Addressing nearly 200,000 people during the main rally to commemorate July 26 in the eastern province of Holguin, the leader said that the Cuban people’s resilience, organization and solidarity have been present across the entire nation.

In particular, Raul stressed the efforts made by the people of Holguin to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ike. “Many people mobilized and they stayed away from their families and homes, even when their own houses were damaged. They trusted the Revolution and they did their duty,” he pointed out.

In highlighting the people’s solidarity, President Raul Castro recalled that many families received neighbours into their own houses to protect them. “These are the values of our people, they share what they have as brothers and sisters, not just with their compatriots but also with other peoples of the world,” he stated.

“The Cuban people also thank the assistance, support and solidarity offered by people from many nations,” he explained and recognized, in particular, the solidarity work carried out by the US Pastors for Peace, their leader, the Reverend Lucius Walker, the members of the 20th US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan, and representatives of the 40th contingent of the Venceremos Solidarity Brigade.

“The damage of the hurricanes in the housing sector was very serious. In Holguin alone, almost 125,000 houses were affected, of which half have been already repaired.

“Nationwide, if we add those affected in 2008 to others still waiting to be repaired due to damages caused by previous hurricanes, the total number at the end of 2008 was 600,000. That is why I warned that it would take time to solve this problem. By July 20th, 43% of the houses, that is, more than 260,000, had been repaired. However, there is still a lot of work to do,” the Cuban head of state explained.

“It is important that pending repair works do not pile up again because, due to climate change, scientists are predicting that hurricanes could be more frequent and devastating in the future,” Raul added.

The Cuban leader said that work is also being carried out to face the effects of drought including even the transfer of water from one province to another.

“We congratulate the people of Holguin and also Miguel Diaz Canel, former First Secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party (PCC) in the province, and the current PCC First Secretary, Jorge Cuevas Ramos,” he said.

Raul also congratulated other provinces with outstanding results in the past year, particularly the people of the easternmost province of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth Special Municipality, as well as the people of Camagüey and Las Tunas, who suffered the devastation of the hurricanes last year.

Raul Castro also stressed the importance of turning idle land into a source of food. “The land is there and the Cubans are here. We will see if can produce or not. We have no other choice than making it produce. If the land is not good to produce food then we will plant trees,” he affirmed.

During his speech, Raul announced that the Council of Ministers will meet in the next few days to analyze a second adjustment to expenditures in the face of the current international financial crisis. He also announced an upcoming plenary session of the PCC’s Central Committee and the sessions of the Cuban National Assembly (Parliament), which will discuss, among other topics, a bill to introduce a Comptroller General’s Office.

Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency