TML Monthly Supplement

No. 10

May 4, 2021


8th Congress of Communist Party of Cuba

Congratulations on Successful Conclusion of Party Congress

Historic Congress Successfully Concludes Its Deliberations

Ambassador Josefina Vidal Informs Ottawa Cuba Connections About Cuban Situation and Historic Congress

For Your Information
Central Report to the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

- Raúl Castro Ruz -

"Among Revolutionaries, We Communists Go to the Fore"

- Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez -

8th Congress of Communist Party of Cuba

Congratulations on Successful Conclusion
of Party Congress

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Army General Raúl Castro Ruz at the closing session of the Communist Party of Cuba's 8th Congress, April 19, 2021.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) congratulates the Communist Party of Cuba on the very successful conclusion of its 8th Congress held in Havana from April 16-19. CPC(M-L) also congratulates President Miguel Díaz-Canel on his election as First Secretary by the newly constituted Central Committee which also elected its Political Bureau and Secretariat.

CPC(M-L) considers that the revolutionary transfer of the leadership of the Party and the country from the historical generation of the Revolution to the new generations is very significant and inspiring. So too the resolutions adopted on the work for the current period, including the cadre policy.

We wish President Díaz-Canel and the Communist Party of Cuba every success in their work to fulfil the vital tasks set by the Congress for the next five years.

At a time the U.S. imperialists are committing grave crimes in the name of human rights, Cuba's affirmation in practice of human rights provides the touchstone which distinguishes what a country stands for. We will do our utmost to assist in mobilizing public opinion to demand the removal of the criminal blockade and getting the Cuban reality known.

Long live the legacy of Fidel, Raúl, all martyrs of the Revolution and previous generations. Long live the unity of the Communist Party with the Cuban people, one in their resolve to defend their Revolution, their sovereign rights and human dignity.

We greatly value and look forward to further strengthening the good relations and friendship between our two Parties and peoples.

(Photos: EstudiosRevolucion, ACN)

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Historic Congress Successfully Concludes
Its Deliberations

Opening of the PCC's 8th Congress, April 16, 2021.

The 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, held in Havana concluded on April 19 after four days of successful deliberations. It was held with pandemic protocols in place at the Convention Center in Havana, with 300 delegates only attending in person and a number of guests. Congress delegates represented many different sectors of Cuban society and included production workers, educators, service providers, farmers, intellectuals, scientists, combatants, and retirees.

Raúl Castro Ruz delivers the Central Report to the 8th Congress.

The Congress was opened by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, Raúl Castro, on April 16, the 60th anniversary of Fidel's proclamation of the socialist character of the Revolution. It concluded on another historic day, the 60th anniversary of the victory at Playa Girón and surrender of the U.S.-organized, trained and financed mercenaries after their failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

José Ramón Machado

In opening remarks to the first session by Second Secretary of the Central Committee, José Ramón Machado Ventura, he said that what had been achieved in the five years since the 7th Congress and what remained to be done had been analyzed in review and accountability processes of grassroots organizations and regional structures of the Party, with the findings incorporated in documents delegates had studied and discussed over the past month and would further discuss at the Congress. Machado noted that an important portion of delegates' time would be devoted to work in three Commissions to facilitate the exchange of opinions.

The highlight of the opening day was the presentation of the Central Report to the Congress and speech by Raúl Castro Ruz. Amongst other things, Raúl announced that he was ending his tenure as First Secretary of the Party, saying his decision was made based on the satisfaction of having fulfilled his duty and his confidence in Cuba's future. "Nothing obliges me to take this decision," he said, "but I fervently believe in the strength and value of example and in the understanding of my compatriots. Let nobody doubt that as long as I live I will be ready, with my foot in the stirrup, to defend the Homeland, the Revolution and Socialism." The speech addressed the work of the Party since the 7th Congress, the current situation and the needs to be addressed at this time.

On the second day of the Congress delegates deliberated on key questions of the agenda in three commissions struck for that purpose.

Commission 1 dealt with the economic and social results achieved since the 7th Congress and projections for further progress, as well as evaluation of the implementation of the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution and the updating of these. The Commission produced two draft resolutions. The first stated that the updated conceptualization of Cuba's economic and social model confirms that Cuban society is in a historical period of socialist construction, and is based on socialist principles. It emphasized that the main transformations resulting from the updating were based on the consolidation and continuity of the Revolution.

It also reaffirmed the leading role of the Communist Party of Cuba as an expression of the unity of the Cuban people around the leadership of the Revolution.

One of the key things the second resolution dealt with was the complex, ongoing work of unifying the country's monetary system by dismantling the two-tier currency policy in place since the 1990s. It involves the gradual elimination of the convertible peso (CUC), leaving only the traditional national peso (CUP) as the country's official currency. The resolution acknowledged that the monetary reordering, considered as essential to boost the economy and the country's development, impacted all Cuban citizens and all aspects of the country's economic and social life, but that no one would be left behind.

Commission 2 was charged with evaluating the fulfillment of the resolution of the 7th Congress with respect to the functioning of the Party, its ideological activity and links with the masses, and the plans for improving its work in the present and future. The draft resolution submitted by the Second Commission emphasized among other things the need to:

- continue strengthening the Party's ideological and political work, especially with the new generations.

- think and act as a country, with greater commitment, firmness, creativity and intelligence.

- strengthen the ideological consensus by adhering to the most advanced ideas of Cuban and universal revolutionary thought -- the ideology of Martí, Marxism-Leninism, the legacy of Fidel and the teachings of Raúl.

- deepen the Party's links at all levels with the masses.

- consolidate the attention to and permanent links with the Young Communists League (UJC) and the youth in general.

Commission 3, headed up by President Miguel Díaz-Canel, dealt with the Party's Cadre Policy which he called a strategic question for Cuba. In this Commission delegates discussed the assessment of the Cadre Policy as applied to the Young Communists League, mass organizations in the society, the state and government. Díaz-Canel made an important presentation on the role of the Party in achieving better results. Delegates also offered their own opinions, criticisms and recommendations.

The draft resolution of Commission 3 stated that those in leadership positions must increase their links with the masses, have the capacity to mobilize, argue, dialogue and be decisive, as well as raise their political and human sensitivity, their responsibility, and use of collective leadership to solve problems. It also said that tackling corruption and other harmful behaviours was a priority as this constituted a national security matter and required greater vigilance, strictness and controls.

On day three of the Congress in plenary session, a resolution was discussed and approved to adopt the Central Report delivered by First Secretary Raúl Castro. The draft resolutions submitted by the three commissions were also approved. The same day, a new 114-member Central Committee was elected to serve for the next five years.

At its first plenary meeting held on day four of the Congress, the newly constituted Central Committee elected Miguel Díaz-Canel as its First Secretary and also elected its Political Bureau and Secretariat.

April 19, 2021. Newly elected First Secretary Miguel Díaz-Canel addresses the
closing session of the Communist Party of Cuba's 8th Congress. Banner reads:
 "The Party is the soul of the Revolution."

In his speech to the closing session of the Congress, Díaz-Canel paid tribute to Raúl, who he said will always continue to be present because he is a reference for every Cuban communist and revolutionary. He said the work done under Raúl's leadership at the head of the country over the last decade was "colossal." In his speech he also addressed the pressing concerns and challenges facing the Cuban nation and people on different fronts, including those taken up in the three Commissions.

In this Supplement TML Monthly is carrying for readers' information, highlights of a report on the 8th Congress and the situation in Cuba provided by Cuban Ambassador to Canada Josefina Vidal to the recent Annual General Meeting of Ottawa Cuba Connections. The Ambassador was one of the 300 delegates able to attend the Congress in person at the Convention Centre, along with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez. The Supplement also publishes the full text of the Central Report to the Congress presented by Raúl Castro and the full text of the speech delivered by Miguel Díaz-Canel to the Closing Session of the Congress.

(With files from Cubadebate, Granma. Photos: ACN, PCC)

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Ambassador Josefina Vidal Informs Ottawa Cuba Connections About Cuban Situation and
Historic Congress

Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Her Excellency Josefina Vidal spoke at Ottawa Cuba Connections' Annual General Meeting, held virtually on April 26. The Ambassador had recently arrived in Ottawa from Cuba where she was a delegate to the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba and re-elected to the Party's Central Committee. Ambassador Vidal began her remarks by conveying the thanks of many in Cuba who wanted to express their appreciation for the work of the solidarity movement in Canada in support of the Cuban people.

She explained that at the present time the situation in Cuba is very complicated because of the new wave of the pandemic, with special measures having to be taken in Havana and a few other locations in an attempt to control the spread. Vaccinations have so far begun on a small scale, but clinical trials of Cuba's several vaccine candidates are proceeding very well, with wide scale vaccinations expected to begin shortly.

Although there is a new administration in the U.S., she said, there is no change in the U.S. policy towards Cuba and the blockade is creating severe hardships for the people. There are food shortages and lack of needed medical supplies and the government is working very hard to mitigate the situation. The U.S. ban on remittances to Cuba is still in place and the disruption of travel is also causing grave harm to the economy, but the Ambassador pointed out that the Cuban people are resilient and are facing the challenges courageously.

The Ambassador said that the recently completed 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba was a very important event in the life of the Cuban people, stating that even though due to the conditions under the pandemic the size of the Congress had to be reduced to 300 delegates, it was very important that it be held at this time. She explained that she was honoured to have been chosen as a delegate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of a delegation of three which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

She recounted enthusiastically the highlights of the achievements of the Congress of which there were many, an important one being that the 8th Congress completed the transfer of the main leadership of the Party to a new generation, with measures put in place to guarantee that the revolutionary content established by the generation which led the Cuban people to defend the victories of the Revolution would continue to guide that national project.

The Congress also assessed that although many of the problems faced by Cuba are due to external forces, there are also structural problems that still exist which must be addressed. There is also a great deal of work remaining to deal with the pandemic.

She said very important critical debates were held during the Congress about some of the shortcomings that were detrimental to the work of the Party. Issues like excessive bureaucracy and inefficiency were discussed as well as  the need to overcome the resistance to change of some in the public service and of Party members as well.

The 8th Congress established the main tasks for the coming period and emphasized the need for dynamism in the implementation of economic reforms. It called for greater efforts to raise the productivity of large state-owned enterprises, and increasing food production to reduce the need for imports. In order to promote democracy, the Congress also emphasized the need for wide scale discussion among the people on the many different questions facing Cuban society.

The Ambassador concluded her remarks by hailing the success of the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba which has instilled conviction and confidence in the Party members and the people to face the challenges that must be overcome.

(Photos: Cuban Embassy in Canada)

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For Your Information

Central Report to the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

Full text of the presentation by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, April 16, 2021

Compañeras and compañeros:

The opening of the Eighth Party Congress takes place on a transcendental date in the nation's history: The 60th anniversary of the proclamation by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz of the socialist character of the Revolution, on April 16, 1961, at the funeral farewell for those killed the previous day in the bombing of our air bases, the prelude to the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón, organized and financed by the United States government as part of plans to crush the example of the Cuban Revolution and reimpose neocolonial rule on the island, with the complicity of the Organization of American States.

We plan to conclude the Congress next Monday, April 19, when we will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of our victory over the mercenary expedition, achieved in less than 72 hours by the Rebel Army, police and militia forces who, under the personal leadership of compañero Fidel, did not give the invaders a moment's rest and shed, for the first time, their blood in defense of socialism. The decisive blows dealt by State Security to the counterrevolutionary groups, which acted as a fifth column inside the country, contributed to the defeat of the enemy's plans.

The Playa Girón invasion, launched during the term of a Democratic President, was part of the "program of covert action against the Castro regime," initiated by President Eisenhower, a Republican, which envisaged the creation of a unified opposition in Cuba, psychological warfare, plans to assassinate principal revolutionary leaders, Fidel in particular, sabotage of economic targets and terrorist attacks in the cities, the promotion of armed counterrevolutionary bands that massacred campesinos, workers and youth participating in the glorious literacy campaign.

We will never forget the 3,478 dead and 2,099 injured and disabled persons, victims of state terrorism against our country.

We are holding the Eighth Congress two years after the proclamation of the Constitution of the Republic on April 10, 2019, a century and a half after the first Mambí Constitution in Guáimaro.

The approval of the Constitution required the updating of a good portion of our laws and other legal provisions that its precepts impact, thus the National Assembly of People's Power approved a corresponding legislative schedule, which is being fulfilled.

During the period since April of 2019, the Cuban legislature has approved eleven laws in the interest of guaranteeing the functioning and organization of principal state and government bodies. For its part, the Council of State issued 33 decree laws.

The leadership of the state and the government has adopted a series of decisions to strengthen legislative capacity with the participation of institutions, universities and various research centers.

The Central Report I am presenting before you today was previously approved by the Political Bureau.

