On 5 November, Cuban ambassador to the United Kingdom Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez attended the 105th anniversary celebration of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, carried out by the workers and peasants and led by VI Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
This monumental event shook the world and advanced the cause of workers irrevocably, showing what was possible, teaching the world’s workers endless lessons, materially weakening global capitalism and enabling further revolutionary movements to arise, signalling the beginning of the end of the capitalist epoch.
Cuba’s was one of the revolutions spurred on by the Bolsheviks’ great achievement, bringing socialism to Latin America. It remains as a shining beacon of what is possible, surviving despite illegal sanctions and a barbaric blockade by its imperialist neighbour, the United States, along with the US’s satellites and allies.
It was a great honour to listen to this esteemed speaker at our party event, as she linked the beacon of the past to the beacon of the present and to humanity’s hope of a bright future. We reproduce her speech below.
Dear Ella, Harpal, Joti, friends,
It’s a pleasure to share with all of you this party’s annual celebration of the Great October Socialist Revolution, a historical fact that cannot be ignored and much less forgotten. Without the October Revolution, the end of colonialism and the liberation of dozens of peoples on all continents would not have been possible.
So thank you, thank you too much for this opportunity. I would like to begin by conveying to you the greetings of the Communist Party of Cuba to all of you. And I think that this is an opportunity and a privilege for me to make some comments about the current Cuban situation, because there is a link between the Cuban revolution and, of course, the legacy of the revolution of October.
It’s impossible for me not to talk about what happened last Thursday in the United Nations when 185 countries voted in favour of the Cuban resolution calling for an end to the blockade. One hundred and eighty-five countries voted in favour of the Cuban resolution calling for an end of the blockade against Cuba. Only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution.
It’s necessary to remember that more than 80 percent of the Cuban population was born under the blockade. Since 2019, the Trump administration escalated the application of the blockade to extreme limits, making it crueller and more inhumane, even during the pandemic. In the first 40 months of the Biden administration, the damage caused by the blockade resulted in losses of $50m per day. It’s not necessary to add any comments.
The persecution of financial, commercial and investment transactions is incessant and obsessive. The arbitrary inclusion of Cuba on the list of the countries ‘sponsoring terrorism’ has intensified the financial persecution against Cuba.
It is true that Cuba can buy limited quantities of commercial products in the USA, always under permits issued for each purchase. But we are obligated to pay in advance and cannot access credit, so it’s not an example of common bilateral trade relations.
It is true that in recent months the Biden administration took steps to resume direct flights from the United States to other Cuban provinces, the sending of remittance and consular formalities. These are positive steps, but they are very, very limited. They do not change the policy nor the economic, commercial and financial measures, which remain in force.
The Cuban government has always expressed its willingness to discuss differences with the United States, to move towards understanding and to develop civilised relations based on mutual respect without undermining our sovereignty. We will never renounce the system of social justice that we defend. We respect the right of every country to decide the political system it prefers, but we demand the same respect for our own.
Cuba does not cease to renew itself under the principle of changing everything that must be changed, as Fidel taught us. Under the most difficult conditions, we implemented the measures approved by the party for the updating of our model.
We made progress in the decentralisation of the economy, the empowerment of the state-owned enterprises, the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises both private and state-owned, the participation of science, technology and innovation in all internal processes, and the computerisation of our society. We have to achieve a more efficient economy and give our heroic people the way forward they deserve.
The human being continues to be our priority. We do not apply neoliberal recipes to solve economic problems and we will never do it. Never. We take on the challenges of the present with the same determination that we took on those of the past. We have survived many things, many challenges. We will survive these hard times and we will fight to our last breath with faith in victory.
Thank you. Thank you very much to you all for supporting us in our demand to end the blockade and to respect our right to live in peace. Whatever changes in Cuba, we will not, never, renounce even one of our principles. We want to construct a socialist system that can provide the most justice possible to all people.
Thank you. Thank you very much.