Once again we are coming together for a common purpose and for a responsibility that strengthens and motivates us: the eternal commitment to defend the interests of our peoples and to struggle to transform today’s economic, political and social panorama while building a world of peace, justice and solidarity.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Communist Party of South Africa for all the efforts they have made to organize and put on this meeting, one which we deem to be of significant importance because of the historical moment in which it is being held and because it provides us with the opportunity to celebrate our encounter for the first time in Africa, thus permitting representatives of the African political forces, born from the liberation movements, to join us in the programme, thereby imbuing the event with new quality and importance.
At the same time, we express our thanks for the infinite and sincere solidarity we have always received from the African continent which welcomes us today and which has supported us in our principal political battles, against the Blockade, for the freedom of our Five Cuban Heroes, and at other no less important moments. Our gratitude extends to that Africa which has been faithful to the unit known as the Third World and which maintains the conviction that common challenges identify us.
In these latitudes, thousands of Cuban internationalists spilt their blood and made their important contribution towards the elimination of one of the most shameful regimes ever known to Man: apartheid. In the words of Comrade Fidel Castro, "apartheid is the capitalism and imperialism in its fascist form and entails the idea of superior and inferior races".
We are particularly pleased to find ourselves here in South Africa, the land of Nelson Mandela, the unequivocal symbol of this continent’s struggles and of the struggles of all oppressed people in the Third World.
We recall the first time that this encounter took place in 1998. Being conceived was an important political initiative which we have been able to strengthen into a necessary space and from which exchanges, discussions and strategies have arisen, permitting us to better understand one another and to interpret our realities with pragmatic and yet scientific criteria.
Meeting today in this hall are exponents of dozens of political parties which constitute an inestimable potential for defining priorities and solidifying actions that, depending on the scenarios where we are at work, require ideological maturity, sacrifice and above all essential criteria, that of working for the unity of Communists and their alliance with the workers’ movement, the proletariat class which the hegemonic powers are trying to wear down, silence and present as being shapeless and lacking in ideology.
Unity has been decisive for the Cuban revolutionary project. Unity which we defend, and shall always defend, as the essential weapon it is, facing an enemy that would like to divide and confuse us with its multiple resources, including manipulation of the great press. Unity as a strategy and a tactic, because we are convinced that without it, the Cuban Revolution would not have attained the conquests our people enjoy today. That experience continues to be not only a concretion for us but also a challenge.
At the last Working Group that took place in Portugal, it was decided that the theme for this encounter would be: "The Deepening of the Systematic Capitalist Crisis. The Tasks of the Communists for the Defence of Sovereignty, the Deepening of Social Alliances and the Strengthening of the Anti-Imperialist Front in the Struggle for Peace, Progress and Socialism", and it is precisely for the overcoming of challenges that are presented to us that we must today be more united than ever, with each other and with our natural source: the workers.
We must also say that the events happening on the international scene, ever since that theme was selected, underline how appropriate the decision was. It is not our aim to analyze at this momen, its goals one by one, that would be impossible, but we can evaluate the interpretation and the lessons deriving from it.
In the first place, we would like to share with you something that, in our opinion, constitutes one of the greatest dangers confronting humankind, about which Comrade Fidel Castro has warned us on more than one occasion; we refer to the real possibility that the United States or one of its allies were to unleash a war using nuclear weapons, that would put the very existence of humankind at risk.
We cannot ignore that economic interests, irresponsibility, the stubbornness of some power groups in the principal imperialist powers could cause a regional nuclear war that would become, without a doubt, a global nuclear conflict with catastrophic consequences.
The governments of the United States and Israel maintain their hostile policies and their interference in the domestic affairs of other nations, as is the case of Iran, and they continue to encourage other conflicts that are no less risky, such as that in the Korean Peninsula. Therefore it is a duty of the progressive and revolutionary forces throughout the world to expose those war-mongering plans and demand respect for life and the planet on which we are living. Today, the struggle for peace must be the basic premise underpinning our political and ideological work.
We are under the obligation to demand of the governments on the planet that they comply with that responsibility, that of preserving humankind and in the face of that demand we cannot be indifferent. We must be aware of the fact that if we do not stop a nuclear conflict in time, "tomorrow will always be too late", as Fidel himself has stated. We, the Communists, must also contribute to this struggle.
Only a few weeks ago, our country achieved a new victory at the United Nations where they approved, practically unanimously, the resolution entitled: "The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial Blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".
One hundred and eighty seven votes in favour, two opposed, United States and Israel, and three abstentions, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, demonstrated yet again that the US is isolated in the exercise of this genocidal and hostile brainchild that must cease, immediately and unilaterally.