On this occasion, considering the restrictions imposed by the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Congress delegates was limited to 300, proposed by locals and democratically elected in representation of the more than 700,000 Party members, in some 58,000 cells.

In these extraordinary circumstances, we are holding the Eighth Congress, in accordance with objective no.17, approved in the Party's First National Conference, establishing that Party Congresses are to be held every five years, except in the case of a threat of war, a serious natural disaster or exceptional situation. We are not in normal times, far from it, but we came to the conclusion that it was not only possible, but necessary to hold our Congress on the scheduled date.

We reach this great event with an increase of 27,000 Party members, evidence that the decrease noted since 2006 has ended.

This encouraging result has been achieved despite the loss of members due to deaths, deactivations and the application of external sanctions. Equally promising is the average annual addition of more than 39,400 new militants, a third of these coming from the ranks of the Young Communists League.

Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that, given the nation's demographic trends, the average age of Party members is increasing, with 42.6% of the membership over 55 years of age.

At the same time a steady increase has been achieved in the number of Young Communists League members, coming from the mass of students and young workers, among whom priority has been given to small farmers, agricultural workers and in other important sectors of the economy, where untapped potential exists which could make a valuable contribution to future growth of the Party.

Deserving of special mention is the battle against the pandemic, guided by a national plan approved by the Political Bureau on January 30, 2020, which has been updated and enriched based on the experience gained during different stages.

This plan includes the coordinated intersectoral action of Central State Administration agencies, mass organizations and the active participation of the people, especially youth. Its main strength is the political will to ensure the population's health.

The implementation of this plan has shown that it is possible to control the epidemic through the observance of established protocols, differentiated attention to vulnerable groups, active community surveying to identify cases, as well as the isolation of suspected cases and contacts, hospitalization and preventive and therapeutic treatment with innovative drugs produced by Cuba's pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, which emerged under the personal leadership of the Comandante en Jefe.

The results achieved are possible only in a socialist society, with a universal health care system which is free, accessible and staffed by competent, committed professionals. Nonetheless, in recent months a worldwide resurgence has occurred, and Cuba has not been exempt, primarily as a consequence of relaxed compliance with established measures, among other reasons.

The country's response to COVID-19 has been characterized by the contributions of scientists and experts in the development of research and innovations, with the immediate introduction of their findings to support prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients. Intensive work is underway conducting the clinical trials of five candidate vaccines that could serve to immunize the entire Cuban population and contribute to the health of other nations. These results, by themselves, as I have expressed on other occasions, have served to increase my admiration of Fidel every day. (Applause)

The Eighth Congress will concentrate its work on analyzing the findings of the three commissions established by the Political Bureau.

The first, chaired by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, is addressing the economic and social results achieved since the Seventh Congress and projections to continue advancing in the country's development; evaluation of the implementation process, underway since the Sixth Congress, of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution, along with proposals for their updating and that of the Conceptualization of the Cuban economic and social model; as well as the status of implementation of the Economic-Social Strategy to boost the economy and confront the world crisis caused by COVID-19.

The second commission, headed by compañero José Ramón Machado Ventura, Central Committee second secretary, is evaluating fulfillment of the Resolution approved by the Seventh Congress on Work Objectives from the First National Conference, held in January of 2012, related to Party functioning, ideological activity and ties with the masses, as well as projections to improve the work of the Party in current and future circumstances.

Finally, the third commission, led by President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is conducting an assessment of cadre policy in the Party, the Young Communists League, mass organizations, the state and government, as well as the role of the Party in achieving superior results.

The documents we are presenting for your consideration today, the result of the work of these three commissions, were previously discussed in provincial Party committees and government councils at that level, with the participation of Party first secretaries, leaders of mass organizations and municipal administrative cadres, in addition to leadership councils of Central State Administration agencies and the national leaderships of mass organizations and the Young Communists League.

As a result of these discussions, significant modifications were made, which enriched their content. More recently, the documents were submitted for Congress delegates' consideration in meetings of their respective provincial delegations.

Without attempting to address all matters included in the work of the aforementioned commissions, I will briefly review some issues.

It has already been said that development of the national economy, along with the struggle for peace and ideological firmness, constitute the Party's principal missions.

Over the last five years the Cuban economy has demonstrated its capacity for resistance in the face of obstacles created by the intensified United States economic, commercial and financial blockade, which has made it possible to preserve the main achievements of the Revolution in the areas of public health, education and social security, without renouncing planned development objectives or our support to and solidarity with other nations.

Negative effects persist associated with excessive bureaucracy, inadequate control of resources, the cause and condition par excellence of the damaging existence of corruption and other illegalities that limit progress in increasing productivity and efficiency. Our economic model, which does not provide sufficient incentives for work or innovation, continues to present structural problems.

In order to irreversibly transform this panorama, the process of updating our economic-social model must become more dynamic, promoting an appropriate combination of centralized planning and decentralization, with the necessary autonomy at intermediate and basic levels of the enterprise system and local governments.

It is also necessary to consolidate the investment process, on the basis of a comprehensive approach, eliminating shoddy work and improvisation, to enhance productivity and efficiency in the state sector of the economy, in spheres that are decisive to the country's development, while making the framework for non-state forms of management more flexible and institutionalized.

Recently, the scope of self-employment activities was significantly expanded from 127 permitted activities to more than 2,000. This decision, enthusiastically welcomed by national and foreign public opinion, was, as expected, questioned a few days later and described as insufficient by those who dream of capitalist restoration in the country and the massive privatization of the people's ownership of the principal means of production.

Before implementation of this important decision even began, the private practice of some professions was demanded while others are not allowed. It would seem that self-interest, greed and eagerness for higher income provoke, in some, the desire to launch a privatization process that would sweep away the foundations and essence of a socialist society built over more than six decades. Taking this path, the national education and public health systems, both free and universally accessible to all Cubans, would also be dismantled in short order.

Others, in hopes of eliminating the socialist principle of maintaining a state monopoly on foreign trade, have demanded authorization of private commercial imports, with a view to establishing a non-state system of foreign trade.

These are questions that cannot be the subject of confusion, much less naivety, on the part of leadership cadres and Party members. There are limits that we cannot exceed because the consequences would be irreversible and lead to strategic errors, the very destruction of socialism and therefore, our national sovereignty and independence.

When I speak of these matters, the words of the Cuban Revolution's Comandante en Jefe come to mind, those delivered during the closing of the Sixth Congress of the Young Communists League on April 4, 1992: "Without resolve, without decision, without a consistent spirit, the Revolution would never have triumphed, because those who make concessions, those who give up, those who go soft, those who betray, never get anywhere." (Applause)

It can never be forgotten that the ownership by the entire people of the main means of production constitutes the foundation of workers' real power.

The state enterprise system faces the challenge of demonstrating in practice, and consolidating, its position as the dominant form of management in the economy. This is not something that can be achieved by decree; it is an essential condition for the sustainability of socialist society. Thus it is imperative to provoke a shake-up of the enterprise system's structure, from top to bottom and vice versa, to definitively banish inertia, conformist attitudes, lack of initiative, and comfortably waiting for instructions from above. Old bad habits must be changed and entrepreneurial, proactive practices developed in the management of our companies and establishments, which will operate with increasingly greater autonomy, pursuing a higher level of production with greater efficiency.

All this is easy to say; what is difficult, but not impossible, is concretizing and consolidating the change. The creation of a real turn-around in mentality is needed, to make progress on increasing domestic production, especially of food, to eliminate the harmful habit of importing, and generate more diversified and competitive exports.

Without foregoing aspirations and work for a higher level of satisfaction of needs, we must get used to living with what we have and not presuming to spend more than what we are able to generate in income. To do otherwise is a mistake we have already made and should not repeat. We must not forget that saving is the fastest and safest way we have to gain income.

The international tourism sector, which was growing steadily until 2018, suffered a decline in 2019 as a result of measures adopted by the U.S. government, added to which are the devastating effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this, we have taken advantage of the closure of most of our facilities to provide maintenance and improve hotel infrastructure, so that when tourist operations resume, we can offer higher quality service. We are optimistic and confident that this sector will not only recover, but will continue to develop for the benefit of our entire population.

The economic and social model of socialist development requires that we have the capacity to regulate the market, as harmoniously as possible, through the use of increasingly less administrative, indirect methods. It is imperative to ensure that the population's unsatisfied demand serves as an incentive for national producers, based on the efficient and rational use of material and financial resources. (Applause)

These are the objectives pursued by the Economic and Social Strategy to boost the economy and confront the world crisis caused by COVID-19, approved by the highest leadership of the Party and government.

It is worth reiterating that economic decisions can, in no case, generate violations of the Revolution's ideals of justice and equality, much less weaken the unity of the people around their Party, which will always defend the principle that, in Cuba, the implementation of shock therapies that hurt the most humble strata of the population will never be allowed; no one will be left unprotected.

Despite the aggravated tensions faced by the national economy, this is a timely opportunity to thank a good portion of our creditors for their willingness to restructure overdue debts, and at the same time, assure them of our intention to resume fulfillment of our international financial commitments as we begin the recovery of the economy. Likewise, we reaffirm our decision to guarantee bank deposits in freely convertible currency and Cuban pesos, as well as cash in the hands of the population and foreign and national legal entities.

The extreme situation of lack of liquidity obliged us to reintroduce sales in freely convertible currency in some retail outlets and later wholesale ones.

This necessary measure was initially intended to ensure the presence on the domestic market of a number of supplies that over the last five years had disappeared from state outlets, opening the door to the illegal practice of buying these items abroad to be resold here, at a very high rate of profit.

With the impact of COVID-19, sales in freely convertible currency were extended to other products, including foodstuffs, with the purpose of encouraging remittances that Cuban citizens abroad send to their relatives in the country. Additionally, the government has been able to allocate an appreciable amount of foreign currency to guarantee a sustainable supply of a small group of basic food items, cleaning and personal hygiene products, in Cuban pesos, and is working to reestablish the presence of domestic suppliers in this market.

I believe it should be pointed out that due to an inadequate social communication policy and the publication of incorrect approaches in several of our media outlets, some confusion was generated among management cadres, leading them to oppose alleged inequality emanating from these sales and demand that all domestic trade in the country return to distribution through the basic family basket booklet. As the months passed and with the public explanations by the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and other government officials, it became clear that sales in freely convertible currency are necessary and will last as long as it takes to recover and strengthen the economy and thus ensure real convertibility of the national currency.

Amidst these complex circumstances, we have continued adopting measures in the interest of encouraging foreign investment, eliminating delays, hold-ups and obstacles in this arena, which compromise its decisive contribution to the national economy's performance.

It is time to eliminate from our minds out-dated prejudices associated with foreign investment and ensure the proper preparation and design of new businesses with the participation of foreign capital.

Evidence of this can be seen in the results achieved in the Mariel Special Development Zone, which has become an important hub for attracting foreign and domestic investors who appreciate the impressive infrastructure, the construction of which continues, despite measures taken by the United States to tighten the blockade.

Regarding implementation of the the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution, it is only fair to point out that in a general sense, progress is continuing to be made. Nonetheless, certain insufficiencies persist in the planning, organization, supervision and follow-up of the process, and in some cases, there are slow, tardy reactions to correct deviations, as well as a lack of comprehensiveness and vision regarding the level of risk and shortcomings. Training and social communication have lacked the needed timeliness, quality and scope.

Resistance to change and a lack of innovative capacity persist, expressed in attitudes of inertia and paralysis in implementing measures adopted, fear of exercising the authority granted and prejudice against non-state forms of ownership and management.

The Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development failed to adequately organize the participation of different actors involved in the implementation of the Guidelines and assumed functions that exceeded the mandate granted by the Congress, limiting the roles that were rightly the responsibility of other bodies, organizations and entities.

At the same time, political and mass organizations were not sufficiently encouraged to play a more active role in the process.

All this led the Political Bureau to adopt the decision to distribute responsibilities for implementation of the Guidelines to the Commission, Central State Administration agencies and national entities, allowing for greater progress to be achieved.

As a result of the updating approved at the Seventh Congress, it is proposed to maintain 17 Guidelines, modify 165, eliminate 92 and add 18, for a total of 200.

As is well known, the Conceptualization of the Economic and Social Model, that is, the theoretical and conceptual guide for the construction of socialism in Cuba, was approved in principle at the Seventh Congress, with the mandate to discuss the draft in Party and Young Communists League organizations, and with broad sectors of society, and then submit it for approval to a plenary session of the Party Central Committee.

Within the framework of the work assigned to Commission No.1, created by the Political Bureau to evaluate the updating of the content of this programmatic document, its principal postulates were ratified and modifications introduced, to adhere to the Constitution and achieve greater precision on some issues, which will be discussed by delegates in their respective commissions.

