By Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on July 18, 2018

Photo: Estudios Revolución

Brothers and sisters:Speech given by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, in the special plenary session on Fidel’s thought, during the XXIV Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, held at the Convention Center, Havana, July 17, 2018, “Year 60 of the Revolution”. 

Nicolás Maduro Moros, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;

Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia;

Salvador Sánchez Cerén, president of El Salvador, we make ours the convictions expressed by all of you here;

Compañera Mónica Valente, secretary of the Sao Paulo Forum;

Dear former presidents Manuel Zelaya, of Honduras; Kenny Anthony, of Saint Lucía; Martín Torrijos, of Panamá, former first Minister Denzil Douglas, of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.

Delegates and guests of all the party members of the Forum;

Representatives of social movements and left organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean and other parts of the world;

Compañeras y compañeros participants of the XXIV meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum;

Latin-American youth present here:

First of all, on behalf of the Communist Party of Cuba, the Government and the Cuban people, receive our fraternal and solidarity greeting.

In July 1990, when many celebrated the fall or the end of real socialism and others lost hope, as a result of the imperialist, neoliberal and hegemonic offensive, the Sao Paulo Forum emerged to unite and articulate the forces of the left, analyze the processes that passed and find the ways of defending socialism in a new historical stage.

Today, in July 2018, 28 years later, before the onslaught of capitalist and neoliberal restoration that tries to impose the empire, once again we are summoned by the Sao Paulo Forum, which lasts, exists, and is present, with its indispensable role as an essential political protagonist in the region and a space for the concentration of experiences and the construction of political alternatives.

And look the Forum lives, to that we have here significant data: 625 participants from more than 51 countries, more than 60 are parliamentarians; 168 organizations; there are more than 120 delegates from the main articulations of social movements in the continent, and for the first time the Sao Paulo Forum has opened up a space for dialogue between parties and social movements, a commitment that must be maintained and the necessary coordination to follow up on it.

For reasons of foundation, history and feelings, we remember and pay tribute to Fidel and Chávez.

We also miss the presence of Lula, of Néstor and Cristina, of Correa, of Daniel and   Mujica.

Compañeras and compañeros:

We live at an international conjuncture characterized by growing threats to international peace and security, wars of intervention, dangers for the survival of the human species and an unjust and exclusive international economic order.

The world is being devoured by the insatiable desire for profit and by a criminal and frenetic arms race. The planet’s survival is being besieged by uncertainties and by the climate change that has as its main origin the unsustainable production and consumption patterns linked to capitalist development.

In this state of crisis, globalized capitalism tries to expand and broaden its capacity for enrichment and appeals to all possible actions to impose a colonizing platform.

The processes taking place in Latin America are an evident expression of the rebirth of these plans. Political and economic interests seek to impede the exercise of the self-determination of the peoples of the region; we are being turned back to the preservation of the Monroe Doctrine; through the unjust unilateral coercive measures by the United States and some of its allies joined by the outrageous interference of the OAS; the manipulation of media consortiums, the private press and social networks as part of unconventional war, creates a state of opinion that causes confusion and discouragement.

History teaches us that when revolutionary or  more humane and just social, projects are set in motion, the logical and enormous difficulties that social changes generate are immediately followed by brutal economic, diplomatic and even military pressures, backed by intense media campaigns of smear and defamation to punish the revolutionary with  acts of possible aggression, including the permanent threat of invasion.

Such is the price our peoples have paid for defying the rules of the imperial order.

The current government of the United States, led by a discursive line of very aggressive action in foreign policy, shows a belligerent tendency and an absolute disdain for international institutions, it advocates the predominance of force over negotiation, defends at all costs its hegemony, threatens and punishes with sanctions the nations that do not support their proposals and systematically opposes international agreements that try to mitigate pressing problems for humanity.

Once again the Latin American and Caribbean left meets to reflect on the most pressing problems we face and to attempt to design strategies to fight against imperialist aggression and its oligarchic allies. We do so at a time when the offensive against the processes of change in the region applies methods of unconventional warfare, which is evident in the actions, which we here strongly condemn, against Chavez Venezuela, Sandinista Nicaragua, Brazil of Lula and the democratic and popular Revolution of Bolivia led by Brother Evo Morales.

It is also about provoking ruptures through the action of groups or alliances of the right in the revolutions and regional integration mechanisms such as the ALBA-TCP, which in a few years made convincing achievements in economic and social matters. It was in CELAC, where the unity within the diversity allowed us to approve the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and assumed the commitment to develop mechanisms of integration and the political, economic and solidarity collaboration.

The left faces the challenge of saving the conquered and stopping the neo liberalism that comes to us to try to erase the conquests achieved by our peoples.

It is why and with great significance that we dedicate a special plenary in this Forum to discuss the thinking of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, who was the architect, together with Lula, who today is  unjustly imprisonment, of the creation of the Sao Paulo Forum.

As the best disciple of José Martí, Fidel learned and integrated into his daily behavior the saying that the best way to say is to do, and so he survived in his work, his thought, to organize the Revolution, he led it, he fought in it, he triumphed, he handed dignity to the country, he forged a work of emancipation, established a hope for humanity, resolutely confronted imperialism in a glorious manner and grew with its people and its Revolution.

These are the reasons that explain why everyone in this room has followed with special attention the testimony and ideas put forward by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, each one of you, sincere friends of Cuba. I thank everyone for the effort they have made to accompany us in this tribute.

Fidel brilliantly conceptualized the work in the content expressed about the Revolution, before our people, on the occasion of the celebration of May Day, 18 years ago. The Cuban people assumed and swore to defend that definition until the last consequences by paying posthumous tribute.

Fidel was a coherent bearer of what dignity and bond to the truth represents; disinterestedness and humanism; modesty and altruism; the sense of equality and the willingness to sacrifice; audacity and heroism; patriotism and internationalism as moral and political values not only fundamental, but defining the behavior of those who intend, with full freedom, to aspire to the condition of revolutionary in the Guevarian sense that we understand, that is, to be a superior level of the human species.

In explaining what Revolution is, that is, “full freedom”, he left us a synthesis of the Cuban historical experience in order to achieve, at the same time, independence, national sovereignty and full capacity of self-determination as a free people.

He drew the ethical and political coordinates that should govern the complex process of building socialism, just 90 miles from the most brutal empire in history, which stubbornly persists in sweeping us off the political map as a socialist country.

He demonstrated with convincing facts that the “sense of the historical moment” when making the most difficult internal or external policy decisions must be accompanied by the ability to “change everything that needs to be changed”, in order to perfect the emancipator work of the Revolution.

He warned us that a true revolution must be able to face, with its own efforts, “powerful dominant forces inside and outside the social and national sphere.” For Fidel this would of been impossible without the protagonist, organized and conscious participation of the people. For him, as it was for José Martí, only the work that a people defends and appreciates as their own lasts. We firmly believe that this is the case; otherwise, we would not be here.

By grounding that Revolution is to never lie, or violate ethical principles, this contributed one of the keys that explains why the founding generation of our revolutionary experience, 60 years later, has all the moral and political authority that is needed to face the new challenges of internal development, as well as the adversities of the international scenario that you know perfectly well. It is a moral stimulus and a sure political guide for those of us who were born with the Revolution and now it is our turn to take it forward.

The link to the truth and the political and moral example, rigorously preserved by the top leadership of the Revolution with Fidel and Raúl, helps to understand another of the keys that explain why we are moving forward; both characteristics of the Cuban revolutionary process that became sources of the legitimacy of its leaders, but also in demands that the Party expects from its members and that the people demand of us all with absolute rights.

