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Despite US pressure and threats, Cuba’s commitment to Venezuela is unwavering

canel discursoSpeech by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the virtual meeting for the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Cuba-Venezuela Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement, on October 30, 2020, “Year 62 of the Revolution

(Verbatim versions – Presidency of the Republic)

Dear Nicolas:

I wanted to thank you, first of all, for calling us to this meeting and for being there. What we celebrate today is much more than the anniversary of an Agreement; it is the rebirth of Bolivar’s dream, to which [José] Martí also devoted all his energies; and I believe this is the moment when the integration of Our America, for which he fought so hard, has been the closest to becoming a reality.

Although it is not yet in our history books, the signing of the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and Venezuela is a historic event and what we are commemorating today is also a historic event. Among other things, because it is an act of independence that marks a new era for Latin America and the Caribbean; it is a time of exchange among equals, of turning words into actions, of expressing solidarity in concrete works for the benefit of the peoples. It is also the seed from which the ALBA tree would sprout.

The visionary decision of two great leaders such as Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, of signing this document, can be better appreciated 20 years after the will of two sovereign governments that do not bow to imperial pressures became a reality.

Three days before the signing of this agreement, from the new Venezuelan Parliament, when Fidel was visiting Caracas, the leader of the Cuban Revolution had expressed those ideas with beautiful words that I would like to recall and quote now. At that time Fidel said: “All along the evolution of history people have had dreams, a right that will forever exist. The great miracle is that the hopes and dreams of this noble and heroic people may come true.”

After the words would come the Agreement, the historic signing by both leaders and the transformation of political decisions into actions of undeniable social significance. Cuba and Venezuela were showing the region and the world from that moment onwards an example of the kind of cooperation that two independent nations can develop when they decide to place the emphasis of their policies on improving the social indicators of their peoples.

There is another phrase by Fidel that summarizes the spirit and essence of that moment, when he expressed: “Our cooperation with Venezuela is inspired in ideals much more transcendental than trade exchanges between the two countries.”

The Agreement not only strengthened the ties of brotherhood between both nations, it also laid the foundations and established the principles that would give life to today’s Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement, also known to us as the ALBA-TCP.

This mechanism embodies history as it seeks the effective participation of the peoples in the management of their own destinies and favors economic complementarity and cooperation rather than competition. In other words, it also confronts the neoliberal paradigms by providing superior ones, more emancipatory and humanistic. Trade and investment are no longer conceived of as ends, but are oriented toward the fair and sustainable development of all committed nations.

The Agreement has been an essential instrument to complement the economies of Cuba and Venezuela. Among its transcendental actions in the economic and social order, several stand out. These are some of them:

The articulation of the Barrio Adentro I and II missions, which are, I would say, the programs with the greatest impact. Cuban collaborators are distributed in the 24 states and in 335 municipalities of the country, disseminated in all the parishes and offering their services to all the population without distinction of creed or political ideology.

The declaration of Venezuela as a country free of illiteracy by UNESCO, which is also a result of this Agreement.

The Robinson Mission, using the Cuban Yo, sí puedo educational method to teach more than 3 million Venezuelans to write and read.

The creation and development, as you mentioned, of the Miracle Mission, through which Venezuela and Cuba restored the eyesight to millions of people in the region, which seemed a miracle, just like its name. Something nobody in the world has set to solve, was solved with cooperation, without vanities, with a real principle of putting men and women, the citizens of Our America, in the spotlight.

The promotion of physical culture with the Barrio Adentro Deportivo Mission, for the integral improvement of the quality of life of the population.

The Ribas and Sucre educational missions for the promotion of high school graduates and the universalization of higher education.

The Cultura Corazón Adentro Mission for the development and promotion of popular culture.

Maduro, the Cuban people and government have to thank Venezuela for the valuable help and contribution given fro the execution of important development programs of the country in several sectors, as well as the immediate support that Venezuela has always given to Cuba to face the effects of natural disasters. In addition, we must be grateful for the opportunity to participate, together with the Venezuelan people, in all these missions and in all these cooperation programs, in which our people have also grown with them. The young Cubans who have taken part in the education, health and sports missions, and in all these programs, have grown as revolutionaries, as citizens, and as Latin Americans. That experience will last a lifetime.

To the Venezuelan sisters and brothers, we want to say today that the history of Cuban collaboration with the world, as you know, is guided by principles of solidarity and by ethical precepts in the conduct and position of our State and our Government not to interfere in the internal affairs of any country and to respect, above all other considerations, the sovereignty of nations and International Law.

Today, Cuba keeps in Venezuela cooperators in various specialties: health, sports, culture, education, communications, agriculture, food, industry, science, energy and transportation, among other sectors, and these collaborative exchanges have been very fruitful for the development of both nations.

The social missions, created and promoted by Commander Chávez as “the soul of the Revolution”, have stood out for their inclusive, popular, participative, democratic, humane, supportive and genuinely socialist character.

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz personally outlined with Chávez the fundamental principles of cooperation between our countries based on attending the Venezuelan people well, preparing the relief with Venezuelan professionals and taking care of our cooperators. Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who continued this epic task, later reaffirmed those principles, which have been, are and will be the guide of the Cuban presence in the sister Republic of Venezuela.

The care of our health cooperators is strictly in accordance with medical ethics and the principles of the Agreement. I salute all the members of the Cuban Medical Mission and all our cooperators in Venezuela who are present there today. No sick person is asked for their political affiliation or money; they are all treated as patients, as human beings. Doctors trained in the values of the Cuban Revolution do not know nor practice, out of principle, fee-based medicine, and with those concepts, with those convictions we are collaborating in Venezuela.

Thousands of Cuban cooperators remain in Venezuela in a voluntary and committed way. And fulfilling a duty of solidarity, they remain united with the Venezuelans in the face of the aggressions and threats of the empire and its regional lackeys.

There are no Cuban troops on Venezuelan soil, only collaborators who love peace, love and life and who teach and learn from it daily.

Maduro, among the cooperation agreements derived from that Agreement, one of them acquires a greater relevance today due to its orientation to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic of the new coronavirus: the SUMA Technology. I am referring to the UltraMicroAnalytic System, which allows to develop a wide program of epidemiological surveillance and research of five diseases in newborns, and I believe that it is one of the experiences that we can expand on, that we have to continue sharing and perfecting.

Our health collaborators also fight a daily battle against COVID-19 side by side with the Venezuelan specialists and they will not rest until they defeat the pandemic together.

I would also like to express to all those present, to our comrades, that this Agreement, whose 20th anniversary we are celebrating today, is also historic because its projections and results challenge the genocidal blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba and the cruel, unilateral, coercive measures applied by the same empire against Venezuela. Another cause that also brings us together.

Nicolás, under your leadership, the Hugo Chávez Frías System of Missions and Great Socialist Missions have strengthened, ratifying their role as a source of constant social, economic and political work. Shoulder to shoulder, we Cubans will always accompany them.

“We hope to come to Cuba in conditions to extend our arms, and in conditions to nurture each other in a Latin American revolutionary project”. These words were the first pronounced by Commander Hugo Chávez Frías when he arrived on the island for his first visit. When we read these words today, almost 30 years later, they are a prophecy of what would be born from that approach.

I affirm, brother Maduro; we affirm, sisters and brothers of Venezuela, that in spite of the pressure and threats of the Government of the United States, our decision and commitment to maintain the collaboration with the sister nation of Venezuela is unwavering.

As Fidel said: “Then, I rather abide by the right that José Martí bequeathed every Cuban and that is to feel an enormous admiration for Venezuela and for that man who was the greatest among dreamers and statesmen in our hemisphere: Simón Bolívar.”

I believe that on a day like today there are enough reasons to say: Long live the cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba!

(Taken from Granma)

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