Speech delivered by Miguel M. Diaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and the President of the Republic
October 29, 2021
Dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution;
Comrade Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly of People's Power;
It is my responsibility to close the Seventh Ordinary Period of Sessions of the IX Legislature and, at the same time, I come before you, the highest representation of our people, to fulfill a legal mandate: to render accounts and report on my management as President of the Republic.
I will do so by sharing assessments of the situation we have faced in these times, the issues on which we have focused our work, and also to talk about the issues towards which we must direct our main efforts.
I do it on a day of special significance for all Cubans, the one on which the loyal Camilo Cienfuegos, a symbol of Cubanness, of courage, an eternal hero of the Cuban youth and, like her, joyful and profound, disappeared.
As these words are made public, I will surely be able to count not only on your opinions, but also on those of our population. We will rely on them to improve our work, with the responsibility imposed by being a public servant.
I must first of all highlight the very complex global context, shaken by multiple crises derived from the unjust global order, which have worsened as a result of two long and hard years of a pandemic.
Less than a week ago, deaths from COVID-19 around the world were around 5 million people and those infected exceeded the figure of 243,700,000. The World Health Organization estimates that if the direct or related over mortality is taken into account indirectly to the new coronavirus, the balance of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than what the official records affirm; but the real impact on all orders of life on a planetary level remains to be known. What nobody doubts is its high cost to the world economy, already out of adjustment by the prolonged prevalence of unsustainable consumption patterns, which have increasingly narrowed the zones of luxury and comfort, while dramatically expanding the world of luxury goods. excluded.
Cuba, despite being endowed by the work of social justice of the Revolution with a universal and free health system, capable of having scientific potentialities that in a very short time put us at the world forefront in research and production of vaccines, no has been able to escape the pandemic coup.
As has been evaluated in the sessions of this Assembly, since 2019 the economy has gone through exceptional conditions. The combined effects of the intensification of the blockade and the escalation of the pandemic caused the country to stop receiving more than 3 billion dollars in income during this period. In addition, significant expenses have been executed in excess of the Budget to face COVID-19, the protection of workers and the population in general. All of this has limited the ability to face essential expenditures to sustain the state supply, fundamentally of food and medicine, as well as those demanded by the National Electric System for its stability; This difficult situation causes dissatisfaction and discomfort in the population.
To give you an idea: only in health services and expendable material in the care of COVID-19, about 300 million dollars were invested, while the resources for the operation and maintenance of the National Electric System demand at least 250 million dollars per year.
Failure to carry out the maintenance in a timely manner and not being able to acquire the essential resources for the electric service guarantee caused the annoying blackouts that we have been suffering since June 21. Although the limitations have not disappeared, there is the availability of fuel for the generation of electricity, and a level of financing was allocated, under very difficult conditions to approve it, that will allow, before the end of the year, to recover 608 megawatts of power from electricity generation, which will gradually improve the situation of this service throughout the country.
In this context, there have been conditions that favor inflation due to the existence of demand much higher than supply, which constitutes the main priority in the Government's work. One of the solutions to this problem is the growth of the offer from greater participation of national producers in our domestic market.
Thanks to the sustained control of COVID-19, a gradual process of recovery of economic and social activity has begun, to which the approved measures should contribute to give greater autonomy to the socialist state enterprise and the improvement and diversification of economic actors.
The Economy Plan and the State Budget for 2022, which we will evaluate next December, will be aimed at projecting the recovery of the fundamental levels of activity, achieving greater autonomy in the administrative management of the territories; prioritizing compensatory measures for the care of the most vulnerable, and consolidate the implementation of the Ordering Task, among other priorities.
Thanks to our system, to the integration of all the forces in pursuit of one objective, that is, thanks to the unity around the Party, Cuba had immediate responses to the unforeseen pandemic and, at the same time, to face the gross deepening of the blocking.
It is necessary to point again to the vile opportunism of the adversary. Just in the months in which the pandemic escalated in the country, electricity cuts became frequent and the supply of goods and services contracted significantly for the reasons indicated, creating a climate favorable to irritation and discontent; The historical enemy of the Cuban nation knew the gravity of the moment and launched even more viciously against our economy. In frank contradiction with the recent declarations of President Biden before the United Nations General Assembly, to favor multilateralism and cooperate in the fight against the pandemic at a global level, the blockade against Cuba was tightened, new sanctions were imposed, and a new destabilization program that complies with the letter of the manual of the "soft hit".
