By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 26 — Cuba’s VP Jose Ramon Machado Ventura was once again the keynote speaker at the event commemorating the most important date on the official Cuban calendar, July 26th.
The date recalls the Fidel Castro-led attacks on the Moncada and Cespedes garrisons back in 1953, which sparked the Cuban revolution that triumphed five and a half years later.
For the second consecutive year President Raul Castro was only a spectator at the event, held this time between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. Tuesday in Ciego de Avila.
In previous years, Fidel Castro or Raul Castro had made the date a time for long speeches recalling the heroic action and outlining the challenges facing the nation.
Machado Ventura emphasized in his speech the slogan of this year’s July 26: “Obedience, Discipline and Demands”, attitudes that he noted are needed to carry out the reforms underway in the country to revitalize the crisis-battered economy and socialism.
“Our people have made this process theirs because they saw a clear and courageous explanation of the main problems facing the country with a realistic perspective on how to confront them,” said Machado.
He added, “We must fully comply with the orientations of comrade Raul, so that what we agreed upon [at the Communist Party Congress in April] does not become a paper that sleeps in some office drawer.”
The VP said that the program to turn over idle lands to farmers continues advancing. However he noted that “weaknesses persist in the process of contracting and marketing the products.” Machado further said that “in general, there are many reserves to exploit in farm production.”
Cuba has been importing well over half of its foodstuffs, an unsustainable situation without the hard currency to make the purchases.
Machado reiterated a frequent used party line saying, “It is indispensible to eliminate waste and superfluous spending.” This includes the government effort to cut back on subsidized products sold to the population.
The politician also noted that the Communist Party “is working on documents that will be discussed at the National Party Conference to take place in six months.” That conference is expected to address numerous issues of life in Cuba that go beyond the economy, the sole topic of the recent party congress.
Machado further said: “We speak clearly to the people. You can rest assured that we are moving forward without hurry, but without pause.”
Another topic of his address was “the advance of progressive forces in the hemisphere.” He gave as an example “the upcoming taking of office of Ollanta Humala on July 28 as the president of Peru.”
Near the closing Machado said: “Before urging or beginning a task, it’s necessary to inform the people and explain the reasons involved, until these are understood by all or at least the majority of those who must carry them out.”
See Machado Ventura’s complete speech in Spanish.
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