Statement by comrade Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, at the videoconference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum
Dear Nicolás, Daniel, Rosario and Mónica:
Brothers and sisters from the political forces that are following this videoconference with interest:
Thirty years ago, the prophets of hopelessness, the market enthusiasts, the spokespersons of the single thought made the world believe that History had ended.
And here we are, the unconquerable defenders of hope and another possible world, celebrating 30 years of an embrace that has already become history.
Today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum, an idea that was born out of Fidel’s political genius and an exceptional protagonist of that feat of unity: brother Lula, former president and leader of the Brazilian and Latin American left, and we are honored by his presence here.
When the USSR and the socialist bloc of Eastern Europe collapsed, and their gravediggers set out to bury the libertarian ideas of the left on this side of the world, the emergence of the Sao Paulo Forum came as a change of direction on a ship that seemed to be sinking.
The revolutionary, progressive and democratic political forces of Latin America and the Caribbean, came together on this genuine space of consultation and building the unity of the left for the emancipation and integration of our peoples against the Monroe Doctrine and their allies in the continent.
The march of history could not be stopped. Socialist ideals revived in the empire’s backyard with a personality and force of their own and, today, it is only fair to recognize comrade Lula and the leaders of Brazil’s Workers Party for their performance at the helm of the Executive Secretariat of the Sao Paulo Forum.
This celebration also allows us to thank the Sao Paulo Forum for their continued support to the Cuban people and, in particular, the solidarity campaign for the lifting of the blockade against Cuba that they carried out this year.
This online meeting coincides with the 66th birthday of a very dear friend of Cuba’s and all peoples who fight, commander Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, who in the 2012 edition of the Sao Paulo Forum invited us to lay “fearlessly the foundational stone of the South American, Latin American, Caribbean and global liberation”.
The invincible example of Chavez is now calling upon us to continue the struggle with strength and optimism, convinced that there are no obstacles, no matter how difficult they may seem, that our united peoples cannot overcome, as shown nowadays by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
“Doctors and not bombs” said Fidel one day, in response to the ridiculous pretense by the empire to bend the peoples with wars and threats of wars against sixty or more “dark corners of the world”.
Today, we are witnessing the confirmation of those words, amid the most complex, real time human drama in the world.
Not even the most powerful and sophisticated weapons have been able to defeat the pandemic of the novel coronavirus. On the contrary, the real and anti-human essence of the capital has now become more visible, with the extolment of the market and its uncontrolled height under neoliberalism’s ruthless rules: governments who are helplessly watching the collapse of their health systems, unable to save millions of lives, including those who believed to be risk-free in the powerful empire of the brutal and unruly North that despises us.
The region of the Americas is now the sad center of this pandemic. The neoliberal policies of many governments, determined to save the market over the human lives, are hindering the forecast of when a definitive control of the disease will ever be possible. The spread of the virus is a fact, if we take into account that it took 96 days to reach the first million cases, and only 16 days for the last million. The neoliberal paradigms have been utterly discredited. Whether their loyal followers like or not, accept it or not, the history of their economic experiment is about to finish, or else, the human existence will be further compromised.
In the face of the indisputable emergency that the pandemic has turned out to be for everyone, the US Administration has not stopped its hegemonic plans for the region, the Monroe Doctrine and McCarthyism have been reactivated, interference and the threat of the use of force and promotion of warfare against progressive leaders and organizations of the left have been heightened.
While thousands die every day in the land of the empire, the current occupant of the White House puts pressure on governments not to his likings while receiving support from the regional lackeys who operate in line with his interests.
In this despicable context, imperialism charges against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with interventionist actions that violate international law, which we condemn and reject as strongly as we ratify our solidarity with legitimate president Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic-military union that upholds the country’s sovereignty.
We also reaffirm our solidarity with the Sandinista government and people, led by Comandante Daniel Ortega, and we reject the unilateral coercive measures against the peace, wellbeing, justice and development of the Nicaraguan people.
We ratify once again, our strictest adherence to the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Latin American Heads of State and Government in January 2014 in Havana; and we reiterate our unshakable commitment to the eradication of colonialism, until we pay the debt to the peoples who still live under a colonial status.
Dear brothers and sisters:
I speak on behalf of sovereign, revolutionary and supportive Cuba, who will never let itself be subjected, neither by seduction nor force. The homeland of Martí, Fidel and Raúl.
I speak on behalf of a heroic and noble people who has been suffering the cruelest and most genocidal blockade ever for the last sixty years, an economic, commercial and financial siege, further tightened in the midst of the combat against the pandemic, with a relentless and sick persecution, not giving up the plan of forcing us into surrender through hunger and hardships.
Under the leadership of the Party, the government of our small and blockaded nation, in tandem with the political, mass and social organizations and its people, has controlled and is beating COVID-19, without overconfidence.
This victory, including our commitment to make it sustainable over time, results from the political will of a socialist state that places human beings at the center of its policies, with a free and universal health system and the coordinated and devoted intelligence of professionals and workers of the health and scientific sectors and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
After more than four months of actively fighting the pandemic, we mourn the loss of 87 lives in Cuba, but we take comfort and are encouraged in that no child, pregnant woman, doctor or health worker has died.
