CARACAS, Venezuela.— "Building unity is the most important task facing any true revolution,” stated Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, speaking before the 14th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP), held March 5, in Caracas.
This issue was raised again and again by participating leaders, who emphasized the legacy of Fidel and Chávez in this arena, and how much remains to be done in terms of regional unity.
“Fidel taught us to always look to history, to be bold and at the same time realistic, and that what appears impossible can be achieved with firm resolve and consistent action,” the Army General stated.
Raúl noted, “We are at a crucial stage of our history, in which a regional regression would have a very negative impact on our peoples.”
Given such a reality, he said member countries consider “fraternal integration an essential condition to advance toward development.”
“You are not alone,” Raúl reiterated to the Venezuelan people, reaffirming Cuba’s commitment to defending the sister country, while recognizing the dignified, valiant, and constructive position taken by President Nicolás Maduro Moros in the face of imperialist attacks and economic war.
No just cause is foreign to Cuba, he said, reaffirming the country’s solidarity with Caribbean nations and progressive governments of the region. Likewise, he reiterated the island’s solidarity with Dilma Rousseff, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, recognized leaders of Our America.
AN ALLIANCE OF PEACE
“We have come to this Summit, honoring Fidel and Chávez, to reaffirm that the path of our peoples is one of cooperation, complementarity, human, Christian, Latin American solidarity. This is our path,” stated the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, in his inaugural remarks.
ALBA emerged at the beginning of the 21st century, a historic move to defend the ideas of our peoples, the Venezuelan president noted, and in turn stressed that this Alliance has demonstrated that a better world is possible, putting human beings at the center of all efforts.
In this first stage, ALBA is the project that has best fulfilled the dreams, the hopes and the geopolitical vision of our liberators, Maduro said. He added that the region has seen the birth of different, useful, and relevant integration mechanisms; but that it is from the space of ALBA that an identity and a vision of raising cooperation to a higher level has been built.
“With Fidel and Chávez we will continue to navigate the 21st century,” the President told those attending the historic meeting. The challenge remains “to transform ALBA, in all its dimensions, into an alliance to help us, to build a new region, an alliance of peace, solidarity, and future”; and thus continue consolidating the commitments signed in Havana in January 2014, following the proclamation of Our America as a Zone of Peace.
After the opening of the Summit, participants held “a fruitful meeting” behind closed doors, for approximately four hours, updating the vision of their governments on the current situation, as reported by President Maduro on recommencing the public session.
Following speeches by the heads of delegations, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez read the Declaration of the ALBA-TCP 14th Summit, entitled “Let us defend the unity, dignity, and sovereignty of Our America.”
Nicolás Maduro highlighted three fundamental decisions contained within this document: to reactivate a financial fund for legal support and advice to the migrants of Our America in the United States; to strongly welcome the call made by Evo Morales to hold the “World Conference of the Peoples for a World without Walls toward Universal Citizenship”; and to appoint David Choquehuanca, former Foreign Minister of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, as ALBA Secretary General.
The Summit also expressed support of ALBA-TCP countries for the just and historical claim of the Plurinational State of Bolivia regarding its sovereign right to a corridor to the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, participants reaffirmed the call made on the governments and peoples of Chile and Bolivia, in February 2013, for a satisfactory solution to this issue through peaceful dialogue and negotiation.
The celebration of the 14th ALBA-TCP Summit, this March 5, coincided with the fourth anniversary of the death of Comandante Hugo Chávez. The fact that Venezuela was chosen to host the event also constituted a demonstration of support for the Bolivarian Revolution by the members of this Alliance.
CUBA IN VENEZUELA
Speaking to the Cuban press shortly before receiving the President of the Councils of State and Ministers on Sunday, March 5, at the Simón Bolívar International Airport, the executive Vice President of the Bolivarian government, Tareck El Aissami, noted that the presence of Raúl Castro in Venezuela was that of a brother, a father, and a good friend.
He also thanked Cuba for its support, not only at this time, but since the Bolivarian Revolution first took political power in Venezuela. “Cuba has always been a brotherly people and has helped us to advance on the steep path that is the revolutionary cause,” he said.
“Fidel is for us what Chávez is for Cuba. We were united by two giants and they have sentenced us to a single destiny: that of building the Greater Homeland. Cuba and Venezuela are two inseparable peoples now and forever,” the vice president insisted.
We are infinitely grateful to Cuba, “to Fidel’s Cuba, to revolutionary Cuba, to the dignified Cuba that has not knelt nor will it knee down before imperialist pretensions; that is why we follow her example. They are two revolutions and one destiny: victory,” he concluded.