ISLAMABAD, JAN 02 (DNA) -On the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution, National Day of the Republic of Cuba, it is an honor for me to address the Pakistani people.Just a few months ago, the powerful hurricane Irma hit Cuba hard, with the destruction of more than 179,000 houses and damages to health, education, tourism, and communications facilities, and for the first time, the national electric power system was paralyzed.
The results achieved in the rapid recovery after the passage of this strong hurricane, especially in the supply of electricity and water, are a sign of our strength and unity.
In the economic field, we have shortcomings, but our people work hard to overcome them. Cuba has today the lowest infant mortality rate in its history, with a prevalence of 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth has reached a general average of 78.45 years, it has continued to grow; and now stands at 80.45 years for women and 76.50 years for men. The maternal mortality rate has been reduced from 42.6 to 38.0 deaths per 100,000 live births. Likewise, as a result of the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, in the last three years the mortality rates due to this disease have stopped growing.
For the year 2018, the plan of our economy has foreseen a growth of 2%, a little superior to 2017. Particular attention will be paid to the investments associated with the development of infrastructures and the strengthening of foreign currency income, among them, tourism, whose activity reached 4 million 700 000 visitors and is expected to achieve 5 million in 2018, works in the Mariel Economic Development Zone, rail transport, renewable sources, support to electricity, food production to meet national demand and for the tourism; as well as the sustainability of the basic sectors to the people such as health, education, culture, passenger transport, among others.
Between 2014 and 2016 it was demonstrated that Cuba and the USA can try to build a new kind of relationship, based on respect and equality, which at the same time recognizes the existing differences, does not make them the center of our links, but rather essentially rests on the benefits they can bring to the two countries and peoples. However, as President Raul Castro said during the tenth regular session of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People ‘s Power and I quote: “In 2017 we have witnessed a serious and irrational setback in Cuba-US relations, of which our country is not responsible for “. He also referred to the resurgence of the blockade, the application of unjustified measures that affect both peoples and that undermine the rights and freedoms of both Cubans and Americans. He recalled that it is not Cuba that has established restrictions, nor that which has limited trade links, nor that which has damaged the operation of the Embassies, the exchanges and travel between both nations. The policy adopted by the new government of the United States is opposed by the international community and the American people, expressed in the United Nations vote against the Blockade. “Nor does it have the support of Cuban migration that is also affected, these decisions only respond to backward interests and policies,” he said. He also confirmed that Cuba is willing to continue negotiating pending bilateral issues, based on respect and independence. “The Revolution has withstood the onslaught of 11 administrations, and here we are and we will be free, sovereign and independent,” he said.
Although geographically distant, the bilateral relations between Cuba and Pakistan are based on friendship and mutual aid, which is why they are becoming stronger every day and we try to stimulate and strengthen the still incipient economic-commercial relations, for the benefit of the two countries.Cuba thanks the Government and the people of Pakistan for the constant support received in the vote that is annually held in the General Assembly of the United Nations to demand the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America, still in force. and whose negative effects harm our economy and hinder the normal development of our country. On the financial side, Cuba continues to be unable to conduct international transactions in US dollars, which prevents us from advancing multiple and important future businesses.
On November 25, the first anniversary of the physical disappearance of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, whose legacy we hold, was commemorated throughout Cuba. We thank all Pakistani friends for the commemorative activities organized in Islamabad and for all the expressions of affection and solidarity towards our Commander in Chief.
I do not wish to conclude without first sending the most affectionate greetings to the Pakistani people who recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of their independence and who are striving every day to advance in their development for the enjoyment of the happiness and prosperity that they deserve in this new year 2018.