The opening of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party
of Cuba this afternoon marks a date of extraordinary significance in
our history, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of
the socialist nature of our Revolution by its Commander in Chief,
Fidel Castro Ruz, on April 16, 1961, as we paid our last respects to
those killed the day before during the bombings of the air bases.
This action, which was the prelude to the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs)
mercenary invasion organized and funded by the United States
government, was part of its plans to destroy the Revolution and
restore its domination over Cuba in league with the Organization of
American States (OAS).
On that occasion, Fidel said to the people already armed and
inflamed with passion: "This is what they cannot forgive us…that
we have made a Socialist Revolution right under the nose of the
United States…" "Comrades, workers and farmers, this is the
Socialist and democratic Revolution of the people, by the people and
for the people. And for this Revolution of the people, by the people
and for the people, we are willing to give our lives."
The response to this appeal would not take long; in the fight
against the aggressor a few hours later, the combatants of the
Ejército Rebelde, police agents and militiamen shed their blood, for
the first time, in defense of socialism and attained victory in less
than 72 hours under the personal leadership of comrade Fidel.
The Military Parade that we watched this morning, dedicated to
the young generations, and particularly the vigorous popular march
that followed, are eloquent proof of the fortitude of the Revolution
to follow the example of the heroic fighters of Playa Girón.
Next May 1st, on the occasion of the International
Workers Day, we will do likewise throughout the country to show the
unity of Cubans in defense of their independence and national
sovereignty, which as proven by history, can only be conquered
This Congress, the supreme body of the Party, as set forth in
article 20 of its Statutes, brings together today one thousand
delegates representing nearly 800 thousand party members affiliated
to over 61 thousand party cells. But, this Congress really started
on November 9 last year, with the release of the Draft Guidelines of
the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, a
subject that, as previously indicated, will be at the center of the
debates of this meeting that is regarded with great expectations by
As of that moment, numerous seminars were organized to clarify
and to delve into the content of the Guidelines in order to
adequately train the cadres and officials who would lead the
discussions of the material by the party members, mass organizations
and the people in general.
The discussions extended for three months, from December 1, 2010
to February 28 of this year, with the participation of 8, 913,838
people in more than 163 thousand meetings held by the different
organizations in which over three million people offered their
contributions. I want to make clear that, although it has not been
accurately determined yet, the total figure of participants includes
tens of thousands of members of the Party and the Young Communist
League who attended the meetings in their respective cells but also
those convened in their work or study centers in addition to those
of their communities. This is also the case of non-party members who
took part in the meetings organized at their work centers and later
at their communities.
Even the National Assembly of People’s Power dedicated nearly two
work sessions in its latest Ordinary Meeting held this past December
to analyze with the deputies the Draft Guidelines.
This process has exposed the capacity of the Party to conduct a
serious and transparent dialogue with the people on any issue,
regardless of how sensitive it might be, especially as we try to
create a national consensus on the features that should characterize
the country’s Social and Economic Model.
At the same time, the data collected from the results of the
discussions become a formidable working tool for the government and
Party leadership at all levels, like a popular referendum given the
depth, scope and pace of the changes we must introduce.
In a truly extensive democratic exercise, the people freely
stated their views, clarified their doubts, proposed amendments,
expressed their dissatisfactions and discrepancies, and suggested
that we work toward the solution of other problems not included in
Once again the unity and confidence of most Cubans in the Party
and the Revolution were put to the test; a unity that far from
denying the difference of opinions is strengthened and consolidated
by them. Every opinion, without exception, was incorporated to the
analysis, which helped to enhance the Draft submitted to the
consideration of the delegates to this Congress.
It would be fair to say that, in substance, the Congress was
already held in that excellent debate with the people. Now, it is
left to us as delegates to engage in the final discussion of the
Draft and the election of the higher organs of party leadership.
The Economic Policy Commission of the 6th Party
Congress first entrusted with the elaboration of the Draft
Guidelines and then with the organization of the discussions has
focused on the following five issues:
Reformulation of the guidelines bearing in mind the opinions
Organization, orientation and control of their implementation.
The thorough training of the cadres and other participants for
the implementation of some of the measures already enforced.
Systematic oversight of the agencies and institutions in charge
of enforcing the decisions stemming from the guidelines and
evaluation of their results.
Leading the process of information to the people.
In compliance with the aforesaid, the Draft Guidelines were
reformulated and then submitted to analysis by both the Political
Bureau and the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, on
March 19 and 20, respectively, with the participation of the
Secretariat of the Party’s Central Committee and the top leaders of
the Central Trade Union (CTC), the Young Communist League (UJC) and
the other mass organizations, approved at that level –also as a
draft—and then delivered to you for its examination during three
days in every provincial delegation to the Congress and for its
discussion at the five commissions of this party meeting for its
Next, I will offer some data to illustrate our people on the
results of the discussions of the Draft Guidelines, even though
detailed information will be published later.
The original document contained 291 guidelines; 16 of them were
moved to others; 94 preserved their phrasing; 181 had their content
modified; and, 36 new guidelines were incorporated for a grand total
of 311 guidelines in the current draft.
A simple arithmetic operation with these numbers avows the
quality of the consultation process as a result of which
approximately two thirds of the guidelines –68% to be exact—was
The principle that guided this process was that the validity of a
proposal would not depend on the number of opinions expressed about
it. This is shown by the fact that several guidelines were either
modified or removed based on the opinion of only one person or a
small number of them.
