OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Photo: Osmay Pérez

Speech by Gladys Martínez Verdecia, member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and first secretary of the Party Provincial Committee in Pinar del Río, during the main act commemorating the 64th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons. Pinar del Río, July 26, 2017, Year 59 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Compañero Army General, Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers;

Members of the Political Bureau and other officials with us here today;

Moncada combatants; members of Granma expedition, comrades of the clandestine struggle;

Guests from different regions;

Compatriots from throughout Cuba:

“The history of peoples is not measured by the periods of futile subjugation, but by their moments of rebellion,” stated (José Martí) the intellectual author of the Moncada assault, and that ray of light, who in the year of his centenary, on the morning of St. Anne’s Day, illuminated the terrible darkness in which our wounded but rebellious people fought; went down in history as one of the most important acts of rebellion by the Cuban people, given the exemplary patriotism and great altruism of its participants.

The critical situation in the country at that time was masterfully denounced by the intrepid leader of that group of youths, recorded in the historical document which became the program for the revolutionary struggle: “History will absolve me.”

Under these circumstances, characterized by ineffective demagogues and rotating thieves, Pinar del Río had the sad merit of symbolizing almost total abandonment.

Celebrating the national act commemorating the 64th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons in our province constitutes a great recognitionof the participation of our people in carrying out every effort undertaken by the Revolution to change this situation. We, the people of Pinar del Río, are extraordinarily happy and grateful for this opportunity.

The decision is also an irrefutable demonstration of confidence, which we will nobly assume, to continue the work of the Revolution in Vueltabajo, just as the Bronze Titan did in his campaign across western Cuba almost 120 years ago; and to pay well-deserved tribute to those who participated in the heroic feat, especially the youth who offered their lives in the actions and days following July 26, 1953, during which they were persecuted, tortured, and savagely massacred.

After learning of the Political Bureau’s decision, the significant efforts we had been in the province to commemorate the city’s 150th anniversary, were redoubled. We were able to make progress toward fulfilling economic objectives planned for the period and the repair or construction of over 200 works thanks to the joy and enthusiasm of worker collectives in every institution and every neighborhood.

Compatriots:

We are celebrating National Rebellion Day for the first time without the physical presence of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, but Fidel is present in the efforts of every collective, which has made possible progress in implementing the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution, up-dated and approved in the Seventh Party Congress, as demonstrated by the province’s positive economic and financial results.

To name just a few of the most significant:

Positive results were seen across indictors which measure efficiency in the education sector, while universities continue to see encouraging results as confirmed in recent institutional assessments.

The province’s infant mortality rate at the end of 2016 was 2.1 for every 1,000 live births, the lowest in the country for the second year in a row, and currently standing at 1.7 thus far this year. Blood is guaranteed for all individuals needing a surgical procedure, while the blood products industry has sufficient raw material thanks to the contribution of our people, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and healthcare system.

Praiseworthy results have also been achieved in different sporting disciplines, above all boxing and basketball. We secured three medals in the most recent edition of the Olympic Games: one gold, one silver and one bronze, and ours was the province which won the most medals for the country.

Net sales of goods and services have increased over the last five years at an annual rate of 6.5%; meaning more offers for the population, although this is still insufficient, as it has not yet been possible to meet 100% of demand.

Production of rice, lumber, eggs, pork, and honey are gradually increasing. Just like this year, at the end of 2016 targets for milk production have been met.

However, the production and distribution of root vegetables at various levels is still insufficient.

Regarding tobacco production, the19,189 ton target set for this year is expected to be met, with the potential to produce more and better quality leaves.

99.56% of houses have electricity, with only 694 remote dwellings waiting to have power installed, while the province has 56 wifi hotspots and 57 cell phone towers.

Although exports have continued to perform well over recent years, there is potential to continue increasing sales of products such as tobacco, vegetable charcoal and derivatives from pine resin, among others.

The housing program has contributed toward restoring the provincial housing stock, however 12,000 homes affected by hurricanes are still waiting to be repaired.

Joint venture mining investments look set to exceed 270 million dollars, while zinc and lead production for export, is set to commence shortly.

Tourism has also continued to grow over the last five years.

Meanwhile, lumber, the manufacture of solar panels, and the capture and processing of tuna and lobster, are making important contributions to the national economy.

Much remains to be done, but there is optimism, reserves, and opportunities in the province to progress and achieve sustainability. We are well aware of the needs of the national economy; we must stick to objective goals and fulfill plans. We must continue to focus efforts on advancing in the food production program and repairs to homes, because the people will measure us not by our efforts, but by our results.

We must continue working to breathe new life into People's Councils, exploit the economy’s real potential, implement initiatives, mobilize the people’s outstanding strength and above all, pay attention to their proposals in order to strengthen the transparency of People’s Power systems, to which the upcoming elections will also contribute, during which delegates with abounding patriotic merits will be chosen.

We are grateful to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz for thousands of reasons, and will never fail him.

Encouraged by his words when he stated, and I quote:...“You, the people of Pinar del Rio, are the fundamental factor; this province gave one of the best contingents to the initiation of the revolutionary armed struggle before July 26, after July 26, before January 1, and after January 1, yesterday, today, and tomorrow!” (end of quote) and under the guidance of his example, his revolutionary intransigence and unwavering confidence in victory, we will propose new challenge for the future, as compañero Raúl has called on us to do.

To Raúl and the Party we reaffirm that we are here, strong and combative, defending and developing the West. You told us, “Yes, we can!” And we did!

Onward to victory, always, Comandante!

Eternal glory to the heroes and martyrs of Moncada! (Shouts of Glory!)

¡Viva Raúl! (Shouts of Viva!)

Homeland or death!

We will triumph! (Applause)