Raul Castro did NOT speak
Monday, 26 July 2010, 11:30 a.m.
By Aurelio Pedroso
Far from what was expected for the July 26 celebration, Cuban authorities did NOT announce new economic reforms and left "the study, analysis and decision-making in all sectors," to be continued.
The announcement was conveyed by Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, first vice president of the Council of State and Ministers, who served as principal speaker during the commemoration -- and not Raul Castro as many expected.
Another surprise was the absence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez currently mired in the tension of a possible military confrontation with its neighbor, Colombia. His place was taken by Ali Rodriguez Araque, Venezuela's vice president.
In Santa Clara's Ernesto Che Guevara Plaza, presided over by waving Cuban and Venezuelan flags as well as the emblematic red and black 26th of July Movement flag, Machado Ventura referred to the "unbreakable solidarity" with Venezuela, a "country which had every right to defend itself," adding, that they could "count with the firm backing of the Cuban people."
In reference to the pressing Cuban problems, Machado emphasized that the production of food, the handover of idle lands and the perfection of urban agriculture will continue as strategic projects. He also stressed the interest in saving fuel and the reduction in costs, the rationality of forces and means.
Machado made clear that actions would be without improvisations. "We will not be led by foreign media campaigns…we will proceed step by step at a rhythm decided by us," he said.
In his 25-minute speech he reiterated, "change whatever needs changing without foreign pressure." "… we will act without populist solutions, demagogic or misleading."
A great deal of the population expected the speech to be given by Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz. Many expected the announcement of certain changes to the island's economy, currently affected by low productivity, lack of capital, centralization and a bureaucratic power capable of putting the brakes on and/or halt actions that might improve it.
But Raul Castro did not speak and this silence creates certain questions amongst the island's population.
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