Saturday, December 02, 2006

Raul Castro Speech in Honor of the 80th Birthday Celebration for President Fidel Castro in Cuba

Speech by the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the
Party, First Vice-President of the Councils of State and Ministers,
Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Army General, Raúl
Castro Ruz, at the Political Ceremony, Military Review and March of
the Combatant People in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Landing of the Granma Yacht and the Day of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, and in Celebration of the 80th Birthday of the Commander-in-Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, Given on December 2nd, 2006,¨Year of the Energy Revolution in Cuba¨


Past, present and future combatants:

We welcome good friends of the Cuban Revolution who have offered
their essential support and solidarity over these last 50 years of
prolonged battle for sovereignty and freedom. Among them I would
like to mention the Guayasamín Foundation and the relatives of this
great Ecuadorian friend and painter, who conceived this noble
gesture of paying homage to comrade Fidel on his 80th birthday, an
occasion which has brought to Havana Heads of State or Government, as well as other dignitaries and senior personalities from the political and cultural scenes of various countries. On behalf of our people we thank them for honoring us with their presence at this forum.

Another reason why we are gathered here today is to celebrate the
anniversary of a momentous event in our history. We are here to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Granma yacht on December 2, 1956, a date which marks the birth of the Rebel Army and of its true successors: the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

It is to the combatant people, heroic protagonist and legitimate
pillar of the Armed Forces, and to their founder and Commander-in-
Chief that this Military Parade is dedicated. This is divided into
sections representing the beautiful history of 138 years of struggle
by the Cuban people for their final independence. Firstly, the
Liberation Army that fought the colonial yoke, then the rebel army
against neo-colonial tyranny followed by the Revolutionary Armed
Forces that defend the Homeland, the Revolution and Socialism; One army of the people in three different stages of history.

This is a perfect time to reaffirm the full validity of the words
spoken by comrade Fidel in his Central Report to the First Congress
of the Communist Party, 31 years ago, as he said:

"The Rebel Army was the soul of the Revolution. Its victorious arms
opened the way for a new free, beautiful, striving and invincible
new homeland. Its soldiers vindicated the blood generously shed in
all the struggles for independence and with their own blood laid the
foundations of Cuba's socialist present. They gave to the people the
weapons wrested from the oppressor in an epic struggle, and merged with the people to become forever onward the armed people".

When "…there was not yet (...) the Party which would emerge later
on, the Army was the factor of cohesion and unity of the entire
people and the same that guaranteed power for the working people and the existence of the Revolution …"

And "… upon the foundation of our Party, the vanguard of our working
class, the symbol and synthesis of the ideals, aspirations and
history of the Cuban Revolution from the glorious days of La
Demajagua until now, and follower of the work of Marti's
Revolutionary Party and of the courageous founders of the first
Marxist-Leninist party of Cuba, our army, heir to the heroism and
patriotic honor of the Liberation Army, that has victoriously
carried on its struggles, placed in the hands of the Party the
banners of the Revolution and has ever since and forever been its
most loyal, disciplined, humble and staunch follower". This is what
Fidel said.

Also, in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Revolutionary
Armed Forces (the FAR), it is fitting to ratify the monolithic unity
between the People, the Army and the Party; this unity has been
deeply rooted over the years following the triumph of the Revolution
on January 1st, 1959; this unity is our main strategic weapon, which
has made it possible for this small island to resist and overcome so
many aggressions from imperialism and its allies; this unity
provides a basis for the internationalist work of the Cuban people
and is the reason for the heroic deeds of its children in other
countries around the world, following Marti's maxim that "Homeland
is Humanity".

We are experiencing an exceptional moment in history. Many thought
that the demise of the socialist block and the collapse of the
Soviet Union would spell the end for the international revolutionary
movement. Some even suggested that we abandon the ideals to which entire generations of Cubans had dedicated their lives, while over the last few years the US government, in the opportunistic manner characteristic of them, have stepped up their hostility and
aggressiveness against Cuba to an unprecedented high, in the hope of economically suffocating the country and overthrowing the Revolution by intensifying their subversive acts. In this regard, the surprise and frustration of our enemies was great, and the admiration of the oppressed masses even greater, when they witnessed the perseverance, equanimity, maturity and self-confidence that our people have shown over these last four months.