On January 1 this year, after more than a decade of study and work, we began implementation of the Reordering Task, which, as has been reiterated, is not a magic solution to the problems of our economy, but will allow us, as its name indicates, to order and make transparent the performance of different economic actors and encourage love for work as a means of earning a living and giving meaning to the life of citizens. The harmful notion, which arose under the auspices of paternalism and egalitarianism, that Cuba is the only country where it is possible to live without working, must be banished. Cubans' standard of living and consumption should be determined by the legal income they earn and not by excessive subsidies and undue gratuities.

The few months that have passed thus far have confirmed the complexity and scope of this process, which touches all components of Cuban society with a broad set of decisions and actions that are unprecedented in the recent history of the Revolution.

It is no accident that the conceptualization and design stage took so long, with the participation and input of highly qualified specialists and researchers from the country's productive and academic worlds and the valuable contributions of institutions in other nations, as well as the experience of similar processes undertaken in China and Vietnam, with some differences.

As has been widely explained, along with unquestionable achievements in the establishment of monetary and exchange rate unification, the general reform of salaries, pensions and social assistance, as well as the reduction of subsidies and gratuities, and attention provided vulnerable persons, the implementation has also revealed deficiencies arising from poor preparation and training; negligence; lack of rigor, supervision, and political sensitivity; as well as insufficient institutional communication on the part of cadres and officials in charge of its practical execution, leading to the establishment of excessively high prices and disagreement with the rates of utilities, that is, electricity, water, gas, workers' canteens, etc. There were also errors and delays related to the salary reform and payment systems.

All this has demanded an intense effort on the part of Party, state and government leadership in the interest of quickly correcting the mistakes identified and modifying actions taken that deviated from the planned design.

The Reordering Task must continue its implementation as established in the approved schedule until measures have been fully applied, and most importantly, its postulates consolidated, with the intended economic and productive results achieved that will contribute to the construction of prosperous, sustainable socialism in Cuba.

The content of the Constitution of the Republic's Article 5, the complete wording of which is the personal work of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, was maintained in the current Constitution, with the same number and content it had in the first one, promulgated in 1976, which establishes the Communist Party of Cuba as the highest leading force of society and the state, which organizes and guides common efforts in the construction of socialism.

Thus, the constitutional text implies an enormous responsibility for all members, since the moral authority of the single party that guarantees and represents the unity of the nation, emanates precisely from the exemplary fulfillment of our duty and adherence to Constitutional principles, as well as our high ethical, political and ideological standards and close ties with the masses.

The Party, as the organization that brings together the revolutionary vanguard, has the honorable mission of being the worthy heir of the confidence placed by the people in the Revolution's founding leader, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. This is not new, I said it almost 15 years ago to avoid any kind of confusion, and I repeat it today because I feel it is a concept that maintains all its validity for the present and future of the nation. (Applause)

Fidel himself, as early as March 14, 1974, stated: "The Party is the vanguard of the people, the people's security, the people's guarantee. The vanguard organization is fundamental. Do you know what gives security to the Revolution? The Party. Do you know what gives permanence to the Revolution? Do you know what gives future to the Revolution, what gives life to the Revolution, what gives future to the Revolution? The Party. Without the Party the Revolution could not exist." (Applause)

In the period since the Seventh Congress, held in 2016, progress has continued to be made in meeting the objectives established during the First National Conference in terms of modifications to the Party's methods and workstyle in its attention to local organizations and to the main problems in the nation's political, economic and social life, with the goal of overcoming the practice of supplanting and interfering in the work and decisions that are the responsibility of the state, government and administrative institutions. We have been repeating this for more than 60 years and, really, it must be said that very little of it is being complied with. Everyone doing their job, and the Party doing ours, without ceasing to lead, in conjunction with these authorities, works to address the situations that affect the population.

Our statutes define the Party as the continuation of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, created by Martí to lead the struggle for independence, of the First Communist Party founded by Carlos Baliño and Julio Antonio Mella, and the party that emerged from the voluntary integration of the three revolutionary organizations that led the struggle against the Batista dictatorship.

The existence in Cuba of a single party has been, and will always be, at the center of the enemy's campaigns, determined to fragment and disunite Cubans with the siren song of sacrosanct bourgeois democracy, based on the ancient tactic of "divide and conquer."

The unity of the immense majority of Cubans around the Party, and the work and ideals of the Revolution, has been our fundamental strategic weapon in successfully confronting all kinds of threats and aggression. This is why our unity must be zealously protected and division among revolutionaries under false pretexts of greater democracy never accepted, because that would be the first step in destroying, from within, the Revolution, socialism and consequently our national independence, and falling once again under the domination of U.S. imperialism.

Now, if we have only one party, we must promote, internally and within our society in general, the broadest democracy and the permanent, sincere and profound exchange of opinions, not always agreeing; strengthen ties with the working masses and the population, and ensure the growing participation of citizens in making fundamental decisions.

The Party's attention to the Young Communists League, student organizations and youth movements has been strengthened, in order to promote their leadership roles and strengthen political-ideological work, while preserving their organizational independence.

In order to continue consolidating the unity of Cubans, we have continued to confront prejudice and all types of discrimination that persist.

Likewise, our policy of attention to religious institutions and fraternal associations, which are increasingly involved in different spheres of national activity, has been updated.

As regards mass organizations, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to revitalize their activity in all spheres of society and update their functioning in accordance with the times we are living in, which are very different from those of the Revolution's first years, when these groups were founded. Recovering work at the grassroots level is imperative, in factories, in farms, blocks and neighborhoods, in defense of the Revolution and in the struggle against criminal acts and social indiscipline. Increasing revolutionary militancy and firmness is needed, strengthening these organizations' contributions to ideological work, in confronting the enemy's subversive plans, and the establishment and consolidating of values.

The Party continues to support the work of the Federation of Cuban Women and other institutions in the defense of women's rights and condemnation of gender violence. Confronting prejudices associated with sexual orientation and gender identity will be deepened.

In compliance with Constitutional mandates, the Council of State approved a commission to draft a preliminary version of the Family Code, for analysis in the National Assembly and subsequent discussion by the population, an activity on which work is already underway.

The creation of a government program, and a commission headed by President Díaz-Canel, to address the issue of racial discrimination will allow for a more effective confrontation against such backwardness from the past and greater coherence in the presentation and conducting of public discussion on the subject.

On the other hand, in spite of the fact that ideological work constitutes a central focus of the Party's work, I must confess that I am not satisfied with the progress achieved.

While it is true that our press is characterized by its adherence to the truth and rejection of lies, it is also true that there remain manifestations of triumphalism, stridency and superficiality in addressing the country's reality. On occasions, journalistic works are presented that, rather than clarifying, tend to confuse. These approaches damage the credibility of our approved information and social communication policy. The need for immediacy in covering national affairs should not be at odds with objectivity, professionalism or, above all, political intent.

It is not enough to do more of the same in our political-ideological work; we need creativity, to adjust our efforts effectively to the times in which live, to promote study of the country's history, convey to every Cuban a message of optimism and confidence that together we will be able to face and overcome any obstacle. In short, we need a profound transformation directed toward strengthening the essence and values that emanate from the Revolution's work.

Programs of subversion and ideological/cultural influence, meant to discredit the socialist model of development and present the restoration of capitalism as the only alternative, have intensified.

The subversive component of U.S. policy toward Cuba is focused on undermining national unity. In this sense, priority is given to actions targeting young people, women and academics, the artistic and intellectual sector, journalists, athletes, persons of diverse sexuality and religion. Issues of interest to specific groups linked to the protection of animals, the environment, or artistic and cultural expression are manipulated, all of it aimed at disavowing the existing institutions.

Acts of aggression continue to be financed with the use of radio and television stations based in the United States, while monetary support is growing for the development of latest-generation platforms with ideological content openly advocating the defeat of the Revolution, calling for demonstrations in public spaces, inciting sabotage and terrorist acts, including the assassination of agents of public order and representatives of the Revolutionary power. They shamelessly announce the amounts paid from the United States to those who execute these criminal acts.

Let us not forget that the U.S. government created the "Internet Working Group for Cuba" charged with turning social networks into channels of subversion, the creation of wireless networks beyond state control and perpetuation of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

We have talked about the benefits and dangers of using the Internet and social media networks, for dozens of years, in the National Assembly that meets here, even citing Aesop's fable The Tongues, which can be used for the best and also the worst of purposes. There is no place for naivety at this stage or unbridled enthusiasm for new technologies, without first ensuring information technology security.

Lies, manipulation and the spreading of fake news no longer know any limits. Through them, a virtual image of Cuba as a dying society with no future, on the verge of collapse, giving way to a longed-for social explosion, is being shaped and disseminated to the four winds. The truth, however, is different; the internal counterrevolution, which lacks a social base, leadership and capacity to mobilize, continues to decrease in numbers of sympathizers and actions with a social impact, concentrating its activism in social media networks and the Internet.

We are firmly convinced that the streets, parks and plazas belong, and will belong to the revolutionaries, and that we will never deny our heroic people the right to defend their Revolution. (Applause)

These circumstances in themselves demand the urgent transformation in the ideological field, that I spoke of.

In terms of the cadre policy, we have continued working on fulfilling agreements reached at the last Party Congresses and the First National Conference. Progress has been made in the organizational approach and implementation of the policy of gradual renewal of decision-making positions. Likewise, a progressive and sustained increase has been achieved in the promotion of young, female, black and mixed race persons on the basis of their merits and personal qualifications, although what has been accomplished is absolutely insufficient, with regard to the main responsibilities in the Party, state and government. The promotion of cadres from the Young Communists League to professional work in the Party continues.

At the same time, weaknesses persist in the application of our cadre policy, reflected in a tendency toward formalism and superficiality on the part of many cadres who consider themselves indispensable, and do not attend to the training of replacements. Limited ties with the people, a lack of sensibility and incapacity to mobilize collectives in the solution of problems and poor work in relations with subordinates are all evident.

Insufficient communicational culture exists, limiting the capacity to motivate, understand, participate, and discuss issues that concern the mass of workers. There are still cases of compañeros who are promoted to management positions without having proven their capacity and preparation to do the job, while weak intentions and plans to improve the composition of cadres, in terms of women, blacks and mixed race persons, have been noted

The practice persists of maintaining as deputy directors and substitutes individuals everyone knows do not have the qualifications to be promoted, damaging the authority of those in charge, instead of preserving it, and halting the normal development and promotion of new leaders.

I consider it appropriate to refer to the content of Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic, which states: "The defense of the socialist homeland is the greatest honor and the supreme duty of every Cuban."

This important Constitutional principle must be taken into account in the work of all communist militants, including the cadre policy. We cannot allow the promotion to higher positions of comrades who, for unjustified reasons, have failed to complete their active military service, which is the principal route to military preparation that all citizens, first and foremost cadres, must follow. This issue becomes more important as time goes by. The trend toward lower birth rates will be a serious problem in many respects by 2030, making clear the need to find solutions in this area.

In this arena, we have the valuable example of the decision adopted at the request of the Foreign Ministry, 19 years ago, in 2002, that all students in the Advanced Institute of International Relations, of both sexes, prior to their admission must perform military service for one year in the Border Brigade, outside the illegal naval base at Guantanamo. This has been accomplished over all these years, without problem.

In light of the aging of the Cuban population -- as I was saying -- which, among many other negative effects, limits the number of citizens who reach the statutory age to join the military, the experience of the Advanced Institute of International Relations should be studied with the purpose of gradually generalizing the practice that all higher education students fulfill this duty beforehand.

The President of the Republic himself, Díaz-Canel, upon a call from the Comandante en Jefe, voluntarily completed his military service in an anti-aircraft defense unit to assimilate the new technique, after graduating as an electronic engineer from the Central University of Las Villas, and, according to what he himself has told me, that period, in his case, of three years, was very useful in his training as a revolutionary cadre.

I would like to applaud the President for the example he set. (Applause)

Due to its strategic nature, the cadre policy requires constant improvement and updating, to ensure the selection, training and promotion of cadres characterized by a commitment to the Revolution, humility, modesty, personal example, leadership and firm convictions as opposed to any vestige of elitism, vanity, arrogance or ambition.

The Communist Party of Cuba's cadre policy should ensure that the pool of tomorrow's leaders, in close connection with the masses, has the capacity to mobilize, dialogue, argue and be decisive, increase political and human sensitivity, responsibility, discipline, rigor and control, making use of collective leadership as the only way to find the best solutions to problems.

I will now address foreign policy issues.

The international panorama we face today is markedly different from that of April 2016, when we held the Seventh Congress. These five years have been characterized by an unprecedented escalation of the U.S. government's aggressiveness.

Historically, U.S. imperialist hegemony has posed a threat to the fate and survival of the Cuban nation. This is not a new phenomenon. It has accompanied Cubans since the origins of the homeland when the first yearnings for sovereignty and independence emerged within our people.

It was a challenge for the heroes who undertook the struggle against Spanish colonialism in the 19th century. The generations of Cubans who continued the struggle in the 20th century faced it and it is faced by the people who today, tightly united, defend the freedom and justice achieved.

This hegemony was concretized with particular crudeness during the military occupation of our country between 1898 and 1902, and the subsequent imposition of the Platt Amendment as an appendix to the Constitution.

It was consolidated with the 1934 Treaty of Relations -- a subject that I have noted in conversations with different citizens to be not very well mastered -- which the northern neighbor imposed on the national government of the time, with the threatening presence of U.S. Navy units in Havana Bay. Thus the Platt Amendment was replaced, in a hypocritical and apparently friendly gesture, allowing its most humiliating provisions to remain in the new instrument, along with political and economic commitments that consolidated Cuba's subordination and dependence on the United States, until January 1959.

U.S. hegemony is a challenge intimately associated with the imperialist conception of Manifest Destiny, the brutal Monroe Doctrine and the vision of Pan-Americanism with which they have sought to subjugate our region since the times of Simón Bolívar.

Over the last four years, impunity was added to the immense, unequal U.S. display of power and escalation of aggression against Cuba. The U.S. government seemed convinced that it enjoyed the freedom to act as it pleased and the right to impose its will on the world, simply on the basis of the use of force, and sought to cast into political, legal and moral crisis the foundation on which international relations had rested for decades.

The international community seemed incapable of curbing the most flagrant outrages and abuses on the part of the leading economic, military and technological power, whose irresponsible actions are the greatest threat to peace, stability, ecological balance and the survival of life on Earth.

This context explains in part the particularly harmful effect of the economic blockade with which the United States is attacking our country. It is also explained by the conditions of an international economy that is increasingly interconnected, interdependent and subject to the dictates of the financial centers of power controlled by Washington.

In spite of repeated, overwhelming rejection by the international community, the blockade damages Cuba's economic relations with practically every nation on the planet, regardless of a country's political position or its relationship with us.

In many cases, governments do not even have the capacity to enforce their sovereign prerogatives over the actions of national entities based in their own territories, as these are often docilely subordinated to Washington, as if we were living in a world subjugated by the unipolar power of the United States.

This is a phenomenon that is expressed with particular impact in the financial sector, with national banks of several countries giving a U.S. administration's stipulations priority over the political decisions of their own governments. These realities have been reaffirmed as neoliberal globalization has been extended.

The blockade, which our people have faced for more than 60 years with effort, sacrifice and creativity, would have devastated the economy and social stability of any other country, even those that are richer and more powerful than Cuba. It is the most comprehensive, unequal and prolonged economic war ever unleashed against any nation.

Only under the conditions of a socialist system, based on social justice, the people's unity around the Party, and common united efforts to defend the country, can an underdeveloped and relatively small nation like ours, with scarce natural resources, avoid collapse and advance its development.

The anti-Cuba policy unleashed by the previous U.S. government was reinforced precisely under the harsh conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruthless nature of imperialism was clearly revealed.

Sometimes objective data describing the damage the United States has caused the Cuban economy and the real impact of the more than 240 coercive measures adopted since 2017 are not sufficiently understood, or not carefully assessed. It should be understood that these are not simple actions tightening the blockade, but new methods, some unprecedented, taking the magnitude of the economic war to a qualitatively more aggressive level, which is reflected in the material shortages that accompany the daily life of every Cuban.

Added to this is the shameless campaign financed by Washington to promote the lie that the blockade is not real, that it does not really harm the Cuban economy, that it is not a significant problem for our development and our economic stability. This is a fallacy that is spread through the powerful information media at the service of imperialism and digital networks designed to influence the thinking of many, including some of our compatriots.

Among the first actions to reinforce the economic siege of Cuba was the November 2017 designation of a group of Cuban enterprises that would be subjected to additional restrictions, beyond those of the blockade already in place. That list, which was updated several times, today includes 231 entities, many with responsibility for the country's retail network, the system that meets the most important needs of the economy and the population, all the country's hotel facilities and several institutions in the financial sector.

The U.S. government justifies this action under the pretext of restricting the activity of companies affiliated with the defense and security sector, which it accuses of supporting the repression of human rights in Cuba and Cuban intervention in Venezuela.

Our people are well aware that this illegitimate persecution is directed against successful entities whose social function is entirely economic and commercial, as is the case anywhere in the world, and which make a significant contribution to the national economy.

They also know with clear certainty, on the basis of historical experience, that the objective of this measure is to extend the economic siege to sabotage the enterprise system, create obstacles to the process of updating the economy, disrupt state management and impose informality, the atomization of economic activity and chaos, with the express goal of asphyxiating the country and provoking a social explosion.

The extraordinary task of confronting the COVID-19 pandemic has obliged us to devote considerable resources to guarantee on short order the necessary equipment and materials for our hospitals and health care centers. The cost would have been less onerous if Cuba were not forced to resort to distant, often indirect markets to acquire technologies subject to the blockade's prohibitions.

The financial persecution, on the other hand, has taken on the characteristics of a real witch hunt against Cuban transactions, which undermines our ability to pay for the products and services we import and collect payment for our exports, with a resultant increase in the cost of foreign trade as a whole.

To punish Cuba and Cubans living inside and outside the country, the United States first limited and then eliminated practically all means of sending remittances to Cuba.

These realities are made evident in the shortages of essential products for the population's consumption. They are also the cause of many of the difficulties faced by national industry in acquiring the necessary inputs for production in a timely fashion, with the required quality and standards. This applies to consumer goods as well as medicines and products for the food processing industry.

The tightening of the blockade complicates the fulfillment of our international financial commitments, in spite of the firm determination to honor them and the effort we are making to send payments which, although modest, entail a great sacrifice.

An escalating series of measures were implemented to restrict travel to Cuba, both by air and sea, delivering a brutal blow to a considerable portion of the non-state sector of the economy dedicated to providing services.

The damage caused by these measures to the standard of living of the population is neither fortuitous nor the result of collateral effects; it is the consequence of the deliberate intention to punish the Cuban people, as a whole.

One of the most significant actions, given its level of cruelty, its inadmissibility according to international law, and the impunity with which the United States has behaved, is the effort, since April of 2019, to deprive Cuba of a fuel supply. To achieve this, measures typical of non-conventional warfare have been adopted, to prevent these supplies from reaching our national territory.

This is one of the actions that best illustrates the new dimensions acquired by the economic war against Cuba. In confronting this war, we have experienced periods of great tension and if the cost has not been devastating, as expected by the United States, it is due to the strength of the society we have built and defended, and our heroic people's capacity to resist.

Another act that exposes the nature of imperialism and the escalation of its aggression against our nation is the immoral campaign unleashed against the international medical cooperation provided by Cuba.

Our record on this front has no equal in the world, and is congruent with the moral principles on which Cuban society is built. It rests on the notion that we share what we have, not what we have to spare. The success of having prepared, with perseverance and dedication, significant human resources, and a strong, effective and sustainable public health system, gives us the opportunity to share with others.

This is a commitment to solidarity that will be maintained regardless of the campaigns. Our cooperation has saved lives, confronted disease, alleviated suffering and improved the health and well-being of millions of people around the world, almost always the most vulnerable or disadvantaged populations, in the most remote areas, sometimes in conditions of extreme difficulty and even danger. It includes important and praiseworthy assistance to countries that have suffered natural disasters.

The U.S. attack is meant to discredit a noble, recognized work and deprive Cuba of the fair, honest and legitimate income that thousands of technically and ethically trained professionals in the country ensure with their efforts.

Access to health care is a universal human right and the government of the United States commits a crime when, in order to attack us, it sabotages the only source of medical services to which millions of people in the world have access.

In addition to all of the above, in April 2019, attempting to intimidate foreign investors, companies and businesspeople interested in an economic or commercial relationship with Cuba, the United States decided, for the first time, to activate Title III of the infamous Helms-Burton Act, allowing lawsuits to be filed in U.S. courts by alleged claimants of properties that were justly and legitimately nationalized in the early years of the Revolution.

This is not a new law, it is an aberration dating back to 1996, which codifies the blockade as law and establishes as an obligation of the U.S. government to attack Cuba economically, on an international scale and in a comprehensive manner. It also provides a legal mandate to promote political subversion to destroy Cuba's constitutional order, with the allocation every year of official, multimillion dollar funding from the federal budget.

This law went so far as to outline a program of political intervention in our country and the establishment of a tutelage plan that would subject the Cuban nation to the status of a territory subjugated and subordinated to the sovereignty of the United States, under an intervenor appointed by the United States.

It is a despicable political and legal instrument, conceived with great opportunism during the most difficult moments of the Special Period, when Washington was confident that the Revolution would not be able to survive or remain faithful to our commitment to uphold the banners of socialism and safeguard the cause defended by our martyrs.

That is why we say that it is a law that our people must understand well, one we cannot afford to forget, even if it were to be rescinded someday.

When, in December 2014, we decided jointly with the government of the United States, then headed by President Barack Obama, to move toward a better understanding between our respective countries, I expressed before the National Assembly of People's Power: " important step has been taken, but the essential problem remains to be resolved, which is putting an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, tightened in recent years, particularly in the area of financial transactions, with the levying of enormous, illegitimate fines on banks in several countries."

The aggressive conduct unleashed by the last U.S. administration reaffirms with clear evidence that any prospect of a truly positive evolution in the relationship between the two countries, to be sustainable, must be associated with the elimination of the economic blockade and the legislative framework that sustains it.

We have no illusions that this is something easy or simple; on the contrary, it will require sensible and respectful political will on the part of whoever governs in the United States. Cuba has maintained and continues to maintain that we do not identify the U.S. people as an enemy, that political and ideological differences are no impediment to a respectful, civilized relationship with our neighbor.

We have stated, as well, that we can develop a relationship involving cooperation on many issues that would benefit both countries and the region.

We will never forget the content of Article 16, paragraph a) of the Constitution, which reaffirms that our economic, diplomatic and political relations with any other state are not negotiated under threat of aggression or coercion.

I reaffirm before this Party Congress the will to develop a respectful dialogue and build a new type of relation with the United States, without presuming that to achieve this Cuba should renounce the principles of the Revolution and socialism; make concessions regarding our sovereignty or independence; yield in the defense of our ideals or the exercise of our foreign policy, committed to just causes, the defense of peoples' self-determination and our historic support to sister countries.

At the same time, we have the duty to remain alert, to assume with responsibility the lessons of history and protect our country and the sovereign right to exist for which so many generations of Cubans have sacrificed.

We must do so without neglecting defense and with constant, committed efforts to build the economic foundations that will allow us to successfully face an incessant, asymmetrical economic war, waged by a power willing to take advantage of its size and economic influence to attack our homeland.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Exactly five years ago today, we warned that the Latin American and Caribbean region was experiencing the effects of a strong, articulated counter-offensive promoted by imperialism and regional oligarchies against revolutionary and progressive governments, which had come to power as a result of their peoples' resistance and struggle against the nefarious effects of neoliberal policies.

That counter-offensive was strengthened when the leadership of U.S. foreign policy fell into the hands of sinister characters, linked to episodes of interference and interventionism in our region, and associated with elements of the Cuban-American ultra-right, several with known terrorist, corrupt backgrounds.

They never disguised their commitment to the validity of the Monroe Doctrine. They combined anti-socialist fanaticism with desperate attempts to achieve short-term objectives. They resorted to unconventional warfare methods and destabiliziation operations that proved extremely dangerous for the entire region.

They demonstrated contempt for our peoples and institutions. They disregarded the sovereign rights of all nations in the hemisphere and dangerously threatened regional peace and security. Several governments of the region presumed to ignore the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana by Latin American and Caribbean heads of state and government, in January of 2014.

That transcendental political instrument rests on the essential principles of full independence and the real enjoyment of sovereign rights, as well as aspirations for unity and the integration of our region.

Among these are respect for the principles and norms of international law and the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter; the peaceful settlement of disputes; the obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other state and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and self-determination of peoples; the commitment of countries of the region to foster friendly and cooperative relations among ourselves and with other nations, regardless of differences existing between their political, economic and social systems or their levels of development; to practice tolerance and live in peace as good neighbors; and the commitment to fully respect the inalienable right of every state to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system, as a condition essential to ensuring peaceful coexistence among nations.

The frequent use of lies to justify actions was combined with cruel unilateral coercive measures and constant threats, with a high cost for the peoples of Our America. At the end of 2018, the U.S. government decided to launch an aggressive offensive specifically against Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, with the ostensible purpose of overthrowing, in short order, the governments of the three countries.

