Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba

Speech by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, closing the National Assembly of People's Power Ninth Legislature’s Fourth Period of Ordinary Session, at Havana’s Convention Center, December 21, 2019, Year 61 of the Revolution

Dear compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of our Party’s Central Committee;
Compañero Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly and the Council of State;
Compañeros of the Historical Generation who are with us;
People of Cuba:

On the eve of another anniversary of the undefeated and victorious Revolution, first of all I want to exclaim: Congratulations!

We have navigated a year full of challenges, tension and aggression. We faced these united, and united we are winning.

The 61st year of the Revolution has indeed been difficult and challenging, although never as hard as those that followed the January triumph when the harassment was accompanied by vicious attacks, including an invasion, sabotage, arson, banditry and the isolation of Cuba throughout the hemisphere.

The challenges were defeated, overcome one by one, leaving us, the protagonists, with a history that makes us deeply proud and a very formidable revolutionary lesson: by the people, with the people and for the people: anything is possible!

Steeled by all those years of resistance, and supported by the strength of the human work erected against all odds over six decades, we have been able to navigate through 2019 overcoming obstacles that appeared insurmountable, and today can rightly celebrate, without complacency and conscious that every goal met is a new starting point.

Speaking of obstacles, let us begin with the worse and most pervasive of all: the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade.

When the history of these days is written, we will need to reserve a chapter for the year 2019 because of the brutal, one could say demented way in which aggression against Cuba was escalated this year, practically, at the rate of more than a sanction per week; that is, a "turn of the screw" every seven days to asphyxiate our economy.

Cruises, flights, remittances, medical services, financing, fuel transportation and insurance were canceled, restricted or prohibited. There was no area exempt from witch-hunting, sieges, and persecution. Nor is there any revolutionary project or action exempt from defamation.

To justify its actions, Washington has once again resorted to blatant lies, and to the crude accusation that we are promoting instability and are a threat to the region, which we have vigorously denied.

Measures adopted are aimed at sabotaging Cuba's foreign trade and hindering financial transactions with third countries, including payments, collections and credit options. They seek to deny supplies to the national industry, limit access to technology and sources of capital, and cut our economic income, with specific actions against fuel shipping, tourism and international health services.

To this end, the United States has launched an intense slander campaign against the medical collaboration that Cuba provides. It is immoral and unacceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 health collaborators who, over 56 years, have participated in missions in 164 nations.

As the people know, behaving in an unprecedented manner, the United States government today boasts of having threatened, persecuted and taken illegal action against more than ten companies and dozens of vessels from third countries that transport oil to Cuba. This aggression will go down in history as cowardly piracy.

The openly stated goal is to deprive a country of 11 million people of its fuel supply. The impact was not worse thanks to the unity, conscious response and solidarity of the people; the strength of the socialist socio-economic system; and our 60 years of experience confronting imperialist aggression.

But there, in our economic results, is the impact this aggression caused. Virtually every sector was obliged to face interruptions or delays in production. We were able to prevent inconvenient power outages and endure the restrictions by taking measures tailored to particular situations, by territory and by agencies. The entire country tightened its belt again, but no austerity measures were implemented that would unload the cost of the criminal blockade onto the people. We are a territory free of neoliberalism!

According to our enemies, and those who amplify their messages on whatever communication platform, the blockade is meant to harm the government. A lie! The blockade affects the entire people because it affects all economic sectors and actors.

The additional restrictions on the availability of fuel, which began in April, significantly affected public transportation, forcing a temporary halt or slowing down of some investment projects, damaging agriculture, food production and distribution, and other areas of significant economic and social impact.

The suspension of cruise ship arrivals and flights to the provinces, cuts in remittances, the closure of consular offices and limitations on travel licenses, among others, hit the non-state sector of the economy particularly hard.

The people know this because they are suffering from it; but they have also faced the situation with greater wisdom and foresight, with that inexhaustible source of energy that exists in every Cuban: creativity and the unsurpassable capacity to find a solution to every problem. This is our history, which teaches us that unity, resistance, struggle and emancipation are key to our victories.

In the first place, thanks to this and also to the cooperation of sovereign governments and courageous business people, willing to challenge U.S. hegemony to trade with Cuba, we have faced and resisted the economic war.

