Speech by Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Head of its Ideological Department, at the inauguration of the 1st International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Leftist Parties and Movements held in Havana, Cuba in February 2023.
Cro. Roberto Morales Ojeda, member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of Organization of the Communist Party of Cuba;
Abel Prieto Jiménez, president of Casa de las Américas, venue for this event;
Dear delegates to the First International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Leftist Parties and Movements;
Leaders of the Party, the Government, Cuban mass and social organizations;
Compañeras y compañeros:
To the political leaders, editors, journalists, and social activists present today in Havana for this First International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Leftist Parties and Movements, we are summoned by the urgency of the serious circumstances facing humanity.
The presence of a hundred delegates, from 68 publications, and from 36 countries shows the interest aroused by this opportunity to meet and discuss the need to think and act together. Thank you for accepting this call and for your militant solidarity.
The world is experiencing a structural systemic crisis: on economic, energy, food, environmental, social, and civilizational levels.There are no global responses in sight, because capitalism is not capable of nurturing them, but instead it is the cause of their exacerbation, as it only has before it the exacerbation of armed conflicts and the modernization and expansion of its increasingly lethal arsenals.
The traditional forms of growth of the capitalist system and the rules of bourgeois democracy become inoperative: in order to sustain itself, the system violates them by spreading halftruths and plausible lies, committing fraud, eliminating popular governments in judicial or military coups, and the prosecution of the people's candidates in rigged trials. This era of "post-truth" insists on cynicism.
In turn, the digital division of the world has exponentially accelerated inequalities. Global algorithmic platforms take with impunity the infinite wealth represented by the enormous accumulation of data. An anthropological change is brewing. The very existence of the human species is more in danger today than ever before.
As a reminder to our consciences, the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, reminds us, “the battle is of ideas, because we need the truth; imperialism does without it.”
Faced with such colossal challenges, we should not foster theoretical spaces absorbed in bookish knowledge: the left needs revolutionary theory, it needs to understand the world – not to show off its knowledge – but to transform the world. The theoretical publications of the left are instruments for the fight for social justice.
We must study, participate, teach, and learn from others, and above all, communicate. And communicate our ideas well, in an era in which instantaneous, superficial, banal, and intellectual laziness besieges us.
We cultivate convictions, feelings, reason, and faith in victory, because without it, we will not be able to move mountains. Our scientific truths do not depend on the prestige of the journals that host them: they are validated in the street, in the triumph of social justice.
This meeting should help us to identify our common objective, to share experiences and knowledge, to understand that isolated we will not achieve victory.
On the other hand, if we revolutionaries give up fighting for a different (anticapitalist) world, and only demand the effective exercise of the “democratic” rules that the system allows, we will remain trapped in its symbolic networks. If we abandon our symbols, the system will seize them and recycle them back to us empty of content.
We are obliged to forge new values and hope for our peoples, in the face of the right-wing and fascist wave that tries to drag them towards historic selfishness.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic showed that selfishness is an unequivocal symptom of the capitalist system, it also caused a spontaneous outbreak of popular solidarity in almost all countries.
Cuba consciously organized that solidarity: making our institutions work together in order to save lives. The scientific treasure created by the Revolution and by the genius of Fidel, the will of our science and health workers, the resistance of an entire people, and the perseverance of the revolutionary leadership, headed by our President, saved us. The creation of our own vaccines, the design of artificial respirators, and the development of a massive vaccination campaign that included children from the age of 2, made it possible for us to finally defeat the aggressiveness of the virus.
The few resources that the blockade, and the paralysis of the world economy, left our country were used entirely to save lives. Cuba also offered an unusual example: from the global South, from a blockaded country, our health professionals traveled to the North to offer their solidarity services. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical transnationals profited from their vaccines and medical equipment at the expense of the poorest countries and citizens.
U.S. imperialism took the opportunity to increase the blockade and unilateral coercive measures against rebellious countries, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other sister nations. Like the knee of the police officer on the neck of that detained Afro-American citizen which caused his death, so Cuba was subjected to suffocation by the United States government in the hardest moments of the pandemic. But they could not and will not kill us. Here we are, firm and rebellious.
Compañeras y compañeros:
The 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba established missions of the Cuban revolutionaries as: the economic battle, the fight for peace, unity, and ideological firmness. The new generations that have assumed the leadership of the Revolution together with the historical generation have been forged in the principles that are the foundation of our revolutionary ideology: Marti, Marx, Lenin, and Fidel.
We face an unconventional war that tries to break the human will, fracture national unity, and show Cuba as a "failed state". The United States government continues to allocate millions in financial resources for political subversion and destabilization, all in an attempt to bring about its longawaited "regime change." But their actions are doomed to fail. As Fidel predicted, Cuba will not be subdued either by force or by seduction.
Our Party deeply thanks you for your presence at this meeting, which we hope to convene annually. We are sure that your valuable contributions will make it possible to elaborate, approve, and implement a joint and effective action plan for our anti-hegemonic struggles.
The image chosen as the visual identity of the first edition of this event, which incorporates the "share" icon (very familiar on digital social networks), evokes the emblematic photograph of one of the most relevant photographers of the Revolution, Roberto Salas. The original photo is titled “First day”. It was taken on January 4, 1961, in front of the United States Embassy in Havana. The previous day, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower had announced the break of diplomatic relations with Cuba. The armed aggression was brewing. But, faced with threats, a humble newspaper vendor displayed the front page of the newspaper Revolución with a defiant headline: Long live free Cuba! The face of that Cuban is the symbol of the rebellion and self-assurance with which this people has faced the most complex moments in our history.
This is how those of us present here today face the adversaries of the people - the haters and propagators of lies, those who uncritically assimilate the cultural colonization that the empire imposes on us.
May our critical exercises of theoretical reflection always be accompanied by the transformative practice of daily politics, of popular resistance, of creative imagination, of birthing the new emancipatory horizons of the peoples.
Thank you so much.
(Translation by Azza Rojbi & Tamara Hansen)
Rogelio Polanco Fuentes is the Head of the Ideological Department in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, member of its Secretariat and deputy to the National Assembly of People's Power. Graduate in International Political Relations, he was Director of the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, Ambassador of Cuba in Venezuela and rector of the Higher Institute of International Relations Raúl Roa García.
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