Although this project failed, that pretense is a stark reminder that imperialism's ambitions for domination in the region are not threats from a dark, distant past that has been overcome, but an active threat, alive within certain circles of political power in the United States.

As part of this offensive, the recovery of a discredited OAS as an instrument of neocolonial domination and aggression was promoted, as well as its armed wing, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, the TIAR, always at the service of the hegemonic interests of the United States. Likewise, an attempt was made to sabotage CELAC [the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States], and UNASUR [the Union of South American Nations] was destroyed.

As if there is any doubt, we must recognize that neoliberalism has once again demonstrated its inability to respond to the region's social problems. Its role in the dismantling of mechanisms of social justice, and the doctrinaire attack on any notion of social justice, left most countries powerless and defenseless when it came to confronting the scourge of COVID-19. The legacy of neoliberalism is an increase in inequality, the deepening of social polarization and the aggravation of the crisis of stagnation and instability suffered by many societies in Our America.

As a consequence, what has been seen is the accelerated exhaustion of governments promoting neoliberal policies, indications of social instability, the eruption of popular protest and the mobilization of youth, along with the activation of the left and progressive forces, as demonstrated by the São Paulo Forum, a political coordination group of left political forces and social movements.

Also observed was how these progressive forces were subjected to politically motivated judicial processes, as well as slander and defamation campaigns with the support of the corporate mass media, meant to weaken these forces and prevent their participation in or access to governments.

Cubans reiterate our solidarity with Venezuela, with the civil-military union of its heroic people, and with its only legitimate President, compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros.

We reiterate our solidarity with Sandinista Nicaragua, with its people and with President Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra.

We salute President Luis Arce of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, a nation where the people achieved a popular victory that constituted a slap in the face of the United States and its instrument, the Organization of American States, which organized the coup against compañero Evo Morales Ayma.

We follow with hope, respect and solidarity the political processes led by Presidents Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Alberto Fernández in Argentina, in their efforts to reverse the consequences of the implementation of neoliberal policies that caused so much damage to their nations.

We celebrate and support the attempts of both governments to recover genuinely Latin American integration processes.

We reiterate our unwavering support for the efforts of the Argentine Republic to recover sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

We reconfirm our solidarity with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, leader of the Workers' Party of Brazil, against whom politicized legal proceedings were launched. We insist that the restitution of his innocence, full freedom and all political rights must be demanded.

We will continue to defend the legitimate interests of Caribbean nations and support their demand for reparations for the consequences of slavery and colonialism. The Caribbean can always count on Cuba. In particular, we reaffirm our commitment to the sister people of Haiti, for whom the international community should do much more.

We reconfirm our full support for the self-determination and independence of Puerto Rico.

Cuba's commitment to the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean is unwavering. Loyalty to the defense of the sovereignty and the right to self-determination of the peoples is a principle of the Revolution, and the will to promote regional cooperation and integration is part of our cause. We will not cease for an instant in our work of contributing to make Our America the common homeland of all its children.

Compañeras and compañeros:

During these five years, excellent relations have been consolidated with the parties and governments of the People's Republic of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, socialist countries in Asia with whom we are united by historic friendship and solidarity. The economic projects that we are undertaking with China and Vietnam in various spheres of our economy are significant, contributing to the Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030.

Also over these years, high-level political relations have deepened with the Russian Federation, a country with which we share broad agreement on diverse issues of the international agenda, and which has maintained a firm position in opposition to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.

We have made progress, despite existing political differences, in developing ties with the European Union, through the implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocity. Progress made in cooperative relations in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture and culture is noteworthy.

We maintain our collaboration and solidarity with the countries of Africa, a continent to which we are bound by strong ties of history, culture and brotherhood. Thousands of collaborators in healthcare and other sectors offer their services there in more than 30 countries. We are grateful for the unanimous position taken by the African Union in solidarity with Cuba and against the blockade over these years.

Our support for the Palestinian and Saharawi peoples' causes will continue to be unwavering commitments.

The panorama described and its probable evolution in the future demand, from all of us, to ensure that priority is always given to our defense, in strict accordance with the accurate reflections of Fidel contained in the Central Report to the First Congress: "As long as imperialism exists, the Party, the state and the people, will pay maximum attention to our defense services. Our revolutionary guard will never be neglected. History demonstrates, with great eloquence, that those who forget this principle do not survive the mistake."

The strategic conception of the War of the Entire People remains in full force, as established in Article 217 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, which translates into each citizen knowing and having the means, a place and a way to fight the enemy, under the leadership of the Party.

This doctrine supposes permanent attention to the strengthening of our combative capacity and readiness, the updating of the country's defensive plans and training of directors, chiefs and leadership bodies at different levels to conduct planned actions. In this sense, we consider it necessary to reestablish, as soon as conditions in the COVID-19 battle permit, the realization of national defense days with the massive participation of our people, stripping them of any formalism or fanfare and thus ensure their effectiveness and usefulness to the population's training. Let us not forget that military invulnerability is achieved through constant improvement.

During this period, the Revolutionary Armed Forces have continued preparation of troops, production, modernization, maintenance and preservation of military technique and weaponry, the preparation of the Military Operations Theater, along with participation in responses to exceptional situations and disasters of all kinds, among which COVID-19 is emphasized.

On the basis of scientific potential achieved, the Military Industry Union has ensured the preparation and modernization of a significant portion of our armament and military technology, and has increasingly assumed the production of spare parts and high-demand items for the population.

In his Central Report to the First Party Congress, compañero Fidel stated: "The Rebel Army was the soul of the Revolution and from its victorious weapons the new homeland emerged free, beautiful, thriving and invincible." This statement remains fully valid today, thus I reaffirm that the Revolutionary Armed Forces, born of the Rebel Army, have not renounced and will not renounce being, forever, the soul of the Revolution. (Prolonged applause)

Combatants of the Ministry of the Interior, in close collaboration with the people, the Party and mass organizations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces and other institutions of the state and government, continued to strengthen prevention and confrontation of enemy activity, subversive plans, crime, illegalities and corruption, as well as social indiscipline and negative behaviors.

Over the last five years, this ministry reached a higher level of organization and cohesion in its command structures and attention to units, a matter in which it is only fair to acknowledge the decisive contribution of Vice Admiral Julio César Gandarilla Bermejo, a member of the Party's Central Committee, a deputy to the National Assembly of People's Power and Minister of the Interior until his death at the end of last year. To his brilliant record of service to the Revolution, I must add today the correct, far-sighted selection and preparation of younger generations that guarantees continuity with a secure new leadership of the institution.

I consider it appropriate to recognize the contribution of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in food production, which has allowed both institutions to be self-sufficient in most of the products required to feed their personnel. The level of needs met reached 83 per cent and 72 per cent for the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, respectively.

Precisely as we had planned, the Eighth Party Congress will mark the conclusion of the process of the orderly transfer of major responsibilities from the historic generation to newer ones.

At the Sixth Party Congress, 10 years ago, I stated that although we had not failed to make several attempts to promote young people to the principal positions, the selections were not always correct, and consequently we did not have, at that time, a pool of adequately prepared replacements, with sufficient experience and maturity to assume the new, complex tasks of leadership in the Party, the state and government.

I also said that we needed to resolve this issue gradually, without precipitous decisions or improvisation, which would additionally require strengthening of the democratic spirit and collective nature of the functioning of leadership bodies in the Party, state and governmental authority, to ensure the systematic rejuvenation of the entire chain of administrative and Party positions in the country.

Although we cannot consider this strategic front of work completed, I am satisfied that we are handing over the leadership of the country to a group of prepared leaders, tempered by decades of experience in their transit from the grassroots to the highest responsibilities, committed to the ethics and principles of the Revolution and socialism, identifying with the roots and values of the nation's history and culture, imbued with great sensitivity toward the people, full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit, and aware that they represent the continuity of the work initiated by Céspedes on October 10, 1868, continued by Gómez, Maceo, Calixto García and Agramonte; begun anew by Martí at the head of the Cuban Revolutionary Party; by Baliño and Mella with the founding of the first Communist Party of Cuba; by Villena, Guiteras, Jesús Menéndez, Abel, José Antonio, Frank País, Camilo, Ché, Blas Roca, Celia, Haydée, Melba and Vilma, Almeida and our forever Comandante en Jefe, Fidel. (Applause)

One of those compañeros, selected in time, since we began to notice a number of qualities in him, is compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Political Bureau member and President of the Republic for the last three years, a position which, according to the Party leadership's assessment, he has performed with good results.

We have already stated that Díaz-Canel is not the product of improvisation, but rather of the thoughtful selection of a young revolutionary with the qualities to be promoted to positions of greater responsibility. He advanced successfully, completing 15 years as first secretary of the Party in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguín, after which he was appointed successively Minister of Higher Education, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, positions he held while simultaneously attending to the Party's ideological front.

During these last three years Díaz-Canel has been able to form a team and fostered cohesion among leadership bodies of the Party, state and government.

As far as I am concerned, my work as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee comes to an end with the satisfaction of having fulfilled my duty and confidence in the future of the homeland, with the carefully considered conviction to not accept proposals to remain on higher bodies of the Party organization, in whose ranks I will continue to serve as one more revolutionary fighter, ready to make a modest contribution until the end of my life. (Prolonged applause)

Nothing obliges me to make this decision, but I strongly believe in the power and value of example and in the understanding of my compatriots. Let no one doubt, as long as I live I will be ready, with a foot in the stirrup, to defend the homeland, the Revolution and socialism.

With more strength than ever let us shout:

Viva Cuba Libre! (Exclamations of Viva!)

Long live Fidel! (Exclamations of Viva!)

Homeland or Death!



(Translation from original Spanish as published by Granma International with sleight edits for style by TML)

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"Among Revolutionaries, We Communists
Go to the Fore"

Full text of the speech by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Republic of Cuba, during the closing session of the Eighth Party Congress, at the Havana Convention Center, April 19, 2021, Year 63 of the Revolution

Dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution;

Dear compañeros of the historic generation of the revolutionary process and founders of the Communist Party of Cuba;

Members of the Political Bureau and Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee;

Members of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee;


Compañeras and compañeros:

The Eighth Congress concludes and I have no hesitation in describing it as historic. This is a fact.

Apart from our emotions and feelings involved in living history and the undefeated leadership of those who today pass on responsibilities and tasks to our generation, there is a transcendence that is impossible to ignore:

The Apostle's Centennial Generation, guided by Fidel and Raúl over more than six intense decades, can declare today, with dignity and pride, that the socialist revolution they made only 90 miles from the powerful empire, is alive, firm, and taking action amidst the gale shaking an ever more unequal and unjust world, following the collapse of the world socialist system.

And this generation can say much more. This generation can affirm that the Revolution does not end with theirs, because they managed to shape new generations equally committed to the ideals of social justice that have cost the blood of the best sons and daughters of the Cuban nation.

What we receive today are not positions or tasks. This is not only the leadership of a country. What we have before us, continually challenging us, is a heroic, immense work.

It is the daring uprising of Céspedes, the unwavering honor of Agramonte, the dignified intransigence of Maceo, the impressive acumen of Gómez, the Maroons' quest for liberty, the passion of war poets, the ferocity of Mariana in the scrub and the inspiring light of Martí.

It is the foundational youth of Mella, the tremendous verses of Villena, the radical anti-imperialism of Guiteras, the absolute dedication of the Centennial Generation, Haydee and Melba behind bars, Vilma defying the repressors, Celia organizing the command post in the Sierra, Cuban mothers confronting the dictatorship that murdered their children; the female platoon in the Sierra, Camilo's boundless fidelity, Che's universal legacy, Fidel's profound, creative leadership, the continuity upheld by Raúl.

It is the Great Rebellion, the underground, the guerrilla fronts, the strategic counteroffensive, the invasion of the West, the decisive battles, the triumphal entry into Havana, the Agrarian Reform, the literacy campaign, the fight against counterrevolutionary bandits, the militias, the Girón victory, the October Crisis, internationalist collaboration in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Che's guerrilla war, to the blood for Vietnam, for Angola, for Ethiopia, for Nicaragua, the medical brigades, Elián González, The Five, ELAM [Latin American School of Medicine], Operation Miracle, ALBA, the Henry Reeve contingent, science, medicine, culture, high performance sports, universities, and human solidarity re-founded in this land.

What unites us is so much that the list will always be incomplete, but this can give some idea of the great monument that the Cuban people have erected over more than 150 years of struggle.

This history can be summarized in two words: the people and unity, which is to say, the Party. Because the Communist Party of Cuba, which has never been an electoral party, was not born of a split. It was born from the unity of all political forces with profoundly humanist ideals that had been shaped in the struggle to transform an unequal, unjust country, dependent on a foreign power and under the yoke of a bloody military dictatorship.

