The world will see what we are capable of doing and the world will join us in our resistance

Jul 31, 2019 by

The world will see what we are capable of doing and the world will join us in our resistance

Speech delivered by President Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during the national commemoration in Bayamo of the 66th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons

“I am clear that, today, I speak in the name of the grateful, those who face the challenge of driving the country forward.” Photo: Estudios Revolución

Speech delivered by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, during the national commemoration of the 66th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons, held in the Plaza de la Patria, Bayamo, Granma, July 26, 2019, Year 61 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee;

Compañero Machado;

Comandantes de la Revolución;

Compañero Lazo;

Heroic people of Granma: (Applause)

Before the historic generation that accompanies us I will deliver the central remarks at this event, in the same place where the Comandante en Jefe, on the same date in 2006, presided and closed for the last time a National Rebellion Day commemoration.

When the leadership of our Party charged me with speaking here today, I recalled that moment and thought about the significance of this tradition that began 60 years ago. On a journey in the opposite direction of ours, thousands of campesinos on horseback took Havana’s José Martí Plaza de la Revolución, with Camilo Cienfuegos in the lead. At least two of them climbed the light poles, as if they were palms, to greet Fidel.

Those guajiros, with ther machetes in hand, showed the world the most authentic face of a Revolution of the humble, by the humble, and for the humble.

With that event, July 26 commemorative activities began, a date that hate bloodied and love made a celebration and tribute to the Centenary Generation’s youth.

I asked myself how, and in whose name, I should speak today, taking into account that in these acts, traditionally, two speeches are given: one by someone from the province hosting the celebration and one by a historical leader.

Compañero Federico Hernández, first Party secretary in the province spoke in the name of Granma’s people. The central remarks of all previous commemorations have always been the responsibility of Fidel, Raúl, Ramiro Valdés, or Machado Ventura.

This may seem like a detail, but it is significant that the protagonists of history, alive, lucid, active in their political leadership delegated to the new generation of leaders in the country the task of presenting the central remarks in one of the most important commemorations in revolutionary history. (Applause)

I am clear that, today, I speak in the name of the grateful, those who face the challenge of driving a country forward – as Miguel Barnet’s poem goes – conscious of the extraordinary history we inherited and the commitment to never fail the homeland’s heroes, or the people of our birth.

I say this at the beginning, so you understand that, at some momemt, as usually happens, the emotion may carry off a word or some significant name.

To Raúl, to Ramiro, and all the combatents who are here with us: Thank you for your confidence, for your example and your legacy. (Applause)

History! What an uncommon weight history has in our lives! It is only right to say so here, where this history was first expressed 151 years ago.

Can anyone who feels and says they are Cuban pass through La Demajagua, through Yara, Manzanillo, Jiguaní, Dos Ríos, La Plata, Guisa, or Bayamo, through their streets, their plazas, without feeling that history is judging us?

Who can cross the Cauto River, climb the hills of the Sierra Maestra, or dip their feet in the water at Las Coloradas without trembling with respect and admiration for the heroism?

“The Moncada program, brilliantly presented by the young Fidel Castro in his self-defense statement, speaks clearly of the reasons that led to the attack that July 26th.” Photo: Endrys Correa Vaillant

Who can read “History will absolve me” and forget Fidel’s words explaining why the military base in Bayamo was chosen for one of the assaults? I quote:

“Bayamo was attacked precisely to situate our advance forces on the Cauto River. It can never be forgotten that this province – the reference is to the former province of Oriente – that today has a million and a half inhabitants, is no doubt the most combatative and patriotic of Cuba. The province that kept the independence struggle alive for 30 years, and contributed the most blood, sacrifice, and heroism.

The air of that glorious feat still wafts in Oriente, at dawn, when the roosters crow like clarions playing reveille to wake the soldiers, and the sun rises brightly on the steep mountainsides, every day seems that it will be another Yara or Baire.”

Thus, to greet you today, I say, the glorious people of Granma.

This province, honored with the name of the boat that brought to Cuban lands 82 of its sons, intent upon being free or martyrs in 1956, is also the cradle of our nationality, our national anthem, of the Revolution began by Céspedes in 1868 and the Rebel Army brought to our days with Fidel at the helm.

“It is no accident, that located in Granma is the second garrison assaulted that morning, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, in Bayamo, that today is a museum park bearing the honorable name of Ñico López, one of the leaders of the action in this city – Raúl’s great friend, in whose office the photo of a boy with big black glasses occupies a place of honor.

