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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Díaz-Canel speaks at the VIII Plenum of the Communist Party of Cuba

By Alina Perera Robbio, translated from the Spanish

"The analyses of this VIII party Plenum have been critical, as they should be whenever a communist militant reflects and expresses themselves on the challenges and possible solutions for their country," said Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, in his concluding words at the important meeting on Saturday afternoon (July 6).

At the end of two-days of intense work that took place at the Palace of the Revolution, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba told the delegates to the Plenum of the Central Committee: "The times are neither for complacency, nor for an inertia that we cannot break out of. Our people demand results, and we owe this to the people."

"The words of those who have spoken here, with the experience of daily work as its base, show the light, the potential, and the strength of a Revolution that will not accept pessimism and much less for defeat."

"I call on you," he emphasized, "to make rectification a permanent practice, to face with will, effort and imagination, the negative tendencies that emerge like weeds in difficult moments."

"The call now is to go out and fight, as we know how to do, as we have done so many times in history, and to turn into palpable facts and results what we have analyzed here together."

Díaz-Canel said that "this is the best tribute to the heroes and martyrs of July 26, and it is the best tribute to our great everyday hero: our people."

In his closing remarks, and referring to "dear Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who is following this Plenary in detail", as well as to the comrades and fellow members of the Central Committee and guests, he shared his certainty that "this Plenary has been characterized by broad, participatory contributions, where the level of importance between the issues that have been debated as part of the agenda of this is appreciable, and reflects the main problems that the country faces."

And then he emphasized that such an achievement "is not enough," because "we must act to consolidate solutions that provide us with results in overcoming the complex problems we face today."

This led to the president bringing up a thought of the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, according to which when difficult times happen there are those who are confused, those who are discouraged, those who are intimidated; there are those who soften; there are those who betray; there are those who desert.

That happens, Fidel had said -- and this is what the Cuban President recalled this Saturday -- in all times and in all revolutions. But it is also in difficult times that men and women are really tested according to the Commander in Chief, evoked by Díaz-Canel saying "difficult times are the best measure of each one."

He stated that, "looking at the current situation from the profound truth contained in those words of Fidel, the daily difficulties, so enormous that sometimes they seem insurmountable, are not a misfortune: they are a test of our ability to face and overcome them."

"I see it in the following way: every day in which we manage to overcome those great difficulties with tenacity, with effort, with creativity, with talent, with unity in purpose; in short, every day of the Revolution in power, against the genocidal plan of its historical enemy, is a triumph, and it is a victory.

I say more: something as apparently simple as 24 hours in the life of this surrounded, threatened, attacked nation, is another victory of little David against the giant Goliath; another confirmation that it can be done, as the Army General said and demonstrated in times as difficult or more difficult."

The president stressed that "that is the experience of the Cuban Revolution and the best expression of its continuity." And he emphasized: "The undeniable ideas and works of Fidel, Raúl, Che and all the women and men who with their dedication and sacrifice brought the undefeated Revolution to this day, inspire us and push us."

"This is how a line of action is being formed that we are called to constantly submit to analysis, to enrich, to correct, and also to discard what fails."

"Of course," he stressed, "this line of action does not give magic solutions, it does not have an immediate impact, but gradually it takes away pieces of each problem, when each of us and each of our institutions do what they have to do, from an authentic commitment to the people and with the enormous responsibility of preserving the Revolution, which is simply to preserve its conquests and continue advancing on the path of working tirelessly to perfect society."

He stressed that the above "must be accompanied by deep self-criticism and constant criticism of what we do wrong or what does not give the expected results, breaking inertia and routines, banishing the complaining lament that paralyzes."

"The Party and its cadres have the mission of stimulating, inspiring, mobilizing, engaging its militants and the people, aware that only the ideal that involves us all triumphs. It is up to the political cadres to go to the forefront with example as a banner and the deep conviction that it is only possible to move forward by working hard, with intelligence, with creativity, aware that in each of us there is the potential to grow and surpass ourselves."

And then he stressed: "The path is clear: work, produce, create wealth, distribute with social justice, and feed on the daily heroism of the people, opening spaces for young people to contribute with their active, enthusiastic and always revolutionary participation, in the search to change everything that needs to be changed."