Today we say: We are Cuba! Cuba Viva! and it sounds simple, easy, but how difficult it has been to achieve and maintain our sovereignty and independence in the midst of the most ferocious siege.

The historic generation, aware of its role in this heroic creation -- that is every day of the Cuban Revolution -- in the face of a multidimensional, permanent war waged by its closest neighbor, has always worked on the development of new generations and facilitated the gradual transfer of principal leadership responsibilities.

Thanks to this patient work over years, a milestone in our political history is confirmed here today, defining the Eighth Congress as the Congress of Continuity. And the central standard-bearer of this process has been compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz. (Applause)

When I took office as President of the Councils of State and Ministers in 2018, I wanted to express in my remarks the sentiments of many of us and recognize Raúl's work at the head of the Revolution and the Party.

With his proverbial modesty, he asked me to forego some of the words about him that I wished to state at that time. Today, abusing the responsibility that I assume leading the Party and with more knowledge of the facts, due to the intimate rapport we established in addressing the issues and strategic tasks of the country, experiencing firsthand the way he has led our preparation, I would like to do historic justice and relate what I wrote at that time and, as a matter of discipline, left unsaid.

Compañero Raúl, who has prepared, conducted and led this process of generational continuity with tenacity, with no attachment to positions or responsibilities, a heightened sense of duty and of the historic moment, with serenity, maturity, confidence, revolutionary firmness, with altruism and modesty, on the basis of his own merits, authority and because Cuba needs him, will be consulted regarding the most important strategic decisions impacting the nation's destiny. (Applause) He will always be present, well informed of everything, fighting with energy, contributing ideas and arguments to the revolutionary cause, through his advice, his guidance and alertness to any error or deficiency, ready to confront imperialism as the first with his rifle in hand on the front lines of combat.

The Army General will continue to be present because he is a reference for every Cuban communist and revolutionary. Raúl, as our people affectionately call him, is Fidel's best disciple, but he has also contributed a great deal to revolutionary ethics, the work of the Party and to improvement of the government.

The work done under his leadership at the head of the country over the last decade is colossal. His legacy of resistance in the face of threats and aggression and in efforts to perfect our society is paradigmatic.

He assumed the leadership of the country in a difficult economic and social situation. In his dimension as a statesman, forging consensus, he has led, pushed for and encouraged profound, necessary structural and conceptual changes as part of the process of perfecting and updating the Cuban economic and social model.

Raúl was able to achieve the renegotiation of an enormous debt, honestly and respectfully abiding by the word given and the principle that the nation would honor its commitments to creditors, thus strengthening confidence in Cuba.

He led, with wisdom, the debate that culminated in a transcendental update of our Migratory Law; insisted on transformations in the agricultural sector; promoted without prejudice the expansion of non-state forms of economic management, the approval of a new Foreign Investment Law, the creation of the Mariel Special Development Zone, the elimination of obstacles to the strengthening of Cuban state enterprises, investments in the tourism sector, the program for the computerization of society, and the maintenance and improvement, to the degree possible, of our social conquests.

With patience and intelligence, Raúl achieved the release of our Five Heroes, thus fulfilling Fidel's promise that they would return.

His trademark style was evident in wide-ranging, dynamic activity in the country's foreign relations. With firmness, dignity and mettle, he personally led the process of talks and negotiations directed toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States.

Raúl's unquestionable qualities as a statesman, as a defender of Latin American integration, distinguished in a special way Cuba's period as pro tempore president of CELAC [the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States]. His most important legacy, the defense of unity within diversity, led to the declaration of the region as a Zone of Peace and contributed decisively to the peace talks in Colombia.

Raúl has defended the rights of Caribbean countries and particularly those of Haiti in international forums like no one else. With deep pride, Cubans listened to his emotional voice and precise language at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, where he recalled the true history of Our America.

He achieved these accomplishments while facing the illness and death of his beloved companion in life and struggles, our extraordinary Vilma (Applause), with whom he shared his passion for the Revolution and with whom he founded a beautiful family. During this period, he also suffered the illness and death of his principle reference in revolutionary life, who was also his leader and brother, compañero Fidel, to whom he has been uncompromisingly loyal. (Applause)

He put revolutionary courage and sense of duty before his human pain. He kissed the urn that held Vilma's ashes and offered a military salute before the boulder bearing Fidel's name, and led the country without rest, with success, energy and dedication. His contributions to the Revolution are transcendental.

The Raúl we know, admire, respect and love, made his political debut as the leader of a group of young university students who in April of 1952 symbolically buried the 1940 Constitution, trampled by the March 10 coup; in January of 1953, he was one of the founders of the March of the Torches and in March of the same year he attended the International Conference on the Rights of Youth and preparatory meetings for the Fourth World Festival of Youth and Students. Upon his return, he became one of the Moncada assailants, becoming a leader in combat. He was then imprisoned on the Isle of Pines, participated in preparation of the struggle against Batista's dictatorship during his exile in Mexico, set sail on the Granma, was reunited with Fidel in Cinco Palmas, embarked on the struggle in the Sierra Maestra, and given his merits and courage, was promoted to Comandante and founded the Frank País Second Eastern Front, in an exemplary manner.

He is also the political leader who promoted debate on improving Party work, always demanding a strong connection with the people, with his ear to the ground. To him we owe decisive phrases and decisions at crucial moments for the country, such as that warning that "beans are as important as cannons" and the emblematic "Yes, we can!" which raised national spirits in the darkest moment of the Special Period.

The military chief of the Second Eastern Front who, amidst the war of liberation, undertook organizational and governmental experiences for the benefit of the population, which would later be extended across the country after the revolutionary victory. He directed for almost half a century the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, making a decisive contribution to the independence of Angola, Namibia and the end of apartheid. At the same time, he was instrumental in achieving important results in the preparation of the country's defense and in developing the strategic concept of the War of the Entire People. Under his command, the Revolutionary Armed Forces became the government's most disciplined and efficient body, in which experiences were organized that later served the country, including enterprise improvement, with its valuable concepts of administration, sustainability, efficiency and control, from which the FAR Enterprise System was born, going on to achieve remarkable results that contribute to the country's economy.

Raúl, the guerrilla, in permanent contact and alliance with nature, acquired a special sensitivity to environmental issues, which would later mark his efforts to promote the water diversion program and Tarea Vida (climate change).

The Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, who placed on the Army General's chest the highest decorations, dedicated precise words to his work as a leader during the closing of the Fifth Party Congress. Speaking of his brother in blood and ideas, Fidel stated: "Life has brought us much satisfaction and many emotions, much luck, and I can truly say that it has been a stroke of luck for our Party, our Revolution and for me, that we have had a compañero like Raúl, of whose merits I do not need to speak, of whose experience, capacity and contributions to the Revolution it is not necessary to speak. He is known for his tireless activity, his constant and methodical work in the armed forces, in the Party. How fortunate that we have had this." (Applause) This luck, described by Fidel, is called Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz. (Applause).

Compañeras y compañeros:

This Congress, with its broad, critical debate, defending a comprehensive vision of continuity, has contributed ideas, concepts and directives that chart the course to move forward resisting. But it is essential to face this challenge with the greatest possible knowledge of the complex national and international context, conscious that the world has changed dramatically and that there are too many closed doors for nations with few resources and even more for those of us who are intent on being sovereign.

The level of concentration, diversity and complexity of today's media, of the technological tools that support digital networks and the resources employed in the generation of content, allow powerful groups -- fundamentally in highly developed countries -- to convert into universal patterns ideas, tastes, emotions and ideological currents which are often completely alien to the context they impact. For these wizards of communication, truth is not only negotiable but even worse: superfluous. Via the dissemination of false premises, distortions and infamous lies of all kinds, they contribute to promoting political instability in an attempt to overthrow governments, wherever the will of a free and independent nation has not been broken. No people is safe from lies and slander in the era of "post-truth." This is a reality that Cuba faces every day, as we persist in our intention to build a more just, sovereign socialist society, in peace with the rest of the world and without foreign interference or tutelage.

The Central Report clearly exposed several of the specific challenges facing our country, particularly those associated with attempts to dominate and impose the hegemony of U.S. imperialism and the brutal blockade, with its extraterritorial impact which batters us on almost all fronts and, over the last four years, was escalated to a qualitatively more aggressive level.

No one with a minimum of honesty and economic data available in the public domain can ignore the fact that this siege constitutes the principal obstacle to our country's development and progress in our search for prosperity and well-being. By reaffirming this truth, we are not attempting to hide the inadequacies of our own reality, about which a great deal has been said. This is about responding to those who cynically disseminate the idea that the blockade does not exist.

The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for more than 60 years -- opportunistically and maliciously tightened during periods of greatest crisis over the last three decades, in an attempt to create hunger and misery that would provoke a social outbreak and undermine the legitimacy of the Revolution -- is the longest violation, sustained over time, against the human rights of a people and constitutes, given its impact, a crime against humanity.

This historical offense will remain indelible in the conscience and hearts of Cuban men and women who have felt in the flesh the disproportionate cruelty of an enemy many times superior, which cannot accept the construction, under its nose, of an alternative, more just and equitable society, founded on solid principles and ideals of social justice and human solidarity, with independence and sovereignty as the compass and fundamental premise of our decisions.

Let no one dare deny the blockade even the slightest responsibility for our principal problems. To do so is to deny the empire's unjustifiable powers: its almost absolute domination of global markets and finance and its decisive influence on the politics of other governments, some of which, believing themselves to be partners, act as henchmen.

It must be said again and again, without fear of repeating ourselves. They must be the first to tire of a crime that is as useless as it is long. Our demand to put an end to the blockade is and will be without respite, a relentless struggle as long as this ruthless and genocidal policy remains in effect. We know we have the support of the international community, reaffirmed on countless occasions, and of a large portion of Cubans abroad.

To this day, the 242 hostile measures adopted by the Donald Trump administration remain in force, in addition to actions resulting from the re-inclusion of Cuba on the State Department's spurious, arbitrary list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism. No U.S. official, no politician of that or any other country can state that Cuba sponsors terrorism, without ignoring the truth. We are a country that is the victim of terrorism, organized, financed and executed, in most cases, by the United States.

The campaigns of subversion and ideological poisoning promoted by United States agencies and entities continue, with the intention of discrediting Cuba, slandering the Revolution, attempting to confuse the people, encouraging despair, apathy, and recalcitrance, exacerbating internal contradictions.

They are designed to take advantage of the obvious material scarcity and difficulties faced by our population, as a consequence of the combined effect of the global economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the tightening of the economic blockade.

It is said that Cuba is not a priority for the United States, and as a sovereign nation it should not have to be. It is worth asking: Why then does specific legislation exist, such as the Torricelli Act or the Helms-Burton Act -- just to mention two examples -- for the sole purpose of attacking and attempting to control Cuba's destiny by coercing third parties that establish or intend to establish trade or cooperation relations with us? Why does the United States devote hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to subvert the Cuban constitutional order? Why do they spend so much time and money trying to undermine the national conscience of Cuban women and men? What justifies a cruel and relentless economic war for more than 60 years? Why do they pay the price of international isolation, as evidenced in the United Nations and other international forums, by maintaining a morally and legally unsustainable policy?

Our aspiration is to live in peace and interact with our northern neighbor as we do with the rest of the international community, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, without interference of any kind. This is the position of the Party and the state. It is the will of our people.

It is striking that the U.S. government declares as its foreign policy priorities the fight against climate change; confronting health threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; the promotion of human rights; and migration issues. This contrasts sharply with the actual conduct of the country and its historical record, both in domestic and foreign policy. The examples are well known.

Paradoxically, these four issues are areas in which the interest of both peoples and mutual benefit would justify exploring the possibilities of bilateral cooperation, if a solution to such complex problems is truly sought, with honesty and a desire to achieve results.

In these times of global uncertainty, of enormous environmental challenges, facing the blows of a pandemic that has reconfigured the world's behavior and aggravated the global crisis that was on the horizon, the Party's work will be focused on defense of the Revolution. The Party leads the Cuban Revolution's foreign policy, which rests on the notion that a better world is possible and that to struggle for it requires the cooperation of many and the mobilization of the peoples.

This has been a consistent guiding principle of our international efforts and is reconfirmed by this Congress.

We express our willingness to develop friendly, cooperative relations with any country in the world; we are pleased to practice international solidarity even in countries with government ideologies we do not share. We reiterate the determination to expose the truth with clarity, no matter how much this may bother some, to defend principles, join just causes, confront atrocities, as we have confronted foreign aggression, colonialism, racism and apartheid.

This is the foundation of our aspirations for the full independence of Our America and of our commitment to help achieve an economically and socially integrated region, capable of defending the commitment of Latin America and the Caribbean to being a Zone of Peace.

This is the foreign policy described in the Congress Central Report, which we reaffirm today.

