Speech given by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the official function commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the assault on the “Moncada” and “Carlos Manuel de Cespedes” garrisons in the Karl Marx Theatre, July 26, 2005.
Fighters of yesterday and today:
Dearest fellow Cubans:
I thank our generous and heroic people for the privilege of commemorating this anniversary of the assault on the “Moncada” and “Carlos Manuel de Cespedes” garrisons when so much time has passed since those events took place. It could be that no one has even received such a great honor. It would be unforgivable not to keep in mind that more than 70 percent of the Cubans who today keep the Revolution alive had not even been born back then. They took the banners which, I think, they will never drop, from those who gave their lives in that action. I dare to say thank you on my behalf and on behalf of all of them, because on my conscience lies the enormous weight of having persuaded them to undertake such a bold action and yet fate has not prevented me from traveling the long, long road of revolutionary struggle down to this emotional moment 52 years later.
The Revolution today is experiencing a moment worthy of that memorable date.
months preceding the 52nd anniversary of the beginning of our armed
Cuba’s response to the imperial demand were enormous mass demonstrations all across the country in support of a draft amendment of the constitution, finally passed unanimously by the National Assembly of People’s Power on June 26, 2002, stating that the socialist nature of the Revolution and the political and social system enshrined in the Constitution were irrevocable.
Under pressure from that mob which had helped him win the presidency through a scandalous fraud, for more than four years, Mr. George W. Bush and his cronies did not cease for one minute from adopting cruel, hate-filled measures to destabilize and pound on Cuba and to try to do away with its independence and its people’s right to a truly human and fair political system.
resolutions were passed to tighten the blockade and suffocate
is common knowledge that Bush’s cronies set up a big committee to plan all the
details of what they call “transition” in
I couldn’t help mentioning these things which are only a small sample of the series of attacks on Cuba by US governments and of all these governments, the Bush administration represents the incarnation of the most repugnant, evil hatred for a heroic, decent people which is not cowed nor can be intimidated by the powerful empire’s threats and attacks.
of Bush’s most cynical measures was to use the Guantanamo naval base, which the
Unites States occupies illegally against our people’s will, to set up a
concentration camp where he locks up, without trial or any kind of legal
process, those whom he kidnaps anywhere in the world. And to top it all, that
prison was turned into an experimental center of torture, the same as those
later applied in the Abu Ghraib prison in
article in the
Democratic senator Joseph
Biden, of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that the
On September 13, 2004, the British newspaper The Guardian revealed that “the highest levels of George W. Bush’s administration were informed of the bad treatment and possible war crimes at the base in the Fall of 2002”, according to an investigative report by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh included in his book Chain of Command.
When visiting this torture center, a US member of Congress of Cuban descent, known in our country as the Big Bad She-wolf, a friend and defender of Posada Carriles, told the press that “she wished the Cuban people had the rights that the detainees in Guantanamo are given”.
Another of Mr. Bush’s cynical actions is the constant, increasing radio and television attacks on our people that violate the most elementary standards regulating the use of radio and TV frequencies and is in breach of international law.
In addition to its actions
from outside, Bush and his mob have invested in excess one hundred million
dollars to promote subversion and destabilization inside
The heads of the Interests Section have assumed direct leadership of the groups of mercenaries that, by various methods and under various pretexts, are provided with high personal incomes in convertible currency which, in a country like Cuba where services such as healthcare and education are totally free and others like housing, recreational activities, medicines and a significant portion of food cost a virtually symbolic amount in Cuban pesos, means that those who have convertible currency can enjoy a living standard far higher than that of Cubans who are paid their salaries and pensions in domestic currency.
There is no country in the
world where the empire’s mercenaries enjoy the privileges they do in
And none of this is done
surreptitiously. The Interests Section’s diplomatic pouch is brazenly used to
smuggle in computers, communications equipment, printed materials, libelous
articles and all kinds of objects and goods to give to their hirelings. Never,
perhaps, has any government so abused and offended its diplomatic status and
immunity as the
When, for some reason or other, they don’t want to be directly involved in this type of activity, they use their Czech or some such lackeys to carry out these extremely rude acts.
