Speech by Salvador Valdés Mesa, General Secretary of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC) and member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba
General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers,
Compañeros of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba,
Compañeros who are members of the Council of State,
Compañeros who are our guests,
Exactly ten years ago, from this very stage, Fidel called on us to raise the concept of our most beautiful achievement — the Revolution — infinitely higher.
It is a sense of the historic moment, he said then. In a few minutes, this historic plaza, and all the plazas of the most important cities in this country, will vibrate with the powerful force of millions of workers and their families, who will reaffirm their firm decision to defend and build socialism as the most energetic and resolute response to those who are — from centers of power in the United States and the European Union, aided by mercenary groupuscules here — attempting to discredit us with fallacious calumnies, fruit of their old hatred.
Just a few days ago, more than 8.2 million Cubans, with a mass turnout and a conscientious vote, elected our People’s Power delegates; thus we demonstrated an exemplary lesson in genuine participatory democracy, a resounding prelude to this massive celebration, to this example of the capacities of the workers and the people united in an indestructible bond with the Party, Fidel, and Raúl.
Sister and brother workers,
We are living in a complex era of dangers and risks threatening the planet and humanity. More and more frequent and devastating climatic disasters, together with the global and total crisis of capitalism, characterize the world. These are phenomena from whose impact we are not exempt, compounded by the effects of the genocidal blockade imposed on us by the United States, the consequences of the Special Period, and our own shortcomings.
This panorama obliges us to confront highly complex realities, as compañero Raúl noted at the Young Communist League Congress. Ten years ago, the Comandante en Jefe aligned us with the concept that the Revolution is changing everything that has to be changed and that it means emancipating ourselves by ourselves and with our own efforts. We also have the duty to align ourselves with what was stated by our president, and I quote:
We are convinced that dogmas have to be broken. Firmly and confidently, we are undertaking the task of modernization — already in progress — of our economic model, with the purpose of laying the foundations for the irreversibility and development of Cuban socialism, which we know constitutes the guarantee of national independence and sovereignty.
As workers, we know that the economic battle is, as never before, a vital task for preserving our social system. To wage it successfully, every one of us must be ready to fulfill their role, aware that the reorganization of labor and institutions already underway involves all of us.
If we want to advance and raise the living standards of the population and maintain and even rationally improve what has been achieved in areas such as public health, education, and social security and assistance, we will have to share scarce resources and our efforts to overcome the scarcity.
We need to analyze Raúl’s speech at the Youth Congress in depth, not to insist on the problems that we have, but to understand those realities, to identify what is holding us back, and to propose solutions within and for each work collective.
From this historic platform, we call on the workers and people to support the modernization of our economic model, which will require extraordinary effort and sacrifice, aware that only by dignifying work as a creative source of material and spiritual wealth and a molder of consciousness can we guarantee the country’s economic and social growth.
Cuban women and men,
Let us take advantage of this occasion to send our congratulations and recognition to all the compatriots who are, in the most distinct corners of the world, fulfilling beautiful internationalist missions that are magnifying the prestige of the Revolution.
We call on the labor and social organizations, and on all upstanding people in the world, to promote the international movement to demand an end to the unjust and inhuman economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the people of Cuba for close to 50 years and, at the same time, to demand the liberation of our five heroes arbitrarily imprisoned in the United States.
We extend our solidarity to workers of the world, and we express our gratitude for the gestures of support for us, in particular those of the more than 1,000 labor and social leaders who decided to accompany our people in this proletarian fiesta.
Viva May Day!
Viva the Revolution!
Viva Fidel and Raúl!
Viva Free Cuba!
Let the spirited parade of the fighting people begin!