Compañeras y compañeros:

It has been very difficult to resist and face the current situation, which has slowed our advance toward the prosperity we desire. Attention to meeting the demands and needs of the people has not ceased; we have explained every decision, convening and undertaking processes, with complex actions and measures, but the truth is that understanding and success have not always been achieved.

I say this without complaint. In an authentic Revolution, victory lies in learning. We are not taking a proven route. We are challenged to constantly innovate, changing everything that needs to be changed, without renouncing our dearest principles. Without ever departing from the concept of Revolution bequeathed to us by the undefeated leader of this epic feat, but free from rigid ideas and aware of the possible mistakes involved in clearing the path as we go.

In presenting the Central Report, the Army General cited the helpful experiences of China and Vietnam, where undeniable progress in the economy and their populations' standard of living has been made. Both processes, which confirm the great potential of socialist planning, have undergone more than one correction along the way, although the blockade imposed on their economies lasted less time and was less aggressive.

The work of the Party in the present circumstances has been and will continue to be fundamental. It is impossible to imagine this moment without the work of the political vanguard, but our organization is urgently in need of changes in its workstyle, which must become better suited to this era and its challenges.

The Communist Party of Cuba will continue in the recognition and defense of our essence: independence, sovereignty, socialist democracy, peace, economic efficiency, security and the attainment of social justice: Socialism! To these we add the struggle for a prosperity that ranges from food to recreation; includes scientific development, superior spiritual wealth and wellbeing; and empowers the design of the functional and the beautiful.

Socialism is worth defending because it is the answer to the need for a more just, equitable, balanced and inclusive world; it is the real possibility of designing with intelligence and sensitivity a space where everyone belongs, not only those who have the resources. It is directed, like no other system, to concretizing Martí's call to conquer all justice.

The principal strength needed to achieve this goal is unity, everything that unites us: dreams, concerns, but also fears in the face of common dangers. We will defend this unity, without discrimination, with no room allowed for prejudices, dogmas or stereotypes that unjustly divide persons.

An element indispensable to maintaining the Party's forging of this unity is the exemplarity of its members, which demands of all members a public attitude that, based on their capacity, dedication, and accomplishments, inspires the admiration and respect of an acutely perceptive people, capable of recognizing at a distance any fake commitment or double standards.

Generational continuity is a fundamental part of this unity. It is necessary to speak and share achievements with our young people as the most important people they are; distinguish them as protagonists of the transformations underway. In them lies the strength, the disposition and resolve, the sincerity needed in any undertaking or revolutionary contribution that the situation demands. During the pandemic's worst moments, they have demonstrated this with courage and responsibility.

Today it is the Party's duty to consolidate the authority gained by the historic generation on the basis of their merits, and preserve the leadership and moral authority of our organization.

To achieve these objectives, it is essential to strengthen the dynamics of the Party's functioning and the proactivity of our membership in addressing society's most pressing problems, under the premise that, given our nature as a single party, will always have the challenge of being increasingly more democratic, more attractive, closer to the people as a whole and not only in our immediate environments.

Although the subject was extensively debated before and during the Congress, I would like to offer some comments on the need to strengthen the internal life of the Party in order to have more external life, that is to say, to really function as a vanguard with leadership capacity, able to project itself in its environment with genuine concerns for the functioning of society, and with the power to convoke and mobilize, to defeat any plan of the enemies of the Cuban nation attempting to provoke a social explosion.

Today we need more consensually established forms and better prepared documentation to promote honest, constructive discussion within our cells, and to stimulate popular debate, promoting regular meetings with students and young people in different professions and trades.

These are not times of printed bulletins or waiting for long processes of coordination and analysis to promote discussion in our cells. The dynamics of these times force us to look for more agile, brief and innovative ways of communicating orientations. In the Internet era, which has already allowed millions of Cubans to develop a certain perception of the world on a cell phone, our messages to the membership cannot follow the slow route of the old printing press.

The basic premise, also a legacy of the Comandante en Jefe, is to never lie or violate ethical principles. The solid authority of the Party rests on these values, and our militants will always be called upon to tell and consider the truth, no matter how hard it may be or appear to be. We, the cadres of the Revolution, have been educated in this principle. And all members are always called upon to wield the truth as our first combat weapon. This is the mission of the vanguard to which we belong.

The truth, clearly and opportunely expressed, is inseparable from the permanent duty to be and to set an example. Our ability to lead depends on how we assume leadership. A people like ours, which has always identified with the bravest of the troops, will only accept and recognize as the vanguard those who are capable of acting like the leaders who shaped us.

The most revolutionary within the Revolution is and must always be the Party, just as the Party must be the force that revolutionizes the Revolution. (Applause)

We see and hear our intellectuals and artists, educators, doctors, journalists, the scientists, creators, athletes, also professionals and technicians, students, workers, labourers and campesinos, combatants of the FAR and the Ministry of the Interior, who are members of the Party and its Youth, as the engine that constantly revolutionizes the Revolution.

And it is our duty as Party cadres to understand that this political force is not monochromatic, nor are all members identical, much less unanimous when expressing themselves. We must be capable of appreciating the strength of the forest, of its trees in a row and in tight ranks when the Revolution needs it. Unity must prevail without ever forgetting that we must see the forest as well as the trees. The collective and the individuals are not the same, even if although when united they are perceived as such. Preserving the legitimacy needed to ensure that the project continues to advance is based on the deep knowledge of its singularities.

We cannot allow ourselves to be overcome by the weight of difficulties. New vitality must be given to popular mobilizations, initiatives that strengthen us.

Routine has undermined many of our processes and today it is urgent to shake off inertia to promote honest, constructive discussion on priority issues, defining actions in each location, with the participation of cadres in the life of cells.

Making growth in the Party ranks as a process that arouses genuine interest, with social impact, generating more attractive work methods, on the basis of members' accountability and the daily dynamics of political work in municipalities and provinces.

To the extent that we approach the battles to raise the quality of life of Cubans with clarity and transparency, and encourage youth to participate with their natural enthusiasm in all the tasks that are critical to the country, we will be reactivating the essence of the Party.

It is our obligation to be standard bearers in the fight against corruption, dishonest ways of acting, abuse of power, favoritism and double standards.

Our conduct at work, before society, in the family and our circles of friends must be consistent with the values we defend.

Party discipline, collective leadership, theoretical studies and the promotion of events on the viability of socialism, the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, the traditions of Cuban thought, particularly those of Martí and Fidel, are subjects that cannot be postponed in our Party schools, along with necessary theoretical and administrative training, with modern management techniques and a broad cultural and historical foundation.

I am convinced that we must incorporate as pillars of our work the computerization of all the organization's internal processes; the support of science and innovation in approaching and resolving the most complex issues; as well as the creative development of social communication.

The Party's work in the constant search for emancipatory alternatives also needs a good bath of science and technology, which must be part of this process.

Marxism has left us an invaluable legacy: the certainty that science and technology are an indissoluble part of social processes and that the key to the perspective and prospective development of any project lies in the relationship of science-technology-society. This is the way to build a socialist economy based on knowledge, a society increasingly built on knowledge -- a promising horizon for new generations.

There are many tasks ahead that require the active and proactive participation of our membership, in order to mobilize the country's energy to make progress on our objectives for development, particularly food security and sovereignty, industrial development and the energy problem. But also, and first of all, in the preparation for defense, the strengthening of our institutional order and the socialist rule of law.

We will continue to work on laws required by the new Constitution and on the strengthening of socialist democracy, linked to social justice and equity; the full exercise of human rights; effective representation and the participation of society in economic and social processes underway, directed toward a prosperous, democratic and sustainable socialism. All this in an environment increasingly free of the burdens of bureaucracy, excessive centralism and inefficiency.

Success in these efforts depends on our ability to dialogue with the population, to enthuse and involve all citizens and to rebuild values that give greater meaning and importance to social commitment. Conscious that democracy is more socialist to the extent that it is more participatory, it is up to us to stimulate popular participation, creating spaces and procedures to address, evaluate and implement the demands and proposals that make it effective.

This essential connection with the demands and needs of the people through participation is linked to one of the fundamental tasks of the Party in these times: social communication, still insufficiently understood, with the erroneous idea that it is a secondary matter given the urgency of economic and political issues. As if these urgencies were not, in some cases, the result of underestimating the specific importance of social communication.

The role of local cells and other party structures, internally and in their relationships with state and government bodies, mass organizations and civil society, must be that of a convener, a facilitator of exchange and revolutionary debate, stripped of formalism, impositions and superfluous directives. Revolutionary, because it springs from the concerns of those committed to improving and strengthening the process, ensuring that it is not detained or stuck.

We, members and non-members committed to Cuba's wellbeing, must advance the search for effective solutions, which in daily practice contribute, at the grassroots level, to a thorough understanding of our reality. Every person, every work collective, every mass organization counts. The battle is ours, it belongs to all of us and this is where we must concentrate our efforts. It is a matter of survival, of dignity, of decorum and of preserving the gains we have won.


The Revolution has given meaning to terms which we must not abandon in our desire to confront and transform the context: let us defend elegance, prestige, joy, decency, rights, efficiency, quality, the culture of detail, beauty, virtue, honor, dignity and truth in everything we propose and do. On the basis of this Party practice, we must devote ourselves to advancing the re-ordering, the recovery, the consideration and strengthening of the ethical and moral values that have brought us this far, undoubtedly hard hit over the last decades by the adversities and successive periods of difficult circumstances.

In the face of the unjust international economic order imposed by bankrupt, discredited neoliberalism, Cuba maintains a line of action that inspires admiration, amazement and all manner of positive sentiments among those who yearn for a better global reality. Our conduct also increases the frustration, desperation and impotence of the northern neighbor and its acolytes, of the sellouts and annexationists, of the submissive and undignified who bow to the designs of the empire, all sworn enemies who are determined to devise the most perverse plans to attack the Revolution, create distrust and fracture our unity.

By tightening the economic siege, they seek to fabricate the image of a rigid, paralyzed, slow Revolution, which has no solutions or anything new to offer, incapable of promoting dialogue and defending participation, or providing happiness. They attempt to coopt our themes, words and phrases to paralyze wills, destroy sentiments and paradigms. Money flows in torrents to bury the Revolution.

We are not a closed society, nor is this revolutionary process weak, out-of-touch or stagnant. Over the course of 60 years we have consolidated an absolutely novel, challenging political project, in the midst of unimaginable pressure. And in order to perfect it, we have risen to the occasion, advanced and rectified errors many times.

In the ideological battle we must turn to Fidel, who taught us not only that culture is the first thing that must be saved, but that to save it we must maintain constant interaction with our intellectuals and artists.

He also taught us that this would not be a comfortable dialogue for the parties involved, but that it has been and must be a permanent, ongoing process, in which respect and willingness to work together are proven in practice.

The Revolution is not only unafraid of creative thought, but encourages it, cultivates it, opens fields for its growth and development, recognizes it and draws on its contributions. This is why a system of artistic education and cultural promotion was created, one which has served to protect and safeguard the most valuable of the tangible and intangible patrimony of Cuban creators, for all these years, even the most difficult ones.

Learning in the arena of politics and ideology concerns all forces participating in a social process. What is unforgivable is not that mistakes were made previously or are being made right now. What is unforgivable is not correcting them.

In this sense we have been consistent; we have rectified errors and the will to continue doing so exists, because it is critical to development in the field of ideas, as well as of the economy and others.

A beautiful song, a duet by Silvio Rodríguez and Santiago Feliú, warns: "How much doubt is cast every time the lie wins!" Big media and digital social networks serve as effective platforms for limitless distortions and lies. With every person who doubts or shares a piece of false news, they score a small, but harmful victory.

It would be naive to pretend that the exponents of certain acts of an artistic, political, or other nature, are unaware of or not interested in considering the context. There is a fine, fragile line between an opportune act and an opportunist one, between the liberal and the chaotic, between independentists and neoannexionists, between transcendence and irresponsibility.

Their unwillingness to even acknowledge that the most radical right is viciously conspiring to eliminate our experience without thinking twice -- and that if we perish as a project we will never again have the option of self-determination -- is ultimately an act of criminal irresponsibility toward their country and their time.

We are no longer talking about cultural colonization, we are talking about an all-out war by the most conservative ultra-right, today desperate, ready to use any means, anxious to eliminate any scenarios of progress, obsessed with destroying any leftist project.

They are sociopaths with digital technology always available, always at the ready, waging an open war against reason and sentiment. They attack, not a political system alone, but the true, urgent needs of humans, what connects us as a species. That is the most dangerous war, but also the most cowardly.

We cannot ignore that the enemies of the Revolution employ concepts of unconventional warfare against Cuba, a war in which everything that is banal, vulgar, indecent and false is fair game, although they attempt to get a foothold appealing to sensitivity, culture and thought.