Fidel reminded us with special emphasis that Revolution is unity. In fact, it has been and is one of the keys to understanding why we have been able to successfully face external aggressions of all kinds, and also to resolve, in a close relationship between the people and the country’s top leadership, the most sensitive problems with the building of socialism.

Revolution, we learned from Fidel, “is to fight for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the basis of our patriotism and our internationalism.”

This formulation refers us directly to the foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution, to the values and principles that have governed and continue to govern us.

To approach the foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution is to recognize, first of all, the role played by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro as the inspirer, architect, conductor and principal executor. Secondly, it means paying homage to the Cuban people as a decisive actor in the successes that it has reaped, not only voluntarily and heroically participating in countless internationalist, civilian and military missions, but in the consolidation of internal revolutionary politics.

Fidel always conceived political decisions from positions of principle and from non-negotiable moral values, while he evaluated with impeccable objectivity the correlation of forces and the political demands of each circumstance, both in the internal framework and in the changing international arena.

Preserving and consolidating this projection of our foreign policy is the fundamental mission of the Party, especially when the time came when, as Army General Raúl Castro warned, “… only the Party can be the worthy heir of the confidence placed by the people in the only Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, comrade Fidel Castro”.

Solidarity and the associated culture of solidarity acquired in the framework of revolutionary struggles an additional dimension; that of internationalism, defined by Fidel as “the best essence of socialism.” This was confirmed by Che and hundreds of thousands of anonymous internationalists in defense of the freedom of many peoples of the so-called Third World, and collaborators in the poorest and most needy areas of the planet, as well as teachers and professors who train professionals of the Third World, the technicians and builders and thousands of specialists who have helped save lives or improve them in hundreds of countries.

This culture of solidarity made Cubans more complete human beings.

Anti-imperialism, internationalism and the intransigent defense of unity with Third World countries and with all just causes, projected the Cuban Revolution before the world with its own identity since 1959. This identity will be strengthened more and more. Do not have the slightest doubt about it.

From the first days of 1959, the story starts collecting the attempts and efforts of Washington to isolate us from the world and, above all, from our natural environment; Latin America and the Caribbean, and also the Cuban victories before this imperial strategy. The solidarity offered to the national liberation movements of Africa, Asia and Latin America was an expression of the strict compliance with the internationalism of the Revolution. Such solidarity was exercised when Cuba was being the most attacked and isolated on the diplomatic level in Latin America, as a result of pressure from Washington. In the 1970s, massive military support to Angola was given to a brother government that persued it in a sovereign manner. It was, consequently, a loyal act of internationalism with the victim.

Dear compañeras and compañeros:

The political and social context of the region deserves the urgent coordination of all the progressive forces of the left, for the construction of an anti-hegemonic platform. The unity of the left parties and political movements seems to be the only way out today.

The great continental unity of the left and the progressive movements based on respect for national experiences and their protagonists must be a cardinal objective.

The rise of the right, incapable until now of giving a worthy and just exit to the social problems of our Great Homeland, makes it necessary to return to the integrationist ideal of the Commander in Chief and redirect the struggle from the unity and the integration of the political forces and social movements, to finalize an achievable plan of actions built between all. That is the best tribute to Fidel.

It is time to move to the conscious and organized offensive. We have the duty to defend Our America. Today unity is necessary to achieve an overall vision of the problems we face and their possible solutions through the debate on the Consensus of Our America and of Our America in the struggle.

To achieve the unity of the revolutionary forces, and their incorporation into a program that transcends the electoral and defines in each of our countries steps for the seizure of power and the construction of new sovereign societies, with the highest degree of social justice possible, including anti-imperialism and solidarity; the concretion of an anti-hegemonic cultural and a front of communication that adds the efforts of the progressive governments, of the left parties and of the social movements.

We support unconditionally and offer firm support to the Revolution, the Bolivarian and Chavez government to the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and their legitimate and democratic government, under the leadership of compañero Nicolás Maduro Moro, who resists the destabilizing process and maintains the political initiative and is advancing in the defense of popular conquests.