We have never sat down to wait for the change of a policy that for 62 years has varied only to strengthen the fence. The enemy's formula has been to bet that our great material difficulties weaken the resistance of the people and finally bring us to our knees before them.
Violent or warlike actions, invasion, occupation are never ruled out against a socialist project like ours; but in the first place they bet on demoralization, on surrender, hence the message of hatred towards the communists, the anti-socialist emphasis, the persecution of every possible economic solution, in short, the blockade. It does not matter how much it destroys, how much it damages, how much it erodes the faith of a people in its own strength.
As implausible and immoral as it may seem, that is the design of imperialism against Cuba. Hypocritical covers and deceptions about a supposed revision of the policy that the current government repudiated during the electoral campaign that brought it to power are no longer valid. Fraudulent pretexts about the supposed intention of favoring the Cuban people and denying benefits to the Government are no longer valid.
The evidence is before everyone's eyes to verify that the objective has been, from the beginning, to cause economic scarcity, punish the people, damage their standard of living, restrict their sources of income, limit their consumption and damage the social services of the people. that depends a part of your well-being and the answer to your most basic needs. The purpose has been to condemn the Cuban population to the role of hostage in a genocidal policy with hegemonic designs.
That is why Cuba's success in confronting the pandemic causes such annoyance in Washington, particularly the outstanding result of the vaccination program developed with ingenuity, effort, and its own resources. This explains the determination to denigrate our Public Health System and to hide this extraordinary achievement of Cuba, which breaks the deceptive matrix that it wants to impose on our reality.
Each vaccine created and applied, each immunized compatriot, each contagion avoided and each life saved are triumphs for the national cause and defeats for the imperialist aggression against our country. It would seem incredible that it should be described that way, but there is no other way to refer to the shamelessness of betting on a pandemic with cold political calculations against an entire people.
As I recently denounced at the closing of the last plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, in the current bilateral scenario that we are experiencing with the United States, the Embassy of that country has been playing an increasing role in the efforts of political subversion.
In contrast, I can categorically affirm that our Embassy in Washington has never carried out any activity aimed at subverting order in the United States, nor at undermining its political, legal or constitutional foundations. Our diplomatic mission in that country is limited to the deployment of intense work in favor of bilateral relations, based on the lifting of the economic blockade and aimed at countering the slander against Cuba and the Revolution.
The trajectory of our diplomatic representations in the United States has always been absolutely clean, even though we have genuine concerns and legitimate views on the unjust nature of the American political system and on the political, economic and legal abuses that are committed there on a daily basis.
The United States Government shamelessly uses the privileges enjoyed by its Embassy in our country. US diplomatic officials meet frequently with counterrevolutionary leaders. They provide them with guidance, encouragement, logistical support and directly or indirectly finance their activities. On their communication platforms, including digital networks, they issue offensive pronouncements on a daily basis that constitute open interference in the internal affairs of our country.
It is fair to ask what would be the behavior of the United States Government before any accredited embassy in Washington that is dedicated to instigating, orienting, motivating, and financing any of the many extremist groups whose illegal activities threaten stability, life and order. public of that country. It would be good to know how the US Government would respond to an accredited embassy in its territory that publicly dedicated itself to promoting civil disobedience, political demonstrations, and massive marches against established legality.
The Eighth Congress of the Party, held in this difficult year, left us valuable debates and fundamental orientations that are the reference and the greatest impetus to what we do.
With the recent provocations, it is clear that a concerted operation from Washington is underway against Cuba, which involves millionaire funds aimed at generating the image that Cuba is a failed state, that there is an outrage against citizens. This plan also includes the purpose of trying to get other countries to join the measures of economic aggression, and even that the United States itself take punitive actions of greater magnitude.
The truth is always imposed, no matter how powerful the tools that exist today are to hide or distort it. The lie will be able to spread as the COVID-19 virus spreads and will have the power to confuse and infect many, but it will not be able to bend the tried and tested will of this heroic people.