It is also worth explaining that some opinions were not included
at this stage either because the issue deserved a more exhaustive
analysis for which the necessary conditions did not exist or because
they openly contradicted the essence of socialism, as for example 45
proposals advocating the concentration of property.
I mean that, although the prevailing tendency was a general
understanding of and support for the content of the Guidelines,
there was no unanimity; and that is precisely what was needed for we
really wanted this to be a democratic and serious consultation with
For this reason, I can assure you that the Guidelines are an
expression of our people’s will, contained in the policy of the
Party, the Government and the State, to update the Economic and
Social Model in order to secure the continuity and irreversibility
of Socialism as well as the economic development of the country and
the improvement of the living standard of our people combined with
the indispensible formation of ethical and political values.
As expected, most of the proposals made during the discussion of
the Draft Guidelines were focused on Chapter VI, "Social Policy" and
Chapter II "Macroeconomic Policies"; both accounted for 50.9% of the
total, followed, in descending order, by Chapter XI, "Construction,
Housing and Water Resources Policy"; Chapter X, "Transportation
Policy"; and, Chapter I, "Economic Management Model." In fact, 75%
of the opinions expressed focused on these five chapters out of a
total of twelve.
On the other hand, 67% of the proposals referred to 33 guidelines,
that is, 11% of the total. In fact, the highest number of proposals
pertained to guidelines number 162, dealing with the removal of the
ration book; 61 and 62, on the pricing policy; 262, on passengers’
transportation; 133, on education; 54, related to the establishment
of a single currency; and, 143, on the quality of healthcare
Undoubtedly, the ration book and its removal spurred most of the
contributions of the participants in the debates, and it is only
natural. Two generations of Cubans have spent their lives under this
rationing system that, despite its harmful egalitarian quality, has
for four decades ensured every citizen access to basic food at
highly subsidized derisory prices.
This distribution mechanism introduced in times of shortages
during the 1960s, in the interest of providing equal protection to
our people from those involved in speculation and hoarding with a
lucrative spirit, has become in the course of the years an
intolerable burden to the economy and discouraged work, in addition
to eliciting various types of transgressions.
Since the ration book is designed to provide equal coverage to 11
million Cubans, there are more than a few examples of absurdities
such as allocating a quota of coffee to the newborn. The same
happened with cigarettes until September 2010 as they were supplied
to smokers and non-smokers alike thus fostering the expansion of
that unsafe habit in the population.
Regarding this sensitive issue, the span of opinions is very
broad, from those who suggest dismissing it right away to others who
categorically oppose its removal and propose to ration everything,
the industrial goods included. Others are of the view that in order
to successfully prevent hoarding and ensure everybody’s access to
basic foods, it would be necessary, in a first stage, to keep the
products rationed even if no longer subsidized. Quite a few have
recommended depriving of the ration book those who neither study nor
work or advised that the people with higher incomes relinquish that
Certainly, the use of the ration book to distribute the basic
foods, which was justified under concrete historic circumstances,
has remained with us for too long even when it contradicts the
substance of the distribution principle that should characterize
Socialism, that is, "From each in accordance with his ability and
to each in accordance with his labor," and this situation should
In this connection, it seems appropriate to recall what comrade
Fidel indicated in his Central Report to the First Party Congress on
December 17, 1975: "There is no doubt that in the organization of
our economy we have erred on the side of idealism and sometimes even
ignored the reality of the objective economic laws we should comply
The problem we are facing has nothing to do with concepts, but
rather with how to do it, when to do it, and at what pace. The
removal of the ration book is not an end in itself, and it should
not be perceived as an isolated decision but rather as one of the
first indispensible measures aimed at the eradication of the deep
distortions affecting the operation of the economy and society as a
No member of the leadership of this country in their right mind
would think of removing that system by decree, all at once, before
creating the proper conditions to do so, which means undertaking
other transformations of the Economic Model with a view to
increasing labor efficiency and productivity in order to guarantee
stable levels of production and supplies of basic goods and services
accessible to all citizens but no longer subsidized.
Of course, this issue is closely related to pricing and to the
establishment of a single currency, as well as to wages and to the "reversed
pyramid" phenomenon which as spelled out at the Parliament last
December 18, is expressed in the mismatch between salaries and the
ranking or importance of the work performed. These problems came up
often in the contributions made by the citizens.
In Cuba, under socialism, there will never be space for "shock
therapies" that go against the neediest, who have traditionally been
the staunchest supporters of the Revolution; as opposed to the
packages of measures frequently applied on orders of the
International Monetary Fund and other international economic
organizations to the detriment of the Third World peoples and,
lately enforced in the highly developed nations where students’ and
workers’ demonstrations are violently suppressed.
The Revolution will not leave any Cuban helpless. The social
welfare system is being reorganized to ensure a rational and
deferential support to those who really need it. Instead of
massively subsidizing products as we do now, we shall gradually
provide for those people lacking other support.
This principle is absolutely valid for the restructuring of the
work force, –an ongoing process-- streamlining the bloated payrolls
in the public sector on the basis of a strict assessment of the
workers’ demonstrated capacity. This process will continue slowly
but uninterruptedly, its pace determined by our capacity to create
the necessary conditions for its full implementation.
Other elements will have an impact on this process, including the
expansion and easing of labor in the non-public sector. This
modality of employment that over 200 thousand Cubans have adopted
from October last year until today --twice as many as before-- make
up an alternative endorsed by the current legislation, therefore, it
should enlist the support, assistance and protection of the
officials at all levels while demanding strict adherence to the
ensuing obligations, including tax payment.
