Cuban Revolution, U.S. embargo: Al Mayadeen interviews the Cuban President (Part 1)

In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen, the Cuban President touches on the Cuban Revolution, its challenges, and achievements, as well as U.S. manipulations.

Media Network Chairman Ghassan Ben Jeddou interviews Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Photo: Al Mayadeen

Part I

Al Mayadeen

Media Network Chairman Ghassan Ben Jeddou conducted an exclusive interview with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, during which the latter discussed the Cuban Revolution and its challenges, international relations, the situation in Latin America, and the blockade imposed on Cuba.

In the first part of the 3 hour interview, the Cuban President touched on the concepts on which the Cuban Revolution was based and Cuba’s position on the progressive, revolutionary, and resistance currents in the world, as well as the protests that the country witnessed in 2021 and Cuba’s policies toward the new generations.

The Moncada and the Revolution

Speaking about the pre-revolutionary period in the country, Diaz-Canel told Al Mayadeen that the 50s was a terrible decade for Cuba and the Cuban people, as it came after years of imperial domination of Cuba where the country had turned into an American colony.

He pointed out that whatever strategies were put in to camouflage this situation and its essence, the situation stemmed from the frustration of the struggle for Cuban independence in 1895.

He specified that at the last moment of the war for independence, when Cuba had practically defeated Spain, the first imperialist war occurred, referring to the U.S. interference in the Spanish-Cuban War, which was later called the Spanish-Cuban-American war.

Diaz-Canel continued that “far from achieving its real independence, Cuba became a colony of the United States government,” and since then, the country has been ruled by a number of submissive governments and agents of the empire, administrative corruption prevailed, and an oligarchy — that did not defend the interests of the country or the Cuban people, but rather was defending the interests of the United States — became more enrooted.

Back then, according to the Cuban President, the United States seized practically all of the country’s natural resources and started investing in Cuba. Thus, the Cuban people reached a very complicated situation where illiteracy increased and no one practically owned a home.

The situation back then was described by Fidel Castro in his self-defense document titled “History Will Absolve Me,” thus, the Moncada was the program that Castro developed for launching the Revolution, Diaz-Canel said.

Revolution achievements

The Cuban leader considered that in the case of Cuba in particular and the complex situation that it was living in, the Revolution was necessary with no other solution available, and therefore, it was very acceptable — a revolution that completes the true independence of Cuba.

Diaz-Canel explained that for this reason, the Revolution, which meant primarily making profound changes in Cuban society, was accepted by the majority of the Cuban people and was a completely dynamic and liberating process that gave Cuba true independence, sovereignty, and self-determination.

Thus, the revolutionary process began to advance along a set of social achievements, which gave the right to free education, free health, and sports for everyone, as well as the spread of world and Cuban culture, he indicated.

“It was a process of reaffirming the cultural values ​​on which the Cuban nation was built, throughout its years, basing all its actions on the law, that is, always defending what is just,” he added.

He pointed out that one of the basic concepts of the Revolution has always been achieving the greatest possible amount of social justice, taking into account culture in its broadest sense, and not referring only to artistic and literary creativity, but rather taking into account the values ​​that have formed in the Cuban nation over many years, and highlighting the best of those values ​​enjoyed by its people in the revolutionary process.

Likewise, Diaz-Canel asserted that the Revolution never deceived the people. In fact, the Revolution asked the people to read in order to believe and granted them the right to learn, he said.

All of this was linked to the thought of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro and his legacy and the continuity that General Raul Castro later attributed to the revolutionary process, Diaz-Canel added.

The Revolution renewing itself

The Cuban President said the Revolution was in a state of continuous boiling and was constantly transforming and changing, adapting to all the complex historical moments that it had to pass through.

According to Diaz-Canel, one must ask how this Revolution, which was born besieged and encircled since its inception, by the main imperialist power and the most powerful superpower in the world, could resist all the sieges, sanctions, aggressions, and currently the tightened siege and widespread media attacks that seek to discredit the Revolution and undermine its authority and model.