And, here we are! On our feet, dignified and firm. Calm, but alert. Aware that those who go this far in their malevolence have no scruples in resorting to even more perverse plans, if they might contribute to erasing from the map this example of audacity and resistance that irritates them so much, and which they have not been able to defeat in 61 years, with neither coercion or seduction.

Exactly two years ago, at the closing of the National Assembly, Army General Raúl Castro recalled, "The Cuban Revolution has resisted the attacks of eleven United States administrations of different parties and here we are, and here we will be, free, sovereign and independent".

With the greatest pride, the present generations of leaders, of the people and, particularly, Cuban youth, present today in the Revolution, we say: Of Fidel, of Raúl and of all their comrades in struggle, we are continuity!

I know that this statement alone infuriates our adversaries because it is the confirmation that none of their plans have worked. They have hit us hard and are hitting us. The blockade delays progress and reduces the effectiveness of our efforts. It hurts us, bothers us and irritates us, just as abuse, arrogance and wickedness hurt, bother and irritate; but it is important for them to know that we will not surrender!

The blockade is a policy so discredited, so immoral and so contrary to all rights, that its defenders go beyond all legal and human limits to maintain it, forgetting a Spanish proverb, older than Don Quixote: "The pitcher goes to the well so often that, in the end, it breaks.” Proverbs, by the way, express the wisdom born from the people’s experience, including their struggles.

Who knows if one day a proverb might emerge, in all languages, from the people’s legendary struggle against this monster, as a universal monument to our resistance! I could imagine this proverb: "An empire that isolates ends up isolated." (Applause)

Dysfunctional and eaten up by internal corruption, the United States government has stepped up its aggressive, unilateral conduct in almost all regions of the world, in the face of problems that are central to the future of humanity, and has exacerbated existing conflicts with total disrespect for international law and the sovereign prerogatives of many states.

In this hemisphere, the U.S. officially reaffirms the validity of the Monroe Doctrine and its actions are fully consistent with that imperialist ambition. Its political structures responsible for policy in this region seem to be dominated by elements of the Cuban-American extreme right and characters associated with the terrorist, criminal history of the United States in the region.

But not everyone is bowing down to their pressure. The United Nations General Assembly, which every year takes a position against this criminal policy, has once again condemned it in 2019, in a practically unanimous manner. In the region, only two governments distanced themselves from the world's condemnation: only Brazil voted against it, in clear submission to the empire, and Colombia abstained from voting on a resolution it has supported since 1992.

To justify this reprehensible decision, Colombian authorities resorted to unappreciative, politically motivated misrepresentation of Cuba's altruistic, devoted, discreet, unobjectionable contribution to peace in that country, a process in which the conduct of the Cuban government is universally recognized.

The aggressiveness of imperialism is reflected in its extensive, crude program of political subversion and interference in Cuba's internal affairs, to which some $120 million of taxpayers’ money has been allocated, over the past three years.

With growing activism, as has been widely reported, the U.S. embassy in Cuba is directly involved in these actions, in blatant violation of Cuban and international Law, specifically, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

True to the historical path of the Revolution, the Cuban government has remained firm and serene in the face of this open, growing hostility.

We have refused to take the bait of provocations and remain responsibly committed to preserving formal bilateral ties and the few spaces for official cooperation that remain in place between the two countries, seeking to protect the conditions that allow for maintaining family ties of millions of citizens and communication between the two countries.

It should be emphasized, however, with absolute clarity, that Cuba will take all necessary steps to neutralize the interventionist efforts of the United States, to protect the tranquility and well-being of the population, to safeguard national unity and to defend, at whatever cost necessary, the sovereignty and independence of the country. (Applause)

We will not allow ourselves to be provoked, nor will we renounce our sacred independence. In the face of the enemy's threats, we will act as Raúl has advocated: everyone in their neighborhood, in their community, must be on battle footing and make our own that phrase we repeated when the Comandante en jefe died: I am Fidel! (Applause)

When we look abroad, all the reasons we resist and create without wavering are confirmed. The crisis of multilateralism, so questioned at the most recent Non-Aligned Movement Summit, because of the profound imbalances it causes, and its permanent threat to peace, reveals a world where inequality is deepening and the majority is being marginalized and excluded.

