On December 17, the governments of the United States and Cuba announced an agreement establishing diplomatic relations and the release of three Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States.
The three Cubans arrived in Cuba on the early morning of December 17, joining their two comrades who had been released during the past fifteen months, having completed their unjust sentences. The return of the Cuban Five has provoked much happiness in Cuba. Arrested sixteen years ago, they had been Cuban agents who infiltrated terrorist groups in Miami for the purpose of obtaining information concerning their activities. Learning of this, the US government, instead of arresting the terrorists, arrested the Cuban agents. The trial of the Cuban Five in Miami, conducted in an atmosphere of media hysteria, violated the most fundamental principles of the US system of justice. When the Five conducted themselves with uncommon courage and dignity in the context of a very difficult situation, Fidel declared them to be national heroes, and their release became a national and international cause.
The Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people have long desired a normal relation with the United States. However, Cuba has insisted that relations be based on respect for its sovereignty and that no conditions be required for normal relations. In the context of the neocolonial world-system, in which the global powers engage in political interference and impose economic policies, the Cuban demand of respect for its sovereignty is audacious. Cuba ́s persistence in defense of its sovereignty in the face of the blockade imposed by its powerful neighbor to the North has earned it the respect and admiration of the peoples of the world.
The establishment of diplomatic relations in and of itself does not eliminate the economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which restricts trade with and travel to Cuba, although President Barack Obama indicates that these restrictions will be reduced. The blockade imposes obstacles to the economic development of Cuba, and therefore its elimination would be beneficial to Cuba. Cuba, however, will not accept any condition for the reduction or elimination of the blockade.
Cuba has stood firm in defense of an alternative vision of a world in which all nations are equal and sovereign, where each nation has the right to develop its own political-economic system in accordance with the needs of its people and its culture. Cuba has developed a political system of popular democracy, different from and more democratic than the representative democracy practiced in many nations of the world. Guided by this system of popular power, Cuba has sought to maintain control of its natural resources and to develop its human resources in a form that gives priority to the social and economic rights of the people. And Cuba has pursued a foreign policy based on cooperation with other nations and solidarity with the peoples of the world.
As Cuba enters into a new period of diplomatic relations with the United States, it will persist in demanding an end to the unjust blockade, condemned by the nations and peoples of the world, and in insisting upon its right to be a sovereign nation.
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