|November 15, 2000
It would have been
impossible to resist without national unity and world solidarity
• States Fidel at the
BY MARELYS VALENCIA AND
ALDO MADRUGA (Granma International staff writers)
WITHOUT national unity, without
the years lived in fraternity and solidarity, without justice in the
hands of the people, it would have been impossible to withstand the
harsh test of the special period, affirmed President Fidel Castro at the
closing session of the 2nd World Cuba Solidarity Encounter, which
concluded five intensive working days involving more than 4,300
delegates from all over the world.
This united people is
continuing to wage and win battles of ideas, Fidel stated, adding that
the most important treasure of the nation is precisely that human
capital, formed over the last 40 years.
The Cuban president went on to
express his thanks for all the gestures of support and solidarity on the
part of millions of people throughout the world received by the Cuban
people during these difficult years.
Addressing a euphoric and
emotional audience, the president made reference to current laws and
trends within the world economy, full of false illusions, deceit and
lies, where one great superpower always carries off the lion’s share,
and so-called direct investments do not create wealth or fresh sources
As one example of this, he
referred to how Latin America has practically been forced to privatize
almost everything, in a process whereby direct foreign investment has
been concentrated on buying up existing enterprises and natural
resources, and where capital received by the countries of the region for
selling their wealth mainly goes into paying back a foreign debt which,
in spite of all that, continues to increase.
He outlined Cuba’s survival
and how its economy is growing modestly but steadily, in spite of
totally unfavorable circumstances like the sudden dramatic rise in oil
prices and record low prices for sugar.
In the last six years, the
nation has managed to overcome diverse difficulties and has advanced,
albeit modestly, in the midst of the stepping up of the economic,
financial and commercial blockade imposed by Washington.
Fidel also covered the battle
of ideas waged by the Cubans, starting with the kidnapping in Miami of
Elián González, and the repercussions that campaign has had in terms
of new teaching concepts and raising the population’s cultural level
through the extensive use of television.
In relation to the possibility
of U.S. military aggression, he noted that one of the most important
elements in avoiding such an outcome has been a great deal of patience
in the face of U.S. policy over the last 40 years.
"We haven’t received any
weapons for 10 years, but Cuba has developed defense systems through
which the arms we have now are sufficient," he added, confirming
that any U.S. invasion of Cuba would be "an extremely costly
failure for the aggressors; however, we are not interested in that kind
of battle, nor are we going to offer any pretexts."
He added that, apart from the
high cost to the United States in terms of lives and resources, a
military adventure against the island would be certain to encounter
tremendous resistance from international solidarity.
Referring to the Guantánamo
Naval Base, established in the extreme east of the island against
Cuba’s will, Fidel expressed his confidence that just as the blockade
would have to be lifted one day, so would this piece of national
territory have to be returned.
FINAL DECLARATION: THE
BLOCKADE IS AN ILLEGAL ACT OF WAR
"The U.S. blockade of Cuba
is an illegal act of war and must be totally and unconditionally
eliminated," states the Final Declaration of the 2nd World Cuba
Solidarity Encounter, which concluded late on November 14 in the Karl
The document, which reflects
the sentiments of 4,300-plus delegates from all over the world,
reaffirms the island’s unquestionable right to choose its own model of
economic, political and social development and to decide its future
without threats or foreign aggression. Moreover, it establishes that the
U.S. government has no reason whatsoever to subjugate Cuba by imposing
sacrifices on its people, as it has done for 40 years.
"We have encountered a
society of peace and respect for basic human rights, which is quite
different from the distorted image and disinformation promoted by the
Revolution’s enemies," it states.
It also affirms the
constitutional right of U.S. citizens to travel to the island and see
their neighboring country’s realities for themselves, and that Cubans
should have the same right to reach that country in a legal, orderly and
safe manner. The declaration calls for an end to the Cuban Adjustment
Act, which has caused numerous deaths and incites the trafficking of
New general agreements were
added. These include designating 2001 as the International Year of
Solidarity against the Blockade, the Cuban Adjustment Act and All
Imperialist Maneuvers against Cuba, and the organization in April of a
Solidarity Day in tribute to the 40th anniversary of the declaration of
the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs victory.
It proposes a battle against
the blockade in national and regional parliaments, and at the
Interparliamentary Union, which meets in Havana in 2001. The declaration
encourages people to send messages condemning the 40 years of economic
warfare and imperial policy to the incoming U.S. president, whoever he
may be, and to that country’s Congress.
Delegates agreed to take
advantage of Internet facilities to extend the truth about the reality
of Cuba and to confront the calumnies against the Revolution. It was
also proposed to hold a third international encounter when it is deemed