We must strengthen the conviction that fighting for Venezuela is to fight for the integration of the region, for respect to the sovereignty and independence of Our America. Unity is also necessary to demand the cessation of interference by the OAS in the internal affairs of Latin American countries; to condemn the threats that the Sandinista government faces from the outside and solidarity with the Nicaraguan people.

To recognize and support the Movement to Socialism under the leadership of President Evo Morales, which advances in the recovery of natural wealth and in the improvement of the living conditions of the population, and constitutes a pillar for the Latin American left in its defense of the original cultures and of the indigenous and popular movements.

To express our solidarity with the brotherly Brazilian people facing the parliamentary-judicial coup and the dismantling of the social gains achieved with the governments of the Workers’ Party. We send a fraternal message to the comrades Lula and Dilma against the attempt to disqualify them judicially. Lula must be released!

Unity to ratify our support for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front of El Salvador and its president Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who faces the destabilizing offensive of the empire and its local allies, which seeks to impede the advance of the process of changes in favor of the people .

We need unity to support compliance of the Peace Agreements of Colombia, of Havana, and talks between the Colombian Government and the ELN, aware that only the path of dialogue and mutual respect can guarantee peace with social justice, and contribute to the well-being of the Colombian people.

To support the just cause of the brotherly Puerto Rican people for their independence and the cessation of all expressions of colonialism in our continent, a cause well represented here in this Forum by the fighter Oscar López Rivera.

To support the historic victory of President López Obrador in the Mexican land. To demand the return the return of the Malvinas to Argentina as well as the South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands. To ratify the importance of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), UNASUR and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), as expressions of the will for Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration.

To reaffirm the importance for the struggle of our peoples of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, in which the inalienable right to choose their political, economic, social and cultural system is ratified.

To offer solidarity to the Palestinian, Syria and the Saharawi Republic peoples.

To learn to use more and better the possibilities of technology to flood the truths into infinite spaces of the planet’s internet where today the lies reigns. We must be more creative in spreading our truths to face our adversaries, who have been able to lie, distort and silence the revolutionary work. To reiterate the unconditional support for the struggle for social justice and the well-being of human beings without distinction, anywhere in the world, and our willingness to share what we have. That is the revolutionary spirit that has been bequeathed to us by the enduring example of José Martí, Che Guevara and Fidel, and continued by Comrade General Raúl Castro Ruz.

Unity also to demand the lifting of the criminal blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba, which remains the main obstacle to our economic development, and demand the return of the illegally occupied territory, against the will of the Cuban people, by the US Naval Base in the eastern province of Guantánamo.

Compañeras and compañeros:

A critical balance of the Latin American and Caribbean reality allows us to affirm that despite all the efforts of Yankee imperialism, the flame of rebellion is maintained in the Patria Grande, of Bolivar and of Martí.

This gathering has ratified the permanent presence of the legacy of Fidel, Chávez and Che in our struggles.

The tributes paid to the Commander in Chief and the Heroic Guerrilla strengthens our commitment to building a better world.

In Cuba there is not and will not be a return of the capitalists, nor concessions of any kind to those who, in a thousand different ways, seek to distance us from the historical internationalist positions of the Revolution. I underline this and ask that it be understood as a solemn oath before Fidel.

I wish to conclude with these ideas and convictions, which I share thinking of Fidel, Che and Raúl, leaders of the internationalist, anti-imperialist and unitary policy of the Cuban Revolution.

Only expect from us efforts and decisions to protect, unite, add, multiply, organize, fight and succeed. There will never be room to divide or desist! The revolutionary and socialist Cuba, Fidelista and Martiana, will not give in to their anti-imperialist positions.

The Cuban Revolution will uphold its principles of solidarity and internationalism.

Today we are all Fidel and our slogans will always be:

¡Patria o Muerte!  ¡Venceremos!

¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Source: Granma International, translated by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau