The Helms-Burton Act summarizes the economic blockade, the economic war against Cuba that began right after the victory of the Cuban Revolution, long before the first revolutionary measure had been adopted, long before the Cuban Revolution had proclaimed itself socialist. Moreover, from the very beginning this economic war was unleashed against the entire Cuban nation, against its independence, and against all the people of Cuba.

In a State Department memorandum written after a meeting on June 24, 1959, the essence of this policy was already exposed. At that time, they were considering the possibility of eliminating the Cuban sugar quota, a measure that they later implemented. In that memorandum it was stated that "...the sugar industry would promptly suffer an abrupt decline, causing widespread further unemployment. The large numbers of people thus forced out of work would begin to go hungry." That is the end of the quote from a part of that memorandum.

At the same meeting, Secretary of State Christian Herter clearly stated that these initial actions, which would later become this great genocidal aggression, would constitute --and I quote-- "measures of economic warfare."

The following year, on April 6, 1960, in another document presented and approved on that same day somebody was more explicit about their intentions at that early date. I quote: "...every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba... to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government."

Since then, a genocidal policy has been in effect that has lasted four decades and has been endured by three generations of Cubans. Two-thirds of the Cuban population today were born and have lived their entire lives under this policy. The Cuban people have had to suffer, survive and develop in absolutely unfair and unjustifiable conditions, imposed in a cold and calculated manner by the most formidable power on Earth, which seeks through this policy to destroy the Cuban nation and obliterate its people.

This economic warfare executed by nine administrations has been manifested in laws, regulations and bylaws, all of which are both illegal and immoral. They have attempted to force other states to submit to this policy, thus trampling over the rights of these states and their nationals and tearing to pieces international standards. They have threatened and harassed citizens of the United States and other countries, used pressure and bribe everywhere, and tried to deceive and manipulate the entire world. This blockade has always been extraterritorial in nature because it seeks to rob Cuba of its independence, to trample down the sovereignty of other countries and to punish the entire Cuban people with deliberate cruelty. This is the way it has always been, from the very first day, for more than 40 years.

The analysis and information provided through these round table discussions and that we shall continue to offer will thoroughly demonstrate the genocidal nature of this policy and what it has done against our people and against international standards. The goal of this policy throughout these four decades has been to destroy Cuba and enslave its people.

It is important for us to remember that it was also in the month of July, 130 years ago, that Carlos Manuel de Céspedes warned that the United States’ policy was aimed at "taking control of Cuba," that this was "the secret of its policy." He issued this warning based on the conclusion he had reached through an analysis of the situation confronted by our people at that time, the persecution of the patriots, and everything that the United States was doing to try to ensure that Cuba would remain a Spanish colony and to prevent the liberation of our people. It was also based on this conclusion that he decided, a short time later, to put an end to the unofficial representation of the Cuban Republic in Arms based in the United States. It was unofficial because the United States never recognized the Cubans’ struggle for their independence. Nevertheless, there was a revolutionary diplomatic representation there, attempting to forge ties and contacts with the American society, and even with its authorities.

It was Céspedes, Father of the Homeland, who was forced to sever those initial relations with the United States, faced with the evidence that that country’s goal from that early stage was to take control of Cuba.

It is July once again, 130 years later, and we are on the eve of the date which marked the beginning of the final stage of the Cubans’ struggle, the resumption of that revolution which met with imperialist opposition from the very first day.

Now that the anniversary of that glorious July 26 is so close, it is time to make a profession of faith and reiterate the conviction held by all Cubans that this goal of taking control of Cuba and enslaving our people will never be achieved. They will not come back to this country to throw our farmers off of their lands. They will not come back to ban our people from their beaches, their hospitals, their recreational centers. They will not come back to throw our young people and children out of their schools and daycare centers. They will not come back to throw families out of their homes, neither from old homes, nor from the more than one million houses that the Revolution has built on land that belongs to the people. We are not going to give them anything back, neither the buildings that have been constructed, nor the land that some people are attempting to recover. They will not come back to exploit our workers’ sweat and sacrifices. They will not come back to discriminate against blacks, mulattos or humble men and women, preventing them from even walking in certain neighborhoods or on certain streets of our cities. These things will never come back to this country, ever, neither the farmers’ eviction from their lands nor racism. The exploitation and humiliation that these people dream of imposing on our people again will never ever come back.

July is the time when we Cubans reaffirm our determination to fight, and confirm that the struggle, the sacrifices and the determination to fight lead to victory.

We have just had a very recent example with the noble and just struggle waged by our people for the liberation of Elián and his return to our homeland, alongside his brave and patriotic father.

There are more than enough machetes, rifles and fists in this country to ensure that our people are never again enslaved, and that Cuba is never again made into a colony of the United States.

This is the main lesson of our fighting history, the main lesson from all the experience gained by our people, who have rightly confronted from day one the ambitions of the mightiest power on Earth to take control of our country, to rob it of its independence and deprive all the men and women of Cuba of all the rights conquered through our efforts, our struggle and our sacrifices.

That will never happen.


City of Havana, July 12, 2000

National Assembly of People’s Power