Speech by Comrade Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the official lunch hosted by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during his state visit to Brazil, December 18, 2008, “Year 50 of the Revolution”.
(Stenographic Versions – Council of State)
Dear President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva;
Distinguished representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and of the various Brazilian state institutions:
I am extremely
pleased to be in
The ties of
I would like to express my gratitude for the immediate solidarity aid of the Brazilian government to the Cuban people after the passing of three hurricanes that hit our country this year and caused material losses that amounted to millions and were equal to almost 20% of the GDP this year; in other words, close to 10 billion dollars.
I also thank
Step by step, we Cubans and Brazilians, speaking with our own voices, respectfully and without intermediaries, have been sharing mutual positions in upholding international law, multilateralism, the right to self-determination of peoples, rejection of any attempts by any state to impose its will on others, and together we have the firm resolve to work for greater Latin American political coordination and for an integration that is more in line with social justice and the dignity of human beings.
At our recent meeting, we were remarking that we Latin Americans have now become of age, that we wish to speak for ourselves and have our full say to the northern neighbours in our continent as well as to Europe, Asia and the entire world, and we have to take steps that lead to that situation we have been aspiring to for centuries.
The meeting we have just concluded –summit meetings, because they were four, and Cuba participated in three of them – is the first step along that long road, but we have already covered a very large stretch in that lengthy road; what remains is not that long; it depends on Latin Americans, it depends on us getting rid of our complex, it depends on us being steadfast in our representation of the interests of our peoples before the greatest powers on the planet.
I shall not go on much longer. It has been said that Fidel’s speeches were long, not as long as those given by Chávez, and I have a reputation of being more to the point; I am not as intelligent as they are and I cannot speak about many things, much less off the top of my head; but in this case, it isn't necessary for me to go on for very long.
I am not going to talk about trade, the progress we are making, the imbalance that we will balance out little by little, to the extent of our possibilities as a small country as compared to Brazil, but it is getting done and President Lula has referred to this; I share his words, from the beginning to the end of his speech –I think it deserves a short round of applause. (Laughter and applause)
Speaking about the summit we have just had in Salvador de Bahía, I was
telling you that it is one more step on the complex road to the integration of
the peoples of
At a time in which the world is entering a crisis of unpredictable
consequences --because all Nobel Laureates in Economics and all those on the
planet who know the most about economics have not yet been able to come to any
agreement about what the end of this road will be, only that it will fall more
heavily on the poorest, as usual--, it is correct to believe, as that universal
Brazilian, Oscar Niemeyer, would say, that the important thing is to always
have the idea of a better world deep in our hearts, and if misfortunes multiply
and darkness envelops us, it is worthwhile to light the lamp and take a
risk. That is what we have done in
For all of the above, I toast to this embrace in Brasília, thinking of the man who opened up the way and is accompanying us from Havana, Comrade Fidel Castro, in his affection for the Brazilian people and for you, Lula, in the unswerving faith he has always had that the virtues of the people and of mankind will prevail, and in his infinite conviction, which is the same of José Martí’s, that our America can save itself only if it is united.
Early this morning I arrived in Brazilia from
Salvador de Bahía, where we met briefly with three other presidents: Chávez,
Evo Morales and President Manuel Zelaya of
Thank you very much. (Applause)