The growth of the non-public sector of the economy, far from an
alleged privatization of the social property as some theoreticians
would have us believe, is to become an active element facilitating
the construction of socialism in Cuba since it will allow the State
to focus on rising the efficiency of the basic means of production,
which are the property of the entire people, while relieving itself
from those management of activities that are not strategic for the
This, on the other hand, will make it easier for the State to
continue ensuring healthcare and education services free of charge
and on equal footing to all of the people and their adequate
protection through the Social Welfare System; the promotion of
physical education and sports; the defense of the national identity;
and, the preservation of the cultural heritage, and the artistic,
scientific and historic wealth of the nation.
Then, the Socialist State will have more possibilities to make a
reality of the idea expressed by Martí that can be found heading our
Constitution: "I want the first Law of our Republic to be the
Cubans’ cult of the full dignity of man."
It is the responsibility of the State to defend national
independence and sovereignty, values in which the Cubans take pride,
and to continue securing the public order and safety that make Cuba
one of the safest and most peaceful nations of the world, without
drug-trafficking or organized crime; without beggars or child labor;
without the mounted police charging against workers, students and
other segments of the population; without extrajudicial executions,
clandestine jails or tortures, despite the groundless smear
campaigns constantly orchestrated against us overlooking the fact
that such realities are, foremost, basic human rights that most
people on Earth can’t even aspire to.
Now, in order to guarantee all of these conquests of Socialism,
without renouncing their quality and scope, the social programs
should be characterized by greater rationality so that better and
sustainable results can be obtained in the future with lower
spending and keeping the balance with the general economic situation
of the country.
As you can see in the Guidelines, these ideas do not contradict
the significance we attach to the separate roles to be played in the
economy by the state institutions, on the one hand, and the
enterprises, on the other, an issue that for decades has been
fraught with confusion and improvisations and that we are forced to
resolve on a mid-term basis in the context of the strengthening and
improvement of institutionalization.
A full understanding of these concepts will permit a solid
advance while avoiding backward steps in the gradual
decentralization of powers from the Central to the local governments,
and from the ministries and other national agencies in favor of the
increasing autonomy of the socialist State-funded companies.
The excessively centralized model characterizing our economy at
the moment shall move in an orderly fashion, with discipline and the
participation of all workers, toward a decentralized system where
planning will prevail, as a socialist feature of management, albeit
without ignoring the current market trends. This will contribute to
the flexibility and constant updating of the plan.
The lesson taught by practical experience is that an excessive
centralization inhibits the development of initiatives in the
society and in the entire production line, where the cadres got used
to having everything decided "at the top" and thus ceased feeling
responsible for the outcome of the entities they headed.
Our entrepreneurs, with some exceptions, settled themselves
comfortably safe and quiet "to wait" and developed an allergy to the
risks involved in making decisions, that is, in being right or wrong.
This mentality characterized by inertia should definitely be removed
to be able to cut the knots that grip the development of the
productive forces. This is a pursuit of strategic significance, thus
it is no accident that it has been reflected one way or another in
the 24 guidelines contained in Chapter I, "Economic Management Model."
As far as this issue is concerned, we cannot indulge in
improvisations or act hastily. In order to decentralize and change
that mentality, it is indispensible to elaborate a framework of
regulations clearly defining the powers of and functions at every
level, from the national to the local, invariably accompanied by the
corresponding accounting, financial and management oversight.
Progress is already being made in that direction. The studies
began almost two years ago for improving the operation as well as
the structure and makeup of the government at the different levels.
These resulted in the enforcement of the Council of Ministers
Regulation, the reorganization of the work system with the State and
Government cadres, the introduction of a planning procedure for the
most important activities, the establishment of the organizational
bases to provide the Government with an accurate and timely
information system supported by its own info-communications
infrastructure, and the creation of the provinces of Artemisa and
Mayabeque, on experimental basis and under a new structural and
To begin decentralizing powers, it will be necessary for the
cadres of the State and the companies to redeem the obvious role of
contracts in the economy, as expressed in guideline number 10. This
will also help bring back order and discipline to making and
obtaining payments, a subject in which a good part of our economy
has been getting poor grades.
As a no less important byproduct, the appropriate use of
contracts as regulatory instruments of relations among the various
economic actors will become an effective antidote against the
extended habit of "reunionism," that is, calling an excessive number
of meetings and other collective functions, often presided by senior
officials and uselessly attended by many others, only to enforce
what the parties involved recognized as rights and obligations in
the contract signed, and whose fulfillment they have failed to
demand from those required to do so.
In this respect, it is worth emphasizing that 19 opinions,
registered in 9 provinces, claimed for a reduction in the number of
meetings and their duration to the minimum indispensible. This issue
I intend to take up again when dealing with the functioning of the
We are convinced that the mission ahead of us in connection with
this and other issues related to the updating of the Economic Model
is full of complexities and interrelations that, one way or another,
touch on every aspect of the society as a whole. Therefore, we are
aware that it is not something that can be solved overnight, not
even in one year, and that it will take at least five years to
implement it comprehensively and harmoniously. And, when this is
achieved, it will be necessary to never stop and to continue working
for its improvement in order to successfully face the new challenges
brought up by development.
