Whereas US President Barack Obama expressed in his comments that it would be best not to dwell on the past and to look to the future, Raúl considers it his duty to remind the people of historic events, for in the past were created the structures that today shape our reality. This perspective of history forming the present is expressed by Fidel, quoted by Raúl: “The fundamental causes (of global conflicts) are poverty and underdevelopment, and the unequal distribution of wealth and knowledge that prevails in the world. It cannot be forgotten that present underdevelopment and poverty are a consequence of the conquest, colonization, enslavement, and plundering of a great part of the Earth by the colonial powers, the emergence of imperialism, and the bloody wars that seek a new distribution of the world. Humanity ought to gain consciousness of what we have been and what we are not able to continue being. Today our species has acquired sufficient knowledge, ethical values and scientific resources to march toward an historic stage of true justice and humanism. Nothing of what exists today in the political-economic order serves the interests of humanity. It cannot be sustained. One must change it” (italics added).
Accordingly, Raúl reviewed basic historic facts that are well-known in Cuba, but not in the United States: the expressed desire of US political leaders to add Cuba to its empire in 1800; the Monroe Doctrine; Manifest Destiny; the territorial expansion of the United States; the organization of a war of Cuban independence by José Martí, and his founding of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in order to lead the nation toward the establishment of a Republic “with all and for the good of all;” Martí's concern that the United States would seek to dominate the Caribbean and Latin America; the US military intervention of 1898; the Platt Amendment to the Cuban Constitution, granting the United States authorization to intervene in Cuba; the establishment of the Guantanamo Naval Base; the penetration of US capital in Cuba; and US military interventions and support for cruel dictatorships in Cuba and Latin America.
Raúl maintains that, in reaction to six decades of US domination of the Republic, the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, and it initiated a stage of full sovereignty for Cuba, with the support of the Cuban people, who have paid a very high price. In 1961, recognizing wide support of the Cuban Revolution by the Cuban people, the United States organized an invasion of mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs, with the intention of establishing a beachhead on which would be placed an alternative counterrevolutionary government, which would have asked for and received US military assistance, and which would have been recognized by OAS. However, the invading mercenary force was completely overcome by Cuban popular militias in seventy-two hours.
Continuing his review of Cuban history, Raúl observes that in 1962 the United States initiated an economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, with the intention of provoking the hunger and desperation of the Cuban people, thus stimulating a popular overthrow of the revolutionary government. The blockade has had terrible consequences for the people; it has provoked shortages of necessities, and it has placed significant obstacles on the development of the Cuban economy. But it also accelerated the revolutionary process, and it has increased the resistance of the people, so that patriotic convictions have prevailed. The blockade constitutes a violation of International Law, and it has been rejected nearly unanimously by the nations of the world.
Raúl also noted that, beginning at the end of 1959 and continuing until 1965, the United States sponsored and organized armed groups that operated in the mountainous regions of Cuba.
Subsequently, Raúl observes, there emerged the external debt and the imposition of a savage neoliberalism, representing a new stage of imperialism. In this context emerged the US proposal for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, which “would have destroyed the economy, the sovereignty and the common destiny of our nations, if it had not been shipwrecked in 2005 in Mar del Plata by the leadership of Presidents Chávez, Kirchner, and Lula.” A year earlier, Chávez and Fidel had established an alternative to the FTAA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
Raúl criticizes the reigning financial speculation, the privileges of the Bretton Woods institutions, and the unilateral removal of the dollar from standard convertibility into gold. He calls for a more transparent and equitable international financial system.
Raúl maintains that the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are constructing a better international order, based on International Law and the rights of all nations to self-determination and equal sovereignty; the development of mutually beneficial ties; and the right of each nation to develop its own political-economic-social-cultural system. The nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) reject interference in the internal affairs of nations in the pursuit of particular interests; they are developing an alternative way of cooperation, seeking to serve the interests of all of the nations of the region.
Raúl also affirmed support for Venezuela, maintaining it cannot possibly be a threat to a superpower like the United States, and he called for the rescinding of Obama’s Executive Order. He declared support for Argentina in its claim for the recovery of the Malvinas Islands; and for Ecuador in its confrontation with transnational corporations that have caused ecological damage. In addition, he called for the independence of Puerto Rico, in accordance with the reports of the Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations.
Raúl asks why the two Americas, North and South, are not able to work together in the building of schools and hospitals and in the eradication of poverty. “Would we not be able,” he asks, “to diminish inequality in the distribution of wealth, to reduce infant mortality, to eliminate hunger, to eradicate preventable diseases, and to end illiteracy?”
Raul asserts, “Cuba will continue defending the ideas for which our peoples have struggled and have accepted the greatest sacrifices and risks, and it will continue defending the poor, the sick without medical attention, the unemployed, the children abandoned to their fate or forced to work or to prostitute themselves, the hungry, the discriminated, the oppressed, and the exploited that constitute the immense majority of the world population."
Following Raúl's passionate address, Cristina Fernández, President of Argentina, proclaimed that Cuba is today included in the Summit of the Americas, after years of exclusion, as a result of the struggle of the Cuban people, and because the Cuban leadership has never betrayed the people’s struggle. The following day, Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, observed that Cuba will never betray the people of Latin America.