Our Interests Section in
In the last few days, while our people were working tirelessly to clean up the damage caused by Hurricane Dennis —tens of thousands of homes fully or partially destroyed, breaks in the electricity transmission and distribution grid, major damage to agriculture and other branches of the economy— the US government stepped up its subversive radio and television broadcasts to Cuba by increasing the frequency of illegal, provocative flights by the EC-130J aircraft which transmits the anti-Cuban radio and television signals.
The first broadcast from a
This past July 13, less than
three weeks ago, five days after the hurricane had blown through the south,
central and western regions of our country with its enormous power of
destruction, the US Air Force transferred two EC-130J aircraft from the 193rd
Special Operations Wing in
It was only six days after the hurricane and information about its devastating effects was still being collected.
Thus, in less than a year, there have been 46 broadcasts from the military aircraft while the daily broadcasts on nine frequencies, from the aerostatic balloon, have continued. These, and transmissions from other counterrevolutionary stations add up to 2,425 hours and 45 minutes of anti-Cuban radio and television broadcasts.
It is significant that, prior to the current escalation, the United States carried out three exploratory flights with RC-135 aircraft on Saturday April 30 and on May 7 and 14, 2005, at the same time the EC-130 was broadcasting to our country, their possible intention being to test the effectiveness and the parameters of our response to this television attack. It had been years since RC 135s had taken any action against our country.
While the US administration, which so furiously imposes the genocidal blockade on our country, in an entirely hypocritical and shameless way “compassionately” offered Cuba 50,000 USD to alleviate the damage caused by the hurricane, the lawmakers who support the Bush government policies, introduced a bill in Congress that would allocate 37,931,000 USD for the fiscal year 2006 and 29,931,000 USD for the fiscal year 2007, for anti-Cuban broadcasts. According to the wording, the purpose of the bill is “to buy, rent, build and improve radio and television reception and transmission facilities and to buy, rent and install the necessary equipment, including aircraft, for radio and television reception and transmission”.
There has even been talk that they might purchase Boeing type aircraft that use technology similar to that of the EC-130J for future broadcasts to Cuba and they also want still more money to buy airtime on radio stations in the area close to our country.
The escalation in anti-Cuban
broadcasts is happening in the midst of public disagreement between the
Departments of State and Defense over whether to use military aircraft to
Dazed and delirious, a former spokesperson for the Cuban-American National Foundation and also one of Posada Carriles’ defenders has just brazenly announced on Miami television that Venezuela’s solidarity aid to Cuba to alleviate the effects of the hurricane “consists of a few thousand tons of masts to block US transmissions, equipment to rebuild the masts used for this type of jamming and the technology needed to establish repression”.
Such an abhorrent vision
prevails in the
According to Florida
Republican Congressman Connie Mack, who introduced an amendment on this, “the Broadcasting Board of Governors could be
authorized to initiate radio and television broadcasts similar to Radio and TV
Martí’s current broadcasts to
the same intensity as that shown by the White House in stepping up its
electronic warfare, local radio and TV stations in
have also been one or two foreign correspondents in
At almost the same time on July 13, only five days after the hurricane, about twenty members of the small groups I mentioned, shouted out insulting slogans as they walked outside the “Hermanos Ameijeiras” hospital. They were using the pretext of the tugboat accident that happened 11 years ago, which caused the regrettable death of a number of people including women and children, for which the Revolution was infamously blamed; the tug had been hijacked by armed persons at the dock where this type of vessel ties up. This provocation elicited an immediate, angry response from those living nearby and from hospital workers, which meant that the provocateurs had to be given protection by the authorities.
should give a little more background. When the country was involved in a
historic battle for justice with the Empire as it denounced the covert entry of
Posada Carriles —he and Orlando Bosch were responsible for the deaths of 73
people in the well-known Barbados tragedy— into the United States, under the
protection of the Cuban-American mob and US authorities, and demanded his
arrest and extradition to Venezuela, the Interests Section was working frantically
to organize a so-called Assembly to Promote a Civil Society in Cuba officially convened for none other than May 20, a shameful,
ill-starred date in our history. The whole thing was cooked up and funded by
Cuba’s denunciation made on April 11 and the meeting in Havana of outstanding people from all over the hemisphere to demand the terrorist extradition to Venezuela and to denounce “Operation Condor” and the monstrous crimes committed by US soldiers with the US government’s complicity —especially when Bush Sr. was head of the CIA and later US vice president coinciding with the dirty war against Nicaragua and the Iran-Contra scandal— put the Bush government and its main accomplices in a tight spot.