Against the plans of imperialism, we are defeating the pandemic, as we have and will defeat aggressive plans, no matter how powerful the campaigns and slanders are. The blockade is and will continue to be, for the foreseeable, a fundamental obstacle to our strategies and potential for economic growth and development, but it is not an insurmountable impediment. We will continue to fight him tirelessly, with the support of the international community.
Our development and the well-being of the people will have to depend on the effort we make and the intelligence we combine, aware that the cruel economic war of the United States will persist as long as the criminal desire to take over the destiny of Cuba exists in that country. The blockade is not only a punishment for the resistance. It is the everyday way of preventing socialism from being associated with growth, progress, and prosperity. No! Socialism is not to blame for our problems. Socialism is the only explanation that we have survived this fierce and genocidal siege without giving up on developing ourselves (Applause).
As I expressed a few days ago in the plenary session of our Central Committee, the dignified response to this undeserved punishment depends only on us. Our originality is bound to be as great as the evil of those who try to surrender. The Revolution was and will be permanently challenged to be exceptional by the capacity of its people to resist and create.
Thanks to our system, to the integration of all the forces in pursuit of one objective, that is, thanks to the unity around the Party, Cuba had immediate responses to the unforeseen pandemic and, at the same time, to face the gross deepening of the blockade left to us by the Trump administration and maintained against its own promises by the current Biden administration.
The Economic-Social Strategy to boost the economy and face the global crisis caused by COVID-19 was the first response.
A strategy that adjusted the country's projections to the new scenarios without renouncing the development program until 2030. A revolutionary response due to its flexibility and its ability to adapt to the complexity of completely new and unpredictable situations such as the pandemic itself. A response based on our strengths and awareness of the existing limitations.
Promoting the development of a Government Management System, based on Science and Innovation, we have created the National Innovation Council, whose specialized advice will impact decision-making and the solution of the most pressing problems.
More than 60 measures have been approved to stimulate the production and commercialization of food and others that seek to increase the efficiency of the state company; Stimulating the action of new economic actors through the so-called MSMEs, unlocking processes and linking productions are part of a set of actions that complement the Economic-Social Strategy.
In parallel, this year of so many restrictions, our State has developed an intense international activity of dialogue, exchange and cooperation with other nations and their leaders, participating in summits, virtual events and, to a lesser extent, face-to-face, which allow us to maintain a solid relationship with the international community and, in particular, with friendly nations.
As an expression of Cuba's invariable vocation for solidarity, recognized with gratitude throughout the world, some 57 medical brigades of the Henry Reeve contingent have directly confronted COVID-19 in 40 nations.
I have allowed myself to insist on the external factors that aim to weaken us because, under the fireworks of the Unconventional War and the deafening noise that the professional haters arm in the networks, we could fall into the error of not assessing our own forces, of not appreciate our indisputable progress in a period, the last two years, plagued with challenges and uncertainty at the global level. Let's start with the legislative exercise, which must contribute so much to the country's institutional framework.
In this Period of Sessions, and in compliance with the agreed schedule, we have approved four important laws that mark a transcendent reform in the judicial and procedural order in the country; It is commendable to recognize the effort made even under the conditions imposed by the pandemic. These norms develop contents of the Constitution of the Republic and reinforce the guarantees and rights of citizens in harmony with society as a whole. They have been the fruit of a broad and participatory process of normative creation to which directors and specialists from the courts, the Public Prosecutor's Office, collective law firms and university professors have contributed, in addition to consulting with part of our people.
This practice for the legislative exercise we have to continue to perfect it, so that each law that we pass is the result of the contribution of all those who are linked to the object of regulation and there is no lack, when appropriate, of consultation with the people in various ways.
The regulatory provisions approved to place the country at the forefront of the most advanced and modern legislation in this area, with a spirit of renewal reaffirming access to justice for all, expanding due process, and thereby helping to materialize the concept of the socialist state of law. and social justice, recognized in Article 1 of the Magna Carta.
The Law of the Courts of Justice enhances the judicial function in the country, reinforcing the independence of the judiciary and the role of judges in society, adjusting its structure and operation to current demands.
