The political thought of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, developed in the heat of the revolutionary struggle and the vision he shared with Fidel of a region united to face threats from the North. Although it may be little known, the first references of his ideas date from before the insurrection in the Sierra Maestra.
Just emerging from adolescence, in March of 1953, Raúl traveled to Europe to participate in the International Congress on the Rights of Youth, held in the city of Vienna. Upon returning to the Americas, he went straight to Caracas, with the sole purpose of honoring the Liberator Simón Bolívar, in front of his statue, as Martí did in March of 1881.
This was an important symbolic approach by Raúl's to the ideas presaged by Bolivar of continental unity and emancipation, that would be continued in his work leading the Cuban Revolution as Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, and later, as President of the Councils of State and Ministers.
Granma shares, in the form of a timeline, some of the most relevant moments in Raúl's relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, through his words - and action.
August 24, 1959
"The OAS is an ineffective body and should therefore disappear." (Press interview during the 5th Organization of American States Foreign Ministers Meeting in Chile.)
September 11, 1959
"The greatest help we can provide these peoples, and other peoples of Latin America, is to maintain our Revolution, defend it from attacks by all enemies, move forward in the accomplishment of its grand objectives. If the Cuban Revolution is defeated or gutted, if it loses its radical, profound character, traitor governments would be strengthened at the peoples' cost…" (Casa de las Américas Conference, Havana, Cuba).
September 17, 1961
"Our cause is the cause of millions of human beings. And with respect to Latin America, although humanity's historic process in inevitable and invariable, yes, you can be sure that the victory and total consolidation of our Revolution could bring us much closer and shorten the road to our sister peoples of Latin America, in the same way that if our Revolution were to be defeated, the martyrdom of our sister peoples, and our own, would be prolonged." (Speech during a labor awards ceremony organized by the Oriente General Federation of Workers, in Cuba)
April 17, 1971
"Today the face of Latin America is not the same as it was ten years ago. Confronting imperialist exploitation, the peoples struggle, and by various means and methods are finding the path that will lead to the definitive solution to the continent's problems, just two examples: Chile and Peru." (Speech in Revista Militar, given in San Antonio de los Baños, La Habana province)
December 2, 1972
"If we observe the Latin American panorama, we see that more than one country is beginning to terminate the metropolitan role of the almighty United States. To avoid "another Cuba," they did not hesitate to send more than 40,000 Marines to the small Dominican Republic in 1965, and today face an uncontainable revolutionary wave that is rocking the continent, expressed in the most varied forms." (Speech given during a parade commemorating the 16th anniversary of the Granma yacht's landing, in Havana.)
January 2, 1974
"In Latin America, U.S. imperialism is strengthening its sacred alliance with the most regressive forces, maneuvering to not appear onstage while recruiting and advising new overseers and hatchet men - like the Brazilian gorillas, traitors of the constitutional government in Chile, and the neofascists of Uruguay." (Speech on the 15th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.)
November 6, 1992
What must be done now is disseminate the terrible reality of Latin America, not to mention the entire Third World, so that everyone understands, from these current examples, the macabre formula that the empire wants to impose on us.
(Comments during the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Military Intelligence, Havana).
July 26, 1994
"This Association (of Caribbean States ACS-AEC) is composed of 25 independent states, Cuba, and the other Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, as well as 11 associated members, which are dependent territories, with a population of close to 200 million inhabitants. This is an important step toward the goal of Latin American integration, that was Bolívar and Martí's ideal, and is today the cause for which our people passionately struggle." (Speech on the 41st anniversary of the Moncada assault, Isle of Youth)
December 2, 2006
"The economic annexation of Latin America by the United States via the FTAA was defeated, and in its placed emerged - to benefit the disposed masses - the integrationist project, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, ALBA, proposed by President and brother, Hugo Chávez." (Speech given commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Granma yacht's landing).
December 16, 2008
"Before Cuba joins the OAS, and may the OAS secretary forgive me - I greet him and maybe I'll meet with him, because of the politician he is, the political personality, who is our friend Insulza - first, as Martí said, “the sea of the North will join the sea of the South and a serpent will be born from the egg of an eagle." (Speech during the Río Group's Extraordinary Summit, Costa de Sauipe,
Salvador de Bahía, Brazil)
December 2, 2011
"The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is our most precious work. Symbolically, it embodies the concept of a united and sovereign region, committed to a common destiny." (Speech during the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit in Caracas, Venezuela).
April 11, 2015
"The Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace represented an historic step… developing unity within diversity, coordinated action, with respect for the differences, will continue to be an inevitable necessity, because the problems of the world are getting worse, great dangers and difficult challenges persist, that transcend the possibilities of nations and even sub-regions." (Speech during the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama.)