Speech delivered by the President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Foundation of the People’s Republic of China, in the Universal Hall of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), on September 29, 1999
A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela
Edited by Walter Lippmann and Robert Sandels
Notes on the seventh anniversary of this speech: 9/30/2005:
Original Spanish transcript:
(Shorthand Version – Council of State)
As you can see, they were closing the curtains [laughter], but I looked at my watch and noticed we had a little time left. That’s why I thought it would be worthwhile to use these minutes to add a few brief thoughts about what was said here.
A few days ago we were busy with a great number of activities but we often thought that it would now be 50 years since the Chinese Revolution, not only the revolution, but also the independence of China. And that was of really great historical importance.
Similar words are often used, but now we are faced with a real event, a date of real historical importance. And I asked myself: How are we going to commemorate it, what relevance are we going to give it? That’s why I asked about the program they were going to have. I asked the Ambassador and first he told me there would be a reception in the Embassy on the evening of the 30th and warmly invited me.
I answered, “Ambassador, the evening of the 30th is not the anniversary of the triumph of the Chinese Revolution!”
And he said, “Yes, because at that hour on the 30th in China it’s already the 1st of October.”
And, actually, the reception was not being organized for the 2nd, which would have been the result of organizing it, as is traditionally done, on the first. By doing it tomorrow night, on the 30th, it would coincide perfectly with the day of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Also, I know that they have set up television screens so that the guests can view the parade and the commemoration in Tiananmen Square.
I was very pleased that the Ambassador remembered that Cuba was the first Latin American country to recognize the People’s Republic of China and to establish relations with it, because there was a very strong blockade, an effort of total isolation. In fact, there was total obedience to the United States in our hemisphere, where there were even many countries, like the Caribbean sister islands of Anglophone extraction still not independent. The independence of those islands increased the strength and spirit of independence in this hemisphere, but no one here in Latin America then had relations with the People’s Republic of China, and that was the case in many parts of the world.
Since we also became independent on January 1, 1959, it did not take long to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China.
But he remembered something more, and that is that when the Cuban Revolution triumphed, China was represented in the Security Council and the United Nations by Taiwan. At the time, only the Soviet Union, one of the permanent members of the Security Council, was not an ally of the United States. And as an example of imperialist imposition, the most populous country in the world was ignored completely. The oldest country in the world, we could say, of the modern ones, the most ancient civilization in the world was not represented in the Security Council, as was its right according to all the agreements made during the Second World War.
They kept Taiwan there, the defeated puppet government, which continued to be an ally of the United States. We had to fight hard, every year, many countries, mostly of the Third World, including Cuba, just as today, we fight the blockade. We fought for the recognition of the People’s Republic of China and for it to occupy its rightful seat on the Security Council as one of its permanent members.
This was achieved in 1971 when it was no longer possible to resist world public opinion and the growing membership of the United Nations. At that time, many African countries and other areas of the world won their political independence – countries of great weight. After the Second World War, India, another of the most populous countries in the world besides China, achieved independence. Indonesia, also a heavily-populated Asian country, achieved its independence. Japan was occupied for many years and gradually achieved the rights of a sovereign nation. Many others in the Middle East received independence, as did many in the South Pacific. I have already mentioned the Caribbean. Consequently many countries were added, and it was the determination and tenacity of this struggle that finally won China its basic rights.
Today, 26 years later, I would say that event achieved its full significance within the present world situation due to China’s importance and weight. Today China is incomparably greater than it was when its status as a member of the Security Council was finally accepted.
China has been the country that has least used its veto power in the Security Council. China has used it only on exceptional occasions – perhaps Alarcon knows how many. On the other hand, the “master of the world,” because it does not own the world but almost all the world, has used this right an infinite number of times.
Today, the Third World has a country that is a friend, that Third World which supported China so often, has a friend among the Security Council’s permanent members.
I remembered something that was not mentioned here: the suffering of the Chinese people, the enormous sacrifices of that people after the triumph of their revolution and their independence. I have to say it that way, because the country was not fully independent, just as Cuba was not, until the day of the Revolution’s triumph. For example, they were economically blockaded for a long time, almost totally isolated.
During the earlier years it had the collaboration of the Soviet Union – to some extent, because the Soviet Union had just come out of a terrible war where its industry, its agriculture, its infrastructure were practically destroyed – a support the USSR offered, a determined support that I know the Chinese appreciated very much, until differences and difficulties arose between them.
I do not want to dwell on these subjects but I recall the years of the economic blockade of China. And I also remember the U.S. troops under the command of MacArthur, their intervention in the Korean conflict, a country that they divided and that is still divided; and they reached the Chinese border. Very soon after their war of liberation, no less than one million Chinese volunteers took up arms and participated in that conflict together with the Korean people. They inflicted a severe and terrible blow to the interventionist troops of the United States and its allies until reestablishing the situation that existed before that war, that is, the present border between the two parts of Korea. This event cannot be forgotten nor can the thousands of lives Chinese troops lost.
I have talked to some who participated in that counter-attack. It was during a severe cold, crossing mountains, without mechanical means, with total air control by the United States and its allies and even threatening to use nuclear weapons. In the desperation of their defeat, there were many in the United States who favored attacking beyond the Chinese border. The advance of the Chinese troops was uncontainable in spite of the enormous differences in military power, until they reached the point that is still today that line – a tremendous battle.
Later the economic blockade continued. The Yankee imperialists also intervened in Viet Nam and unleashed a genocidal war. There, the Chinese expressed solidarity with the Vietnamese people. At the time, there were two countries, China and the Soviet Union, who supplied weapons and gave political support to the Vietnamese who fought heroically and were victorious. This victory was obtained during the 1970s. Cuba also made its modest contribution of a free annual supply of sugar for the Vietnamese during the war years. It’s worth mentioning, but only as an expression of the good will and the spirit of solidarity of our people who also offered total political support. There was also an enormous feeling of solidarity with Viet Nam by our people.
The Chinese had to endure so many hardships after the war, and for how long! But imperialism was repeatedly defeated. The lesson of Viet Nam marked important turning points. I would say that Cuba’s resistance to the blockades, the mercenary invasions, the threats of nuclear war and all that, marked other little points that were also important in that struggle. They demonstrated to the world that it was possible to fight and win against imperialism. They suffered a harsh economic blockade for many years, a little less than us, but at the time it was a record. They were blockaded for 28 years, and we are now going on 40 years.
The events mentioned are irrefutable proof that this lunacy, these criminal policies, cannot last forever.
After all the blows it has received from many parts, the United States began to understand that its position on China was unsustainable from the point of view of rights, of political principles, of the United Nations Charter and everything else. But it was also unsustainable according to its own economic interests. China was an enormous potential market. In fact, they have advantages in many things. In one sense in particular they have an enormous advantage compared to Cuba, and that is the fact that their population – they are have a little more – their population was about one hundred and twenty times more than that of Cuba, and a territory, as mentioned here, of 9.6 million square kilometers, almost one hundred times ours and, undoubtedly a country of great natural resources.
I could add other advantages: They did not live in the West as we do. We are bearing, to a large extent, the culture inherited from the West. China had a millennia-long culture. The Chinese people’s great advantage is its language, its own very complex writing. It is not an easy language, not precisely of Latin origin nor, we must say, of Western origin. They had a millennial language. I have no way of knowing how much it evolved since the period before our times. These cultural features are a very important force with which to defend the identity, the integrity, and independence of a great country and are less susceptible to penetration by the western culture that surrounds us.
You can see what the Ambassador explained: after 25 years of conflicts, wars, and blockades, they had recovered important rights such as that seat in the Security Council, a growing respect in the world, and in spite of errors, as the Ambassador pointed out, of various kinds of difficulties that occurred in its own internal policy at a time when the West had no other choice but to acknowledge the rights of China. And when all the blockades ended, you can see the extraordinary rhythm of progress in the country.
What he read here – I was just looking over a copy of the speech and had already heard about some appearances of the Ambassador – a sustained average growth of 9.8% for 21 years has no precedent in the history of any human society.
I did some calculations of how many times it doubled its economic production during that period. By then, they had already achieved important advances. I remember that after the revolutionary triumph, the Chinese built great seawalls rock by rock to prevent flooding and promote irrigation. Many social programs were begun from the very triumph of the Revolution. But undoubtedly the economic advances were slowed down considerably by the economic blockade to which subjective factors were added as well.
