Cuban President Addresses the Nation Calling for Peace and Solidarity

Peace and citizen tranquility, respect and solidarity among compatriots and others in need around the world, saving Cuba to continue building, growing, dreaming and achieving the greatest possible prosperity. This is our message to our people

Author: Yaditza del Sol González | yadidelsol@granma.cu

Author: Gladys Leydis Ramos López | internet@granma.cu

July 16, 2021 13:07:11

Photo: Estudio Revolución

We know that the current situation is complex and challenging; complex because of the different contextual elements that surround it and the interaction between these factors, and challenging because it requires of us the capacity to overcome adversities, to face all this defamation and the enormous, brutal media campaign against our country, emphasized the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during his appearance on the Cuban television program Mesa Redonda, July 14.

This situation, he added, has been further aggravated by the recent disturbances that occurred mostly on Sunday, July 11, with fewer incidents the following day and almost none Tuesday and Wednesday.

"As our Foreign Mnister has denounced, this is undoubtedly the result of a deliberate plan, which remains in process." Hence, he said, revolutionary vigilance, the performance of our institutions, the perception that we must have of the situation, are very important, since the situation reflects all the precepts of non-conventional war, of the well-known manual for conducting a soft coup.

Several elements have come together, he pointed out. First, he explained, there is the 60-year blockade, which has been tightened and further reinforced with the 243 restrictive measures imposed during the Donald Trump administration, which have been maintained. In addition, he said, we have experienced a peak in COVID-19 cases, during recent weeks.

There is an element, however, he alerted, that we cannot overlook and this is that, in the midst of this situation, the results of Abdala were announced, and it was recognized as the first vaccine in Latin America and will allow Cuba to take one more step in our successful battle against covid-19.

"On the other hand, there is already talk and there were some signs of the current U.S. administration’s intentions to review some points of its policy toward Cuba."

Also relevant, within this context, is the country's energy situation, which was already explained, along with a number of shortcomings and dissatisfactions, he stated.

This situation was analyzed by those who do not truly want development for the Cuban Revolution, by those who do not aspire to a civilized and respectful relationship with the United States, and was exploited by those who believed that this was the now-or-never moment, above all, by that most conservative sector of the Cuban-American mafia, he noted.

Thus, he said, we have to talk about the blockade again, the measures and the changing context. We have always been blockaded, we are a generation that was born, raised and has lived in the midst of this cruel policy, but the current conditions are not the same as those we faced during the special period.

At that time, the island was left practically without options, he recalled. "Today, based on our accumulated experience, we are developing, for example, oil extraction programs. The result is that now a significant portion of our electricity is generated by thermoelectric plants that use domestic crude oil."

He also explained that we were able to conduct an investment process in tourism to enhance our tourist poles that provide us important foreign currency income to sustain other activities, as well as other investments to improve productive processes that supply goods and services to the population, create reserves and export to the international market.

"Nonetheless, with the tightening of the blockade and the 243 measures, all the sources of income, which provided for these opportunities and improvements which we have undertaken, were cut off." And in the midst of this situation, we are today facing a tremendous shortage of foreign currency, the Cuban leader stated.

The blockade is real, genocidal and overpowers any desire for prosperity

First Secretary Diaz-Canel commented that there are people who say that there is no blockade, "This is one of the ideas being promoted by the fierce defamation campaign against Cuba."

The balance, he noted, between what enters the country, what we owe and what we need is very unfavorable. "There is a long list of the country’s needs and the debts we are committed to honoring, and a small inflow of foreign currency at this time."

He offered a practical example of what is happening: the retention of a fuel tanker or a ship delivering food. "In the midst of a situation of limited foreign exchange inflows, this is something we need to prioritize,” he said, “We make the effort and pay for it, but since we still owe the supplier money, the ship enters Cuba and the company tells us that it will not unload until we pay the debt.

"At that point, we are looking for money we don’t have to pay the retention or, worse, contract another debt or renegotiate with the company that continues working with us and that, in spite of the blockade, maintains commercial relations." We face examples like this every day, he added.

The President reported that progress is being made, with tremendous effort, on three blocks of our electrical plants: a new investment in a Felton block, repairs to another, plus repairs to a Guiteras block; but we have a motor-generator plant in Moa, the largest in the country, which is out of operation because the ship delivering its fuel is retained. "This has been resolved. But now, because of rough seas and the bad weather, we have not been able to unload."

The blockade overpowers any desire we have, it delays us, it does not allow us to advance at the speed we need, and although we are taking action to resolve problems, the number of those that remain unresolved increases in relation to those to which a solution has been found, he noted.

This, in turn, means that misunderstandings and dissatisfactions are aggravated, affecting the population's hopes and aspirations. "This is why I never tire of saying that it is cruel, genocidal, a low blow."

There is no doubt that we want a more prosperous country, and are dissatisfied that we have not accomplished this, knowing that if they would let us work on the basis of our own strength and talent, if they did not erect barriers, obstacles, we could achieve this, Diaz-Canel insisted during his presentation.

