HAVANA (Reuters) – On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, Communist Party leader Raul Castro blew up the Trump administration for failing to reconcile the island state with its intervention Latin America had returned.
FILE PHOTO: Cuba's President Raul Castro gives a speech during the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, December 21, 2017. Irene Perez / Courtesy of Cubadebate / Handout via Reuters.
Castro and his deceased elder brother Fidel Castro led the rebel gang that overthrew a US-backed dictator in 1959 and installed a communist-led country on the doorstep of the United States, staging decades of hostility to the Cold War.
At that time, their revolution inspired left-wing movements throughout Latin America, but celebrations on Tuesday took place as the region moved to the right, coinciding with the inauguration of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Some of Cuba's closest allies, Venezuela and Nicaragua, are in political crisis, and US President Donald Trump has tightened the US's decades-long embargo on the island after his predecessor Barack Obama tried to normalize relations.
"The North American government is again on the path of confrontation with Cuba," Castro said in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba, where Fidel Castro proclaimed victory six decades ago.
The speech of Castro, who resigned as president in April but remains chairman of the Communist Party until 2021, was part of a solemn sunset ceremony in a cemetery on which both Fidel Castro and independence hero Jose Marti are buried.
"Increasingly, high-ranking officials of this government are trying to … blame Cuba for all of the abuses in the region," he said, adding that instead they came from "reckless neoliberal policies."
Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton said in November that Washington would take a harder line against Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, calling it a "troika of tyranny." 19659004] Dressed in military coats and cap. Old Castro said on Tuesday that in six decades of the revolution, Cuba had proven that it could not be intimidated by threats. Instead, be open to peaceful and respectful togetherness.
Cuba's true battle this year was an economic struggle, he added, reiterating comments that his successor, President Miguel Diaz-Canel, had made in the National Assembly at the end of December, announcing a stronger austerity policy for the fourth year in a row had a money crisis
"First we have to reduce all unnecessary spending and save more," said Castro.
A decade ago, as President, he introduced a series of reforms aimed at liberalizing and stimulating the central planned economy. Nevertheless, it remains heavily state-dominated and tied up in bureaucracy.
A series of external shocks, such as the decline in assistance from Venezuela and the devastation caused by hurricanes, have also affected growth, which is at best sluggish.
Yet, the Cuban Revolution is on a secure footing thanks to the transition to a more competent younger generation of leaders, such as 58-year-old Diaz-Canel, Castro said.
"It is appropriate to express the fact that the Cuban Communist Party has resolutely supported the words and deeds of Diaz-Canel since taking office," Castro said.
"The revolution has not aged, it remains young," he said.
Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing: Jonathan Oatis