Ñico is an inspiration on a day like today in Bayamo. Our children and the children of their chidren must know the history of this young man, descendant of Galician immigrants, who wasn’t from Bayamo, but rather Havana, who was obliged to leave school as a boy and work to help his family; who was one of the organizers of the actions 66 years ago and managed to save his life, fighting in the streets of this city. Who, once back in the capital, sought protection in an embassy and emigrated to Guatemala in the turbulent times of Jacobo Árbenz. There he met Dr. Ernesto Guevara and, the story goes, it was Ñico who gave him the nickname by which he is known around the world: Che.

Ñico was killed just hours after the Granma landing, also in this province’s territory, but he has not been absent a minute from the revolutionary work to which he gave himself with such passion and confidence in victory, for which he suffered hunger and hardships of all kinds, without ever losing his enthusiasm or smile.

It is strength that several important institutions, like the refinery in Regla or the Party’s advanced studies school, bear his name, not that of the Antonio López, but rather Ñico. In the four letters of this family nickname there is a message of camaraderie, boundless friendship, as one the Centenary Generation’s values.

They were brothers ­ Fidel, Raúl, Almeida, Ramiro, those men and women who put the nation first, who thought of the country as a family.

We came from them, and it is very important that our tributes, annual or daily, not be enclosed within an act, in verses or a few words about dates.

The Revolution now needs us to unleash a great battle for our defense and economy, to defeat the enemy’s plan to destroy us and asphyxiate us, and at the same time that we strengthen spirituality in our people, civicism, decency, solidarity, social discipline, and a sense of public service.

Because this is one of the great legacies of our forbearers, those of the Centenary Generation. And because there will be no lasting progress if the social fabric is unraveled morally.

Let us briefly review the events of 66 years ago. The July 26, 1953, actions did not achieve the objectives established by the assailants. The surprise factor was lost, not everyone was able to escape the repression that was violent and cruel.

Men who were photographed alive, like José Luis Tasende, with only his leg wounded, was brutally tortured and later reported as killed in combat.

The oral and graphic testimony that historians and journalists collected over the years is still hard – the most unbearable is imagining Abel’s eyes in the hands of his assassins.

“Despite the pain, the physical loss of those beings ‘from another world’  – from the song “Los elegidos” – the survivors of that epic feat, guided by Fidel, never complained, or went to a corner to mourn their fallen or murdered companions. They created a movement with a liberatory program that fully maintains its relevance, and turned the events into motivation for other battles: the small motor that drives the larger.

Five years, five months, and five days after the assaults on the garrisons in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo, denying the alleged failure of 53, the victory of 59 would come. The setback became a victory.

An explanation of the miracle of a group of men defeating one of the best equipped armies on the continent can only be found in the outstanding values ​​of the Centenary Generation, their sense of justice, loyalty to a cause, commitment to their word, confidence in victory, unwavering faith in the people, and unity as a principle.

During the recent discussion of the National Symbols Law, much was said about this strength. Unity has been represented in our shield, since foundational times, by the tight bundle of sticks, rising from the bottom of the back part, like the nation’s spinal column.

Our parents and teachers taught us that it is easy to break sticks separately, but impossible to break a bundle tightly united.

When we call for thinking as a country, we are thinking of the physical strength of a bundle of sticks that can be easily broken separately.

It is up to us to think for ourselves, because no one else is going to do it for us.

The giant with the seven-league boots that travels the skies engulfing worlds, has for some time ceased to be a visionary metaphor of Martí’s to become a cruel reality of what awaits us, if through ingenuity or ignorance, we underestimate or believe that the plans for the reconquest of Our America – undertaken by the empire with the flag of the Monroe Doctrine on the mast of their pirate ship – are not for us.

Venezuela under siege, robbed, literally assaulted with the approval or complicit silence of other powerful nations, and what is worse, with the shameful collaboration of Latin American governments, is today the most dramatic scene of the cruelty of the decadent empire’s policies that combine the work of the world’s policeman with that of the supreme court of the global village.

THE OAS, increasingly more discredited and servile, pulls out the red carpet for a military intervention. The Zone of Peace that CELAC approved in Havana to protect the region from the violence of conventional war, barely survives as a result of the will of honorable nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.

And also because of the intelligent, heroic, exemplary resistance of Venezuela’s civic-military alliance, its government, and people to the non-conventional war, with which new methods to subjugate us are being rehearsed every day.

