On the morning of April 19, a historic date on which not only is the first defeat of Yankee imperialism in the Americas commemorated, but Cuba also sees the inauguration of a new government that makes evident the continuity of the new generations with the legacy of the historic generation that founded the Cuban Revolution in the highest leadership positions of the country, compañero Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, offered his first speech as President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of Cuba.
He began by recognizing the leadership of Army General Raúl Castro, the candidate for deputy to have received the most votes in the recent general elections; as well as the Comandantes of the Revolution, “who on being in this room offer us the opportunity to embrace history,” he noted.
He also referred to the “dark attempts to destroy us” of those who have not been able to destroy “our faith.”
With the inauguration of this new legislature, he emphasized, the electoral process comes to its conclusion. The Cuban people, who have massively participated throughout, are conscious of its historic importance. They have elected their representatives based on their capacity to represent their localities, without media campaigns, corruption or demagoguery. Citizens have elected humble, hard-working people as their genuine representatives, who will participate in the approval and implementation of the country’s policies.
In his opinion, “This process has contributed to the consolidation of unity in Cuba.”
On the people’s expectations about this government, he stressed that the new Council of State must continue “acting, creating and working tirelessly, in a permanent bond with its dignified people.”
He also added that if anyone wanted to see Cuba in all its composition, it would be enough to look to its National Assembly, with women occupying decisive positions in the state and the government. However, he warned, it does not matter how much we resemble the country we are, if the commitment the present and the future of Cuba is lacking. The raison d’être of the Councils of State and Ministers is the permanent link with the population.
THE FLAG OF THE REVOLUTION IS PASSED ON TO YOUNGER HANDS
Díaz-Canel pointed out that during the closing of the last Party Congress, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz made it clear that his generation would hand over the flags of the Revolution and Socialism to the younger generations. This emphasizes the importance of the crucial mandate given by the people to this legislature, and as such its work in all areas of the nation’s life must be perfected.
“I assume this responsibility with the conviction that all we revolutionaries, from any trench, will be faithful to Fidel and Raúl, the current leader of the revolutionary process,” the new President of Cuba stated.
He then stressed that the men and women who forged the revolution “give us the keys to a new fraternity that transforms us into compañeros and compañeras,” and highlighted, as another inherited achievement, the unity that has become indestructible within the Cuban Party, that was not born from the fragmentation of others, but from those who intended to build a better country.
For that reason, he said, “Raúl remains at the forefront of the political vanguard. He remains our First Secretary, as the reference that he is for the revolutionary cause, teaching and always ready to confront imperialism, like the first, with his rifle at the ready in the moment of combat.”
Regarding the revolutionary and political work of the Army General, he highlighted his legacy of resistance and in the search for the continued advancement of the nation. “He put his sense of duty ahead of human pain,” he said in reference to the loss of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016.
Likewise, he highlighted Raúl’s grandeur as a statesman, forming a national consensus, and the manner in which he led the implementation process of the country’s social and economic guidelines. He also highlighted how he had made the return of the Five Cuban Heroes a reality, so longed-for by Fidel.
Raúl has marked Cuba’s international relations with his own spirit: he directed diplomatic relations with the United States; he led the rotating presidency of CELAC; Cuba’s hosting of the Colombian peace talks; and he has been present in all regional and hemispheric summits, always defending Our America. That is the Raúl we know, Díaz-Canel stressed.
The new Cuban President also recalled how the Army General, still very young, participated in the Granma expedition, undertook the struggle in the Sierra Maestra, was promoted to Comandante, and developed government experiences that would be applied in the country after the revolutionary triumph.
REGARDING THE NEW MANDATE
I am aware of the concerns and expectations at a moment like this, but I know the strength and wisdom of the people, the leadership of the Party, the ideas of Fidel, the presence of Raúl and Machado, and knowing the popular sentiment, I state before this Assembly that compañero Raúl will head the decisions for the present and future of the nation, Díaz noted.
I confirm that Cuban foreign policy will remain unchanged. Cuba will not accept conditions. The changes that are necessary will continue to be made by the Cuban people, he added.
He also called for the support of all those who occupy leadership responsibilities at different levels in the nation, but, above all, of the people. “We will have to exercise an increasingly collective leadership. Strengthening the participation of the people,” he summarized.
I do not come to promise anything, as the Revolution never has in all these years. I come to fulfill the program that we have implemented with the guidelines of Socialism and the Revolution, the President underlined.
And as for the enemies of the revolutionary process, he said: Here there is no space for a transition that ignores or destroys the work of the Revolution. We will continue moving forward without fear and without retreat; without renouncing our sovereignty, independence, development programs, and independence.
“To those who through ignorance or bad faith doubt our commitment, we must tell them that the Revolution continues and will continue,” he clarified, adding: “The world has received the wrong message that the Revolution ends with its guerrillas.”