Cuban speaks on life under the US blockade

June 7, 1995

Cuban speaks on life under the US blockade

By Jim McIlroy

BRISBANE — Basilio Gutierrez, head of the Oceania and Asia section of ICAP (the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples), told a public meeting at the Trades and Labor Council building here on May 26, "We are making economic reforms, but we are not dismantling socialism".

Gutierrez was addressing a public meeting organised by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society on the theme: Under the blockade: Life in Cuba today.

"Cubans are a very revolutionary people, but we are running against the clock", he admitted. "There is a time limit for our reform program."

"This is not a tactical step, but a strategic plan: to preserve the option of socialism in Cuba until times are better in the future."

In all the economic changes, "We are determined to preserve the fundamentals: health, education and social security. We will protect the sectors that have no access to hard currency."

"The US doesn't want an independent country so close to its shores, as a 'bad example' for Latin America and the rest of the world", Gutierrez said.

"The final battle over the blockade will be within the US population, within the US Congress. "Already, some Congress members are in favour of normalisation of relations with Cuba."

"In the end, we will defeat the blockade. We will establish our right to an independent country", he said.

For now, "the main contribution Cuba can make to the Latin American revolution is to ensure its own survival."

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