Cuba willing to negotiate with US on equal basis: Raul Castro's speech

Campaign News | Monday, 4 December 2006

Full text of speech by General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz

Speech by the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, at the Official Political Ceremony, Military Review and March of the Fighting People, in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Landing of the Granma Yacht and Revolutionary Armed Forces Day, and in Celebration of the 80th Birthday of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.

Given on December 2, 2006, “Year of the Energy Revolution in Cuba”


Combatants of yesterday, today and always:

We salute the presence of close friends of the Cuban Revolution, who have offered us their essential support and solidarity throughout the last 50 years of this long struggle for sovereignty and freedom. Among them, I would like to mention the Guayasamín Foundation and relatives of that great Ecuadorian friend and painter who conceived of the noble gesture of paying tribute to comrade Fidel on his 80th birthday, on which occasion heads of state and government have congregated in Havana along with other high-ranking dignitaries and prominent individuals in politics and culture from diverse countries, whom we thank in the name of our people for the honor of accompanying us on this platform.

We also come together today to celebrate an extremely significant event in our history. We are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Granma on December 2, 1956, the date that marks the birth of the Rebel Army and its authentic successors: the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Dedicated to the fighting people - the heroic protagonist and legitimate sustenance of the Armed Forces and their founder and Commander-in-Chief - the military review symbolizes, in the blocs that will parade past, the sequence of the beautiful history of 138 years of struggle by the Cuban people for their definitive independence. First: the Mambí Army against the colonial yoke; then, the Rebel Army against the neocolonial dictatorship; and now, the Revolutionary Armed Forces, in defense of the homeland, the Revolution and socialism. The same people’s army, in three different stages of history.

It is an appropriate time to reaffirm the complete validity of the words of comrade Fidel during his Central Report to the First Congress of the Party, 31 years ago, when he said:

“The Rebel Army was the soul of the Revolution. From its victorious weapons emerged the new homeland - free, beautiful, vigorous, and invincible. Its soldiers vindicated the generous blood spilled in all of the struggles for independence, and with their own, lay the foundations for socialism today in Cuba. They gave the weapons snatched from the oppressors in the epic struggle to the people, and they merged with the people, to be, since then and for always, the people armed.”

When “...the Party that would be created later (...) did not yet exist, the Army was the element of cohesion and unity among the entire people, and guaranteed the power of the workers and the existence of the Revolution...”

And, “...when the Party was founded, the vanguard of our working class, the symbol and synthesis of the ideals, aspirations and history of the Cuban Revolution from the glorious days of La Demajagua until today, the continuator of the work of Martí’s Revolutionary Party and of the intrepid founders of the first Marxist-Leninist Party in Cuba, our Army, heir, in its turn, to the heroism and patriotic purity of the Liberation Army and victorious continuator of its struggles, placed in their hands the flags of the Revolution, and was from that instant and for always, its most loyal, disciplined, humble and unwavering follower.” Those were Fidel’s words.

Also in the context of the 50th anniversary of the FAR, it is appropriate to ratify the monolithic unity of the people, the Army and the Party; that unity that has become deeply-rooted throughout the years that have passed since the revolutionary triumph of January 1, 1959; that unity that is our main strategic weapon, that has enabled this small island to resist and overcome so many acts of aggression by imperialism and its allies; that unity that sustains the internationalist vocation of the Cuban people and that explains the heroic feats of its sons and daughters in other lands throughout the world, following José Martí’s maxim that the “Homeland is Humanity.”

We are living in a special time in history. Many believed that the fall of the socialist camp and the disintegration of the Soviet Union meant the definitive defeat of the international revolutionary movement; some ventured to suggest to us that we should abandon the ideals to which entire generations of Cubans had dedicated their lives, while the U.S. government, with its characteristic opportunism, initiated in recent years an unprecedented escalation of hostility and aggressiveness toward Cuba, hoping to economically strangle the country and overthrow the Revolution via the intensification of its subversive work. In that sense, the surprise and frustration have been great for our enemies, and the admiration has been much greater on the part of the oppressed majorities as they have witnessed the example of firmness, serenity, maturity and self-confidence set by our people over the last four months.

Despite maneuvers and pressures on the part of the United States and its allies, Cuba’s international prestige has become stronger, and that was evidenced by the successful meeting in this capital of the 14th Conference Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement this past September, and, more recently, the record support attained in the United Nations General Assembly for the resolution condemning the U.S. blockade against our country.

In Latin America, the implementation of the neoliberal formulas imposed by the United States and its European partners had led the continent to the sad state of being the region in the world where the opulence of the oligarchy closely linked to foreign capital is most offensive and shameful when compared to the poverty, insalubrious conditions and ignorance in which the majority of its people lives. In recent times, the people of Latin American have progressively expressed their indignation and repudiation of treacherous policies and subordination to the empire on the part of their governments and traditional parties. The grassroots and revolutionary movements are becoming stronger, and doing so despite the multi-million dollar campaigns of misinformation, blackmail and brazen intervention by Washington; new and experienced leaders are assuming the leadership of their nations.

