"To our friends in Latin America and the world, we say: 'The Cuban Revolution will win!'" German Hermin Ferras Alvarez, director of the Asia-Oceania region of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, told a public meeting on May 3. The meeting of about 100 people was hosted by the Maritime Union of Australia and sponsored by the Australia Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS).
"Thank you all for your solidarity with Cuba," he said. "It is a source of inspiration to us to receive solidarity from this far-away part of the world.
"A year ago, the Cuban Communist Party held its Seventh Congress, the last time Fidel Castro was able to participate. The congress carried resolutions dealing with the economic and social progress of the country.
"We haven't abandoned any of the principles of the Cuban Revolution. We continue to provide free health care; free education from pre-school to university level; and social security for all our people.
"We are taking firm steps to improve the standard of living of the people, and to overcome difficulties. Sometimes it may seem we are not moving quickly enough, but we are determined to go forward.”
Alvarez admitted moves to re-establish and normalise relations with the US are proving a long and difficult process.
"The fundamental points we call for are: Cessation of the economic and financial blockade of Cuba; return of the Guantanamo Bay territory to Cuba; and an end to the financing of subversion against our country.”
He said Cuba continued to support every revolutionary movement on the planet, including the Latin American left.
“In particular,” he said, “we support the progressive governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and the left forces in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
"There is currently a strong imperialist attack against the left in Latin America and worldwide. But we believe the international left can recover and revive.
"For this to succeed, we need left unity. The struggle is far from easy, but as Fidel said: 'Truth and ideas are indestructible’.
"Cuba has survived, thanks in no small part to international solidarity. Together, we can go forward."