We Cannot Remain Indifferent To Disturbances
Resulting From The Imperialist Counteroffensive
Speech by President of Cuba, Raul Castro
in the opening session of the 7th ACS Summit
The following is an excerpt from the key address given by Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba to the Opening Session of the 7th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States. Havana, Cuba, June 4, 2016. To read the full article: http://www.minrex.gob.cu/en/speech-president-cuba-raul-castro-opening-session-7th-acs-summit
Distinguished Heads of State and/or Government,
Distinguished delegates and guests,
For the seventh time, we are meeting as Heads of States and/or Government, alongside other high representatives of the States and territories of the Association of Caribbean States, ACS. On this occasion we have gathered for a deep exchange on the theme “Together to confront the challenges of sustainable development, climate change and peace in the Caribbean”.
We hope one day to be able to count with the adherence of all of the Caribbean territories, including the sister island of Puerto Rico, as an independent and sovereign nation.
Another issue demanding priority attention concerns sovereignty over our natural resources, which constitute a guarantee for the future and a source of wealth for our peoples. Allowing their unrestricted exploitation by foreign interests, with negligible profits for our nations, is tantamount to compromising development and adding to existing dependence.
We cannot remain indifferent to disturbances in Latin America and the Caribbean resulting from the imperialist and oligarchic counteroffensive unleashed against popular and progressive governments, which emerged after the failure of the neoliberal wave. This constitutes a threat to peace, stability, unity and indispensable regional integration.
The situation demands the reinforcement of consultation and coordination mechanisms in conformity with the precepts contained in Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of States and/or Government attending the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC), held in Havana in January 2014. We should also urge others to respect those principles in their relations with our countries.
The commitments of States in the region to not interfere, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State, and to abide by the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and the free determination of the peoples; to promote friendly and cooperative relations between them, and with other nations; to exercise tolerance and live in peace; and, to fully respect every State’s inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system are unavoidable conditions to peace, harmony, development and the integration of our countries.
I reaffirm our strongest and unconditional solidarity with the fraternal people of Venezuela, with the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro, and with the Bolivarian Revolution initiated by Commander Hugo Chavez Frias. They are firmly resisting the destabilizing thrust, and the economic and media warfare undertaken by those who intend to sweep away the political, economic and social conquests that have brought benefits to millions of people who for centuries lived in conditions of poverty, injustice and inequality.
It is a source of deep concern, the unacceptable attempt by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States [OAS] to apply the so-called Inter American Democratic Charter to interfere with the internal affairs of Venezuela. The statement published by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains Cuba’s position and releases me of offering details.
I would only reiterate our view that the OAS, from its inception was, as it is and will continue to be, an instrument of imperialist domination, and no reform whatsoever can change its nature or its history. That is why Cuba will never return to the OAS.
We also extend our solidarity to the Brazilian people and their Constitutional President Dilma Rousseff, who is bravely confronting the parliamentary coup d’état promoted by the rightwing and neoliberal oligarchy, intent on reversing the social achievements scored during the governments headed by the Workers Party.
I reaffirm our satisfaction with the progress attained in the Colombian peace process, and reiterate that we shall keep up the effort to contribute to achieve the completion of an agreement that can definitely put an end to the armed conflict in that sister nation.
Likewise, we are fully committed to support the reconstruction and development of the fraternal Republic of Haiti, the birthplace of the first revolution for independence and slave emancipation in Our America.
We shall never forget that when the ACS was established, in July 1994, our Caribbean brothers and sisters defended our membership in the bosom of this united family. At the time, Cuba was undergoing an extremely challenging situation, since our economy had fallen by 35%, due to the sudden loss of its major markets, in the aftermath of the demise of the European socialist camp and mounting imperialist pressures to corner and destroy the Revolution.
We shall neither forget the unrelenting support that every government represented here has provided to our just demand for the removal of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States; a blockade that remains in force, despite the fact that it has been rejected 24 times at the United Nations General Assembly, and other important, like the Summit of the Americas held in Panama last year; and despite positive but insufficient measures adopted by the current U.S. Administration.
We also appreciate the support displayed at the 4th CELAC Summit with respect to our demand for the return of the Cuban territory unlawfully occupied by a U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, against the will of our people and government.
Now, without further delay I pronounce the 7th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States open.
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