viernes, 31 de julio de 2009

Confronting challenges serenely and with more determination than ever

PRESIDED over by Raúl Castro Ruz, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), the 7th Plenum of the Communist Party of Cuba took place on July 29.The agenda of this important meeting included issues related to the functioning of the Party, defense, and immediate measures needed to confront the impact on our country of the economic crisis which is affecting all of humanity.Invited to the plenary were members of the Councils of State and Ministers, first secretaries of the PCC in the provinces, and cadres of the mass organizations who are not currently members of the Central Committee of the Party.


During the morning and part of the afternoon, participants in the meeting received full information on the extended meeting of the National Defense Council that took place last June 26.As it is known, the principal objective of that meeting was to take stock of actions undertaken from 2003-2008 to increase the country’s defense capacity, in line with agreements adopted by an extraordinary Plenum of the PCC on July 15, 2003, given the threat of aggression looming over the island and scenarios that could occur in the future.The extraordinary Plenum was convened at a moment of euphoria on the part of the U.S. administration over the rapid initial victory in Iraq, summed up in Bush’s "mission accomplished" speech, which he gave on the deck of an aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, and the proclamation 20 days later of a aggressive and arrogant plan against Cuba, including the appointment of "transition coordinator," as if nothing had changed since 1898, when the victory of the Cuban Mambi forces was stolen and a military governor installed.The results of the Bastión 2004 Strategic Exercise, the 5th Plenum of the Party’s Central Committee on July 1, 2006 and periodic visits to provinces and municipalities to assess progress on assigned tasks, confirmed that national defense achievements had exceeded expectations and moreover facilitated detailed projections of work for the next few years.A well-conceived policy and plans, in conjunction with systematic and cohesive work, were key to attaining the proposed objectives aimed at strengthening the country’s defense, based on the strategic concept of the War of All the People, drawn up by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, and which has steadily demonstrated its validity during the close to 30 years of its existence. It has given appropriate direction to the efforts and dedication of millions of compatriots, from the principal civilian and military cadres to the most modest citizen.Speaking on the subject, the second secretary of the Party affirmed that those positive results are the fruit of good work on the part of everyone and constitute a great experience. He recalled that since the disappearance of the USSR, the country has acquired very few armaments; efforts were directed at upgrading existing ones, thanks to the efforts of scientists, specialists and workers from both the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the economic sector. He noted the importance of continuing to strengthen the nation’s defense, taking into account its real economic possibilities.The Central Committee accordingly agreed to support all the conclusions reached and projects drawn up by the National Defense Council.In continuity with the work undertaken, the Bastión 2009 Strategic Exercise is to take place at the end of this year. The current plan is to carry out this important activity every four years. Thus, while it was initially planned for November 2008, it was decided after the hurricanes to postpone the exercise and concentrate on recovery tasks.


Marino Murillo Jorge, vice president of the Council of Ministers and minister of economy and planning, informed the plenum of the difficult situation confronting the national economy in the first six months of this year, given the combined impact of the world economic and financial crisis and damages stemming from the hurricanes in late 2008.He noted that this situation required an initial reduction of the annual plan in April, which downsized projected growth of the gross domestic product to 2.5%. He explained the central adjustments to be analyzed on July 30 by the Council of Ministers, which include further downsizing of 2009 economic growth, to 1.7%.He listed the premises to be met by economic activity up until the end of the year and particularly in 2010, which will be equally difficult. These include the decentralization of provisions for the goods and services that contribute the most income to the country, guaranteeing that every productive increase is linked to the reduction of imported goods, and the search for innovative formulas that will release productive potential.In reiterated comments, Raúl stated that we have not as yet managed to extend the solidness of our national defense to the equally important economic front, which is also essential to national security, given that while ideas chart the course, the reality of figures is decisive.He confirmed that the Revolution is determined to confront the serious negative effects of the complex situation of the world economy and those deriving from our own shortcomings.He emphasized the need to strengthen the Party, given its role in that crucial battle, and for controls to ensure that every agreement adopted is fulfilled; if not, they will turn into a dead letter. He noted the importance of every citizen understanding that the measures will be difficult and not at all pleasant, but they simply cannot be put off. "Our people know how to rise in the face of difficulties," he affirmed. When the population has been informed of these realities, they understand them better and take part consciously in solving problems. He gave as an example the situation produced by excess electricity consumption in the first few months of the year, and the rapid and positive reaction to the measures implemented.He warned that nobody, much less a leader, has the right to shut themselves away in the narrow confines of his or her environment; everybody is obliged to think and contribute to the solution of the country’s problems.He pointed out that false unanimity is pernicious and debate and healthy disagreement must be encouraged, because the best solutions generally come out of such discussions. Ideological work must present sound arguments, propitiate an exchange of ideas and eliminate superfluity, bluster and simple repetition of slogans.He spoke of efforts underway to produce food for the people at a time when high prices persist on the international market and in order to be in a position to confront even more complex situations. He reiterated that this is an issue of maximum priority, given its direct impact on national security. "It is necessary to continue simultaneously waging the battle in the political, economic and defense terrains," he stated. He added that everything that has been attained in increasing the country’s defense capacity confirms that when appropriate measures are adopted and their execution is correctly controlled, results are obtained.He noted that the modest advances being obtained in production and services demonstrate the enormous existing reserves in our society that are still waiting to be exploited.He highlighted the importance of order and discipline, institutionalism, clear establishment of the duties and powers of every post and, above all, of convincing people of the need to work in order to satisfy their aspirations.The Plenum approved the report submitted by Marino Murillo, ratified the policy laid down by the Political Bureau and government on the decisive economic front, and reaffirmed the vital need to achieve the active and conscious participation of workers and all the people in their materialization.


In reference to holding the 6th Party Congress, Raúl argued that this cannot be just another event. He observed that, given the law of life, it will most probably be the last headed by the historical leadership of the Revolution.He added: "The things that we have been discussing are very serious matters. The principal issue is the economy, what we have done and what needs to be improved or even eliminated, because we are confronting the imperative of working out what the country really has at its disposal, how much we really have to live on and develop.""The first thing we have to do is finish preparing the Party, and then discuss everything with the people as a whole, and only then should we convene the Congress, when that whole process has concluded," he stated."If we want to have a real congress, one that is seeking solutions to problems and looking to the future, that’s the way we have to do it. It has to be the people, with their Party in the vanguard, who decide," Raúl affirmed.It was therefore agreed to postpone the 7th Party Congress until this crucial stage of prior preparation has been completed.
Translated by Granma International

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