It recognizes essential principles for the judicial function, such as constitutional supremacy, impartiality, equality, free access to justice and popular participation in this area.
The criminal process, with the approval of the law on this matter, is endowed with greater guarantees for all those who intervene in it.
The strengthening of the rights and guarantees recognized in the Constitution and international treaties are notable; The recognition of the victims and injured parties as procedural subjects, the anticipated forms of solution of the processes, the treatment of the accused and accused persons aged between 16 and 18 years are new. Significant is the legal assistance from the beginning of the process, together with the control by the courts of the precautionary measure of provisional imprisonment at any stage of the process, issues raised during the popular consultation of the constitutional text.
The Administrative Process Law, in addition to making this matter independent for the first time in the procedural order, will guarantee citizens the possibility of claiming in the courts rights that they consider have been violated by the Public Administration, demanding for our managers and officials a act more transparent and in compliance with the law.
Finally, the Code of Procedures standardizes the procedures for action in civil, commercial, family, and work matters and social security. The norm reinforces the protection of people in vulnerable situations and establishes measures to enforce compliance with judicial decisions, among other relevant issues.
The four laws approved presuppose a challenge for the operators of the justice system, in the sense of the need for their training and in guaranteeing their adequate application, in order to safeguard prompt and effective justice.
We ratify the will to continue complying with the Legislative Schedule approved by this Parliament and, with it, developing the contents of our socialist Constitution.
The Eighth Congress of the Party, held in this difficult year, left us valuable debates and fundamental orientations that are the reference and the greatest impetus to what we do. It addressed the most challenging problems of our reality: gaps, communication failures, the need to promote dialogue, participation and popular control, life in our neighborhoods, the work of mass and social organizations.,attention to vulnerable sectors of the population, knowledge of youth problems and interests.
Of the errors, routines and the bureaucratization of work in the community, but, above all, of the difficulties generated by the blockade in the daily life of all Cubans and of the high political sensitivity that the application of the Ordinance Task demanded, debated strongly in the Congress in April.
In difficult circumstances, the Ordinance Task was applied, considered an urgent step for the purpose of increasing business efficiency, but with unwanted effects on the lives of citizens, which today are expressed, above all, in harmful inflation.
In his speech, Vice Prime Minister Alejandro Gil explained the causes and possible solutions of this problem at length, I am not going to delve into it except to say that we are aware of its seriousness, and that is why the priority that the Government gives to its solution now care for vulnerable people. Several elements of its initial design have been rectified taking into account the criteria of the people.
We are not going to lie saying that this will be resolved in one fell swoop, I can only affirm that the Revolution will never do anything outside of the interests and demands of the people. And I express my confidence that we will also overcome this challenge, as we have overcome other apparently insurmountable ones (Applause).
The Guidelines updated in the Eighth Congress of the Party and what corresponds to the National Plan for Economic and Social Development until 2030, constitute the basis of the Economic-Social Strategy to boost the economy, the conduct of which has been decided to be responsibility of the Ministry of Economy and Planning, through the macroprograms, with the programs and projects that comprise it.
Considering that for 10 years the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines fulfilled functions in the interest of updating the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development and that the Management System of our Government has been perfected, it has been decided to proceed with the deactivation of the aforementioned Commission and transferring its main functions to the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
Today we are in a better position to improve government management in close alliance with the structures of People's Power, whose potentialities and reserves still have much to contribute.
I do not see a better scenario than this to reflect on what we expect from our Popular Power.
Popular Power, with capital letters, genuine, innovative and, for that same reason, questioned and attacked by those who do not know it or fear its example, constitutes the foundation and essence of the Cuban political system; To strengthen it is to promote the initiative and direct action of our people in the consolidation of socialism.
This same session of the Assembly has given us good reasons to propose a critical and reflective discussion on popular participation and control, its various forms, mechanisms and procedures; But I also point out that it is important that these analyzes be carried out in all social spaces, in all institutions and organs of the State at all levels to promote creative and responsible action in the socialist revolutionary process.