With absolute disregard for what was once the most sacred conquest of the community of nations on the planet: international law, the current U.S. administration lives threatening everyone, even its traditional allies and attacking even its most unconditional servants.

“Our parents and teachers taught us that it is easy to break sticks separately, but impossible to break a bundle tightly united.” Photo: Endrys Correa Vaillant

The entire world knows it. The United Nations General Assembly, whose resolutions the U.S. ignores, recognizes this.

We have suffered for 60 years, several generations of Cuban men and women have been prevented from building a nation tailored to our dreams.

And what is the crime for which we are punished?

Our parents had the audacity to end the abuse and recover what had been taken from the nation, over and over again, for centuries. First, the land, bought by Yankee corporations at the ridiculous price of six dollars per hectare, at the end of the long, bloody 30-year war that ended with a pact between the feisty emerging empire and the old decaying metropolis at the crossroads of centuries. The colony was replaced by a neo-colony, by intervention.

Why the Agrarian Reform? This was the question asked in a Survey of Cuba Agricultural Workers conducted by the Catholic University Students Association in 1956-1957, a study we have dusted off in the wake of the Helms-Burton.

“…in the country, especially agricultural workers are living in difficult-to-believe conditions of stagnation, misery, and desperation,” the authors of the survey asserted.

One of these, Dr. José Ignacio Lasaga recognized, at the time, that in all of his travels in Europe, the Americas, and Africa, very few times had he seen peasants living as poorly as those in Cuba.

It must be said that working the land did not mean owning it. When those undernourished, illiterate, desperate agricultural workers were asked what they needed most, practically all asked only for work. This right was not even guaranteed six months of the year.

The degree of material and social poverty in the countryside impressed the researchers so much that they stated in their conclusions:

“It is time that our nation cease being the private estate of a few powerful. We have great hope that within a few years, Cuba will not be the property of a few, but truly the homeland of all Cubans…”

The Constitution of 1940, achieved practically through the bloodshed and fire of revolutionaries of the era, proposed land reform, but a law did not arrive until May of 1959.

Until then, our land was the feudal property of U.S. companies in cahoots with corrupt politicians and protected by the armed forces under the command of dictator Fulgencio Batista, who in 1958, had different levels of ownership of nine sugar mills, a bank, three airlines, several radio stations, a television broadcaster, newspapers, magazines, a construction materials factory, a shipyard, a tourist venue, several buildings in urban and rural areas, etc, according to the book

Los propietarios de Cuba 1958.

The investigation states that little more than 500 people owned the country. Most of them fled after the triumph of the Revolution, abandoning their ill-gotten properties obtained via the abuse of power and countless crimes by Batista henchmen and accomplices of the dictator.The Revolution confiscated the properties of these embezzlers. Another story is that of the nationalizations, a right of all sovereign nations recognized in international law – hence its name – in the interest of the public good. A law based on the 1940 Constitution was also approved, which provided for compensation, to be negotiated by Cuba with other governments – as nationalizations are negotiated – but not the United States, which refused to do so, confident that they could regain everything in short order by force.The Agrarian Reform Law was the first major nationalization and the greatest act of social justice demanded by the people. And it was also the breaking point, the crossing of the Rubicon, as Army General Raúl Castro Ruz said.

Those who believe themselves to be the owners of Cuba, refusing to lose her, have since them unleashed an undeclared war that has seen brief pauses, but has never ended.

To confuse public opinion and give this confrontation a legality it does not possess, the Helms-Burton Act was fabricated, a legal invention that combines the empire’s desires for dominance over our destinies with the revenge of those nostalgic for the Batista dictatorship.

The current claimants of properties, that 60 years ago finally passed to the hands of the people, come from the immoral and antipatriotic beings who sacked the country.

Incapable of doing so themselves, the thieves of this era, hide today behind a law with absolutely no power in Cuba to recover confiscated property that was obtained through embezzlement or abandoned in fear of popular justice.

Let me warn them that the descendants of that Mambi cavalry and campesinos who took the Plaza in 1959 to greet the victorious Revolution, inherited the land and the machetes of their ancestors, and would not hesitate to wield them sharply against those who attempt to snatch the land the Revolution awarded them.(Applause)

No, we do not understand each other, nor will we ever come to an understanding with those who intend to return Cuba to the state of things that in 1953 led the best of Cuba’s youth to assault military garrisons with more moral authority than weapons.