The economic annexation of Latin America by the United States via the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) was defeated; in its place, to benefit the dispossessed masses, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is emerging, proposed by President and our brother Hugo Chávez.

Recent events in the international arena testify to the failure of the adventurist policies of the current U.S. administration. The people of that country showed their rejection at the polls this past November 7 of the strategic concept of preventative war; the use of lies to justify military interventions; the use of abductions and secret prisons, and the despicable legalization of torture as a method in the so-called war on terrorism.

Three years and seven months after the euphoric and hasty declaration of “mission accomplished” in Iraq by President Bush while aboard an aircraft carrier, the bodies continue arriving in the United States of young U.S. soldiers who have fallen in a war motivated by the domination of the region’s energy resources. Nobody now dares to predict how it will end. The U.S. government finds itself at crossroads with no exit: on the one hand, it understands that it cannot prolong its occupation of the country, and at the same time, it admits that the minimum conditions have not been created to depart with its interests assured; meanwhile, the number of dead and mutilated among that country’s people continues to rise unstoppably, as they are immersed in a civil war resulting from the anarchy and chaos produced by the U.S. invasion.

Some in the United States now propose to simply withdraw from the chaos that they themselves created. We do not know what they would do in that case with NATO, left high and dry by its U.S. partners in the Afghan conflict, which is also becoming increasingly unmanageable and dangerous.

In the eyes of the world, the so-called “crusade against terrorism” is marching inexorably toward a humiliating defeat.

The U.S. people, like they did with Vietnam, will end these unjust and criminal wars. We hope that the U.S. authorities learn the lesson that war is not the solution to the planet’s growing problems; that proclaiming the right to irresponsibly attack “sixty or more dark corners” of the earth - even while they are bogged down in two of them - will make their differences with other countries deeper and more complex; that power based on intimidation and terror will never be anything but a fleeting illusion, and its terrible consequences for the peoples - including in the U.S. - are now in sight.

We are convinced that the way out of the burning conflicts faced by humanity does not lie in wars, but in political solutions. This is an opportunity to once again declare our disposition to resolve on the negotiating table the longstanding conflict between the United States and Cuba; of course, as long as they accept, as we have previously said, our condition of being a country that will not tolerate shadows over its independence, and based on the principles of equality, reciprocity, non-intervention and mutual respect.

Meanwhile, after almost half a century, we are willing to patiently wait for the time when common sense prevails in conduct by Washington’s circles of power.

Independently of that, we will continue to consolidate the military invulnerability of our nation based on the strategic concept of the War of the Entire People, whose planning and introduction we initiated 25 years ago. This type of people’s war, as has been demonstrated repeatedly in contemporary history, is simply invincible.

We will continue to raise the combat preparation and cohesion of the regular and reserve troops; the Territorial Troop Militias; the Brigades of Production and Defense and all of the other elements of our territorial defense, including Party, state and government structures at all levels. We will continue to equip our Theater of Military Operations at the same time as we develop our communications and the modernization of our means of combat as a way of raising their combat qualities so that they can be used as anticipated in case of aggression.

Likewise, we will continue to strengthen on all fronts the important work carried out by the selfless combatants of the Ministry of the Interior.

We will preserve at whatever cost necessary the freedom of the Cuban people and the independence and sovereignty of our homeland.

With the strength that emanates from its centuries-old struggles and the patriotic vigor that characterizes our people, noble and heroic, we join our voices together to exclaim:

¡Viva Fidel!

¡Viva Cuba libre!

(Translated by Granma International)

Let's talk as equals, says Raul

Bolivia's Morales attends Granma anniversary parade

Havana, Dec 2 (ACN) Cuba's First Vice President, Army General Raul Castro Ruz emphasized this Saturday that Cuba is willing to negotiate the longstanding dispute between the U.S and Cuba, as long as that negotiation is based on "the principles of equality, reciprocity, non-interference and mutual respect."

"Our condition as a country is that we will not tolerate any blemishes on its independence," he said at the political ceremony and military parade commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landing of the yacht Granma and Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces Day.

Raul Castro, also Cuban Defense Minister, said that after nearly half a century Cuba is willing to wait patiently for the moment at which common sense prevails in Washington's circles of power.

The Cuban VP made it clear that in the meantime the country will continue consolidating its military invulnerability based on the strategy of a 'War of all the People', which was designed and structured twenty five years ago.

"This type of popular war, as repeatedly proven throughout modern history, is simply invincible," he stressed.

Attending the ceremony held in the Revolution Square were Presidents Evo Morales, of Bolivia, Rene Preval, of Haiti and Daniel Ortega, president-elect of Nicaragua. Also present were the Prime Minister of San Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph E. Gonsalves, and other national and world personalities.

More than 300,000 Cuban representing the whole country participated in the ceremony, which was dedicated to the 80th birthday of the Cuban President Fidel Castro.

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