Monday, May 01, 2006

Fidel Castro: US Blockade is Doomed

Havana, May 1 (Prensa Latina) President Fidel Castro said Cuba has shed blood and done great sacrifices both at home and abroad, in inflicting a shameful defeat on the US longest blockade ever.

Addressing International Labor Day celebration, Fidel lauded full employment, strengthened national currency and a successful domestic economy that is sensitive to social demands.

"Thanks for the blockade because it has helped us grow and reach new heights," he said referring to economic measures that led to a decrease, from 90 to 30 percent, of the participation of the US dollar in the Cuban economy.

The Bush administration´s measures tightening the blockade in the past years, like hardening the travel restrictions on American citizens and Cuban-Americans, and limiting money remittances have backed fired, Fidel said.

"A rational centralization in the use of hard currency with supervised contracts and deals helped allowed for timely payments, fighting crime and corruption and easier access to more favorable financial terms," he added.

Fidel stressed the agreements with Venezuela under the terms of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) have signified a stride in the road towards regional unity and integration.

One of those accords is setting in motion huge refinery in the central city of Cienfuegos to refine Venezuelan oil, which he called a true example of brotherhood and solidarity.

The Cuban leader said that trade turnover between Havana and Caracas exceeded 3.17 billion dollars in 2005.

Unemployment declined to under two percent and hailed as a great educational success that the number of university professors is eight times higher than the number of students in that learning level in 1959.

The Cuban leader compared Cuba´s achievements to the US inability to send doctors to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Cuba, in contrast, will train 100,000 new doctors over 10 years, professionals who will be willing to go every where in the world because Cuban medicine schools also teach solidarity and humanism.

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