Excerpts from speech by Cuban President Raúl Castro on Wednesday (Jan. 25) at the Fifth Summit of ECLAC (Economic Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) held in Bávaro, Dominican Republic. Translation by Progreso Weekly.
“[Achieving unity] requires a strict observance of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone, signed by the chiefs of state and government in Havana in January 2014, in which we committed ourselves ‘to the strict compliance with our obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State’ and to resolve our differences peacefully, as well as ‘to fully respect the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system.’
“To do so, it is indispensable that all the members of the international community fully respect the Proclamation’s postulates in their relations with ECLAC countries.
“It would be desirable for the new government of the United States to opt for respect to the region, although it is worrisome that it has declared intentions that place our interests at risk in the spheres of trade, employment, migration and the environment, among others. […]
“On the other hand, a return to neoliberalism would increase poverty and unemployment, thus worsening the social conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean. […]
“I wish to express Cuba’s willingness to continue to negotiate the pending bilateral issues with the United States on the basis of equality, reciprocity, and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country, and to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest with the new government of President Donald Trump.
“Cuba and the United States can cooperate and coexist in a civilized manner, respecting our differences and promoting everything that benefits both countries and peoples, but without any expectation that, to do so, Cuba should make concessions regarding its sovereignty and independence.
“The economic, financial and financial blockade persists, which provokes considerable privation and human damages that gravely hurt our economy and hinder our development.
“Despite that, we continue engaged in the updating of our economic and social model and will continue to struggle to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.”
For the full speech, in Spanish, click here.