Neo-liberalism, driven by the powerful media and fundamentalists of all kinds, impoverishes nations that were once prosperous. We have just seen this in Argentina, which had been saved once already from neoliberal disaster and then again became "scorched earth" in only four years of disproportionate measures, as is being documented by its intellectuals and artists, outraged by the high social debt left by the outgoing government, the great promoter of neoliberal formulas.

Under similar schemes, the Chilean model, so exalted by international financial organizations, today shows its inability to solve social problems generated by an economy designed by the Chicago Boys. Their young people, beaten and abused by the hundreds, are leading, in continuous demonstrations, an epic battle against the system that excludes them.

They demand rights that have not been seriously addressed by their government, nor do they seem to be visible to the OAS, which shows such concern for stability and democracy in Venezuela, Nicaragua and even Cuba, which has no reason to thank the "Ministry of Colonies," to which we, fortunately, ceased to belong, more than 50 years ago.

We reaffirm that we will maintain solidarity and cooperation with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its legitimate government under the Presidency of Nicolás Maduro Moros, and with the Sandinista government and people, led by President Daniel Ortega.

Let this be a reminder to those who put on anti-Cuban shows with the grotesque OAS Secretary-General at center stage.

Another outrageous, unacceptable episode that 2019 brought was the coup against President Evo Morales Ayma in Bolivia, carried out by the local oligarchy under Yankee guidance, with the scandalous complicity of the OAS.

The deeply racist coup plotters repeat the formula tried in Venezuela of self-proclaimed authorities. It no longer matters that the OAS report (on the elections) was a lie, and that there were never any violations or fraud on the part of MAS. Its leaders are now refugees in other countries, persecuted by the real criminals: those who took power with the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

Since the very beginnings of the coup, Cuba has condemned it. We reaffirm here today our solidarity with compañero Evo Morales Ayma and the Bolivian people. (Applause)

To the foreign attempts to destabilize the Caribbean States of Dominica and Suriname, we respond that Cuba's solidarity with both governments and peoples is solid and firm.

In this bitter context, hopeful processes have emerged in Mexico and Argentina. Neither of these has set out to build socialism or nationalize the economy, and yet the war against their social policies has already begun, using the pretext of Marxist influence.

We reaffirm our affinity and solidarity with the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and applaud the election of Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández as President and Vice-President of Argentina. (Applause) We insist on the recognition of Lula's innocence and the restitution of his political rights. His full freedom must, therefore, be demanded.

In Mexico and Argentina, during the last year, we have witnessed the resurgence of our dreams of integration and the idea of preserving CELAC, diverse and plural, which managed to establish in our country, in 2014, more than a Proclamation, the shared intention to be forever a Zone of Peace.

Our ties with Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East are being consolidated. Our political relations and high-level exchanges with the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam have been strengthened.

It has been a positive year in terms of ties with the European Union and its member states in different areas, including economic trade, investment and cooperation.

Cuba's participation in the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, was active and productive. We reiterate the importance of the Movement playing an increasingly vigorous international role, in addressing together the great challenges imposed on countries of the South.

Compañeras and compañeros:

We have outlined the international political situation, aggravated by the aforementioned crisis of multilateralism and the high level of U.S. interference in our region.

In this context, full of dangers and threats, the modest performance of the Cuban economy is no exception. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) confirmed that the general slowdown in Latin America and the Caribbean persists, with a growth rate of 0.1% expected, and announced that it will be low in 2020, with an estimated rate of 1.3%, in an international context characterized by worsening trade tensions, among other factors. These rates are the basis for Cuba's economic performance in 2019, with its 0.5% growth, and the forecast for 2020, which is a realistic 1%.

We are no exception. What is truly exceptional is that our economy has not declined under the weight of the enormous pressures and financial persecution that has been exacerbated this year to an unprecedented degree.

What is also exceptional is that we have not resorted to easy neo-liberal formulas that are back in style, even though it is more than proven that they only serve to widen the gap between the few, very few, increasingly rich and rapidly impoverished majorities.

Let me recall that at the height of neoliberalism, in the 1990s, Fidel "went to the future and came back to tell it", as they say about his powerful foresight. In the context of an Ibero-American Summit, in 1993, our historic leader warned:

"Neoliberalism has no future and the time will come when all this will begin to be questioned, but time must pass and, in the meantime, we must be there fighting the most just causes, for the most correct ideas, raising consciousness. It is very important that the people become aware, and the people will become aware of the extent that they see that these formulas do not solve their problems.”

