We’ll never abandon Venezuela – Castro

RAUL Castro says the Venezuelan government and the Chavista people are writing admirable chapters of resistance.

The Communist Party of Cuba First Secretary asked Cubans to remain alert and aware that “we could face additional difficulties and that the situation could worsen in coming months” in view of US aggression against the island.

“The current government of the United States, with its hegemonic ambitions for the region, poses the most urgent threat of the last five decades to the peace, security, and well-being of Latin America and the Caribbean,” Castro said on Wednesday during the proclamation of the new Constitution which he said guarantees the continuity of the revolution and the irrevocability of socialism.

“In pursuit of establishing its domination, several coups were orchestrated over a number of years, in one case, a military one, and others of a parliamentary nature, to remove progressive Presidents from office, while the participation of leftist leaders in elections was prevented via media campaigns and malicious legal charges. Precisely, last Sunday, marked the end of the first year of Inácio Lula da Silva’s unjust incarceration, whose freedom we demand. Unfortunately, there are governments and political forces that irresponsibly join imperialism in this warlike escalation.”

He said the relentless siege of Venezuela, using methods of unconventional warfare and economic strangulation, was the main target of aggression, “but the threat concerns us all.”

“The Venezuelan government and the Chavista people are writing admirable chapters of resistance. On Bolivarian soil, being defined today is whether Latin American and Caribbean nations have the right to self-determination, if sovereign power rests with the people or with a foreign government, if it is acceptable for a powerful country to determine the rulers of an independent state, if the rules and principles governing the United Nations have real value or are dead letter, if the peoples of the region will remain passive before the imposition of a sovereign power in a sister nation or respond to repudiate the crime,” Castro said.

“We reaffirm, from this Parliament, our firm solidarity and support to the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, President Nicolás Maduro Moros, and his people’s civic-military union. To the more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators, 61 per cent of them women, who are fulfilling missions in Venezuela, I convey our deep appreciation for their commitment and consecration to the noble, deeply humanitarian task they perform in the service of families in this sister nation.”

He said the tone being used by the US government against Cuba was increasingly threatening, while steps were being taken to impair bilateral relations.

Castro said Cuba was blamed for all evils, using lies in the worst style of [Adolf] Hitler’s propaganda.

“We will never abandon the duty to act in solidarity with Venezuela. We will not renounce any of our principles and will strongly reject any form of coercion,” he said.

Castro noted that the stepping up of the economic war, the strengthening of the blockade, and continued application of the Helms-Burton Law, pursue the old ambition to overthrow the Cuban Revolution through economic strangulation and hardship.

“We have let the US administration know, with the greatest clarity, firmness and serenity, through direct diplomatic channels and in a public manner, that Cuba is not afraid of threats and that our vocation for peace and understanding is accompanied by the unshakeable determination to defend the sovereign right of Cubans to decide the future of our nation, without foreign interference,” Castro said. “We defend socialism, a system reviled by the United States government, because we believe in social justice, in balanced, sustainable development, with a just distribution of wealth and guarantees of quality services for the entire population; we practice solidarity and reject selfishness, sharing not what we have left over, but even what we ourselves lack; we repudiate all forms of social discrimination and fight organised crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, trafficking in persons, and all forms of slavery; we defend the human rights of all citizens, not of exclusive, privileged segments; we believe in the people’s democracy and not in the political and undemocratic power of capital; we seek to promote the prosperity of the homeland, in harmony with nature and caring for the resources on which life on the planet depends; and because we are convinced that a better world is possible.”

He hoped the international community “responds to this dangerous situation with consciousness and a sense of duty, and that we are not lamenting the outcome when it is too late.”

“Faced with the turbulent scenario that has taken shape, we have defined as imperative priorities preparing the country for defence, and the national economy’s development, both of equal importance,” Castro said.

He said a series of measures have been underway for months to reinforce the combat capacity and readiness of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the country’s entire defence system, under the strategic conception of “the war of all the people,” as established in the Constitution of the Republic.

Castro said a group of decisions has been adopted to guide the performance of economy, to resist and overcome new obstacles imposed by the tightening of the economic and financial blockade, without renouncing development programmes that are underway.

“Thus, we must remain alert and aware that we could face additional difficulties and that the situation could worsen in coming months. It is not a question of returning to the most difficult times of the Special Period in the 1990s. The current panorama is different, with the diversification of the economy, but we must always prepare for the worst variant,” said Castro.

“Over 60 years, facing aggression and threats, Cubans have shown the iron will to resist and overcome the most difficult circumstances. Despite its immense power, imperialism does not possess the capacity to break the dignity of a united people, proud of its history and of the freedom conquered with so much sacrifice. Cuba has already shown that, yes, we could, yes, we can, and will always be able to resist, fight, and emerge victorious. There is no other alternative.”/

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