He said that when one thinks about the attitude the U.S. adopted in its dealing with the Revolution that only wants the well-being of the Cuban people, there is only one answer for that: It did so out of hatred and malice because it was disturbed by the model of this Revolution.

The Cuban President stressed: “I believe that we are continuing the Revolution, and the Revolution will continue to advance despite the difficulties,” highlighting that “the majority of the Cuban people will continue to support this Revolution, and for that, we must continue in a state of revolution within the Revolution.”

On the other hand, the Cuban President explained that the world is witnessing a very difficult situation and is full of uncertainty. “We have just suffered from an epidemic that destroyed the models of neoliberalism,” he considered.

He said that despite the many years of neoliberalism and the promotion of a lot of propaganda that supports it – when a complex moment has come – the world found that neoliberalism is unable to solve all the problems of the epidemic with equality and inclusion of all people.

Diaz-Canel pointed out that health systems in the most advanced capitalist countries had collapsed, and a question was raised about how to explain the neoliberal world’s failure to provide alternatives to the majority.

“Since the world has just gone through a pandemic, I think we still cannot talk about the post-pandemic stage, as there are still more than 20 countries in the world that have not even been able to vaccinate 10% of their population, and we see that there is a lot of inequality,” the Cuban leader explained.

He noted that amid the pandemic, there was a very selfish attitude on the part of the oligarchy, and the rich became richer while the poor became poorer.

“This is why we see this inequality that arises in the capitalist societies themselves, and then this inequality leads to rebellion and leads above all to the rebellion of the youths, and the new generations as well,” he added.

Diaz-Canel stressed that regardless of the way it is implemented, the Revolution will continue to be an alternative and will remain an aspiration for the youth.

However, he underlined that it will inevitably be necessary to take into account the historical stages and to conduct a critical analysis of revolutionary experiences, not to see revolutions from an idealistic point of view, but from all their contradictions and the situations they overcame.

The Cuban President highlighted that in today’s world, there is a deep revolutionary feeling and an embrace of Marxist ideas, and one sees that there is much hope for these generations to build a better world.

He noted that he felt that because he had the opportunity to talk to many young people who visit Cuba from different parts of the world.

Diaz-Canel pointed out the need to preserve the environment as an indispensable condition for preserving the human race, pointing out that all these trials and deep reflections on the multidimensional crisis that the world is going through today give an answer that revolution is still an alternative.

Cuba and the revolutionary progressive currents

When asked about the new progressive left in Latin America and the world, the Cuban President said that in the region, there is a historical reference that indicates the need to delve deeper into these ideas and provides the basis for the continuity of these progressive leftist ideas.

Diaz-Canel believes that a huge part of the people of Latin America has embraced these ideas, noting that in recent years “we have witnessed stages that express this historical continuity in the independence experiences of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

He explained that the situation that the U.S., with its neoliberal practices, led the region to saw an increase in inequality in Latin America and subjected the population of most Latin American countries to a very complicated situation.

The Cuban President considered that it has become necessary for revolutionary experiences to take place, just as a decade passed in which a whole group of revolutionary experiences arose in response and as an alternative to this situation.

According to Diaz-Canel, the exemplary experience in this sense was the Venezuelan experience, where Hugo Chavez, who was a well-established Bolivarian and well-versed in Latin American history, carried out a Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

He continued that, at that time, the experience of the Bolivarian Revolution coincided with the Nicaraguan Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Cultural Revolution in Bolivia, and the Citizenship Revolution in Ecuador, as well as the experience of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil and that of Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, among others.

Diaz-Canel noted that there was also a progressive president in Paraguay and Uruguay, which allowed the consolidation of a whole set of integration measures in Latin America and the Caribbean where millions of Latin Americans no longer suffered from hunger and were able to change their social status after all these progressive governments initiated measures of a social and economic nature in the interest of the majority.

However, the Cuban President pointed out that imperialism did not stand idly by and tried to undermine those movements that were an expression of those progressive and leftist ideas, pointing to the countless vicious, divisive acts that the U.S. government, with the support of its huge media, applied to bury these experiences.

“We all know how they carried out a parliamentary coup in Paraguay, how they caused the impeachment of the President of Brazil, Dilma [Rousseff], and how they also prosecuted a group of Latin American leaders politically,” Diaz-Canel said.

“We are still witnessing judicial persecution against [former Argentine Vice President] Cristina Kirchner, and how they tried to carry out a coup under the auspices of the Organization of American States against the Bolivian experiment led by Evo Morales,” he noted.

But the Cuban leader indicated that Latin America is witnessing a cycle in which the defense of those leftist ideas and work to strengthen them began again.

He said that in the decade in which all the aforementioned experiences converged, an integration mechanism for Latin America was achieved, highlighting that through this mechanism of integration in less than ten years, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador were able to win the battle of eradicating illiteracy.

First illiteracy-free region in Latin America and the Caribbean

According to the Cuban President, this achievement holds much significance for Cuba, which declared itself the first illiteracy-free region in Latin America and the Caribbean, pointing out that it took more than 50 years with authentic and real complementary experiences in Latin America and with human, revolutionary, and progressive ideas, for other countries to realize what previously seemed like a figment of the imagination.

Diaz-Canel said that for many people in other parts of the world, this is still a dream and an out-of-the-reach matter.

He recalled that with this process of integration between Latin American countries, what was known as Operation Miracle was achieved, restoring sight to millions in Latin America who would not have had it in the circumstances that they were living in countries implementing neoliberal projects and programs.

The Cuban leader explained that Petro-Caribbean projects became consolidated on the basis of sharing energy resources in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Diaz-Canel also highlighted that other consultation mechanisms were established, such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where for the first time, 33 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean sat down to discuss their problems together without the U.S. presence or participation.

He also pointed out that Latin America and the Caribbean have now decided for themselves freely, on the basis of the concept of unity within diversity, to announce the document declaring Latin America and the Caribbean a region of peace.

This was specifically approved during the summit held by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Havana, which also guarantees or proposes the full political will of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, according to Diaz-Canel.

He underlined that Cuba supports and respects these experiences, stressing that his country will continue to defend, understand, and respect everything that can be done in order to achieve a better world based on the most humane, revolutionary, liberating, and comprehensive stances.

The new generations

In the same context, the Cuban President pointed out that the new generations today that lead leftist courses have learned lessons from history, having analyzed the historical watersheds of the left in the world, thus understanding the need to unite while accounting for diversity, in order to establish a robust framework for the revolutionary struggle.

According to the Cuban President, valuable lessons have been drawn on why socialism has failed in Eastern Europe, and lessons have been drawn from revolutionary endeavors in the world.

He added that the claims and intentions of imperialism at this time have also been analyzed, confirming that it is not possible to talk about a new left or a renewed left or a left that gives continuity to historical milestones if this left is uncertain of its course, what it seeks, or its origin.

“We must bear in mind that imperialism today is developing a whole concept of world domination, and therefore it is ideologically based on an integrated program to restore the momentum of capitalism, neoliberalism, and cultural colonialism,” he said.

“The only means that imperialism employs to abolish identity and destroy nations, culture, and the roots and essence of our peoples is precisely through cultural penetration [ideological subversion] that lures people into skepticism and dismisses all their ideas as obsolete,” Diaz-Canel said.

“Understanding these attitudes is what unites us all to defend our essence, in a common defense of culture and identity, to avoid cultural colonialism and the domination of only one thought that prevails in the world, which is why it is also important to analyze the problems of the left, which, in itself, is lost in problems of neoliberal globalization,” he added.

The Cuban President added, “If we ask what has been globalized? Selfishness has been globalized; it is the language of war. Aggression has also been globalized, leaving social inequality in its wake. It is the imperialist logic, and in the face of this imperialist logic, the logic of the left, or progressive logic, must prevail.”

“In our case, we have a socialist logic, however, we never turn down criticism of our ideology, but I believe it is fundamental to eliminate human exploitation of man to have equality among all the inhabitants of the planet and to distribute wealth in a better manner,” Diaz-Canel said.

“It is very difficult to understand today that in this world of inequality, where so many are impoverished, millions and millions of dollars are being employed in war budgets or spent on armaments,” he said.

“How much more can the world do for the benefit of all its people if these funds are used for other purposes? How much more can be accomplished if there is more integration, if there is mutual respect, and if there are genuine decolonization programs and programs that actually create opportunities for all,” he wondered.

Challenges the Revolution faced

The Cuban President said, “When I was elected President of the Republic, I said that before anything else, we stand as the generation of continuity; [historical] continuity in the dialectical sense of the word, the kind that stands up for the essence of the Revolution that shall lead the Revolution to perfection as well.”

He further explained, “In other words, it was not a generation that wanted to maintain a rigid pace in the development of the Revolution, so in this concept of continuity, a set of values from the historical legacy of the Revolution is also adopted.”

Diaz-Canel believed that “among those values stands out the courage that Fidel and Raul engraved in us; courage that extends throughout our wars for independence and our decision to firmly defend sovereignty and independence and defend the right to self-determination of the Cuban people. In the same sense, the concept of broader communication with the people stands out.” According to Cuba’s leader, the aforementioned constitute elements that shall always distinguish the stance that “we, the revolutionary cadres and fighters, will take in our lives, especially in the most difficult moments.”

“We will always stand up against adversity, we will always stand up against the most difficult, most complex moments, with courage yet calmly because they are moments that we should consider deeply and analyze thoroughly. Such moments cannot be handled in an indecisive spontaneous, disorderly, or arrogant manner,” the Cuban President stressed.

He went on to say that “such are moments in which you must study the reasons and contradictions that are inflicted on the facts, before anything else, followed by looking for the best solutions with the participation of everyone.”

He added, “I always say that none of us can know more than what we all, combined, know, and I believe that the Cuban people have proven throughout their history that they enjoy the talent, strong will, and valor…  that they are heroes who regard their dignity highly.”

Diaz-Canel pointed out that the Cuban people have been under siege for more than sixty years, and continued that his generation, which was born after the Revolution, is “a besieged generation since then. We have lived under siege, but this is something that we shared with our children and grandchildren.”

Furthermore, the Cuban President indicated that “the generations that were born after the Revolution are generations that lived their entire lives under the pressure of the blockade, under the aggression of the blockade, under the repercussions of the blockade, but still, the Revolution did not stop, and it stood in the face of the blockade and was able to develop its programs and projects, although the blockade stood out as the main obstacle in the face of achieving all the aforementioned.”

It goes without saying that “the blockade is a fait accompli that slows down our aspirations and the realization of our projects and dreams,” he tersely stated.

Diaz-Canel added that, starting from the second half of 2019, a very delicate situation prevails, whereby the Trump administration announces more than 243 measures against the Cuban Revolution, which intensified the blockade.

He continued, “Therefore, we are not talking here about the blockade imposed in the sixties or the seventies, nor about the blockade in the ‘delicate period (the nineties).’”

“We are talking about a very intense siege that the world is still experiencing, and based on scrutiny and analysis that we conducted within the leadership of the Revolution at the time, we explained to the people, within a long notice, the problems that we will face,” he added.

The Cuban President stressed that “we have prepared our people in a way that makes it clear to them that we are stepping into a stage full of complications, in which we will face a shortage of food, medical supplies, fuel, spare parts, and foreign currency that enables us to obtain the necessary supplies for our basic productions, as well as providing food and solving the people’s basic problems.”

With Trump’s 243 measures, all sources of the country’s foreign financing were suddenly cut off, and at the same time, the United States initiated up-close monitoring at the level of finances and energy resources against the country with the U.S. government making every effort to prevent, by all means, the entry of fuel into Cuba or that Cuba obtain credit or any sort of financing regardless of how scarce it may be, according to the Cuban President.

Diaz-Canel recalled how, in January 2020, Trump placed Cuba, just a few days before the end of his term as President, on the U.S. list of “state sponsors of terrorism,” which is a made-up, fake list. The reason is that, according to the Cuban President, when a country is arbitrarily included in that list, all banks and financial institutions agencies start to sever ties with the relevant country, thus weakening most of the sources of foreign financing, which are already affected by Trump’s other measures.

He explained how up to this very day, a lot of effort is required if any Cuban tries to conduct business dealings or settle certain payments “because almost no bank wants to be involved in that ever since the sanctions were imposed.”

According to the Cuban President, Trump’s sanctions included activating  Chapter Three of the Helms-Burton Act, which imposes the internationalization of the blockade and punishing countries across the world, meaning that the “Great Empire” even imposes restrictions on the rest of the world [in their dealing with Cuba].

He further explained how the insistence on applying these sanctions over time, as pursued by Biden’s administration, without any change is causing a more severe shortage in supplies of medicines, fuel, and raw materials necessary for Cuba’s main production operations and electricity generation, not to mention hindering the rest of the production and service processes in the country.

Attempts to fail the Revolution

The Cuban President pointed out that alongside these intense problems, which have social repercussions, leading people to develop a sense of resentment and misunderstanding of the situation that started to occupy their lives, the Corona pandemic hit in March 2020.

Therefore, almost all the conditions for a perfect storm were in place, paving the way for a social explosion that the U.S. government longed for in order to fail and put an end to the Cuban Revolution, he further explained, revealing that all this was accompanied by a large-scale U.S. intel operation.

Diaz-Canel stressed that Cuba has evidence and information which clearly show how they led an intense campaign aimed at discrediting the Cuban Revolution on social networks seeking to spread frustration and create estrangement and misunderstanding, knowing that the campaign was directed particularly at the youth category.

“It must be noted that at the beginning of the pandemic which was indeed exacerbating in light of this whole situation, we still dispatched medical teams to countries with pandemic hotspots, as we learned a lot about the disease and were immediately able to develop a plan to combat it, which allowed us primarily by the end of 2020 to reduce the number of infected cases so as to curb a major outbreak,” he further detailed.

The Cuban leader pointed out that they decided to open the borders in 2020, and when they actually did, the Delta strain took over, and since they had not obtained their vaccines at the time, the result was a Delta-instigated pandemic that lasted for about a year.

“All this happened amid the [dire] situation we were in,” he said.

Shedding light on the effect of U.S. sanctions, Diaz-Canel went on to say, “We pursued our program to confront the pandemic, and when we decided to open new intensive care units that we were in dire need of, the United States government prevented companies that manufacture ventilators which are extremely necessary in intensive care rooms or units from selling them to Cuba. Thus, we came across an oxygen-supply crisis, because consumption was higher due to the high number of patients and because our factories faced major setbacks.”

During his interview for Al Mayadeen, the Cuban President stressed that the United States government pressured companies in Latin America not to sell us the medical oxygen that Cuba desperately needed and prevented the arrival of medications and vaccines as well.

He went on to say that amid this entire dire situation, they launched a hypocrisy, disinformation, and slander campaign under the title of “SOSCUBA” at the level of international networks.

U.S. manipulation in the Cuban scene

The Cuban President assessed that all the aforementioned factors, coupled with the dire situation of the Cuban population, have conditioned the Cuban scene for cooptation.

According to Diaz-Canel, Cuba tolerates criticism of the government and provides citizens with suitable mechanisms and platforms for doing so, but what happened in 2021 was something else.

