Raúl Castro’s Speech At Cuba’s Sixth Communist Party Congress
April 17, 2011 By Staff
Cuban head of state Raúl Castro gave a historic speech on Saturday, marking a major shift in direction for the five-decade-old revolutionary government. The hemisphere’s only communist country will begin liberalizing its economy and clearing the way for a new generation to take over its political system. Listen to Castro’s speech in the YouTube videos above and below or read the English translation.
The opening of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba this afternoon marks a date of extraordinary significance in our history, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of our Revolution by its Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, on April 16, 1961, as we paid our last respects to those killed the day before during the bombings of the air bases. This action, which was the prelude to the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) mercenary invasion organized and funded by the United States government, was part of its plans to destroy the Revolution and restore its domination over Cuba in league with the Organization of American States (OAS).
On that occasion, Fidel said to the people already armed and inflamed with passion: “This is what they cannot forgive us…that we have made a Socialist Revolution right under the nose of the United States…” “Comrades, workers and farmers, this is the Socialist and democratic Revolution of the people, by the people and for the people. And for this Revolution of the people, by the people and for the people, we are willing to give our lives.”
The response to this appeal would not take long; in the fight against the aggressor a few hours later, the combatants of the Ejército Rebelde, police agents and militiamen shed their blood, for the first time, in defense of socialism and attained victory in less than 72 hours under the personal leadership of comrade Fidel.
The Military Parade that we watched this morning, dedicated to the young generations, and particularly the vigorous popular march that followed, are eloquent proof of the fortitude of the Revolution to follow the example of the heroic fighters of Playa Girón.
Next May 1st, on the occasion of the International Workers Day, we will do likewise throughout the country to show the unity of Cubans in defense of their independence and national sovereignty, which as proven by history, can only be conquered through Socialism.
This Congress, the supreme body of the Party, as set forth in article 20 of its Statutes, brings together today one thousand delegates representing nearly 800 thousand party members affiliated to over 61 thousand party cells. But, this Congress really started on November 9 last year, with the release of the Draft Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, a subject that, as previously indicated, will be at the center of the debates of this meeting that is regarded with great expectations by our people.
As of that moment, numerous seminars were organized to clarify and to delve into the content of the Guidelines in order to adequately train the cadres and officials who would lead the discussions of the material by the party members, mass organizations and the people in general.
The discussions extended for three months, from December 1, 2010 to February 28 of this year, with the participation of 8, 913,838 people in more than 163 thousand meetings held by the different organizations in which over three million people offered their contributions. I want to make clear that, although it has not been accurately determined yet, the total figure of participants includes tens of thousands of members of the Party and the Young Communist League who attended the meetings in their respective cells but also those convened in their work or study centers in addition to those of their communities. This is also the case of non-party members who took part in the meetings organized at their work centers and later at their communities.
Even the National Assembly of People’s Power dedicated nearly two work sessions in its latest Ordinary Meeting held this past December to analyze with the deputies the Draft Guidelines.
This process has exposed the capacity of the Party to conduct a serious and transparent dialogue with the people on any issue, regardless of how sensitive it might be, especially as we try to create a national consensus on the features that should characterize the country’s Social and Economic Model.
At the same time, the data collected from the results of the discussions become a formidable working tool for the government and Party leadership at all levels, like a popular referendum given the depth, scope and pace of the changes we must introduce.