Metaphorically speaking, it might be said that every now and
then, as the scenario changes, the country should make its own
We are not under the illusion that the Guidelines and the
measures conducive to the implementation of the Economic Model will
by themselves provide a universal remedy to all our evils. It will
be required to simultaneously build a greater political awareness
and common sense, and to be more intransigent with the lack of
discipline and the violations committed by all, but primarily by the
This became all too evident a few months back in the flaws
observed during the implementation of some specific measures
--neither complex nor of great magnitude-- due to bureaucratic
obstacles and the lack of preparation of the local governments for
the expansion of self-employment.
It is worthwhile reiterating that our cadres must get used to
working with the guiding documents issued by the institutions
empowered to do so and abandon the irresponsible habit of putting
them on ice. Life teaches that it is not enough to issue a good
regulation, whether a law or simply a resolution. It is necessary to
also train those in charge of its implementation, to monitor them
and to check their practical knowledge of the issue. Let’s not
forget that the worst law is that which is not enforced or
The system of Party schools at the provincial and national level,
along with the unavoidable reorientation of their syllabus, will
play a protagonist role in the preparation and continuous recycling
in these subjects of Party and government cadres as well as the
company executives with the aid of the educational institutions
specialized in this area of knowledge and the valuable input of the
members of the National Association of Economists and Accountants,
as it was the case with the discussion of the Guidelines.
At the same time, and with the purpose of effectively arranging
in order of importance the introduction of the required changes, the
Political Bureau agreed to bring to the Congress the proposal of
establishing of a Standing Government Commission for Implementation
and Development, subordinated to the President of the Council of
State and Ministers which, without affecting in any way the powers
invested in the corresponding Central Government Organs, will be
responsible for monitoring, checking and coordinating the actions of
everyone involved in this activity, and for proposing the insertion
of new guidelines, something that will be indispensible in the
In this token, we feel it is advisable to remember the
orientation included by comrade Fidel in his Central Report to the
First Party Congress, nearly 36 years ago, about the Economy
Management System that we intended to introduce back then and failed
due to our lack of systematization, control and discipline. He said
"…that the Party leaders but foremost the State leaders turn its
implementation into a personal undertaking and a matter of honor as
they grow more aware of its crucial importance and the need to make
every effort to apply it consistently, always under the leadership
of the National Commission created to that end…," and he
concluded: "…to widely disseminate information on the system, its
principles and mechanisms through a kind of literature within reach
of the masses so that the workers can master the issue. The success
of the system will largely depend on the workers knowledge of the
I will not tire of repeating that in this Revolution everything
has been said. The best example of this we have in Fidel’s ideas
that Granma, the Official Party organ, has been running in the past
Whatever we approve in this Congress cannot suffer the same fate
as the previous agreements, most of them forgotten and unfulfilled.
Whatever it is that we agree upon in this or future meetings must
guide the behavior and action of Party members and leaders alike and
its materialization must be ensured through the corresponding legal
instruments produced by the National Assembly of People’s Power, the
State Council or the Government, in accordance with their
legislative powers and the Constitution.
It’s only fair to say very clearly, in order to avoid
misinterpretations, that the agreements reached by congresses and
other leading Party organs do not become law in themselves. They are
orientations of a political and moral nature, and it is incumbent on
the Government, which is the body in charge of management, to
regulate their implementation.
This is why the Standing Commission for Implementation and
Development will include a Judicial Subgroup made up by highly
qualified specialists who will coordinate with the corresponding
organs --with full respect for institutionalization— the legal
amendments required to accompany the updating of the Economic and
Social Model, simplifying and harmonizing the content of hundreds of
ministerial resolutions, legislative decrees and legislations, and
subsequently proposing, in due course, the introduction of the
relevant adjustments to the Constitution of the Republic.
Without waiting to have everything worked out, progress has been
made in the legal regulations associated with the purchase and sale
of housing and cars, the modification of Legislative Decree No. 259
expanding the limits of fallow land to be awarded in usufruct to
those agricultural producers with outstanding results and the
granting of credits to self-employed workers and to the population
Likewise, we consider it advisable to propose to this Congress
that the first point of the agenda of every plenary meeting of the
next Central Committee, to be held no less than twice a year, is a
report on the status of the implementation of the agreements adopted
in this Congress on the updating of the Economic Model, and that the
second point is an analysis on the fulfillment of the economic plan,
be it from the first semester or from the running year.
We also recommend the National Assembly of People’s Power to
proceed in the same way during its ordinary sessions with the
purpose of strengthening its protagonist role as the supreme organ
of the State power.
Starting from the deep conviction that nothing that we do is
perfect and that even if it seems so today it will not be tomorrow
under new circumstances, the higher organs of the Party and the
State and Government Powers should keep a systematic and close
oversight on this process and be ready to timely introduce any
adjustments called for to correct negative effects.
It’s a question of being alert, with our feet and ears to the
ground, and when a practical problem arise, whatever the area or the
place, the cadres at the different levels must act swiftly and
deliberately avoiding the old approach of leaving its solution to
time, since we have learned from experience that the problems grow
more complicated as time goes by.
In the same token, we should cultivate and preserve a fluid
relationship with the masses, devoid of formality, that would allow
for an efficient feed-back of their concerns and dissatisfactions so
that the masses can indicate the pace of the changes to be
The attention paid to a recent misunderstanding on the
reorganization of some basic services shows that when the Party and
the Government, each in its own role, with different methods and
styles, act promptly and harmoniously on the concerns of the people
providing clear and simple explanations, the people support the
measure and their confidence in their leaders grows.
