We must defend Fidel’s legacy in foreign relations – Diaz-Canel


WE must defend the legacy in foreign relations which the Comandante-en-Jefe Fidel Castro has left us, says Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez.

During the review of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinReX) work for 2018, President Diaz-Canel said given the extremely challenging international situation, it was MinReX’s duty to assume the challenge with firmness and intelligence to avoid Cuba’s isolation while not conceding in principle or in position.

“What we can do on the diplomatic, economic, and communicational fronts plays a fundamental role,” he said. “At the current time, when a return to a confrontational period is occurring, and new dangers emerge that must be faced, it is imperative that we are increasingly better prepared. In this context, the ministry has been able to add to the talent of more experienced functionaries a new generation of young diplomats with a high level of revolutionary consciousness and commitment. Amongst us all, we must defend the legacy in foreign relations which the Comandante-en-Jefe has left us, and what it means, by implementing an independent, anti-imperialist, counter-hegemonic foreign policy, in which friendship and international solidarity, security and world peace prevail.”

President Díaz-Canel shared reflections on aspects of international policy related to “Our America”, where the capitalists’ colonial, neo-liberal strategy was evident, including the resurgence of the Monroe Doctrine, and the tightening of the US blockade against Cuba, especially in the financial arena.

He said within that context, a key role was played by MinReX, “the protagonist of important battles in 2018, in which the Cuban people felt themselves well represented.”

“Every time there is diplomatic victory on the international level, the people feel it, as a victory for the country,” President Diaz-Canel said.

“The generational change which the country is gradually making, under the leadership of the Communist Party and its First Secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, should not give anyone illusions that there will be a change in Cuba’s foreign policy. The foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution continues to be, and will be, the same, the one to which we must all contribute.”

He said illustrious men in the nation’s history have been part of the ministry, like Alejo Carpentier, Fernando Ortiz, and Raúl Roa.

“There are many men and much work to honour, and we can best do so precisely by assuming the challenges and overcoming them,” President Diaz-Canel said. “This ministry has achieved results and recognised prestige in its 60 years of revolutionary diplomacy.”

He highlighted the need to continue working with Cuban émigré communities abroad and not only in the US.

“Our island was born of “immigration and mestizaje, and we cannot ignore that many Cubans living abroad are proud of and miss their homeland,” President Diaz-Canel said. “A migratory policy must be crafted to invite all to contribute to the development and defence of the homeland, to the extent that each individual can. We do not have to agree on everything, but we can work together.”

The President said the basic premises guiding government work applied to MinReX as well, and should be apparent in daily efforts.

The meeting also discussed cardinal issues such as the need for more efficient pubic administration; the characteristics that the skilled workforce must develop within the area in which they operate; the sensibility to eliminate obstacles and bureaucracy, in all entities where appropriate, to reduce paperwork and allow more timely responses to concerns.

“Public communication must be one of the main lines of action,” President Diaz-Canel said, citing as another challenge, “constructing, amongst all, a social communication strategy that is more coherent and active.”

He stressed the importance of working with the press not only on the big issues, and continuing to expand a MinReX presence on social media, adding that it was crucial to “evaluate what we are achieving and what is missing to increasingly perfect our messages.”

“This virtual reality has an enormous impact that we cannot ignore,” the President said.

He reiterated the importance of computerisation in both internal and external processes, including those involving the population, in which national systems must play a leading role.

President Diaz-Canel called for the use of scientific research as a fundamental tool to help facilitate unraveling the complexities of various questions linked to international relations, such as current issues like human rights, migration, labour legislation, and others.

Recalling the important role of the foreign ministry in supporting the country’s priority economic efforts in the international sphere, President Díaz-Canel noted areas such as seeking more efficiency in attracting foreign investment; the need to develop productive chains with foreign investment projects, tourism, and the non-state sector; becoming aware of and taking advantage of all opportunities for financing around the world; the defence of national products; and improving quality in the provision of services.

“We have a mature, revolutionary diplomacy, heir to the ideas of [national hero Jose] Martí, Fidel, and Raúl, and have important challenges ahead that we will face from the front line of combat,” said President Diaz-Canel.

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