It was obvious that the USINT (US Interests Section) and its hirelings aim was to orchestrate an act of provocation against the authorities of the Cuban Revolution in order to divert international attention from the scandalous conspiracy and complicity between Bush Jr. and the hemisphere’s biggest terrorist that Bush had taken out of jail in Panama and allowed to enter the United States.
so-called “Assembly to Promote a Civil Society in
When, this past July 22, all efforts were focused on rebuilding the country, “civil society’s defenders” —emboldened by the seeming impunity of their adventures, cheered on by the Interests Section and greatly encouraged by the almost daily flights and broadcasts from the military aircraft with their subversive messages, plus the belief spread by the Miami mob that they were on the point of packing their bags because the Revolution was about to collapse— plucked up their courage to orchestrate a new act of provocation. But, this time the people, angrier than before over such barefaced acts of treason, intervened with patriotic fervor and didn’t allow a single mercenary to move. And this is what will happen whenever traitors and mercenaries go a millimeter beyond the point that our Revolutionary people, whose destiny and lives are at stake in this stand-off with the most voracious, most inhuman and most cruel empire in history, is willing to accept.
The much publicized
dissidence or alleged opposition in
The same thing happened when
they invaded the country with armed mercenaries, many of whom were former
Batista backers, assuming that the people would instantly rise up against the
Revolution. Nobody knows these people in
It would be much better if
the Empire did not allow itself to be carried away by illusions that might lead
it to more serious mistakes, because nothing that has happened elsewhere will
be comparable to what would happen here to anyone who tries to take control of
A long time ago now, more than a century ago, Maceo warned them: “They will only reap her blood-soaked soil, if they do not perish in the strife”. Today we could add: “They would not even reap the dust of her soil, and they would have to shed much more blood than anywhere else on the planet”. This we swear!
I don’t want to let this occasion pass by without raising some other issues of great importance to our people.
During the first six months of this year, the country had to face a complex situation brought about by the drought, the power shortage and, most recently, the consequences of Hurricane Dennis.
enemies of the Revolution, as I have already explained, have jubilantly tried
to use these events to show that
The sound growth that our economy has started to display since last year has increased during the first half of 2005, as I can show with some irrefutable figures which confirm this and I will now read out:
During the first half of the year the Cuban economy grew by 7.3% and an increase of around 9% is expected by the end of the year, as a result of the positive tendencies that have been observed.
This performance, recorded up until June, is based on the increase of 13 of the 22 sectors of the industry, among which ferrous metallurgy stands out with 15.5%, non-ferrous metallurgy with 9.2%; printing with 21.7%; the garments industry with 7.0%; the food industry with 3.6% and the beverage and tobacco industry with 4.4%.
Construction work increased by 8.2%, the communication sector by 7.1%, commerce by 10% and the public service sector by 13.3%.
The equivalent production of national crude oil and gas turns out around one million 900 thousand tons, that is to say, four times more than what was produced at the beginning of the special period. At the moment, a significant effort is being made to drill and set underway new oil and gas wells that will put the country closer on its way to self-sufficiency in terms of the energy sector.
Crude refining increased by 9.2%, making way for a saving of 29 million 700 thousand dollars on the total amount of refined products, when compared to their international prices. Fuel consumption, on the other hand, stayed at similar levels to the year before.
The production of electricity fell by 4% due both to the breakdowns in the electricity generating plants, and to the extension of their maintenance periods, which affected production and service, as well as the population.
In order to maintain these plants, the hard currency resources to be invested until December 2005 have doubled, exceeding the sum of 100 million USD.
A program is underway to improve the country’s power supply, with an additional 50 million USD to be invested in this program, 34% of this investment has been made in the first five months.
This program will make it possible to reduce the total loss in power distribution from approximately 16.5% to 11%, and increase the quality of the service.
A profound revolution is underway with respect to the concept of production and the use of electricity. Equipment and material worth 282 million 100 thousand USD have been bought and are currently being installed, which, within a year, will provide us with a million more kilowatts of electricity.
