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Díaz-Canel, the president of Cuba, has reaffirmed the firm commitment: We will not give up; we will not betray; and we will never surrender.

President Miguel M Díaz-Canel Bermúdez was delivering a speech in early-October, 2018 during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Cuba’s independence struggle in La Demajagua.

Amidst slogans of Viva, Díaz-Canel declared:

Socialism or death!

It is a call of the exploited around the world, a reiteration of the historic task the world proletariat never repudiates as it stands for the world humanity, as it struggles against the exploiters, the imperialists. And, socialism is people’s political-economic system. People never die. Thence, socialism never dies, and the onward march of socialism never ceases.

The president said: We have struggled 150 years and we will continue struggling, always onward to victory.

He cited Fidel telling on October 10, 1968: The Cuban people, “just as it struggled for 100 years for its destiny, is capable of struggling another 100 for this same destiny.”

Fidel’s declaration was in the context of the world capitalist-imperialist system. This context has not changed.

Referring to the imperialist power, the Cuban president said, the contemporary power is hounding Cuba for the last 60 years. He expressed hope that Cuba will find the solution. He said: The Revolution is the same one.

The Cuban leader based his confidence on the following logic:

“It is possible to triumph,” he said, “starting with nothing, at times with no weapons other than morality and patriotism. And, that from a struggle under the worst circumstances, emerges the vast reservoir of courage and perseverance.

The Cuban leader was telling of human spirit for a free, dignified life. The morality of this spirit is fundamentally different from the morality of imperialism. The morality of people’s spirit is revolutionary.

Díaz-Canel told: Today history is demanding of us review and learning, indispensable to our moving to a higher stage of the same Revolution that has not ceased 150 years after it began.

The question of moving to a higher stage of revolution is a fundamental question. It is crucial for keeping the revolution alive in the world dominated by the capitalist system. It is essential as the revolution is encircled by the imperialist world order.

The Cuban leader cited Fidel: “Fidel said in 1968 that if we do not understand the historical process of the Revolution, ‘We won’t know anything about politics.’ And, he [Fidel] called on us to learn and study history. Our adversaries ask us to turn the page and forget history.”

Learning from history is an indispensible task to carry on the revolutionary process, to avoid confusions capitalism creates to derail people’s journey.

He mentioned the challenges Cuba is facing:

Imperialist attack; annexationist tendency of a few inside Cuba as these elements do not have confidence that Cuba can stand on its own strength; and unity.

The statement reflects a part of the world situation – imperialist assaults in countries with resources or having geostrategic/tactical position. The statement also reflects one of the contradictions Cuba is facing – an annexationist tendency, which is essentially capitulation to imperialism. Societies in transition and striving for building up socialism or a self-reliant economy with dignity are persistently facing direct and indirect imperialist assaults and attacks.

In his speech delivered in the UN General Assembly in late-September, 2018, the Cuban president mentioned imperialism’s acts, essentially aggression, against Cuba. These include aggressive rhetoric of the US; the US policy for subverting the political, economic, social and cultural system in Cuba; fabricate pretexts for and scenarios of tension and hostility; overt and covert programs for interference in Cuba’s internal affairs; and spend tens of millions of dollars for carrying on these activities. These are violation of the standards and principles upon which the UN rests, and in particular, of Cuba’s sovereignty as an independent nation.

Díaz-Canel also mentioned the imperialist economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba, which is the most comprehensive and longest economic sanction in human history.

The UN General Assembly universally repudiates the blockade for its criminal and genocidal nature. This blockade in violation of international law is imperialism’s arbitrary and unilateral act. It is also an act of violation of Cuba’s sovereignty, and Cuban people’s rights to self-determination. Violating a people’s rights to self-determination has no moral and legal ground. The blockade tries to strangulate the Cuban economy. With aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade aims to generate hardship of the people, and disrupt the constitutional order of the country.

The imperialist power is spending of millions of dollars to pay individuals acting as its agents within Cuba with the assignment of creating law and order situation in the country, subverting legitimately established constitutional order, and carrying on imperialist propaganda. These are widely known facts now.

These are acts of interference in internal affairs of any country. In real terms, this is aggression. Similar acts are not allowed in imperialist countries. Only countries without the sense of dignity allow/tolerate imperialism’s similar acts.