When, as I said, they had to recognize the rights of China and all the blockades disappeared and they rectified some errors – I don’t call them errors but rather their points of view, we would have no right to judge each internal event in China – but, as the Ambassador explained, they had made certain corrections, had overcome certain errors and everyone commits errors and that cannot be denied. After this, they achieved this impressive record because, as he pointed out, and above all, they grew since 1978, for 21 years. There is no precedent; there has never existed anything like this figure.
It is truly very satisfying to listen to the Ambassador reaffirm that these successes were possible due to the political ideology, to a political science, to Marxism-Leninism, to which they added important theoretical contributions of Mao Zedong, theoretical contributions to the revolutionary struggle, theoretical contributions to Marxism to which they later added theoretical and practical contributions of Deng Xiaoping. Added to this is the undeniably hard-working characteristic of the Chinese people. They are a people, really very hardworking. That is recognized everywhere in the world and, in Cuba, it is acknowledged because, dedicated to agriculture, specifically vegetable production, they greatly contribute to the supply of fresh produce in the city.
So, this spirit of labor is an important factor that, in my opinion, also contributed to the advances of the Chinese people, along with a theory and through a revolution that won, together with deep social changes, the independence of that great nation; a true and exemplary revolution when you analyze its roots, from the beginning when it organized its first nucleus of the Chinese Communist Party during the twenties, its rich history and, among the outstanding events, the long march, a military achievement that is unparalleled in history – and history has many military achievements.
We have read some books on what constituted that advance, day by day, surrounded by large enemy units of the puppet government that was supplied with all the weapons it needed, with hundreds of divisions. And that great military achievement occurred in very difficult conditions, always surrounded by large forces, constantly outmaneuvering the enemy, overcoming natural barriers. At times these included snow-capped mountains, and other times, wide and rushing rivers, until they reached the base that would be their permanent site during the war of liberation.
There was a time that the others, the so-called nationalists, the Puppets and reactionaries were fighting a foreign invasion, a war against the Japanese militarists and, to some extent, joined forces with the revolutionary Chinese. However, they were not serving the people nor the true independence of the country and they made all kinds of errors and had all kinds of weaknesses. Many times the Communists had to fight against the nationalists of Chiang Kai-Shek and against Japanese troops. In spite of this, they made a decisive contribution to the defeat of the Japanese militarists. These events are also in the pages of modern Chinese history.
And those who served reaction and Yankee imperialism at the end of the Second World War, who were crushingly and irreversibly defeated, took refuge on the little island of Taiwan, which is an integral part of Chinese territory because it was a part of China for an infinite length of time, like the keys to the north of Cuba, more so than the Isle of Youth is ours. Those who live there are of Chinese nationality, speak the Chinese language and have Chinese culture in spite of the western penetration they have received. This possession is an unquestionable right of the Chinese nation. It absolutely cannot be denied that it is an internal problem of China. No one has the right to interfere, and that is what they demand: respect for the sovereignty of their country, the universal recognition of this right. They are not demanding the union of two different nations, of different ethnicities, and different cultures.
Even the Taiwanese, until recently, and especially in the Security Council, spoke for 22 years of only one China completely integrated. Until recently they have been speaking in this language.
Ah! What was the first military intervention by the United States to secure Taiwan? I remember. During the days of the Korean War, the U.S. fleet took up a position between the continent and the island of Taiwan. This cannot be forgotten. That position was maintained by force. The country did not have conditions for that battle, nor did the country want to wage this battle. The country demanded its rights, demanded recognition, and wanted to solve the problem peacefully. What it determined with all its rights, was that it would not admit the loss of part of its territory, the tearing up of its country through the declaration and recognition of an independent republic of Taiwan. They have said it categorically, that they will not permit it, and I am sure that they will not, as I have the hope that this problem and the recognition of the theory and the practice of the inalienable rights of China occur without any form of war or loss of blood.
What is really happening today is that the United States and other western countries, while they talk of only one China, supply the separatist government of the island with the most modern and sophisticated weapons and nourish the movement against the integrity of China.
The Ambassador recalled and Machadito also mentioned the problem of Hong Kong. They knew how to have the necessary patience until the day came when the West and the world had no other choice but to acknowledge the right of the People’s Republic of China to the reintegration of this piece of its territory seized by colonial wars, disgraceful colonial wars.
Today much is said against drug trafficking. Then, the British Empire took over that territory and the West unleashed a war and sent troops who reached Beijing to impose the rights of the Western powers over the opium trade with China. That is a historical truth.
They recalled that this same year Macao would be returned, the little piece that was in the hands of a European country and it would be done peacefully through an agreement made thanks to Chinese patience, a patience we should all learn from and that, partially, we have. And if we have not learned from it we have figured out on our own because the duty of all revolutionaries it to also act with the necessary wisdom.
They waited and that year took possession of the territory. To make things easier, they thought of a country with two systems. They promised those who stayed in Hong Kong the existing economic and social systems, the existing institutions but under Chinese sovereignty. They have also made this offer to Taiwan, with an even broader scope. The proof of the peaceful spirit of China is the fact that, even though the Portuguese enclave of Macao had no form of defense, they did not take advantage of the circumstance or any situation to take over the enclave.
India, a neighboring country, also very populated, did not have so much patience and, at a certain time, took over a Portuguese enclave that was on Indian territory. It is a good example of the peaceful spirit of the People’s Republic of China. They did not use force to recover that territory and with the help of time and international support they are recovering all the rights they were stripped of.
The Ambassador mentioned how they had broken up the country. He could mention many other things. I mentioned the history of opium. How many crimes were committed against that great nation until mid-century, and how many rights were denied and ignored until they were reestablished in the course of the final two-thirds of this century!
Respect the people! Respect territorial integrity! This is not the time to break up nations. At a time when many peoples, separated by borders, by flags and hymns fight for integration, join together, and peacefully wipe out borders, the countries of the Caribbean fight for integration. The countries of Central America fight for integration The countries of South America fight for integration. Latin America fights for it. In the future, no small nation can exist isolated in practice.
I will say more: Switzerland a country traditionally very protective of its sovereignty that, due to its excellent geographic position in the heart of the Alps, could maintain neutrality during the First and Second World Wars. And Switzerland, I know because I went there and spoke with leaders who were, along with 49% of the people, in favor of integration into the European Economic Community, only a small fraction is lacking to make a majority – could not live alone in the Alps, isolated from the rest of the European community. The move is inexorably toward integration in that community.
Who has the right to support the disintegration of China? Who has the right to deny China’s demand for acknowledgment of its sovereignty over Taiwan? It is absurd that when the entire world is integrating that someone should call for the disintegration of a piece of China.
You can see the disaster of disintegration of the Soviet Union countries; a disintegration that became a race of all to run, primarily the United States, to invest and establish its hegemony, its domination and its possession of the fundamental resources of the former republics, mainly gas and oil, products of which they are very rich, as well as other minerals.
The world doesn’t move towards disintegration, it moves towards integration. It is not only a historical fact but also a principle of the modern world, a necessity of modern life. That is what the People’s Republic of China demands. And now, the People’s Republic of China of today, of this millennium, or of this century about to begin, is very different from that republic that arose 50 years ago in a country devastated by many years of war, against foreign invasion.
Added to this was the revolutionary war. More than 20 years of fierce battles against the internal and external enemies of the Chinese people. The country destroyed, a country that was poor, a country that had been exploited by external and internal exploiters. Everything needed to be built. I already mentioned under what conditions.
It is a country whose economy strongly moves forward. It’s curious; Machadito mentioned their contribution during the Asian crisis. There is something more: the People’s Republic of China gave an extraordinary service to the world in recent months, especially since 1998 in that crisis that began in Southeast Asia and that lead the second world power in the field of economy, Japan, into a deep crisis, that later spread to Russia and was seriously affecting the stocks and shares of the United States exchanges and which threatened to wipe out the economy of Latin America.
You can see how great the danger was that Latin America as a whole grew, if it grew at all, by 0.5% in 1999; and if it grew 0.5% it is because the countries with an important weight in the region produced greater growth. Mexico was between 4% and 5%. There are countries with growth below zero, negative in several countries, several important countries. It was a very serious world economic threat that has not yet been overcome, and it is not known with certainty if it will soon be overcome and there is the certainty – at least I have it – that when it recovers it will not be for long.
China had made an enormous economic sacrifice without which the crisis would not have been stopped. It was in a complicated situation because its exports grew year by year, but when the Asian crisis devaluated the currencies in many countries with a certain level of development – the so-called Asian tigers, pride of the neoliberal economy, pride of imperialism as an example of what can be achieved through their adverse formulas – and when they fell in a matter of days, since one after the other economy of those countries collapsed with terrible consequences, both for the economy of the world, especially for the countries of the Third World that are totally unprotected in this crisis, the Chinese found themselves at a disadvantage because the prices of the merchandize of all these countries cheapened amazingly because with the devaluation of their currency they could export whatever they wanted at low prices.
