Raul Castro: "The Transfer to the New Generations is Going Well"

Raúl Castro took advantage of the occasion also to support the management of Miguel Díaz-Canel. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/Ernesto Marín, Santiago de Cuba, 1 January 2018 —  On Tuesday afternoon, Raúl Castro delivered the main speech at the event for the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution in Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba. The secretary of the Communist Party reviewed the history of the last six decades, criticized the policy of the United States and addressed the economic crisis the island is going through.

The ceremony, which was not attended by any foreign president, was held in front of the mausoleum with the remains of José Martí and a few yards from where the ashes of former president Fidel Castro are located. The current Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, was also present at the event, although he did not speak.

Castro, his voice breaking, reviewed the most important anniversaries and events of Revolution and alluded to the current moment of confrontation between Washington and Havana. “We are not intimidated by the threatening language of the United States,” adding that “Cubans are prepared to resist a scenario of confrontation that we do not want.”

The 87-year-old leader called on Cubans to prepare “meticulously for all scenarios, including the worst” and “not leave room for confusion and improvisation.” He harshly criticized Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), who hours earlier had said that “the dictatorship in Cuba is probably the most perfect example of mythology, misery and human rights violations.”

With regards to the economic crisis that the island is going through, stagnated with a poor growth of 1.1% in GDP and with a worsening of shortages, Castro called for “reducing all non-essential expenses,” “diversifying exports” and deepening the foreign investment policy.

“A challenge that we will face in the year that begins today is the situation of the economy,” a crisis that he blamed on the fall of exports and the strengthening of the US embargo. He also disapproved of “the foreign analysts who often criticize the performance of the economy” of the island and deny the effects of the US embargo.

The former president also took the opportunity to support the management of Miguel Diaz-Canel and said that the new Constitution that will be submitted to a referendum in February, will be approved with a “majority for the Revolution and socialism.”

“I can affirm that the process of transferring to the new generations (…) is going well, I can say more, very well, without any setbacks or shocks, and we are sure that we will continue that way,” said the Army General. “The Revolution has not aged, it is still young,” he emphasized at another point in the speech.

Castro expressed the support of the Communist Party for the management of the 48-year-old engineer who is now president and praised his working style, which includes “visits to the communities and direct exchanges with the people, the accountability of the leaders by means of press and social networks and the systematic control of development programs.”

With regards to the political setbacks suffered by several allied governments in Latin America, Castro attributed them to the “empire’s” siege. “The region resembles a large meadow where a spark could generate an uncontrollable fire that would harm the interests of everything.”

As of the previous day, Santiago de Cuba has been under a strong police operation that became more intense around the homes of opponents and activists. The activist Carlos Amel Oliva confirmed to this newspaper that the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Cuba was under surveillance by the police and State Security.

Patria Avenue, which connects the city with the cemetery, also remained guarded and access to the cemetery during the time the ceremony lasted was exclusively by invitation. The act was broadcast live on a large screen at the Heredia theater before more than 2,000 people who also required invitations.

The local authorities placed kiosks selling food and drinks in Cespedes park, in the center of the city, while large speakers broadcast music from the City Hall building.


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