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Issue # 1422      5 August 2009

Castro on July 26:

The land is waiting for us

Cuban President Raul Castro has said that the global economic crisis means tougher times ahead for Cuba, but the country has no one to blame but itself for poor farm production.

In a speech marking Revolution Day, the Cuban president said that Cuba can’t pin all its problems on Washington’s 47-year-old trade embargo.

He called on Cubans to take better advantage of a government program initiated last year to turn unused state land over to individual farmers.

“The land is there, here are the Cubans,” he said. “Let’s see if we get to work or not, if we produce or not, if we keep our word.” The President called agricultural production Cuba’s top priority and a matter of national security.

“It is not a question of yelling ‘Fatherland or death! Down with imperialism! The blockade hurts us’,” he said.

“The land is there waiting for our efforts.”

Tens of thousands of supporters, most wearing red T-shirts or caps, filled a grassy plaza dotted with red and black July 26 flags.

Revolution Day commemorates the date in 1953 when the Castros led an attack on the Moncada army barracks in the eastern city of Santiago.

Cubans consider it the beginning of the revolution that culminated with dictator Fulgencio Batista’s ousting on New Year’s Day, 1959.

President Castro asked Cubans to be patient as the government implements “structural changes” to the economy.

Officials from Cuba and the US discussed immigration this month for the first time since 2003. The Obama administration has lifted restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel or send money to the island.

Morning Star

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