Undoubted success was achieved thanks to the coordinated action of our health system and the country’s network of scientific institutions, integrating the experience accumulated over 60 years of revolutionary science and medicine with all the measures taken by the Government.
For the post-Covid-19 phase, a strategy has been adopted that should let us scale back gradually, asymmetrically and on a step-by-step basis to the new normal of production and social activities.
The Political Bureau of the Party, at a meeting led by its First Secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, adopted the economic strategy to face the negative fallout of the pandemic, recover ourselves and reach appropriate levels of development and wellbeing for our entire people, leaving no one abandoned to their fate.
In its design, account was taken of the Bases for the National Plan for Development through 2030, the Conceptual Design of Cuba’s Economic and Social Model for Socialist Development and the Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy, all adopted by the 7th Congress of the Party, and of the broad popular discussion that preceded it, which were later ratified by the National Assembly of the People’s Party.
As I recently stated, these outcomes seem to have highly inconvenienced our adversaries. The aggressiveness of the US Government against the island nation soars, as do their plans for political and ideological subversion, with actions geared to discredit Cuban leaders and the work of our government, in tandem with continued attempts to give rise to social turmoil and promoting opposition trends within our institutions.
We are facing very well designed and strongly financed plans to act with unprecedented fierceness and impunity in the various platforms making up today’s complex media landscape. We are not surprised. They are no different from the strategies of manipulation, distortion of reality and deceit that are employed daily to confuse and demobilize social fighters and the peoples in our region.
But we are a people of the stock of Fidel, who very early on removed the word surrender from its political dictionary.
We know and confront the declared and aggressive enemy, without losing the compass of our political and social priorities, without sidestepping not even for a millimeter, from the solidarity calling cultivated by Fidel and the Revolution, with the help of other brotherly peoples who, like Che said, “summon our modest efforts of assistance”.
Forty-five brigades of the Henry Reeve contingent for natural disasters and serious epidemics, who are serving in 38 countries and territories, with 3 772 members, including 2 399 women, have already treated 255 372 Covid-19 patients and saved 8 009 lives.
In addition, the 28 000 health collaborators in 58 countries who have joined national and local efforts in combating this disease, have treated 83 268 Covid-19 patients and saved 13 636 lives thus far.
The altruism of our health workers bothers the empire who, instead of dealing with the serious situation of its infected citizens, launches a smear campaign against Cuba’s medical collaboration.
This useless war will not succeed in destroying or burying into oblivion the human work in favor of life being carried out by our professionals, which arouses admiration and the recognition of millions of thankful people around the globe. This is why so many people in the world are supporting the movement in favor of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve contingent.
Worthy of note in this battle is the collaboration established among the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, the Sandinista Revolution and the Cuban Revolution, three revolutions whose governments are fully devote to saving lives and providing wellbeing to their respective peoples, three revolutions who, in the face of the brutal attacks by the empire and the neoliberal right-wing allies in the continent, have been capable to defend themselves through integration and firmness and preserve in very difficult conditions the independence, sovereignty and the dignity of the homeland of Bolivar and Chávez, Sandino and Carlos Fonseca, and Martí and Fidel.
This experience confirms that only cooperation and international solidarity will save humanity from this unprecedented crisis in the history of the world.
The preamble of the Consensus of Our America, a document that emerged from the fighting experience of the Sao Paulo Forum, is dedicated to the leader of the Cuban Revolution and it reads: “Among the incomparable examples left by Fidel as his legacy to the revolutionaries of Latin America and the Caribbean, two stand out as having been decisive in the struggles of our peoples, our parties and movements. They are: unity, and reasoned internationalism”.
Faithfull to their legacy and in light of the challenging reality we are living in, the Cuban people continue building a prosperous and sustainable socialism, having as a tenet what Army General Raúl Castro Ruz said:
“The permanent teaching by Fidel is that, yes, we can, that people can overcome the harshest of conditions, if their will does not falter, a correct assessment of each situation is made, and the just and noble principles guiding them are not given up”.
Dear brothers and sisters:
From Cuba, we shall continue the path of independence and sovereignty, with the people as its main player. No pandemic, blockade or imperial pressures will ever change our course towards a prosperous and sustainable, sovereign and independent socialism.
I call upon the political forces making up the Sao Paulo Forum to mobilize together to face the new challenges, together with social and popular movements and intellectuals of the left.
Our America’s real and final independence depends on the nature, the strength and reason of our current struggles.
We will remain with the Sao Paulo Forum contributing to the unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.
History is made by the peoples, although it may be written by others. There is no empire that can decree its end as long as there are chains to be broken, walls to tear down, exclusions and abuses to combat.
For the life and independence of our peoples; for the legacy of our founders who taught us that even in the most difficult conditions, it could always be done, and can always be done, now and in the future.
For the new succeeding generations.
For anti-imperialist unity, which is the tactic and strategy of victory.
We shall fight, live and overcome!