The Cuban media in its various formats should play a decisive
role in the pursuit of this goal with clarifications and objective,
continuous and critical reports on the progress of the updating of
the Economic Model so that with profound and shrewd articles and
reports written in terms accessible to all they can help building in
our country a culture about these topics.
In this area of work it is also necessary to definitely banish
the habit of describing the national reality in pretentious
high-flown language or with excessive formality. Instead, written
materials and television and radio programs should be produced that
catch the attention of the audience with their content and style
while encouraging public debate. But this demands from our
journalists to increase their knowledge and become better
professionals even if most of the time, despite the agreements
adopted by the Party on the information policy, they cannot access
the information timely nor contact the cadres and experts involved
with the issues in question. The combination of these elements
explains the rather common dissemination of boring, improvised or
Our media has an important contribution to make to the promotion
of the national culture and the revival of the civic values of our
Another crucial issue very closely related to the updating of the
Economic and Social Model of the country and that should help in its
materialization is the celebration of a National Party Conference.
This will reach conclusions on the modification of the Party working
methods and style with a view to ensure, for today and for the
future, the consistent application of article 5 of the Constitution
of the Republic setting forth that the Party is the organized
vanguard of the Cuban nation and the top leading force of the
society and the State.
Initially, we had planned to call that Conference for December
2011; however, given the complications inherent to the last month of
the year and the advisability of having a prudent reserve of time to
adjust details, we are planning to hold that meeting at the end of
Last December 18, I explained to the Parliament that due to the
inefficiency of the Government Organs in the discharge of their
functions, the Party had spent years involved in undertakings that
were not its responsibility, and compromised and limited its role.
We are convinced that the only thing that can make the Revolution
and Socialism fail in Cuba, risking the future of our nation, is our
inability to overcome the mistakes we have been making for more than
five decades and the new ones we could make.
The first thing we should do to correct a mistake is to
consciously admit it in its full dimension but the fact is that,
although from the early years of the Revolution Fidel made a clear
distinction between the roles of the Party and the State, we were
inconsistent in the follow-up of his instructions and simply
improvised under the pressure of emergencies.
There can be no better example than what the leader of the
Revolution said as early as March 26, 1962, by radio and television,
explaining to the people the methods and functioning of the
Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas (ORI), which preceded the
Party. He said: "…the Party leads, it leads through the entire
Party and it leads through the public administration. An official
must have authority. A minister must have authority; a manager must
have authority and discuss as much as necessary with the Advising
Technical Council (today, the Board of Directors), discuss with the
working masses, discuss with the Party cell, but it is the manager
who makes the decision, because it is his responsibility…" This
orientation dates back 49 years.
There are very well defined concepts that, in substance, remain
completely valid regardless of the time that has passed since Lenin
formulated them, almost 100 years ago, and they should be taken up
again, bearing in mind the characteristics and experiences of our
In 1973, during the preparations of the First Party Congress, it
was defined that the Party must lead and supervise with its own ways
and means, which are different from the ways, means and resources
available to the State for exercising its authority. The Party’s
guidelines, resolutions and provisions are not legally binding for
all citizens; it is the Party members who should abide by them as
their conscience dictates since there is no apparatus to force or
coerce them into complying. This is a major difference about the
role and methods of the Party and the State.
The fortitude of the Party basically lies in its moral authority,
its influence on the masses and the trust of the people. The action
of the Party is based, above all, on the honesty of its motives and
the justice of its political line.
The fortitude of the State lies in its material authority, which
consists of the strength of the institutions responsible for
demanding from everyone to comply with the legal regulations it
The damage caused by the confusion of these two concepts is
manifested, firstly, in the deterioration of the Party’s political
work and, secondly, in the decline of the authority of the State and
the Government as the officials cease feeling responsible for their
The idea is to forever relieve the Party of activities completely
alien to its nature as a political organization; in short, to get
rid of managing activities and to have each one do what they are
meant to do.
These misconceptions are closely linked to the flaws of the
Party’s policy with the cadres, which will also be analyzed by the
abovementioned National Conference. More than a few bitter lessons
are the legacy of the mistakes made in this area due to the lack of
rigorous criteria and vision which opened the way to the hasty
promotion of inexperienced and immature cadres, pretending otherwise
through simulation and opportunism, attitudes fostered by the wrong
idea that an unspoken premise to occupy a leading position was to be
a member of the Party or the Young Communist League.
We must decidedly abandon such practice and leave it only for
responsibilities in the political organizations. Membership in a
political organization should not be a precondition for holding a
leading position with the State or the Government. What the cadres
need are adequate training and the willingness to recognize as their
own the Party policy and program.
The true leaders do simply not crop up in schools or from
favoritism; they are forged at the grassroots level, working in the
profession they studied in contact with the workers and rising
gradually to leadership by setting an example in terms of sacrifices
In this regard, I think that the Party leadership, at all levels,
should be self-critical and adopt the necessary measures to prevent
the reemergence of such tendencies. This is also applicable to the
lack of systematic work and political will to secure the promotion
of women, black people and people of mixed race, and youths to
decision-making positions on the basis of their merits and personal
It’s really embarrassing that we have not solved this problem in
more than half a century. This shall weight heavily on our
consciences for many years because we have simply been inconsistent
with the countless orientations given by Fidel from the early days
of the revolutionary victory and throughout the years, and also
because the solution to this disproportion was contained in the
agreements adopted by the transcendental First Party Congress and
the four congresses that followed. Still, we have failed to ensure
The solution of such issues that define the future will never
again be left to spontaneity but rather to foresight and to the
unwavering political intention of preserving and perfecting
socialism in Cuba.
