Cuba's new ambassador to the UK has given her first public speech since taking on the post to the 51st Congress of the Communist Party of Britain.
Her Excellency Esther Armenteros Cardenas brought greetings from the Cuban CC Central Committee at a time when "humankind is faced with the most serous challenges and dangers in history". And she also gave Congress delegates a personal take on her own revolutionary path.
It's not often you hear an experienced diplomat say "I come from a very working class background." Esther Cardenas immediately engaged the meeting by detailing her career as an ambassador at the UN and in Africa before pointing out, "Before the revolution there was not the slightest idea of a black Cuban having a diplomatic career. For any girl there were few options. If you were black there were less. I owe my career 100% to the Cuban revolution and the hard work of my parents."
Cardenas, who trained as a journalist before embarking on her diplomatic career, said "I feel very honoured to have been invited here", before pausing to point out "I only arrived two weeks ago and I am still trying to sort out my house!" She said that being in Europe was a new experience which meant she had much homework to do, "but with friends like you that will be easy".
She also told delegates that "we appreciate very much your solidarity with Cuba, and we thank you very much for it". In her formal address she drew attention to Cuba's role in sharing its experience with the emerging group of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who are adopting a socialist perspective. "We will continue to support the struggle of those who see socialism as the most just and sustainable alternative to the savagery represented by capitalism," she said. "We are convinced that this is the right path towards a world of equity and sovereignty in the face of the prevailing world order."
She ended by wishing the 51st Congress success and underlining "our commitment to struggle together for a better and possible world convinced that victory is attained with unity and with the strength of principles held by both our parties."
Full text of the speech.