The protests were far from peaceful, and this became clear very soon. After the authorities began their investigations, they uncovered the underpinnings of these protests, revealing the monetary incentives for rioting and vandalizing.

This was what happened on July 11, 2021, the Cuban President said, adding that some had gone out to protest oblivious of the underpinnings, while others were paid to riot and vandalize. “These were not peaceful protesters; they attacked shops and public security forces, trying to disrupt social stability. They were trying to destroy the most significant element of Cuban society that the Cuban citizens are largely fond of: tranquility and reassurance,” he added.

He pointed out that “these were unpleasant times, but lessons were learned, because here, unlike other places in the world, the security forces or the armed forces did not go down to the streets to crack down on the rioters. Instead, they were the revolutionary Cuban people who came out to defend the Revolution.”

“We were the first to arrive at one of the outposts from where the protests broke out, and we explained to the people the situation we were living in,” he said, stressing that “in one day, practically all the nodes of subversive protests were contained and eventually dissipated.”

He added that on the second day, in a neighborhood in Havana, another subversive stunt was pulled but it was short-lived.

“There was a whole scenario prepared by the ’empire’, which was to manufacture an inflated scene of social unrest that would serve as the necessary pretext for the United States to intervene by ‘providing humanitarian assistance’. And we have already seen how the United States ‘provided humanitarian assistance’ for other countries of the world,” the Cuban leader highlighted.

“There are many examples in the Arab world and in Africa, when the United States came with its humanitarian aid in brackets, the conditions of the recipient people and governments deteriorated if anything. It was not humanitarian aid; it was effectively invasions, aggressions, and military interventions – that was the case in Libya and Iraq and other places, and we also have the dirty war that they waged against the Syrian people and nation,” he said.

“These events unfolded like a scenario whereby if Cuba calls on the population to defend the Revolution, then they would have called for a civil war,” Diaz-Canel said, explaining, “Never ever has anyone come out here with weapons to suppress anyone. Had the armed institutions intervened, it would have been possible to say that there was police and armed repression.”

“The second part of the scenario was that when people were to be tried before the law as any country in the world would do in cases of rioting, they would be advertised as political prisoners of the ‘regime’ as they like to portray us. No one has been arrested here, and no one has been subjected to judicial proceedings for simply protesting the situation in Cuba,” he said.

Diaz-Canel stressed that in Cuba, there has never been police repression, unlike the situation in the United States, adding that “they also tried to manipulate the situation, claiming that we were harsher with Blacks than with whites, when, in Cuba, we have programs contending all form of discrimination, especially racial discrimination.”

“It was all just manipulation and fake news; they broadcast these lies to discredit our achievements that are not subject to their purposes and objectives, he said, explaining that had there been supposedly a case of large-scale social unrest in Cuba, the United States would have capitalized on any chance to prove the failure of the Revolution.”

“Despite this, what did they do on social media? They posted pictures of a supposed demonstration that was actually a football festivity in Argentina, and they took pictures of the people demonstrating in support of the Revolution, claiming that they were against it. It was unbelievable: Gerardo Hernández, one of our iconic five heroes, was at a pro-Revolution demonstration, and they still presented it as anti-revolutionary,” he added.

“Does the truthful use such cheap tools to discredit an enemy? Only the U.S. government does it, and it does it out of hatred and insolence,” Diaz-Canel said, stressing that this is the reality of the manipulated events.

Evaluation and social transformation

“What happened next? We learned a lot, made our assessments, went to a debate, and the same palace halls we visited today were spaces for exchanging ideas with representatives of various sectors of Cuban society, including young people,’ the Cuban President highlighted.

“We have also gone on a process of social transformation in Cuban neighborhoods where inequalities have accumulated. We also have people and families in vulnerable situations, regardless of all the social actions of the Revolution, but this is the case because we have lived for years with many needs, even with a lot of deprivation as a result of the tightening of the blockade.”