Although we kept on trying to promote young people to senior
positions, life proved that we did not always make the best choice.
Today, we are faced with the consequences of not having a reserve of
well-trained replacements with sufficient experience and maturity to
undertake the new and complex leadership responsibilities in the
Party, the State and the Government, a problem we should solve
gradually, in the course of five years, avoiding hasty actions and
improvisations but starting as soon as the Congress is over.
This will advance further with the strengthening of the
democratic spirit and collective work of the leading Party, State
and Government organs as we guarantee the systematic rejuvenation of
all of the Party and management positions, from the grassroots to
the comrades with the highest responsibilities, including the
current President of the Council of State and Ministers and the
First Secretary of the Central Committee elected in this Congress.
In this regard, we have reached the conclusion that it is
advisable to recommend limiting the time of service in high
political and State positions to a maximum of two five-year terms.
This is possible and necessary under the present circumstances,
quite different from those prevailing in the first decades of the
Revolution that was not yet consolidated when it had already become
the target of continuous threats and aggressions.
The systematic strengthening of our institutions will be both a
premise and an indispensible guarantee to prevent this cadre
renovation policy from ever jeopardizing the continuation of
Socialism in Cuba.
The first step we are taking in this direction is the substantial
reduction of the list of leading positions that required approval
from the municipal, provincial and national levels of the Party
while empowering senior leaders in the ministries and companies to
appoint, replace and apply disciplinary measures to a large part of
their subordinated cadres with the assistance of the corresponding
Cadres Commissions, where the Party is represented and has a voice
but which are presided by the manager who makes the final decision.
The view of the Party organization is appreciated but the single
determining element is the manager, and we should preserve and
enhance their authority in harmony with the Party.
As to the internal functioning of the Party, which will also be
examined at the National Conference, we think it is worthwhile
reflecting on the self-defeating effects of old habits completely
alien to the Party’s vanguard role in our society. These include the
superficiality and excessive formality characterizing the
political-ideological work; the use of obsolete methods and
terminology that ignore the instruction level of the Party members;
holding excessively long meetings and often during working hours
--which should be sacred, especially for the communists-- sometimes
with inflexible agendas dictated by the higher level in disregard of
the context where the Party members develop their activities; the
frequent calls to formal commemorations where still more formal
speeches are made; and, the organization of voluntary works on
holydays without a real content or adequate coordination that cause
spending and have an upsetting and discouraging effect on our
These criteria also apply to emulation, a movement that lost
through the years its capacity to mobilize the workers’ collectives
and became an alternative mechanism for distribution of moral and
material incentives not always justified with concrete results, and
in more than a few occasions gave rise to fraudulent information.
Additionally, the Conference will analyze the Party’s relations
with the Young Communist League and the mass organizations to break
with routine and schematic approaches and to allow each of them to
recover their raison d’être under the present conditions.
To sum up, comrades, the National Conference will focus on
enhancing the role of the Party as the main advocate of the
interests of the Cuban people.
The realization of this objective definitely requires a change of
mentality, avoiding formality and fanfare both in ideas and in
action; that is, to do away with the resistance to change based on
empty dogma and slogans and reach for the core of things as the
children of La Colmenita Theater Company brilliantly show in
the playwright "Abracadabra."
It’s the only way in which the Communist Party of Cuba can
become, for all times, the worthy heir to the authority and
unlimited confidence of the people in their Revolution and their
only Commander in Chief, comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, whose moral
contribution and undisputable leadership do not depend on any
position and that as a soldier of ideas has not ceased to fight and
help with his enlightening Reflections and other actions the
revolutionary cause and the defense of Humanity from menacing
With respect to the international situation, we shall use a few
minutes to assess the predicament of the world at this point in
There is no end in sight to the global economic crisis affecting
every nation because it is a systemic crisis. The powerful have
directed their remedies to protecting the institutions and
procedures that originated it and to depositing the terrible burden
of its consequences on the workers of their own countries, and
particularly of the underdeveloped countries. Meanwhile, the
climbing prices of foods and oil are pushing hundreds of millions of
people into destitute poverty.
The effects of climate change are already devastating and the
lack of political will of the industrial nations prevents the
adoption of urgent and indispensible action to avoid the
We live in a convulsive world where natural disasters follow one
another like the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan while the
United States wages wars of conquest in Iraq and Afghanistan that
have taken the lives of more than one million civilians.
Popular movements in Arab nations are uprising against corrupted
and oppressive governments allied with the United States and the
European Union. The unfortunate conflict in Libya, a nation
subjected to a brutal military intervention by NATO, has given that
organization a new pretext to go beyond its originally defensive
limits and expand worldwide the threats and war actions undertaken
to safeguard its geostrategic interests and access to petroleum.
Likewise, imperialism and the domestic reactionary forces connive to
destabilize other countries while Israel oppresses and massacres the
Palestinian people with complete impunity.
The United States and NATO include in their doctrines the
aggressive interventionism against the Third World countries aimed
at plundering their resources. They also impose to the United
Nations a double standard and use the media consortia in an
increasingly coordinated way to conceal or distort the events, as it
befits the world power centers, in a hypocritical mockery intended
to deceive the public opinion.
Despite its complex economic situation, our country maintains its
cooperation with 101 Third World nations. In Haiti, after 12 years
of intensive work saving lives, the Cuban healthcare personnel have
been working with admirable generosity, since January 2010,
alongside collaborators from other countries facing the situation
created by the earthquake and the cholera epidemic that ensued.
