From the Communist Party of Australia’s The Guardian, a closing speech by General of the Army, Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the 1st Cuba-Venezuela Presidential Summit.
We have attended the celebrations for the 57th anniversary of the 26th of July [attack on Moncada Barracks]. There could have been no better setting for this meeting.
We have concluded the first Cuba-Venezuela Presidential Summit, which opens up a new stage in our relations, after following a long and intense path, during which the links between our peoples have continued to strengthen, guided by the principles of friendship, cooperation and solidarity…
Both in the preparatory process – in which President Chávez directly participated – and in this meeting, we have rigorously examined the progress of our exchanges in the economic, commercial and financial orders, areas in which we have increased cooperation and intensified complementariness. What is required now is constant monitoring and evaluation so that everything that has been agreed is fulfilled and so that we can guarantee, to the greatest degree possible, the development of our economies in a manner that satisfies the material and spiritual needs of our peoples.
Many compañeros have worked intensively over the past few days in high-level preparatory technical meetings. The results of the working groups that preceded us demonstrate the opportunities that we have to continue advancing our economic integration. We have identified 139 projects with the potential to be established in the medium term, of which a significant number can be implemented immediately. We have also reviewed a further 370, such as those mentioned by Vice President Ramírez, which may be evaluated in the future.
The hierarchy that we have achieved within these projects, and their concentration in strategic sectors such as energy, food production, healthcare, mining and light industry, makes it possible for us to give them due priority and to concentrate our efforts and resources in those areas that are strategic for the development of our nations and guarantee the sustainability and strength of our political and socioeconomic systems…
This is the effort that our peoples are demanding of us; it is our contribution to strengthening the links of sisterhood that we have forged and which have their roots in a common history, in the spirit, thinking and work of Bolívar and under the constant inspiration of Fidel and Chávez.
We are moving toward an economic union between Cuba and Venezuela. It constitutes a new kind of relationship that will permit a greater level of organisation of joint projects and, at the same time, it is an important step toward the aim of achieving real economic complementariness, based on the optimum use of infrastructure, knowledge and the existing resources of both countries and, above all, the political will of our governments…
In our region, the deployment of US military bases in Colombia is placing regional stability and the sovereignty of neighbouring states at risk. We support Venezuela’s right to defend itself from threats and provocations.
We are fighting for peace and harmony between sister peoples and our actions will always have this objective; but in case any problem arises, no one should have the slightest doubt about whose side Cuba will be on.
For 200 years, since the beginning of our wars of independence and since long before that, historical experience has taught us that “Our America” has only one alternative: to unite, fight and overcome.
“Gloria a Bolívar and Martí”
Viva to the friendship between the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela!
The encirclement of the U.S. moves one step forward.