The Moncada program, brilliantly presented by the young Fidel Castro in his self-defense statement, speaks clearly of the reasons that led to the attack that July 26.

“The problem of the land, the problem of industrialization, the housing problem, the problem of unemployment, the problem of education, the problem of the people’s health, I have thus cited the six points, the solutions to which we would have directed our efforts, along with the conquest of public freedoms and political democracy.”

“Perhaps this presentation appears cold and theoretical, if one does not know of the frightening tragedy our country is living in terms of these six areas, in addition to the most humiliating political oppression.”

Only a Revolution could change the country’s panorama, which four years after the assaults had deteriorated so much that, in 1957, a religious organization, as I mentioned, would call for radical, definitive change in the country.

Cuba changed, but not the powerful neighbor’s efforts to possess it, with the enthusiastic collaboration of hawks and the servile anti-patriots in South Florida.

They cannot take possession of Cuba, as Maceo warned, and decided to pursue us, corral us, asphyxiate us. This persecution that all our commercial and financial transaction face has escalated these last few years and months to reach new extraterritorial, illegal, and criminal heights.

“I am going to provide a recent figure, for the world’s consideration: in this last year alone, from March 2018 through April of 2019, the blockade caused us losses valued at 4.343 billion dollars.

I note that the fact does not reflect the impact produced by the latest measures of the current administration that limit travel licenses, prohibit cruise ship dockings, and reinforce financial restrictions to impact tourism directly and associated activities that benefit the growing non-state sector of the economy.

These restrictions and financial persecution of Cuba are the principal cause of the shortages of foodstuffs and fuel, and difficulties in obtaining replacement parts indispensable to maintenance of the National Electro-energetic System, that has been affected these past few weeks and months, and which we are confronting creatively, with the iron will to resist and triumph.

After six decades of harassment of the simplest Cuba transaction, accumulated losses have reached 922,630,000,000 dollars, taking into account the depreciation of green bills as compared to gold.

The siege is being increasingly tightened around our country, around Venezuela, around Nicaragua, and any other nation that refuses to accept the imperial plan for its destiny.

“Today, before the people of Cuba and the world, we denounce the U.S. administration for beginning to act more aggressively to prevent the delivery of fuel to Cuba.

With these cruel, extraterritorial blockade actions, today they attempt to prevent, by any means, the arrival to Cuban ports of tankers, brutally threatening shipping companies, governments of countries where these ships are registered, and insurance companies.

“The genocidal plan is to increasingly affect the population’s quality of life, its progress, and even its hopes, with the objective of hurting Cuban families in daily life, in their basic needs, and accuse the Cuban government of being ineffective. They are seeking a social explosion.

“How little they know us! When will they finally understand that the heroic Cuban family is capable of facing, and resisting with dignity, the worse siege, and continue loving each other, despite distances, because nothing, no one, can divide us?

(Applause)

They want to cut off the lights, the water, and even the air to extract political concessions from us. They don’t even attempt to hide it. They publicly announce funding for subversion in Cuba, invent false, hypocritical pretexts to add us to their spurious lists and justify the tightening of the blockade.

In utter cynicism, they resort to blackmail.

Ignorant of history and the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy principles, they propose to negotiate a possible reconciliation with us, in exchange for abandoning the course chosen and defended by our people. They suggest betraying friends, throwing 60 years of dignity into the trash bin.“No, imperialist gentlemen, we do not understand each other.

(Applause)

Cuba, which knows the ethical and political distance between this U.S. administration and the noblest citizens of that country, has not renounced its stated goal of building a civilized relationship with the United States, but it must be based on mutual respect for our deep differences.“Any proposal that departs from respect among equals does not interest us.

(Applause)

And as for the U.S. people, they are always welcome in Cuba. Our doors are open. Come, see, and get to know the reality of the country you are not allowed to visit, in the name of freedom, an essential human right that, they say, is lacking in Cuba and abounds there.

For our part, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted by pressure or threats. There are too many challenges to overcome and we are going to concentrate on these. In the very first place, on the economic and military invulnerability of the country, legal ordering, the removal of any internal or external obstacle that persists – be it bureaucracy, insensibility, or corruption, which are unacceptable in socialism.

And for imperialism, “not even a tiny bit,” as Che said, and a permanent lesson of the Revolution. (Applause)

We will take these messages of Cuba’s unwavering political principles to the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas this week, to strengthen the integration of left forces and their mobilization against the imperial offensive intended to break us, divide us, and confront us.