When Fidel expressed that criticism in advance, the system’s theorists were determined to convince us that capitalism was the end of history. Today we could say that we are witnessing the end of the history of capitalism. All we see is a repetition of formulas that have already proven to be ineffective and, what is worse, in spite of their high social cost.

No, thank you, we do not want that for our people. We want prosperity and we are going to fight for it with all our might, but never at the cost of leaving the majority out of any benefit.

We are not interested in a society, as we have seen so many out there, where the lights that advertise progress overshadow the stars in the sky, while hundreds of people sleep in parks and dozens of children throw themselves onto air-conditioned vehicles to clean the windows of their well-to-do passengers, men and women who think they can ease their consciences by throwing them a few coins for food.

We want decency, beauty, good taste and culture of detail to reign in our cities and for the best production practices to make our fields flourish. We want honest work and efficiency to win the war against illegality, bureaucracy, accommodation, inertia and apathy.

Cubans are winners of the impossible. And this is a good time to propose another year of positive exceptionality.

Looking at highlights of the year that is ending, we ourselves are surprised by the leap taken over difficulties:

To begin 2019, a devastating tornado severely damaged homes and workplaces in five municipalities of the capital. That early morning of January 28, in the darkness, amidst the rubble, few believed that it would be possible to heal the deep wounds and complete construction and beautification plans for Havana's 500th anniversary.

A real tornado of work, effort, solidarity and collective intelligence, in a few months, erased nature’s blow, setting records in finishing investment projects.

This contributed to the surpassed goal that most encourages us, at the end of the approved Housing Policy’s first year of implementation. With homeowners’ efforts, subsidies and state funding, 43,700 dwellings were completed, 10,000 more than planned, a real inspiration for coming years, when we aspire to complete more than 60,000 annually. Only in this way, and under new concepts of functionality, quality and harmony with the environment, will we, one day, be able to solve accumulated problems in housing.

2019 was also the year we began to see results from greater investment in highway and rail transportation. Eighty new cars were put into operation in the national railroad system, which was accompanied by improved quality of these services, as well as the rehabilitation of the main railway stations.

More than 300 buses assembled in Cuba, 69 semi-buses and 125 motor-tricycles were added to public transportation, while progress was made in the repair of buses that had been out of service for some time, bringing some relief to one of the country's most acute problems, which will continue to demand resources and efficiency.

Workers in the budgeted sector will surely remember that in 2019 their salaries were raised up to three times, which favored, among other things, the return of 12,942 teachers to classrooms, allowing for 96.9% coverage without the use of alternatives.

Tomorrow is Educator's Day. Congratulations and recognition for the contributions made by Cuban teachers on that day.

Without yet reaching the salary reform, the increase raised the real value of state sector workers’ income, and to a lesser degree, social security benefits, a demand postponed for years, in the expectation of an improved economy, which is still pending.

This was the year in which telephone service and Internet access were extended and diversified, beginning as one of the world’s last-placed countries in this arena, to become one of those with the most growth in internet connections.

Seven million, three hundred thousand telephone lines, 6 million of these for mobile phones and more than 3 million 3G and 4G users, speak to the great progress made in reaching our goal of greater computerization of society.

Tourism merits a separate paragraph, being the sector most affected by the tightening of the blockade - along with medical services - which managed to surpass four million visitors, open 3,855 new hotel rooms and advance in building ties with national production, foreign investment and the non-state sector, aspects which require more work, given their impact on the national economy, along with continuous improvement of quality.

In the Mariel Special Development Zone, industrial plants are already operating and manufacturing Cuban products needed for our domestic market and with export potential.

But most important this year, for this legislature and all citizens, was the approval of our new Constitution, which strengthens Cuban society and opens new paths to the institutionalization of the country.

Six laws have emerged from its implementation in two sessions, in an unprecedented legislative exercise that today leaves us with the legal instruments needed for better functioning of the National Assembly itself, municipal assemblies and People's Councils, as well as with new figures and forms of government work, which should lead to the improvement of People's Power bodies, which cannot be postponed.

