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History Will Absolve Me - 1953
Never has a lawyer had to practice his profession under such difficult condition
s; never has such a number of overwhelming irregularities been committed against
an accused man. In this case, counsel and defendant are one and the same. As at
torney he has not even been able to take a look at the indictment. As accused, f
or the past seventy-six days he has been locked away in solitary confinement, he
ld totally and absolutely incommunicado, in violation of every human and legal r
He who speaks to you hates vanity with all his being, nor are his temperament or
frame of mind inclined towards courtroom poses or sensationalism of any kind. I
f I have had to assume my own defense before this Court it is for two reasons. F
irst: because I have been denied legal aid almost entirely, and second: only one
who has been so deeply wounded, who has seen his country so forsaken and its ju
stice trampled so, can speak at a moment like this with words that spring from t
he blood of his heart and the truth of his very gut.
There was no lack of generous comrades who wished to defend me, and the Havana B
ar Association appointed a courageous and competent jurist, Dr. Jorge Pagliery,
Dean of the Bar in this city, to represent me in this case. However, he was not
permitted to carry out his task. As often as he tried to see me, the prison gate
s were closed before him. Only after a month and a half, and through the interve
ntion of the Court, was he finally granted a ten minute interview with me in the
presence of a sergeant from the Military Intelligence Agency (SIM). One suppose
s that a lawyer has a right to speak with his defendant in private, and this rig
ht is respected throughout the world, except in the case of a Cuban prisoner of
war in the hands of an implacable tyranny that abides by no code of law, be it l
egal or humane. Neither Dr. Pagliery nor I were willing to tolerate such dirty s
pying upon our means of defense for the oral trial. Did they want to know, perha
ps, beforehand, the methods we would use in order to reduce to dust the incredib
le fabric of lies they had woven around the Moncada Barracks events? How were we
going to expose the terrible truth they would go to such great lengths to conce
al? It was then that we decided that, taking advantage of my professional rights
as a lawyer, I would assume my own defense.
This decision, overheard by the sergeant and reported by him to his superior, pr
ovoked a real panic. It looked like some mocking little imp was telling them tha
t I was going to ruin all their plans. You know very well, Honorable Judges, how
much pressure has been brought to bear on me in order to strip me as well of th
is right that is ratified by long Cuban tradition. The Court could not give in t
o such machination, for that would have left the accused in a state of total ind
efensiveness. The accused, who is now exercising this right to plead his own cas
e, will under no circumstances refrain from saying what he must say. I consider
it essential that I explain, at the onset, the reason for the terrible isolation
in which I have been kept; what was the purpose of keeping me silent; what was
behind the plots to kill me, plots which the Court is familiar with; what grave
events are being hidden from the people; and the truth behind all the strange th
ings which have taken place during this trial. I propose to do all this with utm
ost clarity.
You have publicly called this case the most significant in the history of the Re
public. If you sincerely believed this, you should not have allowed your authori
ty to be stained and degraded. The first court session was September 21st. Among

one hundred machine guns and bayonets, scandalously invading the hall of justic
e, more than a hundred people were seated in the prisoner's dock. The great majo
rity had nothing to do with what had happened. They had been under preventive ar
rest for many days, suffering all kinds of insults and abuses in the chambers of
the repressive units. But the rest of the accused, the minority, were brave and
determined, ready to proudly confirm their part in the battle for freedom, read
y to offer an example of unprecedented self-sacrifice and to wrench from the jai
l's claws those who in deliberate bad faith had been included in the trial. Thos
e who had met in combat confronted one another again. Once again, with the cause
of justice on our side, we would wage the terrible battle of truth against infa
my! Surely the regime was not prepared for the moral catastrophe in store for it
How to maintain all its false accusations? How to keep secret what had really ha
ppened, when so many young men were willing to risk everything - prison, torture
and death, if necessary - in order that the truth be told before this Court?
I was called as a witness at that first session. For two hours I was questioned
by the Prosecutor as well as by twenty defense attorneys. I was able to prove wi
th exact facts and figures the sums of money that had been spent, the way this m
oney was collected and the arms we had been able to round up. I had nothing to h
ide, for the truth was: all this was accomplished through sacrifices without pre
cedent in the history of our Republic. I spoke of the goals that inspired us in
our struggle and of the humane and generous treatment that we had at all times a
ccorded our adversaries. If I accomplished my purpose of demonstrating that thos
e who were falsely implicated in this trial were neither directly nor indirectly
involved, I owe it to the complete support and backing of my heroic comrades. F
or, as I said, the consequences they might be forced to suffer at no time caused
them to repent of their condition as revolutionaries and patriots, I was never
once allowed to speak with these comrades of mine during the time we were in pri
son, and yet we planned to do exactly the same. The fact is, when men carry the
same ideals in their hearts, nothing can isolate them - neither prison walls nor
the sod of cemeteries. For a single memory, a single spirit, a single idea, a s
ingle conscience, a single dignity will sustain them all.
From that moment on, the structure of lies the regime had erected about the even
ts at Moncada Barracks began to collapse like a house of cards. As a result, the
Prosecutor realized that keeping all those persons named as instigators in pris
on was completely absurd, and he requested their provisional release.
At the close of my testimony in that first session, I asked the Court to allow m
e to leave the dock and sit among the counsel for the defense. This permission w
as granted. At that point what I consider my most important mission in this tria
l began: to totally discredit the cowardly, miserable and treacherous lies which
the regime had hurled against our fighters; to reveal with irrefutable evidence
the horrible, repulsive crimes they had practiced on the prisoners; and to show
the nation and the world the infinite misfortune of the Cuban people who are su
ffering the cruelest, the most inhuman oppression of their history.
The second session convened on Tuesday, September 22nd. By that time only ten wi
tnesses had testified, and they had already cleared up the murders in the Manzan
illo area, specifically establishing and placing on record the direct responsibi
lity of the captain commanding that post. There were three hundred more witnesse
s to testify. What would happen if, with a staggering mass of facts and evidence
, I should proceed to cross-examine the very Army men who were directly responsi
ble for those crimes? Could the regime permit me to go ahead before the large au
dience attending the trial? Before journalists and jurists from all over the isl
and? And before the party leaders of the opposition, who they had stupidly seate
d right in the prisoner's dock where they could hear so well all that might be b
rought out here? They would rather have blown up the court house, with all its j

udges, than allow that!

And so they devised a plan by which they could eliminate me from the trial and t
hey proceeded to do just that, manu militari. On Friday night, September 25th, o
n the eve of the third session of the trial, two prison doctors visited me in my
cell. They were visibly embarrassed. 'We have come to examine you,' they said.
I asked them, 'Who is so worried about my health?' Actually, from the moment I s
aw them I realized what they had come for. They could not have treated me with g
reater respect, and they explained their predicament to me. That afternoon Colon
el Chaviano had appeared at the prison and told them I 'was doing the Government
terrible damage with this trial.' He had told them they must sign a certificate
declaring that I was ill and was, therefore, unable to appear in court. The doc
tors told me that for their part they were prepared to resign from their posts a
nd risk persecution. They put the matter in my hands, for me to decide. I found
it hard to ask those men to unhesitatingly destroy themselves. But neither could
I, under any circumstances, consent that those orders be carried out. Leaving t
he matter to their own consciences, I told them only: 'You must know your duty;
I certainly know mine.'
After leaving the cell they signed the certificate. I know they did so believing
in good faith that this was the only way they could save my life, which they co
nsidered to be in grave danger. I was not obliged to keep our conversation secre
t, for I am bound only by the truth. Telling the truth in this instance may jeop
ardize those good doctors in their material interests, but I am removing all dou
bt about their honor, which is worth much more. That same night, I wrote the Cou
rt a letter denouncing the plot; requesting that two Court physicians be sent to
certify my excellent state of health, and to inform you that if to save my life
I must take part in such deception, I would a thousand times prefer to lose it.
To show my determination to fight alone against this whole degenerate frame-up,
I added to my own words one of the Master's lines: 'A just cause even from the
depths of a cave can do more than an army.' As the Court knows, this was the let
ter Dr. Melba Hernndez submitted at the third session of the trial on September 2
6th. I managed to get it to her in spite of the heavy guard I was under. That le
tter, of course, provoked immediate reprisals. Dr. Hernndez was subjected to soli
tary confinement, and I - since I was already incommunicado - was sent to the mo
st inaccessible reaches of the prison. From that moment on, all the accused were
thoroughly searched from head to foot before they were brought into the courtro
Two Court physicians certified on September 27th that I was, in fact, in perfect
health. Yet, in spite of the repeated orders from the Court, I was never again
brought to the hearings. What's more, anonymous persons daily circulated hundred
s of apocryphal pamphlets which announced my rescue from jail. This stupid alibi
was invented so they could physically eliminate me and pretend I had tried to e
scape. Since the scheme failed as a result of timely exposure by ever alert frie
nds, and after the first affidavit was shown to be false, the regime could only
keep me away from the trial by open and shameless contempt of Court.
This was an incredible situation, Honorable Judges: Here was a regime literally
afraid to bring an accused man to Court; a regime of blood and terror that shran
k in fear of the moral conviction of a defenseless man - unarmed, slandered and
isolated. And so, after depriving me of everything else, they finally deprived m
e even of the trial in which I was the main accused. Remember that this was duri
ng a period in which individual rights were suspended and the Public Order Act a
s well as censorship of radio and press were in full force. What unbelievable cr
imes this regime must have committed to so fear the voice of one accused man!
I must dwell upon the insolence and disrespect which the Army leaders have at al
l times shown towards you. As often as this Court has ordered an end to the inhu
man isolation in which I was held; as often as it has ordered my most elementary

rights to be respected; as often as it has demanded that I be brought before it

, this Court has never been obeyed! Worse yet: in the very presence of the Court
, during the first and second hearings, a praetorian guard was stationed beside
me to totally prevent me from speaking to anyone, even among the brief recesses.
In other words, not only in prison, but also in the courtroom and in your prese
nce, they ignored your decrees. I had intended to mention this matter in the fol
lowing session, as a question of elementary respect for the Court, but - I was n
ever brought back. And if, in exchange for so much disrespect, they bring us bef
ore you to be jailed in the name of a legality which they and they alone have be
en violating since March 10th, sad indeed is the role they would force on you. T
he Latin maxim Cedant arma togae has certainly not been fulfilled on a single oc
casion during this trial. I beg you to keep that circumstance well in mind.
What is more, these devices were in any case quite useless; my brave comrades, w
ith unprecedented patriotism, did their duty to the utmost.
'Yes, we set out to fight for Cuba's freedom and we are not ashamed of having do
ne so,' they declared, one by one, on the witness stand. Then, addressing the Co
urt with impressive courage, they denounced the hideous crimes committed upon th
e bodies of our brothers. Although absent from Court, I was able, in my prison c
ell, to follow the trial in all its details. And I have the convicts at Boniato
Prison to thank for this. In spite of all threats, these men found ingenious mea
ns of getting newspaper clippings and all kinds of information to me. In this wa
y they avenged the abuses and immoralities perpetrated against them both by Tabo
ada, the warden, and the supervisor, Lieutenant Rozabal, who drove them from sun
up to sun down building private mansions and starved them by embezzling the pri
son food budget.
As the trial went on, the roles were reversed: those who came to accuse found th
emselves accused, and the accused became the accusers! It was not the revolution
aries who were judged there; judged once and forever was a man named Batista - m
onstruum horrendum! - and it matters little that these valiant and worthy young
men have been condemned, if tomorrow the people will condemn the Dictator and hi
s henchmen! Our men were consigned to the Isle of Pines Prison, in whose circula
r galleries Castells' ghost still lingers and where the cries of countless victi
ms still echo; there our young men have been sent to expiate their love of liber
ty, in bitter confinement, banished from society, torn from their homes and exil
ed from their country. Is it not clear to you, as I have said before, that in su
ch circumstances it is difficult and disagreeable for this lawyer to fulfill his
As a result of so many turbid and illegal machinations, due to the will of those
who govern and the weakness of those who judge, I find myself here in this litt
le room at the Civilian Hospital, where I have been brought to be tried in secre
t, so that I may not be heard and my voice may be stifled, and so that no one ma
y learn of the things I am going to say. Why, then, do we need that imposing Pal
ace of Justice which the Honorable Judges would without doubt find much more com
fortable? I must warn you: it is unwise to administer justice from a hospital ro
om, surrounded by sentinels with fixed bayonets; the citizens might suppose that
our justice is sick - and that it is captive.
Let me remind you, your laws of procedure provide that trials shall be 'public h
earings;' however, the people have been barred altogether from this session of C
ourt. The only civilians admitted here have been two attorneys and six reporters
, in whose newspapers the censorship of the press will prevent printing a word I
say. I see, as my sole audience in this chamber and in the corridors, nearly a
hundred soldiers and officers. I am grateful for the polite and serious attentio
n they give me. I only wish I could have the whole Army before me! I know, one d
ay, this Army will seethe with rage to wash away the terrible, the shameful bloo
dstains splattered across the military uniform by the present ruthless clique in

its lust for power. On that day, oh what a fall awaits those mounted in arrogan
ce on their noble steeds! - provided that the people have not dismounted them lo
ng before that!
Finally, I should like to add that no treatise on penal law was allowed me in my
cell. I have at my disposal only this tiny code of law lent to me by my learned
counsel, Dr. Baudillo Castellanos, the courageous defender of my comrades. In t
he same way they prevented me from receiving the books of Mart; it seems the pris
on censorship considered them too subversive. Or is it because I said Mart was th
e inspirer of the 26th of July? Reference books on any other subject were also d
enied me during this trial. But it makes no difference! I carry the teachings of
the Master in my heart, and in my mind the noble ideas of all men who have defe
nded people's freedom everywhere!
I am going to make only one request of this court; I trust it will be granted as
a compensation for the many abuses and outrages the accused has had to tolerate
without protection of the law. I ask that my right to express myself be respect
ed without restraint. Otherwise, even the merest semblance of justice cannot be
maintained, and the final episode of this trial would be, more than all the othe
rs, one of ignominy and cowardice.
I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed. I had expected that the Honorable
Prosecutor would come forward with a grave accusation. I thought he would be rea
dy to justify to the limit his contention, and his reasons why I should be conde
mned in the name of Law and Justice - what law and what justice? - to 26 years i
n prison. But no. He has limited himself to reading Article 148 of the Social De
fense Code. On the basis of this, plus aggravating circumstances, he requests th
at I be imprisoned for the lengthy term of 26 years! Two minutes seems a very sh
ort time in which to demand and justify that a man be put behind bars for more t
han a quarter of a century. Can it be that the Honorable Prosecutor is, perhaps,
annoyed with the Court? Because as I see it, his laconic attitude in this case
clashes with the solemnity with which the Honorable Judges declared, rather prou
dly, that this was a trial of the greatest importance! I have heard prosecutors
speak ten times longer in a simple narcotics case asking for a sentence of just
six months. The Honorable Prosecutor has supplied not a word in support of his p
etition. I am a just man. I realize that for a prosecuting attorney under oath o
f loyalty to the Constitution of the Republic, it is difficult to come here in t
he name of an unconstitutional, statutory, de facto government, lacking any lega
l much less moral basis, to ask that a young Cuban, a lawyer like himself - perh
aps as honorable as he, be sent to jail for 26 years. But the Honorable Prosecut
or is a gifted man and I have seen much less talented persons write lengthy diat
ribes in defense of this regime. How then can I suppose that he lacks reason wit
h which to defend it, at least for fifteen minutes, however contemptible that mi
ght be to any decent person? It is clear that there is a great conspiracy behind
all this.
Honorable Judges: Why such interest in silencing me? Why is every type of argume
nt foregone in order to avoid presenting any target whatsoever against which I m
ight direct my own brief? Is it that they lack any legal, moral or political bas
is on which to put forth a serious formulation of the question? Are they that af
raid of the truth? Do they hope that I, too, will speak for only two minutes and
that I will not touch upon the points which have caused certain people sleeples
s nights since July 26th? Since the prosecutor's petition was restricted to the
mere reading of five lines of an article of the Social Defense Code, might they
suppose that I too would limit myself to those same lines and circle round them
like some slave turning a millstone? I shall by no means accept such a gag, for
in this trial there is much more than the freedom of a single individual at stak
e. Fundamental matters of principle are being debated here, the right of men to
be free is on trial, the very foundations of our existence as a civilized and de
mocratic nation are in the balance. When this trial is over, I do not want to ha

ve to reproach myself for any principle left undefended, for any truth left unsa
id, for any crime not denounced.
The Honorable Prosecutor's famous little article hardly deserves a minute of my
time. I shall limit myself for the moment to a brief legal skirmish against it,
because I want to clear the field for an assault against all the endless lies an
d deceits, the hypocrisy, conventionalism and moral cowardice that have set the
stage for the crude comedy which since the 10th of March - and even before then
- has been called Justice in Cuba.
It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that an imputed offense must corre
spond exactly to the type of crime described by law. If no law applies exactly t
o the point in question, then there is no offense.
The article in question reads textually: 'A penalty of imprisonment of from thre
e to ten years shall be imposed upon the perpetrator of any act aimed at bringin
g about an armed uprising against the Constitutional Powers of the State. The pe
nalty shall be imprisonment for from five to twenty years, in the event that ins
urrection actually be carried into effect.'
In what country is the Honorable Prosecutor living? Who has told him that we hav
e sought to bring about an uprising against the Constitutional Powers of the Sta
te? Two things are self-evident. First of all, the dictatorship that oppresses t
he nation is not a constitutional power, but an unconstitutional one: it was est
ablished against the Constitution, over the head of the Constitution, violating
the legitimate Constitution of the Republic. The legitimate Constitution is that
which emanates directly from a sovereign people. I shall demonstrate this point
fully later on, notwithstanding all the subterfuges contrived by cowards and tr
aitors to justify the unjustifiable. Secondly, the article refers to Powers, in
the plural, as in the case of a republic governed by a Legislative Power, an Exe
cutive Power, and a Judicial Power which balance and counterbalance one another.
We have fomented a rebellion against one single power, an illegal one, which ha
s usurped and merged into a single whole both the Legislative and Executive Powe
rs of the nation, and so has destroyed the entire system that was specifically s
afeguarded by the Code now under our analysis. As to the independence of the Jud
iciary after the 10th of March, I shall not allude to that for I am in no mood f
or joking ... No matter how Article 148 may be stretched, shrunk or amended, not
a single comma applies to the events of July 26th. Let us leave this statute al
one and await the opportunity to apply it to those who really did foment an upri
sing against the Constitutional Powers of the State. Later I shall come back to
the Code to refresh the Honorable Prosecutor's memory about certain circumstance
s he has unfortunately overlooked.
I warn you, I am just beginning! If there is in your hearts a vestige of love fo
r your country, love for humanity, love for justice, listen carefully. I know th
at I will be silenced for many years; I know that the regime will try to suppres
s the truth by all possible means; I know that there will be a conspiracy to bur
y me in oblivion. But my voice will not be stifled - it will rise from my breast
even when I feel most alone, and my heart will give it all the fire that callou
s cowards deny it.
From a shack in the mountains on Monday, July 27th, I listened to the dictator's
voice on the air while there were still 18 of our men in arms against the gover
nment. Those who have never experienced similar moments will never know that kin
d of bitterness and indignation. While the long-cherished hopes of freeing our p
eople lay in ruins about us we heard those crushed hopes gloated over by a tyran
t more vicious, more arrogant than ever. The endless stream of lies and slanders
, poured forth in his crude, odious, repulsive language, may only be compared to
the endless stream of clean young blood which had flowed since the previous nig
ht - with his knowledge, consent, complicity and approval - being spilled by the

most inhuman gang of assassins it is possible to imagine. To have believed him

for a single moment would have sufficed to fill a man of conscience with remorse
and shame for the rest of his life. At that time I could not even hope to brand
his miserable forehead with the mark of truth which condemns him for the rest o
f his days and for all time to come. Already a circle of more than a thousand me
n, armed with weapons more powerful than ours and with peremptory orders to brin
g in our bodies, was closing in around us. Now that the truth is coming out, now
that speaking before you I am carrying out the mission I set for myself, I may
die peacefully and content. So I shall not mince my words about those savage mur
I must pause to consider the facts for a moment. The government itself said the
attack showed such precision and perfection that it must have been planned by mi
litary strategists. Nothing could have been farther from the truth! The plan was
drawn up by a group of young men, none of whom had any military experience at a
ll. I will reveal their names, omitting two who are neither dead nor in prison:
Abel Santamara, Jos Luis Tasende, Renato Guitart Rosell, Pedro Miret, Jess Montan an
d myself. Half of them are dead, and in tribute to their memory I can say that a
lthough they were not military experts they had enough patriotism to have given,
had we not been at such a great disadvantage, a good beating to that entire lot
of generals together, those generals of the 10th of March who are neither soldi
ers nor patriots. Much more difficult than the planning of the attack was our or
ganizing, training, mobilizing and arming men under this repressive regime with
its millions of dollars spent on espionage, bribery and information services. Ne
vertheless, all this was carried out by those men and many others like them with
incredible seriousness, discretion and discipline. Still more praiseworthy is t
he fact that they gave this task everything they had; ultimately, their very liv
The final mobilization of men who came to this province from the most remote tow
ns of the entire island was accomplished with admirable precision and in absolut
e secrecy. It is equally true that the attack was carried out with magnificent c
oordination. It began simultaneously at 5:15 a.m. in both Bayamo and Santiago de
Cuba; and one by one, with an exactitude of minutes and seconds prepared in adv
ance, the buildings surrounding the barracks fell to our forces. Nevertheless, i
n the interest of truth and even though it may detract from our merit, I am also
going to reveal for the first time a fact that was fatal: due to a most unfortu
nate error, half of our forces, and the better armed half at that, went astray a
t the entrance to the city and were not on hand to help us at the decisive momen
t. Abel Santamara, with 21 men, had occupied the Civilian Hospital; with him went
a doctor and two of our women comrades to attend to the wounded. Ral Castro, wit
h ten men, occupied the Palace of Justice, and it was my responsibility to attac
k the barracks with the rest, 95 men. Preceded by an advance group of eight who
had forced Gate Three, I arrived with the first group of 45 men. It was precisel
y here that the battle began, when my car ran into an outside patrol armed with
machine guns. The reserve group which had almost all the heavy weapons (the ligh
t arms were with the advance group), turned up the wrong street and lost its way
in an unfamiliar city. I must clarify the fact that I do not for a moment doubt
the courage of those men; they experienced great anguish and desperation when t
hey realized they were lost. Because of the type of action it was and because th
e contending forces were wearing identically colored uniforms, it was not easy f
or these men to re-establish contact with us. Many of them, captured later on, m
et death with true heroism.
Everyone had instructions, first of all, to be humane in the struggle. Never was
a group of armed men more generous to the adversary. From the beginning we took
numerous prisoners - nearly twenty - and there was one moment when three of our
men - Ramiro Valds, Jos Surez and Jess Montan - managed to enter a barrack and hold
nearly fifty soldiers prisoners for a short time. Those soldiers testified befor
e the Court, and without exception they all acknowledged that we treated them wi

th absolute respect, that we didn't even subject them to one scoffing remark. In
line with this, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the Prosecutor for one th
ing in the trial of my comrades: when he made his report he was fair enough to a
cknowledge as an incontestable fact that we maintained a high spirit of chivalry
throughout the struggle.
Discipline among the soldiers was very poor. They finally
their superior numbers - fifteen to one - and because of
d them by the defenses of the fortress. Our men were much
r enemies themselves conceded. There was a high degree of

defeated us because of
the protection afforde
better marksmen, as ou
courage on both sides.

In analyzing the reasons for our tactical failure, apart from the regrettable er
ror already mentioned, I believe we made a mistake by dividing the commando unit
we had so carefully trained. Of our best trained men and boldest leaders, there
were 27 in Bayamo, 21 at the Civilian Hospital and 10 at the Palace of Justice.
If our forces had been distributed differently the outcome of the battle might
have been different. The clash with the patrol (purely accidental, since the uni
t might have been at that point twenty seconds earlier or twenty seconds later)
alerted the camp, and gave it time to mobilize. Otherwise it would have fallen i
nto our hands without a shot fired, since we already controlled the guard post.
On the other hand, except for the .22 caliber rifles, for which there were plent
y of bullets, our side was very short of ammunition. Had we had hand grenades, t
he Army would not have been able to resist us for fifteen minutes.
When I became convinced that all efforts to take the barracks were now useless,
I began to withdraw our men in groups of eight and ten. Our retreat was covered
by six expert marksmen under the command of Pedro Miret and Fidel Labrador; hero
ically they held off the Army's advance. Our losses in the battle had been insig
nificant; 95% of our casualties came from the Army's inhumanity after the strugg
le. The group at the Civilian Hospital only had one casualty; the rest of that g
roup was trapped when the troops blocked the only exit; but our youths did not l
ay down their arms until their very last bullet was gone. With them was Abel San
tamara, the most generous, beloved and intrepid of our young men, whose glorious
resistance immortalizes him in Cuban history. We shall see the fate they met and
how Batista sought to punish the heroism of our youth.
We planned to continue the struggle in the mountains in case the attack on the r
egiment failed. In Siboney I was able to gather a third of our forces; but many
of these men were now discouraged. About twenty of them decided to surrender; la
ter we shall see what became of them. The rest, 18 men, with what arms and ammun
ition were left, followed me into the mountains. The terrain was completely unkn
own to us. For a week we held the heights of the Gran Piedra range and the Army
occupied the foothills. We could not come down; they didn't risk coming up. It w
as not force of arms, but hunger and thirst that ultimately overcame our resista
nce. I had to divide the men into smaller groups. Some of them managed to slip t
hrough the Army lines; others were surrendered by Monsignor Prez Serantes. Finall
y only two comrades remained with me - Jos Surez and Oscar Alcalde. While the thre
e of us were totally exhausted, a force led by Lieutenant Sarra surprised us in o
ur sleep at dawn. This was Saturday, August 1st. By that time the slaughter of p
risoners had ceased as a result of the people's protest. This officer, a man of
honor, saved us from being murdered on the spot with our hands tied behind us.
I need not deny here the stupid statements by Ugalde Carrillo and company, who t
ried to stain my name in an effort to mask their own cowardice, incompetence, an
d criminality. The facts are clear enough.
My purpose is not to bore the court with epic narratives. All that I have said i
s essential for a more precise understanding of what is yet to come.
Let me mention two important facts that facilitate an objective judgement of our

attitude. First: we could have taken over the regiment simply by seizing all th
e high ranking officers in their homes. This possibility was rejected for the ve
ry humane reason that we wished to avoid scenes of tragedy and struggle in the p
resence of their families. Second: we decided not to take any radio station over
until the Army camp was in our power. This attitude, unusually magnanimous and
considerate, spared the citizens a great deal of bloodshed. With only ten men I
could have seized a radio station and called the people to revolt. There is no q
uestioning the people's will to fight. I had a recording of Eduardo Chibs' last m
essage over the CMQ radio network, and patriotic poems and battle hymns capable
of moving the least sensitive, especially with the sounds of live battle in thei
r ears. But I did not want to use them although our situation was desperate.
The regime has emphatically repeated that our Movement did not have popular supp
ort. I have never heard an assertion so naive, and at the same time so full of b
ad faith. The regime seeks to show submission and cowardice on the part of the p
eople. They all but claim that the people support the dictatorship; they do not
know how offensive this is to the brave Orientales. Santiago thought our attack
was only a local disturbance between two factions of soldiers; not until many ho
urs later did they realize what had really happened. Who can doubt the valor, ci
vic pride and limitless courage of the rebel and patriotic people of Santiago de
Cuba? If Moncada had fallen into our hands, even the women of Santiago de Cuba
would have risen in arms. Many were the rifles loaded for our fighters by the nu
rses at the Civilian Hospital. They fought alongside us. That is something we wi
ll never forget.
It was never our intention to engage the soldiers of the regiment in combat. We
wanted to seize control of them and their weapons in a surprise attack, arouse t
he people and call the soldiers to abandon the odious flag of the tyranny and to
embrace the banner of freedom; to defend the supreme interests of the nation an
d not the petty interests of a small clique; to turn their guns around and fire
on the people's enemies and not on the people, among whom are their own sons and
fathers; to unite with the people as the brothers that they are instead of oppo
sing the people as the enemies the government tries to make of them; to march be
hind the only beautiful ideal worthy of sacrificing one's life - the greatness a
nd happiness of one's country. To those who doubt that many soldiers would have
followed us, I ask: What Cuban does not cherish glory? What heart is not set afl
ame by the promise of freedom?
The Navy did not fight against us, and it would undoubtedly have come over to ou
r side later on. It is well known that that branch of the Armed Forces is the le
ast dominated by the Dictatorship and that there is a very intense civic conscie
nce among its members. But, as to the rest of the national armed forces, would t
hey have fought against a people in revolt? I declare that they would not! A sol
dier is made of flesh and blood; he thinks, observes, feels. He is susceptible t
o the opinions, beliefs, sympathies and antipathies of the people. If you ask hi
s opinion, he may tell you he cannot express it; but that does not mean he has n
o opinion. He is affected by exactly the same problems that affect other citizen
s - subsistence, rent, the education of his children, their future, etc. Everyth
ing of this kind is an inevitable point of contact between him and the people an
d everything of this kind relates him to the present and future situation of the
society in which he lives. It is foolish to imagine that the salary a soldier r
eceives from the State - a modest enough salary at that - should resolve the vit
al problems imposed on him by his needs, duties and feelings as a member of his
This brief explanation has been necessary because it is basic to a consideration
to which few people, until now, have paid any attention - soldiers have a deep
respect for the feelings of the majority of the people! During the Machado regim
e, in the same proportion as popular antipathy increased, the loyalty of the Arm
y visibly decreased. This was so true that a group of women almost succeeded in

subverting Camp Columbia. But this is proven even more clearly by a recent devel
opment. While Grau San Martn's regime was able to preserve its maximum popularity
among the people, unscrupulous ex-officers and power-hungry civilians attempted
innumerable conspiracies in the Army, although none of them found a following i
n the rank and file.
The March 10th coup took place at the moment when the civil government's prestig
e had dwindled to its lowest ebb, a circumstance of which Batista and his clique
took advantage. Why did they not strike their blow after the first of June? Sim
ply because, had they waited for the majority of the nation to express its will
at the polls, the troops would not have responded to the conspiracy!
Consequently, a second assertion can be made: the Army has never revolted agains
t a regime with a popular majority behind it. These are historic truths, and if
Batista insists on remaining in power at all costs against the will of the major
ity of Cubans, his end will be more tragic than that of Gerardo Machado.
I have a right to express an opinion about the Armed Forces because I defended t
hem when everyone else was silent. And I did this neither as a conspirator, nor
from any kind of personal interest - for we then enjoyed full constitutional pre
rogatives. I was prompted only by humane instincts and civic duty. In those days
, the newspaper Alerta was one of the most widely read because of its position o
n national political matters. In its pages I campaigned against the forced labor
to which the soldiers were subjected on the private estates of high civil perso
nages and military officers. On March 3rd, 1952 I supplied the Courts with data,
photographs, films and other proof denouncing this state of affairs. I also poi
nted out in those articles that it was elementary decency to increase army salar
ies. I should like to know who else raised his voice on that occasion to protest
against all this injustice done to the soldiers. Certainly not Batista and comp
any, living well-protected on their luxurious estates, surrounded by all kinds o
f security measures, while I ran a thousand risks with neither bodyguards nor ar
Just as I defended the soldiers then, now - when all others are once more silent
- I tell them that they allowed themselves to be miserably deceived; and to the
deception and shame of March 10th they have added the disgrace, the thousand ti
mes greater disgrace, of the fearful and unjustifiable crimes of Santiago de Cub
a. From that time since, the uniform of the Army is splattered with blood. And a
s last year I told the people and cried out before the Courts that soldiers were
working as slaves on private estates, today I make the bitter charge that there
are soldiers stained from head to toe with the blood of the Cuban youths they h
ave tortured and slain. And I say as well that if the Army serves the Republic,
defends the nation, respects the people and protects the citizenry then it is on
ly fair that the soldier should earn at least a hundred pesos a month. But if th
e soldiers slay and oppress the people, betray the nation and defend only the in
terests of one small group, then the Army deserves not a cent of the Republic's
money and Camp Columbia should be converted into a school with ten thousand orph
ans living there instead of soldiers.
I want to be just above all else, so I can't blame all the soldiers for the sham
eful crimes that stain a few evil and treacherous Army men. But every honorable
and upstanding soldier who loves his career and his uniform is dutybound to dema
nd and to fight for the cleansing of this guilt, to avenge this betrayal and to
see the guilty punished. Otherwise the soldier's uniform will forever be a mark
of infamy instead of a source of pride.
Of course the March 10th regime had no choice but to remove the soldiers from th
e private estates. But it did so only to put them to work as doormen, chauffeurs
, servants and bodyguards for the whole rabble of petty politicians who make up
the party of the Dictatorship. Every fourth or fifth rank official considers him

self entitled to the services of a soldier to drive his car and to watch over hi
m as if he were constantly afraid of receiving the kick in the pants he so justl
y deserves.
If they had been at all interested in promoting real reforms, why did the regime
not confiscate the estates and the millions of men like Genovevo Prez Dmera, who
acquired their fortunes by exploiting soldiers, driving them like slaves and mis
appropriating the funds of the Armed Forces? But no: Genovevo Prez and others lik
e him no doubt still have soldiers protecting them on their estates because the
March 10th generals, deep in their hearts, aspire to the same future and can't a
llow that kind of precedent to be set.
The 10th of March was a miserable deception, yes ... After Batista and his band
of corrupt and disreputable politicians had failed in their electoral plan, they
took advantage of the Army's discontent and used it to climb to power on the ba
cks of the soldiers. And I know there are many Army men who are disgusted becaus
e they have been disappointed. At first their pay was raised, but later, through
deductions and reductions of every kind, it was lowered again. Many of the old
elements, who had drifted away from the Armed Forces, returned to the ranks and
blocked the way of young, capable and valuable men who might otherwise have adva
nced. Good soldiers have been neglected while the most scandalous nepotism preva
ils. Many decent military men are now asking themselves what need that Armed For
ces had to assume the tremendous historical responsibility of destroying our Con
stitution merely to put a group of immoral men in power, men of bad reputation,
corrupt, politically degenerate beyond redemption, who could never again have oc
cupied a political post had it not been at bayonet-point; and they weren't even
the ones with the bayonets in their hands ...
On the other hand, the soldiers endure a worse tyranny than the civilians. They
are under constant surveillance and not one of them enjoys the slightest securit
y in his job. Any unjustified suspicion, any gossip, any intrigue, or denunciati
on, is sufficient to bring transfer, dishonorable discharge or imprisonment. Did
not Tabernilla, in a memorandum, forbid them to talk with anyone opposed to the
government, that is to say, with ninety-nine percent of the people? ... What a
lack of confidence! ... Not even the vestal virgins of Rome had to abide by such
a rule! As for the much publicized little houses for enlisted men, there aren't
300 on the whole Island; yet with what has been spent on tanks, guns and other
weaponry every soldier might have a place to live. Batista isn't concerned with
taking care of the Army, but that the Army take care of him! He increases the Ar
my's power of oppression and killing but does not improve living conditions for
the soldiers. Triple guard duty, constant confinement to barracks, continuous an
xiety, the enmity of the people, uncertainty about the future - this is what has
been given to the soldier. In other words: 'Die for the regime, soldier, give i
t your sweat and blood. We shall dedicate a speech to you and award you a posthu
mous promotion (when it no longer matters) and afterwards ... we shall go on liv
ing luxuriously, making ourselves rich. Kill, abuse, oppress the people. When th
e people get tired and all this comes to an end, you can pay for our crimes whil
e we go abroad and live like kings. And if one day we return, don't you or your
children knock on the doors of our mansions, for we shall be millionaires and mi
llionaires do not mingle with the poor. Kill, soldier, oppress the people, die f
or the regime, give your sweat and blood ...'
But if blind to this sad truth, a minority of soldiers had decided to fight the
people, the people who were going to liberate them from tyranny, victory still w
ould have gone to the people. The Honorable Prosecutor was very interested in kn
owing our chances for success. These chances were based on considerations of tec
hnical, military and social order. They have tried to establish the myth that mo
dern arms render the people helpless in overthrowing tyrants. Military parades a
nd the pompous display of machines of war are used to perpetuate this myth and t
o create a complex of absolute impotence in the people. But no weaponry, no viol

ence can vanquish the people once they are determined to win back their rights.
Both past and present are full of examples. The most recent is the revolt in Bol
ivia, where miners with dynamite sticks smashed and defeated regular army regime
Fortunately, we Cubans need not look for examples abroad. No example is as inspi
ring as that of our own land. During the war of 1895 there were nearly half a mi
llion armed Spanish soldiers in Cuba, many more than the Dictator counts upon to
day to hold back a population five times greater. The arms of the Spaniards were
, incomparably, both more up to date and more powerful than those of our mambise
s. Often the Spaniards were equipped with field artillery and the infantry used
breechloaders similar to those still in use by the infantry of today. The Cubans
were usually armed with no more than their machetes, for their cartridge belts
were almost always empty. There is an unforgettable passage in the history of ou
r War of Independence, narrated by General Mir Argenter, Chief of Antonio Maceo's
General Staff. I managed to bring it copied on this scrap of paper so I wouldn'
t have to depend upon my memory:
'Untrained men under the command of Pedro Delgado, most of them equipped only wi
th machetes, were virtually annihilated as they threw themselves on the solid ra
nk of Spaniards. It is not an exaggeration to assert that of every fifty men, 25
were killed. Some even attacked the Spaniards with their bare fists, without ma
chetes, without even knives. Searching through the reeds by the Hondo River, we
found fifteen more dead from the Cuban party, and it was not immediately clear w
hat group they belonged to, They did not appear to have shouldered arms, their c
lothes were intact and only tin drinking cups hung from their waists; a few step
s further on lay the dead horse, all its equipment in order. We reconstructed th
e climax of the tragedy. These men, following their daring chief, Lieutenant Col
onel Pedro Delgado, had earned heroes' laurels: they had thrown themselves again
st bayonets with bare hands, the clash of metal which was heard around them was
the sound of their drinking cups banging against the saddlehorn. Maceo was deepl
y moved. This man so used to seeing death in all its forms murmured this praise:
"I had never seen anything like this, untrained and unarmed men attacking the S
paniards with only drinking cups for weapons. And I called it impedimenta!"'
This is how peoples fight when they want to win their freedom; they throw stones
at airplanes and overturn tanks!
As soon as Santiago de Cuba was in our hands we would immediately have readied t
he people of Oriente for war. Bayamo was attacked precisely to locate our advanc
e forces along the Cauto River. Never forget that this province, which has a mil
lion and a half inhabitants today, is the most rebellious and patriotic in Cuba.
It was this province that sparked the fight for independence for thirty years a
nd paid the highest price in blood, sacrifice and heroism. In Oriente you can st
ill breathe the air of that glorious epic. At dawn, when the cocks crow as if th
ey were bugles calling soldiers to reveille, and when the sun rises radiant over
the rugged mountains, it seems that once again we will live the days of Yara or
I stated that the second consideration on which we based our chances for success
was one of social order. Why were we sure of the people's support? When we spea
k of the people we are not talking about those who live in comfort, the conserva
tive elements of the nation, who welcome any repressive regime, any dictatorship
, any despotism, prostrating themselves before the masters of the moment until t
hey grind their foreheads into the ground. When we speak of struggle and we ment
ion the people we mean the vast unredeemed masses, those to whom everyone makes
promises and who are deceived by all; we mean the people who yearn for a better,
more dignified and more just nation; who are moved by ancestral aspirations to
justice, for they have suffered injustice and mockery generation after generatio
n; those who long for great and wise changes in all aspects of their life; peopl

e who, to attain those changes, are ready to give even the very last breath they
have when they believe in something or in someone, especially when they believe
in themselves. The first condition of sincerity and good faith in any endeavor
is to do precisely what nobody else ever does, that is, to speak with absolute c
larity, without fear. The demagogues and professional politicians who manage to
perform the miracle of being right about everything and of pleasing everyone are
, necessarily, deceiving everyone about everything. The revolutionaries must pro
claim their ideas courageously, define their principles and express their intent
ions so that no one is deceived, neither friend nor foe.
In terms of struggle, when we talk about people we're talking about the six hund
red thousand Cubans without work, who want to earn their daily bread honestly wi
thout having to emigrate from their homeland in search of a livelihood; the five
hundred thousand farm laborers who live in miserable shacks, who work four mont
hs of the year and starve the rest, sharing their misery with their children, wh
o don't have an inch of land to till and whose existence would move any heart no
t made of stone; the four hundred thousand industrial workers and laborers whose
retirement funds have been embezzled, whose benefits are being taken away, whos
e homes are wretched quarters, whose salaries pass from the hands of the boss to
those of the moneylender, whose future is a pay reduction and dismissal, whose
life is endless work and whose only rest is the tomb; the one hundred thousand s
mall farmers who live and die working land that is not theirs, looking at it wit
h the sadness of Moses gazing at the promised land, to die without ever owning i
t, who like feudal serfs have to pay for the use of their parcel of land by givi
ng up a portion of its produce, who cannot love it, improve it, beautify it nor
plant a cedar or an orange tree on it because they never know when a sheriff wil
l come with the rural guard to evict them from it; the thirty thousand teachers
and professors who are so devoted, dedicated and so necessary to the better dest
iny of future generations and who are so badly treated and paid; the twenty thou
sand small business men weighed down by debts, ruined by the crisis and harangue
d by a plague of grafting and venal officials; the ten thousand young profession
al people: doctors, engineers, lawyers, veterinarians, school teachers, dentists
, pharmacists, newspapermen, painters, sculptors, etc., who finish school with t
heir degrees anxious to work and full of hope, only to find themselves at a dead
end, all doors closed to them, and where no ears hear their clamor or supplicat
ion. These are the people, the ones who know misfortune and, therefore, are capa
ble of fighting with limitless courage! To these people whose desperate roads th
rough life have been paved with the bricks of betrayal and false promises, we we
re not going to say: 'We will give you ...' but rather: 'Here it is, now fight f
or it with everything you have, so that liberty and happiness may be yours!'
The five revolutionary laws that would have been
e capture of the Moncada Barracks and would have
radio must be included in the indictment. It is
may deliberately have destroyed these documents,

proclaimed immediately after th

been broadcast to the nation by
possible that Colonel Chaviano
but even if he has I remember t

The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaim
ed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the peo
ple should decide to modify or change it. And in order to effect its implementat
ion and punish those who violated it - there being no electoral organization to
carry this out - the revolutionary movement, as the circumstantial incarnation o
f this sovereignty, the only source of legitimate power, would have assumed all
the faculties inherent therein, except that of modifying the Constitution itself
: in other words, it would have assumed the legislative, executive and judicial
This attitude could not be clearer nor more free of vacillation and sterile char
latanry. A government acclaimed by the mass of rebel people would be vested with
every power, everything necessary in order to proceed with the effective implem

entation of popular will and real justice. From that moment, the Judicial Power
- which since March 10th had placed itself against and outside the Constitution
- would cease to exist and we would proceed to its immediate and total reform be
fore it would once again assume the power granted it by the Supreme Law of the R
epublic. Without these previous measures, a return to legality by putting its cu
stody back into the hands that have crippled the system so dishonorably would co
nstitute a fraud, a deceit, one more betrayal.
The second revolutionary law would give non-mortgageable and non-transferable ow
nership of the land to all tenant and subtenant farmers, lessees, share croppers
and squatters who hold parcels of five caballeras of land or less, and the State
would indemnify the former owners on the basis of the rental which they would h
ave received for these parcels over a period of ten years.
The third revolutionary law would have granted workers and employees the right t
o share 30% of the profits of all the large industrial, mercantile and mining en
terprises, including the sugar mills. The strictly agricultural enterprises woul
d be exempt in consideration of other agrarian laws which would be put into effe
The fourth revolutionary law would have granted all sugar planters the right to
share 55% of sugar production and a minimum quota of forty thousand arrobas for
all small tenant farmers who have been established for three years or more.
The fifth revolutionary law would have ordered the confiscation of all holdings
and ill-gotten gains of those who had committed frauds during previous regimes,
as well as the holdings and ill-gotten gains of all their legates and heirs. To
implement this, special courts with full powers would gain access to all records
of all corporations registered or operating in this country, in order to invest
igate concealed funds of illegal origin, and to request that foreign governments
extradite persons and attach holdings rightfully belonging to the Cuban people.
Half of the property recovered would be used to subsidize retirement funds for
workers and the other half would be used for hospitals, asylums and charitable o
Furthermore, it was declared that the Cuban policy in the Americas would be one
of close solidarity with the democratic peoples of this continent, and that all
those politically persecuted by bloody tyrannies oppressing our sister nations w
ould find generous asylum, brotherhood and bread in the land of Mart; not the per
secution, hunger and treason they find today. Cuba should be the bulwark of libe
rty and not a shameful link in the chain of despotism.
These laws would have been proclaimed immediately. As soon as the upheaval ended
and prior to a detailed and far reaching study, they would have been followed b
y another series of laws and fundamental measures, such as the Agrarian Reform,
the Integral Educational Reform, nationalization of the electric power trust and
the telephone trust, refund to the people of the illegal and repressive rates t
hese companies have charged, and payment to the treasury of all taxes brazenly e
vaded in the past.
All these laws and others would be based on the exact compliance of two essentia
l articles of our Constitution: one of them orders the outlawing of large estate
s, indicating the maximum area of land any one person or entity may own for each
type of agricultural enterprise, by adopting measures which would tend to rever
t the land to the Cubans. The other categorically orders the State to use all me
ans at its disposal to provide employment to all those who lack it and to ensure
a decent livelihood to each manual or intellectual laborer. None of these laws
can be called unconstitutional. The first popularly elected government would hav
e to respect them, not only because of moral obligations to the nation, but beca
use when people achieve something they have yearned for throughout generations,

no force in the world is capable of taking it away again.

The problem of the land, the problem of industrialization, the problem of housin
g, the problem of unemployment, the problem of education and the problem of the
people's health: these are the six problems we would take immediate steps to sol
ve, along with restoration of civil liberties and political democracy.
This exposition may seem cold and theoretical if one does not know the shocking
and tragic conditions of the country with regard to these six problems, along wi
th the most humiliating political oppression.
Eighty-five per cent of the small farmers in Cuba pay rent and live under consta
nt threat of being evicted from the land they till. More than half of our most p
roductive land is in the hands of foreigners. In Oriente, the largest province,
the lands of the United Fruit Company and the West Indian Company link the north
ern and southern coasts. There are two hundred thousand peasant families who do
not have a single acre of land to till to provide food for their starving childr
en. On the other hand, nearly three hundred thousand caballeras of cultivable lan
d owned by powerful interests remain uncultivated. If Cuba is above all an agric
ultural State, if its population is largely rural, if the city depends on these
rural areas, if the people from our countryside won our war of independence, if
our nation's greatness and prosperity depend on a healthy and vigorous rural pop
ulation that loves the land and knows how to work it, if this population depends
on a State that protects and guides it, then how can the present state of affai
rs be allowed to continue?
Except for a few food, lumber and textile industries, Cuba continues to be prima
rily a producer of raw materials. We export sugar to import candy, we export hid
es to import shoes, we export iron to import plows ... Everyone agrees with the
urgent need to industrialize the nation, that we need steel industries, paper an
d chemical industries, that we must improve our cattle and grain production, the
technology and processing in our food industry in order to defend ourselves aga
inst the ruinous competition from Europe in cheese products, condensed milk, liq
uors and edible oils, and the United States in canned goods; that we need cargo
ships; that tourism should be an enormous source of revenue. But the capitalists
insist that the workers remain under the yoke. The State sits back with its arm
s crossed and industrialization can wait forever.
Just as serious or even worse is the housing problem. There are two hundred thou
sand huts and hovels in Cuba; four hundred thousand families in the countryside
and in the cities live cramped in huts and tenements without even the minimum sa
nitary requirements; two million two hundred thousand of our urban population pa
y rents which absorb between one fifth and one third of their incomes; and two m
illion eight hundred thousand of our rural and suburban population lack electric
ity. We have the same situation here: if the State proposes the lowering of rent
s, landlords threaten to freeze all construction; if the State does not interfer
e, construction goes on so long as landlords get high rents; otherwise they woul
d not lay a single brick even though the rest of the population had to live tota
lly exposed to the elements. The utilities monopoly is no better; they extend li
nes as far as it is profitable and beyond that point they don't care if people h
ave to live in darkness for the rest of their lives. The State sits back with it
s arms crossed and the people have neither homes nor electricity.
Our educational system is perfectly compatible with everything I've just mention
ed. Where the peasant doesn't own the land, what need is there for agricultural
schools? Where there is no industry, what need is there for technical or vocatio
nal schools? Everything follows the same absurd logic; if we don't have one thin
g we can't have the other. In any small European country there are more than 200
technological and vocational schools; in Cuba only six such schools exist, and
their graduates have no jobs for their skills. The little rural schoolhouses are

attended by a mere half of the school age children - barefooted, half-naked and
undernourished - and frequently the teacher must buy necessary school materials
from his own salary. Is this the way to make a nation great?
Only death can liberate one from so much misery. In this respect, however, the S
tate is most helpful - in providing early death for the people. Ninety per cent
of the children in the countryside are consumed by parasites which filter throug
h their bare feet from the ground they walk on. Society is moved to compassion w
hen it hears of the kidnapping or murder of one child, but it is indifferent to
the mass murder of so many thousands of children who die every year from lack of
facilities, agonizing with pain. Their innocent eyes, death already shining in
them, seem to look into some vague infinity as if entreating forgiveness for hum
an selfishness, as if asking God to stay His wrath. And when the head of a famil
y works only four months a year, with what can he purchase clothing and medicine
for his children? They will grow up with rickets, with not a single good tooth
in their mouths by the time they reach thirty; they will have heard ten million
speeches and will finally die of misery and deception. Public hospitals, which a
re always full, accept only patients recommended by some powerful politician who
, in return, demands the votes of the unfortunate one and his family so that Cub
a may continue forever in the same or worse condition.
With this background, is it not understandable that from May to December over a
million persons are jobless and that Cuba, with a population of five and a half
million, has a greater number of unemployed than France or Italy with a populati
on of forty million each?
When you try a defendant for robbery, Honorable Judges, do you ask him how long
he has been unemployed? Do you ask him how many children he has, which days of t
he week he ate and which he didn't, do you investigate his social context at all
? You just send him to jail without further thought. But those who burn warehous
es and stores to collect insurance do not go to jail, even though a few human be
ings may have gone up in flames. The insured have money to hire lawyers and brib
e judges. You imprison the poor wretch who steals because he is hungry; but none
of the hundreds who steal millions from the Government has ever spent a night i
n jail. You dine with them at the end of the year in some elegant club and they
enjoy your respect. In Cuba, when a government official becomes a millionaire ov
ernight and enters the fraternity of the rich, he could very well be greeted wit
h the words of that opulent character out of Balzac - Taillefer - who in his toa
st to the young heir to an enormous fortune, said: 'Gentlemen, let us drink to t
he power of gold! Mr. Valentine, a millionaire six times over, has just ascended
the throne. He is king, can do everything, is above everyone, as all the rich a
re. Henceforth, equality before the law, established by the Constitution, will b
e a myth for him; for he will not be subject to laws: the laws will be subject t
o him. There are no courts nor are there sentences for millionaires.'
The nation's future, the solutions to its problems, cannot continue to depend on
the selfish interests of a dozen big businessmen nor on the cold calculations o
f profits that ten or twelve magnates draw up in their air-conditioned offices.
The country cannot continue begging on its knees for miracles from a few golden
calves, like the Biblical one destroyed by the prophet's fury. Golden calves can
not perform miracles of any kind. The problems of the Republic can be solved onl
y if we dedicate ourselves to fight for it with the same energy, honesty and pat
riotism our liberators had when they founded it. Statesmen like Carlos Saladriga
s, whose statesmanship consists of preserving the statu quo and mouthing phrases
like 'absolute freedom of enterprise,' 'guarantees to investment capital' and '
law of supply and demand,' will not solve these problems. Those ministers can ch
at away in a Fifth Avenue mansion until not even the dust of the bones of those
whose problems require immediate solution remains. In this present-day world, so
cial problems are not solved by spontaneous generation.

A revolutionary government backed by the people and with the respect of the nati
on, after cleansing the different institutions of all venal and corrupt official
s, would proceed immediately to the country's industrialization, mobilizing all
inactive capital, currently estimated at about 1.5 billion pesos, through the Na
tional Bank and the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank, and submitting
this mammoth task to experts and men of absolute competence totally removed fro
m all political machines for study, direction, planning and realization.
After settling the one hundred thousand small farmers as owners on the land whic
h they previously rented, a revolutionary government would immediately proceed t
o settle the land problem. First, as set forth in the Constitution, it would est
ablish the maximum amount of land to be held by each type of agricultural enterp
rise and would acquire the excess acreage by expropriation, recovery of swamplan
d, planting of large nurseries, and reserving of zones for reforestation. Second
ly, it would distribute the remaining land among peasant families with priority
given to the larger ones, and would promote agricultural cooperatives for commun
al use of expensive equipment, freezing plants and unified professional technica
l management of farming and cattle raising. Finally, it would provide resources,
equipment, protection and useful guidance to the peasants.
A revolutionary government would solve the housing problem by cutting all rents
in half, by providing tax exemptions on homes inhabited by the owners; by tripli
ng taxes on rented homes; by tearing down hovels and replacing them with modern
apartment buildings; and by financing housing all over the island on a scale her
etofore unheard of, with the criterion that, just as each rural family should po
ssess its own tract of land, each city family should own its own house or apartm
ent. There is plenty of building material and more than enough manpower to make
a decent home for every Cuban. But if we continue to wait for the golden calf, a
thousand years will have gone by and the problem will remain the same. On the o
ther hand, today possibilities of taking electricity to the most isolated areas
on the island are greater than ever. The use of nuclear energy in this field is
now a reality and will greatly reduce the cost of producing electricity.
With these three projects and reforms, the problem of unemployment would automat
ically disappear and the task of improving public health and fighting against di
sease would become much less difficult.
Finally, a revolutionary government would undertake the integral reform of the e
ducational system, bringing it into line with the projects just mentioned with t
he idea of educating those generations which will have the privilege of living i
n a happier land. Do not forget the words of the Apostle: 'A grave mistake is be
ing made in Latin America: in countries that live almost completely from the pro
duce of the land, men are being educated exclusively for urban life and are not
trained for farm life.' 'The happiest country is the one which has best educated
its sons, both in the instruction of thought and the direction of their feeling
s.' 'An educated country will always be strong and free.'
The soul of education, however, is the teacher, and in Cuba the teaching profess
ion is miserably underpaid. Despite this, no one is more dedicated than the Cuba
n teacher. Who among us has not learned his three Rs in the little public school
house? It is time we stopped paying pittances to these young men and women who a
re entrusted with the sacred task of teaching our youth. No teacher should earn
less than 200 pesos, no secondary teacher should make less than 350 pesos, if th
ey are to devote themselves exclusively to their high calling without suffering
want. What is more, all rural teachers should have free use of the various syste
ms of transportation; and, at least once every five years, all teachers should e
njoy a sabbatical leave of six months with pay so they may attend special refres
her courses at home or abroad to keep abreast of the latest developments in thei
r field. In this way, the curriculum and the teaching system can be easily impro
ved. Where will the money be found for all this? When there is an end to the emb

ezzlement of government funds, when public officials stop taking graft from the
large companies that owe taxes to the State, when the enormous resources of the
country are brought into full use, when we no longer buy tanks, bombers and guns
for this country (which has no frontiers to defend and where these instruments
of war, now being purchased, are used against the people), when there is more in
terest in educating the people than in killing them there will be more than enou
gh money.
Cuba could easily provide for a population three times as great as it has now, s
o there is no excuse for the abject poverty of a single one of its present inhab
itants. The markets should be overflowing with produce, pantries should be full,
all hands should be working. This is not an inconceivable thought. What is inco
nceivable is that anyone should go to bed hungry while there is a single inch of
unproductive land; that children should die for lack of medical attention; what
is inconceivable is that 30% of our farm people cannot write their names and th
at 99% of them know nothing of Cuba's history. What is inconceivable is that the
majority of our rural people are now living in worse circumstances than the Ind
ians Columbus discovered in the fairest land that human eyes had ever seen.
To those who would call me a dreamer, I quote the words of Mart: 'A true man does
not seek the path where advantage lies, but rather the path where duty lies, an
d this is the only practical man, whose dream of today will be the law of tomorr
ow, because he who has looked back on the essential course of history and has se
en flaming and bleeding peoples seethe in the cauldron of the ages knows that, w
ithout a single exception, the future lies on the side of duty.'
Only when we understand that such a high ideal inspired them can we conceive of
the heroism of the young men who fell in Santiago. The meager material means at
our disposal was all that prevented sure success. When the soldiers were told th
at Pro had given us a million pesos, they were told this in the regime's attempt
to distort the most important fact: the fact that our Movement had no link with
past politicians: that this Movement is a new Cuban generation with its own idea
s, rising up against tyranny; that this Movement is made up of young people who
were barely seven years old when Batista perpetrated the first of his crimes in
1934. The lie about the million pesos could not have been more absurd. If, with
less than 20,000 pesos, we armed 165 men and attacked a regiment and a squadron,
then with a million pesos we could have armed 8,000 men, to attack 50 regiments
and 50 squadrons - and Ugalde Carrillo still would not have found out until Sun
day, July 26th, at 5:15 a.m. I assure you that for every man who fought, twenty
well trained men were unable to fight for lack of weapons. When these young men
marched along the streets of Havana in the student demonstration of the Mart Cent
ennial, they solidly packed six blocks. If even 200 more men had been able to fi
ght, or we had possessed 20 more hand grenades, perhaps this Honorable Court wou
ld have been spared all this inconvenience.
The politicians spend millions buying off consciences, whereas a handful of Cuba
ns who wanted to save their country's honor had to face death barehanded for lac
k of funds. This shows how the country, to this very day, has been governed not
by generous and dedicated men, but by political racketeers, the scum of our publ
ic life.
With the greatest pride I tell you that in accordance with our principles we hav
e never asked a politician, past or present, for a penny. Our means were assembl
ed with incomparable sacrifice. For example, Elpidio Sosa, who sold his job and
came to me one day with 300 pesos 'for the cause;' Fernando Chenard, who sold th
e photographic equipment with which he earned his living; Pedro Marrero, who con
tributed several months' salary and who had to be stopped from actually selling
the very furniture in his house; Oscar Alcalde, who sold his pharmaceutical labo
ratory; Jess Montan, who gave his five years' savings, and so on with many others,
each giving the little he had.

One must have great faith in one's country to do such a thing. The memory of the
se acts of idealism bring me straight to the most bitter chapter of this defense
- the price the tyranny made them pay for wanting to free Cuba from oppression
and injustice.
Beloved corpses, you that once
Were the hope of my Homeland,
Cast upon my forehead
The dust of your decaying bones!
Touch my heart with your cold hands!
Groan at my ears!
Each of my moans will
Turn into the tears of one more tyrant!
Gather around me! Roam about,
That my soul may receive your spirits
And give me the horror of the tombs
For tears are not enough
When one lives in infamous bondage!
Multiply the crimes of November 27th, 1871 by ten and you will have the monstrou
s and repulsive crimes of July 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th, 1953, in the province
of Oriente. These are still fresh in our memory, but someday when years have pas
sed, when the skies of the nation have cleared once more, when tempers have calm
ed and fear no longer torments our spirits, then we will begin to see the magnit
ude of this massacre in all its shocking dimension, and future generations will
be struck with horror when they look back on these acts of barbarity unprecedent
ed in our history. But I do not want to become enraged. I need clearness of mind
and peace in my heavy heart in order to relate the facts as simply as possible,
in no sense dramatizing them, but just as they took place. As a Cuban I am asha
med that heartless men should have perpetrated such unthinkable crimes, dishonor
ing our nation before the rest of the world.
The tyrant Batista was never a man of scruples. He has never hesitated to tell h
is people the most outrageous lies. To justify his treacherous coup of March 10t
h, he concocted stories about a fictitious uprising in the Army, supposedly sche
duled to take place in April, and which he 'wanted to avert so that the Republic
might not be drenched in blood.' A ridiculous little tale nobody ever believed!
And when he himself did want to drench the Republic in blood, when he wanted to
smother in terror and torture the just rebellion of Cuba's youth, who were not
willing to be his slaves, then he contrived still more fantastic lies. How littl
e respect one must have for a people when one tries to deceive them so miserably
! On the very day of my arrest I publicly assumed the responsibility for our arm
ed movement of July 26th. If there had been an iota of truth in even one of the
many statements the Dictator made against our fighters in his speech of July 27t
h, it would have been enough to undermine the moral impact of my case. Why, then
, was I not brought to trial? Why were medical certificates forged? Why did they
violate all procedural laws and ignore so scandalously the rulings of the Court
? Why were so many things done, things never before seen in a Court of Law, in o
rder to prevent my appearance at all costs? In contrast, I could not begin to te
ll you all I went through in order to appear. I asked the Court to bring me to t
rial in accordance with all established principles, and I denounced the underhan
ded schemes that were afoot to prevent it. I wanted to argue with them face to f
ace. But they did not wish to face me. Who was afraid of the truth, and who was
The statements made by the Dictator at Camp Columbia might be considered amusing
if they were not so drenched in blood. He claimed we were a group of hirelings
and that there were many foreigners among us. He said that the central part of o
ur plan was an attempt to kill him - him, always him. As if the men who attacked

the Moncada Barracks could not have killed him and twenty like him if they had
approved of such methods. He stated that our attack had been planned by ex-Presi
dent Pro, and that it had been financed with Pro's money. It has been irrefutably
proven that no link whatsoever existed between our Movement and the last regime.
He claimed that we had machine guns and hand-grenades. Yet the military technic
ians have stated right here in this Court that we only had one machine gun and n
ot a single hand-grenade. He said that we had beheaded the sentries. Yet death c
ertificates and medical reports of all the Army's casualties show not one death
caused by the blade. But above all and most important, he said that we stabbed p
atients at the Military Hospital. Yet the doctors from that hospital - Army doct
ors - have testified that we never even occupied the building, that no patient w
as either wounded or killed by us, and that the hospital lost only one employee,
a janitor, who imprudently stuck his head out of an open window.
Whenever a Chief of State, or anyone pretending to be one, makes declarations to
the nation, he speaks not just to hear the sound of his own voice. He always ha
s some specific purpose and expects some specific reaction, or has a given inten
tion. Since our military defeat had already taken place, insofar as we no longer
represented any actual threat to the dictatorship, why did they slander us like
that? If it is still not clear that this was a blood-drenched speech, that it w
as simply an attempt to justify the crimes that they had been perpetrating since
the night before and that they were going to continue to perpetrate, then, let
figures speak for me: On July 27th, in his speech from the military headquarters
, Batista said that the assailants suffered 32 dead. By the end of the week the
number of dead had risen to more than 80 men. In what battles, where, in what cl
ashes, did these young men die? Before Batista spoke, more than 25 prisoners had
been murdered. After Batista spoke fifty more were massacred.
What a great sense of honor those modest Army technicians and professionals had,
who did not distort the facts before the Court, but gave their reports adhering
to the strictest truth! These surely are soldiers who honor their uniform; thes
e, surely, are men! Neither a real soldier nor a true man can degrade his code o
f honor with lies and crime. I know that many of the soldiers are indignant at t
he barbaric assassinations perpetrated. I know that they feel repugnance and sha
me at the smell of homicidal blood that impregnates every stone of Moncada Barra
Now that he has been contradicted by men of honor within his own Army, I defy th
e dictator to repeat his vile slander against us. I defy him to try to justify b
efore the Cuban people his July 27th speech. Let him not remain silent. Let him
speak. Let him say who the assassins are, who the ruthless, the inhumane. Let hi
m tell us if the medals of honor, which he went to pin on the breasts of his her
oes of that massacre, were rewards for the hideous crimes they had committed. Le
t him, from this very moment, assume his responsibility before history. Let him
not pretend, at a later date, that the soldiers were acting without direct order
s from him! Let him offer the nation an explanation for those 70 murders. The bl
oodshed was great. The nation needs an explanation. The nation seeks it. The nat
ion demands it.
It is common knowledge that in 1933, at the end of the battle at the National Ho
tel, some officers were murdered after they surrendered. Bohemia Magazine protes
ted energetically. It is also known that after the surrender of Fort Atars the be
siegers' machine guns cut down a row of prisoners. And that one soldier, after a
sking who Blas Hernndez was, blasted him with a bullet directly in the face, and
for this cowardly act was promoted to the rank of officer. It is well-known in C
uban history that assassination of prisoners was fatally linked with Batista's n
ame. How naive we were not to foresee this! However, unjustifiable as those kill
ings of 1933 were, they took place in a matter of minutes, in no more time than
it took for a round of machine gun fire. What is more, they took place while tem
pers were still on edge.

