidarity, of demonstrating the difficulties and possibilities of the concept of cooperation, the Alliance has managed to forge its own paths.
While the 69-year history of the OAS has been marked by the pain and blood of invasions and coups d’état, in just 13 years ALBA is marked by the marvelous strength of solidarity and unity in action and practice.
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela offered the example of the more than four million Latin Americans and Caribbeans who have been taught to read and write over the last decade, the further four million who with the support of Cuban medicine had their eyesight restored through Mission Miracle, as well as the more than 50,000 doctors trained in Cuba and currently offering services across Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted the creation of PetroCaribe, which has ensured energy stability for all ALBA countries.
Since its founding, ALBA has been a collective creation and invention process, representing a true encounter of the peoples, rather than a mere skein of protocol relations. Thirteen years since its creation, ALBA has the strength to tell all those seeking to homogenize our continent that they have been and will be unable to, Maduro stressed.
Likewise, he emphasized that Venezuela has been in imperialist sights for a long time, ever since the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution and the emergence of a leadership that changed everything. In 18 years the Bolivarian Revolution has endured attacks of all kinds, and Maduro recalled that April 11 marks another anniversary of the unsuccessful coup d’état against Comandante Hugo Chávez. He stressed that Venezuela is currently facing a new coup attempt, “led by the oligarchic right, subordinated to the interests of the United States,” but that it is winning.
Of all the blows that have been contained, endured and overcome in Venezuela, Maduro acknowledged that the hardest was the physical loss of Comandante Hugo Chávez, the father of the young Bolivarian Revolution.
He referred to the recent passing of Fidel Castro, “the father of the Cuban Revolution, the father of Latin American revolutionaries,” pointing to the fact that he had the time to achieve so much during his life, although his work was never done.
Maduro recalled that one of the last orders he received from Comandante Hugo Chávez was to explore the possibility of a rapprochement with the U.S. government during Obama’s final term, but that the vision that prevailed in the State Department was to continue to work to overthrow Venezuela’s revolutionary government.
Later, on March 9, 2015, Obama signed the infamous executive order declaring Venezuela a threat to the security of the United States, and opening the doors to an interventionist escapade by the imperialist elite at any moment.
Maduro noted that a more dangerous situation currently exists in the United States, threatening the peace of the peoples of the world - a scenario of reconfiguration and renewal of power. He reiterated that the main decision-making agencies of the United States’ political, industrial, and military apparatus are now in the hands of extremists.
The President addressed the recent decision to bomb the sister Syrian Arab Republic, in disregard of the UN Security Council and international law, and with disastrous results, an example of the kinds of decisions that are being taken by the U.S. ruling class today. He argued that this represents a call to reflect and be on the alert.
“The recent alliance of a group of right wing, neoliberal, very unsuccessful, governments against Venezuela; the recent internal onslaught of the Venezuelan right, which has taken the path of violence, of coup plotting, of an assault on power, represents the new extremist trends that direct, rule and make decisions in the United States,” Maduro added.
Likewise, the Venezuelan President assured that he continues to call for dialogue with different opposition factions, but the truth is that Washington has issued orders of zero dialogue, and to prepare the ground for foreign intervention.
“The only way to achieve peace is through words, dialogue, sincere debate, the search for reason, the search for common ground,” he stressed.
Maduro also recalled the example of Fidel: “Who remembers the name of a foreign minister or a president of a government that has attacked Cuba, or who expelled Cuba from the OAS at the time? Who remembers? And who remembers the name of Fidel Castro Ruz and revolutionary Cuba? The whole world. That is our history, that is our greatness.”
The President also thanked Cuba for the support of its collaborators across Venezuela; for their role in saving lives, in literacy, culture and sport. He expressed gratitude for the training of Venezuelan professionals during all these years: “As Evo says, Cuba is the global champion of solidarity in Our America and the world.”
Likewise, Maduro recognized the importance of real Latin American unity, for example in the creation of the ALBA Bank, which “must grow in a constant acceleration of projects and investments. We have to take the lead in the comprehensive development of our region.”
Meanwhile, he noted that the post-oil era has already begun in Venezuela. He recalled that the country has been dependent on oil for over 100 years, but explained that the economy is now moving forward, and is “not only domestically diversified, but integrated throughout our region in a network of investment, trade, technological development.”
Finally, Maduro was emphatic in pointing out that it will not be the OAS or the pro-imperialist right that cuts short the victorious path of the Bolivarian Revolution - a revolution born of history and with a single destiny: victory, victory, and victory!