If an apprenticeship has provided us with the exchange with representatives of diverse social organizations and groups, that is, the meetings with sectors, and the tour of the provinces and neighborhoods, it is the need to assume new styles of work that correspond to the heterogeneity of the country, that the concerns and contributions of the citizens are adequately channeled and that each demand receives timely, pertinent and well-founded responses within the term and according to the established procedure.
It is imperative to take advantage of knowledge, force, and popular initiative, not in a formal way, but organically, respectfully, aware that this is how the principle of co-responsibility is accentuated on the path to the greatest possible social justice.
When we speak of innovation as one of the pillars of government management, we also think of our People's Power. Socialist democracy requires making, innovating, changing, and permanently transforming the forms of democratic participation.
Companions and companions:
The 2019 Constitution of the Republic and the laws approved in this Legislature by the National Assembly of People's Power are legal bases to support our actions, which we will continue to develop along with the improvement of the legal system.
Actions that stimulate, promote, and materialize popular participation have defensive and constructive importance for socialism. The immobility, the formalism in the government structures at the local level are as harmful as the welfare, which is limited to delivering goods and resources without considering the importance of social participation.
Participation, that is the essence and safeguard of our socialism. The opposite only serves the enemies of the Revolution for their purposes of returning to capitalism in Cuba. The freedom of discussion, the exercise of criticism and self-criticism of what we do wrong, of our problems, is vital to continue moving forward, to found and to love.
We must listen, dialogue, attend to the proposals of our people. We have to carry out popular consultations on matters of local and national interest, promote participatory budgeting to decide among all where and how best to use public funds, with an emphasis on the locality, the neighborhood, the municipality.
We reaffirm here the will of the Party, the State and the Cuban society to respect, promote and guarantee constitutional rights, a will that was expressed during the constitutional reform process, which had as its climax the approving referendum with binding force of the Constitution of the Republic. of 2019, and in all the actions that are carried out on a daily basis to generate the protection of rights.
These harsh months of the pandemic are the best evidence of how the State, supported by scientists, health personnel, educators, workers, peasants, combatants, youth, students, in the associative environment of communities and neighborhoods, in our economic actors, in political, mass and social organizations, it has worked hard to reduce deaths and infections; for saving life as a right that allows you to enjoy the rest of the rights.
Citizen participation saves! (Applause.)
The protagonists of the process are those who build sacred unity, those who develop the nation's capacity for resistance; the guardians of dignity: our people.
When we advance in mass vaccination paying special attention to girls, boys and adolescents, we show our commitment to the comprehensive protection of the rights of children and adolescents in Cuba; This action, not because it is daily, ceases to be extraordinary.
We are committed to recognizing and advancing in the guarantee of the rights of families, developing the principles of family plurality, diversity, equality and non-discrimination. There it is, as a result of that will, the Draft of the Family Code, solid, robust, which is based on human dignity as the supreme value that supports the recognition and exercise of duties and rights.
We are convinced that, through specialized consultation processes, popular consultation and debates in the National Assembly of People's Power, in exercise of the right to participation, we will reach the legislative referendum with a Family Code Project that will place Cuba among the most advanced countries in the world in family matters, in favor of girls, boys, adolescents, young people, the elderly and people in vulnerable situations.
These are just some examples, we can also cite the National Program for the Advancement of Women, the National Program against Racism and Racial Discrimination and the Decree-Law on Maternity of the Worker, among others, which show that the Revolution respects,promotes and guarantees rights(Applause).
Deputies and deputies:
This Assembly recently approved an important Declaration denouncing the interference of the US Government in our internal affairs and its unacceptable role as instigator and facilitator of ongoing provocations.
In this same room, where the 2019 Constitution of the Republic was discussed at length, until its approval, I cannot fail to refer to the subtle or unsuccessful attempts with which the opponents of the Revolution, many of whom attacked the process that led Upon its approval, today they intend to use the rights it grants to destroy the work that this Constitution defends and protects.
In accordance with Article 56 of the Magna Carta: "The rights of assembly, demonstration and association, for lawful and peaceful purposes, are recognized by the State as long as they are exercised with respect for public order and compliance with the regulations established by law." ; The exercise of rights implies the fulfillment of duties, including respect for the order established in the Constitution, which is an expression of the principle of popular sovereignty.