This imperialist aggression is a major impediment to the Cuban people’s efforts to develop their economy, to improve their political, social and cultural life, to materialize their aspiration to achieve progress. Fundamentally, it is an act to impair a people’s efforts to build up a dignified, peaceful, prosperous and equitable life, and an act aiming at subjugating them, which is a crime against humanity. Moreover, there was no act of provocation from Cuba.

Rather, the country with a small resource-base always stands in solidarity with people around the world. Earthquake ravaged people in Pakistan and Haiti, hurricane demolished countries in the Caribbean region, health care-scarce societies including Venezuela and Brazil, apartheid dominated people in the Africa are witnesses of this solidarity. There is no other similar precedent of acts of solidarity in material terms – a resource scarce island-country under longest imperialist blockade in human history responding to the needs of humanity with medical aid and personnel in shortest possible time. In most cases, this was the country, which was the first to reach with its materials and human resources the areas devastated by natural calamity. This is an achievement in human history a struggling people have made under the banner of building up socialism. However, imperialism with vast resources and the most powerful machineries – economic, political, propaganda and military – ever manufactured in the world history is always trying to demolish the people’s journey towards further advancement. It’s a crime, an act unjustified, an act without any moral standing and logic.

A group of scholars ignores this perspective while they evaluate/review (1) performance of the Cuban economy; (2) the people’s initiative to build up socialism; (3) the system of democracy the people have designed, which is fundamentally different from the “democracy”, actually exploitocracy, exploiting classes practice in their political system. It’s neither ignorance nor stupidity of this group of scholars, but their dishonest practice with information to trick and confuse the commoners.

The US imposed blockade creates a shortage of resources, which consequently makes the Cuban people’s journey to prosperity difficult. The imperialism’s illogic is exposed while it is found that its military assistance, billions of dollars, reach undemocratic/autocratic rulers, reach repressive regimes. Those billions of dollars of military “aid” are not spent for welfare of people. Rather, those dollars are spent to repress people, to safeguard imperialist interests, and to keep on tension in regions.

The Cuban president reiterated the principles of foreign policy Raúl Castro declared on the UN’s 70th anniversary: Cuba stands against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; Cuba stands for a fairer and more equitable international order, focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being.

This principle is fundamentally opposite to the principles the world imperialist system practices.

Cuba’s policy is, the president said, independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity with the poorest of the world, producers of all the wealth on the planet. The unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty. He said the rich have emptied the meaning of democracy, freedom and human rights.

He cited facts of exploitation and inequality:

The richest 0.7% of the world population owns 46% of all the wealth while the poorer 70% of the population can access only 2.7% of it.

3.460 billion people survive in poverty.

815 million go hungry.

758 million are illiterate.

844 million lack basic services of drinking water.

Referring to the reality, he said these are not the results of socialism. These are the consequence of capitalism, especially of imperialism and neoliberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to capitalist system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.

He referred capitalism: Capitalism consolidates colonialism; gives birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid; spreads wars and conflicts; breaches sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; represses workers, minorities, refugees and migrants; promotes plundering and militarism; threats peace; violates human rights. Capitalism is the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.

He said: No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, which have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems. It is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change although 1.74 trillion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War. Imperialism’s military and nuclear hegemony is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for complete disarmament. Cuba is the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Cuban president cited the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions”, the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called “soft coups” and interference in other states’ internal affairs, the recurrent forms of action by some powers using the most diverse excuses, imperialist power’s discriminatory and selective manipulation with the issue of human rights, and the covert and illegal use of the information and communication technologies to attack other states.

He said: The threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the US. Its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council to impose its political agenda poses challenge and threat to the UN.

The above statements show Cuba’s position on economic and political questions relevant to people’s lives and the world politics.

Fidel Castro declared the same position on the 50th anniversary of the UN. Díaz-Canel cited Fidel: “We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all, without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs”.

It is a principled position unchanged and undistorted. It shows the Cuban people’s political position. The president of Cuba further spelled out the position in the speech:

“We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditionalities.

“In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!

“The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable Nations. This is the path that our people have freely chosen.

“The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.”

He made the following demands:

  1. terminate the blockade,
  2. return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base, and
  3. adequately compensate for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.

He referred the on-going constitutional reform process in Cuba, which is a participatory and democratic exercise.

The process is being carried on through popular discussion of the draft. The draft will be approved through a referendum.

The Cuban leader said: “I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.”

No change in Cuba’s strategic objectives, and ratification of irrevocable nature of socialism is a bold position that the Cuban people is reiterating.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.

 

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