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Posted February 26, 2008 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Key address by Comrade Raul Castro Ruz, President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers at the closing session of the First Session of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power. Convention Center. Havana, February 24 2008, “Year 50th of the Revolution”
Comrades:

As comrade Fidel alerted us in his fundamental Reflection of last January 14th, the people’s mandate to this legislature is very clear: to continue strengthening the Revolution at a historical juncture which demands from us to be dialectic and creative.

The composition of the State Council, which has just been elected by this Assembly, raised much expectation both in Cuba and abroad. The most significant was clarified by comrade Fidel in his Message of February 18th. There is very little that I can add to what he said except to express to our people, on behalf of the Revolution’s Leadership, our appreciation for the innumerable expressions of serenity, maturity, self-assurance, and the combination of genuine sadness and revolutionary determination.

I take on the responsibility entrusted to me deeply convinced that, as I have often said, there is only one Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution.

Fidel is Fidel; we all know it very well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people shall continue his work when he is no longer physically with us; although his ideas will always be with us, the same ideas that have made it possible to build the beacon of dignity and justice our country represents.

The Communist Party, a sure guarantee of the unity of the Cuban nation, is the sole worthy heir to our people’s confidence in its leader. It is the top leading force of our State and society as provided in Article 5 of our Constitution approved by referendum by exactly 97.7% of the voters.

This conviction shall become especially significant when as a fact of life the generation that founded and forged the Revolution is no longer present.

Fortunately, it is not that moment we are living today. Fidel is here, as always, with a very clear mind and his capacity to analyze and foresee perfectly intact and strengthened now that he can dedicate to studying and analyzing the countless hours he previously used to tackle the daily problems.

Despite his steady recovery, his physical condition will not allow him those endless working sessions—often separated by hardly a few hours of rest—that characterized his work practically from the moment he started the revolutionary struggle, the same that grew in intensity through the long years of the Special Period when he did not take one single day off.

Comrade Fidel’s decision, a new contribution enhancing his example, ensures as from now the continuity of the Revolution and is perfectly consistent with a life guided by Martí’s precept that: “All the glory of the world fits in a kernel of corn.”

Likewise, his determination is unchangeable with regards to his decision to continue making his contribution to the revolutionary cause and to the most noble ideas and objectives of mankind, while he has the strength to do so.

Therefore, with the certainty that I am expressing the will of our people, I appeal to this Assembly, as the supreme body of the State power, to allow me to continue consulting with the maximum leader of the Revolution, comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, the decisions of special transcendence for the future of our nation, basically those associated to defense, foreign policy and the socioeconomic development of the country.

For this and for many other reasons, I shall rather often today quote some of the fundamental ideas and concepts expressed by him in his Reflections. I avail myself of this occasion to say that we should study them for they are educational and they show his capacity to look into the future. We should always bear in mind something that Raul Roa liked to say to those close to him: “Fidel hears the grass growing and sees what is happening around the corner.”

Comrade Deputies:

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on February 26, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I welcome comments about the new Raul Castro era in Cuba here.

    Read his acceptance speech and post your thoughts.

    After reading the speech and digesting the fact that the Fidelista Machado was selected as VP, I am very disappointed in the current state of Cuba and have lost hope for any meaningful changes in Cuba in the near future.

    In fact, I am now afraid that things will have to get worse before they get better in Cuba and I again believe that there is a real possibility that there will be chaos in Cuba after the death of Fidel.

    Raul wants to consult Fidel and rely on Fidel’s image for his support so when Fidel dies, so does Raul’s meaningfulness. Raul had the chance to step out and be his own man but he is openly Fidel’s puppet like so many others in the Cuban government. This decision only strengthens the meaningfulness of Fidel rather than to dilute it and create a new future for Cuba.

    This speech was light on hope and simply sounded like a CEO addressing his shareholders. The only problem is the employees don’t care about the CEO or the shareholders and don’t want to work harder or more efficiently for a crappy bump in pay or living standards. Maybe it’s time for all the employees to quit. Sounds like they are better off with their moonlighting jobs anyway.

    Raul does not give the impression that he is a leader, motivator or great man. He makes it clear that he will defer to Fidel so the stage is set for a good cop/bad cop type of regime where Raul says he wants to make changes but Fidel won’t allow it and tomorrow is the same old shit in Cuba just like today and just like yesterday and just like any day going back for years and years.

    Raul had the chance to be a great leader by bringing in Carlos Lage as VP instead he went the other way and is playing puppet to Fidel.

    Havana Journal Inc. owns RaulCastro.com and has pointed it to this page. So, if you have anything you would like to say to President Raul Castro or to anyone who might type in RaulCastro.com, post your comments here.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 27, 2008 by nacho with 111 total posts

    “This speech was light on hope and simply sounded like a CEO addressing his shareholders. The only problem is the employees don’t care about the CEO or the shareholders and don’t want to work harder or more efficiently for a crappy bump in pay or living standards. Maybe it’s time for all the employees to quit. Sounds like they are better off with their moonlighting jobs anyway”

    Wow what a summary, my feelings exactly…

    I wonder however if the appointment of Machado and the comments about consulting Fidel was more of a damage limitation, saving face PR exercise that any show of will (or lack thereof).

    Keep in mind that the Cuban goverment believes in “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and viceversa so if Raul appears to be cozying up to reforms and friendly towards the West, it could spell problem for the newly annointed President

    I mean, everyone expected/hoped for some reforms, at least smallm because Raul is perceived as pragmatist or is allegedly more open than his dying brother. Had Raul lived up to this reputation and announced a departure, however small, from Fidel’s guidelines it could have been political suicide in the rarefied political environment in Havana.

    Easy does it and Raul might have more up his sleeve that simply being the puppet. Well, I hope anyway


  3. Follow up post #3 added on February 27, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    i’ll put less weight on speeches and more on what actions he takes ....  think he knows he’s on a short time-lease to brign some improvements without setting the stage for chaos.  The feel i got fromt eh cubans i’ve talked to is tehy do want change/improvements but definitely do not want chaos because that would take what they do have and cherish - may not be much by our standards, but still a whole lot for them to lose.


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