Despite the maneuvers and pressure of the United States and its
allies, the prestige enjoyed by Cuba around the world has
strengthened. An example of this was the 14th Non-Aligned Summit
successfully held in our capital last September, and more recently
the unprecedented support given in the United Nations General
Assembly to the resolution condemning the US blockade on our country.

In Latin America, the application the neoliberal formula imposed by
the United States and their European buddies has led the continent
into the sad situation of being the region in the planet where the
opulence of the oligarchy with close links to foreign capital is the
most insulting and obnoxious when compared to the poverty,
insalubrities and ignorance in which the majority of the population
lives. Over recent years, the peoples of Latin America have been
progressively expressing their feelings of indignation and
repudiation towards the treacherous and submissive policies adopted by traditional governments and parties. Popular and revolutionary movements are getting stronger and despite Washington's multimillion-dollar campaigns of disinformation, the blackmail and brazen interference, new and experienced leaders are assuming the leadership of their nations.

The attempt by the United States to economically annex Latin America by way of the FTAA was thwarted while a project of integration known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA, is taking its place following a proposal by President and brother, Hugo Chávez, to benefit the dispossessed masses.

Recent events in the international arena bear witness to the failure
of the adventurous policies of the current US administration. On
November 7, the people of that country showed I the ballot box their
rejection of the strategic concept of pre-emptive war, the use of
lies to justify military interventions, kidnappings and secret
prisons, and the despicable legalization of torture in the so-called
war on terrorism.

Three years and seven months after President Bush euphorically and precipitately declared on board an aircraft carrier "mission
accomplished" with regards to the war in Iraq, the bodies of young
American soldiers killed in a war spurred by the desire to control
the region's energy resources continue to be sent back to the United
States. Nobody dares anymore to predict when it will end. The US
government is at a dead-end: on the one hand, it realizes that it
cannot prolong occupation in Iraq, while on the other it admits that
it doesn't have the minimum conditions needed to pull out without
damaging their interests. Meanwhile, the number of deaths and
mutilations continues to mount among civilians subjected to an
internecine war the result of the anarchy and chaos created by the
US invasion.

Some in the United States are now suggesting that they simply
withdraw from the chaos that they themselves created. We don't know what they will do in this case with the NATO, left high and dry by its American buddies in the conflict in Afghanistan, which is also
becoming increasingly unmanageable and dangerous.

In the eyes of the world, the so-called "crusade on terrorism" is
unavoidably heading down the path to a humiliating defeat.

The American people, just as in the case of Vietnam, will put an end
to these unjust and criminal wars. We hope that the US authorities
will learn that war is not the solution to the growing problems
afflicting the planet; that proclaiming their right to irresponsibly
attack "sixty or more dark corners" of the world, even when they are
already stuck in two of them, makes their differences with other
countries more complex and profound; that power based on
intimidation and terror will never be anything more than a passing
illusion and that the terrible consequences of this on the peoples
of the world, including the American, are clear to see.

We feel certain that the way to resolve the pressing conflicts
afflicting mankind is not through war, but rather political
solutions. We take this opportunity to once again state that we are
willing to resolve at the negotiating table the longstanding dispute
between the United States and Cuba, of course, provided they accept, as we have previously said, our condition as a country that will not tolerate any blemishes on its independence, and as long as said resolution is based on the principles of equality, reciprocity, non-interference and mutual respect.

In the meantime, after almost half a century, we are willing to wait
patiently until the moment when common sense prevails in the
Washington power circles.

Regardless of this, we shall continue to consolidate our nation's
military invulnerability based on the strategic concept of the War
of All the People which we planned and began introducing 25 years
ago. This type of popular war, as repeatedly proven throughout
modern history, is simply invincible.

We will continue to improve the preparation and combative cohesion
of the regular troops and their reserves, the Territorial Militia,
the Production and Defense Brigades and other elements of the
territorial defense corps, including all levels of the party, state
and government structures. We will continue to prepare the Theatre
of Military Operations while developing communications and the
modernization of combat resources in order to improve combative
skills and adapt them to their envisaged use in the event of an

We will also continue to strengthen the important work carried out
on all fronts by the dedicated combatants of the Ministry of the

We will preserve the freedom of the Cuban people and the
independence and sovereignty of the Homeland at all costs.

With the strength derived from hundreds of years of struggle and the
patriotic energy characteristic of our people, so noble and heroic,
let us raise our voices in harmony to proclaim:

Long Live Fidel!
Long Live Free Cuba

No comments: