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Key remarks at the 10th Meeting of the Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission

Key remarks by Army General Raul Castro Ruz, President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the 10th Meeting of the Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission. Havana, December 12, 2009

Comrade Hugo Chavez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;

Ministers from Venezuela and Cuba;

Comrades all;

This 10th Meeting of the Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission coincides with the fifteenth anniversary of President Chavez’s first visit to our country and his memorable meeting with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.

For nearly a decade now, Cuba and Venezuela have committed the will of their governments and the efforts of their best sons and daughters to the joint construction of an example of humane and fraternal integration, thus making the ideas of our forefathers a reality.

After two intensive work sessions, this 10th meeting has come to an end with the signature of numerous contracts. As of January, it will be possible for the first time to start implementing major collaboration projects allowing their timely completion in the course of the year.

Our interaction keeps growing every year. The participation of the countries’ respective entities in charge of economic planning will add a new dimension to the bilateral relations as well as a long-term vision and greater integration towards the complementation of our economies.

The Cuba-Venezuela Agreement has brought a new dynamic to the collaboration involving scores of Venezuelan and Cuban institutions.

The results so far obtained allow us to proclaim that the fundamental areas of economic and social development of both nations are somehow or other involved in a new type of cooperation which is a concrete expression of our peoples’ yearning for unity and integration.

Our sister Venezuela stands today as Cuba’s number one trading partner. This has been made possible particularly through the role of the social missions, an unprecedented model of social justice to favor the neediest, that are now spreading to other Latin American and Caribbean countries with a message of solidarity and hope to those peoples.

The agenda of this 10th Meeting included extensive exchanges on the future of our bilateral collaboration. We have agreed on the necessity to work together to mitigate the negative effects of the current global economic crisis.

As Fidel indicated recently in one of his Reflections: “Now that Bolivar’s homeland, the same that Marti wanted to serve, is under greater threat than ever from imperialism, the organization, efficacy and efficiency of our efforts must be higher than ever, and not only in the health sector but in every other area of our cooperation.” Such is the spirit and conviction of every Cuban willing to fight for Bolivar’s homeland, which we feel as our own.

Cuba has also received the unselfish solidarity of Venezuela, of its noble people and of President Chavez. An example of this, that we will never forget, is the generous and crucial assistance provided to our country within hours of the first of the three hurricanes that battered our island in barely a few weeks, at the end of last year. And this is not an isolated case since selfless and mutually beneficial collaboration are the hallmarks of our relations.

We are meeting on the eve of another momentous event for the lives of our peoples: the 8th ALBA Summit which will open tomorrow. And, it is precisely the unity of Cuba and Venezuela, which we are deepening today, that is setting a major example of our dreams of Latin American and Caribbean integration.

The challenges to human survival are enormous in today’s world; the same as our epic campaign will be to keep hope alive. It is the duty of both Cuba and Venezuela to resist; we owe it to our history, to Bolívar and Martí, to the peoples of our America.

Thank you very much.

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