Jose Machado Ventura is the First Vice President of the Republic of Cuba. His speech was delivered on behalf of the Cuban Government at the official July 26th celebration, the anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks,Â a commemoration which, this year, was held in Ciego de Avila.
CompaÃ±ero Raul, July 26th Combatants, Ciego de Avila compatriots, and all of Cuba:
Our first thoughts today, 58 years after the heroic deeds of July 26, 1953, go to those who, on that glorious day, gave their lives, many in the hours following the attacks, as victims of the cowardly and brutal repression unleashed by the Batista dictatorship.
We offer our gratitude to all of the participants in the heroic actions and to our combative people, whose unremitting determination to struggle continues to guarantee our freedom and the right to determine our own destiny conquered January 1, 1959.
We are celebrating the national commemorative event on this Day of Rebellion for the third time in the province of Ciego de Avila. The first was in 1980, shortly after the political and administrative division which gave rise to the current organization of the area.
The second, more than 20 years later, was in 2002. Now, in well deserved recognition of the progress made in many sectors, Ciego de Avila has once again won the honor of hosting this event.
This is the land of freedom fightres such as the GÃ³mez Cardoso brothers and Colonel SimÃ³n Reyes, of principled workers’ leaders such as TomÃ¡s Grant and Enrique Varona, of young revolutionaries like RaÃºl Cervantes, Ricardo PÃ©rez AlemÃ¡n, Pedro MartÃnez Brito and Roberto RodrÃguez, "El Vaquerito", all honorable and glorious representatives of the province and an inspiration to subsequent generations.
Abounding in Ciego de Avila as well, are examples of how to work and overcome the challenges the country is facing today, in particular in the economic arena, during an adverse international conjuncture. The accomplishments made over the last few years, principally in agriculture, without ignoring those made in other sectors, played a major role in the Political Bureau’s decision to award the honor of hosting this event to the province.
I will fulfill the gratifying obligation to relay congratulations from Fidel, RaÃºl and all of our people to the workers, campesinos, combatants, students, homemakers, retirees, and all residents of Ciego de Avila, who have made possible the province’s advances.
Nevertheless, you know very well that what was accomplished is still far removed from the existing potential. This is how the situation was harshly described during the Provincial Assembly of the Party, held recently, which, for sure, devoted little time to talking about successes.
As compaÃ±ero Jorge Luis Tapia explained here in his brief synopsis, Ciego de Avila has many decisive tasks before it – in the production of food, the sugar harvest and the development of tourism on the province’s northern cays, to mention just three of the important fronts.
Just a few moments ago, General of the Army RaÃºl Castro, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, awarded certificates of outstanding performance to the provinces of Villa Clara – winner of the fraternal competition last year and among the vanguard provinces for 13 consecutive years – and Cienfuegos, which has shown notable progress in important areas.
For these reasons, we have made extensive mention of our recognition of the people of Villa Clara and Cienfuegos. The truth is we have to say that it was not easy to choose a winner among this group which is taking the lead in the extraordinary effort the country as a whole is undertaking.
Their accomplishments take on a special significance since they have been achieved during the year of the 6th Party Congress, where, after a rich and fruitful discussion, the Economic and Social Policy Development Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution were approved, providing direction to the updating of our economic model.
Since the Congress, through this point, intensive work has been undertaken to fulfill the agreements. The Permanent Government Implementation and Guideline Development Commission has begun its activity, coordinating the efforts and actions of all bodies and institutions involved in the updating, which also includes improving the functioning and structure of government bodies at different levels and central state administration, as well as the development and approval of legal norms necessary to support the modifications adopted.
If the 6th Party Congress sessions were important, the actions taken beforehand and subsequently have been important as well. They constitute a resounding demonstration of patriotism, political maturity, unity and commitment to preserving socialism by the vast majority of Cubans.
Our people have made this process their own, seeing in it a clear and bold exposition of the country’s principal problems and, above all, a realistic conception of how to confront them.
We must carry out compaÃ±ero RaÃºl’s instructions to the letter – that our agreements can never again be allowed to become scraps of paper, resting in eternal peace inside a desk drawer.
What was approved by the Party Congress is also the responsibility of all levels and especially of workplaces, in production or the provision of services, which is where the decisions adopted will be materialized.
The mentality of inertia must be definitively exorcized, a mentality which leads to sitting and waiting, looking to a higher level; to thinking first about what is lacking or would be good to have before objectively evaluating how much can be done with what is available.
The country’s leadership has given priority to the fulfillment of the economic plan and the production of food, given the dire consequences of rising prices in the world market.
Progress has been made in the distribution of idle land in usufruct, as outlined in the 2008 Decree-Law No. 259, and although a positive impact in greater production has been noted in more than a few areas, we have to resolutely face the limitations which affect its full implementation. There are still enterprises and other productive entities which have yet to declare all of their idle or underutilized land, to which can be added delays in processing paperwork to proceed with the redistribution of such land.
On the other hand, some who have received areas of land are not getting them into production in a timely fashion. Support and training from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) for those who have taken on lands in usufruct have also been lacking.
In general, there is still much unexploited potential in agricultural production. Planting is not always being done at the most opportune time, not linked in all cases to the lack of resources or not receiving them on time. Weaknesses continue to exist in the contracting process and in distribution of products for sale. We will continue to pay the most careful attention to these issues, which were forcefully addressed during the recently completed provincial Party assemblies.
