Expressing the sentiments of the Cuban people and millions of friends throughout the world, the Second Secretary of the Party Central Committee, José Ramón Machado Ventura, began his speech during the central act for National Rebellion Day this July 26, by conveying the warmest congratulations to Fidel Castro Ruz, on his upcoming 90th birthday.
Machado Ventura, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, ratified the commitment to remain faithful to the ideas for which the leader of the Cuban Revolution has struggled throughout his life and to keep alive the spirit of resistance and faith in victory that he has instilled through his example.
He recalled Fidel’s speech 30 years ago in the city of Sancti Spíritus, during which he described the complex circumstances of the time, which differ from today. However, the essential concepts expressed then, such as those on how to do things better, remain relevant today.
He cited Fidel that July 26, 1986, when he stated, “It is not worth advancing if what has been done is not consolidated,” and “Wealth will only come from work.” Machado Ventura also reiterated the certainty expressed by the leader of the Revolution that only a people who are able to overcome their own shortcomings, their own mistakes, a people who do not surrender to anything, will be an invincible people.
The ongoing validity of those thoughts, Machado Ventura noted, is a logical consequence of a Revolution that has consistently acted on the basis of its principles and that has advanced with a people who since 1959 have fought together with their leaders to achieve their goals.
We have made mistakes, but our people have rectified and overcome every obstacle, he stated, and stressed that a profound transformation implies effort and sacrifice, a daily struggle to realize every advance.
He explained that Fidel’s concept of Revolution has guided the updating of the Cuban economic and social model, and that this has been characterized, from the very beginning, by the broadest democratic participation, unimaginable even in those countries that purport to be champions of democracy.
Machado Ventura noted that this process began during the 6th Party Congress and continues with the current debate on the central documents approved during the recent seventh congress.
He highlighted that 22,241 meetings to discuss these documents have been already conducted since mid-June, when the process began, and that 704,643 Cubans have participated. These meetings have seen 359,648 interventions, from which 95,482 proposals have been collected. All, without exception, are aimed at consolidating Cuba’s socialism, to make it more prosperous and sustainable, he said. All changes to these guiding documents will be approved by the Cuban people, nothing will be imposed from abroad, he added.
The Second Secretary of the Party Central Committee recalled what life was like in Sancti Spíritus before 1959, offering the example of the infant mortality rate then, for which there are no exact figures, but estimates are of a rate of 60 deaths per one thousand live births. He emphasized that last year the province reached an infant mortality rate of 4.2, on a par with highly developed countries. He also noted that in the mountainous areas where the Turquino Plan is implemented, infant mortality is zero.
He said that in order to guarantee these rights and opportunities, which today appear normal and some take for granted, rivers of sweat and even blood were shed.
In his speech, Machado Ventura referred to the significance of Sancti Spíritus for independence hero Máximo Gómez, who led the “Reform Campaign” from here. He also recalled the resolve of the mambises who remained fighting in this area one year after the Pact of Zanjón.
He devoted some words to the significance of the legacy and symbol of Serafín Sánchez for the country, an example of the glorious tradition of the Cuban people, that of those who assaulted the Moncada, the Granma expeditionaries, internationalists and revolutionaries.
He likewise emphasized sustaining the work which won the province the honor of hosting the event, without losing time, without fanfare. It is a recognition of the province’s cadres, leadership bodies, and its people, of its daily efforts, and the consciousness of every working man and women, loyal to the Revolution’s principles, he said.
Machado noted that Sancti Spíritus has made consistent progress in agriculture, especially in dairy farming, while stressing that fulfilling a plan is not the same as meeting the population’s needs, or fulfilling one’s potential.
Working with dedication and intelligence, day after day, is what will allow this greater objective to be met, he stated.
He likewise noted that the province had met its sugar production goals, which most other provinces were not able to do this year, and addressed the potential for tourism in the region, given its exceptional beauty and historical assets.
He conveyed, in the name of the Party, the government, and all Cubans, well-deserved congratulations to the people of Sancti Spíritus for this demonstration of how any obstacle can be overcome when we work with responsibility and determination. In particular he congratulated Provincial Party Secretary José Ramón Monteagudo Ruiz, for his dedication to the fulfillment of his responsibilities and for finding ways to focus and direct the people’s energy.
Machado stated that is only fair to recognize these accomplishments, but more important to identify where problems exist, especially in terms of the economy, asking how much more can be saved, how much more can be done to establish order and discipline. This is fundamental, he said, under current circumstances, in which the blockade – that some believe has ended – aggravates other factors.
He recalled that the challenges we have before us were explained by Raúl, during the recent National Assembly of People’s Power, and a response to meet these was charted, reaffirming that there is no room for improvisation under current conditions.
Machado Ventura concluded calling on all compatriots to show, everyday in every workplace, with concrete action, that we will rise to the occasion to meet this new challenge, as the Centenary Generation did, and as so many other generations of Cubans have, at different times during our homeland’s history.