This was not the case in Santiago de Cuba. Here all forms of ferocious outrages
and cruelty were deliberately overdone. Our men were killed not in the course of
a minute, an hour or a day. Throughout an entire week the blows and tortures co
ntinued, men were thrown from rooftops and shot. All methods of extermination we
re incessantly practiced by well-skilled artisans of crime. Moncada Barracks wer
e turned into a workshop of torture and death. Some shameful individuals turned
their uniforms into butcher's aprons. The walls were splattered with blood. The
bullets imbedded in the walls were encrusted with singed bits of skin, brains an
d human hair, the grisly reminders of rifle shots fired full in the face. The gr
ass around the barracks was dark and sticky with human blood. The criminal hands
that are guiding the destiny of Cuba had written for the prisoners at the entra
nce to that den of death the very inscription of Hell: 'Forsake all hope.'
They did not even attempt to cover appearances. They did not bother in the least
to conceal what they were doing. They thought they had deceived the people with
their lies and they ended up deceiving themselves. They felt themselves lords a
nd masters of the universe, with power over life and death. So the fear they had
experienced upon our attack at daybreak was dissipated in a feast of corpses, i
n a drunken orgy of blood.
Chronicles of our history, down through four and a half centuries, tell us of ma
ny acts of cruelty: the slaughter of defenseless Indians by the Spaniards; the p
lundering and atrocities of pirates along the coast; the barbarities of the Span
ish soldiers during our War of Independence; the shooting of prisoners of the Cu
ban Army by the forces of Weyler; the horrors of the Machado regime, and so on t
hrough the bloody crimes of March, 1935. But never has such a sad and bloody pag
e been written in numbers of victims and in the viciousness of the victimizers,
as in Santiago de Cuba. Only one man in all these centuries has stained with blo
od two separate periods of our history and has dug his claws into the flesh of t
wo generations of Cubans. To release this river of blood, he waited for the Cent
ennial of the Apostle, just after the fiftieth anniversary of the Republic, whos
e people fought for freedom, human rights and happiness at the cost of so many l
ives. Even greater is his crime and even more condemnable because the man who pe
rpetrated it had already, for eleven long years, lorded over his people - this p
eople who, by such deep-rooted sentiment and tradition, loves freedom and repudi
ates evil. This man has furthermore never been sincere, loyal, honest or chivalr
ous for a single minute of his public life.
He was not content with the treachery of January, 1934, the crimes of March, 193
5 and the forty million dollar fortune that crowned his first regime. He had to
add the treason of March, 1952, the crimes of July, 1953, and all the millions t
hat only time will reveal. Dante divided his Inferno into nine circles. He put c
riminals in the seventh, thieves in the eighth and traitors in the ninth. Diffic
ult dilemma the devils will be faced with, when they try to find an adequate spo
t for this man's soul - if this man has a soul. The man who instigated the atroc
ious acts in Santiago de Cuba doesn't even have a heart.
I know many details of the way in which these crimes were carried out, from the
lips of some of the soldiers who, filled with shame, told me of the scenes they
had witnessed.
When the fighting was over, the soldiers descended like savage beasts on Santiag
o de Cuba and they took the first fury of their frustrations out against the def
enseless population. In the middle of a street, and far from the site of the fig
hting, they shot through the chest an innocent child who was playing by his door
step. When the father approached to pick him up, they shot him through his head.
Without a word they shot 'Nio' Cala, who was on his way home with a loaf of brea
d in his hands. It would be an endless task to relate all the crimes and outrage
s perpetrated against the civilian population. And if the Army dealt thus with t

hose who had had no part at all in the action, you can imagine the terrible fate
of the prisoners who had taken part or who were believed to have taken part. Ju
st as, in this trial, they accused many people not at all involved in our attack
, they also killed many prisoners who had no involvement whatsoever. The latter
are not included in the statistics of victims released by the regime; those stat
istics refer exclusively to our men. Some day the total number of victims will b
e known.
The first prisoner killed has our doctor, Mario Muoz, who bore no arms, wore no u
niform, and was dressed in the white smock of a physician. He was a generous and
competent man who would have given the same devoted care to the wounded adversa
ry as to a friend. On the road from the Civilian Hospital to the barracks they s
hot him in the back and left him lying there, face down in a pool of blood. But
the mass murder of prisoners did not begin until after three o'clock in the afte
rnoon. Until this hour they awaited orders. Then General Martn Daz Tamayo arrived
from Havana and brought specific instructions from a meeting he had attended wit
h Batista, along with the head of the Army, the head of the Military Intelligenc
e, and others. He said: 'It is humiliating and dishonorable for the Army to have
lost three times as many men in combat as the insurgents did. Ten prisoners mus
t be killed for each dead soldier.' This was the order!
In every society there are men of base instincts. The sadists, brutes, conveyors
of all the ancestral atavisms go about in the guise of human beings, but they a
re monsters, only more or less restrained by discipline and social habit. If the
y are offered a drink from a river of blood, they will not be satisfied until th
ey drink the river dry. All these men needed was the order. At their hands the b
est and noblest Cubans perished: the most valiant, the most honest, the most ide
alistic. The tyrant called them mercenaries. There they were dying as heroes at
the hands of men who collect a salary from the Republic and who, with the arms t
he Republic gave them to defend her, serve the interests of a clique and murder
her best citizens.
Throughout their torturing of our comrades, the Army offered them the chance to
save their lives by betraying their ideology and falsely declaring that Pro had g
iven them money. When they indignantly rejected that proposition, the Army conti
nued with its horrible tortures. They crushed their testicles and they tore out
their eyes. But no one yielded. No complaint was heard nor a favor asked. Even w
hen they had been deprived of their vital organs, our men were still a thousand
times more men than all their tormentors together. Photographs, which do not lie
, show the bodies torn to pieces, Other methods were used. Frustrated by the val
or of the men, they tried to break the spirit of our women. With a bleeding eye
in their hands, a sergeant and several other men went to the cell where our comr
ades Melba Hernndez and Hayde Santamara were held. Addressing the latter, and showi
ng her the eye, they said: 'This eye belonged to your brother. If you will not t
ell us what he refused to say, we will tear out the other.' She, who loved her v
aliant brother above all things, replied full of dignity: 'If you tore out an ey
e and he did not speak, much less will I.' Later they came back and burned their
arms with lit cigarettes until at last, filled with spite, they told the young
Hayde Santamara: 'You no longer have a fianc because we have killed him too.' But s
till imperturbable, she answered: 'He is not dead, because to die for one's coun
try is to live forever.' Never had the heroism and the dignity of Cuban womanhoo
d reached such heights.
There wasn't even any respect for the combat wounded in the various city hospita
ls. There they were hunted down as prey pursued by vultures. In the Centro Galle
go they broke into the operating room at the very moment when two of our critica
lly wounded were receiving blood transfusions. They pulled them off the tables a
nd, as the wounded could no longer stand, they were dragged down to the first fl
oor where they arrived as corpses.

They could not do the same in the Spanish Clinic, where Gustavo Arcos and Jos Pon
ce were patients, because they were prevented by Dr. Posada who bravely told the
m they could enter only over his dead body.
Air and camphor were injected into the veins of Pedro Miret, Abelardo Crespo and
Fidel Labrador, in an attempt to kill them at the Military Hospital. They owe t
heir lives to Captain Tamayo, an Army doctor and true soldier of honor who, pist
ol in hand, wrenched them out of the hands of their merciless captors and transf
erred them to the Civilian Hospital. These five young men were the only ones of
our wounded who survived.
In the early morning hours, groups of our men were removed from the barracks and
taken in automobiles to Siboney, La Maya, Songo, and elsewhere. Then they were
led out - tied, gagged, already disfigured by the torture - and were murdered in
isolated spots. They are recorded as having died in combat against the Army. Th
is went on for several days, and few of the captured prisoners survived. Many we
re compelled to dig their own graves. One of our men, while he was digging, whee
led around and slashed the face of one of his assassins with his pick. Others we
re even buried alive, their hands tied behind their backs. Many solitary spots b
ecame the graveyards of the brave. On the Army target range alone, five of our m
en lie buried. Some day these men will be disinterred. Then they will be carried
on the shoulders of the people to a place beside the tomb of Mart, and their lib
erated land will surely erect a monument to honor the memory of the Martyrs of t
he Centennial.
The last youth they murdered in the surroundings of Santiago de Cuba was Marcos
Mart. He was captured with our comrade Ciro Redondo in a cave at Siboney on the m
orning of Thursday the 30th. These two men were led down the road, with their ar
ms raised, and the soldiers shot Marcos Mart in the back. After he had fallen to
the ground, they riddled him with bullets. Redondo was taken to the camp. When M
ajor Prez Chaumont saw him he exclaimed: 'And this one? Why have you brought him
to me?' The Court heard this incident from Redondo himself, the young man who su
rvived thanks to what Prez Chaumont called 'the soldiers' stupidity.'
It was the same throughout the province. Ten days after July 26th, a newspaper i
n this city printed the news that two young men had been found hanged on the roa
d from Manzanillo to Bayamo. Later the bodies were identified as those of Hugo C
amejo and Pedro Vlez. Another extraordinary incident took place there: There were
three victims - they had been dragged from Manzanillo Barracks at two that morn
ing. At a certain spot on the highway they were taken out, beaten unconscious, a
nd strangled with a rope. But after they had been left for dead, one of them, An
drs Garca, regained consciousness and hid in a farmer's house. Thanks to this the
Court learned the details of this crime too. Of all our men taken prisoner in th
e Bayamo area, this is the only survivor.
Near the Cauto River, in a spot known as Barrancas, at the bottom of a pit, lie
the bodies of Ral de Aguiar, Armando del Valle and Andrs Valds. They were murdered
at midnight on the road between Alto Cedro and Palma Soriano by Sergeant Montes
de Oca - in charge of the military post at Miranda Barracks - Corporal Maceo, an
d the Lieutenant in charge of Alta Cedro where the murdered men were captured. I
n the annals of crime, Sergeant Eulalio Gonzles - better known as the 'Tiger' of
Moncada Barracks - deserves a special place. Later this man didn't have the slig
htest qualms in bragging about his unspeakable deeds. It was he who with his own
hands murdered our comrade Abel Santamara. But that didn't satisfy him. One day
as he was coming back from the Puerto Boniato Prison, where he raises pedigree f
ighting cocks in the back courtyard, he got on a bus on which Abel's mother was
also traveling. When this monster realized who she was he began to brag about hi
s grisly deeds, and - in a loud voice so that the woman dressed in mourning coul
d hear him - he said: 'Yes, I have gouged many eyes out and I expect to continue
gouging them out.' The unprecedented moral degradation our nation is suffering

is expressed beyond the power of words in that mother's sobs of grief before the
cowardly insolence of the very man who murdered her son. When these mothers wen
t to Moncada Barracks to ask about their sons, it was with incredible cynicism a
nd sadism that they were told: 'Surely madam, you may see him at the Santa Ifige
nia Hotel where we have put him up for you.' Either Cuba is not Cuba, or the men
responsible for these acts will have to face their reckoning one day. Heartless
men, they threw crude insults at the people who bared their heads in reverence
as the corpses of the revolutionaries were carried by.
There were so many victims that the government still has not dared make public t
he complete list. They know their figures are false. They have all the victims'
names, because prior to every murder they recorded all the vital statistics. The
whole long process of identification through the National Identification Bureau
was a huge farce, and there are families still waiting for word of their sons'
fate. Why has this not been cleared up, after three months?
I wish to state for the record here that all the victims' pockets were picked to
the very last penny and that all their personal effects, rings and watches, wer
e stripped from their bodies and are brazenly being worn today by their assassin
Honorable Judges, a great deal of what I have just related you already know, fro
m the testimony of many of my comrades. But please note that many key witnesses
have been barred from this trial, although they were permitted to attend the ses
sions of the previous trial. For example, I want to point out that the nurses of
the Civilian Hospital are absent, even though they work in the same place where
this hearing is being held. They were kept from this Court so that, under my qu
estioning, they would not be able to testify that - besides Dr. Mario Muoz - twen
ty more of our men were captured alive. The regime fears that from the questioni
ng of these witnesses some extremely dangerous testimony could find its way into
the official transcript.
But Major Prez Chaumont did appear here and he could not elude my questioning. Wh
at we learned from this man, a 'hero' who fought only against unarmed and handcu
ffed men, gives us an idea of what could have been learned at the Courthouse if
I had not been isolated from the proceedings. I asked him how many of our men ha
d died in his celebrated skirmishes at Siboney. He hesitated. I insisted and he
finally said twenty-one. Since I knew such skirmishes had never taken place, I a
sked him how many of our men had been wounded. He answered: 'None. All of them w
ere killed.' It was then that I asked him, in astonishment, if the soldiers were
using nuclear weapons. Of course, where men are shot point blank, there are no
wounded. Then I asked him how many casualties the Army had sustained. He replied
that two of his men had been wounded. Finally I asked him if either of these me
n had died, and he said no. I waited. Later, all of the wounded Army soldiers fi
led by and it was discovered that none of them had been wounded at Siboney. This
same Major Prez Chaumont who hardly flinched at having assassinated twenty-one d
efenseless young men has built a palatial home in Ciudamar Beach. It's worth mor
e than 100,000 pesos - his savings after only a few months under Batista's new r
ule. And if this is the savings of a Major, imagine how much generals have saved
Honorable Judges: Where are our men who were captured July 26th, 27th, 28th and
29th? It is known that more than sixty men were captured in the area of Santiago
de Cuba. Only three of them and the two women have been brought before the Cour
t. The rest of the accused were seized later. Where are our wounded? Only five o
f them are alive; the rest were murdered. These figures are irrefutable. On the
other hand, twenty of the soldiers who we held prisoner have been presented here
and they themselves have declared that they received not even one offensive wor
d from us. Thirty soldiers who were wounded, many in the street fighting, also a
ppeared before you. Not one was killed by us. If the Army suffered losses of nin

eteen dead and thirty wounded, how is it possible that we should have had eighty
dead and only five wounded? Who ever witnessed a battle with 21 dead and no wou
nded, like these famous battles described by Prez Chaumont?
We have here the casualty lists from the bitter fighting sustained by the invasi
on troops in the war of 1895, both in battles where the Cuban army was defeated
and where it was victorious. The battle of Los Indios in Las Villas: 12 wounded,
none dead. The battle of Mal Tiempo: 4 dead, 23 wounded. Calimete: 16 dead, 64
wounded. La Palma: 39 dead, 88 wounded. Cacarajcara: 5 dead, 13 wounded. Descanso
: 4 dead, 45 wounded. San Gabriel de Lombillo: 2 dead, 18 wounded ... In all the
se battles the number of wounded is twice, three times and up to ten times the n
umber of dead, although in those days there were no modern medical techniques by
which the percentage of deaths could be reduced. How then, now, can we explain
the enormous proportion of sixteen deaths per wounded man, if not by the governm
ent's slaughter of the wounded in the very hospitals, and by the assassination o
f the other helpless prisoners they had taken? The figures are irrefutable.
'It is shameful and a dishonor to the Army to have lost three times as many men
in combat as those lost by the insurgents; we must kill ten prisoners for each d
ead soldier.' This is the concept of honor held by the petty corporals who becam
e generals on March 10th. This is the code of honor they wish to impose on the n
ational Army. A false honor, a feigned honor, an apparent honor based on lies, h
ypocrisy and crime; a mask of honor molded by those assassins with blood. Who to
ld them that to die fighting is dishonorable? Who told them the honor of an army
consists of murdering the wounded and prisoners of war?
In war time, armies that murder prisoners have always earned the contempt and ab
omination of the entire world. Such cowardice has no justification, even in a ca
se where national territory is invaded by foreign troops. In the words of a Sout
h American liberator: 'Not even the strictest military obedience may turn a sold
ier's sword into that of an executioner.' The honorable soldier does not kill th
e helpless prisoner after the fight, but rather, respects him. He does not finis
h off a wounded man, but rather, helps him. He stands in the way of crime and if
he cannot prevent it, he acts as did that Spanish captain who, upon hearing the
shots of the firing squad that murdered Cuban students, indignantly broke his s
word in two and refused to continue serving in that Army.
The soldiers who murdered their prisoners were not worthy of the soldiers who di
ed. I saw many soldiers fight with courage - for example, those in the patrols t
hat fired their machine guns against us in almost hand-to-hand combat, or that s
ergeant who, defying death, rang the alarm to mobilize the barracks. Some of the
m live. I am glad. Others are dead. They believed they were doing their duty and
in my eyes this makes them worthy of admiration and respect. I deplore only the
fact that valiant men should fall for an evil cause. When Cuba is freed, we sho
uld respect, shelter and aid the wives and children of those courageous soldiers
who perished fighting against us. They are not to blame for Cuba's miseries. Th
ey too are victims of this nefarious situation.
But what honor was earned by the soldiers who died in battle was lost by the gen
erals who ordered prisoners to be killed after they surrendered. Men who became
generals overnight, without ever having fired a shot; men who bought their stars
with high treason against their country; men who ordered the execution of priso
ners taken in battles in which they didn't even participate: these are the gener
als of the 10th of March - generals who would not even have been fit to drive th
e mules that carried the equipment in Antonio Maceo's army.
The Army suffered three times as many casualties as we did. That was because our
men were expertly trained, as the Army men themselves have admitted; and also b
ecause we had prepared adequate tactical measures, another fact recognized by th
e Army. The Army did not perform brilliantly; despite the millions spent on espi

onage by the Military Intelligence Agency, they were totally taken by surprise,
and their hand grenades failed to explode because they were obsolete. And the Ar
my owes all this to generals like Martn Daz Tamayo and colonels like Ugalde Carril
lo and Albert del Ro Chaviano. We were not 17 traitors infiltrated into the ranks
of the Army, as was the case on March 10th. Instead, we were 165 men who had tr
aveled the length and breadth of Cuba to look death boldly in the face. If the A
rmy leaders had a notion of real military honor they would have resigned their c
ommands rather than trying to wash away their shame and incompetence in the bloo
d of their prisoners.
To kill helpless prisoners and then declare that they died in battle: that is th
e military capacity of the generals of March 10th. That was the way the worst bu
tchers of Valeriano Weyler behaved in the cruelest years of our War of Independe
nce. The Chronicles of War include the following story: 'On February 23rd, offic
er Baldomero Acosta entered Punta Brava with some cavalry when, from the opposit
e road, a squad of the Pizarro regiment approached, led by a sergeant known in t
hose parts as Barriguilla (Pot Belly). The insurgents exchanged a few shots with
Pizarro's men, then withdrew by the trail that leads from Punta Brava to the vi
llage of Guatao. Followed by another battalion of volunteers from Marianao, and
a company of troops from the Public Order Corps, who were led by Captain Calvo,
Pizarro's squad of 50 men marched on Guatao ... As soon as their first forces en
tered the village they commenced their massacre - killing twelve of the peaceful
inhabitants ... The troops led by Captain Calvo speedily rounded up all the civ
ilians that were running about the village, tied them up and took them as prison
ers of war to Havana ... Not yet satisfied with their outrages, on the outskirts
of Guatao they carried out another barbaric action, killing one of the prisoner
s and horribly wounding the rest. The Marquis of Cervera, a cowardly and palatin
e soldier, informed Weyler of the pyrrhic victory of the Spanish soldiers; but M
ajor Zugasti, a man of principles, denounced the incident to the government and
officially called the murders perpetrated by the criminal Captain Calvo and Serg
eant Barriguilla an assassination of peaceful citizens.
'Weyler's intervention in this horrible incident and his delight upon learning t
he details of the massacre may be palpably deduced from the official dispatch th
at he sent to the Ministry of War concerning these cruelties. "Small column orga
nized by commander Marianao with forces from garrison, volunteers and firemen le
d by Captain Calvo, fought and destroyed bands of Villanueva and Baldomero Acost
a near Punta Brava, killing twenty of theirs, who were handed over to Mayor of G
uatao for burial, and taking fifteen prisoners, one of them wounded, we assume t
here are many wounded among them. One of ours suffered critical wounds, some suf
fered light bruises and wounds. Weyler."'
What is the difference between Weyler's dispatch and that of Colonel Chaviano de
tailing the victories of Major Prez Chaumont? Only that Weyler mentions one wound
ed soldier in his ranks. Chaviano mentions two. Weyler speaks of one wounded man
and fifteen prisoners in the enemy's ranks. Chaviano records neither wounded me
n nor prisoners.
Just as I admire the courage of the soldiers who died bravely, I also admire the
officers who bore themselves with dignity and did not drench their hands in thi
s blood. Many of the survivors owe their lives to the commendable conduct of off
icers like Lieutenant Sarra, Lieutenant Campa, Captain Tamayo and others, who wer
e true gentlemen in their treatment of the prisoners. If men like these had not
partially saved the name of the Armed Forces, it would be more honorable today t
o wear a dishrag than to wear an Army uniform.
For my dead comrades, I claim no vengeance. Since their lives were priceless, th
e murderers could not pay for them even with their own lives. It is not by blood
that we may redeem the lives of those who died for their country. The happiness
of their people is the only tribute worthy of them.

What is more, my comrades are neither dead nor forgotten; they live today, more
than ever, and their murderers will view with dismay the victorious spirit of th
eir ideas rise from their corpses. Let the Apostle speak for me: 'There is a lim
it to the tears we can shed at the graveside of the dead. Such limit is the infi
nite love for the homeland and its glory, a love that never falters, loses hope
nor grows dim. For the graves of the martyrs are the highest altars of our rever
... When one dies
In the arms of a grateful country
Agony ends, prison chains break - and
At last, with death, life begins!
Up to this point I have confined myself almost exclusively to relating events. S
ince I am well aware that I am before a Court convened to judge me, I will now d
emonstrate that all legal right was on our side alone, and that the verdict impo
sed on my comrades - the verdict now being sought against me - has no justificat
ion in reason, in social morality or in terms of true justice.
I wish to be duly respectful to the Honorable Judges, and I am grateful that you
find in the frankness of my plea no animosity towards you. My argument is meant
simply to demonstrate what a false and erroneous position the Judicial Power ha
s adopted in the present situation. To a certain extent, each Court is nothing m
ore than a cog in the wheel of the system, and therefore must move along the cou
rse determined by the vehicle, although this by no means justifies any individua
l acting against his principles. I know very well that the oligarchy bears most
of the blame. The oligarchy, without dignified protest, abjectly yielded to the
dictates of the usurper and betrayed their country by renouncing the autonomy of
the Judicial Power. Men who constitute noble exceptions have attempted to mend
the system's mangled honor with their individual decisions. But the gestures of
this minority have been of little consequence, drowned as they were by the obseq
uious and fawning majority. This fatalism, however, will not stop me from speaki
ng the truth that supports my cause. My appearance before this Court may be a pu
re farce in order to give a semblance of legality to arbitrary decisions, but I
am determined to wrench apart with a firm hand the infamous veil that hides so m
uch shamelessness. It is curious: the very men who have brought me here to be ju
dged and condemned have never heeded a single decision of this Court.
Since this trial may, as you said, be the most important trial since we achieved
our national sovereignty, what I say here will perhaps be lost in the silence w
hich the dictatorship has tried to impose on me, but posterity will often turn i
ts eyes to what you do here. Remember that today you are judging an accused man,
but that you yourselves will be judged not once, but many times, as often as th
ese days are submitted to scrutiny in the future. What I say here will be then r
epeated many times, not because it comes from my lips, but because the problem o
f justice is eternal and the people have a deep sense of justice above and beyon
d the hairsplitting of jurisprudence. The people wield simple but implacable log
ic, in conflict with all that is absurd and contradictory. Furthermore, if there
is in this world a people that utterly abhors favoritism and inequality, it is
the Cuban people. To them, justice is symbolized by a maiden with a scale and a
sword in her hands. Should she cower before one group and furiously wield that s
word against another group, then to the people of Cuba the maiden of justice wil
l seem nothing more than a prostitute brandishing a dagger. My logic is the simp
le logic of the people.
Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time there was a Republic. It had its Const
itution, its laws, its freedoms, a President, a Congress and Courts of Law. Ever
yone could assemble, associate, speak and write with complete freedom. The peopl
e were not satisfied with the government officials at that time, but they had th

e power to elect new officials and only a few days remained before they would do
so. Public opinion was respected and heeded and all problems of common interest
were freely discussed. There were political parties, radio and television debat
es and forums and public meetings. The whole nation pulsated with enthusiasm. Th
is people had suffered greatly and although it was unhappy, it longed to be happ
y and had a right to be happy. It had been deceived many times and it looked upo
n the past with real horror. This country innocently believed that such a past c
ould not return; the people were proud of their love of freedom and they carried
their heads high in the conviction that liberty would be respected as a sacred
right. They felt confident that no one would dare commit the crime of violating
their democratic institutions. They wanted a change for the better, aspired to p
rogress; and they saw all this at hand. All their hope was in the future.
Poor country! One morning the citizens woke up dismayed; under the cover of nigh
t, while the people slept, the ghosts of the past had conspired and has seized t
he citizenry by its hands, its feet, and its neck. That grip, those claws were f
amiliar: those jaws, those death-dealing scythes, those boots. No; it was no nig
htmare; it was a sad and terrible reality: a man named Fulgencio Batista had jus
t perpetrated the appalling crime that no one had expected.
Then a humble citizen of that people, a citizen who wished
s of the Republic, in the integrity of its judges, whom he
ury against the underprivileged, searched through a Social
hat punishment society prescribed for the author of such a
ed the following:

to believe in the law

had seen vent their f
Defense Code to see w
coup, and he discover

'Whosoever shall perpetrate any deed destined through violent means directly to
change in whole or in part the Constitution of the State or the form of the esta
blished government shall incur a sentence of six to ten years imprisonment.
'A sentence of three to ten years imprisonment will be imposed on the author of
an act directed to promote an armed uprising against the Constitutional Powers o
f the State. The sentence increases from five to twenty years if the insurrectio
n is carried out.
'Whosoever shall perpetrate an act with the specific purpose of preventing, in w
hole or in part, even temporarily, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the
President, or the Supreme Court from exercising their constitutional functions
will incur a sentence of from six to ten years imprisonment.
'Whosoever shall attempt to impede or tamper with the normal course of general e
lections, will incur a sentence of from four to eight years imprisonment.
'Whosoever shall introduce, publish, propagate or try to enforce in Cuba instruc
tions, orders or decrees that tend ... to promote the unobservance of laws in fo
rce, will incur a sentence of from two to six years imprisonment.
'Whosoever shall assume command of troops, posts, fortresses, military camps, to
wns, warships, or military aircraft, without the authority to do so, or without
express government orders, will incur a sentence of from five to ten years impri
'A similar sentence will be passed upon anyone who usurps the exercise of a func
tion held by the Constitution as properly belonging to the powers of State.'
Without telling anyone, Code in one hand and a deposition in the other, that cit
izen went to the old city building, that old building which housed the Court com
petent and under obligation to bring cause against and punish those responsible
for this deed. He presented a writ denouncing the crimes and asking that Fulgenc
io Batista and his seventeen accomplices be sentenced to 108 years in prison as

decreed by the Social Defense Code; considering also aggravating circumstances o

f secondary offense treachery, and acting under cover of night.
Days and months passed. What a disappointment! The accused remained unmolested:
he strode up and down the country like a great lord and was called Honorable Sir
and General: he removed and replaced judges at will. The very day the Courts op
ened, the criminal occupied the seat of honor in the midst of our august and ven
erable patriarchs of justice.
Once more the days and the months rolled by, the people wearied of mockery and a
buses. There is a limit to tolerance! The struggle began against this man who wa
s disregarding the law, who had usurped power by the use of violence against the
will of the people, who was guilty of aggression against the established order,
had tortured, murdered, imprisoned and prosecuted those who had taken up the st
ruggle to defend the law and to restore freedom to the people.
Honorable Judges: I am that humble citizen who one day demanded in vain that the
Courts punish the power-hungry men who had violated the law and torn our instit
utions to shreds. Now that it is I who am accused for attempting to overthrow th
is illegal regime and to restore the legitimate Constitution of the Republic, I
am held incommunicado for 76 days and denied the right to speak to anyone, even
to my son; between two heavy machine guns I am led through the city. I am transf
erred to this hospital to be tried secretly with the greatest severity; and the
Prosecutor with the Code in his hand solemnly demands that I be sentenced to 26
years in prison.
You will answer that on the former occasion the Courts failed to act because for
ce prevented them from doing so. Well then, confess, this time force will compel
you to condemn me. The first time you were unable to punish the guilty; now you
will be compelled to punish the innocent. The maiden of justice twice raped.
And so much talk to justify the unjustifiable, to explain the inexplicable and t
o reconcile the irreconcilable! The regime has reached the point of asserting th
at 'Might makes right' is the supreme law of the land. In other words, that usin
g tanks and soldiers to take over the presidential palace, the national treasury
, and the other government offices, and aiming guns at the heart of the people,
entitles them to govern the people! The same argument the Nazis used when they o
ccupied the countries of Europe and installed their puppet governments.
I heartily believe revolution to be the source of legal right; but the nocturnal
armed assault of March 10th could never be considered a revolution. In everyday
language, as Jos Ingenieros said, it is common to give the name of revolution to
small disorders promoted by a group of dissatisfied persons in order to grab, f
rom those in power, both the political sinecures and the economic advantages. Th
e usual result is no more than a change of hands, the dividing up of jobs and be
nefits. This is not the criterion of a philosopher, as it cannot be that of a cu
ltured man.
Leaving aside the problem of integral changes in the social system, not even on
the surface of the public quagmire were we able to discern the slightest motion
that could lessen the rampant putrefaction. The previous regime was guilty of pe
tty politics, theft, pillage, and disrespect for human life; but the present reg
ime has increased political skullduggery five-fold, pillage ten-fold, and a hund
red-fold the lack of respect for human life.
It was known that Barriguilla had plundered and murdered, that he was a milliona
ire, that he owned in Havana a good many apartment houses, countless stock in fo
reign companies, fabulous accounts in American banks, that he agreed to divorce
settlements to the tune of eighteen million pesos, that he was a frequent guest
in the most lavishly expensive hotels for Yankee tycoons. But no one would ever

think of Barriguilla as a revolutionary. Barriguilla is that sergeant of Weyler'

s who assassinated twelve Cubans in Guatao. Batista's men murdered seventy in Sa
ntiago de Cuba. De te fabula narratur.
Four political parties governed the country before the 10th of March: the Autntic
o, Liberal, Democratic and Republican parties. Two days after the coup, the Repu
blican party gave its support to the new rulers. A year had not yet passed befor
e the Liberal and Democratic parties were again in power: Batista did not restor
e the Constitution, did not restore civil liberties, did not restore Congress, d
id not restore universal suffrage, did not restore in the last analysis any of t
he uprooted democratic institutions. But he did restore Verdeja, Guas Incln, Salv
ito Garca Ramos, Anaya Murillo and the top hierarchy of the traditional governmen
t parties, the most corrupt, rapacious, reactionary and antediluvian elements in
Cuban politics. So went the 'revolution' of Barriguilla!.
Lacking even the most elementary revolutionary content, Batista's regime represe
nts in every respect a 20 year regression for Cuba. Batista's regime has exacted
a high price from all of us, but primarily from the humble classes which are su
ffering hunger and misery. Meanwhile the dictatorship has laid waste the nation
with commotion, ineptitude and anguish, and now engages in the most loathsome fo
rms of ruthless politics, concocting formula after formula to perpetuate itself
in power, even if over a stack of corpses and a sea of blood.
Batista's regime has not set in motion a single nationwide program of betterment
for the people. Batista delivered himself into the hands of the great financial
interests. Little else could be expected from a man of his mentality - utterly
devoid as he is of ideals and of principles, and utterly lacking the faith, conf
idence and support of the masses. His regime merely brought with it a change of
hands and a redistribution of the loot among a new group of friends, relatives,
accomplices and parasitic hangers-on that constitute the political retinue of th
e Dictator. What great shame the people have been forced to endure so that a sma
ll group of egoists, altogether indifferent to the needs of their homeland, may
find in public life an easy and comfortable modus vivendi.
How right Eduardo Chibs was in his last radio speech, when he said that Batista w
as encouraging the return of the colonels, castor oil and the law of the fugitiv
e! Immediately after March 10th, Cubans again began to witness acts of veritable
vandalism which they had thought banished forever from their nation. There was
an unprecedented attack on a cultural institution: a radio station was stormed b
y the thugs of the SIM, together with the young hoodlums of the PAU, while broad
casting the 'University of the Air' program. And there was the case of the journ
alist Mario Kuchiln, dragged from his home in the middle of the night and bestial
ly tortured until he was nearly unconscious. There was the murder of the student
Rubn Batista and the criminal volleys fired at a peaceful student demonstration
next to the wall where Spanish volunteers shot the medical students in 1871. And
many cases such as that of Dr. Garca Brcena, where right in the courtrooms men ha
ve coughed up blood because of the barbaric tortures practiced upon them by the
repressive security forces. I will not enumerate the hundreds of cases where gro
ups of citizens have been brutally clubbed - men, women, children and the aged.
All of this was being done even before July 26th. Since then, as everyone knows,
even Cardinal Arteaga himself was not spared such treatment. Everybody knows he
was a victim of repressive agents. According to the official story, he fell pre
y to a 'band of thieves'. For once the regime told the truth. For what else is t
his regime? ...
People have just contemplated with horror the case of the journalist who was kid
napped and subjected to torture by fire for twenty days. Each new case brings fo
rth evidence of unheard-of effrontery, of immense hypocrisy: the cowardice of th
ose who shirk responsibility and invariably blame the enemies of the regime. Gov
ernmental tactics enviable only by the worst gangster mobs. Even the Nazi crimin

als were never so cowardly. Hitler assumed responsibility for the massacres of J
une 30, 1934, stating that for 24 hours he himself had been the German Supreme C
ourt; the henchmen of this dictatorship which defies all comparison because of i
ts baseness, maliciousness and cowardice, kidnap, torture, murder and then loath
somely put the blame on the adversaries of the regime. Typical tactics of Sergea
nt Barriguilla!
Not once in all the cases I have mentioned, Honorable Judges, have the agents re
sponsible for these crimes been brought to Court to be tried for them. How is th
is? Was this not to be the regime of public order, peace and respect for human l
I have related all this in order to ask you now: Can this state of affairs be ca
lled a revolution, capable of formulating law and establishing rights? Is it or
is it not legitimate to struggle against this regime? And must there not be a hi
gh degree of corruption in the courts of law when these courts imprison citizens
who try to rid the country of so much infamy?
Cuba is suffering from a cruel and base despotism. You are well aware that resis
tance to despots is legitimate. This is a universally recognized principle and o
ur 1940 Constitution expressly makes it a sacred right, in the second paragraph
of Article 40: 'It is legitimate to use adequate resistance to protect previousl
y granted individual rights.' And even if this prerogative had not been provided
by the Supreme Law of the Land, it is a consideration without which one cannot
conceive of the existence of a democratic collectivity. Professor Infiesta, in h
is book on Constitutional Law, differentiates between the political and legal co
nstitutions, and states: 'Sometimes the Legal Constitution includes constitution
al principles which, even without being so classified, would be equally binding
solely on the basis of the people's consent, for example, the principle of major
ity rule or representation in our democracies.' The right of insurrection in the
face of tyranny is one such principle, and whether or not it be included in the
Legal Constitution, it is always binding within a democratic society. The prese
ntation of such a case to a high court is one of the most interesting problems o
f general law. Duguit has said in his Treatise on Constitutional Law: 'If an ins
urrection fails, no court will dare to rule that this unsuccessful insurrection
was technically no conspiracy, no transgression against the security of the Stat
e, inasmuch as, the government being tyrannical, the intention to overthrow it w
as legitimate.' But please take note: Duguit does not state, 'the court ought no
t to rule.' He says, 'no court will dare to rule.' More explicitly, he means tha
t no court will dare, that no court will have enough courage to do so, under a t
yranny. If the court is courageous and does its duty, then yes, it will dare.
Recently there has been a loud controversy concerning the 1940 Constitution. The
Court of Social and Constitutional Rights ruled against it in favor of the so-c
alled Statutes. Nevertheless, Honorable Judges, I maintain that the 1940 Constit
ution is still in force. My statement may seem absurd and extemporaneous to you.
But do not be surprised. It is I who am astonished that a court of law should h
ave attempted to deal a death blow to the legitimate Constitution of the Republi
c. Adhering strictly to facts, truth and reason - as I have done all along - I w
ill prove what I have just stated. The Court of Social and Constitutional Rights
was instituted according to Article 172 of the 1940 Constitution, and the suppl
ementary Act of May 31, 1949. These laws, in virtue of which the Court was creat
ed, granted it, insofar as problems of unconstitutionality are concerned, a spec
ific and clearly defined area of legal competence: to rule in all matters of app
eals claiming the unconstitutionality of laws, legal decrees, resolutions, or ac
ts that deny, diminish, restrain or adulterate the constitutional rights and pri
vileges or that jeopardize the operations of State agencies. Article 194 establi
shed very clearly the following: 'All judges and courts are under the obligation
to find solutions to conflicts between the Constitution and the existing laws i
n accordance with the principle that the former shall always prevail over the la

