Cuban vice president says island will have socialism 'forever'
Jan 25, 2007, 5:00 GMT
Caracas - Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage declared Thursday that the people of the island would have Fidel Castro and his brother Raul 'for a long time yet, and will have socialism forever.'
During a visit to key ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Lage insisted that the socialist system was advancing despite Fidel Castro's incapacitation for illness.
Chavez showed television cameras a letter written and signed by Castro, 'for all of you who say that Fidel is immobile and dying.'
Lage and Chavez both criticized US President George Bush, who this week repeated his desire to liberate Cuba during his annual State of the Union address.
Chavez said that when the US threatens Cuba, it threatens Venezuela, and added, 'When they name me, they name Fidel and when they name Fidel, they name me.'
Lage hailed his country's political system, saying: 'In spite of embargoes, in spite of wars, in spite of coups, the Cuban revolution will continue to advance and consolidate, and Cuba will have socialism forever, for all times.'
He said that many people wonder what will happen when Fidel Castro is no longer leading Cuba. 'Today he's not at the forefront, but Raul is, and out people are united, confident and secure.
'Someone asked the other day what will happen when Raul is no longer here? I said, well, Fidel then will have recuperated,' Lage said.
'We will have Fidel and Raul for a long time yet, but what the enemy should understand is that we have the material and moral achievements of the revolution, an immense accomplishment, and we have the revolutionary ethic, the dignity of the revolution, of our 11 million people and a party that perpetuate the work of 48 years of revolution.'
For his part, Chavez thanked Castro for his handwritten letter and a copy of the Cuban daily Granma article that revisited a trip the Cuban leader made to Caracas 48 years ago, just after the fall of Venezuelan military dictator Maros Perez Jimenez.
'How are you Fidel? Forty eight years later, you are with us and will always be with us, exemplar of the revolution of our continent and the world,' he said.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur