Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Manatí.

"Nothing can be more important than contact with the people", said the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and president of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez when he summarized on 26 January the evaluation of the fulfillment by the Communist Party of Cuba in the municipality of Manatí of the priorities outlined for the year 2024.

The first thing that must be defended is planning and eliminating unnecessary meetings that often supplant administrative tasks, he said. A political coordinator, he said, has to be in direct contact with all the grassroots organizations he or she serves, at least once a month.

During the meeting, he was accompanied by the Secretary of the Organization of the Central Committee, Roberto Morales Ojeda, another member of the Central Committee and its first secretary in Las Tunas, Manuel René Pérez Gallego, and Jaime Ernesto Chiang Vega, governor of the province, Díaz-Canel explained that to better understand the economic strategy outlined for the end of 2023, it is necessary to identify the factors that are negatively influencing the government's management. Their solution, he insisted, is not the responsibility of all state and government bodies and institutions to the same extent.

"Each place must identify which of these factors are present in their area of work so that this discussion is aimed at overcoming these problems," he said. The control of abusive prices and tax evasion are two illustrative examples, he said.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Manatí.Soon, he announced, there will be a process of debate with all the people on this Economic Program. "We have to be convinced of why we have to defend these measures which, he described, are necessary and cannot be postponed; they are aimed at bringing order to the economy, especially the macro-economy, and opening the way to greater national production, more efficiency and the creation of wealth to be able to distribute it with social justice.

"They are, he reiterated, for the benefit of the people, not against the people, as the enemy claims.
"Many of the critics of the Economic Program announced by the Prime Minister before the National Assembly, he warned, overlook the gradualness of the steps announced and how the State will maintain many subsidies, precisely to protect the lower income sectors; this is the case, he listed, with the changes in electricity and transport tariffs.

"We have to prepare well and the measures will have all the necessary input. If we can organize them, plan them, adjust them, and rectify them appropriately at each moment," he said.

He did not avoid the fact that the intensification of the US economic blockade, the inclusion of Cuba on the spurious list of countries sponsoring terrorism, the effects of the pandemic, the armed conflicts in the world, and the accumulated problems, as well as our own mistakes, "have caused negative manifestations to appear in our society: lack of work discipline and demands, theft, social illegalities, lack of formal education and the deterioration of social programs.

"And how are we going to do this? By advancing ideologically, economically, and socially. This is not an empty call, we have the conviction that we can do it. We confirm this conviction every time we visit a province and/or a municipality. Everywhere there are work groups, people, who go beyond the blockade, who do things with a different disposition, in a different way.

They are more enterprising, they look for solutions that others do not and they achieve results. But today they are the exceptions and what we have to achieve is for all of them to become the rule, and that is where the important ideological work we are proposing here should be directed.

"If we all work together, if we all participate in the fundamental tasks: if we all work together we build results, and by building results with the participation of all we consolidate unity, commitments, and also the defense of a common objective.

"We have to have the vision that every task we propose, every project, every program, every issue or objective in our strategy, has to be designed in such a way that there are spaces for debate with the population and that in those spaces the population can criticize, express their dissatisfaction, but also make proposals."

Díaz-Canel, who hours earlier toured several points of the Manatán geography, quoted the words of the Leader of the Revolution, Army General Raúl Castro, on January 1, in the sense that "when we recognize and debate with the population, together we can overcome this situation. Let us work without authoritarianism, listening to, debating different criteria, and giving participation to all those who want to contribute to the work of the Revolution. Let us behave modestly, honestly, truthfully, loyally, and with commitment.

He went on to stress that "the concept of creative resistance is born of the certainty that even with the blockade tightened, it is possible to move forward. It was demonstrated, he said, by what was done to have our vaccines against COVID-19". He also had words of praise for the tens of thousands of leaders and cadres at the grassroots. "They, he said, are on the front line doing very hard work, particularly in the municipalities and provinces.