14ymedio, Havana, 19 April 2018 — The end of Miguel Diaz-Canel’s first speech as president of Cuba was the climax of a declaration full of acknowledgments to the historic generation. “Homeland or death, socialism or death. We will triumph,” the Cuban head of state shouted with his fist raised from the podium in the Havana Convention Center.
On his first day at the head of the country, the new president avoided talking about his own political program and stuck to the Guidelines of the VI Congress of the Communist Party. “What we can never forget is the commitment we have made to the people and to the future,” said Díaz-Canel. However, nothing in his speech referred to what is to come, but rather he devoted long minutes to speaking of the past.
“The revolution continues and will continue to live,” the president insisted, noting that “there will be no transition that breaks with the revolutionary past”
In front of the parliamentarians gathered on the second day of the opening of the IX Legislature, the president of the State Council took us on a tour of revolutionary exploits and devoted a good part of his speech to extolling the figure of Raul Castro, who “will continue to lead the decisions of greatest transcendence” of his Government. Speaking of his predecessor, he highlighted the thaw with the United States, his role a mediator in the Colombian peace process and his first Summit of the Americas, in Panama in 2015.
“I assume the responsibility for which I have been elected with the conviction that all Cuban revolutionaries will be faithful to the legacy [of Fidel and Raúl Castro],” said the president, who also spoke about the five Cuban spies detained for years in the United States. Some will interpret the latter as a gesture weighted with symbolism after the bitter controversy unleashed because two of them were not included in Parliament.
Miguel Díaz-Canel’s speech augured that there will not be many changes in the country under his mandate. “The Revolution continues and will continue to live,” the president insisted, noting that “there will be no transition that breaks with the revolutionary past” and “there will be no space for those who want a return to capitalism.”
The president emphasized from the beginning that “only the Communist Party of Cuba guarantees the unity of the Cuban nation”
“Cuba does not make concessions against its sovereignty or independence, we will never give in to pressure or threat, the necessary changes will be decided by the Cuban people,” said the new head of state.
Díaz-Canel also reaffirmed the democratic character of the elections in Cuba and promised to act in response to the confidence that the people have given him “with their vote.”
The president emphasized from the beginning that “only the Communist Party of Cuba guarantees the unity of the Cuban nation” and quoted singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez as he approached the end of his speech. “You do not need wings to make a dream, your hands are enough, your heart is enough, your legs are enough, with determination,” he paraphrased in a speech that, from beginning to end, spoke more to past than to future.
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