In our daily work, we must make a reality of what compaÃ±ero RaÃºl expressed at the close of the 6th Party Congress, I quote, "To succeed in this strategic endeavor and others, it is necessary that we immediately concentrate our efforts on implementing the agreements reached by this Congress, guided in our conduct by the common denominators: order; discipline and resolve." End of quote.
We cannot feel satisfied until all workers and administrators have joined the battle for economic efficiency; for systematic organization and fulfillment of expectations; against social and workplace indiscipline, poor accounting and use of resources, bureaucratic attitudes which generate a routine approach, indolence or superficiality; and against absurd procedures which have nothing to do with socialism.
We are not unaware of the lack of certain resources or the existence of organizational problems beyond the workplace which directly or indirectly affect the efforts of workers and administrators, but the fact that some collectives have much better results than others, despite functioning under similar conditions, clearly shows how much potential is as of yet unexploited.
In the economic battle we have undertaken, the elimination of waste and superfluous expenses are essential. Saving, working with the most rational use of labor and resources is an urgent necessity in all sectors. It depends on each and every one of us. A cultured, educated and organized people such as ours which has faced, for more than 50 years, the longest blockade in history, must take maximum advantage of the resources it has at its disposal.
Alongside the steps being taken by government, work is being begun by the Party to oversee, promote and demand the fulfillment of the Guidelines; to differentiate its roles from those of administrators; to determine the problems in every area, in order to offer advice opportunely with solid arguments and eliminate whatever is affecting the progress of the economic plan and the fulfillment of agreements made.
We talked about all of this during the provincial assemblies and the expanded plenums of the Party municipal committees, which took place recently. There have also been meetings of general secretaries of local organizations and the process is underway in workplace Party nuclei. Within a few days, a Central Committee Plenum will be held to continue the analysis of these issues, as the Congress mandated.
We are simultaneously working on the development of documents which will be discussed at the National Party Conference, only six months away. If the Congress did in fact devote itself to the analysis of the economy, at the Conference we will address the changes we must make in Party methods and patterns of work, to clarify and consolidate its role as the organized vanguard of the Cuban Revolution and the guiding force in society and the state, in order to strengthen internal democracy, make our work more dynamic and consistent with the changes and transformations our society is undergoing.
We are going to address our cadre policy and review the concepts and methods we utilize in our relations with the UJC [Union of Young Communists] and other mass organizations. We will clarify, additionally, the Party’s role in the leadership and systematic oversight of the process underway to update our economic model and the progress of the economy. As part of the latter, we will plan our work as a political organization leaving behind prejudices against the non-state sector of the economy.
As was agreed at the Congress, the documents which will be submitted to the National Conference will be discussed beforehand by the membership and the Party’s leadership bodies and, also, as appropriate, by the leadership bodies of the UJC and other mass organizations at different levels.
To the people, we speak clearly. They can be sure that we are moving ahead, as has been said, "without rushing, but without rest." Work is being done systematically, following the line laid out, comprehensively, because we are not patching up or improvising, but rather looking for definitive solutions to longstanding problems. With our feet on and ears firmly to the ground, alert to the opinions of the people, ready to make rectifications as we go, adjust the pace and make more decisions.
As two centuries have come and gone since the beginning of the independence struggle on the American continent, the winds of self-determination and social justice are blowing with renewed strength. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is growing stronger and providing irrefutable evidence of how much we can accomplish by promoting all that unites us, with absolute respect for the sovereignty of each country.
The advances of progressive forces in the hemisphere continue. An example is the coming inauguration as President of Peru, July 28, of Ollanta Humala, who is proposing a nationalist program with more equity in the distribution of wealth. Cuba wishes him success in this effort much needed by this sister people.
CompaÃ±eras and compaÃ±eros:
Today’s battle has a decisive front Â that of relentless, daily combat against our own errors and deficiencies.
We have the basics needed to achieve the gradual development of the national economy: a prepared and willing people and at least, the essential resources – in the first place, the land which we are still far from exploiting even satisfactorily.
We are aware that, in addition to material limitations, time is required to change the way people think, the only way to change the way they act.
Political and administrative leaders must be conscious that, before speaking, we must listen carefully and, above all, take into consideration what others say, not only in meetings but when conversing individually with colleagues, without anyone thinking that they have a monopoly on the truth.
Before calling for a task to be undertaken, all relevant information must be shared and the reasons for it explained, so that, therefore, everyone, or at least the majority of those who have to carry it out, fully understand. And in order to accomplish anything, it is imperative to lead by example.
Fidel, 11 years ago, called upon us to change everything which needed to be changed and reiterated in his April 17 Reflection, the importance for the younger generations of respecting this principle, with the conviction that the only thing that would never waver would be our decision to construct socialism, which in essence he said with the words, "It is also the art of doing the impossible: constructing and carrying out the Revolution of the poor, by the poor and for poor and defending it for more than half a century from the most powerful country that has ever existed." End of quote.
We are confident that the people of this province will continue fighting, alongside all other Cubans, with the same spirit and patriotic ardor that amazed Cuba and the world on that July 26, 1953, united, with Fidel and RaÃºl and our Party. Once again, Venceremos!
Eternal glory to the martyrs of July 26th!
Long live the Revolution!
Long live socialism!
Havana, July 27, 2011
Translated by Granma International