China could have devaluated the yuan to protect itself against that competition, to maintain the rhythm of increase in its exports and with this maintain an uninterrupted rise in growth. The world was shaking – the world! Not just the Third World but also the industrialized world was shaking thinking of the idea that China, with its rights, and to protect its exports and economic growth could devaluate the yuan. It did not and still there has been no acknowledgement that the People’s Republic of China deserves for this service it gave to the world and at the cost of its own economy.
In other words, it acted with a great sense of responsibility, the prestige of the country grew last year more than the 7.8% that Machadito mentioned referring to the growth of the Chinese economy. The prestige of China must have grown, for this reason alone, at least by 20% or 30%. But I think its prestige deserved a growth of 200% because no one can imagine the consequences of a measure of this kind by China. However, they are haggling over its membership in the World Trade Organization and we are all fighting for the membership of China to the WTO.
Europe and the United States assume the right to decide who becomes a member and who does not. The battle in the United Nations repeats itself. And the WTO is frightful because it can be a terrible instrument against the interests of the Third World.
The Third World is interested to have China in the World Trade Organization, which is responsible for regulating this activity; an instrument created, undoubtedly – the same as other instruments that already exist such as the IMF and similar institutions that have imposed the famous neoliberalism whose consequences our compatriots know about through the thousands of visitors who come from all over the world and the press releases regarding this ever increasing loss of prestige and more damaging – like an instrument of domination. All that imperialism has created since the fall of the socialist camp have been instruments to strengthen its domination in all fields. In the economic sphere it enjoys some incredible privileges that cannot continue to survive. They are the ones who print the money reserves of the world, investing only in the paper. The Europeans are trying to create another to protect itself from these super-privileges that exists at the cost of the interests of the rest of the world and benefit, to a certain extent, by sharing them.
All these subjects are part of the issues that must be discussed to change the existing world order that has been established for that reason.
The club of the rich, a group of rich countries – there are around twenty something, I think it is 29 now – invented a multilateral agreement project of investments to make it an international treaty. Today there are bilateral agreements, but the member countries of this club known as the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) invented a project that was shrouded in silence. They discussed it behind closed doors and were getting ready to release it when some people – I think it was in France – discovered the text that, although it was known and being discussed the contents were unknown. They mounted a great scandal and the authors had to put a stop to it.
Where this had to be discussed was in the WTO because over a hundred countries were there and not the 30 richest countries. They did not want to discuss it in the WTO although the WTO was set up as an instrument to strengthen the economic, political and all other forms of United States hegemony. They imposed the conditions of that organization as an instrument of imperialism. That’s why it was created although it could be sidetracked to become an instrument of the peoples where we of the Third World are a wide majority. But the peoples of the Third World are very divided because of their poverty they depend heavily on the United States and the trade institutions and financial organizations it created and that, often, breaks the unity.
Acting in unity, the Third World with China in the WTO could become an instrument of justice, an instrument of resistance to the hegemony of the United States, for a new economic order, against the current economic order they have imposed which is the important reason to reform the United Nations. All this is linked. The WTO could be an instrument of justice. We are a majority. We are the majority in the United Nations as you can see from some of the votes in the UN General Assembly, for example, those against the blockade.
One day the General Assembly managed to impose the recognition of China’s rights – the real China, the only China that exists – in the Security Council. Ah, that is why we also call for more powers for the UN General Assembly. That institution must change.
The Chinese ambassador clearly explained and mentioned all the concepts of limited sovereignty, global threats, right to intervention like the one in Yugoslavia, to which is added the new strategic concept of NATO, approved days before that genocidal war, a right that NATO assigns itself of intervening whenever it wants in any country.
As I said, all these problems are linked; the intention of ignoring the United Nations, that is all we have; a world organization that exists, that was founded after the Second World War. It no longer corresponds to the present situation in the world, having almost 200 independent states. It began with around thirty or forty something states controlled by the victorious powers after the Second World War. It definitely needs to be restructured and democratized, but this requires tactics and strategies. At least it is very clear for me the importance of the ties of the Third World with China and the need for the support of China in that restructuring that can no longer be delayed because China is a permanent member with the right to veto.
Under certain limits the United States can try to prevent it and will do so for a long time. But it will have to discuss it, as it has had to discuss other things. It refused to discuss it for many years and will be unable, also, to prevent the democratization of the United Nations, as a result of the mobilization of world public opinion, through the unity of the nations.
He mentioned those principles that imperialism wants to wipe out. It is very important to listen here to the Chinese Ambassador asserting that these principles must be defended and that is a fundamental factor of Chinese foreign policy.
Fortunately, yesterday, we had the opportunity to listen to the Russian Chancellor – because Russia exists. It is not a superpower but still is a great power.
What is my opinion about the difference between a superpower and a great power? That the former has the power to destroy the latter fifteen times over and the latter has the power to destroy the other three or four times, but one is enough, and hopefully that will never happen!
Russia is a great power. China is a great power in a different way, and in some ways a much greater power than Russia; but Russia is a great nuclear power. It has a nuclear military power that China does not. China does not yet have it and hopefully it will not need it.
What forces China to maintain a technical development in the military field is simply the aggressive policy against it, the interference in its internal affairs, the denial of its fundamental rights, and strategic concepts that amount to threats. At any time, NATO could intervene because it decides that China posed a global threat due to some internal problem – any kind of problem that might arise. It is inconceivable that they assume that right. That is why I say I hope they never have to become a great nuclear power!
But what do the others do? Invest increasingly in weapons, in the development of military technology. Recently, we read the declaration of one of the nominees to the presidency of the United States who promised to invest enormous sums in military research to improve conventional weapons, among other things. What is the purpose of all this improvement? Why all that technological development when the Cold War has been long dead? What is the justification for all this weaponry but the clear intention of dominating the world, not only through political and economic measures but also military ones, to maintain discipline in this chaotic world? I am not going to try to explain why, but we know very well all the details and the hundreds of arguments for why the world is chaotic. And those cannot be solved with nuclear or conventional weapons. It is their desperation that makes them take this course, to hold everything in their hands: military, political, and economic.
Even Europe was humiliated by its ridiculous role in the war against Yugoslavia since 100% of the bombs were made in the United States and 90% of the operations were made by US aviation and missiles. Europe felt so humiliated that the ambition to have its own European forces has taken wing because of the crushing superiority created by its ally. What a difficult ally Europe has and what a dangerous one in every way.
I already told you how pleased I was to listen to the Russian Chancellor – I didn’t say Soviet, right? I said Russian because sometimes we make mistakes out of an old habit. Now it is not Soviet, it is not a socialist country. Today The International would not be sung in an event to commemorate something related to Russia. But Russia is a country threatened by NATO, which is moving towards its borders. Russia is a threatened country that US imperialism wants to see weakened and even torn apart, to take over its enormous natural resources. The great capital of the United States is not satisfied with the investments it has made in all parts of the defunct USSR, above all in the area of the Caspian Sea where there are said to be enormous oil and gas reserves, and in other republics in the region. They are not satisfied with their ambitious program of taking over and controlling all that wealth. They also want to take over and control all the wealth of Russia, apply conditions, even upbraiding it a few days ago when they scolded the country in a meeting of the G-7 regarding the financial scandal.
That is not a socialist nation. It has common interests, many common interests with other countries. It has them with Europe, and Europe is neither calm nor happy. Above all, Europe does not like adventures imposed from the other side of the ocean, like the Yugoslav adventure and any others the United States might think up.
Since that last experience of the genocidal war, more proclamations are made of the new strategic-military doctrines and enthusiastic political theories intended to ravage the United Nations Charter and establish the rights of the powerful to intervene in any part of the world. The world feels threatened and we know that well.
It’s very good, we have read, that relations between Russia and China are improving. That’s very good. We have read that they have adopted similar positions concerning the barbarous war against Yugoslavia. That’s good. We know that they have taken common positions against the alleged right to dismantle whatever it wants to, like they dismantled Yugoslavia and succeeded in dismantling the USSR.
All these are issues that worry many nations in the world.
And in Europe there wasn’t only the disintegration of the USSR but U.S. capital, which as I said, is taking over the economies of the old socialist countries. They want to take over everything there. Ah, but we are living in new times, a new century that will begin in something over a year – because 2000 is the last year of this century, lets not forget this – there are great challenges and tasks for the nations of the Third World, for countries like China, for countries like Russia.
