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      "We Have a Great Responsibility & Commitment to Continue This Political, Ideological & Humanist Heritage"

      A speech by Wilfredo Pérez Bianco, Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vancouver

      As I have been emphasizing, in light of recent events in Venezuela and throughout our American region it is imperative to redefine and give a new context to the word Solidarity. It is a matter of stepping out of the “theme” and go to the “actions”, because in addition to speeches we need actions, actual impacts in the material world to prevent the abrupt interruption of the progressive processes that have given so much hope to a large part of the planet and which indicates that “another world” fairer, more equitable, more livable is possible.

      Example of this is the cooperation and exchange between Cuba and Venezuela, which has always been based on solidarity, complementarity, cooperation, sustainability economic union, and not in the fierce competition between our countries; these have been foundational precepts and principles of the Bolivarian Alliances for the Peoples of Our America – Treaty of Commerce of the People (ALBA-TCP), which was signed by the Commanders Presidents Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chavez Frias on December 14, 2004 in Havana.

      Cuba has always been a model of solidarity, cooperation and integration with the people, who in times of humanitarian crises, disaster or wars in the world, has sent its doctors, technicians, specialists and educators providing hope and unconditional support.

      Recently during the month of March this year, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Cuba reaffirmed again in Havana, once again, their will and commitment to continue strengthening the development of joint projects and strategic alliances of the mutual benefit. [This was done] during the meeting of the Cuba-Venezuela Joint High Level Commission in the framework of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation in the fight to stop the advance of interference and economic domination, and in order to move towards the creation of a community of nations, defending the economic, social, cultural, political and environmental interests of the region, promoting and encouraging Latin American and Caribbean integration, mandates that are established in the constitution of Venezuela.

      Similarly, the Plan of the Nation, the 2013-2019 Program of the Bolivarian Government, which constitutes the political will of the Eternal Commander Hugo Chavez Frias, has as priority the contribution to the development of a new international geopolitics, where the multicenter and the multipolar world would take shape, would achieve the balance of the universe, and ensure peace on the planet.

      During the meeting it was agreed that the fourteen engines of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda be coordinated with the Cuba-Venezuela Cooperation Agenda, in order to get joint results and achievements. Now, the Bolivarian Economic Agenda will count with a motor in the Caribbean that will promote the productive development to transcend the economy based on rent.

      As our Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said, and I quote: “This meeting is refounding of the agenda and the beginning of a new era in bilateral relations towards a 2016-2030 plan 'with the spirit of these two giants, Chavez and Fidel, who sealed this union between Cuba and Venezuela, which transcends the economic cooperation that has given wellbeing to our peoples.”

      With the arrival of Hugo Chavez to the presidency in 1999, the Venezuela-Cuba relationship has strengthened. Already on October 30, 2000, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez signed the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and Venezuela.

      By 2003, the first mission called Barrio Adentro was born, which was an effort led the two countries, created with the aim of bringing healthcare to the most vulnerable sectors.

      From that time until today, the Barrio Adentro Mission has 31,000 Cuban doctors and health workers who have attended nearly 500 millions free medical consultations throughout the country, helping in reducing the infant mortality, which in 1998 was 21.4%, and it is currently about 13%, also increasing life expectancy from 71 to 73 years.

      Until 2015, the Barrio Adentro Mission (I,II,III,IV) with its presence in 335 municipalities in 24 states, has saved 1.7 million lives, something like 16 lives per hour.

      Also, about 26 Cuban State institutions are actively involved in Barrio Adentro social programs, Robinson, Housing and Mercal.

      We cannot fail to mention the Robinson Mission, based on the Cuban literacy program “Yes I Can”, which until 2015, has taught 1,790,000 Venezuelans to read and write, with a coverage of 95.2%. As a result, UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] declared Venezuela a Territory Free of Illiteracy in 2005.

      Then in 2004, the official protocols were signed that gave birth to the Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America – Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP), a proposal that was made by President Chavez in 2001 and which has currently established itself as a block of cooperation and model of integration, consisting of Cuba, Bolivia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Granada and Venezuela.

      The ALBA-TCP area is the first in South American and Caribbean regional hub free of illiteracy as certified by UNESCO, which has been possible in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation of the Cuban-Venezuelan alliance.

      But also those countries that are not part of ALBA-TCP, have received benefits of solidarity and ties of integration between Venezuela and Cuba, through projects and plans for joint cooperation such as Operation Mircale, which aims to eliminate all eye disease that can be prevented and cured throughout Latin America. The momentum of ALBA has set a precedent in the consolidation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) , composed of 12 states, 3 of which, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, are also part of the ALBA and opened the path for the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). I cannot conclude this brief presentation without joining you in celebrating the 233rd anniversary of the birth of the Liberator of our America, Simon Bolivar who travelled to almost every American country to seek their independence and ensure for our peoples, including Venezuela, a future of dignity, freedom and respect, where solidarity among the peoples was a powerful tool to achieve the emancipation and progress in those times of struggle.

      In less that 20 years he managed the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Panama.

      Bolivar’s image continues growing, the study of his thought qualifies him as a giant among the great visionaries of political events, and one of the most brilliant practitioners of the philosophy of the state, as well as one of the most profound knowledgeable people of the realities of the peoples.

      In the current Bolivarian process, there has always been an emphasis in the rescue of the thought of our Liberator Simon Bolivar regarding the integration of peoples to defend their sovereignty, self-determination and independence, and non-interference in internal affairs. We advocate human rights among the peoples in the struggle for emancipation and welfare of humanity, which will only be possible if we work together and united for a just and necessary cause.

      Chavez taught us to see and feel Bolivar differently and always defend the self-determination of each of our peoples, therfore, we have great responsibility and a commitment to continue this political, ideological and humanist inheritance. As President Nicolas Maduro says, “Today we continue being local on the path of Bolivar, defending our country and forging victories with the legacy of Chavez. I will be the president of peace of this country, there will be no one’s blackmail. I believe peace as the only way for prosperity, for life, for socialism, for the development of social guarantees and rights of the people.”

      Or, as comrade Elias Jaua said in honour of Founding Father Simon Bolivar, “We Venezuelans, who feel in our souls the historical heritage bequeathed to us by Bolivar, are obliged by the glory of our Liberator; glory which was acclaimed in he poems by the great writers of out America, as the Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias in his ‘Credo’:
      I believe in freedom, Mother of America,
      Creator of sweet seas on earth,
      And in Bolivar, her son, our Lord
      Who was born in Venezuela.”
      Long Live Cuba!
      Long Live Venezuela!
      Long Live Canada!
      Long Live Bolivar and Marti!
      Long lice the Great Homeland!

      Speech given at celebration for the July 26th Movement & the Gains of the Cuban Revolution as well as the 233rd birthday of Simón Bolívar organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity With Cuba (VCSC)

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