tter.' Therefore, according to the laws that created it, the Court of Social and
Constitutional Rights should always rule in favor of the Constitution. When thi
s Court caused the Statutes to prevail above the Constitution of the Republic, i
t completely overstepped its boundaries and its established field of competence,
thereby rendering a decision which is legally null and void. Furthermore, the d
ecision itself is absurd, and absurdities have no validity in law nor in fact, n
ot even from a metaphysical point of view. No matter how venerable a court may b
e, it cannot assert that circles are square or, what amounts to the same thing,
that the grotesque offspring of the April 4th Statutes should be considered the
official Constitution of a State.
The Constitution is understood to be the basic and supreme law of the nation, to
define the country's political structure, regulate the functioning of its gover
nment agencies, and determine the limits of their activities. It must be stable,
enduring and, to a certain extent, inflexible. The Statutes fulfill none of the
se qualifications. To begin with, they harbor a monstrous, shameless, and brazen
contradiction in regard to the most vital aspect of all: the integration of the
Republican structure and the principle of national sovereignty. Article 1 reads
: 'Cuba is a sovereign and independent State constituted as a democratic Republi
c.' Article 2 reads: 'Sovereignty resides in the will of the people, and all pow
ers derive from this source.' But then comes Article 118, which reads: 'The Pres
ident will be nominated by the Cabinet.' So it is not the people who choose the
President, but rather the Cabinet. And who chooses the Cabinet? Article 120, sec
tion 13: 'The President will be authorized to nominate and reappoint the members
of the Cabinet and to replace them when occasion arises.' So, after all, who no
minates whom? Is this not the classical old problem of the chicken and the egg t
hat no one has ever been able to solve?
One day eighteen hoodlums got together. Their plan was to assault the Republic a
nd loot its 350 million pesos annual budget. Behind peoples' backs and with grea
t treachery, they succeeded in their purpose. 'Now what do we do next?' they won
dered. One of them said to the rest: 'You name me Prime Minister, and I'll make
you generals.' When this was done, he rounded up a group of 20 men and told them
: 'I will make you my Cabinet if you make me President.' In this way they named
each other generals, ministers and president, and then took over the treasury an
d the Republic.
What is more, it was not simply a matter of usurping sovereignty at a given mome
nt in order to name a Cabinet, Generals and a President. This man ascribed to hi
mself, through these Statutes, not only absolute control of the nation, but also
the power of life and death over every citizen - control, in fact, over the ver
y existence of the nation. Because of this, I maintain that the position of the
Court of Social and Constitutional Rights is not only treacherous, vile, cowardl
y and repugnant, but also absurd.
The Statutes contain an article which has not received much attention, but which
gives us the key to this situation and is the one from which we shall derive de
cisive conclusions. I refer specifically to the modifying clause included in Art
icle 257, which reads: 'This constitutional law is open to reform by the Cabinet
with a two-thirds quorum vote.' This is where mockery reaches its climax. Not o
nly did they exercise sovereignty in order to impose a Constitution upon a peopl
e without that people's consent, and to install a regime which concentrates all
power in their own hands, but also, through Article 257, they assume the most es
sential attribute of sovereignty: the power to change the Basic and Supreme Law
of the Land. And they have already changed it several times since March 10th. Ye
t, with the greatest gall, they assert in Article 2 that sovereignty resides in
the will of the people and that the people are the source of all power. Since th
ese changes may be brought about by a vote of two-thirds of the Cabinet and the
Cabinet is named by the President, then the right to make and break Cuba is in t
he hands of one man, a man who is, furthermore, the most unworthy of all the cre

atures ever to be born in this land. Was this then accepted by the Court of Soci
al and Constitutional Rights? And is all that derives from it valid and legal? V
ery well, you shall see what was accepted: 'This constitutional law is open to r
eform by the Cabinet with a two-thirds quorum vote.' Such a power recognizes no
limits. Under its aegis, any article, any chapter, any section, even the whole l
aw may be modified. For example, Article 1, which I have just mentioned, says th
at Cuba is a sovereign and independent State constituted as a democratic Republi
c, 'although today it is in fact a bloody dictatorship.' Article 3 reads: 'The n
ational boundaries include the island of Cuba, the Isle of Pines, and the neighb
oring keys ...' and so on. Batista and his Cabinet under the provisions of Artic
le 257 can modify all these other articles. They can say that Cuba is no longer
a Republic but a hereditary monarchy and he, Batista, can anoint himself king. H
e can dismember the national territory and sell a province to a foreign country
as Napoleon did with Louisiana. He may suspend the right to life itself, and lik
e Herod, order the decapitation of newborn children. All these measures would be
legal and you would have to incarcerate all those who opposed them, just as you
now intend to do with me. I have put forth extreme examples to show how sad and
humiliating our present situation is. To think that all these absolute powers a
re in the hands of men truly capable of selling our country along with all its c
As the Court of Social and Constitutional Rights has accepted this state of affa
irs, what more are they waiting for? They may as well hang up their judicial rob
es. It is a fundamental principle of general law that there can be no constituti
onal status where the constitutional and legislative powers reside in the same b
ody. When the Cabinet makes the laws, the decrees and the rules - and at the sam
e time has the power to change the Constitution in a moment of time - then I ask
you: why do we need a Court of Social and Constitutional Rights? The ruling in
favor of this Statute is irrational, inconceivable, illogical and totally contra
ry to the Republican laws that you, Honorable Judges, swore to uphold. When the
Court of Social and Constitutional Rights supported Batista's Statutes against t
he Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land was not abolished but rather the Co
urt of Social and Constitutional Rights placed itself outside the Constitution,
renounced its autonomy and committed legal suicide. May it rest in peace!
The right to rebel, established in Article 40 of the Constitution, is still vali
d. Was it established to function while the Republic was enjoying normal conditi
ons? No. This provision is to the Constitution what a lifeboat is to a ship at s
ea. The lifeboat is only launched when the ship has been torpedoed by enemies la
ying wait along its course. With our Constitution betrayed and the people depriv
ed of all their prerogatives, there was only one way open: one right which no po
wer may abolish. The right to resist oppression and injustice. If any doubt rema
ins, there is an article of the Social Defense Code which the Honorable Prosecut
or would have done well not to forget. It reads, and I quote: 'The appointed or
elected government authorities that fail to resist sedition with all available m
eans will be liable to a sentence of interdiction of from six to eight years.' T
he judges of our nation were under the obligation to resist Batista's treacherou
s military coup of the 10th of March. It is understandable that when no one has
observed the law and when nobody else has done his duty, those who have observed
the law and have done their duty should be sent to prison.
You will not be able to deny that the regime forced upon the nation is unworthy
of Cuba's history. In his book, The Spirit of Laws, which is the foundation of t
he modern division of governmental power, Montesquieu makes a distinction betwee
n three types of government according to their basic nature: 'The Republican for
m wherein the whole people or a portion thereof has sovereign power; the Monarch
ical form where only one man governs, but in accordance with fixed and well-defi
ned laws; and the Despotic form where one man without regard for laws nor rules
acts as he pleases, regarding only his own will or whim.' And then he adds: 'A m
an whose five senses constantly tell him that he is everything and that the rest

of humanity is nothing is bound to be lazy, ignorant and sensuous.' 'As virtue

is necessary to democracy, and honor to a monarchy, fear is of the essence to a
despotic regime, where virtue is not needed and honor would be dangerous.'
The right of rebellion against tyranny, Honorable Judges, has been recognized fr
om the most ancient times to the present day by men of all creeds, ideas and doc
It was so in the theocratic monarchies of remote antiquity. In China it was almo
st a constitutional principle that when a king governed rudely and despotically
he should be deposed and replaced by a virtuous prince.
The philosophers of ancient India upheld the principle of active resistance to a
rbitrary authority. They justified revolution and very often put their theories
into practice. One of their spiritual leaders used to say that 'an opinion held
by the majority is stronger than the king himself. A rope woven of many strands
is strong enough to hold a lion.'
The city states of Greece and republican Rome not only admitted, but defended th
e meting-out of violent death to tyrants.
In the Middle Ages, John Salisbury in his Book of the Statesman says that when a
prince does not govern according to law and degenerates into a tyrant, violent
overthrow is legitimate and justifiable. He recommends for tyrants the dagger ra
ther than poison.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, rejects the doctrine of tyrannici
de, and yet upholds the thesis that tyrants should be overthrown by the people.
Martin Luther proclaimed that when a government degenerates into a tyranny that
violates the laws, its subjects are released from their obligations to obey. His
disciple, Philippe Melanchton, upholds the right of resistance when governments
become despotic. Calvin, the outstanding thinker of the Reformation with regard
to political ideas, postulates that people are entitled to take up arms to oppo
se any usurpation.
No less a man that Juan Mariana, a Spanish Jesuit during the reign of Philip II,
asserts in his book, De Rege et Regis Institutione, that when a governor usurps
power, or even if he were elected, when he governs in a tyrannical manner it is
licit for a private citizen to exercise tyrannicide, either directly or through
subterfuge with the least possible disturbance.
The French writer, Franois Hotman, maintained that between the government and its
subjects there is a bond or contract, and that the people may rise in rebellion
against the tyranny of government when the latter violates that pact.
About the same time, a booklet - which came to be widely read - appeared under t
he title Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, and it was signed with the pseudonym Stephan
us Junius Brutus. It openly declared that resistance to governments is legitimat
e when rulers oppress the people and that it is the duty of Honorable Judges to
lead the struggle.
The Scottish reformers John Knox and John Poynet upheld the same points of view.
And, in the most important book of that movement, George Buchanan stated that i
f a government achieved power without taking into account the consent of the peo
ple, or if a government rules their destiny in an unjust or arbitrary fashion, t
hen that government becomes a tyranny and can be divested of power or, in a fina
l recourse, its leaders can be put to death.
John Althus, a German jurist of the early 17th century, stated in his Treatise o

n Politics that sovereignty as the supreme authority of the State is born from t
he voluntary concourse of all its members; that governmental authority stems fro
m the people and that its unjust, illegal or tyrannical function exempts them fr
om the duty of obedience and justifies resistance or rebellion.
Thus far, Honorable Judges, I have mentioned examples from antiquity, from the M
iddle Ages, and from the beginnings of our times. I selected these examples from
writers of all creeds. What is more, you can see that the right to rebellion is
at the very root of Cuba's existence as a nation. By virtue of it you are today
able to appear in the robes of Cuban Judges. Would it be that those garments re
ally served the cause of justice!
It is well known that in England during the 17th century two kings, Charles I an
d James II, were dethroned for despotism. These actions coincided with the birth
of liberal political philosophy and provided the ideological base for a new soc
ial class, which was then struggling to break the bonds of feudalism. Against di
vine right autocracies, this new philosophy upheld the principle of the social c
ontract and of the consent of the governed, and constituted the foundation of th
e English Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1775 and the French Rev
olution of 1789. These great revolutionary events ushered in the liberation of t
he Spanish colonies in the New World - the final link in that chain being broken
by Cuba. The new philosophy nurtured our own political ideas and helped us to e
volve our Constitutions, from the Constitution of Guimaro up to the Constitution
of 1940. The latter was influenced by the socialist currents of our time; the pr
inciple of the social function of property and of man's inalienable right to a d
ecent living were built into it, although large vested interests have prevented
fully enforcing those rights.
The right of insurrection against tyranny then underwent its final consecration
and became a fundamental tenet of political liberty.
As far back as 1649, John Milton wrote that political power lies with the people
, who can enthrone and dethrone kings and have the duty of overthrowing tyrants.
John Locke, in his essay on government, maintained that when the natural rights
of man are violated, the people have the right and the duty to alter or abolish
the government. 'The only remedy against unauthorized force is opposition to it
by force.'
Jean-Jaques Rousseau said with great eloquence in his Social Contract: 'While a
people sees itself forced to obey and obeys, it does well; but as soon as it can
shake off the yoke and shakes it off, it does better, recovering its liberty th
rough the use of the very right that has been taken away from it.' 'The stronges
t man is never strong enough to be master forever, unless he converts force into
right and obedience into duty. Force is a physical power; I do not see what mor
ality one may derive from its use. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not
of will; at the very least, it is an act of prudence. In what sense should this
be called a duty?' 'To renounce freedom is to renounce one's status as a man, t
o renounce one's human rights, including one's duties. There is no possible comp
ensation for renouncing everything. Total renunciation is incompatible with the
nature of man and to take away all free will is to take away all morality of con
duct. In short, it is vain and contradictory to stipulate on the one hand an abs
olute authority and on the other an unlimited obedience ...'
Thomas Paine said that 'one just man deserves more respect than a rogue with a c
The people's right to rebel has been opposed only by reactionaries like that cle
rgyman of Virginia, Jonathan Boucher, who said: 'The right to rebel is a censura
ble doctrine derived from Lucifer, the father of rebellions.'

The Declaration of Independence of the Congress of Philadelphia, on July 4th, 17

76, consecrated this right in a beautiful paragraph which reads: 'We hold these
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Li
berty and the Pursuit of Happiness; That to secure these Rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the govern
ed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it i
s the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute a new Governme
nt, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such f
orm as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.'
The famous French Declaration of the Rights of Man willed this principle to the
coming generations: 'When the government violates the rights of the people, insu
rrection is for them the most sacred of rights and the most imperative of duties
.' 'When a person seizes sovereignty, he should be condemned to death by free me
I believe I have sufficiently justified my point of view. I have called forth mo
re reasons than the Honorable Prosecutor called forth to ask that I be condemned
to 26 years in prison. All these reasons support men who struggle for the freed
om and happiness of the people. None support those who oppress the people, revil
e them, and rob them heartlessly. Therefore I have been able to call forth many
reasons and he could not adduce even one. How can Batista's presence in power be
justified when he gained it against the will of the people and by violating the
laws of the Republic through the use of treachery and force? How could anyone c
all legitimate a regime of blood, oppression and ignominy? How could anyone call
revolutionary a regime which has gathered the most backward men, methods and id
eas of public life around it? How can anyone consider legally valid the high tre
ason of a Court whose duty was to defend the Constitution? With what right do th
e Courts send to prison citizens who have tried to redeem their country by givin
g their own blood, their own lives? All this is monstrous to the eyes of the nat
ion and to the principles of true justice!
Still there is one argument more powerful than all the others. We are Cubans and
to be Cuban implies a duty; not to fulfill that duty is a crime, is treason. We
are proud of the history of our country; we learned it in school and have grown
up hearing of freedom, justice and human rights. We were taught to venerate the
glorious example of our heroes and martyrs. Cspedes, Agramonte, Maceo, Gmez and M
art were the first names engraved in our minds. We were taught that the Titan onc
e said that liberty is not begged for but won with the blade of a machete. We we
re taught that for the guidance of Cuba's free citizens, the Apostle wrote in hi
s book The Golden Age: 'The man who abides by unjust laws and permits any man to
trample and mistreat the country in which he was born is not an honorable man .
.. In the world there must be a certain degree of honor just as there must be a
certain amount of light. When there are many men without honor, there are always
others who bear in themselves the honor of many men. These are the men who rebe
l with great force against those who steal the people's freedom, that is to say,
against those who steal honor itself. In those men thousands more are contained
, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained ...' We were taught
that the 10th of October and the 24th of February are glorious anniversaries of
national rejoicing because they mark days on which Cubans rebelled against the y
oke of infamous tyranny. We were taught to cherish and defend the beloved flag o
f the lone star, and to sing every afternoon the verses of our National Anthem:
'To live in chains is to live in disgrace and in opprobrium,' and 'to die for on
e's homeland is to live forever!' All this we learned and will never forget, eve
n though today in our land there is murder and prison for the men who practice t
he ideas taught to them since the cradle. We were born in a free country that ou
r parents bequeathed to us, and the Island will first sink into the sea before w
e consent to be the slaves of anyone.

It seemed that the Apostle would die during his Centennial. It seemed that his m
emory would be extinguished forever. So great was the affront! But he is alive;
he has not died. His people are rebellious. His people are worthy. His people ar
e faithful to his memory. There are Cubans who have fallen defending his doctrin
es. There are young men who in magnificent selflessness came to die beside his t
omb, giving their blood and their lives so that he could keep on living in the h
eart of his nation. Cuba, what would have become of you had you let your Apostle
I come to the close of my defense plea but I will not end it as lawyers usually
do, asking that the accused be freed. I cannot ask freedom for myself while my c
omrades are already suffering in the ignominious prison of the Isle of Pines. Se
nd me there to join them and to share their fate. It is understandable that hone
st men should be dead or in prison in a Republic where the President is a crimin
al and a thief.
To you, Honorable Judges, my sincere gratitude for having allowed me to express
myself free from contemptible restrictions. I hold no bitterness towards you, I
recognize that in certain aspects you have been humane, and I know that the Chie
f Judge of this Court, a man of impeccable private life, cannot disguise his rep
ugnance at the current state of affairs that compels him to dictate unjust decis
ions. Still, a more serious problem remains for the Court of Appeals: the indict
ments arising from the murders of seventy men, that is to say, the greatest mass
acre we have ever known. The guilty continue at liberty and with weapons in thei
r hands - weapons which continually threaten the lives of all citizens. If all t
he weight of the law does not fall upon the guilty because of cowardice or becau
se of domination of the courts, and if then all the judges do not resign, I pity
your honor. And I regret the unprecedented shame that will fall upon the Judici
al Power.
I know that imprisonment will be harder for me than it has ever been for anyone,
filled with cowardly threats and hideous cruelty. But I do not fear prison, as
I do not fear the fury of the miserable tyrant who took the lives of 70 of my co
mrades. Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.

The Revolution Begins Now

People of Santiago, Compatriots of All Cuba,
We have finally reached Santiago de Cuba. The road was long and difficult, but w
e finally arrived. It was rumored that they expected us in the capital of the Re
public at 2 p.m. today. No one was more amazed by this than I, because I was the
first one to be surprised by this treacherous blow, which would place me in the
capital of the Republic this morning. Moreover, I intended to be in the capital
that is, in the new capital of the Republic
because Santiago de
of the Republic
Cuba, in accordance with the wishes of the Provisional President, in accordance
with the wishes of the Rebel Army, and in accordance with the wishes of the peo
ple of Santiago de Cuba, who really deserved it, Santiago will be the new capita
l of Cuba.
This measure may surprise some people. Admittedly, it is new, but the revolution
is characterized precisely by its newness, by the fact that it will do things t
hat have never been done before.
In making Santiago de Cuba the provisional capital of the Republic, we are fully

aware of our reason for doing so. This is no attempt to cajole a specific area
by demogogic means. It is simply that Santiago de Cuba has been the strongest bu
lwark of the revolution, a revolution that is beginning now. Our Revolution will
be no easy task, but a harsh and dangerous undertaking, particularly in the ini
tial phases. And in what better place could we establish the Government of the R
epublic than in this fortress of the Revolution.
So that you may know that this will be a government solidly supported by the peo
ple of this heroic city, located in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra
Santiago de Cuba is a part of the Sierra Maestra Santiago de Cuba and the Sierra
Maestra will provide the two strongest fortresses for the Revolution. However,
there are other reasons that motivate us, and one is the military revolutionary
movement, the truly military revolutionary movement which did not take place in
[Camp] Colombia.
[The Betrayal of General Cantillo]
In Colombia they prepared a puny little uprising against the revolution, princip
ally with Batista's assistance. Since it is necessary to tell the truth and sinc
e we came here with a view to orienting people, I can tell you and I can assure
you that the military uprising in Colombia was an attempt to deprive the people
in power, to rob the revolution of its triumph and to allow Batista to escape, t
o allow the Tabernilla to escape, to allow the Tabernillas to escape together wi
th the Pilar Garcias, to allow the Salas Canizares and the Venturas. The Colombi
an uprising was an ambitious and treacherous blow that deserves the lowest epith
We must call a spade a spade and put the blame where it belongs. I am not going
to be diplomatic. I will say outright that General Cantillo betrayed us and not
only am I going to say it, but I am going to prove it to you.
However, we had always said so. We had always said that there would be no point
in resolving this matter at the last moment with a puny little military uprising
, because if there is a military uprising, concealed from the people, our Revolu
tion will go forward nonetheless and this time cannot be over the power. It will
not be like 1895 when the Americans came and took over, intervening at the last
moment, and afterwards did not even allow Calixto Garcia to assume leadership,
although he had fought at Santiago de Cuba for 30 years.
Nor will it be like 1933, when the people began to believe that the revolution w
as going to triumph, and Mr. Batista came in to betray the revolution, take over
power, and establish an 11-year-long dictatorship.
Nor will it be like 1944, when the people took courage, believing that they had
finally reached a position where they could take over the power, while those who
did assume power proved to be thieves. We will have no thievery, no treason, no
intervention. This time it is truly the revolution, even though some might not
desire it. At the very moment that the dictatorship fell, as a consequence of th
e military victories of our Revolution, when they could not hold out even anothe
r 15 days, Mr. Cantillo appears on the scene as a paladin of freedom. Naturally,
we have never been remiss in refusing any offer of collaboration that might pre
vent bloodshed, providing the aims of our Revolution were not imperiled thereby.
Naturally, we have always appealed to the military in our search for peace, but
it must be peace for freedom and peace with the triumph of our Revolution. This
is the only way to obtain peace.
Hence, on December 24, when we were told of General Cantillo's desire to meet us
, we agreed to the interview. And I must confess to you that, given the course o
f events, the extraordinary development of our military operations, I had very l
ittle interest in speaking of military movements. Nevertheless, I felt that it w

as the duty of those of us with responsibility not to allow ourselves to be carr

ied away by our feelings. I also thought that if triumph could be achieved with
the minimum bloodshed, it was my duty to listen to the proposals made by the mil
I went to meet Mr. Cantillo, who spoke to me on behalf of the Army. He met me on
the 28th [December] at the Oriente mill, where he arrived in a helicopter at 8
p.m. We talked for four hours and I will not invent any stories about what took
place, since there were several exceptional witnesses to the interview. There wa
s Dr. Raul Chibas, there was a Catholic priest, there were several military men,
whose evidence cannot be questioned on any grounds whatsoever. After analyzing
all of Cuba's problems, and underlining all the minute details, General Cantillo
agreed to carry out a military revolutionary movement with us. The first thing
I said to him was this:
After carefully studying the situation, the situation of the Army, the situation
in which it had been placed by the dictatorship, after explaining to him that h
e did not have to concern himself with Batista, nor with the Tabernillas, nor wi
th the rest of those people because none of them had shown any concern for the C
uban military forces, we showed him that those people had lead the military into
a campaign against the masses, a campaign that can never be victorious because
no one can win a war against the mass of the population.
After telling him that the military forces were the victims of the regime's immo
rality, that the budgetary allocations for the purchase of arms were embezzled,
that the soldiers were being constantly defrauded, that those people did not des
erve the consideration of honorable military men, that the Army had no reason to
bear the blame for crimes committed by Batista's gangs of villains, I told him
quite clearly that I did not authorize any type of movement that would enable Ba
tista to escape. I warned him that if Batista got away afterwards with the Taber
nillas and the rest of them it would be because we had been unable to prevent it
. We had to prevent Batista's flight.
Everyone knows that our first requirement in the event of a military uprising
at is, a military uprising in conjunction with our movement was the surrender of
the war criminals. This is an essential condition. We could have captured Batis
ta and all his accomplices and I said it loudly and clearly that I was not in ag
reement with Batista's escape. I explained to him quite clearly what course of a
ction would have to be taken and that I did not give any support [to Batista's e
scape] nor would the 27th of July Movement, nor would the people support a coup
d'etat [on such terms], because the fact is that it was the people who obtained
their freedom by conquest and only the people who did it.
Our freedom was taken from us by a coup d'etat but in order to finish once and f
or all with coups d'etat, it was necessary to achieve freedom by dint of the peo
ple's sacrifice. We could achieve nothing by one uprising today and another tomo
rrow and another two years later and another three years after, because here in
Cuba it is the people, and the people alone, who must decide who is to govern th
The military forces must unconditionally obey the people's orders and be at the
disposal of the people, of the constitution and of the Laws of the Republic. If
there is a poor government that embezzles and does more than four wrong things,
the only thing to do is to wait a little while and when election time comes the
bad government is turned out of office. That is why in democratic, constitutiona
l regimes governments have a fixed mandate. If they are bad, they can be ousted
by the people, who can vote for a better government. The function of the militar
y is not to elect governments, but to guarantee laws and to guarantee the rights
of the citizens. That is why I warned him that a coup d'etat was out of the que
stion, but a military revolutionary movement was in order and it should take pla

ce in Santiago de Cuba and not in Colombia.

I told him quite clearly that the only way of forming a link with the people and
joining them, of uniting the military and the revolutionaries was not a coup d'
etat in the early hours of the dawn in Colombia
at 2 or 3 a.m. about which no on
e would know anything, as is the usual practice of the gentlemen. I told him it
would be necessary to arouse the garrison at Santiago de Cuba, which was quite s
trong and adequately armed, in order to start the military movement, which would
then be joined by the people and the revolutionaries. Given the situation in wh
ich the dictatorship found itself, such movement would prove irresistible becaus
e all the other garrisons in the country would certainly join it at once. That w
as what was agreed upon and not only was it what was agreed upon but I made him
promise it. He intended to go to Havana the next day and we did not agree with t
his. I said to him, "It is risky for you to go to Havana." And he replied, "No,
no there is no risk in it." I insisted, "You are running a great risk of arrest
because if there is a conspiracy, everyone knows about it here."
"No, I am sure they will not arrest me," he replied. And, of course, why would t
hey arrest him if this was a "coup d'etat of Batista?"
My thoughts were, "Well, all this seems so easy that it might well be a suspicio
us movement," so I said to him, "Will you promise me that in Havana you will not
be persuaded by those interests which support you to carry out a coup d'etat in
the capital? Will you promise me that you will not do it? His reply was, "I pro
mise I won't." I insisted, "Will you swear to me that you won't?" And his reply
again, "I swear I won't!"
I believe that the prime requisite for a military man is honor, that the prime r
equisite of a military man is his word. This gentleman not only proved that he i
s dishonorable and that his word is worth nothing, but that he also lacks intell
igence. I say this because a movement which could have been organized from the s
tart with the support of the whole population, with its victory assured from the
outset, did nothing more than dive into space. He believed that it would be onl
y too easy to fool the people and to mislead the Revolution. He knew some things
. He knew, for instance, that when we told the people that Batista had got hold
of a plane the people would flock into the streets, madly happy. They thought th
at the people were not sufficiently mature to distinguish between Batista's flig
ht and the Revolution. Because if Batista goes and over there Cantillo's friends
assume command, it is quite likely that Dr. Urrutia would also have to go withi
n three months. Because just as they were betraying us now, so would they betray
us later and the truth of the matter is that Mr. Cantillo betrayed us before th
e Revolution. He gave signs of this and I can prove it. We agreed with General C
antillo that the uprising would take place on the 31st at 3 p.m. and it was agre
ed that the armed forces would give unconditional support to the revolutionary m
ovement. The President was to appoint the revolutionary leaders and establish th
e positions to which the revolutionary leaders would assign the military. They w
ere offering unconditional support and every detail of the plan was agreed upon.
At 3 p.m. on the 31st the garrison at Santiago de Cuba was to rise in revolt. I
mmediately after several rebel columns would enter the city and the people would
fraternize with the military and the rebels, immediately submitting a revolutio
nary proclamation to the country as a whole and calling on all honorable militar
y men to join the movement. It was agreed that the talks in the city would be pl
aced at our disposal and I personally offered to advance toward the capital with
an armed column preceded by the tanks. The tanks in the city would be placed at
our disposal and I personally offered to advance toward the capital with an arm
ed column preceded by the tanks. The tanks were to be handed to me at 3 p.m., no
t because it was felt that any fighting would be necessary but only against the
possibility that in Havana the Movement might fail, making it necessary to place
our vanguard as close as possible to the capital and to prevent any such occurr
ences in Havana.

It was evident that with the hatred for the public forces created by the horrend
ous crimes committed by Ventura and Pilar Garcia, Batista's fall would create co
nsiderable upheaval among the people. Moreover, the police force would inevitabl
y feel that it lacked the moral strength to contain the populace, as in fact hap
pened. A series of excesses were recorded in the capital. There was looting, sho
oting, fires, and all the responsibility for it falls on the shoulders of Genera
l Cantillo, who betrayed his word of honor, who failed to carry out the plan whi
ch had been agreed upon. He believed that by appointing police captains and comm
anders, many of whom had already deserted when they were appointed
proof that th
ey had a guilty conscience would be enough to solve the problem. How different t
hings were in Santiago de Cuba! How orderly and civic-minded! How disciplined th
e behavior of the masses! There was not a single attempt to loot, not a single e
xample of personal vengeance, not a single man dragged through the streets, not
a single fire! The behavior of the population of Santiago de Cuba was admirable
and exemplary despite two factors. One of these was that Santiago de Cuba was th
e city which had suffered the most, where there had been the greatest terrorism
and where, consequently, one would expect the people to be indignant. Moreover,
despite our statements of this morning that we were not in agreement with the co
up d'etat, the population in Santiago de Cuba behaved in an exemplary fashion...
. [A typing error makes the translation of the next two lines impossible].... On
e can no longer say that revolution is anarchy and disorder; it occurred in Hava
na because of treason, but that was not the case in Santiago de Cuba, which we c
an hold out as a model every time the Revolution is accused of anarchy and disor
It is well that people should know of the negotiations between General Cantillo
and me. If the people are not too tired, I can tell you that after the agreement
s were made, when we had already suspended operations in Santiago de Cuba, since
on the 28th our troops were quite near to the city and had completed all the pr
eparatory work necessary for the attack on it, according to the interview we wer
e to make a series of changes, abandoning the operation at Santiago de Cuba. Ins
tead, we were to direct our troops elsewhere, in fact, to a place where it was b
elieved that the Movement might not be victorious from the outset.
When we had completed all our movements, the column which was to march on the ca
pital received the following note from General Cantillo, just a few hours before
it was due to leave. The text of the note read as follows: "Circumstances have
changed considerably and now are favorable to a national solution, in accordance
with all desires for Cuba." Yet, the major factors could not be more favorable
and every circumstance pointed to triumph. It was therefore strange that he shou
ld come and say that circumstances had changed greatly and favorably. The circum
stances were that Batista and Tabernilla had agreed and the success of the coup
was assured. I recommended that nothing should be done at the moment and that we
should await the course of events over the next weeks, up to [January] 6th. Obv
iously, given the indefinitely prolonged truce while they were taking care of ev
erything in Havana, my immediate reply was as follows: "The tenor of the note is
entirely in contradiction with our agreements. Moreover, it is ambiguous and in
comprehensible and has made me lose confidence in the seriousness of the agreeme
nts. Hostilities will break out tomorrow at 3 p.m., the date and time agreed upo
n for the launching of the movement."
Something very curious happened immediately thereafter in addition to the receip
t of the very short note. I advised the commanding officer at Santiago de Cuba,
through the bearer of the message, that if hostilities were to break out because
the agreements were not fulfilled and we had to attack the first at Santiago de
Cuba, they could do nothing other than surrender.
My phrase was that we demanded the surrender of the town if hostilities were to
break out and if we were to initiate the attack. However, the bearer of the note

did not interpret me correctly. He told Colonel Rego Rubido that I demanded the
surrender of the town as a precondition to any agreement. He did not add that I
had said, "in the event of our launching an attack." However, I had not said th
at I demanded the surrender of the town as a condition from General Cantillo. As
a result of this message, the commanding officer at Santiago de Cuba sent me a
very enigmatic and punctilious reply which I will read to you, indicating, natur
ally, that he felt very offended with what had been said to him in error. It rea
d as follows: "The solution found is neither a coup d'etat nor a military revolt
and yet we believe that it is the most advisable solution for Dr. Fidel Castro,
in accordance with his ideas and one which would place the destinies of the cou
ntry in his hands within 48 hours. It is not a local but a national solution and
any indiscretion might compromise or destroy it, leading to chaos. Therefore, w
e hope you will have confidence in our decisions and you will receive the soluti
on before the 6th. As for Santiago, owing to the note and to the words of the me
ssenger, it will be necessary to change the plan and not enter the city."
His words caused a certain amount of bad feeling among the key personnel. It was
argued that no arms would be surrendered without fighting, that arms are not su
rrendered, that arms are not surrendered to an ally, that arms cannot be surrend
ered without honor. All of which are very beautiful phrases when spoken by the c
ommander of the garrison of Santiago de Cuba, if he has no confidence in us; or
if Santiago de Cuba is attacked, they will regard it as equivalent to breaking t
he agreements, which will interrupt the negotiations for the solution offered, t
hereby formally absolving us from any compromise. It was our hope that, given th
e time required to act in one way or another, the reply would arrive in time to
be sent to Havana by the Viscount flying out in the afternoon. My answer to Colo
nel Jose Rego Rubido's note was as follows:
[Fidel's answer to Colonel Jose Rego Rubido's note]
"In liberated Cuban Territory, 31 December 1958.
Dear Colonel, a regrettable error has occurred in the transmission of my message
to you, due perhaps to the haste with which I replied to your note. This is wha
t I surmise from the conversation I have since held with its bearer. I did not t
ell him that the conditions we established in the agreement entered into encompa
ssed the surrender of the garrison of Santiago de Cuba to our forces. This showe
d a lack of courtesy to our visitor and would have constituted an unworthy and o
ffensive proposal to the military forces who so cordially sought us out. The que
stion was entirely different. An agreement was reached and a plan adopted betwee
n the leader of the military movement and ourselves which was to go into effect
as from 3 p.m. on 31 December. The plan included details established after caref
ul analysis of the problems to be faced, and was to begin with the revolt of the
garrison at Santiago de Cuba. I persuaded General Cantillo of the advantages to
be derived from beginning at Oriente rather than in Colombia because the mass o
f the people greatly feared any coup starting in the barracks in the Capital of
the Republic, stressing how difficult it would be, in that case, to insure that
the people joined up with the movement. He stated that he was in full agreement
with my viewpoint on the matter and was only concerned with maintaining order in
the Capital, so we jointly agreed on measures necessary to avoid that danger. T
hese measures involved the advance of our column toward Santiago de Cuba, to be
exact. It was to be a combined effort of the military, the people and ourselves,
a sort of revolutionary movement which, from the outset, would be backed by the
confidence of the whole nation. According to what was established, we suspended
the operations that were underway and undertook new displacements of our forces
such as Holguin, where the presence of well-known figurehea
in other directions
ds practically insured resistance to the revolutionary military movement. When a
ll our preparatory tasks were completed, I received yesterday's message, indicat
ing that the plan of action agreed upon was not to be fulfilled."
"Apparently there were other plans but I was not to be informed of them because,

in fact, the matter was no longer in our hands. Therefore all we could do was w
ait because one party was changing everything. Our own forces were being endange
red, although according to our understanding and what was being said they were b
eing sent off on difficult operations. And we remained subject to the outcome of
the risks which General Cantillo took on his frequent trips to Havana. Militari
ly, these trips might well prove to be a disaster for us. You must realize that
everything is very confused at this moment and Batista is an artful, crafty indi
vidual who knows only too well how to make the best use of a risk that can prove
dangerous to others. All that can be asked is that we renounce all of the advan
tages gained during the past few weeks, and stand by, waiting patiently, for eve
nts to take their due course. I made it quite clear that it could not be an oper
ation on the part of the military alone. We didn't have to undergo the horror of
two years of war for this, and then stand with our arms crossed, doing nothing,
at the most critical moment. They cannot expect this of men who have known no r
est in the struggle against oppression. This cannot be done even though it is yo
ur intention to hand over the power to the revolutionaries. It is not power that
is important to us, but that the Revolution should fulfill its destiny. I am ev
en concerned by the fact that the military, through any unjustifiable excess of
scruples, should facilitate the flight of the principal criminals who would be a
ble to escape abroad with their vast fortunes, and then from some foreign countr
y do all the harm possible to our country. [Translator's Note: This text involve
s some typographical errors. A rendering compatible with the argument has been g
"I should add that, personally, I am not interested in power nor do I envisage a
ssuming it at any time. All that I will do is to make sure that the sacrifices o
f so many compatriots should not be in vain, whatever the future may hold in sto
re for me.
"In all my dealings, I have always acted loyally and frankly. One should never c
onsider what has been obtained underhandedly and with duplicity as a triumph and
the language of honor which you have heard from my lips is the only language I
know. Never in the course of the meetings with General Cantillo did we refer to
the word 'surrender.' what I said yesterday and what I repeat today is that, as
of 3 p.m. of the 31st [December], the date and time agreed upon, we could not cu
t short the truce with Santiago de Cuba because that would have been exceedingly
detrimental to the people.
"Last night, the rumor circulated here that General Cantillo had been arrested i
n Havana and that various young men had been found murdered in the cemetery of S
antiago de Cuba. I had the feeling that we had been wasting our time most unhapp
ily. And yet today, luckily enough, it seems certain that the General is at his
post. What is the need for such risks? What I said to the messenger about surren
der, and which was not communicated literally
as would appear to have been confi
rmed by the terms of his note today was the following: that if hostilities were
to break out because the terms of the agreement had not been fulfilled, we would
be compelled t attack the garrison at Santiago de Cuba. This would be inevitabl
e, since that was the objective of our efforts over the past few months. In this
case, once the operation was under way, we would have to demand the surrender o
f those defending the garrison. This does not mean to imply that we think they w
ill surrender without fighting because I know that even when there is not reason
to fight, Cuban military forces will defend their positions adamantly and this
has cost me many lives.
"All I meant was that once the blood of our forces had been shed in the attempt
to conquer a given objective, no other solution would be acceptable. Even though
the cost be extremely heavy, in view of the present conditions of the forces de
fending the regime, and since these forces cannot support the garrison of Santia
go de Cuba, the latter must inevitably fall into our hands.

