(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, our brother Maduro;

Esteemed Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America;

Esteemed heads of delegations and guests:

Photo: Estudio Revolución

I dare say that we are at a crucial stage of our history, in which a regional regression would have a very negative impact on our peoples.

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 ALBA-TCP member countries consider fraternal integration an essential condition to advance toward development, faced with the growing creation of huge blocs that dominate the world economy. We are committed to the political will to open up greater opportunities for trade, investment, and intra-regional cooperation, without which our progress will continue to be insufficient. We have also demonstrated a capacity for concerted action.

ALBA would not have been possible at the time when the Cuban Revolution triumphed. The civic-military rebellion of February 4, 1992, and the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution led by the unforgettable Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías had to occur, in order for an initiative like this to emerge.

It was important that the ideas of Fidel and Lula converged at the São Paulo Forum, welcoming and supporting Chávez.

Today, the link between ALBA and the São Paulo Forum and the relationship between revolutionary and progressive governments and political forces, popular movements, trade union, campesina, student, and academic organizations, and the intelligentsia of our peoples, continues to be decisive.

Chávez always explained the complexity of launching a revolution in an oil country, dependent on a single market, with a corrupt financial oligarchy, a population on which unsustainable consumer habits were imposed and a neoliberal rentier economy, which led the country to bankruptcy.

In order to undertake the transformations, Chávez understood that his major task was the construction of broad civic-military unity, which is now headed by President Nicolás Maduro with the support of the Bolivarian and Chavista people.

Building unity is the most important task facing any true revolution.

We revolutionaries have many ideas and visions regarding what the path forward may be and how to successfully navigate it. But in order to consolidate unity, we must put aside, with modesty, everything that divides and separates us.

Thanks to unity, the Bolivarian Revolution has survived the siege and harassment of its enemies.

Through this unity, the revolution has survived the baseness of the OAS, the irritating, unjust U.S. sanctions, the recent accusations against its executive Vice President, compañero Tareck El Aissami, which only seek to divert attention from the real problems and discredit those who are engaged in saving, developing, and defending the homeland.

The new agenda of the United States government threatens to unleash extreme and egotistical trade protectionism which will impact the competitivenessof our foreign trade; violate environmental agreements to favor transnational revenues; persecute and deport migrants produced by the unequal distribution of wealth and the growth of poverty caused by the imposed international order.

The wall intended to be built on the northern border of Mexico is an expression of this irrationality, not only against this sister country, but against our entire region. We express Cuba’s solidarity with the Mexican people and government. Poverty, catastrophes, and migrants are not contained with walls (Applause), but with cooperation, understanding, and peace.

Venezuela has made a great contribution to regional integration with its solidarity and generosity, especially toward the peoples of Latin America, and in particular the Caribbean, while inviting us to join Petrocaribe, UNASUR and CELAC.

You are not alone. I reaffirm the commitment made in our Declaration to accompany the defense of Venezuela and the dignified, courageous, and constructive position of President Nicolás Maduro.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Today in Venezuela the decisive battle is being waged for the sovereignty, emancipation, integration, and development of Our America.

We enshrined this aspiration in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted by CELAC during its Summit in Havana in January, 2014. Strict adherence to this declaration is required, in which we commit to fulfill our “obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights, and self-determination of peoples”; to resolve differences peacefully and to respect “the principles and rules of International Law,” and “the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter”; and to respect “the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social, and cultural system, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.”

This historic document urges “all Member States of the International Community to fully respect this Declaration in their relations with CELAC Member States.” 

No just cause of the Greater Homeland is alien. We will never fail our dear Caribbean brothers and sisters.

We reaffirm our support for your legitimate claim to compensation for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade; for your demand to receive cooperation according to your needs and not on the basis of indicators that classify you as middle-income countries; for special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment, as well as financing to adapt to the effects of climate change and address natural disasters, as small, vulnerable island states; and our rejection of the unjust persecution you are subjected to by the centers of financial capital.

We reiterate our solidarity with Dilma Rousseff, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, recognized leaders of Our America.

We will not cease supporting Correa and his compañero Lenin Moreno in Ecuador. We will never leave Evo alone, the true leader of Bolivia and all indigenous peoples. We will continue to accompany Daniel and the Sandinista people of Nicaragua.

Thank you (Applause).