In this parliamentary session we have elected for the first time, in recent years, a Prime Minister and also the new Council of Ministers. We can assure you that compañero Manuel Marrero Cruz, deputy prime ministers and appointed ministers will give their all, providing continuity to the inspirational work of running the government with the people and for the people.

We were advancing in this dynamic of work, addressing the most pressing needs and demands of the population, when the imperial escalation deprived us of more than 50% of our fuel needs, beginning in September.

The "conjuncture" arrived, a period that required all our strength to avoid negative effects and setbacks. Jokes and memes were created on social media that will make the list of the nation’s most powerful strengths: the ability to joke about even our most serious problems. Even those of us who used the word initially to mitigate fear caused by malicious rumors that the most difficult moments of the Special Period would return, relieved the anguish at crowded bus stops, during closings and long lines at gas stations, production shutdowns and all the associated problems, laughing when there was no other way out.

That was one more fight we won, but not totally. (Applause) The "conjuncture" forced us to search our experience in the worst times for saving practices that had been shelved, but as soon as the most difficult crisis moment passed, some state car drivers have gone back to rolling up the windows and forgetting about solidarity. There are measures that cannot be circumstantial. We must enforce them until the routine becomes habitual. Like all forms of conservation and all practices of solidarity.

This is a decision. It is not a request. This is a stipulation that I am making on behalf of the government and the needs of the majority. (Applause) And we will demand compliance because it is a mandate from the people.

The good thing about bad times is that they educate us on better practices. And the education and culture acquired in 60 years of Revolution must serve us well, that moral wealth that no material treasure can replace or surpass.

I have mentioned only some of the most notable facts related to the government's activity during the year, because of their impact on the entire population and because reports by our ministers of Economy and Finance have provided the essential details.

Other data and results, by agency, will be published on the Presidency's website and we hope they will be shared on social networks. There is indeed much to be proud of, as there is still much to be resolved. The most pressing issue is that of monetary re-ordering.

We have not forgotten what the Army General said on the subject two years ago:

"No one can calculate, not even the wisest of us, the high cost to the state sector of the persistence of the dual currency and exchange rate, which favors an unjust inverted pyramid, where the greater the responsibility, the lower the pay, and not all able citizens are motivated to work legally, while at the same time discouraging the promotion to higher positions of the best and most capable workers and cadres, some of whom move to the non-state sector.

"I must admit that this issue has taken too long and its solution cannot be delayed any longer.”

We have the duty to transform the applause that accompanied his words, at that time, into efforts to meet deadlines.

We can assure you that the monetary re-ordering is in an advanced stage of study and approval. Efforts are currently concentrated on the comprehensive validation of results on each subject; the elaboration of legal norms; the organization and execution of training processes; political assurance and social communication.

The far-reaching nature of the process and its complexity has been confirmed, since it includes closely interrelated aspects that will have an impact on the entire society, which will be addressed in the planned sequence, minimizing effects on the population.

This process is not just a currency exchange, so I reiterate what I have said on previous occasions that bank deposits in foreign currencies, convertible pesos, Cuban pesos, as well as cash in the hands of the population, will be protected.

All related measures will be reported to our people in a timely fashion.

Compañeros and compañeras:

We have set ourselves three priorities to face the attacks of our adversary without giving up our development programs. The first is ideological and is directly related to our defense, to our deepest convictions. The Cuban people, shaped and trained by Fidel in legendary battles, is prepared to understand and assume any problems posed by the enemy's aggression. They only need to be informed and receive explanations in a timely manner.

We demonstrated this when we reported the situation created with the availability of fuel and called for turning an attack by the enemy into an opportunity to unleash creativity and recover knowledge from other times.

Strengthening ourselves ideologically means turning resistance into learning, and that learning into emancipatory solutions, while freeing ourselves from old dependencies and ties to obsolete work methods.

When we advocate thinking as a country and thinking differently, we are calling for creativity. Cuba is a people of creators. What has our long resistance been if not a perpetual act of creation?

Another priority is the economic battle. And note that I do not say the second battle, I say "another priority" because they all have importance.

The enemy has made the Cuban economy the first target to be destroyed. Not only because this is the path to the destruction of the Revolution, but also because it is a way to show that socialism is not a viable system. And every minute of resistance to their aggression is saying just the opposite: that only socialism makes possible the miracle of a small nation defeating a powerful empire that has not been able to subjugate it.