The paladins of freedom, who traffic in values, of which they have no understanding, are attempting to dismantle a Revolution that has emancipated millions.

They shamelessly incite the desecration of symbols and the country's most sacred historical dates and places. They call for disobedience, disrespect, disorder and public indiscipline, accompanying these calls with the slanderous construction of pseudo-realities, bent on confusing, discouraging and promoting negativity.

The Cuban Revolution will not be betrayed or handed over to those who seek to live by playing with the fate of the homeland. (Applause) We will not allow the artivistas -- as they call themselves, in quotation marks -- of chaos, vulgarity, contempt, to defile the flag and insult authorities. We are not unaware that they desperately seek to be arrested, following the orders of those who pay them, who continue to find credible victims, taken in by their infamous reports about Cuba.

It's good to warn the mercenary lumpen profiting from the destiny of all -- those who demand "invasion now," those who continually offend in word and deed those who do not rest -- that the patience of this people has limits! (Prolonged applause)

Virtue will be in knowing how to close ranks in the defense of the homeland entrusted to us by those who have preceded us and brought us to the present.

Not even in the worst of situations can a Party member be a passive spectator of a provocation, or let a compañera or compañero in the ranks stand alone against provocateurs. The Revolution is defended by revolutionaries! (Applause) And among revolutionaries, we Communists go to the fore. (Applause) Never as an elite, but as a conscious, committed force. That means being and acting like a political vanguard. (Applause)

We must be proud to be part of the Party's ranks and understand membership as an act of consecration to the ideals that the organization defends with passion, joy, and responsibility.

It is time to understand and use all the resources of social communication, particularly the work in digital networks, to deal with the issues impacting society; to interact and provide timely responses from all institutions to which citizens turn; to promote participation, transparency and accountability; to make visible the spirit that moves the country.

We must take advantage of all communication platforms to fight our battle as revolutionaries, making the weight of history felt, our patriotic motivations and convictions heard, and the keys of collective leadership understood. We have the challenge of telling with our own voice all the good that has been done, as well as what can and should be done, showing our light and our commitment.

We live in an ordered, organized country, where we work hard to resist the blows of a hostile, suffocating reality, but which is determined to move forward toward greater social wellbeing. This truth must be heard every day through a steady stream of informative, educational and illustrative reports, describing every project, every scenario of resistance and of construction to overcome adversity.

Let's do this without being self-righteous, without boasting, offering contents based on the truth and virtue, on firmness and coherence, elegance and moderation, without tiresome speeches that provoke rejection, with arguments and sentiments, sensitivity and empathy. With the language of those who resist on a daily basis, in that most intimate dimension of the homeland which is the neighborhood, the small plot of land, the community, the factory, the school, the construction site, and the family, closing the gap between institutional discourse and public demands.

The Revolution is real dialogue that puts truth and ethics before indecency and perversity, that does not negotiate its existence, does not legitimize mercenaries and acts with security and firmness.

Let us approach with objectivity progress made in the struggle for the emancipation of women, against gender violence, racism and discrimination, in favor of the care and protection of the environment and animals. And recognize that we need to advance further, to give increasingly more just responses to the people's concerns.

Let us practice a partisan and revolutionary militancy that actively confronts racist and discriminatory behavior and defends the rights of Cuban women.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Allow me now to say a few words about the crucial economic battle, without which all other battles may prove futile.

The five-year period being evaluated by this Congress did not produce good economic results. This was also influenced by inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the performance of a significant portion of the enterprise system and the budgeted sector; structural problems exist that affect their development. Unresolved during the period were excessive, non-essential expenses and the lack of control of material and financial resources, as well as unnecessary obstacles and bureaucracy, among other evils that hinder our economic development, the solution of which depends on us.

Despite having faced difficulties of various kinds during this period, the economy has shown resilience, making it possible to preserve our social gains, without renouncing the development goals set, or our solidarity and support to other peoples.

Cuba has given a magnificent lesson of how political will, the Revolution's humanist vocation, government management, public policies that put human beings at the center, dialogue between our principal decision makers and scientists, and the people's participation can, with relative success, confront a complex problem like the pandemic.

A small country without resources, besieged and cruelly blockaded, has achieved results indicative of a better performance than that of many countries in the world and the region. This work is sustained by the economy we criticize to improve it and make it more efficient, but that has made possible inclusive social gains that are clearly significant.

The Party reiterates that we are not satisfied with maintaining the country's potential strength at a survival level. On the contrary, we aspire to resist creatively, without renouncing our development projects, perfecting them, updating their concepts, modernizing ways of doing and participating.

In the shortest possible time, on the basis of our own efforts, recognizing that the path lies within ourselves, with the least possible external dependence, we must meet the challenge of producing the food we need, make better use of renewable energy sources, develop our tourism potential with quality and sustainability, improve the efficiency in the investment process, direct national production to meet the demands of the domestic market, and provide better quality services to the population.

There are basic concepts in any type of economy, which we must definitively instate, like savings and the circular economy. Eliminating the import mentality is also imperative.

To overcome the crisis, it is necessary to dynamize the process of updating the economic and social model and implementation of the Strategy and the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030, establishing a flexible relationship between necessary planning, decentralization and the autonomy essential for local development, with the participation of all economic actors, including state enterprises, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives.

That is, we will resist, creatively, with deep, objective analysis of each situation, summoning expert knowledge, promoting popular participation and innovation. Of course, without renouncing our internationalist principles of solidarity and cooperation with humanity.

The Monetary Reordering Task, not always well understood, even by those who have the responsibility of executing it, will immediately demand a great deal of political work, given the highly complex process it is.

Questions have been raised about whether this was the right time to launch the re-ordering, in the midst of the unexpected challenges imposed by the pandemic and the escalation of the blockade. There is only one answer: we could no longer postpone this transformation intended to stimulate development and the coordinated participation of all economic actors.

It is only honest to acknowledge that the re-ordering has presented problems of implementation, due to insufficient preparation of some directors and inadequate interpretation of the regulations, but misunderstandings have also emerged based on the mistake of associating this process with problems that were present before its implementation. To this must be added dissatisfaction generated by argumentation that was not always timely or precise, plus some inadmissible demands, which are far removed from the principles guiding the task.


Our first response has been to provide follow up and immediate solutions -- whenever possible -- to the critical issues raised by the population, promoting an important exercise of citizen participation, which cannot be ignored, evident in adjustments, corrections and changes implemented. Rates, prices and the most recent measures to favor and stimulate the production and commercialization of foodstuffs are part of this strategy.

Once again we appeal to the necessary change of mentality that can facilitate these efforts. It is time to move from making the call to transformation.

We will win to the extent that the goal of everything we do is always the greatest possible happiness of Cubans, defended on the basis of the essence of our socialism.

The current situation and the objectives which emerged from our debates represent a very great challenge for Cuban leaders. Society and its institutions need cadres, with a profoundly ethical and professional preparation, distinguished by qualities including revolutionary concern, sensitivity to the people's problems, the disposition to devote oneself, and the ability to face adversity with creativity that inspires and motivates innovation.

In any situation, but especially in the most difficult and challenging, our cadres must stand out for their dedication to the task, their eagerness to improve, their modesty and sufficient sensitivity to put themselves in the place of others, putting the "we" before the "I." They have the responsibility to dialogue sincerely, from the heart, and be quick to incorporate these perceptions in decision making.

The Congress has approved a strategy for the preparation of cadres that will include a scientific approach in their selection, training and promotion, and will take into account a gradual transition involving different responsibilities.


The blockade and the pandemic have come together in the last year to put our projections and dreams on hold. We have been struggling hard against the daily difficulties and, although at times it might seem that we will not be able to get by, in the midst of uncertainty, we are suddenly struck and dazzled by our own capacity for resistance and creation.

The fact that a country blockaded to a perverse limit has managed to sustain the vitality of its basic services, treat the entire population of infected and suspect cases, install more than twenty molecular biology laboratories in record time, design and develop national prototypes of pulmonary ventilators and diagnostic kits, and develop five candidate vaccines, with plans to produce enough doses to immunize the entire population and contribute to other nations, in addition to providing meritorious, recognized medical collaboration to several peoples of the world, is much more than a light at the end of the tunnel. It is proof that we are on the right side of history and that our revolutionary socialist project has so much potential and reach that not even the greatest empire of all time has been able to demolish it.

Our people have given this unquestionable feat a name: Fidel Castro Ruz! (Applause)

The Comandante en Jefe, under Martí's precept that to govern is to foresee, in very uncertain days for Cuba, promoted the development of biotechnology, the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, and the training of doctors for the nation and the world. He, who saw earlier and farther, as far as humanity can project its dreams, is a continuous reference, at a time when, before the astonished eyes of many, Cuba emerges saving itself and contributing to saving the world from the worst pandemic in centuries.

At a time when women and men in white lab coats, members of the Henry Reeve brigade, descend the stairs of an airplane carrying the flag with a single star out front, intent on saving lives without putting a price on their work, the lies and slanders attacking Cuba begin to dissolve like ice in hot water and our truth is multiplied by this redeeming action.

Compatriots from all of Cuba, everyday militants of the Revolution: members of the Political Bureau, the Secretariat and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba elected today assume the extraordinary commitment to give continuity to the Cuban Revolution. (Applause)

After several years of work and dedication to Party tasks, we bid farewell to several compañeras and compañeros who in their respective roles are part of all that the country has undertaken and achieved under challenging conditions in recent years. They all take with them the best of recognitions: to have worked at the highest levels of the Party founded and led by Fidel, Raúl and other compañeras and compañeros of the historic centenary generation, including Comandantes de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés and Guillermo García, who continue every day to give us lessons in devotion and dedication to the common work. (Applause)

To Rebel Army Comandante José Ramón Machado Ventura (applause), who for dozens of years carried on his shoulders difficult tasks of the organization, its functioning and internal life, the control of resources and administration, we offer our permanent gratitude for his dedication and example, for his discipline and loyalty. For his teachings, support and confidence in those of us who have moved, step by step, from grassroots student and youth organizations to leadership tasks. His straight-forwardness, his modesty and commitment will always accompany us as lessons of life (Applause).

As for the Army General, the Congress of Continuity wishes to place on record our enormous debt to a man who will never be able to separate himself from the Party of which he is a founder.

Summarizing his contributions to the Revolution, as I did at the beginning of my remarks, is not only the duty of comrades. It is a way of reminding ourselves of the principal qualities of a leader, of an authentic revolutionary, always unsatisfied with the work he leads and attentive to the social beat, sensitive to everything that serves or harms the people.

Intransigent and firm when it comes to confronting the adversary and defending the work. Sincere and affectionate when he encourages, recognizes, rewards, or even reprimands a comrade in battle.

Continuity is affirmed by example and within the teachings of the authentic leaders who have preceded us, always evident in the timely, heartfelt recognition of those who give their all for the collective good.

Compañero Army General, Minister, or simply Raúl, as the people call him, on behalf of my compañeras and compañeros and the Cuban people: Thank you for your example, your drive, your strength and your confidence! (Applause) Thank you for being there and helping us believe in ourselves.

Important, very important, was your support and encouragement during these years of learning and training that today allow us to assume responsibilities in which you and Fidel made history. The challenge is tremendous, but we have the peace of mind that the school is close, that you are by our side. (Applause)

Compañeras and compañeros:

What is happening today places us once again before the thread of history. It is April 19, the day of the Girón victory, that first fight against the mercenaries of the empire which wanted to surprise the Revolution but was surprised. The declaration of the socialist character of the Revolution on the eve of those battles, Fidel's courage and genius shining in the organization of the battle, ensuring that it lasted less than 72 hours and preventing the establishment of a beachhead, the image of our leader atop a tank in action, always in front of his troops, have returned, on the occasion of the date, to remind us who we are, where we come from and where we are going. (Applause)

The Communist Party of Cuba is indissolubly linked to that symbol of resistance and to the victory that awaits those who fight fair for the rights of their peoples and claim nothing more than a place in the vanguard.

Our generation understands the responsibility we assume in accepting this challenge and declares before the historic generation our honor and pride in giving continuity to the Revolution. (Applause) We do so guided by the principle immortalized by Maceo, "...Whoever attempts to appropriate Cuba will gather the dust of its soil, drenched in blood, if he does not perish in the struggle."

Paraphrasing Camilo in his well-known words to Fidel upon receiving the rank of Rebel Army Comandante in the Sierra Maestra, we would like to say to the historic generation, to our fellow Party members and our beloved people: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve this most worthy cause for which we will always be ready to give our lives... It would be easier to stop breathing than to stop being true to your confidence! (Applause).

We are Cuba!

Cuba lives!

Homeland or Death!



(Presidency of the Republic of Cuba. Translation from original Spanish as published by Granma International with sleight edits for style by TML)

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