"This was the basic objective of our whole campaign over the past two months and
a plan of such scale cannot be held up for a week without giving rise to grave
consequences, should the military movement fail. Moreover, it would mean losing
the most opportune time
which is the present when the dictatorship is suffering
severe losses in the provinces of Oriente and Las Villas. We are faced with the
dilemma of either waiving the advantages gained by our victory or exchanging an
assured victory for one that is otherwise. Do you believe that in the face of ye
sterday's ambiguous and laconic note, containing a unilateral decision, I could
hold myself responsible for delaying the plans?
"As a military man, you must admit that too much is being asked of us. You have
not stopped digging trenches for a single moment and you could well make use of
those trenches against us... Some one like Pedraza, or Pilar Garcia or Canizares
... and if General Cantillo is relieved of his command, and if his trusted lieut
enants go with him, you cannot expect us to remain idle. You see, they have prom
ised us the absurd and although they defend themselves valiantly with their arms
, we have no alternative but to attack, because we also have very sacred commitm
ents to fulfill. We desire that these honorable military men be much more than m
ere allies. We want them to be our companions in a single cause, the cause of Cu
ba. Above all, I wish you, yourself, my friend, not to misinterpret my attitude.
Do not believe that I am being overly rigid as regards the tactics involving th
e holding off of an attack in the Santiago de Cuba area. In order that no possib
le doubt whatever may persist, I will confirm that although at any time before t
he fighting begins we can renew our negotiations, as of today it must be made cl
ear that the attack will take place momentarily and that nothing will convince u
s to alter the plans again."
[A Letter in Reply from Colonel Rego]
Colonel Rego replied in a very punctilious note, worthy of the greatest praise,
which reads as follows:
"Sir, I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of today's date, and believe m
e, I wish to thank you most sincerely for the explanation regarding the previous
message. However, I must confess that I felt some error of interpretation was i
nvolved since I have observed your line of conduct for some time and know that y
ou are a man of principle. I ignored the details of the original plan because I
was only informed of the first part of it. I might add that I am also not aware
of some of the details of the present plan. I believe you are partly right in yo
ur analysis of the first part of the original plan. However, I believe that a fe
w more days would be necessary before it could be consummated and we would never
be able to prevent some of the major, intermediary and minor guilty parties fro
m escaping. I am among those who believe it is absolutely essential to give an e
xample of Cuba of all those who take advantage of the positions of power they oc
cupy to commit every possible type of punishable offense. Unfortunately, history
is plagued with a series of similar cases ad rarely do the criminals fall into
the hands of the competent authorities.
"I am fully aware of your concern for the men who have the least responsibility
for the course of historical events."
"I have no reason whatsoever to believe that any person is attempting to facilit
ate the escape of the guilty, and, personally, I might add that I am opposed to
their flight." That was Colonel Rego Rubido's view. However, he also added that
should such an event take place, the historical responsibility for such an act w
ould fall on the shoulders of those who facilitated the escape, and never on tho
se of anyone else. "I believe," he said, "that everything will take place in acc
ordance with your ideas, and that it will be for the good of Cuba and of the Rev
olution of which you are the leader. I heard of a young student who had been mur
dered and whose body was in the cemetery. Today, I myself made sure that every p

ossible measure be taken to determine who was guilty of those crimes and what th
e circumstances of his death were, and how it took place, just as I had done a f
ew days ago, not sparing any effort until I am able to put the suspected authors
of this crime at the disposal of the competent authorities. Lastly, I should ad
vise you that I sent a message through to the General, letting him know that I h
ad obtained a plane to carry your note to him. Do not be impatient for I feel su
re that even before the date established as the maximum limit you will be in Hav
ana. When the General left here, I asked him to let me have the helicopter and a
pilot, just in case you might like to fly over Santiago de Cuba on Sunday after
"With sincerest greetings and my warmest wishes for a Happy New Year, (Signed) C
olonel Rego Rubido."
[Surprised by the Coup in Colombia]
This was the state of our negotiations when Colonel Rego, Commander of the garri
son of Santiago de Cuba and I were equally surprised by the coup d'etat in Colom
bia, which was completely in contradiction with all that had been agreed upon. T
he first thing done and the most criminal aspect of all was that Batista was all
owed to escape, and with him Tabernilla, and the other major criminals. They all
owed them to escape with their millions of pesos; yes, they allowed them to flee
with the three or four hundred million pesos they had stolen.
This will prove very costly for us because now, from Santo Domingo and from othe
r countries, they will be directing propaganda against the Revolution, plotting
all the harm they can against our cause and for a good many years we will have t
hem there, threatening our people, and causing the people to remain in a constan
t state of alarm because they will be conspiring against us and paying others to
do so also. What did we do as soon as we learned of the blow? We heard about it
on Radio Progreso and by that time, guessing what their plans were, as I was ma
king a statement I was told that Batista had left for Santo Domingo. Is it a rum
or? I wondered. Could it be a trick? I sent someone out to confirm the story and
was informed that Batista and Tabernilla had actually gone to Santo Domingo. An
d the most astonishing thing of all was that General Cantillo declared that this
movement had taken place thanks to the patriotic intentions of General Batista,
who had resigned in order to avoid bloodshed. What do you think about that?
There is something else I must tell you in order to let you see what kind of a c
oup had been prepared. Pedraza had been appointed to membership of the Junta and
then he left. I don't think one need add anything else to explain the nature of
the aims of those responsible for carrying out the coup. Subsequently, they did
not appoint Urrutia to the Presidency, that is, the man proclaimed by the movem
ent and by all the revolutionary organizations. The person they chose is no less
than the oldest member of the Supreme Court bench, and all his colleagues are q
uite old themselves. And above all he is a man who has been a President up to th
e present time: a President of a Supreme Court of Justice which never dispenses
any justice, which never did dispense any justice whatsoever.
What would the result of all this be? Only half a revolution. A compromise, a ca
ricature of a revolution. Mr. Jack Straw, or whatever name you may wish to give
this Mr. Piedra who, if he has not resigned by now should be getting ready to do
so, because we are going to make him resign in Havana. I do not believe he will
last twenty-four hours in office. It will break all records. They appoint this
gentleman and, isn't it perfect, Cantillo becomes a national hero, the defender
of Cuba's freedoms, the Lord and Master of Cuba, and there is Mr. Piedra... It w
ould simply mean getting rid of one dictator to put another in his place.
Every order contained in the documents referring to the movement in Colombia ind
icated that it was to be a counterrevolutionary uprising. In all the orders, the

general trend was away from the aims of the people, and in all the orders there
was an atmosphere of something suspect. Mr. Piedra immediately made an appeal,
or stated that he was going to make an appeal to the rebels and to a peace commi
ssion. Meanwhile, we were supposed to be so calm and trusting; we would put down
our guns and abandon everything and go and plead and pay homage to Mr. Piedra a
nd Mr. Cantillo.
It is obvious that both Cantillo and Piedra were out of touch with reality becau
se I believe that the Cuban people have learned a great deal and we rebels have
also learned something. That was the situation this morning but it is not the si
tuation this evening, because many things have changed. Given these facts, given
this betrayal, I ordered all the rebel commanders to continue marching on towar
d their targets, and in keeping with this, I also immediately ordered all the co
lumns allocated to the Santiago de Cuba operations to advance against that garri
I want you to know that our forces were firmly determined to take Santiago de Cu
ba by assault. This would have been regrettable because it would have led to muc
h bloodshed and tonight would not have been a night of celebration and happiness
, as it is, it would not have been a night of peace and fraternization, as it is
. I must acknowledge that if there was not a bloody battle waged here in Santiag
o de Cuba, it is due largely to the patriotic attitude of Army Colonel Jose Rego
Rubido, to the commanders of the frigates Maximo Gomez and Maceo and to the chi
ef of the Santiago de Cuba Naval District, as well as to the officer who was act
ing as Chief of Police.
[Avoiding a Bloody Battle]
Citizens, it is only just that we should recognize these facts here and now and
be thankful to the men responsible for them. They contributed to averting consid
erable bloodshed and to converting this morning's counterrevolutionary movement
into the revolutionary movement of this afternoon.
We had no alternative other than to attack because we could not allow the Colomb
ia coup to be consolidated. Therefore, it was necessary to attack. When the troo
ps were already marching out against their targets, Colonel Rego made use of a h
elicopter to try and locate me. The Navy commanders contacted us and placed them
selves unconditionally at the service of the Revolution. Backed by the support o
f their two vessels, equipped with heavy firing capacity, and by the Naval Distr
ict and the Police, I called a meeting of all the Army officers stationed at the
Santiago de Cuba garrison
and there are over a hundred of these officers. I exp
lained to them that I was not the least worried by the thought of addressing the
m because I knew I was right, and I knew they would understand my arguments and
that we would reach an agreement in the course of the meeting. Indeed, in the ea
rly evening, just at nightfall, I went to the meeting at the Escande which was a
ttended by nearly all the Army officers in Santiago de Cuba. Many of them were y
oung men who were clearly anxious to struggle and fight for the good of their co
untry. I met with these military men and spoke to them of our aims for our count
ry, of what we wanted for the country, of the manner in which we had always deal
t with the military and of all the harm done to the army by the tyrants. I said
I did not think it fair that all military men be regarded equally, that the crim
inals were only a small minority, that there were many honorable men in the army
who I knew repudiated criminal tactics, abuse and injustice. I knew it was not
easy for the military to develop a specific type of action.
It was clear that when the highest positions in the army were in the hands of th
e Tabernilla and the Pilar Garcia, relatives and unconditional supporters of Bat
ista, there was a generalized feel of great fear in the Army. One could not ask
an officer individually to accept any responsibility. There were two kinds of mi
litary men and we know them well. There were military men like Sosa Blanco, Cani

zares, Sanchez Mosquera and Chaviano, known for their crimes and the cowardly mu
rder of unfortunate peasants; and then there are military men who have waged hon
orable campaigns, who never murdered anyone, nor burned down houses, men such as
Commander Quevedo, who was our prisoner after his heroic resistance at the Batt
le of Jibo and who is still an Army officer. Men like Commander Sierra and many
other officers who never in their lives burned down a house. However, this type
of officer got no promotion. Those who were promoted were the criminals because
Batista always made a point of recompensing crime.
For example, we have the case of Colonel Rego Rubido who does not owe his positi
on to the dictatorship since he was already a Colonel when the 10 March coup too
k place. The fact is that I was given the support of the Army officers in Santia
go de Cuba and the army officers in Santiago de Cuba gave their unconditional ba
cking to the Cuban Revolution. When the Navy, Army and Police officers met toget
her, they agreed to condemn the Colombia uprising and to support the Legal Gover
nment of the Republic because it has the backing of the majority of the populati
on, and is represented by Dr. Manuel Urrutia Lleo, and they also agreed to suppo
rt the Cuban Revolution. Thanks to their attitude, we were able to prevent much
bloodshed; thanks to their attitude, this afternoon we saw the birth of a truly
revolutionary movement. I quite understand that among the people there may be ma
ny justifiably passionate feelings. I appreciate the concern for justice evinced
by our people and I promise to give them justice, but I want to ask the people,
above all and before all else, to remain calm.
At the present moment, power must be consolidated before we do anything else. Be
fore all else, power must be consolidated. After that, we will appoint a commiss
ion, made up of reputable military men and officers of the Rebel Army to take th
e necessary measures. These will include establishing responsibilities where the
y are due. No one will oppose such measures because it is precisely the army and
the armed forces who are most concerned in insuring that the guilt of a few sho
uld not be borne by the whole corps. They are the ones most interested in insuri
ng that the wearing of a uniform not be regarded as degrading, and that the guil
ty be punished in order that the innocent not be charged with the disreputable a
cts of others. We would ask the people to have confidence in us because we know
how to fulfill our obligations. Those were the circumstances surrounding the mee
a meeting that proved to be a truly revolutionary movem
ting held this afternoon
ent in which the people, the military and the rebels participated.
Words fail us to describe the enthusiasm of the military in Santiago de Cuba. As
a proof of their trust, I asked the military to join me in entering Santiago de
Cuba, so that here I am with all the Army officers. There are the tanks that ar
e at the service of the Revolution. there is the artillery and the service of th
e Revolution. And there are the vessels, now at the service of the Revolution. A
nd finally the people. The people who at the outset... I need not add that the R
evolution can depend on the people because this is a well-known fact. However, t
he people, who at the outset had only shotguns, now have artillery, tanks and we
ll-armed vessels, and many trained army technicians to help us handle them. Now
the people are properly armed. And let me assure you that if when we were only 1
2 men, we never lost faith, now that we have 12 tanks there, how are we going to
lose faith? Let me tell you that today, tonight, as of this dawn
because daybre
ak is at hand, the eminent magistrate Dr. Manuel Urrutia Lleo will take over the
presidency of the Republic. Does Dr. Urrutia have the support of the people or
does he not have the support of the people? What I really mean to say is that it
is the President of the Republic, the legal president, who has the support of t
he people of Cuba and that is Dr. Manuel Urrutia. Who wants Mr. Piedra as Presid
ent? Then if no one wants Mr. Piedra as President, how are they going to impose
Mr. Piedra on us now?
Since those are the instructions given by the people of Santiago de Cuba, and si
nce they represent the feelings of all the people of all Cuba, as soon as this m

eeting is over I will march with the veteran troops of Sierra Maestra, with the
tanks and the artillery, toward the Capital in order to fulfill the will of peop
le. We are here entirely at the request of the people. The mandate of the people
is the only legal mandate at present. The President is elected by the people an
d not by a council in Colombia, meeting at four o'clock in the morning.
The people have elected their President and this means that from this moment on
the most powerful legal authority in the Republic has been established. Not a si
ngle one, not a single one of the appointments and promotions made by the Milita
ry Junta in the early hours of today is at all valid. All the appointments and p
romotions in the Army are annulled, all the appointments and promotions, I mean,
that were made at dawn today. Anyone accepting a commission from the treacherou
s Junta which met this morning is regarded as adopting a counterrevolutionary at
titude, call it by whatever name you wish, and as a result will be branded as an
outlaw. I am absolutely convinced that by tomorrow morning all the army command
s throughout the country will have accepted the decisions taken by the President
of the Republic. The President will immediately appoint the chiefs of the Army,
the Navy and the Police. Because of the very valuable service rendered now to t
he Revolution and because he placed his thousands of men at the service of the R
evolution, we would recommend that colonel Rego Rubido be made Chief of the Army
. Similarly, the Chief of the Navy will be one of the two commanders who first p
laced their vessels at the orders of the Revolution. And I would recommend to th
e President of the Republic that Commander Efigenio Almejeiras be appointed nati
onal Chief of Police. He lost three brothers in the Revolution, was one of the m
embers of the gamma expeditionary force and one of the most able men in the revo
lutionary army. Almejeiras is on duty in the Guantanamo operations but will arri
ve here tomorrow.
[Things Will Be the Way the People Want Them]
All I can do is ask you to give us time and to allow time to the civil powers of
the Republic, so that we can do things the way the people want them; but they m
ust be done gradually, little by little. I would only ask one thing of the peopl
e, and that is that you remain calm. (A voice is heard shouting Oriente Federal!
) No... no, the Republic, above all else, must remain united. What you must dema
nd is justice for Oriente [province]. Time is a highly important factor in all t
hings. The Revolution cannot be completed in a single day but you may be sure th
at we will carry the Revolution through to the full. You may be sure that for th
e first time the Republic will be truly and entirely free and the people will ha
ve their just recompense. Power was not achieved through politics, but through t
he sacrifices of hundreds and thousands of our fellows. It is not a promise we m
ake to ourselves but to the people, the whole Cuban nation; the man who has take
n over power has no commitments with anyone other than with the people. Che Guev
ara has been ordered to march on the Capital, not on the provisional Capital of
the Republic. Commander Camilo Cienfuegos of Number 2 Column
the Antonio Maceo c
was likewise ordered to march on Havana and to take over command of the Co
lombia military camp. The orders issued by the President of the Republic were ca
rried out, as is required by the mandate of the Revolution. We must not be blame
d for the excesses occurring in Havana. General Cantillo and his fellow-conspira
tors of this day's dawn are to blame for those. They believed that they could ov
ercome the situation there. In Santiago de Cuba, where a genuine revolution took
place, complete order has reigned. In Santiago de Cuba, the people joined with
the military and the revolutionaries in a way I cannot describe. The head of the
Government, the head of the Army and the head of the Navy will be in Santiago d
e Cuba and their orders must be obeyed by every authority in the country. It is
our hope that every honorable military man will respect these instructions.
It is important to remember that primarily the military forces are at the servic
e of law and of authority, not improperly constituted authorities but the legiti
mate authority. No reputable Army man need fear anything from the Revolution. In

this struggle, there are no conquered ones because the only conqueror is the pe
ople. There are men who have fallen on one side and the other, but we have all j
oined together that the victory may be the nation's. We have all joined together
, the reputable military and the revolutionaries. There will be no more bloodshe
d. I hope that no group puts up any resistance because apart from such an attitu
de proving foolhardy, it would be overcome in short shift. Moreover, it would be
resistance against the Law, against the Republic and against the feelings of th
e whole Cuban nation. It was necessary to organize today's movement in order to
prevent another war taking place in six months' time. What happened at the time
of Machado's coup? Well one of machado's generals also organized a coup d'etat,
removed Machado from power and put in a new President who remained in office for
15 days. Then the sergeants came along and said those officers were responsible
for Machado's dictatorship and that they could not countenance them. The revolu
tionary spirit spread and the officers were ousted. That cannot take place now.
those officers have the backing of the people and of the troops. They also enjoy
the prestige acquired by having joined a truly revolutionary movement. The peop
le will respect and esteem these officers and it will not be necessary for them
to use force nor to go about the streets armed nor to attempt to strike fear in
the hearts of the people.
True order is that based on freedom, on respect and on justice, but at the same
time that which precludes the use of force. Henceforward, the people shall be en
tirely free and the people know how to conduct themselves, as they have proven t
oday. We have achieved the peace that our country needs. Santiago de Cuba has pa
id for its freedom without bloodshed. That is why happiness reigns supreme here.
That is why the military, today, condemned and repudiated the Colombia coup, in
order to join the revolution unconditionally. Therefore, they deserve our ackno
wledgment of their motivation, our thanks and our respect.
In the future, the armed forces of the Republic will be regarded as exemplary, g
iven their ability, their training and the manner in which they identified with
the cause of the people and because, henceforward, their rifles will be solely a
nd always at the service of the people. There will be no more coups d'etat, no m
ore war, because we have now taken care to prevent a repetition of what happened
the one that took place at dawn today
to Machado. To make the present case
mble Machado's fall even more closely, those gentlemen put a Carlos Manuel in of
fice, just as a Carlos Manuel had been put in office previously. What we will no
t have this time is a Batista because there will be no need for a 4 September wh
ich destroys the discipline in the Armed Forces. It will be remembered that it w
as Batista who was responsible for the armed uprising at that time. His policy c
onsisted in cajoling the soldiers in order to disguise the authority of the offi
cers. The officers will have authority; there will be discipline in the Army; th
ere will be a military penal code, in which any violation of human rights, any d
ishonorable or immoral acts by any military personnel, will be severely punished
There will be no privileges; there will be no privileges for anyone; and the mem
bers of the Armed Forces who are capable and deserving will be promoted. It will
not be as it has been in the past that is, that relations and friends are promo
ted, regardless of grades. This sort of thing will finish for the military as it
will finish for laborers. There will be no more exploitation or compulsory cont
ributions, which for the workers represent the trade union payments and for the
military represent a peso here for the First Lady and two pesos elsewhere for so
mething else and so all their pay dwindles away.
Naturally, the whole population can expect it of us and can count on it. However
, I have spoken of the military so that they will know that they can also count
on the Revolution for all the improvements which have been lacking until now, be
cause if the budgetary resources are not stolen, the military will be in a much
better position than at the present. Moreover, the soldier will not be called up

on to exercise the duty of a policeman because he will be busy with his own trai
ning in the barracks; the soldier will not be engaged in police work but will be
busy being a soldier. We will not have to resort to short-wave systems [Transla
tor's note: It is believed that the reference is to "bugging" devices]. I think
that I should add that we rebels make use of short-wave facilities because this
is advisable. However, the short-wave facilities have not made reference to assa
ssins, have not involved sudden stopping of cars in front of houses nor ambushes
at midnight.
I am certain that as soon as the President of the Republic takes office and assu
mes command of the situation, he will decree the re-establishment of all rights
and freedoms, including the absolute freedom of the press, of all individual rig
hts, of all trade union rights, and of the rights and demands of the rural worke
rs and our own free people. We will not forget our peasants in the Sierra Maestr
a and those in the interior of the country. I will not go and live in Havana bec
ause I want to live in Sierra Maestra, at least in that part for which I feel a
very deep sense of gratitude. I will never forget those country people and as so
on as I have a free moment we will see about building the first school city with
seats for 20,000 children. We will do it with the help of the people and the re
bels will work with them there. We will ask each citizen for a bag of cement and
a trowel. I know we will have the help of our industry and of business and we w
ill not forget any of the sectors of our population.
The country's economy will be re-established immediately. This year it is we who
will take care of the sugar cane to prevent its being burnt, because this year
the tax on sugar is not going to be used for the purchase of murderous weapons n
or for planes and bombs with which to attack the people. We will take care of co
mmunications and already from Jiguani to Palma Soriano the telephone lines have
been re-established, and the railroad is being rebuilt. There will be a harvest
all over the country and there will be good wages because I know that this is th
e intention of the President of the Republic. There will be good prices because
the fear that there would be no harvest has raised prices on the world market. T
he peasants can sell their coffee and the cattle breeders can sell their fat ste
ers in Havana because fortunately we triumphed soon enough to prevent their bein
g ruins of any kind. It is not my place to say all these things. You know that w
e keep our word, and what we promise we fulfill and we promise less than what we
intend to fulfill; we promise not more but less and we intend to do more than w
e have offered the people of Cuba.
We do not believe that all the problems can be solved readily; we know the road
is sown with obstacles, but we are men of good faith and we are always ready to
face great difficulties. The people can be certain of one thing, and that is tha
t we may make one or even many mistakes. But the only thing which cannot be said
of us is that we have stolen, that we have profited from our position, that we
have betrayed the movement. I know that the people can forgive mistakes but not
dishonorable deeds, and what we had here were dishonorable men.
In accepting the presidency, Dr. Manuel Urrutia, from the very first moment when
he was invested in office, from the moment when he swore his oath before the pe
ople as President of the Republic, became the maximum authority in the country.
Let no one think that I intend to exercise any power greater than that of the Pr
esident of the Republic. I will be the first to obey orders issued by the civili
an authority of the Republic and I will be the first to set an example. We will
carry out his orders and within the scope of the authority granted to us we will
try to do the utmost for our people without any personal ambition, because fort
unately we are immune to the temptations of such ambitions and such vanity. What
greater glory could we have than the affection of our people? What greater rewa
rd could we envision than the thousands of arms waving before us, full of hope,
and faith in us and affection for us. We shall never allow ourselves to be influ
enced by vanity or ambition because, in the words of the Apostle, all the glory

of the world can be contained within a single ear of corn, and there is no great
er reward or satisfaction than to fulfill one's duty as we have been doing until
the present time and as we shall always continue to do. In saying this, I am no
t speaking in my own name but in the name of the thousands and thousands of comb
atants who ensured the victory of the people. I speak on behalf of our deep sent
iments and of our devotion for our people. I have in mind the respect we owe to
our dead, to the fallen, who shall not be forgotten and whose faithful companion
s we shall always be. This time they shall not say of us as has been said of oth
ers in the past that we betrayed the memory of those who died because the years
will still be given by those who died. Frank Pais is not physically among us, no
r are many others, but they are all spiritually present and the mere knowledge t
hat their sacrifice was not in vain recompenses us in part for the immense empti
ness which they left behind them.
Fresh flowers will continue to adorn their tombstones; their children shall not
be forgotten because assistance will be given to the families of the fallen. We
rebels will not ask for retroactive pay over the years during which we struggled
because we feel proud not to be paid for the services rendered to Cuba. Indeed,
it is quite possible that we should continue to fulfill our obligations without
asking for pay because this is immaterial if funds are lacking. What exists is
goodwill and we shall do everything necessary. However, I will repeat here what
I have already said, "and history will absolve me," that we shall insure that ma
intenance, assistance, and education shall not be lacking for the children of th
e military who died fighting against us because they are not to blame for the er
rors of the tyrant. We shall be generous to everyone because, as I have said bef
ore, here there are no vanquished, but only victors. The war criminals will all
be punished because it is the irrevocable duty of the Revolution to do so and th
e people can be certain that we shall fulfill that duty. The people should also
be sure that when justice reigns there will be no revenge because if on the morr
ow there are to be no assaults made against anyone, justice must reign now. Sinc
e there will be justice, there will be no revenge nor will there be hatred.
We shall exile hatred from the Republic, that hatred which is a damned and evil
shadow bequeathed to us by ambition and tyranny. The pity is that the major crim
inals should have escaped. There are thousands of men who would pursue them, but
we must respect the laws of other countries. It would be easy for us because we
have more than enough volunteers to pursue those delinquents, ready and willing
to risk their lives. However, we do not wish to give the appearance of a people
who violate the laws of other peoples; we shall respect these laws while ours a
re respected. notwithstanding, I will issue one warning and that is that if in S
anto Domingo they begin to conspire against the Revolution, if Trujillo... makes
any mistake and directs any aggression against us, it will be a sorry day for h
im. (At one time I said that Trijillo had harmed Batista by selling him arms and
the harm he did us not so much in selling arms but in selling weapons of poor q
uality, so bad, in fact, that when they fell into our hands they were no use at
all.) However, he did sell bombs and those served to murder many peasants. We ha
ve no wish to return the rifles because they are worth nothing, but we would lik
e to reciprocate with something better. In the first place, it is logical that t
he political refugees from Santo Domingo should have their safest asylum and mos
t comfortable home here and that the political refugees of every dictatorship sh
ould find here their best protection, since we, too, have been refugees.
If Santo Domingo is to be converted into an arsenal of counterrevolutionaries, i
f Santo Domingo is to be a base for conspiracies against the Cuban Revolution an
d if these gentlemen devote themselves to conspiracies over there, it would be b
etter for them to leave Santo Domingo immediately. We say this, because they wil
l not be very safe there either and it will not be because of us since we have n
o right to intervene in the problems of Santo Domingo. It will be because the ci
tizens of the Dominican Republic have learnt from Cuba's example and conditions
will be very grave indeed there. The citizens of the Dominican Republic have lea

rned that one can struggle against tyranny and defeat and this is the lesson dic
tatorships fear the most. Yet, it is a lesson which is encouraging for the Ameri
cas; a lesson exemplified just now in our country. All of America is watching th
e course of the fate of this revolution. All the Americas are watching us and th
ey follow our actions with their best wishes for our triumph as they will all of
them support us in our times of need. Therefore, everything is joyful now, not
only in Cuba but also in the Americas. They rejoice as we have rejoiced when a d
ictator has fallen in Latin America, so now they rejoice with the Cuban people.
It is assumed that there will be justice, as I was saying, despite the enormous
accumulation of sentiments and ideas stemming from the general disorder, commoti
on, and feelings registered in our minds today. As I was saying, it was a pity t
hat the major criminals escaped. We now know who was responsible because the peo
ple know who is to blame for their escape as they know that they also left here
not the most unfortunate but the dullest, those who were penniless, the rank and
file who took their orders from the major criminals. They allowed the major cri
minals to escape so that the people might state their anger and their indignatio
n upon those who were least to blame although it is only right that they should
be justly punished in order to learn their lesson. The same thing always happens
, the people tell this group that the "big shots" will get away and they will be
left behind and, nevertheless, though some of them may leave, others remain and
must be punished. The top men may go but they will also have their punishment,
a harsh punishment, for it is harsh to be exiled from one's country for the rest
of one's days because they will, even in the best of circumstances, be ostraciz
ed for the rest of their lives as criminals and thieves who fled precipitately.
through the eye of a needle, as the people
If only one could see Mr. Batista now
say. If only one could see the proud, handsome Mr. Batista, who never made a si
ngle speech but that he described others as cowards, wretched villains, etcetera
. Here, we have not even used the epithet of "villain" for anyone. Here we do no
t breathe hatred, nor are we proud or disdainful as are those who made speeches
during the dictatorship. Like that man who claimed that he had a single bullet i
n his pistol when he entered Colombia and who left in the early hours of the daw
n, on a plane, with a single bullet in his pistol. And it was proved that dictat
ors are not so frightening nor so likely to commit suicide, because when they ha
ve lost the game, they immediately take flight like cowards. The sad part of it
is that they escaped when they could have been taken prisoners and had we caught
Batista, we could have taken the 200 million from him. But we will claim the mo
ney, wherever he is hiding it, because they are not political delinquents but co
mmon criminals. And we will see those who turn up in the embassies, if Mr. Canti
llo has not already given them safe-conducts. We will distinguish then between t
he political prisoners but nothing for the common criminals. They will have to g
o before the courts and prove that they are political delinquents. However, if i
t should be proved that they are common criminals, they will have to appear befo
re the proper authorities. For instance, Mujal, as big and as fat as he is, nobo
dy knows where he is hiding at the present time. I can't understand how they got
away. Nevertheless you will remember these unfortunate wretches....
[They May Speak Freely, Whether For or Against]
At last the people have been able to free themselves from this rabble. Now anyon
e may speak out, whether they are for or against. Anyone who wishes to do so may
speak out. That was not the case here previously because until the present time
, they were the only ones [allowed] to speak out; only they spoke out. And they
spoke against us. There will be freedom for those who speak in our favor and for
those who speak against us and criticize us. There will be freedom for all men
because we have achieved freedom for all men. We shall never feel offended; we s
hall always defend ourselves and we shall follow a single precept, that of respe
ct for the rights and feelings of others.
Other names have been mentioned here. Those people! Heaven alone knows in what e

mbassy, on what beach, in what boat they now find themselves. We were able to ge
t rid of them. If they have a tiny shack, or a small boat, or a tiny farm somewh
ere round here, we will naturally have to confiscate it, because we must sound t
he warning that the employees of tyranny, the representatives, the senators, etc
etera, those who did not necessarily steal but who accepted their remuneration,
will have to pay back, up to the last penny, what they received over these four
years, because they received it illegally. The will have to pay back to the Repu
blic the money they received as remuneration and if they do not reimburse the na
tional coffers, we will confiscate whatever property they have. That is quite ap
art from what they may have stolen. Those who robbed will not be allowed to reta
in any of the stolen goods. That is the law of the Revolution. It is not fair to
send a man to prison for stealing a chicken or a turkey, and at the same time a
llow those who stole millions of pesos to spend a delightful life wandering arou
Let the thieves of yesterday and today beware! Let them beware! Because the Revo
lution's laws may reach out to draw in the guilty of every period. Because the R
evolution has triumphed and has no obligations to anyone whatsoever. It's only o
bligation is to the people, to whom it owes its victory.
I want to conclude for today. Remember that I must leave right away. It is my du
ty. What is more, you have been standing there for a good many hours. However, I
see so many red and black flags on the dresses of our women followers that it i
s really hard for us to leave this platform, on which all of us here have felt t
he great emotion in all our lives.
We would not do less than remember Santiago de Cuba with the greatest warmth. Th
a meeting on the Alameda and another on Trocha Aven
e few times we have met here
ue, at which I said that if we were deprived of our rights by force, we would re
cover them with our rifles in hand, and yet they attributed the statement to Lui
s Orlando. I kept quiet and at the time, while the newspapers made it seem as if
Luis Orlando was the one who had done the most, although it was I who did the m
ost. Yet I was not very sure whether or not things were well done because at tha
t time there was no... [Translator's note: The remainder of this sentence and th
e beginning of the next is missing.]... and the result was that we had to exchan
ge everything, the books and the diagrams for rifles, while the peasants exchang
ed their farm implements for rifles and we all had to exchange everything for ri
fles. Fortunately the task that required rifles is done; so let us keep the rifl
es where they are, far away from their eyes, because they will have to defend ou
r sovereignty and our rights. Yet, when our people are threatened, it will not b
e only the thirty or forty thousand armed men who will fight, but the three or f
our or five hundred thousand Cubans, men and women, who can come here for their
arms. There will be arms for all those who wish to fight when the time comes to
defend our freedom. It has been proven that it is not only the men who fight but
that in Cuba the women also fight. The best evidence of this is the Mariana Gra
jales platoon, which made such an outstanding showing in numerous encounters. Th
e women are as good soldiers as our best military men and I wanted to prove that
women can be good soldiers.
At the outset, this scheme gave me a lot of trouble because they were very preju
diced. There were men who asked how on earth one could give a rifle to a woman w
hile there was still a man alive to carry one. Yet on our front, women must be r
escued because they are still the victims of discrimination insofar as labor is
concerned and in other aspects of their lives. So we organized the women's units
and these proved that women could fight, and when the men fight in a village an
d the women can fight alongside them, such villages are impregnable and the wome
n of such villages cannot be defeated. We have organized the feminine combatants
or militias and we will keep them trained
all of them on a voluntary basis
these young women I see here with their black and red dresses recalled 26 July.
And I ask all of you to learn to handle firearms.