We know that Russia tries to develop relations not only with Europe but also with the Third World. And we heard from the Russian Chancellor words similar to those said today by the Chinese Ambassador referring to the principles that I mentioned previously, intending to sweep away the rights of the peoples who form part of the United Nations and the principles that provided some measure of relative protection for their sovereignty independence. I say relative because we know that, in spite of these rights, the United States has intervened in a group of countries during these last decades without anyone’s permission – we know that – but always clashing with international law and now they want to do as they please without troubling with any international law or any established principles.
A hard battle must be waged in the United Nations, like the one our delegation waged. There is much to do battle about and there are many common interests among some of the nations that are members of the Security Council and the rest of the world.
For various reasons, the world is becoming aware of these problems and it is visible. There is sufficient strength to resist, to move forward, more so backed by the laws of history and the reality of a system and world economic order that is unsustainable; that is collapsing and that is capable of collapsing by itself, although this collapse must be helped along. And more than aiding in the collapse, the world must be made aware of these realities so that the peoples can resist this order with more strength and contribute to its progressive disappearance. Although one is sure that the disappearance will not be very progressive, because when a catastrophic economic crisis occurs, like the one that almost occurred, and being greater, because the more the delay the stronger the crisis will be, the spirit of struggle of the peoples must be lifted, their will to resist. We must make them aware that they must prepare for new concepts, a new concept of the world, a new world economic order, truly fair, that must come about as the result of the struggle of the peoples.
The peoples must struggle not only to protect their economy and Rights, but also must struggle to defend their own survival. They wipe out the environment; they destroy it. Scarcely a year ago Mitch hit Central America with devastating damage and now we see images of colossal floods, a visible climactic change and that no one denies. Who does it hit first? The poor countries; the nations of the Third World.
That is why I thought it was necessary to express these thoughts because I feel they are very important questions, worthy to be taken into consideration on a day such as today. But, I also wanted to say that, during these difficult years, when we suddenly lost our markets, we had the Chinese market. When it was difficult to acquire some supplies, we acquired some of them in the Chinese People’s Republic. Our ships come and go, they take and bring products. They have a very developed pharmaceutical industry, many raw materials for our drug industry, many raw materials for our pharmaceutical industry; some that are very difficult to acquire we find in China and at good prices. They have cooperated with our country. They have developed exchanges and economic relations with Cuba. They have also developed political relations with Cuba during the special period. Most of its leaders have visited our country.
We had the honor of receiving President Jiang Zemin and, in our fist contact, we were not wrong in appraising his intelligence, his political and human conditions, his capacity as a responsible leader and statesman with solid principles.
We also see in China, because we read the news cables every day, the other country where western propaganda is furious. A day doesn’t pass where international cables do not appear about internal questions and affairs in China. If China arrests someone for breaking the law, the outcry follows immediately. If China forbids a small splinter group because they are endangering the stability and union of the country or because of a policy that is treasonable to the interests of this great people, the outcry follows. Today the propaganda concentrates mostly against Cuba, but there is also strong propaganda against China, a diversionist propaganda using all the mass media possible creating new stations transmitting western ideas, western consumer habits or US madness to the 1.25 billion Chinese people – against a country with which it is waging, as much as possible, an ideological battle.
That is why, today, aware of our forces, the potential forces of the world, the potential allies of the Third World, the possibility of our peoples, thinking about this, listening to the words of the Ambassador, I felt a deep satisfaction and was very pleased to attend this event although I had not thought of speaking. I’ve extended myself a little more than what I had promised – and to listen to the Ambassador here speak the phrase that received so much applause and in Spanish because he spoke with precision in Spanish. He knows Cuba. He lived and worked in Cuba several years ago. That is why he speaks Spanish so clearly, like any one of us, when he said: “Socialismo o muerte” and when he added “Venceremos” he said something that we are absolutely convinced about.
Also, that is why I was so deeply moved to hear The International in this event endorsed by what was said here, expressed with exact data that was outlined here to demonstrate that only socialism can solve the problems of the world. Only socialism can feed 1.25 billion Chinese, give them a home, a television for each Chinese family, and many other household articles, and especially the essential resources for life. That is to say, that country feeds approximately 22% of the world’s population with 7% of the world’s agricultural lands.
Another great example: The country went through periods of starvation under the domination of the feudal lords and capitalism, always allied with colonial and dominating powers when the population was only 400 million or 500 million. Today the population has tripled and hunger has been eradicated forever. And here the Ambassador explained that they have been capable of producing 40% of the eggs produced in the world, 490 million tons of cereals, and other similar statistics.
And we could say that China is just beginning, that 7.8% growth was by brute force. How could they manage that if the rhythm of exports fell considerably? Ah! Because of the resources they have been accumulating. High reserves of convertible currencies allowed them not only to make the contribution I spoke of about the yuan but of maintaining a rhythm of growth that, if it was not going to depend so much on exports, would depend on the increase of internal consumption and maintain the rhythm of development for employment, because in all these tasks of restructuring, logically there is an important need to create jobs. They must also confront the movement from the countryside to the city as the former increases productivity and produces a surplus of hand labor.
They were able to maintain the yuan. It would have been easier to devaluate the yuan but they did not do it. Instead, they maintained their reserves, managed their economy with wisdom and managed a 7.8% growth under these conditions. They not only endured the Southeastern Asian crisis in those countries where the owners of capital took their money, where the owners of world finances plundered the last dollar of their reserves creating the ideal conditions for the large US transnationals to acquire companies and factories in any of those countries at a low cost. They not only endured the crisis and without devaluating the yuan but also performed an incredible service to the world. And in spite of that, they grew by 7.8%. They are able to continue the battle, in spite of the difficulties that oppress the world today.
All that has been said today of this story is the fruit of something that is called socialism. It is the fruit of a doctrine that arose to shake the world, a Marxist doctrine, of scientific socialism, a revolution of the poor, by the poor, and for the poor, that has, also made possible this incredible heroic exploit of resisting 40 years of blockade and almost 10 years of special period.
That is why I repeat the slogan with which the Ambassador ended his speech:
¡Socialismo o Muerte!
Hillary Clinton: The Cuba Embargo
Needs To Go, Once And For All
July 31, 2015
In Miami today, Hillary Clinton forcefully expressed her support for normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba and formally called on Congress to lift the Cuba embargo. Hillary emphasized that she believes we need to increase American influence in Cuba, not reduce it — a strong contrast with Republican candidates who are stuck in the past, trying to return to the same failed Cold War-era isolationism that has only strengthened the Castro regime.
To those Republicans, her message was clear: “They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros – it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession – it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed.”
A full transcript of the remarks is included below:
“Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I want to thank Dr. Frank Mora, director of the Kimberly Latin American and Caribbean Center and a professor here at FIU, and before that served with distinction at the Department of Defense. I want to recognize former Congressman Joe Garcia. Thank you Joe for being here – a long time friend and an exemplary educator. The President of Miami-Dade College, Eduardo Padrón and the President of FIU, Mark Rosenberg – I thank you all for being here. And for me it’s a delight to be here at Florida International University. You can feel the energy here. It’s a place where people of all backgrounds and walks of life work hard, do their part, and get ahead. That’s the promise of America that has drawn generations of immigrants to our shores, and it’s a reality right here at FIU.
“Today, as Frank said, I want to talk with you about a subject that has stirred passionate debate in this city and beyond for decades, but is now entering a crucial new phase. America’s approach to Cuba is at a crossroads, and the upcoming presidential election will determine whether we chart a new path forward or turn back to the old ways of the past. We must decide between engagement and embargo, between embracing fresh thinking and returning to Cold War deadlock. And the choices we make will have lasting consequences not just for more than 11 million Cubans, but also for American leadership across our hemisphere and around the world.
“I know that for many in this room and throughout the Cuban-American community, this debate is not an intellectual exercise – it is deeply personal.
“I teared up as Frank was talking about his mother—not able to mourn with her family, say goodbye to her brother. I’m so privileged to have a sister-in-law who is Cuban-American, who came to this country, like so many others as a child and has chartered her way with a spirit of determination and success.
“I think about all those who were sent as children to live with strangers during the Peter Pan airlift, for families who arrived here during the Mariel boatlift with only the clothes on their backs, for sons and daughters who could not bury their parents back home, for all who have suffered and waited and longed for change to come to the land, “where palm trees grow.” And, yes, for a rising generation eager to build a new and better future.
