Speech by Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla,
Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Cuba,
at the Ceremony to Re-Open the cuban Embassy in Washington D.C., USA
Washington, July 20, 2015
Her Excellency Mrs. Roberta Jacobson,
Assistant Secretary of State;
Officials of the US Government
Honorable members of Congress;
Esteemed Representatives of the US
Organizations, Movements and Institutions
who have made huge efforts in favor of
the change of the US Cuba policy and the
improvement of bilateral relations;
Esteemed Representatives of the
Organizations and Movements of the
Comrades of the Cuban Delegation;
José Ramón Cabañas, Chargé D’ Affairs;
Officials and workers of the Cuban Embassy;
The flag that we revere at the entrance of
this room is the same that was hauled down
here 54 years ago, which was zealously
kept in Florida by a family of liberators
and later on by the Museum of our eastern
city of Las Tunas, as a sort of premonition
that this day would certainly come.
Flying once again in this place is the lone-star
flag which embodies the generous blood that
was shed, the sacrifices made and the struggle
waged for more than one hundred years by
our people for their national independence
and full self-determination, facing the most
serious challenges and risks.
Today we pay homage to all those who died
in its defense and renew the commitment of
the present generations, fully confident on the
newer ones, to serve it with honor.
We evoke the memory of José Martí, who was
fully devoted to the struggle for the freedom
of Cuba and managed to get a profound
knowledge about the United States: In his
“North American Scenes” he made a vivid
description of the great nation to the North
and extolled its virtues. He also bequeathed
to us a warning against its excessive craving
for domination which was confirmed by a
long history of disagreements.
We’ve been able to make it through this date
thanks to the firm and wise leadership of Fidel
Castro Ruz, the historic leader of the Cuban
Revolution, whose ideas we will always
revere with utmost loyalty. We now recall his
presence in this city, in April of 1959, with the
purpose of promoting fair bilateral relations,
as well as the sincere tribute he paid to Lincoln
and Washington. The purposes that brought
him to this country on such an early time are
the same that have pursued throughout these
decades and coincide exactly with the ones
that we pursue today. Many in this room,
whether politicians, journalists, outstanding
personalities in the fields of arts or sciences,
students or American social activists, have
been able to treasure unlimited hours of
enriching talks with the Commander, which
allowed them to have a better understanding
of our reasons, goals and decisions.
This ceremony has been possible thanks
to the free and unshakable will, unity,
sacrifice, selflessness, heroic resistance and
work of our people and also the strength
of the Cuban Nation and its culture.
Several generations of the revolutionary
diplomacy have converged in this effort
and offered their martyrs. The example and
vibrant speech of Raúl Roa, the Chancellor
of Dignity, have continued to inspire Cuba’s
foreign policy and will remain forever in
the memory of the younger generations and
I bring greetings from President Raúl Castro,
as an expression of the good will and sound
determination to move forward, through
a dialogue based on mutual respect and
sovereign equality, to a civilized coexistence,
even despite the differences that exist
between both governments, which makes
it possible to solve bilateral problems and
promote cooperation and the development
of mutually beneficial relations, just as both
peoples desire and deserve.
We know that this would contribute to
peace, development, equity and stability
in the continent; the implementation of
the purposes and principles enshrined in
the UN Charter and in the Proclamation
of Latin America and the Caribbean as
a Zone of Peace, which was signed at the
Second Summit of the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States held in
Today, the re-establishment of diplomatic
relations and the re-opening of embassies
complete the first stage of the bilateral
dialogue and pave the way to the complex
and certainly long process towards the
normalization of bilateral relations.
The challenge is huge because there have
never been normal relations between the
United States of America and Cuba, in spite
of the one and a half century of intensive
and enriching links that have existed between
The Platt Amendment, imposed in 1902
under a military occupation, thwarted the
liberation efforts that had counted on the
participation or the sympathy of quite a few
American citizens and led to the usurpation
of a piece of Cuban territory in Guantánamo.
Its nefarious consequences left an indelible
mark in our common history.
In 1959, the United States refused to accept
the existence of a fully independent small and
neighboring island and much less, a few years
later, a socialist Revolution that was forced
to defend itself and has embodied, ever since
then, our people’s will.
I have referred to History to reaffirm that
today an opportunity has opened up to begin
working in order to establish new bilateral
relations, quite different from whatever
existed in the past. The Cuban government is
fully committed to that.
Only the lifting of the economic, commercial
and financial blockade which has caused so
much harm and suffering to our people; the
return of the occupied territory in Guantánamo and the respect for
Cuba’s sovereignty will lend some meaning to the historic event that
we are witnessing today.
Every step forward will receive the recognition and the favorable
acceptance of our people and government, and most certainly the
encouragement and approval of Latin America and the Caribbean
and the entire world.
We reaffirm Cuba’s willingness to move towards the normalization of
relations with the United States in a constructive spirit, but without
any prejudice whatsoever to our independence or any interference in
the affairs that fall under the exclusive sovereignty of Cubans.
To insist in the attainment of obsolete and unjust goals, only hoping
for a mere change in the methods to achieve them will not legitimize
them or favor the national interest of the United States or its citizens.
However, should that be the case, we would be ready to face the challenge.
We will engage in this process, as was written by President Raúl
Castro in his letter of July 1st to President Obama, “encouraged by
the reciprocal intention of developing respectful and cooperative
relations between our peoples and governments.”
From this Embassy, we will continue to work tirelessly to promote
cultural, economic, scientific, academic and sports relations as well as
friendly ties between our peoples.
We would like to convey the Cuban government’s respect and
recognition to the President of the United States for urging the
US Congress to lift the blockade as well as for the change of policy
that he has announced, but in particular for the disposition he has
showed to make use of his executive powers for that purpose.
We are particularly reminded of President Carter’s decision to open
the respective Interests Sections back in September of 1977.
I am pleased to express my gratitude to the Government of the Swiss
Confederation for having represented the Cuban interests for the
last 24 years.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Cuba, I would
like to express our gratitude to the members of Congress, scholars,
religious leaders, activists, solidarity groups, business people and so
many US citizens who worked so hard for so many years so that this
day would come.
To the majority of Cubans residing in the United States who have
advocated and called for a different kind of relation of this country
with our Nation, we would like to express our recognition. Deeply
moved, they have told us that they would multiply their efforts and
will remain faithful to the legacy of the patriotic emigration that
supported the ideals of independence.
We would like to express our gratitude to our Latin American
and Caribbean brothers and sisters who have resolutely supported
our country and called for a new chapter in the relations between
the United States and Cuba, as was done, with extraordinary
perseverance, by a lot of friends from all over the world.
I reiterate our recognition to the governments represented here by
the Diplomatic Corps, whose voice and vote at the UN General
Assembly and other fora made a decisive contribution.
From this country José Martí organized the Cuban Revolutionary
Party to conquer freedom, all the justice and the full dignity of
human beings. His ideas, which were heroically vindicated in his
centennial year, continue to be the main inspiration that moves us
along the path that our people have sovereignly chosen.
Thank you, very much.
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