Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reflections From Comrade Fidel Castro: Days That Cannot Be Forgotten

Days that cannot be forgotten

(Taken from CubaDebate)

FORTY-EIGHT years ago, mercenary forces in the service of a foreign power invaded their own homeland, escorted by a U.S. squadron, including an aircraft carrier and dozens of fighter planes. That date cannot be forgotten. The superpower to the North could apply the same prescription to any Latin American country. It has already occurred on many occasions throughout history in our hemisphere. Is there any declaration where it has been promised that such an action is never to be repeated in a direct form or via their own armies, as was the case in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and other countries?

The cunning and surprise Girón attack [Bay of Pigs] cost us more than 150 lives and hundreds of severely wounded. We should like to hear some self-criticism from the powerful country and the guarantee that it will never happen again in our hemisphere.

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the failed coup d’état against the Revolution in Venezuela.

For the good of democracy and human rights, a voice is needed to tell us from Washington that the School of the Americas, which specializes in coup d’états and torture, is to be closed down for ever.

We cannot forget that this April, the leader of ARENA, an oligarchic ally of Bush in the Iraq genocide, is still governing in El Salvador. With a million human lives sacrificed, there is sufficient blood to drown all the accomplices.

I am maybe offending in recalling this, or is it also prohibited, in the name of decency, ingenuity, and complicity, to mention the subject?

The measure to ease restrictions on travel is positive in itself, although minimal. Many others are needed, including the elimination of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, which is applied exclusively to just our country. We would like a response to the question as to whether the immigration privileges utilized to combat the Cuban Revolution and divest it of human resources might be also conceded to all Latin American and Caribbean peoples. But everything in Port of Spain will be secret. Prohibited to listen to the debate and the pronouncements of heads of state and government. In any event, what each one of them states will become known.

I do not wish to hurt Obama in the slightest degree, but he will be president for one or two terms. He has no responsibility for what has happened and I am convinced that he would not commit Bush’s atrocities. After him, however, someone similar to or worse than his/her predecessor could come along. Humans pass; peoples endure.

There are other extremely grave problems such as climate change, and the current president of the United States has decided to cooperate in that problem which is vital to humanity. We should acknowledge that.

Enough for today. I do not wish to add another word.

Fidel Castro Ruz
April 14, 2009
11:15 a.m.
Translated by Granma International

Havana. April 14, 2009

Reflections of Fidel

On the blockade, not one word was said

(Taken from CubaDebate)

VIA CNN, the government of the United States announced that Obama is to visit Mexico this week, initiating his visit en route to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he will be within four days to participate in the Americas Summit. He announced the easing of certain odious restrictions imposed by Bush on Cubans resident in the United States in order to visit their families in Cuba. In response to inquiries as to whether such prerogatives extended to other U.S. citizens, the answer was that they were not authorized.

On the blockade, which is the cruelest of the measures, not one word was said. That is how they piously refer to what constitutes a genocidal measure. The damage is not only measured by its economic effects. It constantly costs human lives and causes painful suffering for our citizens.

Untold diagnostic equipment and vital medicines are not accessible for our patients even when they come from Europe or Japan, or another country, if they utilize certain U.S. components or programs.

Restrictions related to Cuba have to be applied by U.S. companies producing goods or services in any part of the world, in virtue of the blockade’s extraterritorial nature.

Richard Lugar, an influential Republican senator, and various others from his party with the same post in Congress, plus a number of important Democratic senators are in favor of eliminating the blockade. The conditions have been created for Obama to employ his talent in a constructive policy that would put an end to the one that has failed for almost 50 years.

On the other hand, our country, which has resisted and is prepared to resist as long as necessary, does not blame Obama for the atrocities committed by other U.S. governments.

Neither does it question his sincerity and his desires to change the policy and the image of the United States. It understands that he waged a very hard battle in order to be elected, despite centennial prejudices.

Starting from that reality, the president of the Council of State of Cuba expressed his disposition to dialogue with Obama and, on the basis of the strictest respect for sovereignty, to normalize relations with the United States.

At 2:30 p.m. the head of the Cuban Interests Section, Jorge Bolaños, was called to the State Department by Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of state [for Western Hemisphere Affairs]. Nothing that they talked about was any different from that reported by CNN.

At 3:15 p.m. a long press conversation began. The essence of what was stated there is contained in the textual words of Dan Restrepo, presidential advisor for Latin America, who stated [in Spanish]:

"Today, President Obama has directed that a series of steps be taken to reach out to the Cuban people to support their desire to enjoy basic human rights and to freely determine their country’s future. The President has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury and Commerce to carry out the actions necessary to lift all restrictions on the ability of individuals to visit family members in Cuba, and to send them remittances. He’s further directed that steps be taken to enable the freer flow of information among the Cuban people and between those in Cuba and the rest of the world, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian items directly to the Cuban people.

"In taking these steps to help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and to promote the increased flow of information and humanitarian items to the Cuban people, President Obama is working to fulfill the goals he identified both during his presidential campaign and since taking office.

"All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects the basic human, political and economic rights of all of its citizens. President Obama believes the measure he has taken today will help make that goal a reality. He encourages all who share it to continue their steadfast support for the Cuban people.

"Thanks." At the end of the conference he confided in all frankness: "Everything is being done for the freedom of Cuba."

Cuba does not applaud the ill-named Americas Summits, where our countries do not discuss on an equal level. If they serve for anything, it would be to make critical analyses of policies which are dividing our peoples, plundering our resources and placing obstacles on our development.

Now, all that is missing is for Obama to persuade all the Latin American presidents there that the blockade is inoffensive.

Cuba has resisted and will resist. It will never stretch out its hands asking for alms. It will continue advancing with its head held high, cooperating with the sister peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, whether there are Americas Summits or not, whether Obama, a man or a woman, a white or black citizen presides over the United States.

Fidel Castro Ruz
April 13, 2009
6:12 p.m.
Translated by Granma International

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