But we are not only interested in resisting. We conquered that merit long ago. The challenge, amidst this very war, is to conquer the greatest possible prosperity. To that end, we need greater, more diverse and better quality production, with the added value of science and chains that should enable us to reduce imports and increase exports, within a sustainable project that is at the level of scientific knowledge and the proven skills of the Cuban people. With such conviction we will defend the 2020 Economic and Budget plans approved in this session.

Along with these priorities is the legislative work, in accordance with the schedule also approved in this Assembly.

Over the coming months and years, we must adopt new laws and prepare to legislate on issues that are highly sensitive, including some that have been a source of concern for many people, related to gender violence, racism, animal abuse and sexual diversity.

All four are being addressed and monitored to reinforce and strengthen the law, but without giving any space to confrontation and division, which exogenous forces promote in an attempt to interfere in matters that are sacred to our national sensibilities.

The Cuban government, born of the Revolution that freed women from domestic slavery, that made all citizens equal, that punishes and condemns violence in all forms, knows and shares the dissatisfaction of sectors of the population affected by the vestiges of abuse that survive in their midst, despite official policies directed toward the conquest of "all justice", as Martí advocated.

What we must not lose sight of is that we will only reach that total justice as we have reached it, despite the worst omens and gales; with unity and in unity.

It is not by dividing society, by accusing others, seeking what divides us, that we will be able to settle our debts to what is most just for all: United we have won! United we will win! (Applause)

We have recently approved a government program to confront racial discrimination. That is the spirit that encourages us as we prepare to face a new year with the certainty that this one leaves us: Together everything is possible! A society where women have climbed in 60 years from the darkest corner of the house to the podium of the country's professional majority; a mixed-race nation, in which we are all so light that we look white and so dark that we look black, as Don Fernando Ortiz would say; a people so sensitive that we believe in life and exalt it every day, with all the conditions to confront and definitively resolve any vestige of mistreatment, exclusion, discrimination or submission that has survived the Revolution’s work for social justice. And we will do it! (Applause)

This is how we see the progress of our society in equally profound, though less tangible, areas. I am referring to spirituality in all its dimensions, to the need to grow in strengthening the values that should distinguish a society like ours. And in the eradication of attitudes that are contrary to the morals of the society in which we see ourselves.

The Army General has commented more than once how, in the school where he was educated as a child, he was taught an exercise of self-critical introspection that he still practices after all these years: to consider, at the end of every day, what he had done that was good and useful, and what was not.

In La Edad de Oro, Martí wrote that not a day should go by without doing a good deed, a fundamental educational principle of the Colmenita (children’s theater company) which we admire so much.

It is not only for children that this recommendation is made. It is for all ages and all citizens. The beautiful society we owe ourselves will come sooner to the degree that we demand civic behavior as an obligation.

To give a couple of examples: What is the value of works completed for Havana’s 500th anniversary that have adorned the capital, if the city’s hygiene disappears again below mountains of garbage, and neither those who are responsible for removing it - or those who live with these practices at their own doorstep - are duly sanctioned?

And another example: What is the use of controls, audits, severe sanctions, when as soon as the law is applied, we begin to see the offender as a victim?

Paternalism is another of those vices that undermine the speed and depth of our progress. During the debates in standing committees, the abusive practices of those who complicate and negotiate with the simplest procedures were discussed more than once. But, what a job we have on our hands, to generalize moral sanctions, denunciation, the refusal to be bribed or bribe.

I have extended my reflections on these issues because those of us here we almost all responsible, not only for making and approving laws but for enforcing them, as well. And it is our duty to turn them into living words. (Applause)

There is much to be said and done, but we also need to take the time to celebrate the year that is coming to an end, full of tension and challenges, but just as much, full of victories.

Let us live the next days and hours as if the Revolution were triumphing again. The Revolution triumphs every time we snatch a victory for our cause from the empire. And in 2019 we did it many times.

May our urban and rural squares be filled with music and joy.

There is every reason to celebrate. In the 61st year of the Revolution, they threw us to our death and we are alive. Alive, celebrating and determined to continue winning.

Homeland or Death!
Socialism or Death!

(Transcript from the Presidency of the Republic)
Taken from Granma