To the Bolivarian Revolution, and to comrade Hugo Chávez Frías,
we express our resolute solidarity and commitment, conscious of the
significance of the process undertaken by the fraternal Venezuelan
people for Our America, in the Bicentennial of its Independence.
We also share the hopes of the transformation movements in
various Latin American countries, headed by prestigious leaders who
represent the interests of the oppressed majorities.
We shall continue helping the integrationist processes of the
Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the South
Union (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean
States (CLACS) currently involved in arrangements for the
celebration of its foundational summit on July this year, in
Caracas. The establishment of this entity was the most extraordinary
institutional event in our hemisphere during the past century, since
for the first time all of the countries south of the Rio Bravo were
meeting on our own.
We are encouraged by this increasingly united and independent
Latin America and the Caribbean, whose solidarity we appreciate.
We shall continue advocating International Law and supporting the
principle of sovereign equality among the States as well as the
right of the peoples to self-determination. We reject the use of
force and aggression, the wars of conquest, the plundering of the
natural resources and the exploitation of man.
We condemn every form of terrorism, particularly State terrorism.
We shall defend peace and development for all peoples and fight for
the future of humanity.
The US Administration has not changed its traditional policy
aimed at discrediting and ousting the Revolution. On the contrary,
it has continued to fund projects designed to directly promote
subversion, foster destabilization and interfere in our domestic
affairs. The current administration has taken some positive but
extremely limited actions.
The US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba
remains in force and intensifies under the current administration,
particularly with respect to financial transactions. It ignores the
almost unanimous condemnation of the blockade by the international
community that for 19 consecutive years has advocated its removal.
Although apparently, as evidenced in the recent visit to the
Palacio de La Moneda in Santiago de Chile, the United States leaders
do not like to remember history when dealing with the present and
the future, it is worthwhile indicating that the Cuba blockade is
not something of the past. Therefore, it is our obligation to recall
the content of a secret memorandum, declassified in 1991, where
Deputy Undersecretary of State for Inter American Affairs Lester D.
Mallory wrote on April 6, 1960: "Most Cubans support Castro…There
is no effective political opposition (…) The only possible way to
make the government lose domestic support is by provoking
disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction
and hardships (…) Every possible means should be immediately used to
weaken the economic life (…) denying Cuba funds and supplies to
reduce nominal and real salaries with the objective of provoking
hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government."
Mark the date of the memorandum: April 6, 1960, almost an exact
year to the day of the Playa Girón invasion.
This memorandum was not an initiative of that official. It was
part of the policy aimed at overthrowing the Revolution, like the
"Covert Action Program against the Castro Regime," approved by
President Eisenhower on March 17, 1960, using all the available
means, from the creation of a unified opposition, psychological
warfare and covert intelligence operations to the training in third
countries of paramilitary forces with the capacity to invade the
The United States fostered terrorism in the cities, and that same
year, before the Playa Girón attack, promoted the establishment of
counterrevolutionary armed-gangs, supplied by air and sea, that
robbed and murdered peasants, workers and young teachers, until they
were finally annihilated in 1965.
In Cuba, we will never forget the 3,478 dead and 2,099
incapacitated by the policy of State terrorism.
Half a century of hardships and suffering have gone by in which
our people have put up a resistance and defended their Revolution,
unwilling to surrender or to besmirch the memory of the fallen in
the past 150 years, from the onset of our struggles for
The US government has not ceased to give sanctuary and to protect
notorious terrorists while extending the suffering and unfair
incarceration of the heroic Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters.
Its Cuba policy lacks credibility and moral basis. In order to
justify it, baseless pretexts are used, which grow obsolete and then
change depending on Washington’s interests.
The US government should not have doubts that the Cuban
Revolution will be stronger after this Congress. If they want to
cling on to their policy of hostility, blockade and subversion we
are prepared to continue to face it.
We reiterate our willingness to engage in a dialogue and to take
on the challenge of having normal relations with the United States
as well as to coexist in a civilized manner, our differences
notwithstanding, on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference
in the internal affairs.
At the same time, we will permanently give a priority to defense,
following Fidel’s instructions as expressed in his Central Report to
the First Congress, when he said: "While imperialism exists, the
Party, the State and the people will pay utmost attention to
defense. The revolutionary guard will never be careless. History
teaches with too much eloquence that those who forget this principle
do not survive the mistake."
In the present scenario and predictable future, the strategic
conception of "the Popular War" remains absolutely valid, thus it is
constantly enriched and improved. Its commanding and leadership
system has been reinforced and its capacity to react to various
exceptional situations has increased.
The defensive capacity of the country has reached a higher
dimension, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Using our own
available resources, we have improved the technical condition and
maintenance as well as the preservation of the armament and carried
on the production effort and especially the modernization of the
military technology taking into account its prohibitive world market
prices. In this area, it is fair to recognize the contribution of
scores of military and civilian institutions, proof of the enormous
scientific, technological and productive potential created by the
The degree of preparation of the national territory as the
theater of military operations has been significantly boosted; the
fundamental armament is protected, the same as a substantial part of
the troops, the commanding organs and the people.
A communication infrastructure has been established to ensure the
steady functioning of the commanding posts at all levels. All of the
material reserves have been raised with better distribution and
The Revolutionary Armed Forces, or put another way, the people in
uniform shall continue to constantly improve and preserve the
authority and prestige earned with their discipline and order in the
defense of the people and of Socialism.
