Saturday, December 24, 2011

Translation: Raul's National Assembly speech

In an address to Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power on December 23, Raul Castro made the struggle against corruption a key focus of his speech, indicating that this is one of the revolutionary leadership's top priorities and vowing "to put an end to this parasitic plague" of "corrupt bureaucrats, with posts obtained through pretence and opportunism, who use the positions they still occupy to accumulate fortunes, betting on the eventual defeat of the Revolution", among others.   

He gave indications of the depth and scope of the problem and of the offensive against corruption that is now underway. He considers corruption to be "one of the principle enemies of the Revolution, much more harmful than the subversive and interventionist activities of the US government and its allies within and outside the country.

These comments would seem to vindicate Esteban Morales, a respected Cuban academic expert on US politics and race relations in Cuba. Morales was "separated" from the PCC – a disciplinary measure one step short of expulsion – after he published an April 2010 commentary titled "Corruption: The true counter-revolution?", in which he warned:

Without a doubt, it is becoming evident that there are people in positions of government and state who are girding themselves financially for when the Revolution falls, and others may have everything almost ready to transfer state-owned assets to private hands, as happened in the old USSR...[There are] corrupt officials, not at all minor, who are being discovered in very high posts and with strong connections – personal, domestic and external – generated after dozens of years occupying the same positions of power.

Morales launched a successf
ul appeal and his full PCC membership was reinstated in July.

While the Spanish text of Raul's speech has been published, there is not yet an official English translation. When one becomes available I'll post it to this blog.  

"Corruption is one of the principal enemies of the Revolution"

Extract from Raul Castro's National Assembly speech, December 23, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

[...] Moving on to another matter, very closely linked to the functioning of the national economy is the paramount role of contracts in the interrelations between state enterprises, budgeted entities and the non-state forms of management of social property. 

Despite having been taken up on various occasions, including in the Main Report to the Sixth Communist Party Congress and in the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, in Guideline No. 10, in interventions in the National Assembly and in a number of meetings of the Council of Ministers, we are not seeing the necessary progress. This is reflected in the deficient situation regarding receipts and payments, with the consequent disorder in internal finances and the facilitation of criminal activities and corruption.

This is apparent, to cite just one example, in the fraudulent deliveries of agricultural products, that did not exist and were never cultivated, to the Havana produce markets. This resulted in the embezzlement of more than 12 million [non-convertible] pesos through the criminal activities of directors, functionaries and other workers of the state distribution firms, as well as peasant farmers that acted as proxies, all of whom will face administrative and criminal liabilities in correspondence with the seriousness of their deeds.

I bring this up in order to illustrate the urgent necessity for all of us in leadership positions at the various levels, from the base up to the highest posts in the country, to act with firmness in the face of indiscipline and lack of control over receipts and payments, which is one of the principle causes and contributors to crime. I am convinced that today, corruption is one of the principal enemies of the Revolution, much more harmful than the subversive and interventionist activities of the US government and its allies within and outside the country.

The office of the Comptroller [i.e. auditor] General of the Republic, the office of the Attorney General and the special branches of the Interior Ministry have been instructed to combat this scourge, with all the severity allowed for by our laws, just as we successfully dealt with incipient drug trafficking beginning in January 2003.

In this strategic battle, the degree of coordination, cohesion and rigour in confronting crime has been increased and we’re beginning to see some results, both in terms of so-called white collar crimes, committed by Cuban and foreign directors and functionaries linked to foreign trade and foreign investment, and in terms of crimes carried out by common criminals in collusion with administrative leaders and workers of state firms involved in production, transport and distribution in entities of the food industry, retail trade, food services, housing and the ministries of Basic Industry and Agriculture.

Indeed, in the agricultural sector, beginning on August 1, the fight against the theft and slaughter of livestock, and the subsequent commercialisation of the meat on the black market, was stepped up in a sensitive manner. This is a phenomenon that flourished for years with a certain impunity with serious negative consequences for both state and private producers, not only from an economic point of view but also from the moral and ethical standpoints.

The National Revolutionary Police, together with other agencies of the Interior Ministry, in close coordination with the political and mass organisations, have assumed with professionalism and a systematic approach the task of eradicating, once and for all, livestock theft in the Cuban countryside. These crimes are carried out with the complicity of the butchers, managers and specialists of state enterprises, agricultural cooperatives, peasant farmers, veterinarians and the municipal directors and other functionaries of the institution that is supposed to ensure a growing supply of meat in the country. I’m referring to the Livestock Control Agency, known by its initials, CENCOP.

It should be clarified that we’re not talking about one more campaign, as has certainly happened in the past, when actions taken to re-establish order were discontinued after a while and routinism and superficiality ensued, proving correct those who waited for everything to go back to how things were so they could continue to prosper at the expense of the wealth that belongs to our people.

I can assure you that this time the cattle thieves in Cuba are done for, just as we put an end to drug trafficking, and they will not reappear, because we are determined to carry out the directives of the government and the decisions of the Communist Party Congress. I say the same to those corrupt bureaucrats, with posts obtained through pretence and opportunism, who use the positions they still occupy to accumulate fortunes, betting on the eventual defeat of the Revolution.

This Wednesday, in the Communist Party Central Committee Plenum, we analysed in depth these factors and screened a series of documentaries and footage from the interrogations of white collar criminals. In due course these will be shown to all you compaƱero National Assembly deputies, and also to other leaders, in your respective provinces.

We keep in mind Fidel’s warning on November 17, 2005 in the Great Hall of Havana University, just over six years ago, in which he said that this country could destroy itself by itself, that today the enemy could not do it but we could, and it would be our fault. That’s what the leader of the Revolution said on that occasion. This is why we agreed two days ago, in the 3rd Central Committee Plenum that I just mentioned, that we would put an end to this parasitic plague.

In the name of the people and of the Revolution we warn that, within the framework of the law, we will be implacable. 


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