New York City
The following slightly edited talk was given by Ambassador Gerardo Peñalver, the Permanent Representative of Cuba at the United Nations and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a solidarity event held July 29 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks that helped spark the Cuban Revolution, which took power in 1959.
The event was held at The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Manhattan, New York City. The packed room of activists also heard representatives from the struggles in Chile, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the Black struggle in the United States. Speakers also raised the historic significance of the New York City Council passing a resolution June 27 to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
The event was sponsored by the International U.S.-Cuba Normalization Committee Coalition, which demands: An end to the criminal U.S. blockade of Cuba; Remove Cuba from the phony “State-Sponsored Terrorism” list; U.S. out of Guantanamo Bay; and Normalize Relations between Cuba and the U.S.Dear friends,
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez recently recalled before the plenary of our National Assembly of People’s Power that 70 years ago, a representation of the best of Cuban youth stormed the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks.
In the early morning of July 26, at Granja Siboney in Santiago de Cuba, the Moncada Manifesto was firmly read. After singing the National Anthem, several groups of armed youths set out to assault the Moncada Barracks, take the Palace of Justice and the Saturnino Lora Hospital in the city of Santiago.
At the same time, in Bayamo, they headed towards the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks. On that day, the military objectives could not be achieved, but they marked a new stage in the revolutionary struggle against General Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship. Those actions, led by Fidel Castro Ruz, pointed out the armed struggle as the main way to conquer the freedom of the Cuban people.
Today, we are gathered here to honor the feat that would lead the Cuban people on the road to freedom. Today, we pay tribute to those Cuban heroes who sacrificed their youth for the greater good.
Precisely because of our history, the present and the future we are building, many in the world admire the Cuban Revolution, the indomitable resistance of our people in the face of external hostility and the work of justice and humanism that we defend.
Today, more than ever, the solidarity we receive from you takes on special significance because Cuba is under heavy siege. The extremely tightened blockade continues to be the central element that defines the policy of the United States towards Cuba.
The hypocrisy of the U.S.
The U.S. government is dishonest when it claims to be seeking the welfare of the Cuban people, the same people it is blockading and against whom it is waging a merciless war using various unfounded pretexts.
One of the core aspects of the unjust campaign against Cuba is in the area of human rights. The U.S. government has no moral authority whatsoever to question Cuba and has little or nothing to teach due to its dismal human rights record.
On the other hand, the United States maintains the unilateral designation of Cuba as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism without providing credible evidence to justify this injustice.
The consequences of such designation are extremely harmful for a small nation like ours. It greatly damages international financial and commercial transactions, hinders access to financial institutions, possibilities of payments and credits. In short, it is a measure that reinforces the blockade against Cuba.
It should not be forgotten that the U.S. government used the COVID-19 pandemic as an ally in its efforts to increase the siege against Cuba. This included actions aimed at preventing our access to basic medical supplies such as oxygen, just at a time when the world needed solidarity more than ever.
We were able to offer to the world the solidarity that Washington did not give to the Cuban people with our medical brigades, in the worst moments of the pandemic.
We are pleased that Cuba was able to successfully develop three homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, as well as immunize its pediatric population as of two years of age and vaccinate more than 90 percent of Cubans, in spite of the blockade.
As is known, the government of Cuba has expressed its willingness to move towards a better understanding with the government of the United States and to foster civilized and cooperative relations, based on mutual respect and without prejudice to the sovereignty of the United States.
We will continue to promote and facilitate the broadest possible ties with numerous sectors of this country that want to get closer to Cuba.
Even in the midst of the inhuman limitations imposed by the blockade, Cuba will never renounce its socialist system of social justice, confirmed in a free and universal constitutional referendum in 2019.
We have the support of many good people in the world, like you dear friends, who have been and are tireless defenders of the lifting of the blockade and the right of our people to live in peace and to decide their own destiny.
In Cuba, we remain committed to those young people of la Generación del Centenario (Centennial Generation), to not disappoint their legacy and to defend the dignity of our homeland. Cuba will not give up and we will continue to resist and overcome.
¡Viva el Movimiento de solidaridad con Cuba en EE.UU.! (Long live the Cuba Solidarity Movement in the U.S.!)
¡Viva la Revolución Cubana! (Long live the Cuban Revolution!)