SPEECH DELIVERED BY BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA, CUBAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE OPEN FORUM OF THE REVOLUTION HELD IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF GUIRA DE MELENA ON APRIL 13 2002.
Dear Commander in Chief,
It is a special privilege for someone who is used to speak at the United Nations to do it at this open forum. I think that the representatives of many other UN member countries would find it extremely difficult to speak to the people.
For me it is not so, because Cuba is a country that speaks its mind and does what it says, and always speaks the truth, anywhere, at every international fora, where sometimes, the absence of independence is conducive to hiding the truth, the truth that Cuba can reaffirm here today and reiterate tomorrow, openly and fearlessly, at the United Nations.
And the truth is that in Venezuela there has been a coup dí etat and a subservient and pro-Yankee junta is usurping by force the power that President Chavez had been entrusted with by the Venezuelan people, hoping to wipe out decades of injustice and corruption, standing up for the ideas of Bolivar.
The thumb canít bear the sun. President Chavez is being held under arrest and incommunicado and right now nobody even knows where he is. After much conspiring, a clique has arrested the legitimate and constitutional President elected by the people through clean and democratic elections. That clique has dissolved the National Assembly, that is, the Venezuelan parliament also elected through free, fair, and transparent elections. It has resorted to violence and provoked the incidents occurred on Thursday, when there was a deliberate clash with the National Guard. Despite previous warnings, that clique violently interfered with the national television while the President was addressing the nation. It took control over newspapers and the television; it imposed a rigid censorship over the press, repeated their lies over and over again, and unleashed a violent persecution against deputies, ministers, and leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The clique spread throughout the world the false story that Chavez had resigned. At the Round Table yesterday we were able to listen once again to the Presidentís daughter, who denounced her fatherís arrest and affirmed that the President had told her that he had not resigned and never would. We all listened to the public statement made by the Attorney General of Venezuela who stated that Chavez is still the Constitutional President and that he has not resigned. He added that the Vice-president, who is entitled to act as a replacement for the President according to the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999, or even the Venezuelan Constitution of 1961, has not resigned either nor has he been dismissed from his post by Chavez. He further added that only the National Assembly of that country could receive or accept an alleged resignation from the President, and that instead of being convened, the National Assembly had been illegally dissolved. He also said that in case of a resignation by the President and by the Vice-President, the Speaker of the National Assembly would be the one entitled to take office as head of the government.
Yesterday, you were able to see the way in which the Speaker of the National Assembly was censored and his statement to the press interrupted when he was condemning the coup.
We were all deeply upset yesterday night when through the Round Table we learned of the brave denunciations made by the Minister of Education of Venezuela and the Venezuelan Ambassador to Cuba against persecutions and abuses.
Of course it is a coup dí etat. Is there still any doubt about it?
But, what do the Yankees say? The White House spokesman says it is a "fluid situation". He added that Chavez "has resigned the presidency" and that "before resigning, he dismissed the vice president and the cabinet," and that "a transitional civilian government has been installed" and "has promised early elections."
He said, "the United States will continue to monitor events", that "the Venezuelan people expressed their right to peaceful protest", and that "the peaceful protestors were attacked...as a result of the actions of the Chavez government".
What does the Yankee ambassador to Venezuela, the former head of the so-called Cuban Desk at the State Department, has said? Well, he has said that April 11 had been an extraordinary day in the history of Venezuela. He added that the overwhelming majority of the Venezuelans showed their exemplary virtues and civic values...and that they applauded the announcement made by the interim government that it will investigate the violent actions that took place yesterday.
This is the height of cynicism, slanders and lies. They do not speak about a putsch or a usurper pro-coup junta, but about a transitional civilian government. They do not say they do not recognize the perpetrators of the coup. They do not say the constitutional order must be re-installed or that power should be returned to the legitimate President, or that the rule of law, as they call it, should prevail; or that democracy should be restored. They have not made any condemnation. Rather, they have said they will monitor the events. They are not threatening with the imposition of blockades or sanctions; they are not threatening with an intervention to defend freedom; they are not threatening with the creation of international coalitions. No. They have openly declared themselves accomplices of the coup, although everybody knows that the Yankees are the ones who, in fact, instigated the coup.
Here I have a curious US-Spain Joint Communiqué stating that they wish to see a rapid democratic normalization in Venezuela and that only the consolidation of a stable democratic framework could offer a future of freedom and progress for the Venezuelan people. Our people, who are a politically learned people, can understand this is an evident support to the coup.
As for the Rio Group Summit, it issued a declaration condemning the interruption of the constitutional order. It does not refer to a coup, it urges the normalization of democratic institutions...and the holding of clear and transparent elections. It does not urge the restoration of the legitimate government headed by Chavez. What is the use of holding new elections? Who decided it was necessary to render void the elections that were legally held?