I am using the US dollar here so that it is easier to understand the cost in convertible pesos. This aforementioned figure of new capacities of electricity production will be supplemented by 200 thousand kilowatts generated by a new combined cycle plant and a currently out of use thermoelectric plant adapted to consume accompanying gas. This new capacity, on top of the saving of no less that one million kilowatts which will be made possible by investing more than 250 million USD, will make available to production, services and family units twice the electricity they have now, starting on the second semester of 2006.
Along with the problem of electricity, it has been necessary to resolve the need for domestic fuel. Personally, as President of the Council of State and of the Government, I dedicate a significant part of my time to this problem, so what I said is not an exaggeration, as rather I speak with circumspection, keeping some things up my sleeve.
More that 3 million 100 thousand pressure cookers, 3 million 500 rice steamers, 3 million 100 thousand electric pressure cookers, 3 million 800 thousand electric hobs and one million 100 thousand 12-inch fans have also been purchased.
More than 5 million 300 thousand gaskets for refrigerators, 650 thermostats and 7 million gaskets for coffee makers have also been bought. This range of equipment and accessories, which are already being distributed in a gradual and attentive manner, will continue to be handed out during the second half of the year, as planned.
More than 100 million USD are being invested in the pharmaceutical industry. Production in this sector is steadily growing.
Work is underway to expand and remodel the factories producing soy bean yogurt, gradually increasing its production capacity to one million liters a day.
Work is being done and money invested in order to process 25 thousand tons of drinking chocolate a year. It is estimated that the level of production for the remainder of the year is 12 tons to be distributed among the population.
As part of the program of quality coffee production, 30 packaging machines, 2 new roasters and the replacement of 7 mills, which have already been ordered, are to be introduced and assembled in the plants currently functioning. In August distribution will commence in some provinces, in accordance with the established capacity.
In order to expand, guarantee and ensure the storage of cereals and legumes, the construction of capacities is underway for half a million tons of top quality metallic silos.
Work is also underway to expand the production capacity of pasta.
The current industries pertaining to the People’s Power will be expanded in order to produce noodles and 15 similar new factories will be constructed.
new pasta factories will be built on the sites of the former mills “Noel
Fernández” in Camagüey and “Marta Abreu” in
The total capacity will be 70 thousand tons of different varieties of pasta.
The purchase of two new cocoa processing plants is anticipated, each with a capacity of 25 thousand tons.
Besides satisfying national needs, this decision will allow us to produce high quality cocoa butter for export, as well as other cocoa derivatives.
As part of the policy to improve our people’s diet, a program is implemented to increase egg production. The aim is to reach an output of more than 2.2 billion eggs by 2006.
A series of investments has been decided upon to increase the availability of pork meat. Work is being done to recover the capacity of pork production, with a view to reaching a total production of 80 thousand tons of meat, in live animals, by 2006 and to preparing conditions to reach 100 thousand tons by 2007.
The areas of protected and semi protected crops will be considerably expanded in order to produce high quality vegetables for both national consumption and export.
During the first half of the year, nickel production reached 38 thousand 200 tons, which is an increase from the year before. This export was the most important source of income for the country in terms of the export of goods, amounting to 545 million USD in the first half of the year.
The number of people visiting the country until June 30 had increased by 8%, and it is anticipated that this year the number of bookings will reach 2 million 300 thousand.
The income from the tourist sector increased by 11.5% compared with the year before, with a linear occupation level of 66.9%.
During 2005, 4 new hotels are scheduled to begin operations, which will contribute one thousand 921 rooms to the international tourist sector.
The electronics industry is doubling its production of software and televisions.
In this half of the year, the production of cement and steel rods increased by 20.8% and 5%, respectively.
With a view to responding to the most urgent needs to increase our building capacity, investments have been approved which are now being made to the tune of 62 million USD, which will increase the production of sand by 51%, stone by 74%, blocks by 59% and floor materials by 49%.
Currently, 7 thousand 300 homes have been completed in 2005. During the remaining months of this year the majority of homes partially affected by Hurricane Dennis will be repaired; no less than 10 thousand of the homes destroyed will be built again as new and the plans to finish and construct new homes to cover the most urgent requirements will continue, up to at least 30 thousand additional housing.
The material required to build a total of 100 thousand new homes in 2006 has already been or is in the process of being ordered, which will be by far the highest number in our history. This figure does not include a high number of repairs. Everything will depend on our efforts.