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party recalled that "the country is full of workers who in the worst circumstances are finding solutions." That is why he called on everyone to take "those valuable experiences, which are still the exception," and to turn them into rules.

"I assure you," he said, "that the country is full of people who inspire, of anonymous geniuses of creative resistance, of essential women and men, whose exemplary response to shortcomings we must recognize, stimulate and multiply. I do not see a more inspiring task for those of us who feel deeply what it means to represent the Communist Party of Cuba."

What should we make clear in times like these?

At one point in his speech, he asked this question: "What should we make clear in times like these?" And that was the starting point for him to say that "in the first place, we reaffirm the will to advance in socialist construction".

"That means defending above all the interests and needs of the people, giving the highest consideration to them, showing constant concern for the people, and preserving the conquests of the Revolution for that people; to fight for a healthy and efficient economy, which guarantees social justice, and the highest possible degree of well-being for the population."

"In the first place," the president continued, "it is necessary to guarantee better and greater access to food. Food production and self-sufficiency are tasks of the first order, in which the entire population has to participate."

"In the current circumstances, we must promote science, innovation and agroecology in food production, under this political premise: the will to fight and win, as a way out of difficulties, counting on the intelligence of a totally innovative people."

In the same line of thought, the Cuban president said that "special work is required with youth and in the training of our young people. That is based on a premise: we have to achieve a comprehensive training of our teachers and our professors."

"We must create and develop consciousness, revolutionary morality, and see work in its formative expression as a fulfillment of duty and as the attitude of contributing to society. To strengthen the defense of the concept of a New Man and Woman, which Che defended, with Fidel's constant call to defend and enrich those concepts."

Díaz-Canel referred to the importance of "the conviction that we are going to get out of these difficulties, as we have always done, fighting, with the same determination of Baraguá, Moncada, Granma, Girón, and with the firm convictions that the Commander in Chief instilled in us." To that, he said, "Raul summoned us, and that is what we have to do."

In his concluding remarks, the president recalled and explained the four priorities outlined by the Communist Party at the beginning of this year. Regarding them, he emphasized that they have been given "systematic follow-ups in the monthly tours of the provinces and municipalities of the country, and at different times of the structures of the Central Committee of the Party."

At another point in his speech, he addressed "the complex situation of the country," which "is manifested today in the instability which prevents the timely supply of products of the basic basket; in the instability in the National Electro-energy System; in the existence of very high, speculative and abusive prices, which limit the purchasing power of a considerable part of the population; in the manifestations of indiscipline and social violence and vandalism, which threaten citizen tranquility," among other problems.

This situation, he said, "requires the immediate implementation of concrete actions, well assured, with due control, which must be supported with an adequate political and institutional communication strategy."

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party stated that "we must have a system of work"; and spoke about the need for "each action or measure that we propose to implement" to be treated "as if it were a program or a project, with an adequate strategy presenting it to the population, to achieve their understanding and support, and thus their participation."

He spoke of "fulfilling what has been approved, defining the objectives well, preparing the execution of each measure well, promoting the political, material and financial assurance of implementation, proposing actions with an implementation schedule so that they do not remain up in the air and in discussion, and above all exercising control for corrections, adjustments and necessary feedback."

"If we work in all these areas simultaneously, in a decisive, organized, coherent way, in a short time we will be sorting out fundamental issues such as the budget deficit, excess circulating cash, tax evasion, abusive prices; we will be organizing the appropriate relations between the state sector and the non-state sector; we will be confronting crime and corruption more decisively; we will be offering more to the population; and all this will indirectly also influence changes in the exchange rate, gradually, and in inflation; and we will be contributing to the solution of the important problems that our society has to face."

Towards the end of his speech, the president stressed: "We are here to save the Homeland, the Revolution and Socialism. The blockade has not been able in six decades to overcome the dignity of the Cuban people or the immense collective and social work of the Revolution. The intensified blockade of these times will not achieve it either."

"The Cuban people will continue to deal setbacks to the empire, and as the Army General said, history has shown that it was possible, yes it can be done, and it always will be," said President Díaz-Canel.

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