In these five years of existence the successes of our organization are unquestionable

• Speech given by General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the closing session of the 8th Summit of the ALBA-TCP at the International Conference Center, December 14, 2009

Dear heads of state and government:

Dear invited guests:

Compañeras and compañeros:

WE have reached the end of this 8th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. There has been a very productive exchange in the analysis of the undisputed advances achieved and the challenges that our Alliance faces.

The Declaration that we adopted contemplates agreements of magnitude. For their significance to the benefit of our peoples, I will mention just two:

Your browser may not support display of this image. We decided to undertake a project of great impact in all the Alliance countries: a genetic psycho-social clinical study of people with disabilities, utilizing the most advanced scientific techniques and with the proposition of reaching the poorest and most unprotected communities in the region. Only the ALBA could conceive of and instigate a project of such profound human sentiment which, in its first stage, has already contributed clear and heartening results in some countries of the Alliance.

We have also committed ourselves to constituting a Science, Technology and Innovation Network directed at promoting capacities for the generation and transfer of knowledge and technologies in key sectors of socioeconomic development.

At the same time, the Declaration expresses our political vision of events in the region and definitions, procedures and attributions of ALBA’s principal agencies.

I must highlight the Special Communiqué  on Climate Change that we agreed in this Summit in the face of the upcoming world summit in Copenhagen.

Compañeros:

As has already been noted, this meeting is taking place as we commemorate today the fifth

anniversary of the Declaration of December 14, 2004 which gave rise to the ALBA.

In these five years of existence, the successes of our organization, born of the clear and daring integrationist vision of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro and President Hugo Chávez that December 14, 2009, are unquestionable. At that time, the FTAA, an instrument of hegemonic domination promoted by Washington, had not as yet been formally buried and an emancipating undertaking based on the legacy of the leaders of genuine Latin American independence was initiated in our region.

Its emergence at that precise moment was possible because the Venezuelan people defeated the military coup of April 2002, because they subsequently overcame the oil strike, and because the Bolivarian Revolution strengthened and consolidated itself as a new socialist alternative to the neoliberal model that imperialism was attempting to impose on Latin America.

It was possible, moreover, because the Cuban Revolution had shown itself able to resist, defend its sovereignty and socialist system and promote a program of cooperation and solidarity in the midst of brutal and persistent aggression.

That December 14 also marked the 10th anniversary of the first visit to Cuba by compañero Hugo Chávez, and today, the 15th anniversary of that visit. It would have seemed extremely daring to have predicted in 1994 or even in 2004, how far our region would advance in a relatively brief lapse of time.

The ALBA was born in 2004 as a result of the development of relations between Venezuela and Cuba, with links of a new kind, fortified by Latin American and Caribbean fraternity, to the benefit of their peoples.

The subsequent adherence of Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, the fruit of decisions in accordance with their respective revolutionary processes, and the significant incorporation of Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda, which enrich us with a Caribbean perspective, have consolidated this scheme and extended its projections.

The ALBA is also proud of having the membership of Honduras and the contribution of President Manuel Zelaya, violently removed from power; first by a military coup last June 28, executed with the complicity of the most reactionary circles of the United States, and then, on November 29, via spurious elections organized in the midst of brutal repression on the part of the coup perpetrators and the overt or dissimulated backing of retrograde forces in the region.

Honduras is an example of the fact that the alleged commitment to democracy on the part of Washington and its allies is no more than pure demagoguery and opportunism. In Honduras the political will of the people has been castrated and the perpetrators have always known that they could count on the backing of their political masters on the continent.

In Latin America and the Caribbean today, the contradictions between progress and reaction, between the rights and demands of the historically vilified peoples and the interests of transnational corporate capital and the traditional oligarchies have been manifested with particular clarity. It is an antagonistic contradiction that cannot be resolved overnight and which cannot be confronted with ingenuousness or lack of care.

Being part of ALBA implies the proposition of constructing rational, efficient societies living in harmony with nature and procuring social justice for our peoples. That is the cooperation and integration that we are promoting and that undertaking demands a revolutionary spirit.

José Martí taught us that – I quote: “We are seeking solidarity not as an end, but as a means directed toward ensuring that our America fulfils its universal mission” – end of quote.

For his part, Bolívar stated: “More than anything else, I desire to see formed in America the greatest nation of the world, less on account of extension and riches, than on account of its liberty and glory.”

In this struggle, as member countries of our Alliance, we are staking our all on an ideal and shared commitment, that of “A better world is possible.”

Thank you very much.

Translated by Granma International

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