From 2003 until May 2005, the country was in the grip of the worst drought on record. The economic impact of this is estimated at more that 1.2 billion USD.
To deal with this, until 2004, 183 million USD were invested in hydraulic works, and this year it is calculated that an additional 60 million will be used.
It has also been necessary to invest more than 70 million USD in current expenditure, which includes 28 thousand tons of diesel and 14 thousand tons of gasoline, with the specific aim of taking water to the affected population, which exceeded 2 million 500 thousand people at the most critical times, distributing water by trucks to almost 2 million people.
order to keep the economy healthy, it is essential to revitalize railway
transport, which was seriously affected during these years of the special
period. The special period and the blockade imposed by the
This year around 40 million USD are being urgently invested in railway freight transport. Actually, 32 freight cars have been repaired, while 18 locomotives and almost a thousand more cars should be restored to working order in the next few months to transport dry goods and cement for the works of the Battle of Ideas and the program for the construction of housing.
12 new locomotives were bought from
The amount cargo transported by railway rose by 47,900 tons in comparison to the first half of last year.
As for freight transport by motor vehicle, 486 trucks that were out of service have been repaired and are up and running.
In the first half of the year, the Ministry of Transport vehicle fleet transported 66 thousand 100 tons more than in the same period of 2004.
Port equipment, metal for railway tracks and equipment and spare parts for trucks have been purchased or are in the process of being purchased for 15 million USD.
thousand modern busses for long distance transport, with fuel efficient engines
have been ordered from
Inevitably, it will be imperative to review the fares, since the high cost of fuel and equipment will make it impossible to provide this service at the historically charged prices.
In the healthcare sector, investments received a significant boost during the first six months, which could never have happened in the past. The 448 rehabilitation wards that the country required were all completed.
Major repairs have been made to 123 polyclinics. Of the 444 existing polyclinics, almost all are now equipped with electrocardiographs, 396 have, for the first time, been given ultrasound equipment with three transducers, and 115 have new X-ray equipment. All of them will be equipped with endoscope facilities; every one of them now has 4 computers and a library, and 368 are connected to the Internet.
Since January 2004, 118 intensive therapy wards have been created in the municipalities that did not have it, where until February 2005, 42 thousand 561 patients had been provided care, the lives of 13,025 of whom were saved, that is to say, 92% of those who were at risk of death.
The dental clinics have been equipped with 851 new dentists’ offices.
More than 50 hospitals are currently being renovated, expanded and equipped to offer excellent services to both national and foreign patients. The program began in 2004 with an estimated cost of 835 million USD, which includes the latest equipment valued at approximately 400 million USD.
the high-tech equipment that we now have at our disposal, is the 27 one-slice
CT equipment, with which all the provinces of the country are now equipped, 9
other 64-slice equipment, 8 of magnetic resonance imaging and 8 of
three-dimensional ultrasound, which are being used for the first time in
This program comes hand in hand with the construction of 44 buildings offering hospital accommodation, which will provide a total of 6,886 rooms. Numerous three and four-star hotels will also be used in the provision of an international health service.
The country is now able to operate and provide services in all branches of ophthalmology to hundreds of thousands of patients. One hundred thousand Venezuelan brothers and sisters will receive theses services this year, in which, until yesterday, July 25, 25,024 patients from said country and a similar number of Cubans had been operated on.
less than 15 thousand citizens of the
The educational revolution that our country has been carrying out in the heat of the Battle of Ideas has brought about an increase in quality that is also unprecedented in the educational and learning process.
In this sector, major repairs have been made to 111 large schools and work continues on 56 more, as well as on 5 Pedagogical Institutes.
repairs also began on 25 polytechnics for computer sciences, with a capacity
for 40 thousand students, as well as 15 senior high schools in the
Additionally, 118 Youth Computer Clubs were completed in the first six months of this year, at a cost of 21 million USD.
At the end of the present academic year, 1,197 works had been completed by the program for the Battle of Ideas, which benefit 503,174 students. Major repairs are being made to 16 Special Sport Schools, at a cost of over 14 million 600 thousand USD; one has already been completed, while work is still underway in another 113.
Meanwhile, 20 more university chapters were established in prisons, with some 590 students.
