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Overcoming the social Blockade

Overcoming the social Blockade

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MESSAGE FROM H.E. OLGA CHAMERO TRIAS

On the first of January, a victorious Revolution was finally able to lead the destiny of the Cuban nation. The revolutionary process finalized the struggle of the Cuban people for its real independence, which started with the Independence war against the Spanish, in 1868.{{more}} The road of socioeconomic transformation from an underdeveloped country, with a neocolonial political system, to a developing country, enjoying full sovereignty has not been easy. All these 51 years have been real challenge to the Cuban people who have proved their capacity to resist.

The Revolution brought to the Cuban people the elimination of illiteracy, an Agrarian Reform, Educational Reform, and a real transformation of the country. Also, free health care and Education were provided, and a very coherent and inclusive Social Security system implemented.

All this had been done in spite of the imposition of a Blockade that lasts till today, almost five decades. No country in contemporary history has withstood such a cruel economic and financial war, which touches and affects all aspects of the daily lives of Cubans.

During all these years, the Cuban economy has had to confront two important periods. The first one, to diversify the Cuban market when it depended fundamentally on our trade with the United States, and later on, the 90’s, the second one, when the Socialist Camp collapsed, an area with which we had extensive trade and important economic and financial interchanges. The actual international economic and financial crisis got us recovering from three successive hurricanes in 2008, where the Cuban economy lost 10 billion USD Dollars. In 2009, Cuba had to make two consecutive economic adjustments to cope with this crisis, but the social and economic pillars of our socialist System have not changed. On the other hand, Cuba works on the basis of a medium term planned economy, and by March 2010, we shall have the projection of our economy for 2011-2015.

We work on the facts that, if in a normal situation, the planning of the economy is necessary, in the international scenario in which we live today, it is more important than ever. The substitution of imports, the development to further stages of the suburban agriculture, together with new forms of land tenancy, which involved state and private land, cooperatives, private peasants and other forms of production will allow Cuba to reduce substantially its imports and to make its economy more efficient. In 2009 the Cuban Government has given 920 thousand hectares to 100 thousand new beneficiaries, which mean 54% of the total of those lands which were not cultivated.

In the area of foreign policy, last year Cuba completed its four year term as President of the Non Aligned Movement, handing it with major achievements to its new President, Egypt. On the other hand, in 2009, 41 Heads of State and 78 Ministers of Foreign Affairs visited Cuba, confirming the solidarity and international support that the Cuban Revolution receives. The condemnation of the blockade at the General Assembly of United Nation this year got an unprecedented support with the voting against the Blockade of 187 countries. Also, the Rio Group, the Non Aligned Movement, the ALBA Summits, as well as others international forums, saw the Blockade condemned.

I would like to take this opportunity to renew to the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines our appreciation for the solidarity and support that we always received from them, especially in the vital matter of repudiating the Blockade.

In 2010, new areas of cooperation will be open between my country and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Within the framework of the ALBA, new projects and initiatives will benefit the people of this country. In 2010, the Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown will be inaugurated, changing the face of Public health in the country, with the operation of such a high technological Centre. More Cuban Cooperants will work, together with the Vincentian Specialists, to make a reality several projects already identified by the Vincentian Government, including of course, the construction of the International Airport in Argyle.

May the friendship between Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines grow and consolidate in 2010. May Saint Vincent and the Grenadines people enjoy a prosperous and Happy New Year.

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