The Law of Laws cannot be interpreted for convenience, much less in the interest of those who are the first to not respect it. The Constitution, as established in Article 7, “... is the supreme legal norm of the State. Everyone is obliged to comply with it. The provisions and acts of the organs of the State, their directors, officials and employees, as well as of the organizations, entities and individuals are adjusted to what this has".
Our Constitution enshrines the principles of independence and sovereignty of the peoples, recognizes the right to self-determination, expressed in the freedom to choose our political, economic, social, and cultural system; condemns direct or indirect intervention in the internal or external affairs of any State and, therefore, armed aggression, any form of economic or political coercion, unilateral blockades that violate International Law, or any other type of interference and threat to the integrity of the States.
Rights are not unlimited, their limits are also provided for in the Constitution: they are the rights of others, collective security, general welfare, respect for public order, the Constitution and the laws.
A demonstration ceases to be peaceful the moment the participants go to it with the intention of altering the normality of community life, social peace, with the intention of subverting the constitutional order and positioning themselves as a discrepancy to socialism and, even more so, when all this is done following a script connected with the political interests of a foreign government that has waged an economic war against our country for six decades.
Companions and companions:
I want to thank in a particular way our scientific community, summoned to provide us with the tools that only Science can and should contribute to economic and social processes at this time. Thanks to Fidel's visionary policy of promoting science, and to the continuity that Raúl gave to that work; Thanks to the talent, dedication and commitment with which several generations of Cuban researchers have been trained, our Government has been able to face, like no other in Latin America and the Third World, the terrible threat of a pandemic.
When in the immediate future we review these years, we will have to speak first of all about the Health personnel, the scientific creators and the Academy that left the classrooms to share knowledge.
And it will also be necessary to speak of our armed institutions: the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, which decisively support the efforts aimed at dealing with the situation, and assumed the risky mission of producing, transferring and serving oxygen to hospitals in the most critical hours for the country (Applause).
I must also acknowledge the business system of the Revolutionary Armed Forces for its indispensable contribution to the nation's economy, which has allowed us to have fundamental resources in response to emergencies.
Only an organized country, with a united leadership around a common purpose: the safeguarding of the
nation, you can set the highest goals in the most difficult hours.
Knowing that our nation, blocked and without available financial resources, could not aspire to protect its population from the threat of the pandemic, more than a year ago we asked our scientific community for a sovereign solution to face the spread of the disease.
Today we are the first country in Latin America with three vaccines and two vaccine candidates in development, and the first in the world to begin vaccinating its child population from 2 to 18 years of age.
Along the way we went through the hard blows of spikes of contagion, saturation of hospitals, crisis in the availability of beds and oxygen, the very painful deaths; Tensions increased with failures in power plants, scarce availability of medicines and food.
The anti-Cuban pack, calculating our end near, threw itself at our necks with demands for humanitarian intervention and even military invasion. Nor did they bother to look back in history at how nations “saved” by US or NATO troops have ended up just in this century.
The Cuban people do know it, they are informed, and good men and women in the world also know it; With that awareness, a solidarity chain of donations was organized that still reach Cuba.
In recent weeks the numbers of infected and deceased have dropped significantly. Students are preparing to return to the classroom and the country is preparing to open borders to oxygenate the economy. They make you want to celebrate, for our children, our doctors, our scientists, our vaccines, our people; for Fidel, who returns again and again in each of his works of legitimate faith in human beings, who save lives and illuminate the horizon (Applause).
There is more than one reason for the celebration to be responsible and contained. New outbreaks of the pandemic are taking place in many parts of the world amid the crisis caused by economic paralysis. We live in that world and we have to face risk. Let's make lasting success.
On November 15, Cuba will reopen its borders, the students will return to school; Havana, capital of dignity, will await its 502nd anniversary as it has not been able to do so in the last two years. National life will resume its course, with the greatest joy, but alert.
The peace and harmony that distinguish life on our streets will continue to reign.
No one is going to spoil the party for us! (Applause.)
We are already vaccinated against COVID-19, and against fear we have always been! (Applause.)
We have a country and we defend Life!
And we are still from Homeland or Death!
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