As proof of the potential of our economy, in May the minimum wage went up from 100 to 225 pesos, benefiting 1,657,191 workers that account for 54% of state employees, costing an annual total of 1.06 billion Cuban pesos. At the end of the first half of the year the average wage rose to 334 pesos, from 282 at the end of 2004.
In July wages rose in the healthcare and education sectors, which benefited 857 thousand 400 workers, at an annual cost of more than 523 million Cuban pesos.
In the Social Security sector the pensions of 1,468,000 people went up, just over 97% of the total number of pensioners.
In the area of Social Assistance, 476, 512 people benefited from an increase of 50 pesos monthly. Both measures annually cost 1.19 billion Cuban pesos.
These actions have benefited 4.4 million people, which accounts for 30.9% of the population, at an annual cost of 2.78 billion Cuban pesos. Wages continue to increase gradually in other sectors.
The export of goods and services grew by 26.3% in the first six months of the year as compared to the same period in 2004.
The favorable balance in the trade of services managed to compensate for the imbalance of the exchange of goods, resulting in a modest positive balance in the trade figures, even higher than the year before.
With regard to the export of goods, nickel stands out for its importance, as do generic and biotechnological medication, tobacco and raw sugar, insofar as the services sector, medical and tourist services play a decisive role.
These results are achieved in the midst of a process of reorganizing foreign commerce, in which the number of companies authorized to import goods decreased from 192 to 89 and in which 67% of all the country’s imports are concentrated on 23 entities, also reducing the participation of middlemen by 26% over the last two years.
response to an economic policy which ensures that social interests and the
fundamental priorities of the country are met, a set of measures has been
adopted in the monetary sector, aimed at strengthening the national currency.
By mid 2003 the US dollar ceased being used in inter-company transactions and
an exchange control system was established in the Central Bank for external
operations. In November of
At the beginning of this year, these actions were complemented by the act of revaluing the Cuban peso, with respect to the Cuban convertible peso, by 7%, with which the purchasing power of the Cuban peso increased in the chain of hard currency shops. Additionally, the Cuban convertible peso was revalued by 8% with respect to the US dollar and other hard currencies.
measures have strengthened our monetary sovereignty and have brought about a
greater equality between the social strata who receive income in different
currencies. Now all currencies in circulation are issued by the Central Bank of
Some practical effects of this have been: an increase in savings made in Cuban pesos of 32%, compared to September of last year, which reflects a stronger credibility of the national currency; a rise in the ratio of deposits made in Cuban convertible pesos from the total amount of hard currency savings accounts, going from 20% to 50%; and a significant increase in the hard currency received by the Central Bank.
In this way it was possible to substantially reduce the participation of the dollar in the country’s total inflow of hard currency in cash. In the past, the participation of the US dollar exceeded 90%, whereas now it maintains a rate of around 30%, which basically reduces the risk caused by threats made by the United States Government.
This year a rational centralization of decisions concerning the use of hard currency has been established. Authorization for these transactions must be obtained before obligations are contracted, which has led to a more effective process of contracting and a greater commitment to honoring the payment. Furthermore, this has contributed considerably to the fight against crime and corruption. It has also helped to make important decisions to get rid of the commercial middlemen that are not representative in international commerce, whose activity brought about a disproportioned increase in the prices of the goods and services that the country purchases abroad.
By way of this process, the State’s hard currency income was concentrated in the Central Bank, thus increasing the possibility of using it, which has notably strengthened the negotiating capacity of the socialist State, with the resulting benefits in commercial and financial management. It has also made it possible to rigorously fulfill the obligations created by the new external financial commitments and the renegotiated debt, which has allowed us to access new credit facilities in more favorable conditions.
as part of the agreements emanating from ALBA, an affiliate of a Cuban bank has
been opened in
For the first time since the beginning of the special period, in 2004 the balance of day-to-day operations was surplus, due mainly to the notable increase in the services exported. A more favorable result drawing from a higher income for services rendered is anticipated for the present year.
It is calculated that by June 30, sales in hard currency shops will have reached a figure 6.1% higher than that of the year before.
agreement between the
commercial exchange between
Both countries will undoubtedly be the two that experience the most economic growth in the hemisphere this year.
of these noble, constructive and peaceful efforts, the imperialist government
with such accusations against