We shall now deal with another no less significant issue of our
The Party must be convinced that beyond material needs and
cultural interests our people hold a diversity of concepts and ideas
about their own spiritual necessities.
Our National Hero José Martí, a man who synthesized that
convergence of spirituality and revolutionary sentiments, wrote many
pages about this subject.
Fidel addressed this topic quite early, in 1954, when still in
jail he evoked Renato Guitart, one of the martyrs of the Moncada:
"Physical life is ephemeral; it inexorably passes; the same as many
and many generations of men have passed, as our own lives will
shortly pass. This truth should teach every human being that the
immortal values of the spirit stand above them. What is the meaning
of life without the spirit? What is life then? How can death take
those that understand this and still generously sacrifice their
lives to good and justice!"
These values have always been present in his ideas, and so he
insisted on them in 1971, at a meeting with catholic priests in
Santiago de Chile: "I tell you that there are ten thousand times
more coincidences of Christianity with Communism than there might be
And, he returned to this idea as he addressed the members of the
Christian churches in Jamaica in 1977. He said: "We must work
together so that when the political idea succeeds the religious idea
is not separate and does not appear as the enemy of changes. There
are no contradictions between the purposes of religion and the
purposes of socialism."
The unity of the revolutionary doctrine and ideas with regards to
faith and its followers is rooted in the basis of the nation, which
in asserting its secular nature promoted as an unwavering principle
the unity of the spirituality with the Homeland bequeathed by Father
Felix Varela and the teachings of Luz y Caballero, who categorically
said: "I would chose to see the fall of not only the institutions
created by man –kings and emperors—but even the stars from the
firmament rather than see falling from the human breast the
sentiment of justice; that sun of the moral world."
In 1991, the 4th Party Congress agreed to modify the
interpretation of the statutes that limited the admission to our
organization of revolutionaries with religious beliefs.
The justice of this decision has been confirmed by the role of
leaders and representatives of various religious institutions in the
different facets of the national life, including the struggle for
the return to our Homeland of the child Elián, in which the Cuba
Council of Churches played a particularly outstanding role.
However, it is necessary to continue eradicating any prejudice
that prevents bringing all Cubans together, like brothers and
sisters, in virtue and in the defense of our Revolution, be them
believers or not, members of Christian churches; including the
Catholic Church, the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, the
evangelicals and protestant churches; the same as the Cuban
religions originated in Africa, the Spiritualist, Jewish, Islamic
and Buddhist communities, and fraternal associations, among others.
The Revolution has had gestures of appreciation and concord with
each of them.
The unforgettable Cintio Vitier, that great poet and writer, who
was a deputy to our National Assembly, used the force of his pen and
of his Christian and deeply revolutionary ethic, so profoundly
rooted in Martí’s, to leave us warnings for the present and the
future that we should always remember.
Cintio wrote: "What is in danger, we know it, is the nation
itself. The nation is by now inseparable from the Revolution that
has been a part of it since October 10, 1868, and it has no other
alternative: it is either independent or it is no more.
"If the Revolution were defeated, we would fall in the historic
vacuum that the enemy wants for us and prepares for us, and that
even the most basic people perceive as an abyss.
"It is possible to arrive at defeat, we know, through the
intervention of the blockade, of internal decay, and the temptations
imposed by the new hegemonic situation in the world."
After stating that "We are at the most challenging time of our
history," he admonished: "Forced to fight the irrationality
of the world to which it fatally belongs; always threatened by the
sequels of dark age-old blights; implacably harassed by the most
powerful nation on Earth; and also a victim of imported or
indigenous blunders that history shows have never gone unpunished,
our small island constricts and dilates, systole and diastole, as a
glimmering of hope to itself and to others."
Now, we should address the recently concluded process of
releasing counterrevolutionary prisoners, those that in challenging
and distressing times for our Homeland have conspired against it at
the service of a foreign power.
By sovereign decision of our Government, they were released
before fully serving their sentences. We could have done it directly
and take credit for a decision that we made conscious of the
fortitude of the Revolution. However, we did it in the framework of
a dialogue based on mutual respect, loyalty and transparency with
the senior leadership of the Catholic Church, which contributed with
its humanitarian labors to the completion of this action in harmony;
in any case, the laurels correspond to that religious institution.
The representatives of the Catholic Church expressed their
viewpoints, not always coincidental with ours, but certainly
constructive. This is at least our perception after lengthy talks
with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and the Chairman of the Episcopalian
Conference Monsignor Dionisio García.
With this action, we have favored the consolidation of the most
precious legacy of our history and the revolutionary process: the
unity of our nation.
In the same token, we should mention the contribution of the
former minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, Miguel
Angel Moratinos, who facilitated the humanitarian efforts of the
Church so that those who wished to travel abroad or accepted the
idea could do so with their families. Others decided to remain in
We have patiently endured the implacable smear campaigns on human
rights, coordinated from the United States and some countries of the
European Union that demand from us no less than unconditional
surrender and the immediate dismantling of our socialist regime
while encouraging, orienting and assisting the domestic mercenaries
to break the law.
In this regard, it is necessary to make clear that we will never
deny our people the right to defend their Revolution. The defense of
the independence, of the conquests of Socialism and of our streets
and plazas will still be the first duty of every Cuban patriot.
Days and years of intensive work and great responsibilities lie
before us to preserve and develop, on solid and sustainable basis,
the independent and socialist future of our Homeland.
So far, the Central Report to the 6th Party Congress
Thank you, very much.