We believe that this victory belongs to the Cuban people, but also to thousands, millions, of friends and comrades throughout the world who have taken on this battle as their own because they understand full well that the Blockade, besides being unfair and inhuman, has the purpose of destroying the Revolution and its example of resistance and national sovereignty.
From this forum we would like to express our gratitude for all the initiatives that many of the parties present here today have developed in favour of freedom for our Five Cuban Heroes, antiterrorist activists, prisoners in US jails, symbols of integrity, courage and infinite faithfulness to their principles, above and beyond the pressures and blackmail applied to them and their relatives. This injustice must end.
The current US government and its president, Barack Obama, despite his promises for change, have continued with the imperialist policy of his predecessors, underlining the aggressive nature of Washington policies in different parts of the world. In terms of Cuba, the Blockade remains intact, the Guantanamo Naval Base is occupied and turned into a prison where torture is carried out and our Five Heroes are still prisoners, while the clamour of international solidarity for their freedom is heard with ever greater strength.
We would like to take advantage of the presence of the representatives of the Communist and workers’ parties to refer to the process of updating the Cuban economic model which, as we know has inspired some questions, especially because of how our enemies have been manipulating the subject, once again in their attempts to discredit the Cuban Revolution and its historic leadership.
The process of transformations that has been initiated in our country deals with the historical moment through which the Revolution is living. They are a result, to a great extent, of the current international situation, and because of the needs and demands that we Cubans are facing according to our context and our realities.
Our Revolution is an authentic Revolution and therefore our measures are authentic, not striving either to copy or imitate any model or country. We must also emphasize that these transformations have a name; they are Socialist transformations, since we can never distance ourselves from our principles; we are building and shall continue to build Socialism in Cuba, let no one doubt this.
The guidelines of economic and social policy which first we discuss amongst ourselves, the Cubans, without pressure or interference from abroad and subsequently and which we shall implement have the essential objective of achieving a more efficient economy, and sustainable with the principal purpose of preserving our sovereignty and independence at the same time as consolidating our conquests in sectors as sensitive as education, health and culture.
The changes that will be necessary shall be applied coherently and gradually and shall have the backing of our workers, none of whom shall be left without support or lack the opportunity to hold a decent job. We are not dealing with reforms or privatizations, as our enemies have tried to confuse the issue, but instead we are updating an economic model based on the principle of planning and not the market.
The climax of this entire democratic and participative process shall be the VI Congress of our Party held in the month of April, next year, coinciding with the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs Victory, the first great military defeat of the United States of America and the proclamation of the Socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution.
The world is living through crucial moments for its future operations, and thus our responsibility becomes that much greater, in contexts that are more difficult and hostile. The enemy possesses media power, financial power, but it lacks the basic motivating factor to push forward: the peoples’ commitment.
The conservative right-wing moves forward. In Europe, to mention only one example, it is in power in twenty of the twenty-seven countries making up the European Union and it mercilessly applies its neoliberal policies of social, xenophobic and excluding traits, showing no concern for the fate of millions of women, children and old people.
In Latin America, at the moment celebrating two hundred years from the birth of its emancipation, stamped by the struggle for independence in most of its countries, massive attempts to reverse the processes in progress are underway; the most recent action was the attempted coup d’Ã©tat in Ecuador against President Correa who had been democratically elected by the citizens of his country, while at the same time disputes and conflicts between governments and peoples in the area are being encouraged and the installation of Yankee military bases is being imposed.
Nevertheless, efforts at integration in the region are growing stronger. ALBA, MERCOSUR and CARICOM and others are being presented as real alternatives to the dominance over our nations and the exploitation of our wealth, to the attempt to ignore and displace our culture.
It shall be the inescapable duty of the Communists to involve the new generations in the battles we are fighting and in the committed struggles we shall have to develop in each one of our countries.
We do not wish to conclude without remembering our renewed solidarity with the suffering people of Palestine, with the Saharahui people who are victims of new repression, as well as with our Haitian brothers and sisters who are suffering a national tragedy as a result of the devastating earthquake in January and the current cholera epidemic that has taken the lives of some 1,500 of their citizens, while international aid is insufficient, late and more and more urgently needed.
The struggle awaiting us in the coming years shall not be any less arduous or difficult. The confrontation of capital and labour, in its new forms, shall keep on being more and more present in our battles for workers’ rights. Marxist-Leninism shall continue to be the guiding light for the proletariat.
Long live Socialism!
Thank you very much.