By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
NEWLY elected Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez says Four Star Army General Raul Castro Ruz as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba will lead the most important decisions for the present and the future of the nation.
In his inaugural speech on Thursday, President Diaz-Canel,58, said he would not fail the faith deposited inhim by the Cuban people and the Revolution. He said he would not promise anything but intense work, with audacity and confidence in new victories and continuation of the Revolution.
“I assume this responsibility with the conviction that all we revolutionaries will be faithful to Fidel and Raúl. I do not come to promise anything, as the Revolution never has in all these years. I come to fulfill the programme that we have implemented with the guidelines of Socialism and the Revolution,” he said.“Raúl Castro Ruz as First Secretary of the Party will lead the most important decisions for the present and the future of the nation.”
On the morning of April 19, a historic date on which not only is the first defeat of Yankee imperialism in the Americas commemorated, but Cuba also saw the inauguration of a new government that marked the continuity of the new generations with the legacy of the historic generation that founded the Cuban Revolution in the highest leadership positions of the country.
President Diaz-Canel begun his speech by appreciating the leadership of his predecessor Army General RaúlCastro, whom he said had received the most votes in the recent general elections; as well as the Comandantes of the Revolution, “who on being in this room offer us the opportunity to embrace history.” He also referred to the “dark attempts to destroy us” of those who have not been able to destroy “our faith.”
President Diaz-Canel said the Cuban people, who had massively participated throughout the electoral process were conscious of its historic importance.
“They have elected their representatives based on their capacity to represent their localities, without media campaigns, corruption or demagoguery. Citizens have elected humble, hard-working people as their genuine representatives, who will participate in the approval and implementation of the country’s policies,” he said. “This process has contributed to the consolidation of unity in Cuba.”
On the people’s expectations about the government he would lead, President Diaz-Canel stressed that the new Council of State must continue “acting, creating and working tirelessly, in a permanent bond with its dignified people.”
He said if anyone wanted to see Cuba in all its composition, it would be enough to look to its National Assembly, in which women occupied decisive positions in the State and the government.
President Diaz-Canel warned that it did not matter how much “we resemble the country we are, if the commitment the present and the future of Cuba is lacking. The raison d’être of the Councils of State and Ministers is the permanent link with the population.”
He reminded the House that during the closing of the last Party Congress, Raúl made it clear that his generation would hand over the flags of the Revolution and Socialism to the younger generations. President Diaz-Canel emphasised the importance of the crucial mandate given by the people to the legislature, and as such its work in all areas of the nation’s life must be perfected.
“I assume this responsibility with the conviction that all we revolutionaries, from any trench, will be faithful to Fidel and Raúl, the current leader of the revolutionary process,” he said.
President Diaz-Canel said the men and women who forged the revolution “give us the keys to a new fraternity that transforms us into compañeros and compañeras [colleagues],” and highlighted, as another inherited achievement, the unity that had become indestructible within the Cuban party, that was not born from the fragmentation of others, but from those who intended to build a better country.
“For this reason, Raúl remains at the forefront of the political vanguard. He remains our First Secretary, as the reference that he is for the revolutionary cause, teaching and always ready to confront imperialism, like the first, with his rifle at the ready in the moment of combat,” President Diaz-Canel said.
Regarding the revolutionary and political work of the Raul Castro, he highlighted his legacy of resistance and in the search for the continued advancement of the nation.
“He put his sense of duty ahead of human pain,” he said in reference to the loss of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016.
President Diaz-Canel highlighted Raúl’s grandeur as a statesman, forming a national consensus, and the manner in which he led the implementation process of the country’s social and economic reforms. He also highlighted how he had made the return of the Five Cuban Heroes a reality, so longed-for by Fidel. President Diaz-Canel said Raúl had marked Cuba’s international relations with his own spirit.
He said Raul directed the conversation that led to the thawing of diplomatic relations with the United States; he led the rotating presidency of CELAC leading to the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace; Cuba’s hosting of the Colombian peace talks; and that he had been present in all regional and hemispheric summits, always defending “Our America.”
“That is the Raúl we know, the Raul we admire and the Raul we love,” President Díaz-Canel stressed. He recalled how the Army General still very young, participated in the Granma expedition, undertook the struggle in the Sierra Maestra, was promoted to Comandante, and developed government experiences that would be applied in the country after the revolutionary triumph.
“I am aware of the concerns and expectations at a moment like this, but I know the strength and wisdom of the people, the leadership of the Party, the ideas of Fidel, the presence of Raúl and [Second Secretary of the Party Jose Ramon] Machado, and knowing the popular sentiment, I state before this Assembly that compañeroRaúl will head the decisions for the present and future of the nation,” he said. “I confirm that Cuban foreign policy will remain unchanged. Cuba will not accept conditions. The changes that are necessary will continue to be made by the Cuban people.”
He called for the support of all those who occupied leadership responsibilities at different levels in the nation, but, above all, of the people.
“We will have to exercise an increasingly collective leadership, strengthening the participation of the people,” said President Diaz-Canel. “Here there is no space for a transition that ignores or destroys the work of the Revolution. We will continue moving forward without fear and without retreat; without renouncing our sovereignty, independence, development programmes, and independence. To those who through ignorance or bad faith doubt our commitment, we must tell them that the Revolution continues and will continue. The world has received the wrong message that the Revolution ends with its guerrillas.”/The Mast