PRESIDENTS, friends, dear participants in this Peoples’ Summit:
I bring, above all, a greeting of solidarity from the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro (Applause and exclamations of “Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!”), as well as a greeting from our President Raúl Castro (Applause), heartfelt, warm greetings from the government and people of Cuba, (Applause) for you, organizers and participants in this important meeting.
With your profound reflections, you have contributed to sowing consciousness of the real problems which we face, and proposed ways to resolve them. We would now attempt, in a few minutes, to explain the ideas which Cuba defended in the CELAC-European Union Summit, as an active member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Yesterday I recalled the first bi-regional Summit held in 1999, where the European Union proposed a “strategic partnership.” Sixteen years later, this “partnership” has not been realized, because sovereign equality and mutual respect do not predominate in our relations, generally abusive and discriminatory, marked by asymmetries in development, and marginal economic-commercial and cooperation relations.
Needed, therefore, is an end to injustice created by an international order, which is increasingly unjust and exclusive, as explained here by President Correa, which has generated unbridled consumerism, the destruction of the environment, financial speculation, and which is controlled by imperialism, by its oligarchic banks, and groups of powerful transnational corporations, for the benefit of only a few.
Current threats to the peace and security of nations does not come from the marginalized of the world capitalist system, but rather from those who impel nations into crisis by adopting programs of austerity which come at an incalculable human cost, and increasingly reinforce the differences between regions and the countries within them.
Nor do these (threats) come from students expelled from universities, unemployed workers, or thousands of youth of working age without jobs, the marginalized, the indignant, the women not receiving equal pay for equal work (Applause) or when pension funds and social security for the retired are bankrupted or cut.
Much less can minorities or national groups such as Afro-descendents, original peoples of Our America, or the Romani in Europe be held responsible, or immigrants blamed, those persecuted for racist reasons, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the absence of basic feeling of human solidarity. On the contrary, such conduct has led to the re-emergence of fascism, defeated on this continent 70 years ago, and a reality we must never forget. (Applause).
If we have learned something in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is that today’s serious social and economic problems will not be resolved with the use of weapons and, much less, with dictatorships or terror, evils which we have suffered enough in Our America and in Europe.
What should be treated as a crime is initiating conflicts between countries, threatening peace and international security, NATO’s advance toward Russia’s borders - providing weaponry or supporting military adventures beyond the Alliance’s borders, parcelling out zones of influence, or sources of primary resources. (Applause) This only brings death, destruction, instability and more poverty, since the significant resources needed for development are used to finance new wars.
Dear compañeras and compañeros:
After decades of struggle against efforts to isolate our Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean, we have taken new paths toward political, economic and social transformations to the benefit of our peoples. Several revolutionary and progressive governments – those mentioned by Rafael Correa – are working to reduce poverty and inequality, to strengthen political and economic independence, and promote Latin American and Caribbean integration.
We insist on justice and equality. We value the legitimate right of our societies to freely choose their own route toward development, without external pressure or crude interference by those who still refuse to accept the sovereign choices of our peoples, and attempt to reverse them.
We are working to consolidate our young Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an organization through which the dreams of our liberators are taking shape, the visions of our most committed political leaders and the aspirations of the left, popular movements, trade unions, student organizations, campesinos, women and artists of the continent.
In this organization all sovereign nations of the region come together, united in diversity, to learn to confront the complex challenges of today’s world and of the future. The Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, approved by the 2nd CELAC Summit in Havana, In January of 2014, reaffirms the principles which must govern relations between our countries, and the unalienable right to elect one’s own political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition for the assurance of peaceful coexistence among nations.
Nevertheless, these modest efforts are being heavily attacked by imperialist forces, as is occurring today with the sister Bolivarian and Chavista revolution of Venezuela. (Applause) There in Venezuela, the Venezuelan people and their constitutional government - headed by their legitimate leader, President Nicolás Maduro Moros (Applause) and supported by a strong civil-military union - are defending and consolidating a revolution which now belongs to all Latin Americans and Caribbeans: the revolution of Chávez, the revolution of Latin America. (Applause)
Today Venezuela is a symbol, and is therefore not alone. It has the support of our entire region, and is intent upon preserving the example of its founder and moral guide, the unforgettable commander and President, Hugo Chávez Frías, initiator of this change of era. (Applause) Of course, Venezuelans have all of our loyalty and yours, and Venezuela knows Cuba will never fail her. (Applause)
I reiterate our support to Argentina in its legitimate demand for sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands (Applause); to Ecuador, faced with the outrages of transnationals and media corporations; to the just claims of Caribbean nations for preferential treatment and compensation for the damages caused by colonization and slavery; and our unwavering commitment to Puerto Rican independence. (Applause)
Compañeras y compañeros:
Cuba is advancing in the updating of its economic and social model, to preserve the great conquests of the Revolution, to perfect our socialism, which we will never renounce, and to provide sustainable higher standard of living for our people.
It was precisely the dignity and perseverance of Cubans which led the U.S. to recognize the failure of its policy toward Cuba, implemented over 11 administrations, and which facilitated the return to the Homeland of the five anti-terrorists fighters, (Applause) events which led to negotiations for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States, which was also a result of the solidarity shown by all the peoples and many governments of the world, and also due to the solidarity with Cuba movement, of which you are a part, and why we have come to thank you. (Applause)
This step will be the first on the long, difficult path toward normalization of relations with this country, during which we will not concede a single one of the principles for which we have struggled and resisted for so many years. (Applause)
We will continue to demand an end to the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade of our country - which remains intact – and the return of territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base, against the will of the Cuban people. (Applause)
That is why we say that a better understanding of realities, and the search for solutions to the serious problems affecting men and women on both continents, are the raison d’être of these Summits of the Peoples, and the meetings of committed Parliamentarians and intellectuals, where solidarity predominates, which, as Che Guevara taught us, is the expression of tenderness and love among human beings. (Applause)
We are convinced that not only is a better world possible, but imperative for the survival of humanity (Applause). Once again, I thank you, in the name of Cuba, for the respect, affection and solidarity you show us, day by day, in our battle.
Let us fight without pause for peace, justice and solidarity!
Long live the peoples!
And as we say in Cuba,¡Patria o Muerte! ¡Venceremos!