My dear Compatriots, this Revolution carried out with such sacrifice, our Revolu
tion, the Revolution of the people, is now a magnificent and indestructible real
ity, a cause for no uncertain nor unjustified pride and a cause for the great jo
y that Cuba awaited. I know that it is not only here in Santiago de Cuba, it is
everywhere, from Punta de Maisi to Cape San Antonio. I long to see our people al
l along our route to the Capital, because I know I will encounter the same hopes
, the same faith, a single people, aroused, a people who patiently bore all the
sacrifices, who cared little for hunger, who when we gave them three days' leave
for the re-establishment of communications, in order not to suffer hunger, the
whole mass of the people protested because what they wanted was victory at any p
rice. Such a people deserves a better fate, and deserves to achieve the happines
s it has not had in 56 years of a Republican form of government. It deserves to
become one of the leading nations in the world by reasons of its intelligence, i
ts valor and the firmness of its decision.
No one can allege that I am speaking as a demagogue. No one can charge that I am
seeking to assuage the people. I have given ample proof of my faith in the peop
le because when I landed with 82 men on the beaches of Cuba and people said we w
ere mad, and asked us why we thought we could win the war, we replied, "Because
we have the people behind us!" And when we were defeated for the first time, and
only a handful of men were left and yet we persisted in the struggle, we knew t
hat this would be the outcome because we had faith in the people. When they disp
ersed us five times in forty-five days and we met up together again and renewed
the struggle, it was because we had faith in the people. Today is the most palpa
ble demonstration of the fact that our faith was justified. I have the greatest
satisfaction in the knowledge that I believed so deeply in the people of Cuba an
d in having inspired my companions with this same faith. This faith is more than
faith. It is complete security. This same faith that we have in you is the fait
h we wish you to have in us always.
The Republic was not freed in 1895 and the dream was frustrated at the last minu
te. The Revolution did not take place in 1933 and was frustrated by its enemies.
However, this time the Revolution is backed by the mass of the people, and has
all the revolutionaries behind it. It also has those who are honorable among the
military. It is so vast and so uncontainable in its strength that this time its
and it is with joy that we do so that in the fou
triumph is assured. We can say
r centuries since our country was founded, this will be the first time that we a
re entirely free and that the work of the first settlers will have been complete
A few days ago, I could not resist the temptation to go and visit my Mother whom
I had not seen for several years. On my return, as I was traveling along the ro
ad that cuts through Mangos de Baragua, late at night, the feelings of deep devo
tion, on the part of those of us who were riding in that vehicle, made us stop a
t the monument raised to the memory of those involved in the protest at Baragua
and the beginning of the Invasion. At that late hour, there was only our presenc
e in that place, the thought of the daring feats connected with our wars of inde
pendence, the idea that these men fought for 30 years and in the end did not see
their dream come true, but witnessed only one more frustration of the Republic.
Yet they had a presentiment that very soon the Revolution of which they dreamed
, the mother country of which they dreamed, would be transformed into reality, a
nd this gave us one of the greatest emotions possible. In my mind's eye, I saw t
hese men relive their sacrifice, sacrifices which we also underwent. I conjured
up their dreams and their aspirations, which were the same as our dreams and our
aspirations and I ventured to think that the present generation in Cuba must re
nder and has rendered homage, gratitude and loyalty, as well as fervent tribute
to the heroes of our independence.
The men who fell in our three wars of independence now join their efforts to tho

se of the men who fell in this war, and of all those who fell in the struggle fo
r freedom. We can tell them that their dreams are about to be fulfilled and that
the time has finally come when you, our people, our noble people, our people wh
o are so enthusiastic and have so much faith, our people who demand nothing in r
eturn for their affection, who demand nothing in return for their confidence, wh
o reward men with a kindness far beyond anything they might deserve, the time ha
s come, I say, when you will have everything you need. There is nothing left for
me to add, except, with modesty and sincerity to say, with the deepest emotion,
that you will always have in us, in the fighters of the Revolution, loyal serva
nts whose sole motto is service to you.
On this date, today, when Dr. Urrutia took over the Presidency of the Republic D
r. Urrutia, the leader who declared that this was a just Revolution
on territory
that has been liberated, which by now is the whole of our country, I declare th
at I will assume only those duties assigned to me, by him. The full authority of
the Republic is vested in him. And our arms bow respectfully to the civil power
s of the Civilian Republic of Cuba. All I have to say is that we hope that he wi
ll fulfill his duty because we naturally feel assured that he will know how to f
ulfill his duty. I surrender my authority to the Provisional President of the Re
public of Cuba and with it I surrender to him the right to address the people of

When the people rule

Cuba is a nation which rules itself and does not take orders from anyone
Mr. President, gentlemen of the diplomatic corps, reporters of the entire contin
ent, fellow citizens:
I am going to ask the people to do something for me, and that is to help me. The
re are a million persons here and the loudspeakers cannot be heard. Absolute sil
ence is necessary. It is very difficult to speak when [one cannot be heard] perf
ectly well, and today I should like to tell the people what I feel; I would like
to tell the reporters what the people of Cuba feel, I want to tell the diplomat
ic representatives of the entire world the way our people think. To hear us, it
is not enough to have been here; to have attended is not enough alone. It is nec
essary to be silent. It is necessary to show the people's discipline by being qu
iet. Let us see if a million people can be silent. (He waits to let the crowd ca
lm down--Ed.)
Fellow citizens, it is possible that our fighters trembled more today before thi
s crowd then they ever did before enemy bullets. For us, who have extraordinary
faith in our people, this assembly has exceeded all estimates. It is said that w
ith those who have just arrived the crowd extends from the Malecon to the Park o
f Fraternity. We can say one thing here today, and that is that there is no plac
e in Havana to bring together all the people who support the revolution. (Applau
se) Before a small park was enough and there was room left. This time all the pa
rks together around the presidential palace are insufficient. I am going to tell
you an anecdote so that you can understand the full moral value of this meeting
for us.
One of our comrades attached to the Havana municipality told me that this mornin
g the employees gathered and asked him where they were meeting to go to the asse
mbly, and our friend replied: "No, those who want to can go and those who do not
can go home." This is not the kind of meeting organized before! (Applause) How
different it is when the people feel free! How different it is when the people r
ule! People have come from Matanzas and Pinar del Rio on foot. Thousands of our
fellow citizens have come on foot because there were not enough vehicles.

We spoke of a half million, of getting together half a million Cubans, but the p
eople said no, not half a million, but one million; and it turned out to be one
and a half million. I went through some of the city's streets before arriving, a
nd Havana was deserted. Not a soul was to be seen for blocks on end in the distr
icts of Havana. All Havana had come, the whole city, all the surroundings, and t
housands and tens of thousands of Cubans from the provinces nearest to Havana. I
am sure that if it had been physically possible 6 million Cubans [the total pop
ulation of the country] would have gathered here today.
I realize that the best speech for this afternoon is your presence. I realize th
at nothing can speak so eloquently to the diplomatic crops and the 380 newsmen w
ho have come from all the hemisphere as your presence. Many Cubans here present
cannot even here me. I asked the men who organized the affair and they told me a
ll the loudspeakers in Havana were set up here; and yet many tell me they cannot
hear me. It hurts me to think that you are making the sacrifice of standing sin
ce hours ago and not even being able to hear what we are saying, but at least yo
u can have the satisfaction of knowing that your presence has not been in vain a
nd that this gathering today, this gathering here today, is the finest battle th
e people of Cuba have fought in this revolution. It is a victory by force of arm
s; not a shot has been fired. It is a much finer victory. It is a victory of rig
ht; it is a victory of justice; it is a victory for morality. Those who thought
we were just ordinary guerrillas, those who thought we knew nothing but the use
of firearms, those who thought that after our military victories they would crus
h us in the field of information, and crush us in the field of public opinion, h
ave found that the Cuban revolution also knows how to fight and win (battles) in
that field.
Those who thought that monopoly over international cables, those who thought tha
t spreading lies and slander right and left, would let them weaken our revolutio
n and discredit our people, so that they could then leap upon it when it was wea
k, were mistaken, for the revolution today is more solid and stronger. Instead o
f weakening it they have strengthened it. The revolution is not intimidated by a
ttacks. The revolution is not weakened by attacks. On the contrary, it waxes and
gains strength, for this is the revolution of a valiant, fighting people.
With another people, another people lacking the virtues of the Cuban people, it
would not even be worthwhile having started this struggle, but when one has a pe
ople like this to count on, one not only begins but achieves and goes on to tota
l victory.
To the people of Cuba everything is clear. The Cuban revolution was an exemplary
revolution. There was no coup here.
If we had been a group of army officers who, without the help of the people, had
ousted the President and installed another in his place and had at once bowed t
o all the vested interests; if this had not been a revolution, we would not have
enemies; they would not have attacked us; they would not slandered us.
While this palace housed a dictatorship that sold out the nation's interests; wh
ile this palace housed a dictatorship that made the most onerous concessions to
foreigners; while this palace housed a dictatorship that betrayed the people, no
body attacked it; these press campaigns were not waged against it abroad; [U.S.]
Congressmen did not speak out to censure it. While it housed a miserable traito
r, a criminal who murdered 20,000 of our fellow citizens, these campaigns were n
ot waged against Cuba, or against him. While it housed someone who stole 300 mil
lion pesos; while the republic was governed by a band of thieves who stole more
than a billion pesos, these campaigns were not waged against them abroad. While
dozens of Cubans were being killed here every night; while young men were being
found murdered with a bullet in the temple; while barracks yards were heaped wit

h corpses; when our women were violated; when children were murdered; when polic
e entered embassies to murder 10 refugees in a few minutes, these campaigns were
not waged against Cuba, nor did the [U.S.] Congressmen over there, with rare ex
ceptions, speak out to condemn the dictatorship.
But there is no need to go further. There you have Trujillo with his dictatorshi
p 27 years old; there you have the 10,000 Haitians murdered by the Dominican dic
tator; there you have the tens of thousands of men murdered inside and outside o
f Santo Domingo by the henchmen of the criminal dictator. And there you have Som
oza. Somoza is of the dynasty that for more than 25 years has been oppressing hi
s country, with his full jails, his press censorship, his thousands of crimes. A
nd no campaigns are organized against them.
A campaign against the Cuban people, yes, because they want to be free. A campai
gn against the Cuban people, yes-- a campaign against the Cuban people, yes, bec
ause they want to be free not just politically, but economically as well. A camp
aign against the people of Cuba, because they have become a dangerous example fo
r all America. A campaign against the people of Cuba because they know we are go
ing to call for cancellation of the onerous concessions that have been made to f
oreign monopolies, because they know electric rates are going to be lowered here
, because they know that all the onerous concessions made by the dictatorship ar
e going to be reviewed and canceled.
There, fellow citizens, you have the chief cause of this campaign. The explanati
on of this must be sought, the explanation of this campaign must be sought--if y
ou let me talk I am going to explain; I would like to explain this thoroughly, s
o the people and the foreign press can understand it. We have not obtained the c
rowd's full cooperation in maintaining absolute silence. (Sentence indistinct)
The explanation for this campaign must be sought somewhere. Why has this campaig
n been launched against Cuba? The vilest, most criminal, and most unjust that ha
s been launched against any people. Why, when barely four or five days had passe
d since the victory, did international cable services and certain U.S. Congressm
en loose a barrage of defamation against the Cuban people? The purpose is clear.
Our revolution was able to present itself to the world as a model of revolution
s. The rebel army's generosity toward the enemy was without precedent in the his
tory of revolutions and wars. Thousand of prisoners fell in our hands. Hundreds
of wounded were cared for by our doctors. (Words indistinct) Not one prisoner wa
s struck. (Much crowd noise--Ed.)
Fellow citizens,next time I am going to ask 2,000 Cubans to come instead of a mi
llion. That is a lot, and there is not room. The crowd is being pressed together
(Possibly one or two sentences indistinct, as if volume had been turned down --U
nreadable text-- loudspeaker--Ed.) I am going to sum up ideas. We invited the pe
ople of Cuba. We had nothing to say to them, because the people of Cuba know the
truth very well. We do not have to convince the people of Cuba of anything, bec
ause the people of Cuba are more than convinced. It is necessary to convince the
world public, and we are going to convince it through the newsmen who have come
Tomorrow we are going to meet with the newsmen who have come from all over the h
emisphere. At the meeting I will submit to interrogation, as one can who has don
e his duty. I am going to submit to interrogation by America, as can be done by
a man with a clear conscience. I do not have to give an account to any U.S. Cong
ressman. I do not have to give an account to any foreign government. I will give
an account to the peoples. In the first place I give an account to my people, t
o the Cubans. In the second place, to all the peoples of America. I give an acco
unt to the people of Mexico, to the people of the United States, of Costa Rica,

of Venezuela, and of the whole world. [Castro would do just this two days later
begining January 23, 1959, to spread his ideas throughout Latin America.]
For that reason I called in the newsmen, to come and see the truth with their ow
n eyes. Where there is justice there is no crime, and where there is crime there
is no freedom of the press. Where there is crime, people hide their actions.
Here things have been done in the open. We came here so they could see that ther
e is justice. And so we invited all newsmen of the world, for here in Cuba there
is a freedom of the press (word or two indistinct) that is not found anywhere e
lse in the world. In Cuba there is a respect for human rights not found anywhere
else in the world.
The Cuban people are not a savage people, or a criminal people. This is the nobl
est and most feeling people in the world. If an injustice were committed here, a
ll the people would be against it. Our intellectuals are not unfeeling; our news
men are not unfeeling; our workers are not unfeeling; our peasants are not unfee
ling; our priests are not unfeeling, and when everybody [agrees to] the punishme
nt, it is because the punishment is a just one, it is because the punishment is
The allied powers punished the war criminals after the second world war, and the
y have less right to do so than we have, because they meted out punishment under
the ex post facto legislation, while we are punishing the war criminals under l
egislation passed before the crime, in public trials, in courts made up of hones
t men. To avoid mistakes we are trying only the most notorious criminals, those
who have 5, 10, 15, or 20 murders against them, those known to all the people. B
ut is it not possible to expatriate, and I am going to meet with newsmen from th
e whole hemisphere. We have also invited the President of Cuba to attend the int
erview, and we are going to invite the cabinet. And we are going to explain full
y to the newsmen everything they want us to explain. We must not expatriate; the
re is just one thing more.
Reporters of the entire continent, diplomatic representatives accredited to Cuba
, imagine an immense jury, imagine a jury consisting of a million men and women
belonging to all social classes, of all religious beliefs, of all political idea
s. I am going to ask this jury something. I am going to ask the people something
: Those who agree with the justice that is being carried out, those who agree th
at the henchmen should be shot, raise your hands. (Applause of about 2 minutes)
Gentlemen of the diplomatic corps, reporters of the entire continent: The jury o
f a million Cubans representing all views and social classes has voted. To those
who are democrats, or those who call themselves democrats I say: This is democr
acy, this is respecting the will of the people. Those who are democrats, or thos
e who call themselves democrats, must respect the will of the people.
Before concluding I should like to say something I consider important: It is tha
t the people of Cuba are worried about our security.
Thousands upon thousands of our fellow citizens have asked us to take care of ou
rselves. They fear that we will be attacked by enemies of the revolution. The pe
ople fear that the death of one of their leaders would be failure for the revolu
tion. What I am about to tell the people of Cuba today is that this is not true.
What I am going to tell the people of Cuba is that the revolution cannot depend
upon one man. The fate of a nation cannot depend upon one man, that the fate of
(justice?) cannot depend upon one man. Moreover, the leaders cannot be placed i
n a glass case.
I am firmly determined to continue doing things as I have been doing. I am firml
y determined to challenge calmly all dangers, come what may. I am doing this for

one reason. It is because I am very aware that nothing and no one can stop the
revolution. And I also have something to say to my enemies: Behind me are others
more radical than I. In the same way, by attacking our revolutionary justice, t
hey have done nothing but reinforce the revolution. By killing me they will only
strengthen the revolution.
In order to take the proper precautionary measures so as to be protected against
all eventualities, I am going to propose to the board of the July 26 Movement t
hat it appoint comrade Raul Castro second in command of the July 26 Movement. (V
igorous applause) I am doing it not because he is my brother, (words indistinct)
but because I truly consider him sufficiently capable to substitute for me shou
ld I have to die. Moreover, he is a comrade with very firm revolutionary convict
ions and he has shown his ability in this struggle. He was one of the leaders of
the attack on the Moncada garrison; he spent two years in prison; he has carrie
d out so many (word indistinct) for the country; he has shown his ability as an
organizer and a leader. I wish that this did not concern a brother. I wish that
he had been another in order to remove the slightest suspicion that I am favorin
g a relative. I must say right here that no one is being favored because for us
the country means suffering and duty, not pleasure or vanity, or pleasures of a
personal nature. For us this work is the work of a slave (who knows his people a
re lost?)
For us leadership means sacrifice. For us leadership is not aspiring to power. E
veryone knows that I gave up power a long time ago. Everyone knows with what dis
interestedness I fought, and that I am of the opinion that no man is indispensab
le, and that any honorable Cuban can be a good President of the Republic. (Appla
use) Everyone knows that not only did I refuse to be President of the Republic,
but I gave my full support to the President. Everyone knows my respect for the c
ivil institutions of the republic. Everyone knows that I have neither interfered
nor will interfere in matters pertaining to the presidency.
Everyone knows that I have been able to maintain unlimited (word indistinct) and
if I have replied to thousands of questions it is because they were asked and b
ecause I was authorized (several words indistinct) if the President will not all
ow me to hold a single press conference, and the President will not allow me to
make another statement while I am commander in chief of all the forces of the re
public I will obey this order unconditionally.
What I have done is to defend the revolution from slander. What I have done is t
o defend the good name of my country when others were seeking to represent us as
a country of criminals and savages. What I have done is to defend the prestige
of this revolution which has cost so much find and freely shed blood. I say this
because to be a leader is really not a pleasure trip or a bed of roses, but a s
acrifice, the extent of which perhaps very few can understand. This is all the m
ore so when one feels the responsibility of so great a faith as the faith our pe
ople have placed in us.
By stating here the necessity that the people be alert and be prepared for any a
ttack on its leaders or on one of its leaders, by presenting here this necessity
, I do so with the honest conviction of a man who is not only concerned with the
present but also the future of the country, of a man who is thinking about the
country, not only while he is alive, but after his death. By stating here that I
consider Comrade Raul Castro could replace me if necessary, I am not making the
decision alone. Rather I want to consult with the people to see whether they ag
My enemies know how that they can attack because everything has been taken care
of. Moreover, should they attack Raul, behind him another would rise and behind
that one another, and so forth. In the struggle the people of Cuba will not be l
acking in leaders, because everything will have been taken care of. We who were

able to win the war in the face of all odds will also be able to win the revolut
ion against all the enemies who plan to attack it. Thus, the people of Cuba (wor
ds indistinct) each day we will be stronger in our defense of the interests of t
he country and the interests of the people. Finally, the people have attained th
eir goal; the complete freedom and sovereignty which it never had. It is a natio
n which rules itself and does not take orders from anyone.
We have a just question to ask here. We will take advantage of this opportunity
to ask the U.S. Government to return the war criminals who have taken refuge the
re. (Applause) The people of Cuba demand of the people of the United States not
give asylum to the Masferras, the Venturas, and the other criminals. The people
of the United States must demand of the U.S. Government the return of the war cr
iminals because they are war criminals.
After the world war the people of the United States would not have agreed for Go
ering, Himmler, and Hitler to take refuge here [although unknown at the time, ma
ny Nazi scientists and officers were in fact brought into the U.S. government, t
hough entirely without the knowledge of the U.S. workers, to scale up production
and technology against the Soviets.]. Well, our Himmler is Ventura. Our Goering
s are the Tabernillas, the Pinar Garcias, the Tavianos, the (Laurens?). Our Hitl
er is Batista.
If the United States wants to be just, if the United States wants to respect the
feelings of the people of Cuba, it must consent to extradite the war criminals
because they are not political criminals. Those who violated women cannot be con
sidered political criminals because the violation of woman has nothing to do wit
h politics. Those who tore out eyes cannot be considered political criminals, be
cause pulling out human eyes has nothing to do with politics, those who assassin
ated children and old women, those who tortured thousands and thousands of our f
ellow citizens without pity cannot be considered political criminals because tor
ture has nothing to do with politics. They cannot be sheltered as political crim
inals because they are common law criminals. The millions of pesos which they st
ole to place in American banks must be returned to us. Filling one's pockets wit
h the people's money in order to take it abroad has nothing to do with politics,
because the theft of the republic's money to spend it on luxuries has nothing t
o do with politics, and they are thieves here and anywhere in the world. Therefo
re, the people of Cuba have the right to demand the return of the assassins, tor
turers, and also the return of the money taken from all the peoples.
We are not going to waste our time asking Trujillo to return the thieves to (wor
d indistinct) and we are not going to ask for the return of the air force planes
which the refugees took with them. We are not asking Trujillo to return them be
cause the people of the Dominican Republic will return them and because we do no
t want any kind of relations with Trujillo.
Of course, Trujillo is not a dictator; just talk with those Congressmen who are
attacking us and you will see that Trujillo is a saint. If was disgusting; there
were some papers, some Mexican papers, for example, with a cartoon showing Cuba
dressed in white in a bath of blood, in a puddle, and us there with beards and
rifles like common executioners, of course.
Why? Ah! Because the international cable agencies are there, the same agencies t
hat (few words indistinct). They could not kill me and now they are trying to ki
ll the revolution's prestige, and of course very subtly. Anybody with a minimum
of understanding need only read the international dispatches to see how this cam
paign was organized. The sad part is that they have confused some American peopl
es. (Few words indistinct)
The Mexican people, a country that had a great territory wrested from it, a coun
try that has been so humiliated and mistreated; to this country came the agencie

s that represent monopolistic, exploiting interests, to deceive the Mexicans and

make them believe that we are something worse Trujillo, worse than Somoza, wors
e than (few words indistinct) the world has seen. Our name has been presented as
that of a murderer among the peoples of America.
Here, or in any country in America, I can stand with my head high, with the sati
sfaction of having a clear conscience and my hands free of blood [Of all the pri
soners of war captured by Castro during their revolutionary struggle, not one wa
s executed, not one was harmed. In fact, the Cuban revolutionaries gained world
renown and even U.S. funding because of their exeplaray treatment of prisoners i
n time of a guerrilla war -- using their own medical supplies to heal prisoners]
. I can stand before any nation to tell it the truth. I am only sorry that the p
eoples of America should let themselves be deceived so abominably. I am only sor
ry to think what the fate of America would be if this revolution is crushed, bec
ause this revolution, which is not a coup, which is not the uprising of a group
of military caudillos, but a revolution of the people, authentically of the peop
le, should represent a hope for the peoples of America. And why? Ah! Because we
have hit America's sore spot. The history of America for more than a century is
plain; America is the victim of ambitious men, military caudillos, military cast
es. How much America and the peoples of our hemisphere need a revolution like th
e one that has taken place in Cuba. How much America needs an example like this
in all its nations. How much it needs for the millionaires who have become rich
by stealing the people's money to lose everything they have stolen. How much Ame
rica needs for the war criminals in the countries of our hemisphere all to be sh
Had these things been, maybe our continent would not be what it is today: Groups
of nations divided, set apart despite their identical feelings, needs, interest
s, race, and culture; it would not be the group of divided, weak nations, victim
s of the customary tyranny and military castes. How much America needed Cuba's e
xample. We Cubans can feel proud of a revolution that came with no ambition for
dominion, with no goal of exploitation or domination over other countries; it ca
me as an example, as aspiration for justice, broad justice, (word indistinct), w
ithin the most extraordinary system of respect for human freedoms the world has
ever known.
The Cuban revolution can be summed up as an aspiration for social justice, withi
n the fullest freedom and absolute respect for the people's rights. Our revoluti
on must be defended as a patrimony of Cuba, if not of America. The honest men of
America, the honest newsmen of the continent, the peoples who are our friends-we must ask them to defend our revolution, not allow it to be slandered in an at
tempt to destroy it to the detriment of not just Cuba, but America. There are so
me who want to keep the Cuban revolution from raising its head, so that no count
ry in America can raise its head.
We had seven years of tyranny. Seven years, and nobody came to give us freedom;
we had to win it with our sacrifices. Governments did not help us--we were helpe
d by the peoples. The peoples of all America sympathized with us; the peoples of
all America were our friends. And now they are trying to take away the only fri
ends we had; they are trying to take away the peoples, trying to alienate people
s from us by telling them that we are carrying out mass executions, without tria
ls, of Batista supporters. The dispatches do not say that they are the tyrant's
henchmen; the dispatches do not say that they are murderers; the dispatches do n
ot say that each of the men executed has 10, 12, or even 100 killings against hi
s name. No, the dispatches say that they are mass executions, without trial, of
"Batista supporters."
And since the peoples of America have seen the horrors of dictatorship, since th
e peoples of America are accustomed to hearing about mass executions of politica
l opponents without a trial, an effort is made to make them believe this is such

a case. The dispatches do not talk about the conduct of the rebel army; they ha
ve not stressed that this has been the only revolution where not a single man wa
s mobbed to death; they do not stress that no other people in the world have con
ducted themselves in such a civilized way as the Cubans have done; that not a si
ngle henchman of the dictator has been tortured; that not a single enemy has bee
n beaten; that this is the only revolution in the world where the people, instea
d of taking vengeance into their own hands, placed the criminals at the disposal
of the revolutionary courts.
Ah! They do not say these things. The men we are sentencing now are the ones tha
t the people usually kill the first three days after a revolution. We are execut
ing the ones the people would have mobbed to death had we not asked them to have
faith in justice. We have been more than generous. Informers have not been shot
. The thing to do with informers is not shoot them, but send them to work, sente
nce them to forced labor, since they wanted to make their living by betrayal and
informing, let them work for the people, let them work. But the hired killers m
ust be shot, for even the Bible says "he who lives by the sword shall die by the
sword." They must be shot, because those who today ask that they not be shot wi
ll in three years be asking us to turn them loose. It is clear; there cannot be
peace without justice; there cannot be democracy without justice. In the name of
peace real crimes have been committed. And I can ask the Congressmen who attack
ed me, I can ask them: What did the United States do--I can ask the Congressmen
who have attacked us: What was done at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Ah! In the name o
f peace, two cities and (500,000?) human beings were bombed. We have not execute
d any child. We have not executed any woman. We have not executed any old man.
Yet at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 300,000 human beings died (words indistinct) And i
n the name of what? Well, they said it was to obtain peace. They also said it wa
s to prevent the death of many North Americans in battle. All right; I tell thos
e Congressmen that, aside from the fact that they have nothing to do with Cuban
affairs, we are executing the tyrant's henchmen to obtain peace, and we are exec
uting the (butcher?) so that they cannot murder our children again tomorrow.
Besides, the number of henchmen we are going to execute will not be more than 40
0. That is about one for every 1,000 men, women, and children murdered at Hirosh
ima and Nagasaki. If it is a question of telling the truth, why did they not com
e here to talk? When we told them to come and see what the people want, why did
they not come? Two Representatives who have defended the Cuban cause came. Repre
sentative Porter and Representative Powell came to testify to our being right. B
ut the ones who attacked us, whom we invited to come and talk, face to face, to
learn what the people (words indistinct).
Since they call themselves democrats let them see what democracy is. Since they
talk about the will of the people, let them see what the will of the people is.
We did not invite (words indistinct) but so they could see the truth.
There is one thing I want to explain so the people will be clear on that point.
The U.S. Government has not directly attacked us. The entire U.S. press has not
attacked us. Part of the press, including Herbert Matthews, has defended us. And
it is clear: At present the U.S. Government (has not assumed a hostile attitude
?) toward us, but we know what the mechanics are in the United States. A certain
campaign is begun; the interests that fear the revolution organize a campaign a
gainst the revolution; they shape public opinion, and then ask the U.S. Governme
nt to take action. Not yet, not yet, because they have not waged the campaign ye
t (words indistinct).
If it is necessary, we extend a permanent invitation to the newsmen; here we hav
e nothing to hide. And since we have so much faith in the people, so much faith
in their political maturity, we know that nobody will be able to bamboozle the p
eople or swerve them (words indistinct). A beginning was made with the slander c

ampaign, but we countered it in time.

Of course I want to make it clear that the people of Cuba are not animated by an
y feeling of hostility toward the people of the United States. On the contrary;
we are also talking to public opinion in the United States, so that it may suppo
rt us against those interests, which are the enemies of both Cuba and the United
We have not carried out an aggression against anybody. The Cuban revolution has
not attacked any nation. On the contrary it is the Cuban people, for the mere fa
ct of having freed themselves from tyranny at the cost of many sacrifices, who h
ave been made the target of the most criminal, base, and cowardly campaign.
But, fellow citizens, I assure you that this battle is won; it has been won with
the help of everybody, with the help of men of all different ideas, (religions?
), and (few words indistinct). This is a battle that belongs to everybody. The p
eople have united admirably in defense of their justice, sovereignty, and presti
Our gratitude and admiration are well deserved by a people that have been able t
o unite as one man in this struggle. Nobody can defeat such a people. We must pr
event any split; we must remain united to defend the interests of the fatherland
. (Few words indistinct) not just against the criminals, but also social justice
A nation like this, which despite its hundreds of thousands of unemployed has gi
ven an incomparable example of order; a capital like this, where despite hundred
s of thousands of unemployed there are no policemen, where there is not a single
(word indistinct), certainly deserves (few words indistinct). A people that wil
l not steal even though hungry deserve anything.
One example we can point to with pride is that despite the hunger and unemployme
nt that exist, police are not needed in Havana, and the Boy Scouts are practical
ly insuring order. In what country is there such extraordinary order and absolut
e peace that children are put in charge of keeping order in the capital after a
revolution? That is what we want the newsmen of the American hemisphere to tell
their own people.
Fellow citizens, my (warmest?) congratulations, my gratitude (passage indistinct
). Today, after this extraordinary demonstration; today, after the satisfaction
we feel at seeing this support from the people; today, as we feel such pride at
being Cuban and belonging to this people, one of the world's finest peoples; tod
ay, on behalf of all and in the name of the revolutionary government and the fig
hters of the rebel army, I want to say thank you to my people. Thank you very mu

On the promulgation of the Agrarian Law

*We do not make laws by hate.
*It is not fair that our country keeps on marching toward misery.
*Great landowners must adapt themselves to the new times.
*Nobody has the right to distribute land by his own initiative.
*Cuba will have the honor to be in first place among latinamerican countries.

