The Guardian 3 August, 2005

Fidel Castro:
History is on the side of the Revolution

Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, addressed the official function commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the assault which he lead on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrisons. The following is an abridged version of the contribution he made at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana on July 26.

Fighters of yesterday and today

Distinguished guests

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 honour. 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 travelling 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.

The months preceding the 52nd anniversary of the beginning of our armed struggle for Cuba’s final independence have been characterised by an exceptional degree of hostility directed by the Bush administration against Cuba.

Hideous resolutions were passed to tighten the blockade and suffocate Cuba’s economy. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans living in the United States were forbidden to visit their relatives in Cuba; they could only get permission to do so once every three years; family aid was reduced to almost nothing; the agreements on illegal immigration were breached; proposals for co­-operating in such crucial areas as drug and people trafficking and to hinder and prevent terrorist acts were rejected.

Slanderous allegations

Also, slanderous allegations rained down. Cuba was labelled a terrorist country. They made up insane lies about biological weapons production, plans to use electronic warfare to interfere with US government communications and other such things, the objective being to find excuses for a genocidal attack on our country, like the one they later launched in Iraq.

It is common knowledge that Bush’s cronies set up a big committee to plan all the details of the so-called "transition" in Cuba. This committee drafted a gruesome plan which included vaccination programs and literacy campaigns when the whole world knows that Cuba’s health and education plans are much better than those in the United States and any other country in the world.

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.

One of Bush’s most cynical measures was to use the Guantánamo 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 centre of torture, the same as those later applied in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

An article in the October 17, 2004 edition of The New York Times admitted that abuse of prisoners in the Guantánamo naval base is "generalised and not limited to isolated cases as official versions claim". Quoting soldiers, secret agents and other officials, the newspaper described "a series of highly abusive procedures which continued over a long period of time". The world was amazed and shocked to hear about these unbelievable facts.

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that the Guan­tánamo naval base had become the "greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world". Former president Jimmy Carter urged the Bush government to close the prison because the accusations of torture there are a "terrible embarrassment and a blow to the US reputation".

During the first half of the year the Cuban economy grew by 7.3 percent and an increase of around 9 percent 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 percent, non-ferrous metallurgy with 9.2 percent; printing with 21.7 percent; the garments industry with 7.0 percent; the food industry with 3.6 percent and the beverage and tobacco industry with 4.4 percent.

Construction work increased by 8.2 percent, the communication sector by 7.1 percent, commerce by 10 percent and the public service sector by 13.3 percent.

The equivalent production of national crude oil and gas turns out around 1,900,000 tonnes, 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 percent, making way for a saving of US$29.7 billion 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 percent 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 US$100 million.

A program is underway to improve the country’s power supply, with an additional US$50 million to be invested in this program, 34 percent 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 percent to 11 percent, 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 $282,100,000 have been bought and are currently being installed, which, within a year, will provide us with a million more kilowatts of electricity.

The agreement between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Cuba, signed in accordance with the principles of ALBA, means a considerable step forward on the way to unity and the true integration of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Petrocaribe agreement is another extraordinary advancement and a true example of fraternal solidarity among peoples.

The commercial exchange between Venezuela and Cuba has already risen this year to no less than US$3 billion.

Both countries will undoubtedly be the two that experience the most economic growth in the hemisphere this year.

Because of these noble, constructive and peaceful efforts, the imperialist government is accusing Venezuela and Cuba, Chávez and Castro, of destabilising and subverting other countries in the region.

Faced with such accusations against Venezuela and Cuba, and if President Chávez agreed, a day like today would be most opportune to reply: Condemn us, it doesn’t matter, history will absolve us!

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