Another element of the current context, of this situation in which they are attempting to initiate the soft coup plan, Cuba has developed five candidate vaccines, which has great merit, he insisted. But why were we obliged to seek five alternatives? Because the blockade does not allow us to generate the money we would need to buy vaccines produced in other countries. Secondly, because the blockade is an attack on our sovereignty and we must be able to do things on our own; this is why we went for the vaccines. And we can do it because we have the scientific-technological development that is a conquest of the Revolution, based on the visionary ideas of Fidel Castro.

"Moreover, it was basically our only option. Has a vaccine arrived in Cuba from somewhere else, at this moment? With what vaccine have we already vaccinated almost 30% of the population, with a first dose? With what vaccine do we aspire, before the end of the year, to have the entire Cuban population vaccinated? With what vaccine are we conducting clinical trials in convalescent patients, children and adolescents? With Cuban candidates," he affirmed.

Destabilization attempts and lessons we must learn

Regarding the disturbances, he insisted that we must learn from the experience, conduct critical analyses of our problems, in order to take action to overcome and transform such situationes, and avoid their repetition.

In the first place, he noted, we can identify the annexationists’ participation in the disturbances, people who respond to a foreign plan and are opposed to the Revolution, who think in accordance with the designs of the empire, who do not carry a Cuban flag when they take part in an action, but rather that of the United States.

“But there are also other Cubans who were involved," the President said, some displaying delinquent behavior, others dissatisfied, who have means to show their dissatisfaction, but were confused and, when they saw the situation, joined in. “This is legitimate, too, because they have dissatisfactions and have not always received adequate attention," he stated.

There were also young people, he acknowledged, which contrasts sharply with the young people who are making a huge contribution to the country, collaborating, lending a hand on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic, in red zones, he added.

They were demonstrations, which some attempt to describe as peaceful, but the images show that this was not so; this is a lie, he insisted.

The delinquents and dissatisfied persons who participated in these events are part of our people and “this hurts, it bothers us” that there are people with this attitude. "There have been gaps in the attention we provide to certain social problems; they are a consequence of these gaps, of things that we must perfect and assume."

The Cuban President made reference to Fidel's ideas, to his thinking, his thesis in relation to the missing links in our society, and the need to act in a differentiated manner, based on social and community work, assisting every family in disadvantaged or vulnerable neighborhoods.

He also acknowledged that the work with prisoners is not always the best when it comes to re-educating them in penitentiary centers, even though a person can pursue university studies in prison and even graduate.

But society has not been capable of re-incorporating these people who leave prison in the most humanistic and transformative manner possible. So, they continue with these vulnerabilities, and the events are repeated, he said.

In the case of the dissatisfied, he stated, there are also problems in the attention provided by our institutions to the population’s proposals and in their sensitivity to problems. Explanations provided, he said, must be timely and responses must be clear and precise. There may be problems we do not have the resources to solve, and this must be explained, but it is not that I want to bother you or refuse to solve the problem; there are reasons that prevent a resolution, he said.

"Now, with the harshness with which I am analyzing this, starting with the dissatisfaction, we have not been able to achieve the transformation needed in vulnerable neighborhoods, in overcoming the problems that these dissatisfied people have, partly because of the blockade."

Because if we had the construction materials, the fuel, the products, the raw materials associated with a group of processes that could help in the solution, we would have been able to respond to these dissatisfactions, he said.

He called for continuing to strengthen the humanist vocation of the Revolution and to concretize this vocation in deeds, and also revive our ways of ensuring social participation, as well as the work of organizations and institutions functioning at the neighborhood level.

Díaz-Canel also spoke about the one death, the events that took place in the Havana neighborhood of La Güinera, the injured, the attack on law enforcement authorities. He noted that acts were committed in violation of the Constitution, which was endorsed by more than 86% of the adult population and, therefore, belongs to the majority, and must be respected. For this reason, there are individuals who are going to receive the response stipulated in Cuban law, which will be energetic, but also respectful in all cases, with established due process.

Perhaps, he acknowledged, we will need to apologize to someone who, in the midst of all the confusion, was mistreated; but it is legitimate that a portion of the people and an important part of the forces of order attempted to prevent these events, and to counteract them, because if they had not, we would still have our disorders in our cities, undermining the security that people feel living in Cuba.

Identify what is not working and develop solutions, with the participation of all

I know that there are people, the President said, who are anguished by what has occurred, and some perhaps fearful that society is falling into disorder, but that will never happen. We are not going to give them the opportunity, and that is why action was taken.

In this regard, he stressed that some have attempted to manipulate the statement that Cuba’s streets belong to revolutionaries, but this is an inclusive concept. At moments like this, revolutionaries are at the front, with all those who join in, and have the duty to protect what is the patrimony of all.

He commented that this kind of situation provokes deep thinking, our critical sense, and desire to improve.

"The Revolution was made to transform this reality, to reach everyone, to open horizons of improvement to all; and I believe that everyone in the Revolution, without distinction based on skin color, without gender distinctions, have had the opportunity to take advantage of these horizons."