We believe that this Law initiates an entirely new era in our economical life, a
nd that a wonderful future awaits our country, if we dedicate ourselves to work
with all our might.
We are aware that this law will affect some private interests; we are aware that
it will find strong opposition, as all revolutionary measures. Of course, we ar
e conscious of our duties to the citizens and of all the advantages that this la
w may offer.
However, we must declare, as we always have under such circumstances, that we ma
ke laws only for the benefit of the nation, even if these laws must some times d
amage certain interests. We do not make laws by - hate, as we do not hate anybod
y. We understand perfectly that we are a consequence of the past, we have the ob
ligation to correct past mistakes.
What we have done, what we are, what we represent and what we do, are mainly con
sequences of the past. In fact, anybody in Cuba who thinks about what this count
ry has been up to now, about the destiny which - would have been Cuba's destiny
if changes were not introduced, if this person who thinks is conscious and hones
t, she will have to a admit that these measures are absolutely necessary. It was
not fair that our country continue to go toward misery, toward chaos.
It is not our fault if the nation is what it has been up to now; the mistakes of
the past generations are not ours. You do not understand this until you go to t
he country, until you visit the peasant's houses, until you see shoeless, hungry
, sick children who cannot read nor write. In spite of all this, you are surpris
ed to see how much kindness remains in the hearts of our peasants. When you noti
ce those things you fell the absolute conviction of the justice of the measures
we are taking, which are necessary and of benefit for the country.
These measures pretend to eliminate a situation that was legated to us and of wh
ich we are not responsible.
The Agrarian Law damages an insignificant section of the people but even these p
ersons are not entirely sacrificed, as they will keep a considerable amount of l
and; their standard of living will not be seriously affected, and at the same ti
me thousands of poor families will be benefited. We can very conservatively esti
mate that two hundred thousand families will receive these benefits.
.. What I can say today is this: when the Agrarian Law be entirely - applicated,
two million Cubans will have their income increased and they will become buyers
in the domestic market, which will be the basis of our industrial development.
Through this, we expect to solve the economical problem of Cuba. On the other ha
nd, the owners of the lands we intend to distribute shall not be robbed; they wi
ll be compensated. They will be paid in government bonds, payable in 20 years, w
hich will produce 4.50% interest yearly.
Cuba will have the honor of being in first place among all latin-american nation
s, thanks to this Law, so rich in consequences.
Great landowners must understand that their duty is to adapt themselves to the n
ew circumstances. They shall have to produce more in reduced extensions of land.
They will have to produce technically, economically, trying to obtain all which
is possible to obtain from the land, because this measure is fair, because not
a single Cuban must suffer from hunger. It is criminal that there be uncultivate
d land in a country where people is hungry. These landowners must not allow self
ishness to blind them. Nobody has the right to be selfish when his people is hun
gry. Nobody feeling like a Cuban, no real patriot, can fail to understand that t
his measure will be of benefit to the Nation.

The Agrarian Law does not mean of course that a man has a right to grab the piec
e of land he likes, that anybody has the right to distribute land by his own ini
tiative. It does not mean disorder. Now, more than ever, we need absolute discip
line, nobody has the right to act ignoring the authority of the National Institu
te for the Agrarian Reform. Those who have taken lands without permission will h
ave to give them back. We make this warning because we do not want our peasants
to make mistakes.
The benefits of the Agrarian Law will attain the remotest places of our country.
It is not necessary to speak more about it, because this Law speaks by itself a
nd because it will provoke a lot of discussion in days to come. We wish that all
Cubans accept it as a fair measure which will offer extraordinary benefits to o
ur Country.

Facing U.S. Aggressions

(Editor's note--E) The Cuban FIEL radio network on July 9 at 0200 GMT began an i
nterview with Prime Minister Fidel Castro by reporters Mario Cuchilan and Luis B
aez. Replying to the first question of Mario Cuchilan on what measures are to be
adopted by the revolutionary government in the present economic situation Castr
o said in brief: The first measure is not to lose patience. I think we must not
lose our patience, calm, or good humor. We must take this struggle to victory, f
orcing our reason to prevail and knowing how to do this.
We are acting with reason and right on our side. They are acting against reason,
right, and history. We are certain we will emerge victorious in this struggle.
We are absolutely certain we will win the economic battle. We should act in a ma
nner that would be of no benefit to them. They always expect certain reactions f
rom the revolutionary government. They are always mistaken. These mistakes are c
haracteristic of U.S. foreign policy.
They have done all they can to remove the revolutionary government. From the fir
st there have been campaigns, aggressions, lies, aerial incursions. Note how the
y have used all these weapons at different times. Before the harvests they permi
tted the planes to fly over. Now that the harvest is done the planes have stoppe
d--as if by order. Now they have reached the stage of direct economic aggression
. They have been using the policy of provocation, defamation, and aggression but
they will not budget Cuba from its path.
They tell the tourists to stay away yet we, on the other hand, treat the tourist
s well. We always try to act in the correct manner, with sincerity and clarity.
We have never lied. All we have done is defend ourselves from aggression. Until
they began their campaign of aggressions what did we do? We did not eject the UN
ITED PRESS or ASSOCIATED PRESS. They are still here. We brought newsmen from all
over to see the truth about Cuba. When they began the air attacks we mobilized
the people. We expressed the people's protest. It was proved that the planes wer
e coming from Florida even after the U.S. Government declared they did not come
from U.S. territory.
We have never been guilty of any act of aggression. We have only been doing the
revolutionary thing in defending ourselves. The result was that President Dortic
os was received everywhere with sympathy and Latin American solidarity was seen
all over. Eisenhower went to Latin America first and his tour took place amid tu
rmoil and tear gas. Our President went and the result was a triumphant tour. We
have been winning all the battles. We won the battle against slander. We also no
w have plenty of arms; just how much I would not like to reveal here.

I would like to tell the militiamen not to be discouraged about weapons. Every m
ilitiamen will have an automatic weapon. That much I can say. (The audience chee
rs enthusiastically.) We have taken the necessary measures. Each militiaman will
have a weapon and the country can count on the security it offers.
The maneuver in Latin America is another tactic against us. The result of this w
as that we won again and the Cuban President won the Latin American people over.
Then came the oil battle. They conceived the plot of leaving us without fuel. Th
ey had great hopes in this maneuver. They were convinced that the oil matter wou
ld defeat the revolution. The result of this is that we have taken over the refi
neries and we have not been left without oil. There are 19 Soviet ships on the w
ay to Cuba with oil.
By the middle of the month the supply will be completely normal. This does not i
nclude the effort the government will make to obtain Venezuelan oil. We will ask
them to sell us oil which will strengthen our security in fuel supply.
The Soviet ships to arrive are: On July 7, a ship with 70,000 barrels; July 12,
another ship with (79,300?) barrels; July 12, another with 76,500 barrels; July
14, another, the Peking, with 170,000 barrels; July 15, a ship with 78,000 barre
ls; July 16, one with 79,700 barrels; July 19, another ship with 78,000 barrels;
July 20, another ship with 78,000 barrels; July 21, another with 78,000; July 2
2, another ship with 130,000 barrels; July 25, another with 78,000; July 28, ano
ther ship with 140,000 barrels; July 31, another ship with 42,000 barrels and 40
,000 barrels of another type of fuel; and July 31, another ship with 70,000 barr
els; plus three ships, another three ships loaded with fuel, which are on the wa
They thought to reduce the nation seriously. They must, by now, have lost this h
ope. They calculated incorrectly once again. The result is that we have kept our
promise to the people that gasoline would not be lacking.
We have been facing all these aggressions, adopting always the correct policy ne
eded to win battles now and in the future. We have taken measures to grant the p
ower to nationalize U.S. firms when the interests of the country demanded it. In
reply to aggression we have adopted a law that will protect the interests of th
e nation.
All U.S. firms have been here without suffering infringement. The laws we have p
assed have been aimed at those interests that exploited our country. The fact th
at American interests still are here proves that the aggression is not on our pa
rt. We have been the object of subversive plots and aggressions. These aggressio
ns have been the policy of the U.S. Government. I want to clear this up for they
still say they are acting against the government and not the people.
No people is cruel. Those who are cruel are the oligarchs who support powerful i
nterests. Using military interests and political strength, they rule the peoples
. The Japanese people could not be held responsible for the oligarchial attack o
n Pearl Harbor. The people can understand that the people are not responsible fo
r actions of oligarchies during various periods of history. We cannot accuse Rom
ans of the barbarities of Roman senators. The plebians were below the patricians
. Below the plebians were the slaves who worked for patricians. One cannot accus
e the North American worker, among whom there are intelligent, generous persons,
of the deeds committed by his nation. One cannot accuse the southern Negroes, f
or they are victims of injustice. We want our people to understand these matters
of history. We are not going to contribute to errors.
We have been the victims of a series of attacks. A Cuban plane is being held. Th
e Cuban Sugar kings (baseball team) have lost their (franchise?). Our relations

with the United States have previously been excellent in matters of support. Tod
ay, this spirit has been violated.
We have continued to be victims of a series of aggressions. We shall continue to
be victims of this series of aggressions but our weapon is reason. We shall sho
w the world that this unjustified attack is being carried out against a small co
untry by a powerful country. The Latin American nations will see that the U.S. G
overnment does not want people to develop. It does not want hunger to end; does
not want the peasants to have land; does not want illiterates to have schools; d
oes not want nations to have culture or high living standards; does not want the
m to enjoy their work and their land.
The U.S. policy toward Trujillo is to make him a soldier at their orders. They h
elped him for 30 years as they helped Somoza, Perez, and Batista, and for 30 yea
rs they were indifferent to the poverty-stricken state of the Dominicans, indiff
erent to the assassinations at night and during the day, and to the sufferings o
f the students. The Latin Americans can compare their attitude toward the Domini
can Republic and toward a nation in which the people want to improve themselves.
The attitude of the government and the people of Mexico (audience applauds and t
here are shouts of "viva Mexico") can be seen. They have written a heroic page.
The people had to suffer from attacks, the reduction of territory, the loss of t
heir best sons. Courageously the people of Mexico, through their congress and th
e bicameral commission, and Lazaro Cardenas, have expressed their solidarity wit
h the Cuban people in the face of aggression. This is the reason for our eternal
gratitude to the people and government of Mexico. (Applause)
The President of Uruguay and labor unions of Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Br
azil have expressed their solidarity with Cuba.
Marti said that one must do whatever must be done at all times. We must mobilize
the entire nation so the world may see how Cuba mobilizes against aggression an
d protests aggression. This is to be an appeal to the public opinion of the worl
d. The world is to see how this aggression will fail in the face of the worthine
ss of our people. This is a chance for all Cubans to act at an important time in
the struggle of nations to be free and to progress.
We must remember that we are a small nation, that we are right, that we have man
y virtues, that we have a long tradition and that we are intelligent. We shall b
e victorious in our struggle. We are certain we shall face all difficulties and
the people too shall face them. We will not withdraw a single step. We shall not
be conquered should they commit the ultimate mistake of attacking us.
(A second question is posed asking Castro to explain the basis for the new budge
Castro: The budget is the result of great efforts by the government in the realm
of economy. Technicians and accountants are working out the final details. Prev
iously there had been a complete lack of control. There was theft and there were
improper investments. We shall see the ideal of complete compatibility of state
expenditures. All unnecessary expenditures will be cut. It took time to solve t
hese problems. With the aid of the people we were able to eliminate the negative
Cutting down expenses goes hand in hand with another thing--overstaffing. There
were a great number of persons in excess. Offices had been invented to place rel
atives. Nepotism caused expenditures to skyrocket. We tried not to put anyone ou
t into the street. That could not be our solution. Our plan is to continue payin
g the personnel and to train them to aid the country where their services will b
e most useful.

Interviewer: A cable from London has said China would buy a considerable quantit
y of our sugar. Would you comment on this.
Castro: I heard this report also. Cepero Bonilla knows more than I do about this
matter. I can say that with regard to the general sugar situation we should und
erstand better the lack of good faith with which our enemies have acted toward C
You will recall that when we spoke of agricultural reform the first thing said w
as that production would diminish. The truth of the matter is that just the oppo
site has happened. This agrarian reform in our country was organized. All was do
ne as planned and in an orderly manner. In Cuba we have been able to peform the
miracle of increasing production from the outset. Events proved that all dire pr
edictions were uncalled for.
We have also been finding markets for our production. This year we are on the ro
ad to setting a record for sales. Our reserves have reached 205 million dollars.
Not only have we reduced imports, produced more and increased employment but th
is increase is being absorbed by our new plans. We are planning to produce sheep
which will sell cheaper than beef. In the winter months we have excellent areas
for raising beans. As for sugar, we are on the way to selling six and one-half
million tons.
The revolution showed it could march ahead and has taken a correct line. They to
ok some of our sugar quota. That was done so the savings of the people would be
lost and all the people's sacrifices wiped out. But the production of sugar did
not diminish. Cubans are producing more than ever. We are selling more sugar tha
n ever before in history. Our country was losing its market year by year and the
production of sugar was falling. Cuba has attained the dream of the people, tha
t is to sell its sugar.
Why is all this being done against us? Because the revolution has won. Because t
he revolution has been pointing out the truth. Had the reform failed and if we h
ad failed to sell our sugar this would not have happened. Had the revolution fai
led these attacks would not have been necessary. Our successes have been their d
The Cuban revolution has shown that it can go ahead; that an economy can be deve
loped despite the fact that not a cent comes from abroad. We are destroying the
lie upon which the policy of oligarchy in Latin America was based. It is necessa
ry to improve industry, education, living standards. Everything must be done to
produce more. Everything must be done to improve consumption without investments
from the United States.
Everyone can contribute and produce. How much can be saved is difficult to estim
ate. It is expected that a billion dollars can be saved for the country.
The production of fats is a problem. Therefore we should not use such fats. The
problem of producing fats to avoid imports must be solved. We shall produce vege
table fats. We will product meats and the people can help in the battle against
economic blockade. We must all make sacrifices, down to the last citizen. We mus
t make every effort to carry this out. All agricultural cooperatives may be aske
d to sow grain for a common fund. (Applause) Actually this is not necessary yet
but it may become necessary. This is an example of the ability of a nation to re
sist. In the event of an emergency the food fund could be used to resist aggress
One thousand teachers in the Sierra Maestra have gone as volunteers. Many were t
here enduring the rains of last month. They have gone where there never were sch

ools before. Now they are there teaching.

The people try harder when the path becomes more difficult. The more obstacles i
n their way, the more sacrifices they make. They have great reserves of creative
ability. One should see what the militiamen have done. They are being trained.
They will be the pride of the nation. They have exhibited considerable disciplin
e. Their uniforms will be a matter of pride to the wearer.
The recent economic victories, the victory in education, the labor victory despi
te attacks by powerful interests show what reserves are in the people of Cuba. W
e have be satisfied with what we have done. We live in a period of moral and pat
riotic satisfaction. We are developing our creative and positive faculties. (App
Now the people have another chance to fight for the revolution. We are in the se
cond stage of the revolution. Those who regretted not helping us in the first st
age will have an opportunity to participate in the second stage. Those who fough
t in the first stage will now be joined by the others and together they will win
the second stage.
(A question is asked, apparently about the recent ammunition dump explosion.)
Castro: Up to this moment we have found no evidence that the explosion was sabot
age. You know we always tell what we find out. Of course, the circumstances were
different than in the case of the Le Coubre but nothing has been found. All the
old ammunition, grenades, and old weapons were being collected to be destroyed.
It was not impossible that one of the many types of arms in there exploded. The
army was very careful and the place was well guarded. We can inform the people,
however, that it was probably an accidental explosion.
(Another unintelligible question is asked.)
Castro: The basis should always be equal treatment, respect for our sovereignty.
That is where they must begin. They must respect our economic interests, our so
vereignty. They must prove that they respect our sacred rights. They have increa
sed the Dominican quota but Trujillo is the owner there. While they are working
against Cuba they are giving Trujillo 10,000 tons of sugar.
Now the United States does not know where it will buy sugar. We shall continue t
o sell sugar. We shall pursue a wise policy. We will supply groups other than th
e usual ones.
Question: Would you like to tell us about July 26 preparations?
Castro: The young congress is most active. The success of the congress is assure
d. Transportation is to be provided. It will depend largely upon the spontaneous
effort of the people. There is no need for concern about gasoline. (Applause) A
promise has been made to visit the farmers this year. It is a human and good de
Fidel is not with us because his illness demands that he rest. Now let us all sh
out: "Cuba yes, Yankees no." (Crowd shouts.)

The Problem of Cuba and its Revolutionary Policy

Mr. President,
Fellow Delegates

Although it has been said of us that we speak at great length, you may rest assu
red that we shall endeavor to be brief and to put before you what we consider it
our duty to say. We shall also speak slowly in order to co-operate with the int
Some people may think that we are very annoyed and upset by the treatment the Cu
ban delegation has received. This is not the case. We understand full well the r
easons behind it. That is why we are not irritated. Nor should anybody worry tha
t Cuba will not continue to the effort of achieving a worldwide understanding. T
hat being so, we shall speak openly.
It is extremely expensive to send a delegation to the United Nations. We, the un
derdeveloped countries, do not have many resources to spend, unless it is to spe
ak openly at this meeting of representatives of almost every country in the worl
The speakers who have preceded me on this rostrum have expressed their concern a
bout problems the whole world is concerned about. We too are concerned about tho
se problems and yet, in the case of Cuba, there is a very special circumstance,
and it is that, at this moment, Cuba itself must be a concern for the world, bec
ause, as several delegates have rightly said here, among the many current proble
ms of the world, there is the problem of Cuba. In addition to the problems facin
g the world today, Cuba has problems of her own, problems which worry her people
Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all
peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the w
orld wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite s
ome time. The dangers that other peoples of the world can regard as more or less
remote are dangers and preoccupations that for us are very close. It has not be
en easy to come to this Assembly to state the problems of Cuba. It has not been
easy for us to come here.
I do not know whether we are privileged in this respect. Are we, the Cuban deleg
ates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, t
he representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have rec
eived? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nati
ons, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confi
nement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us,
hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.
Perhaps not one among you, fellow delegates, you, who are not the individual rep
resentatives of anybody, but the representatives of your respective countries an
d, for that reason, whatever happens to each of you must concern you because of
what you represent, perhaps not one among you, upon your arrival in this city of
New York, has had to under go such personally and physically humiliating treatm
ent as that which the President of Cuban delegation has received.
I am not trying to agitate in this Assembly. I am merely telling the truth. It i
s about time we had an opportunity to speak. Much has been said about us for man
y days now, the newspapers have referred to us, but we have remained silent. We
cannot defend ourselves from such attacks in this country. Our day to state the
truth has come, and we will not fail to state it.
As I have said, we had to undergo degrading and humiliating treatment, including
eviction from the hotel in which we were living and efforts at extortion. When
we went to another hotel, we did all in our power to avoid difficulties. We refr
ained from leaving our hotel rooms and went nowhere except to this assembly hall
of the United Nations, on the few occasions when we have come to General Assemb

ly. We also accepted an invitation to a reception at the Soviet Embassy, yet thi
s was not enough for them to leave us in peace.
There has been considerable Cuban emigration to this country. There are more tha
n one hundred thousand Cubans who have come to this country during the last twen
ty years. They have come to this country from their own land, where they would h
ave liked to remain for ever, and where they wish to return, as is always the ca
se with those who, for social or economic reasons, are forced to abandon their h
omeland. These Cubans were wholly devoted to their work; they respected and resp
ect the laws of this country, but they naturally harbored a feeling of love for
their native country and its Revolution. They never had any problems, but one da
y another type of visitor began to arrive in this country, individuals who in so
me cases had murdered hundreds of our compatriots. Soon they were encouraged by
publicity here. The authorities received them warmly and soon encouraged them, a
nd, naturally, that encouragement is reflected in their conduct. They provoke fr
equent incidents with the Cuban population which has worked honestly in this cou
ntry for many years.
One of such incidents, provoked by those who feel supported by the systematic ca
mpaigns against Cuba and by the authorities, caused the death of a child. That w
as a lamentable event, and we should all regret such an event. The guilty ones w
ere not the Cubans who lived here. The guilty ones were, even less, we, the memb
ers of the Cuban delegation, and yet undoubtedly, you have all seen the headline
s of the newspapers, which stated that "pro-Castro groups" had killed a ten-year
old girl. With the characteristic hypocrisy of those who have a say in the rela
tions between Cuba and this country, a spokesman for the White House immediately
made declarations to the world pointing out the deed, in fact, almost fixing th
e guilt on the Cuban delegation. And of course, His Excellency, the United State
s Delegate to the Assembly, did not fail to join the farce, sending a telegram o
f condolence to the Venezuelan Government, addressed to the victim's relatives,
as though he felt called upon to give some explanation for something Cuban deleg
ation was, in effect, responsible for.
But that was not all. When we were forced to leave one of the hotels in this cit
y, and came to the United National Headquarters while efforts were being made to
find accommodation for us, a hotel, a humble hotel of this city, a Negro hotel
in Harlem, offered to rent us rooms [where Castro met Malcolm X]. The reply came
when we were speaking to the Secretary General. Nevertheless, an official of th
e State Department did all in his power to prevent our staying at that hotel. At
that moment, as though by magic, hotels began appearing all over New York. Hote
ls which had previously refused lodgings to the Cuban delegation offered us room
s, even free of charge. Out of simple reciprocity we accepted the Harlem hotel.
We felt then that we had earned the right to be left in peace. But peace was not
accorded us.
Once in Harlem, since it was impossible to prevent us from living there, the sla
nder and defamation campaigns began. They began spreading the news all over the
world that the Cuban delegation had lodged in a brothel. For some humble hotel i
n Harlem, a hotel inhabited by Negroes of the United States, must obviously be a
brothel. Furthermore, they have tried to heap infamy upon the Cuban delegation,
without even respecting the female members who work with us and are a part of t
he Cuban delegation.
If we were the kind of men they try to depict at all costs, imperialism would no
t have lost all hope, as it did long ago, of somehow buying or seducing us. But,
since they lost that hope a long time ago
though they never had reasons to sust
ain it after having stated that the Cuban delegation lodged in a brothel, they s
hould at least realize that imperialist financial capital is a prostitute that c
annot seduce us
and not precisely the "respectful" type of prostitute described
by Jean Paul Sarte.

Now, to the problem of Cuba. Perhaps some of you are well aware of the facts, pe
rhaps others are not. It all depends on the sources of information, but, undoubt
edly, the problem of Cuba, born within the last two years, is a new problem for
the world. The world had not had many reasons to know that Cuba existed. For man
y, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizen
s of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. As far as the map was
concerned, this we not the case: our country had a different color from that of
the United States. But in reality Cuba was a colony of the United States.
How did our country became a colony of the United States? It was not because of
its origins; the same men did not colonize the United States and Cuba. Cuba has
a very different ethnical and cultural origin, and the difference was widened ov
er the centuries. Cuba was the last country in America to free itself from Spani
sh colonial rule, to cast off, with due respect to the representative of Spain,
the Spanish colonial yoke; and because it was the last, it also had to fight mor
e fiercely.
Spain had only one small possession left in America and it defended it with toot
h and nail. Our people, small in numbers, scarcely a million inhabitants at that
time, had to face alone, for almost thirty years, an army considered one of the
strongest in Europe. Against our small national population the Spanish Governme
nt mobilized an army as big as the total forces that had fought against South Am
erican independence. Half a million Spanish soldiers fought against the historic
and unbreakable will of our people to be free.
For thirty years the Cubans fought alone for their independence; thirty years of
struggle that strengthened our love for freedom and independence. But Cuba was
according to the opinion of a President of the United States at the begi
a fruit
nning of the past century, John Adams
, it was an apple hanging from the Spanish
tree, destined to fall, as soon as it was ripe enough, into the hands of the Un
ited States. Spanish power had worn itself out in our country. Spain had neither
the men nor the economic resources to continue the war in Cuba; Spain had been
defeated. Apparently the apple was ripe, and the United States Government held o
ut its open hands.
Not one but several apples fell in to the hands of the United States. Puerto Ric
o fell heroic Puerto Rico, which had begun its struggle for independence at the
same time as Cuba. The Philippine Islands fell, and several other possessions. H
owever, the method of dominating our country could not be the same. Our country
had struggled fiercely, and thus had gained the favor of world public opinion. T
herefore the method of taking our country had to be different.
The Cubans who fought for our independence and at that very moment were giving t
heir blood and their lives believed in good faith in the joint resolution of the
Congress of the United States of April 20, 1898, which declared that "Cuba is,
and by right ought to be, free and independent."
The people of the United States were sympathetic to the Cuban struggle for liber
ty. That joint declaration was a law adopted by the Congress of the United State
s through which war was declared on Spain. But that illusion was followed by a r
ude awakening. After two years of military occupation of our country, the unexpe
cted happened: at the very moment that the people of Cuba, through their Constit
uent Assembly, were drafting the Constitution of the Republic, a new law was pas
sed by the United States Congress, a law proposed by Senator Platt, bearing such
unhappy memories for the Cubans. That law stated that the constitution of the C
uba must have an appendix under which the United States would be granted the rig
ht to intervent in Cuba's political affairs and, furthermore, to lease certain p
arts of Cuba for naval bases or coal supply station.

In other words, under a law passed by the legislative body of a foreign country,
Cuban's Constitution had to contain an appendix with those provisions. Our legi
slators were clearly told that if they did not accept the amendment, the occupat
ion forces would not be withdrawn. In other words, an agreement to grant another
country the right to intervene and to lease naval bases was imposed by force up
on my country by the legislative body of a foreign country.
It is well, I think, for countries just entering this Organization, countries ju
st beginning their independent life, to bear in mind our history and to note any
similar conditions which they may find waiting for them along their own road. A
nd if it is not they, then those who came after them, or their children, or gran
dchildren, although it seems to us that we will not have to wait that long.
Then began the new colonization of our country, the acquisition of the best agri
cultural lands by United States firms, concessions of Cuban natural resources an
d mines, concessions of public utilities for exploitation purposes, commercial c
oncessions of all types. These concessions, when linked with the constitutional
constitutional by force
of intervention in our country, turned it from a S
panish colony into an American colony.
Colonies do not speak. Colonies are not known until they have the opportunity to
express themselves. That is why our colony and its problems were unknown to the
rest of the world. In geography books reference was made to a flag and a coat o
f arms. There was an island with another color on the maps, but it was not an in
dependent republic. Let us not deceive ourselves, since by doing so we only make
ourselves ridiculous. Let no one be mistaken. There was no independent republic
; there was only a colony where orders were given by the Ambassador of the Unite
d States.
We are not ashamed to have to declare this. On the contrary: we are proud to say
that today no embassy rules our country; our country is ruled by its people!
Once against the Cuban people had to resort to fighting in order to achieve inde
pendence, and that independence was finally attained after seven bloody years of
tyranny, who forced this tyranny upon us? Those who in our country were nothing
more than tools of the interests which dominated our country economically.
How can an unpopular regime, inimical to the interests of the people, stay in po
wer unless it is by force? Will we have to explain to the representatives of our
sister republics of Latin America what military tyrannies are? Will we have to
outline to them how these tyrannies have kept themselves in power? Will we have
to explain the history of several of those tyrannies which are already classical
? Will we have to say what forces, what national and international interests sup
port them?
The military group which tyrannized our country was supported by the most reacti
onary elements of the nation, and, above all, by the foreign interests that domi
nated the economy of our country. Everybody knows, and we understand that even t
he Government of the United States admits it, that that was the type of governme
nt favored by the monopolies. Why? Because by the use of force it was possible t
o check the demands of the people; by the use of force it was possible to suppre
ss strikes for improvement of living standards; by the use of force it was possi
ble to crush all movements on the part of the peasants to own the land they work
ed; by the use of force it was possible to curb the greatest and most deeply fel
t aspirations of the nation.
That is why governments of force were favored by the ruling circles of the Unite
d States. That is why governments of force stayed in power for so long, and why
there are governments of force still in power in America. Naturally, it all depe
nds on whether it is possible to secure the support of the United States.

For instance, now they say they oppose one of these governments of force; the Go
vernment of Trujillo. But they do not say they are against other governments of
that of Nicaragua, or Paraguay, for example. The Nicaraguan one is no long
er government of force; it is a monarchy that is almost as constitutional as tha
t of the United Kingdom, where the reins of power are handed down from father to
son. The same would have occurred in my own country. It was the type of governm
ent of force that of Fulgencio Batista
which suited the American monopolies in C
uba, but it was not, of course, the type of government which suited the Cuban pe
ople, and the Cuban people, at a great cost in lives and sacrifices, over threw
the government.
What did the Revolution find when it came to power in Cuba? What marvels did the
Revolution find when it came to power in Cuba? First of all the Revolution foun
d that 600,000 able Cubans were unemployed as many, proportionately, as were une
mployed in the United States at the time of the great depression which shook thi
s country and which almost created a catastrophy in the United States. That was
our permanent unemployment. Three million out of a population of somewhat over 6
,000,000 did not have electric lights and did not enjoy the advantages and comfo
rts of electricity. Three and a half million out of a total of slightly more tha
n 6,000,000 lived in huts, shacks and slums, without the slightest sanitary faci
lities. In the cities, rents took almost one third of family incomes. Electricit
y rates and rents were among the highest in the world. Thirty-seven and one half
percent of our population were illiterate; 70 per cent of the rural children ha
d no teachers; 2 per cent of population, that is, 100,000 persons out of a total
of more than 6,000,000 suffered from tuberculosis. Ninety-five per cent of the
children in rural areas were affected by parasites, and the infant mortality rat
e was therefore very high, just the opposite of the average life span.
On the other hand, 85 per cent of the small farmers were paying rents for the us
e of land to the tune of almost 30 per cent of their income, while 1 1/2 percent
of the landowners controlled 46 per cent of the total area of the nation. Of co
urse, the proportion of hospital beds to the number of inhabitants of the countr
y was ridiculous, when compared with countries that only have halfway decent med
ical services.
Public utilities, electricity and telephone services all belonged to the United
States monopolies. A major portion of the banking business, of the importing bus
iness and the oil refineries, the greater part of the sugar production, the best
land in Cuba, and the most important industries in all fields belonged to Ameri
can companies. The balance of payments in the last ten years, from 1950 to 1960,
had been favorable to the United States with regard to Cuba to the extent of on
e thousand million dollars.
This is without taking in to account the hundreds of millions of dollars that we
re extraeted from the treasury of the country by the corrupt officials of the ty
ranny and were later deposited in United States or European Banks.
One thousand million dollars in ten years. This poor and underdeveloped Caribbea
n country, with 600,000 unemployed, was contributing greatly to the economic dev
elopment of the most highly industrialized country in the world.
That was the situation we found, and it is probably not foreign to many of the c
ountries represented in this Assembly, because, when all is said and done, what
we have said about Cuba is like a diagnostic x-ray applicable to many of the cou
ntries represented here.
What alternative was there for the Revolutionary Government? To betray the peopl
e? Of course, as far as the President of the United States is concerned, we have
betrayed our people, but it would certainly not have been considered so, if, in

stead of the Revolutionary Government being true to its people, it had been loya
l to the big American monopolies that exploited the economy of our country. At l
east, let note be taken here of the wonders the Revolution found when it came to
power. They were no more and no less than the usual wonder of imperialism, whic
h are in themselves the wonders of the free world as far as we, the colonies, ar
e concerned!
We surely cannot be blamed if there were 600,000 unemployed in Cuba and 37.5 per
cent of the population were illiterate. We surely cannot be held responsible if
2 per cent of the population suffered from tuberculosis and 95 per cent were af
fected by parasites. Until that moment none of us had anything to do with the de
stiny of our country; until that moment, those who had something to do with the
destiny of our country were the rulers who served the interests of the monopolie
s; until that moment, monopolies had been in control of our country. Did anyone
hinder them? No one. Did anyone trouble them? No one. They were able to do their
work, and there we found the result of their work.
What was the state of our reserved when the tyrant Batista came to power. There
was $500,000,000 in our national reserve, a goodly sum to have invested in the i
ndustrial development of the country. When the Revolution came to power there wa
s only $70,000,000 in our reserves.
Was there any concern for the industrial development of our country? No. That is
why we are astonished and amazed when we hear of the extraordinary concern show
n by the United States Government for the Fate of the countries of Latin America
, Africa and Asia. We cannot overcome our amazement, because after fifty years w
e have the result of their concern before our eyes.
What has the Revolutionary Government done? What crime has the Revolutionary Gov
ernment committed to deserve the treatment we have received here, and the powerf
ul enemies that events have shown us we have?
Did problems with the United States Government arise from the first moments? No.
It is perhaps that when we reached power we were imbued with the purpose of get
ting into international trouble? No. No Revolutionary government wants internati
onal trouble when it comes to power. What a revolutionary government wants to do
is concentrate its efforts on solving its own problems; what it wants to do is
carry out a program for the people, as is the desire of all governments that are
interested in the progress of their country.
The first unfriendly act perpetrated by the Government of the United States was
to throw open its doors to a gang of murders who had left our country covered wi
th blood. Men who had murdered hundreds of defenseless peasants, who for many ye
ars never tired of torturing prisoners, who killed right and left
were received
in this country with open arms. To us, this was amazing. Why this unfriendly act
on the part of the Government of the United States towards Cuba? Why this act o
f hostility? At that time we could not quite understand; now we see the reason c
learly. Was that the proper policy as regards relations between the United State
s and Cuba? Certainly not, because we were the injured party, inasmuch as the Ba
tista regime remained in power with the help of tanks, planes and arms furnished
by the Government of the United States; the Batista regime remained in power th
anks to the use of an army whose officers were trained by a military mission sen
t by the United States Government; and we trust that no official of the United S
tates will dare to deny that truth.
Even when the Rebel Army arrived in Havana, the American military mission was in
the most important military camp of the city. That was a broken army, an army t
hat had been defeated and had surrendered. We could very well have considered th
ose foreign officers as prisoners of war, since they had been there helping and
training the enemies of the people. However, we did not do so. We merely asked t

he members of that military mission to return to their country, because after al

l, we did not need their lessons; their pupils had been defeated.
I have with me a document. Do not be surprised as its appearance, for it is a to
rn document. It is an old military pact, by virtue of which the Batista tyranny
received generous assistance from the Government of the United States. And it is
quite important to know the contents of Article 2 of this Agreement:
"The Government of the Republic of Cuba commits itself to make efficient use of
the assistance it receives from the United States, pursuant to the present agree
ment, in order to carry out the plans of defense accepted by both Governments, p
ursuant to which the two Governments will take part in missions which are import
ant for the defense of the Western Hemisphere, and, unless permission is previou
sly obtained from the Government of the United States of America ..."
I repeat:
"and unless permission is previously obtained from the Government of the United
States, such assistance will not be dedicated to other ends than those for which
such assistance has been granted."
That assistance was used to combat the Cuban revolutionaries; it was therefore a
pproved by the Government of the United States. And even when, some months befor
e the war was over, an embargo on arms for Batista was put into effect, after mo
re than six years of military help, once the arms embargo had been solemnly decl
ared, the Rebel Army had proof, documentary proof, that the forces of the tyrann
y had been supplied with 300 rockets to be fired from planes.
When our comrades living in this country laid these documents before the public
opinion of the United States, the Government of the United States found no other
explanation than to say that we were wrong, that they had not sent new supplies
to the army of the tyranny, but had just changed some rockets that could not be
used in their planes for another type of rocket that could
and, by the way, the
y were fired at us while we were in the mountains. I must say that this is a uni
que way of explaining a contradiction when it can be neither justified nor expla
ined. According to the United States, then, this was not military assistance; it
was probably some sort of '"technical assistance."
Why, then, if all this existed and was a cause of resentment for our people ...
because everybody knows, even the most innocent and guileless, that with the rev
olution that has taken place in military equipment, those weapons from the last
war have became throughly obsolete for a modern war.
Fifty tanks of armoured cars and a few outmoded aircraft cannot defend a contine
nt, much less a hemisphere. But on the other hand they are good enough to oppres
s unarmed peoples. They are good for what they are used for: to intimidate peopl
e and to defend monopolies. That is why these hemisphere defense pacts might bet
ter be described as "defense pacts for the protection of United States monopolie
And so the Revolutionary Government began to take the first steps. The first thi
ng it did was to lower the rents paid by families by fifty per cent, a just meas
ure, since, as I said earlier, there were families paying up to one third of the
ir income. The people had been the victim of housing speculation, and city lots
had also been the subject of speculation at the expense of the entire Cuban peop
le. But when the Revolutionary Government reduced the rents by fifty per cent, t
here were, of course, a few individuals who became upset, the few who owned thos
e apartment buildings, but the people rushed into the streets rejoicing, as they
would in any country, even here in New York, if rents were reduced by fifty per
cent. But this was no problem to the monopolies. Some American monopolies owned

large buildings, but they were relatively few in number.