“Many of you have your own stories and memories that shape your feelings about the way forward. Like Miriam Leiva, one of the founders of the Ladies in White, who is with us today – brave Cuban women who have defied the Castro regime and demanded dignity and reform. We are honored to have her here today and I’d like to ask her, please raise your hand. Thank you.
“I wish every Cuban back in Cuba could spend a day walking around Miami and see what you have built here, how you have turned this city into a dynamic global city. How you have succeeded as entrepreneurs and civic leaders. It would not take them long to start demanding similar opportunities and achieving similar success back in Cuba.
“I understand the skepticism in this community about any policy of engagement toward Cuba. As many of you know, I’ve been skeptical too. But you’ve been promised progress for fifty years. And we can’t wait any longer for a failed policy to bear fruit. We have to seize this moment. We have to now support change on an island where it is desperately needed.
“I did not come to this position lightly. I well remember what happened to previous attempts at engagement. In the 1990s, Castro responded to quiet diplomacy by shooting down the unarmed Brothers to the Rescue plane out of the sky. And with their deaths in mind, I supported the Helms-Burton Act to tighten the embargo.
“Twenty years later, the regime’s human rights abuses continue: imprisoning dissidents, cracking down on free expression and the Internet, beating and harassing the courageous Ladies in White, refusing a credible investigation into the death of Oswaldo Paya. Anyone who thinks we can trust this regime hasn’t learned the lessons of history.
“But as Secretary of State, it became clear to me that our policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening the Castros’ grip on power rather than weakening it – and harming our broader efforts to restore American leadership across the hemisphere. The Castros were able to blame all of the island’s woes on the U.S. embargo, distracting from the regime’s failures and delaying their day of reckoning with the Cuban people. We were unintentionally helping the regime keep Cuba a closed and controlled society rather than working to open it up to positive outside influences the way we did so effectively with the old Soviet bloc and elsewhere.
“So in 2009, we tried something new. The Obama administration made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit and send money to family on the island. No one expected miracles, but it was a first step toward exposing the Cuban people to new ideas, values, and perspectives.
“I remember seeing a CNN report that summer about a Cuban father living and working in the United States who hadn’t seen his baby boy back home for a year-and-a-half because of travel restrictions. Our reforms made it possible for that father and son finally to reunite. It was just one story, just one family, but it felt like the start of something important.
“In 2011, we further loosened restrictions on cash remittances sent back to Cuba and we opened the way for more Americans – clergy, students and teachers, community leaders – to visit and engage directly with the Cuban people. They brought with them new hope and support for struggling families, aspiring entrepreneurs, and brave civil society activists. Small businesses started opening. Cell phones proliferated. Slowly, Cubans were getting a taste of a different future.
“I then became convinced that building stronger ties between Cubans and Americans could be the best way to promote political and economic change on the island. So by the end of my term as Secretary, I recommended to the President that we end the failed embargo and double down on a strategy of engagement that would strip the Castro regime of its excuses and force it to grapple with the demands and aspirations of the Cuban people. Instead of keeping change out, as it has for decades, the regime would have to figure out how to adapt to a rapidly transforming society.
“What’s more, it would open exciting new business opportunities for American companies, farmers, and entrepreneurs – especially for the Cuban-American community. That’s my definition of a win-win.
“Now I know some critics of this approach point to other countries that remain authoritarian despite decades of diplomatic and economic engagement. And yes it’s true that political change will not come quickly or easily to Cuba. But look around the world at many of the countries that have made the transition from autocracy to democracy – from Eastern Europe to East Asia to Latin America. Engagement is not a silver bullet, but again and again we see that it is more likely to hasten change, not hold it back.
“The future for Cuba is not foreordained. But there is good reason to believe that once it gets going, this dynamic will be especially powerful on an island just 90 miles from the largest economy in the world. Just 90 miles away from one and a half million Cuban-Americans whose success provides a compelling advertisement for the benefits of democracy and an open society.
“So I have supported President Obama and Secretary Kerry as they’ve advanced this strategy. They’ve taken historic steps forward – re-establishing diplomatic relations, reopening our embassy in Havana, expanding opportunities further for travel and commerce, calling on Congress to finally drop the embargo.
“That last step about the embargo is crucial, because without dropping it, this progress could falter.
“We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come. Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their leaders to either get on board or get out of the way. The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers Cuban businesses, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban-American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime.
“Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people. By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America.
“They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century. That is the road toward democracy and dignity and we should walk it together.
“We can’t go back to a failed policy that limits Cuban-Americans’ ability to travel and support family and friends. We can’t block American businesses that could help free enterprise take root in Cuban soil – or stop American religious groups and academics and activists from establishing contacts and partnerships on the ground.
“If we go backward, no one will benefit more than the hardliners in Havana. In fact, there may be no stronger argument for engagement than the fact that Cuba’s hardliners are so opposed to it. They don’t want strong connections with the United States. They don’t want Cuban-Americans traveling to the island. They don’t want American students and clergy and NGO activists interacting with the Cuban people. That is the last thing they want. So that’s precisely why we need to do it.
“Unfortunately, most of the Republican candidates for President would play right into the hard-liners’ hands. They would reverse the progress we have made and cut the Cuban people off from direct contact with the Cuban-American community and the free-market capitalism and democracy that you embody. That would be a strategic error for the United States and a tragedy for the millions of Cubans who yearn for closer ties.
“They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros – it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession – it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed.
“Fundamentally, most Republican candidates still view Cuba – and Latin America more broadly – through an outdated Cold War lens. Instead of opportunities to be seized, they see only threats to be feared. They refuse to learn the lessons of the past or pay attention to what’s worked and what hasn’t. For them, ideology trumps evidence. And so they remain incapable of moving us forward.
“As President, I would increase American influence in Cuba, rather than reduce it. I would work with Congress to lift the embargo and I would also pursue additional steps.
“First, we should help more Americans go to Cuba. If Congress won’t act to do this, I would use executive authority to make it easier for more Americans to visit the island to support private business and engage with the Cuban people.
“Second, I would use our new presence and connections to more effectively support human rights and civil society in Cuba. I believe that as our influence expands among the Cuban people, our diplomacy can help carve out political space on the island in a way we never could before.
“We will follow the lead of Pope Francis, who will carry a powerful message of empowerment when he visits Cuba in September. I would direct U.S. diplomats to make it a priority to build relationships with more Cubans, especially those starting businesses and pushing boundaries. Advocates for women’s rights and workers’ rights. Environmental activists. Artists. Bloggers. The more relationships we build, the better.
“We should be under no illusions that the regime will end its repressive ways any time soon, as its continued use of short-term detentions demonstrates. So we have to redouble our efforts to stand up for the rights of reformers and political prisoners, including maintaining sanctions on specific human-rights violators. We should maintain restrictions on the flow of arms to the regime – and work to restrict access to the tools of repression while expanding access to tools of dissent and free expression.
“We should make it clear, as I did as Secretary of State, that the “freedom to connect” is a basic human right, and therefore do more to extend that freedom to more and more Cubans – particularly young people.
“Third, and this is directly related, we should focus on expanding communications and commercial links to and among the Cuban people. Just five percent of Cubans have access to the open Internet today. We want more American companies pursuing joint ventures to build networks that will open the free flow of information – and empower everyday Cubans to make their voices heard. We want Cubans to have access to more phones, more computers, more satellite televisions. We want more American airplanes and ferries and cargo ships arriving every day. I’m told that Airbnb is already getting started. Companies like Google and Twitter are exploring opportunities as well.
“It will be essential that American and international companies entering the Cuban market act responsibly, hold themselves to high standards, use their influence to push for reforms. I would convene and connect U.S. business leaders from many fields to advance this strategy, and I will look to the Cuban-American community to continue leading the way. No one is better positioned to bring expertise, resources, and vision to this effort – and no one understands better how transformative this can be.
“We will also keep pressing for a just settlement on expropriated property. And we will let Raul explain to his people why he wants to prevent American investment in bicycle repair shops, in restaurants, in barbershops, and Internet cafes. Let him try to put up barriers to American technology and innovation that his people crave.
“Finally, we need to use our leadership across the Americas to mobilize more support for Cubans and their aspirations. Just as the United States needed a new approach to Cuba, the region does as well.
“Latin American countries and leaders have run out of excuses for not standing up for the fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people. No more brushing things under the rug. No more apologizing. It is time for them to step up. Not insignificantly, new regional cooperation on Cuba will also open other opportunities for the United States across Latin America.
