This is reprinted from Granma International.
RAÚL AT 26TH OF JULY RALLY IN HOLGUIN
The resistance, organization and solidarity of our people has been demonstrated
HOLGUÍN, July 26.-General of the Army Raúl Castro, president of the Cuban Councils of State and Ministers, praised the attitude of the Cuban people following the devastating hurricanes of 2008, and affirmed the past months have truly been difficult ones of arduous work.
From one end of the country to the other, the Cuban people’s capacity for resistance, organization and solidarity has been demonstrated, he added.
Examples abound of how work should be done at this time; that was the attitude assumed by the people of Holguín after Hurricane Ike hit, and that’s how it was everywhere, he said. Many compañeros remained mobilized, far from home, even though their own families also were affected, he affirmed.
They trusted in the Revolution and fulfilled their duties, he reiterated.
Raúl highlighted the solidarity demonstrated in facing the hurricanes, and noted that it says a lot about our people how they welcomed into their homes neighbors whose homes were not safe given this type of adversity.
It is in those values that the Cuban people are educated, in genuine solidarity; they share what they have with their brothers and sisters, be they Cuban or from other lands, not their leftovers, and here, generally, nothing is left over, he added.
To the same extent, the Cuban people are grateful for the help, gestures of solidarity and support received from different parts of the world, he said, giving special recognition to the work of the interreligious foundation Pastors for Peace; its leader, the Reverend Lucius Walker, the members of the 20th U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan, and the Venceremos Brigade, now in its 40th year.
The damage to housing from the hurricane is a very serious affair, Raúl noted; in Holguín alone, close to 125,000 were affected, and about half have been recuperated.
Nationwide, when adding up all of the damages from the last three hurricanes and pending (work) from previous hurricanes, the total was more than 600,000 at the close of 2008. “That is why I warned that time was needed to resolve that situation,” he added.
It is significant that as of July 20, some 43 percent of the losses had been resolved; in other words, more than 260,000 homes, he said, adding that nevertheless, “there is a large amount of work still to be done.”
It is necessary to prevent those enormous figures from accumulating again in the future, taking into account that because of climate change, scientists predict that hurricanes may grow more intense and more frequent, he said.
Likewise, work is underway to be able to prevent and deal with the effects of recurring periods of drought through diverse measures such as water pipelines, including from one province to another, Raúl said.
Great responsibility has fallen on Holguín, because it is a large province with more than one million inhabitants and a large impact on the economy, and the selection of that province as the venue (for the national 26th of July celebration) was a reward for the efforts and work carried out, he said.
“We congratulate the men and women of Holguín, Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez, first secretary of the PCC in the province in those difficult times, and in previous years, which were also ones of intense work, and Jorge Cuevas Ramos, now first secretary (of the Party) in Holguín,” he added.
He also congratulated the provinces that won the title of “outstanding” but “without ignoring the efforts made by all”; the compatriots of Pinar del Río and the Isle of Youth who faced extremely severe damages, and the people of Camagüey and Las Tunas; in particular, the residents of Santa Cruz del Sur and Guayabal, where there were severe damages, and in some cases total destruction.
In his speech, the second secretary of the Party referred to economic issues, such as the current construction of hydraulic works, and emphasized the need to make the land productive.
“There is the land, and here are the Cuban people; let us see if we produce or not. There is no other option but to make it produce,” he said, referring to the same issue addressed two years ago in Camagüey on a day like this one.
“We cannot sit by if there is a single hectare that is not being utilized, waiting to be worked,” and he reiterated that land unfit for cultivating crops should be used for planting trees.
Raúl announced important meetings in the coming days, including one of the Council of Ministers, to analyze a second round of budget cuts in face of the international financial crisis; a plenum of the Party’s Central Committee and the sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power, which will discuss, among other things, a proposed law for the General Comptroller of the Republic. (AIN)
Translated by Granma International