According to Díaz-Canel, “All the proposals of the population are transmitted to their municipal councils, where citizens are represented on the grass-root level. Then the things that have been approved go back to those neighborhoods, and the residents of the neighborhoods participate in the transformation that they have themselves proposed, and they also exercise popular control we increasingly seek to improve our democracy, and here we have provided essential participation to our youth.”

“How does the story continue? I had to ask our scientists if the production of a Cuban vaccine would be sufficient to be sovereign in the fight against Covid, which was one of the catalysts for this whole situation. I did it in March 2021, and also in July, just three months later,” he said.

The Cuban President added, “A few weeks later, Cuban scientists had already obtained the first vaccine bulb, and then we had five vaccine candidates, today there are three vaccines with tremendous efficacy, so we started a huge vaccination campaign, after conducting clinical trials, emergency studies on vulnerable groups.”

He went on to say, “When we got the vaccines, we had achieved this amid all this crisis. Despite the pressure and the tight blockade, we achieved the highest vaccination rates in the world, and today, we rank second among countries that have provided the largest number of vaccine doses per patient, we are among twenty countries with more than 90% of the population fully vaccinated, and with the reinforcement, we were the first in the world to vaccinate children over the age of two.”

“What are the results? Today we have 0.67% deaths, knowing that the mortality ratio is the ratio of deaths to the number of COVID cases. The average mortality ratio in the world is 1.05%; in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is 1.45%.”

He stressed that Cuba had more competently handled the pandemic and had a more successful strategy in the face of the pandemic than the government of the United States and many developed countries in the world that adopted a neoliberal line. Cuba outperformed all these developed countries in a difficult position and under a tight blockade.

The Cuban president added, “Who was caring for the most vulnerable people in neighborhoods during the pandemic? They’re the young Cubans, no one else.”

Development of public policies

“We have never stopped [engaging in] dialogue with the Cuban youth, as we constantly engage with them and visit universities, and they participate in the basic tasks of the Revolution. We take part in discussions and conferences held by the youth and youth organizations, and the Cuban youth groups are represented in parliament by their peers,” Cuba’s President said in his interview for Al Mayadeen.

He further explained that young Cubans participate in temporary action groups that work on developing public policies, which later lead to the emergence of laws approved by the National Assembly.

“We are currently in an endeavor with the participation of young people, as we set a general policy for youth and childhood, which allows us to reach a law in which we provide more guarantees for the youth and children,” Diaz-Canel added.

He also pointed out that “the main issue is how to continue to work with our youth on the basis of the Revolution-founded values so that the generational difference between those who launched the Revolution and those who defend it today and the new generations does not turn into an ideological difference and a rift.”

The Cuban leader stressed that this matter is “a challenge ahead of us and herein lies its beauty, but I believe that we will achieve it because we are already doing it today and the majority of our youth are with the Revolution, regardless of whether they live today in a society whose capabilities are limited in a way that does not allow the full realization of the aspirations of their projects in life.”

He further told Al Mayadeen, “All of this has led me to wonder: How can a country living under such dire circumstances, in which chaos would have prevailed had the schemes plotted against it succeeded, defeat Covid? The country has now reached a post-pandemic stage, and we started to revitalize our economic and social life, and still, the measures meant to tighten the blockade are still in place.

According to the Cuban President, the Cuban people have developed the capacity for resistance, which is not only to resist and endure the blockade; rather, it is the resistance that prevailed in the past year and shall move forward, overcoming the current adversities by relying on the talent and efforts of the Cubans.

“This is how Covid was defeated. Armed with the notion of everyone works for everyone, we focused on saving the lives of Cuban men and women, and we achieved that,” Diaz-Canel emphasized.

He went on to say, “And just as we succeeded in the case of Covid, we will continue to succeed, and we will continue to make achievements with the participation of our youth.”

Source: Al Mayadeen English

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