Dear compatriots:

What we have found during our tours of this province and heard in the speech by your first secretary, Federico Hernández, are important economic and social gains. The province deserves to host this event, given its undeniable advances. (Applause)

I emphasize principally that 80% of arable land is under cultivation, and the progress made at agricultural poles in municipal self-sufficiency, given the contribution they can make to replacing imports in lines like rice, a basic food in the Cuban family’s diet, But – there are always buts – authorities in the territory recognize that, even with the reaching of important records in production, you are far from your potential.

This is a common reality throughout the country, in which the battle for development is an intense, tiring race with obstacles of all kinds. The first and determinant one being the U.S. blockade; and the second, is the existence of practices that are incompatible with socialism, which we have noted in comments before economists, intellectuals and artists, and the National Assembly.

I will not tire of insisting on the duty to think as a country, of banishing self-interest, vanity, indifference, shoddy work, and the “It can’t be done.”

Let us stop believing and stating that the blame is someone else´s, without looking first at what each one of us is doing, creating, and contributing.

Considering the panorama of brutal persecution of our financial operations that I described previously, we all have the duty to care for the costly investments in transportation, industry, communications, and other areas that are underway, as “the apples of our eyes.”

To pretend that mentalities are transformed all at once, at the maximum speed of our trains, may sound like a utopian dream, if we did not believe in the people and their moral reserves, and aspirations for growth with beauty.

But these changes will not be pulled from a hat. We are not magicians.

Our Council of Ministers does not work with illusions. It is up to us to direct, and direct well, the scarce resources available to guarantee the equitable and fair distribution of goods produced.

We are promoting efficient and competitive national production; exports and the replacement of imports; foreign investment; productive chains; the use of science, technology, and our university’s talent to innovate; electronic government; and communication as a fundamental element in the battle to eliminate obstacles and tackle a piece, everyday, as big as possible, of the problems.

A level of response can be noted that is exciting, but it is not enough. Circumstances force us today, as they have always forced us, to insist on a rate of progress that is beyond our goals, to demand, to control, to banish routine and determine with facts whether the formula we used yesterday is effective, or must be updated.

In a timely fashion, we must strongly sanction those who do not understand that defending the country today means caring for and protecting scarce material resources.

If the government is dedicated to improving the lives of our citizens, the government and citizens must prevent abuse, dirtying, or neglect of what cost so much to acquire.Given the old dilemma of raising wages and expecting productive results to cover these expenditures, we decided to raise them. Not once, but several times the amount previously paid.Nor will we wait until the end of the year to begin application of this measure, as popular and dependent it is on what we are all capable of doing that translates into growth.But, in order to sustain this and all possible social benefits, it is necessary to produce more and increase the quality of services.New measures, proposed by the people, should be approved in the coming weeks and months.

“Going for more is not a slogan. It is a translation of the government’s language in response to the enemy’s policy: With those who want to steal our land, our homes, our schools, hospitals, childcare centers, beaches, ports, and airports… there can be no understanding!

It is the concrete expression in practice of our will not to be distracted by pressure or threats, and resist creatively without giving up on development.“The hard years imposed by imperialism’s seige cannot hide truths like fists under a cloak of disgrace,” wrote the beloved intellectual Graziella Pogolotti in his most recent article, where she also reminds us, “Because the struggle is not over, it is always the 26th.” (Applause)Yes, July 26th will always be a great inspiration. And thinking as a country, I want to take up again a slogan from my years of work in the provinces, when we called upon the people, motivated by the significance of this date:

Let us all work to make every day in the almanac a 26th; every month in the year, a July; and every commitment a victorious Moncada!

The world will see what we are capable of doing, and the world will join us in our resistance. It is time to make a new and urgent call to conscience.

We can start or finish this appeal, with some verses by someone who always said yes to the Revolution: Roberto Fernández Retamar, essayist and poet, a giant intellectual who has just left us. Let us explain with his beautiful words what we are, and what we are doing, despite the fires and the fences. In his poem “A quien pueda interesar,” Roberto wrote:Throughout the entire Island, we are fewer than those
who daily wander a big city.We are fewer: a handful of menon a strip of landwhipped by the sea. Butwe have built a forgotten joy.

For this happiness we continue building: We’re going for more! Because we are all Cuba! We are continuity!

Homeland or Death!

Venceremos!

(Ovation)

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