Speech delivered by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, before the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, on the occasion of his official visit to the country. Caracas, May 30, 2018, Year 60 of the Revolution
(Council of State transcript – GI translation)
Compañera Delcy Rodríguez, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly;
Compañero Tareck El Aissami, Executive Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
Dear Venezuelan people;
It is an honor to speak before members of the National Constituent Assembly, and I convey, in the name of Cuba, our respect and great admiration.
I bring a strong embrace from Army General Raúl Castro Ruz (Applause), who has expressed his admiration for the popular victory won last Sunday, May 20, that was resounding. (Applause) And this is precisely the reason for our visit to sister Venezuela.
Personally, we feel much support – and that is what we expressed to President Maduro – when just two days after the National Assembly of People’s Power in our country was held, when we took on the responsibility with which today we represent the Cuban people, the warm solidarity of Venezuela arrived right away, that of its people, the Bolivarian Revolution, and Maduro, with a delegation of figures from the Venezuelan government to visit our country – the first to visit following this National Assembly (Applause). We saw and appreciated this tremendous expression of support, of solidarity, of brotherhood, of friendship.
Sunday May 20, like many Cubans, like many Cuban families, we practically spent the day following what was happening in Venezuela on television, fully convinced that you would win, but we knew you were in a complicated situation as a result of the media campaign, the economic, financial war that U.S. imperialism has subjected this people to, and all this perverse desire with which they have wanted to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution; but we knew that by accompanying you, we could also add strength. And following the Bolivarian people’s experience on television, going to the polls to vote for the Bolivarian Revolution, for Maduro, for the continuity of the legacy of Chavez, we shared the reading of the paper ballot results.
Past 10:00 that night, when Maduro’s victory was announced, we felt the victory as our own. (Applause) There are those who accuse Cuba of practices that we never use, of sonic attacks. Well, this day, there was a real, really loud sound across the island, for Venezuela’s victory, for the victory of the Bolivarian Revolution. (Applause) And perhaps this joyful sound did bother many in the United States and other confines, including this right wing that is incapable of recognizing the legitimacy of a government elected by the people.
As soon as we heard the news, the Army General and I sent messages of congratulations and support to President Maduro. We immediately tried to make a telephone call to President Maduro, but when I asked that the call be made and went back to see what was happening here on television, Maduro was already at the mass event you were having, and I said, “Well, the mass event is going on now, let’s wait until it’s over, if that’s possible. In the end, it was after midnight when we were able to talk with Maduro and tell him that Cuba’s support for the Bolivarian Revolution is, and will always be, inalterable. (Applause)
I am also delivering an embrace from the Cuban people, who admire their Venezuelan brothers.
We are here to express respect for the sovereign decision made by the people of Venezuela.
Our solidarity with Venezuela, with the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, with the civic-military union of its people, and with its President, Nicolás Maduro Moros, is inalterable.
The election of this Assembly was a demonstration of the people’s support for the Bolivarian process, amidst acts of terrorism and violence that the country suffered, through which the people could see a way out, toward peace and dialogue.
In the world we live in – in which the latest trend is fake news and post-truths, manipulations, symbolic constructions that demobilize and promote individualism – it would appear that supporting Venezuela is not fashionable.
But they are not going to confuse us. We are here defending a sovereign choice of a people. And we will continue to do so. (Applause)
Venezuela has supported Cuba in many ways throughout its entire history.
The Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, the courageous Venezuelan people, President Nicolás Maduro have supported many nations in our region. We owe this country a debt of gratitude, since our independence.
Now Venezuela needs our solidarity; needs the backing of the peoples of Our America in its resistance to the criminal political, diplomatic, economic, and financial war of which it is a victim.
As Army General Raúl Castro Ruz would say, “Aggression and violence against Venezuela hurts all of Our America and only benefits the interests of those who are intent upon dividing us, in order to dominate our peoples, with no concern whatsoever for the incalculable consequences for the region of the conflicts generated, as we are observing in different places around the world.”
We know well this hypocritical blaming of emancipatory ideas and popular governments for the problems caused by imperialist policies, sanctions, and acts to subjugate, harass, isolate, and blockade. No one can confuse us with humanitarian rhetoric.
We’ve almost seen it all before; the reduction and breaking of diplomatic relations, hypocritical resolutions from the corrupt, intolerable OAS, coordinator of financial sanctions and calls for a military uprising.
We must firmly repudiate attempts by the U.S. government to resuscitate the aggressive, old Monroe Doctrine, which aims to return the region to the era of interventionism.
The resounding electoral victory of Chavista forces in the Presidential elections this past May 20 constitutes a strategic victory for the Bolivarian Revolution and Our America. This victory of yours is also a victory for all of Our America (Applause), evidence of the peoples’ political growth and a demonstration of the continuing relevance of the legacy of Comandante Chávez within the soul of Venezuela.
We sincerely admire the courage and audacity of Venezuelan revolutionaries, of the Bolivarian vanguard, and your civic-military union. We admire the political and moral stature of compañero Nicolás Maduro (Applause), his patience and flexibility, his intransigence toward those who relentlessly insult and attack his homeland.
Only a people that understands well the origin of its problems can stay the course amidst so much manipulation and lying, and provide an example like the one you Venezuelans have just given. Only a radically Bolivarian and Chavista government, like the one you have elected, can put the ideals of unity and continental integration first, in the face of betrayal.
At a time when malice proliferates, as some give up on working for the Greater Homeland, I recall what Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz said in this same city, some 60 years ago: “What must be done is realize the ideas of Bolivar.” And all of us are going to realize the ideas of Bolivar. (Applause)
Latin America and the Caribbean must learn from the Venezuelan experience, because we cannot concede even a bit to imperialism, as Che said.
We are in Caracas today, in the cradle of The Liberator and Latin American and Caribbean unity. The only way to confront these challenges is to unite, within our own societies and among sister countries. Our region must unite, in all its diversity and focus on how to advance its integration, its sustainable development, and peace.
CELAC, Unasur, and ALBA-TCP are examples of what can be accomplished in terms of coming together. Of these organizations, ALBA-TCP, created by Fidel and Chávez, continues to be the nucleus of resistance to the imperialist, neoliberal offensive, acting in accordance with the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
Compañeras and compañeros:
As Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz said, in the Central University of Venezuela’s Aula Magna, February 3, 1999, “No one is in better conditions than you to struggle for something as important, and prioritized at this difficult time, for unity, integration, that is, for the survival, if you like, not only of Venezuela, but all countries of our culture, our language, our race. Now more than ever, the banner of “Homeland is humanity” must be raised, conscious that we can only save ourselves if humanity is saved: that we can only be free if we procure that humanity is free…”
That is why we are in Caracas today, in the name of the Cuban people and government, to be true to Martí in the service of Venezuela, as her sons and daughters.
Long live Venezuela! (Viva!)
Long live the Bolivarian Revolution (Viva!)
Long live Chávez and Fidel! (Vivan!)
Long live Maduro and Raúl! (Vivan!)
As we say in Cuba:
Homeland or death!
Venceremos! (Prolonged applause)