It has been a gross coup dí etat. How could anyone justify Chavezí arrest and confinement? The putschists are holding the President of a nation under arrest and incommunicado. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the physical integrity of the President. Through various means, reliable information have reached Cuba that the putschistsí plan included the assassination of President Chavez as the only guarantee to consolidate the coup. We must condemn this perfidious purpose, we should mobilize the international community, and we should demand strong actions from the United Nations and ask, first of all, that the life of President Chavez be respected. We should demand the restoration of his constitutional government and finally that the perpetrators of the coup be punished.
In Latin America there is a long and sad history of coups and bloody military dictatorships. Our people knows only too well what a coup d' etat is. Ever since Batista the method has not changed. Every time a popular or national movement was close to winning an election, there was a coup d'etat. We know very well that in this part of the world the coup dí etat recipe requires the support of the Yankees, who either organize them, sponsor them, or protect them.
Everybody immediately looks up to the United States to see what they say. The United States has hardly ever said they will not recognize the government that perpetrated the coup. But when that happens, the putschist government falls from power. The failure or success of the attempt always depends on the Yankees. Most times the Yankees have been behind coups d' etat. Their instruments are mobilized for conspiracy; they resort to the International Monetary Fund, blackmail and financial pressure; they use their money and diplomacy, they use the CIA, they suffocate and isolate the independent governments that do not bend, that may not be convenient to their interests. Then they impose dictatorships, which they later recognize and support. Credits and economic aid packages the begin to flow in.
It can be said for sure that this is a coup d' etat perpetrated by the powerful, right wing sectors in Venezuela, by the big economic interests, by the rich, the exploiters and the corrupted, who are determined to wipe out the social achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution and reinstate a policy of submission to the United States. They are determined to deprive the humble and working people from their rights in order to recover their privileges.
Double standards prevail in these difficult times. We do not hear now the prosecutors of the North, who are always accusing and threatening us, who are always interfering in the internal affairs of the underdeveloped countries. What will the OAS do, which expelled us, which was turned into a "Ministry of Colonies" by its master? Are they going to resort now to the Inter-American Democratic Charter by virtue of which they harassed Cuba and Chavez to defend the Bolivarian democracy against the coup and reinstate the constitutional order in Venezuela or will they remain silent?
What will the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva do, where the United States is trying to impose a sweetened condemnation against Cuba to justify the blockade? Is it going to demand respect for freedom and the political, economic, social, and cultural rights of the Venezuelan people?
Venezuela is a lesson for the naive, or for those who believe the tell-tales of the Yankees and the oligarchs about freedom, democracy and freedom of the press. It is obvious that the powerful and the submissive were the ones who resorted to violence, who showed no respect for the constitutional order, who dissolved the Parliament. It was them who once again ignored the rules of the game and the alleged values of the democracy they extol. It was them who annulled the Bolivarian decrees that brought about popular benefits.
Representative democracies are not worth a dime when the interests of the powerful and of the oligarchies are at stake, when the interests of the Empire are at stake.
The ideas of Bolivar and Martí are today more valid than ever. A society that defends the ideas of Martí and Bolivar cannot be built today without confronting the aggression of the oligarchy and imperialism.
Our government under the leadership of the Commander- in- Chief is taking all necessary steps to safeguard the physical integrity of our generous and selfless civilian collaborators in Venezuela, and it will proceed to their orderly and safe evacuation, with the exception of the medical staff, unless the de facto regime does wish to deprive the Venezuelan people from their noble and humane services.
There have already been provocations against our Embassy and there would be a strong and firm response if the facility is stormed. The responsibility for any incident will completely fall on the de facto junta and those who support it and encourage it.
Our heroic diplomats, who are ready to defend it at the cost of their own lives, will defend the Cuban Embassy in Caracas till the end. Cuba warns the de facto junta about the serious consequences of such an incident if it occurred as a result of the actions by the counter-revolutionaries and the terrorists of the Cuban-American National Foundation, who are part of the mob that is violently harassing our Embassy and has cut off power and water supply, has destroyed the Embassyís vehicles and security cameras, and is threatening to storm the building inside which there are also five women and a child.
The people of Cuba despise threats and have a profound knowledge about this unjust, unequal, and unsustainable world. It has learned throughout more than 100 years of struggle and 40 years of victories that peopleís power is the basis for all our achievements and our dreams.
There will never be any flirting with those who want to chop off our heads. There will be no concessions or gestures or dialogue: there will be a struggle without any truce, until the last bullet. The Cuban Revolution knows how to defend itself on its own. We will defend our achievements at the cost of our own lives. We will make our dreams come true because they are lofty and just dreams. The swift declaration of the de facto junta that there will be not one more oil barrel for Cuba is ludicrous and submissive. We have strictly paid for that oil to the last penny, and we can buy it somewhere else.
Steadfast and united, under the leadership of Fidel and our glorious avant-guard party, we will defeat the genocidal blockade of the United States. We will continue to build up our economy with our labors and our efforts. We will continue to build the most fair and learned society ever dreamed of by humankind.
Glory be to Martí and Bolivar!
Long live the Cuban Revolution!
Long live our Commander in Chief!
Socialism or Death!
Homeland or Death, We Shall Overcome!