“For years, our unpopular policy towards Cuba held back our influence and leadership. Frankly, it was an albatross around our necks. We were isolated in our opposition to opening up the island. Summit meetings were consumed by the same old debates. Regional spoilers like Venezuela took advantage of the disagreements to advance their own agendas and undermine the United States. Now we have the chance for a fresh start in the Americas.
“Strategically, this is a big deal. Too often, we look east, we look west, but we don’t look south. And no region in the world is more important to our long-term prosperity and security than Latin America. And no region in the world is better positioned to emerge as a new force for global peace and progress.
“Many Republicans seem to think of Latin America still as a land of crime and coups rather than a place where free markets and free people are thriving. They’ve got it wrong. Latin America is now home to vibrant democracies, expanding middle classes, abundant energy supplies, and a combined GDP of more than $4 trillion.
“Our economies, communities, and even our families are deeply entwined. And I see our increasing interdependence as a comparative advantage to be embraced. The United States needs to build on what I call the “power of proximity.” It’s not just geography – it’s common values, common culture, common heritage. It’s shared interests that could power a new era of partnership and prosperity. Closer ties across Latin America will help our economy at home and strengthen our hand around the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific. There is enormous potential for cooperation on clean energy and combatting climate change.
“And much work to be done together to take on the persistent challenges in our hemisphere, from crime to drugs to poverty, and to stand in defense of our shared values against regimes like that in Venezuela. So the United States needs to lead in the Latin America. And if we don’t, make no mistake, others will. China is eager to extend its influence. Strong, principled American leadership is the only answer. That was my approach as Secretary of State and will be my priority as President.
“Now it is often said that every election is about the future. But this time, I feel it even more powerfully. Americans have worked so hard to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 2008. Families took second jobs and second shifts. They found a way to make it work. And now, thankfully, our economy is growing again.
“Slowly but surely we also repaired America’s tarnished reputation. We strengthened old alliances and started new partnerships. We got back to the time-tested values that made our country a beacon of hope and opportunity and freedom for the entire world. We learned to lead in new ways for a complex and changing age. And America is safer and stronger as a result.
“We cannot afford to let out-of-touch, out-of-date partisan ideas and candidates rip away all the progress we’ve made. We can’t go back to cowboy diplomacy and reckless war-mongering. We can’t go back to a go-it-alone foreign policy that views American boots on the ground as a first choice rather than as a last resort. We have paid too high a price in lives, power, and prestige to make those same mistakes again. Instead we need a foreign policy for the future with creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of America’s strength, smarts, and values. I believe the future holds far more opportunities than threats if we shape global events rather than reacting to them and being shaped by them. That is what I will do as President, starting right here in our own hemisphere.
“I’m running to build an America for tomorrow, not yesterday. For the struggling, the striving, and the successful. For the young entrepreneur in Little Havana who dreams of expanding to Old Havana. For the grandmother who never lost hope of seeing freedom come to the homeland she left so long ago. For the families who are separated. For all those who have built new lives in a new land. I’m running for everyone who’s ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out. I am running for you and I want to work with you to be your partner to build the kind of future that will once again not only make Cuban-Americas successful here in our country, but give Cubans in Cuba the same chance to live up to their own potential.
Thank you all very, very much.”
Hillary Clinton: Es necesario terminar con el embargo a Cuba de una vez y para siempre.
31 de Julio de 2015
Traduccion por CubaNews.
Hoy en Miami Hillary Clinton expresó con énfasis su apoyo a la normalización de las relaciones con Cuba y pidió oficialmente al Congreso el levantamiento del embargo. Hillary subrayó que cree en la necesidad de incrementar la influencia norteamericana sobre Cuba, no en reducirla. Esto representa un fuerte contraste con los candidatos Republicanos que se mantienen detenidos en el pasado y tratan de regresar al aislacionismo de la época de Guerra Fría que solamente fortaleció al régimen de Castro.
Para esos Republicanos su mensaje fue claro: “Ven las cosas equivocadamente: Las relaciones no son un regalo para los Castro; son una amenaza para los Castro. Una embajada estadounidense en la Habana no es una concesión; es un refugio. Levantar el embargo no es un paso atrás en el avance de la libertad; es llevar la libertad a donde se necesita con mayor desesperación.”
A continuación la transcripción completa de sus planteamientos:
“Gracias. Muchas gracias. Gracias. Quiero agradecer al Dr. Frank Mora, Director del Kimberly Latin American and Caribbean Center y profesor aquí en la FIU, quien antes sirviera con distinción en el Departamento de Defensa. Quiero reconocer al ex congresista Joe Garcia – mi amigo de muchos años y educador ejemplar. Gracias, Joe por estar aquí. También al Presidente del Miami-Dade College, Eduardo Padrón y al Presidente de la FIU, Mark Rosenberg. Gracias a todos por estar aquí. Para mí es un gran placer estar aquí en la Florida International University. Se puede sentir la energía. Es un lugar en el cual personas de todas las procedencias trabajan duro, hacen su parte y salen adelante. Esa es la promesa de los Estados Unidos que ha traído a generaciones de inmigrantes a nuestras costas y es una realidad aquí en la FIU.”
“Hoy, como dijo Frank, quiero hablarles sobre un tema que ha promovido debates apasionados en esta ciudad y más allá durante décadas, pero que ahora entra en una nueva y crucial etapa. El acercamiento de los Estados Unidos hacia Cuba está en una encrucijada y la próxima elección presidencial determinará si se traza un nuevo rumbo o si volvemos a las viejas fórmulas del pasado. Debemos decidir entre relaciones o embargo; entre pensamientos frescos o el regreso al estancamiento de la Guerra Fría. Y las decisiones que tomemos tendrán consecuencias por largo tiempo no solamente para más de 11 millones de cubanos, sino también para el liderazgo de los Estados Unidos en nuestro hemisferio y en todo el mundo.”
“Yo sé que para muchos de los presentes en esta sala y dentro de la comunidad cubano-americana este debate no es un simple ejercicio intelectual: se trata de algo profundamente personal.”
“Yo sentí asomar mis lágrimas cuando Frank hablaba de su madre – cuando no pudo guardar luto junto a su familia, despedirse de su hermano. Tengo el privilegio de tener una cuñada cubano-americana que vino a este país como muchos otros cuando era una niña y ha salido adelante y logrado el éxito con su fuerza de voluntad.”
Pienso en todos los niños que fueron enviados a vivir con extraños durante la operación Peter Pan. En las familias que llegaron con solamente la ropa que tenían puesta durante la salida masiva por el Mariel; en los hijos e hijas que no pudieron estar presentes en el entierro de sus padres en su tierra natal; en todos los que han sufrido, esperado y añorado un cambio que llegara al país “donde crece la palma”. Y si, también en una emergente generación ansiosa por construir un futuro nuevo y mejor.
“Muchos de ustedes tienen historias y recuerdos que han dado forma a sus sentimientos y a la manera en que ven el futuro. Como Miriam Leiva, una de las fundadoras de las Damas de Blanco, que está hoy aquí con nosotros – mujeres cubanas valientes que han desafiado al régimen de Castro y demandado dignidad y reformas. Nos honra tenerla aquí hoy y quiero pedirle que, por favor, levante su mano. Gracias.”
“Quisiera que cada cubano de los que están en Cuba pudiera pasar un día caminando por Miami y viendo lo que ustedes han construido aquí. Que vieran cómo ustedes han convertido esta ciudad en una dinámica ciudad global; que vieran los éxitos de ustedes como empresarios y líderes comunitarios. No les tomaría mucho tiempo comenzar a exigir oportunidades similares y lograr éxitos similares allá en Cuba.”
“Entiendo el escepticismo de esta comunidad sobre la política de restablecimiento de relaciones con Cuba. Como muchos de ustedes saben, yo también he sido escéptica. Pero a ustedes se les ha prometido progreso durante cincuenta años. Y no podemos seguir esperando que una política fallida nos dé frutos. Tenemos que aprovechar este momento. Ahora tenemos que apoyar el cambio en una isla que lo necesita desesperadamente.”
“No llegué a esta posición a la ligera. Recuerdo perfectamente lo que ha sucedido en intentos anteriores de establecer relaciones. En los noventa, Castro respondió al acercamiento diplomático derribando al avión desarmado de los Hermanos al Rescate. Y con esas muertes en mi mente apoyé la Ley Helms Burton para arreciar el embargo.”