We must therefore identify what is not working, he insisted, because there are persons like these who reach this point and can be manipulated by a campaign that misinforms, that creates virtual realities which do not exist, as part of interventionist destabilization projects.

Based on all this analysis and self-criticism, the President called for continuing to promote solidarity, respect and social responsibility.

"Let us make a greater effort and produce concrete results, help each other more, with all the potential we have, and resolve our disagreements ourselves. Although we may have different points of view, on occasion, we must facilitate finding solutions, and within the government, the Party, we must strengthen deep social work," he continued.

It is also a call for peace, he said, for concord among Cubans and respect; because a few cannot attack others - no matter how affected they are or how many needs they have, because they overestimate their situation, thinking it is worse than that of others; they have the right to express themselves peacefully, to go to the institutions which must attend to their concerns.

Those who are not committed to overcoming the problems are those who blockade us, and why don’t they let us do things the way we want? Let us demonstrate, without a blockade, on equal footing, if we are inept, and that our convictions are illusory. Why in 60 years have they refused to let us try, and how, in spite of everything, have we constructed social justice that surpasses that existing in countries which present themselves to us with such perversity, he asked.

What conclusions can we draw from these situations and their history?

Díaz-Canel reflected on the context and background in which the events took place.

We are facing a dangerous peak in the pandemic, but peaks have not occurred only in Cuba. Who was worried about giving an SOS to the African continent, or to the United States itself, or the Latin American region? he asked.

"Was the objective really to support Matanzas, or was it to take advantage of a situation that could create irritation andinsecurity, to boost social unrest, provoke demonstrations, clashes between forces, and seek to destabilize the country- as outlined in the soft coup manuals?”

“They took Matanzas and started heating up the SOS; the distrurbances come along and they’ve forgotten all about the SOS, the SOS in Matanzas is turned off.”

Life has shown, he insisted, who is taking care of Matanzas. A government work team was sent, with members of the country’s highest leadership and other organizations. In a few weeks, primary care has been reinforced, and that team located the places that could be used as hospitals. It was the Cuban government that offered solutions, the SOS was a pretext, a falsehood.

When you get on social networks, if you don’t have firm convictions, you can easily become distressed, because everything they have raised about Cuba is totally absurd. There is one reality on the net, and another altogether in the life of this country. He added that family ties have been shaken. Friends and relatives abroad have called those who live here to insult them, to incite them to leave the country.

He mentioned the outrageous allegation that that Army General Raul Castro had left for Caracas, confirming that he is in Cuba, “with his boots on and a foot in the stirrup,” ready to help.

"They said that a deputy minister of the Interior defected, another lie. They send all this with photos that are lies. They say that there is absolute repression in Cuba, and thousands of deaths. Where are the thousands of deaths, where are the cases of deaths in Cuba? We have reported that there was one death and we are conducting a full investigation."

The President also denied the totally fake situation created in Camagüey, and presented examples of false photos of demonstrations in cities of other countries, alleging that they were taken in Havana’s Plaza and waterfront.

Regarding ludicrous reports of leaders leaving the country, the President emphasized, "There is too much courage in our people for that. We are going to be here until the last consequences, and I am one of those who are convinced that we would give our lives for this Revolution, for the future of Cubans, for the future of our children, our grandchildren, because we have a present and also a future in this country, regardless of all the dreams we have not been able to achieve because of this criminal policy," he stated.

It has been a media campaign full of hate, of fake news, of ridiculous and lying images, calling for violent acts. Today there were posts circulating explaining how to build artifacts and weapons to attack revolutionaries and authorities, he noted.

"I am one of those who have defended the computerization of society, the need to use the Internet, but with a humanist conception. Internet must serve to promote culture, to share knowledge," he said.

Calling for killings, assassinations, on social networks, to create insecurity, panic, to distort reality, is an expression of media terrorism, the President continued.

Nonetheless, he repeated, we are left with the conviction that we can do more, that we can face the problems, solve them, with profound work, precisely because of the values our people harbor.

Based on this analysis, we can say that in Cuba, today, peace reigns in our cities, we are still working. The government is working, we are still conducting work meetings; and we are reoriented toward reviving our forms of social participation, encouraging the work with young people, listening to them as the important people they are, and seeing how we can strengthen attention to the communities. In addition to all this, he stressed, we are vaccinating, listening to proposals, strengthening ourselves from within; we continue to learn lessons.

We are calling for security, social responsibility, harmony and for no one to allow hatred to take possession of the Cuban soul, which is one of goodness, solidarity, dedication, affection and love. Let us not allow anyone to divide us. Our problems will be solved by Cubans, within the Revolution, he said.

Therefore, he concluded, we must defend, ensure and sustain our sovereign tranquility, calling for the unity of the entire people, of all Cuban families, of our institutions, with our population, developing that creative resistance that always gives us the strength to overcome adversity.

"Peace and citizen tranquility, respect and solidarity among compatriots and others in need around the world, saving Cuba to continue building, growing, dreaming and achieving the greatest possible prosperity. This is our message to our people."



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