What President Castro Thinks About What President Obama Has Done... And Still Needs To Do

Excerpts Of Remarks by H.E. Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, during the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held on Margarita Island, in Venezuela

September 17, 2016

Esteemed compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Heads of state and government; Esteemed ministers, delegates, and guests; Ladies and gentlemen:

Esteemed President Maduro,

Twenty-one months have passed since our simultaneous announcement with President Barack Obama of the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

There has been some progress, mostly in the diplomatic area and cooperation on issues of mutual interest, but the same cannot be said of the economic or commercial spheres due to the limited, albeit positive, scope of the measures so far adopted by the U.S. government.

Cuba will persevere with its demand to have the economic, commercial and financial blockade lifted, a blockade that brings so much damage and hardship to our people, and which also has a negative impact on many other countries due to its extraterritorial implementation. By the same token, Cuba will continue urging the return to our sovereignty of territory illegally occupied by the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo.

There will not be normal relations before this issue is resolved, and other policies harmful to Cuba’s sovereignty still in force are terminated, such as interventionist and subversive programs.

We reaffirm our disposition to engage the United States government in a civilized relationship, but Cuba will neither renounce any of its principles nor compromise on its sovereignty and independence. Cuba will not cease defending its revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals, or supporting the self-determination of all peoples.

Compañero Maduro,

We wish our sister Republic of Venezuela full success in the leadership of non-aligned nations. At the same time, we congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran on its good work during this past term at the head of the Movement.

Our only alternative given the enormous dangers and challenges we face is unity and solidarity, in defense of our common objectives and interests.

Thank you, very much.