“Veinte años más tarde, los abusos del régimen relacionados con los derechos humanos continúan: el encarcelamiento a disidentes, la supresión de la libertad de expresión y de Internet, el golpear y amenazar a las valientes Damas de Blanco, rechazar una investigación creíble sobre la muerte de Osvaldo Paya. Si alguien piensa que podemos fiarnos de ese gobierno, es que no ha aprendido las lecciones de la historia.”
“Pero como Secretaria de Estado, pude comprender que nuestra política de aislar a Cuba estaba fortaleciendo las garras de Castro en el poder en vez de debilitarlas, lo cual perjudicaba nuestros esfuerzos para restablecer el liderazgo de Estados Unidos en todo el hemisferio. Castro podía culpar al embargo de Estados Unidos de todos los males, desviando la atención de los errores del régimen y demorando el momento de rendir cuenta al pueblo cubano. Sin intención de hacerlo, estábamos ayudando al régimen para que mantuviera a Cuba como una sociedad cerrada y controlada, en vez de promover la apertura positiva a la influencia externa, en la misma forma que lo hicimos de forma tan efectiva con el antiguo bloque Soviético y en otros lugares.”
“Entonces, en el 2009, probamos algo diferente. La administración de Obama facilitó a los cubano-americanos visitar a sus familiares en la isla y enviarles dinero. Nadie esperaba milagros, pero fue un primer paso para presentarle al pueblo cubano nuevas ideas, valores y perspectivas.”
“Recuerdo haber visto un reportaje de la CNN ese verano acerca de un padre cubano que vivía y trabajaba en los Estados Unidos que no había visto a su bebé en Cuba durante un año y medio debido a las restricciones de viaje. Nuestras reformas hicieron posible que ese padre y su hijo finalmente se reunieran. Solamente era una historia sobre una sola familia, pero sentimos que era el inicio de algo importante.”
“En el año 2011 disminuimos algo más las restricciones para el envío de dinero y las visitas a Cuba. Los estadounidenses comenzaron a vincularse directamente con el pueblo cubano, lo que les llevo nuevas esperanzas, apoyo a familias que luchaban y bravos activistas de los derechos civiles. Se comenzó la apertura de pequeños negocios y comenzaron a llegar los teléfonos celulares. Poco a poco los cubanos comenzaban a coger el sabor de un futuro diferente.”
“Entones me convencí de que fortalecer los lazos entre cubanos y estadounidenses sería la mejor forma de promover cambios políticos y económicos en la isla. Por tanto, al final de mi tiempo como Secretaria de Estado, recomendé al Presidente que termináramos con el fallido embargo y nos empeñáramos en una estrategia de relaciones que despojara al régimen de Castro de sus excusas y lo obligara a enfrentar las demandas y aspiraciones del pueblo cubano. En vez de impedir el cambio como ha estado haciendo por décadas, el régimen tendría que ver cómo adaptarse a una sociedad en rápida transformación.”
“Es más, eso abriría interesantes nuevas oportunidades de negocios para las compañías estadounidenses, los granjeros y los empresarios –en especial para la comunidad cubano-americana. Esa es mi definición de una fórmula ganadora.”
“Sé que algunos críticos de este enfoque mencionan a otros países que se mantienen bajo regímenes autoritarios a pesar de décadas de relaciones diplomáticas y económicas. Y sí, es cierto que los cambios políticos no vendrán rápidos ni fácilmente en Cuba. Pero miren alrededor del mundo cuantos países han realizado una transición de la autocracia a la democracia: en Europa del Este, en el Este de Asia y en América Latina. Las relaciones no son una cura para todo, pero una y otra vez observamos que tienen más probabilidad de acelerar un cambio que de impedirlo.”
“El futuro para Cuba no está predeterminado. Pero hay buenos motivos para creer que una vez que se inicie, la dinámica será particularmente poderosa en una isla que está a solo 90 millas de la mayor economía del mundo. A solo 90 millas de un millón y medio de cubano-americanos cuyo éxito ofrece una impresionante promoción a los beneficios de la democracia y la sociedad abierta.”
“Por eso he apoyado al Presidente Obama y al Secretario Kerry en la medida que promueven esta estrategia. Han dado pasos históricos: reestableciendo las relaciones diplomáticas, reabriendo nuestra embajada en La Habana, ampliando las oportunidades para los viajes y el comercio, pidiendo al Congreso que finalmente ponga fin al embargo.”
“Ese último paso es fundamental, porque sin eliminar el embargo, el progreso puede fracasar.”
“Hemos llegado a un momento decisivo. El pueblo cubano ha esperado más que suficiente por la llegada del progreso. Hasta muchos Republicanos en Capitol Hill comienzan a admitir la urgencia de dar pasos hacia adelante. Es tiempo de que sus líderes se sumen o que abran paso. Es necesario terminar con el embargo a Cuba, de una vez y para siempre. Debemos sustituirlo por un acercamiento inteligente que le de poder a los negocios de cubanos, a la sociedad civil cubana y a la comunidad cubano-americana para que estimule el progreso y mantenga la presión sobre el régimen.”
“Hoy hago un llamado al Speaker Boehner y al Senador McConnell para que respondan a las solicitudes del pueblo cubano. En su gran mayoría ellos desean una relación más estrecha con los Estados Unidos.”
“Los cubanos quieren comprar nuestros productos, leer nuestros libros, navegar en nuestra web y aprender de nuestra gente. Ellos quieren llevar su país al siglo XXI. Ese es el camino hacia la democracia y la dignidad, nosotros debemos caminar a su lado.”
“No podemos retroceder hacia una política que limite la posibilidad de los cubano-americanos de viajar y ayudar a sus familiares y amigos. No podemos bloquear a los negocios estadounidenses que pueden contribuir a que la libre empresa tenga raíces en tierra cubana – o impedir que grupos de religiosos, académicos o activistas establezcan contactos y relaciones en el terreno.”
Si volvemos al pasado nadie se beneficiaría más que los de la línea dura en la Habana. De hecho no hay mejor argumento para promover las relaciones, que el propio hecho de que los cubanos de la línea dura se oponen a estas. Ellos no desean vínculos fuertes con los Estados Unidos. No desean que los cubano-americanos viajen a la isla. No quieren estudiantes estadounidenses o religiosos o activistas de ONGs interactuando con el pueblo cubano. Eso es lo último que desearían. Y es precisamente por eso por lo que necesitamos que se haga.”
“Lamentablemente, la mayoría de los candidatos Republicanos a la Presidencia caerían en la trampa de los cubanos de línea dura. Darían marcha atrás al progreso que hemos logrado, e impedirían el contacto directo de los cubanos con la comunidad cubano-americana, con el capitalismo de libre mercado y la democracia que ustedes llevan consigo. Eso sería un error estratégico para los Estados Unidos y una tragedia para los millones de cubanos que añoran vínculos más estrechos.”
“Los republicanos analizan la situación equivocadamente. Las relaciones no son un regalo para los Castro, es una amenaza para los Castro. Una embajada estadounidense en la Habana no es una concesión, es un refugio. Levantar el embargo no es un paso atrás en el avance de la libertad, es llevar la libertad a donde se necesita con mayor desesperación.”
“Fundamentalmente, la mayoría de los candidatos republicanos siguen viendo a Cuba – y a América Latina en general- a través del obsoleto lente de la Guerra Fría. En vez de oportunidades a aprovechar, solo ven amenazas a temer. Se niegan a aprender de las lecciones del pasado o a prestarle atención a lo que ha funcionado y lo que no. Para ellos, la ideología vale más que la evidencia. De tal modo, siguen siendo incapaces de llevarnos adelante.”
“Como Presidente, yo incrementaría la influencia norteamericana en Cuba en vez de reducirla. Trabajaría con el Congreso para levantar el embargo y también iniciaría pasos adicionales.”
“Primero, debemos contribuir a que más norteamericanos vayan a Cuba. Si el Congreso no actúa en este sentido, yo emplearía la autoridad ejecutiva para facilitar que más norteamericanos visiten la Isla, que apoyen los negocios privados e interactúen con el pueblo cubano.”
“Segundo, emplearía nuestra nueva presencia y conexiones para apoyar de manera más efectiva los derechos humanos y la sociedad civil en Cuba. Creo que a medida que nuestra influencia se extienda entre el pueblo cubano, nuestra diplomacia podrá ir ganando espacio político en la Isla como nunca pudimos lograr antes.”
“Seguiremos la iniciativa del Papa Francisco, quien llevará un poderoso mensaje de empoderamiento cuando visite Cuba en septiembre. Yo instruiría a los diplomáticos de Estados Unidos a que prioricen establecer relaciones con más cubanos, especialmente aquellos que están iniciando negocios y empujando los límites: abogados de los derechos de las mujeres y los trabajadores, activistas medioambientalistas, artistas, blogueros. Mientras más relaciones establezcamos, mejor.”
“No debemos hacernos ilusiones acerca de que el régimen va a poner fin a sus métodos represivos en el futuro cercano, tal como lo demuestra el empleo continuado de detenciones breves. Así que tenemos que redoblar nuestros esfuerzos para defender los derechos de los reformistas y los presos políticos, e incluso mantener sanciones contra violadores específicos de los derechos humanos. Debiéramos mantener restricciones sobre el flujo de armas al régimen y trabajar por restringirle el acceso a los instrumentos de la represión, a la vez que ampliamos el acceso a los instrumentos de la disensión y la libre expresión.”
“Debemos dejar bien claro – tal como hice cuando era Secretaria de Estado – que la “libertad de conectarse” es un derecho humano básico y, por tanto, debemos hacer más por que más y más cubanos accedan a esa libertad, en particular los jóvenes.”
“Tercero, y esto está directamente relacionado con lo anterior, debemos concentrarnos en ampliar las comunicaciones y los vínculos comerciales con y entre el pueblo cubano. Solo el cinco por ciento de los cubanos tienen acceso al Internet abierta hoy. Queremos que más compañías norteamericanas procuren empresas mixtas para crear redes que abran el libre flujo de información, y empoderen a los cubanos sencillos a que sus voces sean escuchadas. Queremos que los cubanos tengan más teléfonos, más computadoras, más televisión satelital. Queremos que arriben más aviones norteamericanos, más ferris y buques de carga cada día. Tengo entendido que ya Airbnb ha comenzado. Compañías como Google y Twitter también están explorando posibilidades.”
“Será esencial que las compañías norteamericanas e internacionales que entren en el mercado cubano actúen de manera responsable, que mantengan altos estándares y usen su influencia para lograr reformas. Yo convocaría e interrelacionaría a hombres de negocios norteamericanos de campos muy diversos a que echaran adelante esta estrategia, y buscaré que la comunidad cubano-americana continúe abriendo el camino. Nadie está en mejor posición para aportar experiencia, recursos y visión a este esfuerzo, y nadie sabe mejor lo transformador que esto puede ser.”
“También continuaremos presionando para lograr un acuerdo justo con respecto a las propiedades confiscadas. Y dejaremos que sea Raúl quien le explique a su pueblo por qué quiere impedir inversiones norteamericanas en talleres de reparación de bicicletas, en restaurantes, barberías y cafés de Internet. Que sea él quien intente ponerle barreras a la tecnología y la innovación norteamericanas que su pueblo anhela.”
“Finalmente, tenemos que emplear nuestro liderazgo en las Américas para movilizar más apoyo para los cubanos y sus aspiraciones. Tal como Estados Unidos necesitaba un nuevo enfoque hacia Cuba, la región también lo requiere.”
“Los países latinoamericanos y sus líderes ya no tienen excusas para no reclamar las libertades fundamentales del pueblo cubano. No se puede continuar barriendo las cosas debajo de la alfombra. No más excusas. Es hora de que se pongan de pie. De manera significativa, una nueva cooperación regional respecto a Cuba también abriría otras oportunidades para Estados Unidos en América Latina.”
“Durante años nuestra impopular política hacia Cuba impidió nuestra influencia y liderazgo. Francamente, era como una rueda amarrada a nuestro cuello. Estábamos aislados por nuestra oposición a que la Isla se abriera. Reuniones Cumbre se consumían en los mismos viejos debates. Atravesados regionales como Venezuela se aprovechaban de los desacuerdos para impulsar sus propias agendas y socavar a los Estados Unidos. Ahora tenemos la oportunidad de un comienzo nuevo en las Américas.”
“Estratégicamente, este es un gran paso. Con demasiada frecuencia miramos al este y miramos al oeste, pero no miramos al sur. Y no hay otra región del mundo que sea más importante que América Latina para nuestra prosperidad a largo plazo y nuestra seguridad. Y ninguna otra región del mundo está en mejor posición para surgir como una nueva fuerza en favor de la paz global y el progreso.”
“Muchos Republicanos parecen pensar que América Latina sigue siendo una tierra de crímenes y golpes de Estado en vez de un lugar donde los mercados libres y los pueblos libres prosperan. Están equivocados. América Latina posee hoy democracias vibrantes, clases medias en crecimiento, abundantes fuentes de energía y un PIB combinado de más de 4 millones de millones.”
“Nuestras economías, comunidades e incluso nuestras familias están profundamente entrelazadas. Y yo aprecio que nuestra creciente interdependencia es en realidad una ventaja que debemos aprovechar. Estados Unidos necesita sobre lo que yo llamo el “poder de la proximidad”. No es solo la geografía, son los valores compartidos, la cultura común, la herencia común. Son intereses compartidos que pudieran impulsar una nueva era de
Asociación y prosperidad. Vínculos más estrechos a través de América Latina ayudarán a nuestra propia economía y fortalecerán nuestra presencia en todo el mundo, especialmente en Asia – Pacífico. Hay un enorme potencial de cooperación en energías limpias y en el combate contra el cambio climático.”
“Y hay mucho por hacer juntos para enfrentar los persistentes retos en nuestro hemisferio, el crimen, las drogas y la pobreza, y unirnos en defensa de nuestros valores compartidos y en contra de regímenes como el de Venezuela. De modo que Estados Unidos tiene que liderar en la América Latina. Si no lo hacemos – no nos engañemos- otros lo harán. China está deseosa de expandir su influencia. Un liderazgo norteamericano fuerte basado en los principios es la única respuesta. Ese fue mi enfoque como Secretaria de Estado y será mi prioridad como Presidenta.”
“A menudo se dice que cada elección tiene que ver con el futuro. Pero en esta ocasión, pienso que es aun mas así. Los norteamericanos han trabajado muy duro para salir del hoyo en que nos sumimos en 2008 con la peor crisis financiera desde la Gran Depresión. Muchas familias buscaron segundos empleos y segundos turnos de trabajo. Encontraron la forma de que las cosas salieran adelante. Y ahora, gracias a ello, nuestra economía crece de nuevo.”
“Lentamente, pero con certeza, también reparamos la maltrecha reputación de Estados Unidos. Fortalecimos viejas alianzas e iniciamos nuevas asociaciones. Volvimos a los valores largamente probados que convirtieron a nuestra nación en un faro de esperanza, oportunidades y libertad para el mundo entero. Aprendimos a liderar de nuevas maneras en una época compleja y cambiante. Como resultado de ello, Estados Unidos es más seguro y más fuerte.”
“No podemos darnos el lujo de permitir que ideas y candidatos partidistas que están fuera de la realidad y fuera de época destruyan todo el progreso que hemos logrado. No podemos regresar a una diplomacia de “cowboys” y guerrerismo irresponsable. No podemos regresar a una política exterior de “lo hago yo solo” que tiene la presencia de soldados norteamericanos en el terreno como primera opción en vez de cómo un último recurso. Hemos pagado un precio demasiado alto en vidas, poder y prestigio para cometer esos mismos errores de nuevo. En vez de ellos, necesitamos una política exterior para el futuro, con liderazgo creativo y seguro que aglutine toda la fuerza, inteligencia y valores de Estados Unidos. Creo que el futuro depara muchas mas oportunidades que amenazas siempre que conformemos los sucesos globales en vez de reaccionar ante ellos y vernos conformados por los hechos. Eso es lo que haré como Presidenta, comenzando justo aquí en nuestro hemisferio.”
“Presento mi candidatura para construir unos Estados Unidos del futuro, no para ayer. Para los que luchan, se esfuerzan y triunfan. Para el pequeño empresario de la Pequeña Habana que sueña con expandirse hacia la Habana Vieja. Para la abuela que nunca perdió la esperanza de que llegara la libertad a la patria que dejó hace tanto. Para las familias que están separadas. Para todos aquellos que se han forjado nuevas vidas en una nueva tierra. Me presento por todo aquel que ha recibido una caída pero se ha negado a ser noqueado. Me presento por ustedes y quiero trabajar con ustedes para ser su asociada en la construcción del tipo de futuro que, una vez más, hará que los cubano- americanos no solo sean exitosos aquí en nuestro país, sino que le brinden a los cubanos en Cuba la misma oportunidad de desarrollar sus propias potencialidades.”
Muchas, muchas gracias a todos ustedes.
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