Then another law was passed, a law cancelling the concessions which had been gra
nted by the tyranny of Batista to the Telephone Company, an American monopoly. T
aking advantage of the fact our people were defenseless, they had obtained valua
ble concessions. The Revolutionary Government then cancelled these concessions a
nd re-established normal prices for telephone services. Thus began the first con
flict with the American monopolies.
The third measure was the reduction of electricity rates, which were the highest
in the world. Then followed the second conflict with the American monopolies. W
e were beginning to appear communist; they were beginning to daub us in red beca
use we had clashed head on with the interests of the United States monopolies.
Then followed the next law, an essential and inevitable law for our country, and
a law which sooner or later will have to be adopted by all countries of the wor
ld, at least by those which have not yet adopted it: the Agrarian Reform Law. Of
course, in theory everybody agrees with the Agrarian Reform Law. Nobody will de
ny the need for it unless he is a fool. No one can deny that agrarian reform is
one of the essential conditions for the economic development of the country. In
Cuba, even the big landowners agreed about the agrarian reform
only they wanted
their own kind of reform, such as the one defended by many theoreticians; a refo
rm which would not harm their interests, and above all, one which would not be p
ut into effect as long as it could be avoided. This is something that is well kn
own to the economic bodies of the United Nations, something nobody even cares to
discuss any more. In my country it was absolutely necessary: more than 200,000
peasant families lived in the countryside without land on which to grow essentia
l food crops.
Without an agrarian reform, our country would have been unable to take that step
; we made an agrarian reform. Was it a radical agrarian reform? We think not. It
was a reform adjusted to the needs of our development, and in keeping with our
own possibilities of agricultural development. In other words, was an agrarian r
eform which was to solve the problems of the landless peasants, the problem of s
upplying basic foodstuffs, the problem of rural unemployment, and which was to e
nd, once and for all, the ghastly poverty which existed in the countryside of ou
r native land.
And that is where the first major difficulty arose. In the neighboring Republic
of Guatemala a similar case had occurred. And I honestly warn my colleagues of L
atin America, Africa and Asia; whenever you set out to make a just agrarian refo
rm, you must be ready to face s similar situation, especially if the best and la
rgest tracts of land are owned by American monopolies, as was the case in Cuba.
It is quite possible that we may later be accused of giving bad advice in this A
ssembly. It is not our intention to disturb anybody's sleep. We are simply stati
ng the facts, although the facts are sufficient to disturb everybody's sleep.
Then the problem of payment arose. Notes from the State Department rained on our
Government. They never asked about our problems, not even out of sheer pity, or
because of the great responsibility they had in creating such problems. They ne
ver asked us how many died of starvation in our country, or how many were suffer
ing from tuberculosis, or how many were unemployed. No, they never asked about t
hat. A sympathetic attitude towards our needs? Certainly not. All talks by the r
epresentatives of the Government of the United States centered upon the Telephon
e Co., the Electric Co., and the land owned by American Companies.
How could we solve the problem of payment? Of course, the first question that sh
ould have been asked was what we were going to pay with, rather than how. Can yo

u gentlemen conceive of a poor underdeveloped country, with 600,000 unemployed a

nd such a large number of illiterates and sick people, a country whose reserves
have been exhausted, and which has contributed to the economy of a powerful coun
try with one thousand million dollars in ten years
can you conceive of this coun
try having the means to pay for the land affected by the Agrarian Reform Law, or
the means to pay for it in the terms demanded?
What were the State Department aspirations regarding their affected interests? T
hey wanted prompt, efficient and just payment. Do you understand that language?
"Prompt, efficient, and just payment." That means, "pay now, in dollars, and wha
tever we ask for our land." (APPLAUSE)
We were not 100 per cent communist yet (LAUGHS) We were just becoming slightly p
ink. We did not confiscate land; we simply proposed to pay for it in twenty year
s, and in the only way in which we could pay for it: in bonds, which would matur
e in twenty years at 4 1/2 per cent, or amortized yearly.
How could we pay for the land in dollars, and the amount they asked for it? It w
as absurd. Anyone can readily understand that, under those circumstances, we had
to choose between making the agrarian reform, and not making it. If we choose n
ot to make it, the dreadful economic situation of our country would last indefin
itely. If we decided to make it, we exposed ourselves to the hatred of the Gover
nment of the powerful neighbor of the north.
We decided to go on with the agrarian reform. Of course, the limits set to latif
undia in Cuba would amaze a representative of the Netherlands, for example, or o
f any country of Europe, because of their extent. The maximum amount of land set
forth in the Agrarian Reform Law is 400 hectares (988 acres). In Europe, 40 hec
tares is practically a lati-fundium; in Cuba, where there were American monopoli
es that had up to 200,000 hectares I repeat, in case someone thinks he has heard
wrong, 200,000 hectares an agrarian reform law reducing the maximum limit to 40
0 hectares was inadmissible.
But the truth is that in our country it was not only the land that was the prope
rty of the agrarian monopolies. The largest and most important mines were also o
wned by those monopolies. Cuba produces, for example, a great deal of nickel. Al
l of the nickel was exploited by American interests, and under the tyranny of Ba
tista, an American company, the Moa Bay, had obtained such a juicy concession th
at in a mere five years
mark my words, in a mere five years
it intended amortizi
ng an investment of $120,000,000. A $120,000,000 investment amortized in five ye
And who had given the Moa Bay company this concession through the intervention o
f the Government of the United States? Quite simply, the tyrannical government o
f Fulgencio Batista, which was there to defend the interests of the monopolies.
And this is an absolutely true fact. Exempt from all taxes what were those compa
nies going to leave for the Cubans? The empty, worked out mines, the impoverishe
d land, and not the slightest contribution to the economic development of our co
And so the Revolutionary Government passed a mining law which forced those monop
olies to pay a 25 per cent tax on the exportation of minerals. The attitude of t
he Revolutionary Government already had been too bold. It had clashed with the i
nterests of the international electric trusts; it had clashed with the interests
of the international telephone trusts; it had clashed with the interests of the
mining trusts; it had clashed with the interests of the United Fruit Co; and it
had in effect, clashed with the most powerful interests of the United States, w
hich, as you know, are very closely linked with each other. And that was more th
an the Government of the United States or rather, the representatives of the Uni
ted States monopolies
could possibly tolerate.

Then began a new period of harassment of the Revolution. Can anyone who objectiv
ely analyzes the facts? Who is willing to think honestly, not as the UP or the A
P tell him, to think with his head and to draw conclusions from his own reasonin
g and the facts without prejudice, sincerely and honestly
would anyone who does
this consider that things which the Revolutionary Government did were such as to
demand the destruction of the Cuban Revolution? No. But the interests affected
by the Cuban Revolution were not concerned about the Cuban case; they were not b
eing ruined by the measures of the Cuban Revolutionary Government. That was not
the problem. The problem lay in the fact that those very interests owned the wea
lth and the natural resources of the greater part of the peoples of the world.
The attitude of the Cuban Revolution therefore had to be punished. Punitive acti
ons of all sorts even the destruction of those insolent people
had to follow the
audacity of the Revolutionary Government.
On our honor, we swear that up to that moment we had not had the opportunity eve
n to exchange letters with the distinguished Prime Minister of the Soviet Union,
Nikita Khrushchev. That is to say that when, for the North American press and t
he international news agencies that supply information to the world, Cuba was al
ready a Communist Government, a red peril ninety miles from the United States wi
th a Government dominated by Communists, the Revolutionary Government had not ev
en had the opportunity of establishing diplomatic and commercial relations with
the Soviet Union.
But hysteria can go to any length; hysteria is capable of making the most unlike
ly and absurd claims. Of course, let no one think for a moment that we are going
to intone a mea culpa here. There will be no mea culpa. We do not have to ask a
nyone's pardon. What we have done, we have done consciously, and above all, full
y convinced of our right to do it. (PROLONGED APPLAUSE)
Then came the threats against our sugar quota, imperialism's cheap philosophy of
showing generosity, egoistical and exploiting generosity; and they began showin
g kindness towards Cuba, declaring that they were paying us a preferential price
for sugar, which amounted to a subsidy to Cuban sugar a sugar which was not so
sweet for Cubans, since we were not the owners of the best sugar-producing land,
nor the owners of the largest sugar mills. Furthermore, in that affirmation lay
hidden the true history of Cuban sugar, of the sacrifices which had been impose
d upon my country during the periods when it was economically attacked.
However when quotas were established, our participation was reduced to 28 per ce
nt, and the advantages which that law had granted us, the very few advantages wh
ich that law had granted us, were gradually taken away in successive laws, and,
of course the colony depended on the colonial power. The economy of the colony h
ad been organized by the colonial power.
The colony had to be subjected to the colonial power, and if the colony took mea
sures to free itself from the colonial powers that country would take measures t
o crush the colony. Conscious of the subordination of our economy to their marke
t, the Government of the United States began to issue a series of warnings that
our quota would be reduced further, and at the same time, other activities were
taking place in the United States of America: the activities of counterrevolutio
One afternoon an airplane coming from the north flew over one of the sugar refin
eries and dropped a bomb. This was a strange and unheard-of event, but we knew f
ull well where that plane came from. On another afternoon another plane flew ove
r our sugar cane fields and dropped a few incendiary bombs. These events which b
egan sporadically continued systematically.

One afternoon, when a number of American tourist agents were visiting Cuba in re
sponse to an effort made by the Revolutionary Government to promote tourism as o
ne of the sources of national income, a plane manufactured in the United States,
of the type used in the Second World War, flew over our capital dropping pamphl
ets and grenades. Of course, some anti-aircraft guns went into action. The resul
t was more than forty victims, between the grenades dropped by the plane and the
anti-aircraft fire, because, as you know, some of the projectiles explode upon
contacting any object. As I said, the result was more than forty victims. There
were little girls on the street with their entrails torn out, old men and women
wantonly killed. Was this the first time it had happened in our country? No. Chi
ldren, old men and old women, young men and women, had often been killed in the
villages of Cuba by American bombs supplied to the tyrant Batista. One one occas
ion, eighty workers died when a mysterious explosion
too mysterious
took place i
n the harbor of Havana, the explosion of a ship carrying Belgian weapons which h
ad arrived in our country, after many efforts by the United States Government to
prevent the Belgian Government from selling arms to us.
Dozens of victims of war; eighty families orphaned by the explosions. Forty vict
ims as a result of an airplane that brazenly flew over our territory. The author
ities of the United States Government denied the fact that these planes came fro
m American territory, but the plane was now safely in a hangar in this country.
When one of our magazines published a photograph of it, the United States author
ities seized the plane. A version of the affair was issued to the effect that th
is was not very important, and that these victims had not died because of the bo
mbs, but because of the anti-aircraft fire. Those responsible for this crime, th
ose who had caused these deaths were wandering about peacefully in the United St
ates, where they were not even prevented from committing further acts of aggress
May I take this opportunity of telling His Excellency the Representative of the
United States that there are many mothers in Cuba still awaiting his telegrams o
f condolence for their children murdered by the bombs of the United States (APPL
Planes kept coming and going. But as far as they were concerned, there was no ev
idence. Frankly, we don't know how they define the word evidence. The plane was
there, photographed and captured, and yet we were told the plane did not drop an
y bombs. It is not known how the United States authorities were so well informed
Planes continued to fly over our territory dropping incendiary bombs. Millions a
nd millions of pesos were lost in the burning fields of sugar cane. Many humble
people of Cuba, who saw property destroyed, property that was now truly their ow
n, suffered burns in the struggle against those persistent and tenacious bombing
s by pirate planes.
And then one day, while dropping a bomb on one of our sugar mills, a plane explo
ded in mid air and the Revolutionary Government was able to collect what was lef
t of the pilot, who by the way, was an American. In his documents were found, pr
oof as to the place where the plane had taken off from. On its way to Cuba, the
plane had flown between two United States military bases. This was a matter that
could not be denied any longer: the planes took off from the United States. Con
fronted with irrefutable evidence the United States Government gave an explanati
on to the Cuban Government. Its conduct in this case was not the same as in conn
ection with the U-2. When it was proved that the planes were taking off from the
United States, the Government of the United States did not proclaim its right t
o burn over sugar cane fields. The United States Government apologized and said
it was sorry. We were lucky, after all, because after the U - 2 incident the Uni
ted States Government did not even apologize, it proclaimed its right to carry o
ut flights over Soviet territory. Bad luck for the Soviets! (APPLAUSE).

But we do not have too many anti-aircraft batteries, and the planes went on flyi
ng and bombing us until the harvest was over. When there was no more sugar cane,
the bombing stopped. We were the only country in the world which had gone throu
gh a thing like this, although I do recall that at the time of his visit to Cuba
, President Sukarno told us that this was not the case, for they, too, had had c
ertain problems with American planes flying over their territory.
But the truth is that in this peaceful hemisphere at least, we were a country th
at, without being at war with anyone, had to stand the constant attack of pirate
planes. And could those planes come in and out of United States territory unmol
ested? It has been stated that the defenses of the world they call "free" are im
pregnable. If this is the case, how is it that planes, not supersonic planes, bu
t light planes with a velocity of barely 150 miles per hour, how is it that thes
e planes are able to fly in and out of United States territory undetected.
The air raids ended, and then came economic aggression. What was one of the argu
ments wielded by the enemies of the agrarian reform? They said that the agrarian
reform would bring chaos to agricultural production, that production would dimi
nish considerably, and that the Government of the United States was concerned be
cause Cuba might not be able to fulfill her commitments to the American market.
The first argument
and it is appropriate that at least the new delegations in th
e General Assembly should become familiar with some of the arguments, because so
me day they may have to answer similar arguments
the first argument was that the
agrarian reform meant the ruin of the country. This was not the case. If this h
ad been so, and agricultural production had deceased, the American Government wo
uld not have felt the need to carry on its economic aggression.
Did they sincerely believe in what they said when they stated that the agrarian
reform would cause a drop in production? Perhaps they did. Surely it is logical
for each one to believe what his mind has been conditioned to believe. It is qui
te possible they may have felt that without the all-powerful monopolist companie
s, we Cubans would be unable to produce sugar. perhaps they were even sure we wo
uld ruin the country. And of course, if the Revolution had ruined the country, t
hen the United States would not have had to attack us; it would have left us alo
ne, and the United States Government would have appeared as a good and honourabl
e government, and we as people who ruined our own Nation, and as a great example
that Revolutions should not be made because they ruin countries. Fortunately, t
hat was not the case. There is proof that revolutions do not ruin countries, and
that proof has just been furnished by the Government of the United States. Amon
g other things, it has been proved that revolutions do not ruin countries, and t
hat imperialist governments do try to ruin countries.
Cuba had not been ruined; she therefore had to be ruined. Cuba needed new market
s for its products, and we would honestly ask any delegation present if it does
not want its country to sell what it produces and its export to increase. We wan
ted our exports to increase, and this is what all countries wish; this must be a
universal law. Only egotistical interests can oppose the universal interest in
trade and commercial exchange, which surely is one of the most ancient aspiratio
ns and needs of mankind.
We wanted to sell our products and went in search of new markets. We signed a tr
ade treaty with the Soviet Union, according to which we would sell one million t
ons of sugar and would purchase a certain amount of Soviet products or articles.
Surely no one can say that this is an incorrect procedure. There may be some wh
o would not do such a thing because it might displease certain intersts. We real
ly did not have to ask permission from the State Department in order to sign a t
rade treaty with the Soviet Union, because we considered ourselves, and we conti
nue to consider ourselves and we will always consider ourselves, a truly indepen
dent and free country.

When the amount of sugar in stock began to diminish stimulating our economy, we
received the hard blow: at the request of the executive power of the United Stat
es, Congress passed a law empowering the President or Executive power to reduce
the import quotas for Cuban sugar to whatever limits might deem appropriate. The
economic weapon was wielded against our Revolution. The justification for that
attitude had already been prepared by publicity experts; the campaign had been o
n for a long time. You know perfectly well that in this country monopolies and p
ublicity are one and the same thing. The economic weapon was wielded, our sugar
quota was suddenly cut by about one million tons
sugar that had already been pro
duced and prepared for the American market in order to deprive our country of re
sources for its development, and thus reduce it to a state of impotence, with th
e natural political consequences. Such measures were expressly banned by Regiona
l International Law. Economic aggression, as all Latin American delegates here k
now, is expressly condemned by Regional International Law. However, the Governme
nt of the United States violated that law, wielded its economic weapon, and cut
our sugar quota by about one million tons. They could do it.
What was Cuba's defense when confronted by that reality? It could appeal to the
United Nations. It could turn to the United Nations, in order to denounce politi
cal and economic aggressions, the air attacks of the pirate planes, besides the
constant interference of the Government of the United States in the political af
fairs of our country and the subversive campaigns it carries out against the Rev
olutionary Government of Cuba.
So we turned to the United Nations. The United Nations had power to deal with th
ese matters. The United Nations is, within the hierarchy of international organi
zations, the highest authority. The United Nations' authority is even above that
of the OAS. And besides, we were interested in bringing the problem to the Unit
ed Nations, because we know quite well the situation the economy of Latin Americ
a finds itself in; because we understand the state of dependence of the economy
of Latin America in relation to the United States. The United Nations knew of th
e affair, it requested the OAS to make an investigation, and the OAS met. Very w
ell. And what was to be expected? That the OAS would protect the country; that t
he OAS would condemn the political aggression against Cuba, and above all that w
ould condemn the economic aggression against our country. That should have been
expected. But after all, we were a small people of the Latin American community
of nations. We were just another victim. And we were neither the first or the la
st, because Mexico had already been attacked more than once militarily. In one w
ay they tore away from Mexico a great part of its territory, and on that occasio
n the heroic sons of Mexico leaped to their death from the Castle of Chapultepec
enwrapped in the Mexican flag rather than surrender. These were the heroic sons
of Mexico (APPLAUSE).
And that was not the only aggression. That was not the only time that American i
nfantry forces trod upon Mexican soil. Nicaragua was invaded and for seven long
years was heroically defended by Ceasar Augusto Sandino. Cuba suffered intervent
ion more than once, and so did Haiti and Santo Domingo. Guatemala also suffered
intervention. Who among you could honestly deny the intervention of the United F
ruit Co. and the State Department of the United States when the legitimate gover
nment of Guatemala was overthrown? I understand fully well that there may be som
e who consider it their official duty to be discreet on this matter, and who may
even be willing to come here and deny this, but in their consciences they know
we are simply stating the truth.
Cuba was not the first victim of aggression; Cuba was not the first country to b
e in danger of aggression. In this hemisphere everyone knows that the Government
of the United States has always imposed its own law
the law of the strongest, i
n virtue of which they have destroyed Puerto Rican nationhood and have imposed t
heir domination on that friendly country law in accordance with which they seize

d and held the Panama Canal.

This was nothing new, our country should have been defended, but it was never de
fended. Why? Let us get to the bottom of this matter, without merely studying th
e from. If we stick to the dead letter of the law, then we are protected; if we
abide by reality, we have no protection whatsoever, because reality imposes itse
lf on the law set forth in international codes, and that reality is, that a smal
l nation attacked by a powerful country did not have any defense and was not def
With all due respect to this organization, I must state here that, that is why t
he people, our people, the people of Cuba, who have learned much and are quite u
p to the role they are laying, to the heroic struggle they are conducting ... ou
r people who have learned in the school of international events, know that in th
e last instance, when their rights have been denied and aggressive forces are ma
rshalled against them, they still have the supreme and heroic resource of resist
ing when their rights are not protected by either the OAS or the UN (OVATION).
That is why we, the small countries, do not yet feel too sure that our rights wi
ll be preserved; that is why we, the small countries, whenever we decide to beco
me free, know that we become free at our own risk. In truth, when people are uni
ted and are defending a just right, they can trust their own energies. We are no
t, as we have been pictured, a mere group of men governing the country. We are a
whole people governing a country
a whole people firmly united, with a great rev
olutionary consciousness, defending its rights. And this should be known by the
enemies of the revolution and of Cuba, because if they ignore this fact, they wi
ll be making a regretable error.
These are the circumstances in which the revolutionary process has taken place i
n our country; that is how we found the country, and why difficulties have arise
n. And yet the Cuban Revolution is changing what was yesterday a land without ho
pe, a land of poverty and illiteracy, into one of the most advanced and develope
d countries in this Continent.
The Revolutionary Government, in but twenty months, has created 10,000 new schoo
ls. In this brief period it has doubled the number of rural schools that had bee
n created in fifty years. Cuba is today, the first country of America that has m
et all its school needs, that has a teacher in the farthest corners of the mount
In this brief period of time, the Revolutionary Government has built 5,000 house
s in the rural and urban areas. Fifty new towns are being built at this moment.
The most important military fortresses today house tens of thousands of students
, and, in the coming year, our people intend to fight the great battle against i
lliteracy, with the ambitious goal of teaching every single inhabitant of the co
untry to read and write in one year, and, with that end in mind, organizations o
f teachers, students and workers, that is, the entire people, are preparing them
selves for an intensive campaign, and Cuba will be the first country of America
which, after a few months, will be able to say it does not have one single illit
Our people are receiving today the assistance of hundreds of doctors who have be
en sent to the fields to fight against illnesses and parasitic ailments, and imp
rove the sanitary conditions of the nation.
In another aspect, in the preservation of our natural resources, we can also poi
nt with pride to the fact that in only one year, in the most ambitious plan for
the conservation of natural resources being carried out on this continent, inclu
ding the United States of America and Canada, we have planted nearly fifty milli
on timber-yielding trees.

Youths who were unemployed, who did not attend school, have been organized by th
e Revolutionary Government and are today being gainfully and usefully employed b
y the country, and at the same time being prepared for productive work.
Agricultural production in our country has been able to perform an almost unique
feat, an increase in production from the very beginning. From the very start we
were able to increase agricultural production. Why? In the first place, because
the Revolutionary Government turned more than 10,000 agricultural workers, who
formerly paid rent, to owners of their land, at the same time maintaining largescale production through co-operatives. In other words production was maintained
through co-operatives, thanks to which we have been able to apply the most mode
rn technical methods to our agricultural production, causing a marked increase i
n that production.
And all this social welfare work
teachers, housing, and hospitals
has been carri
ed out without sacrificing the resources that we have earmarked for development.
At this very moment the Revolutionary Government is carrying out a program of i
ndustrialization of the country, and the first plants are already being built.
We have utilized the resources of our country in a rational manner. Formerly, fo
r instance, thirty-five million dollars worth of cars were imported into Cuba, a
nd only five million dollars worth of tractors. A country which is mainly agricu
ltural imported seven times more cars than tractors. We have changed this around
, and we are now importing seven times more tractors than cars. *PG*
Close to five hundred million dollars was recovered from the politicians who had
enriched themselves during the tyranny of Batista close to five hundred million
dollars in cash and other assets was the total we were able to recover from the
corrupt politicians who had been sucking the blood of our country for seven yea
rs. It is the correct investment of these assets which enables the Revolutionary
Government, while at the same time developing plans for industrialization and f
or the development of agriculture, to build houses, schools, to send teachers to
the farthest corners of the country, and to give medical assistance to everyone
in other words, to carry out a true program of social development.
At the Bogota meeting, as you know, the Government of the United States proposed
a plan. Was it a plan for economic development? No. It was a plan for social de
velopment. What is understood by this? Well, it was a plan for building houses,
building schools, and building roads. But does this settle the problem at all? H
ow can there be a solution to the social problems without a plan for economic de
velopment? Do they want to make fools of the Latin American countries? What are
families going to live on when they inhabit those houses, if those houses are re
ally built? What shoes, what clothes are they going to wear, and what food are c
hildren going toe at when they attend those school? Is it not known that, when a
family does not have clothes or shoes for the children, the children are not se
nt to schools? With what means are they going to pay the teachers and the doctor
s? How are they going to pay for the medicine? Do you want a good way of saving
medicine? Improve the nutrition of the people, and when they eat well you will n
ot have to spend money on hospitals. Therefore, in view of the tremendous realit
y of undevelopment, the Government of the United States now comes out with a pla
n for social development. Of course, it is stimulating to observe the United Sta
tes concerning itself with some of the problems of Latin America. Thus far they
had not concerned themselves at all. What a coincidence that, they are not worri
ed about those problems! And the fact that this concern emerged after the Cuban
Revolution will probably be labelled by them as purely coincidental.
Thus far, the monopolies have certainly not cared very much, except about exploi
ting the underdeveloped countries. But comes the Cuban Revolution and suddenly t
he monopolists are worrying, and while they attack us economically trying to cru

sh us, they offer aims to the countries of Latin America. The countries of Latin
America are offered, not the resources for development that Latin America needs
, but resources for social development
houses for men who have no work, schools
where children will not go, and hospitals that would not be necessary if there w
ere enough food to eat (APPLAUSE).
After all, although some of my Latin American colleagues may feel it their duty
to be discreet at the United Nations, they should all welcome a revolution such
as the Cuban Revolution which at any rate has forced the monopolists to return a
t least a small part of what they have been extracting from the natural resource
s and the sweat of the Latin American peoples (APPLAUSE).
Although we are not included in that aid we are not worried about that; we do no
t get angry about things like that, because we have been settling those same pro
blems of schools and housing and so on for quite some time. But perhaps there ma
y be some of you who feel we are using this rostrum to make propaganda, because
the President of the United Nations has said that some come here for propaganda
purposes. And, of course, all of my colleagues in the United Nations have a stan
ding invitation to visit Cuba. We do not close, our doors to any one, now do we
confine anyone. Any of my colleagues in this assembly can fision Cuba whenever h
e wishes, in order to see with his own eyes what is going on. You know the chapt
er in the Bible that speaks of St. Thomas, who had to see in order to believe I
think it was St. Thomas.
And, after all, we can invite any newspapermen, and any member of any delegation
, to visit Cuba and see what a nation is capable of doing with its own resources
, when they are used with honesty and reason. But we are not only solving our ho
using and school problems, we are solving our development problems as well, beca
use without the solution of the problems of development there can be no settleme
nt of the social problems themselves.
Why is the United States Government unwilling to talk of development? It is very
simple: because the Government of the United States does not want to oppose the
monopolies, and the monopolies require natural resources and markets for the in
vestment of their capital. That is where the great contradiction lies. That is w
hy the real solution to this problem is not sought. That is why planning for the
development of underdeveloped countries with public funds is not done.
It is good that this be stated frankly, because, after all, we the underdevelope
d countries, are a majority in this Assembly
in case anyone is unaware of this f
act and we are witnesses to what is going on in the underdeveloped countries.
Yet, the true solution of the problem is not sought, and much is said about the
participation of private capital. Of course, this means markets for the investme
nt of surplus capital, like the investment that was amortized in five years.
The government of the United States cannot propose a plan for public investment,
because this would divorce it from the very reason for being the Government of
the United States, namely the American monopolies.
Let us not beat about the bush, the reason no real economic plan is being promot
ed is simply this: to preserve our lands in Latin America, Africa, and Asia for
the investment of surplus capital.
Thus far we have referred to the problems of my own country and the reason why t
hose problems have not been solved. Is it perhaps because we did not want to sol
ve them? No. The Government of Cuba has always been ready to discuss its problem
s with the Government of the United States, but the Government of the United Sta
tes has not been ready to discuss its problems with Cuba, and it must have its r
easons for not doing so.

The Government of the United States doe not deign to discuss its differences wit
h the small country of Cuba.
What hope can the people of Cuba maintain for the solution of these problems? th
e facts that we have been able to note here so far conspire against the solution
of these problems, and the United Nations should seriously take this into accou
nt, because the people and the Government of Cuba are justifiably concerned at t
he aggressive turn in the policy of the United States with regard to Cuba, and i
t is proper that we should be well informed.
In the first place, the Government of the United States considers it has the rig
ht to promote and encourage subversion in our country. The Government of the Uni
ted States is promoting the organization of subversive movements against the Rev
olutionary Government of Cuba, and we wish to denounce this fact in this General
Assembly; we also wish to denounce specifically the fact that, for instance, a
territory which belongs to Honduras, known as Islas Cisnes, the Swan Islands, ha
s been seized "manu militari" by the Government of the United States and that Am
erican marines are there, despite the fact that this territory belongs to Hondur
as. Thus, violating international law and despoiling a friendly people of a part
of its territory, the United States has established a powerful radio station on
one of those Islands, in violation of international radio agreements, and has p
laced it at the disposal of the war criminals and subversive groups supported in
this country; furthermore, military training is being conducted on that island,
in order to promote subversion and the landing of armed forces in our country.
Does the Government of the United States feel it has the right to promote subver
sion on our country, violating all international treaties, including those relat
ing to radio frequency? Does this mean, by chance, that the Cuban Government has
the right to promote subversion in the United States? Does the Government of th
e United States believe it has the right to violate radio frequency agreements?
Does this mean, by chance, that the Cuban Government has the right to violate ra
dio frequency agreements also? What right can the Government of the United State
s have over us over our island that permits it to act towards other nations in s
uch a manner? Let the United States return the Swan Islands to Honduras, since i
t never had any jurisdiction over those Islands (APPLAUSE).
But there are even more alarming circumstances for our people. It is well known
that, in virtue of the Platt Amendment, imposed by force upon our people, the Go
vernment of the United States assumed the right to establish naval bases on our
territory, a right forcefully imposed and maintained. A naval base in the territ
ory of any country is surely a cause for concern. First of all, there is concern
over the fact that a country which follows an aggressive and warlike internatio
nal policy has a base in the heart of our country, which brings us the risk of b
eing involved in any international conflict, in any atomic conflict, without our
having anything to do with the problem, because we have absolutely nothing to d
o with the problems of the United States and the crises provoked by the Governme
nt of the United States. Yet, there is a base in the heart of our Island which e
ntails danger for us in case of war.
But is that only danger? No. There is another danger that concerns us even more,
since it is closer to home. The Revolutionary Government of Cuba has repeatedly
expressed its concern over the fact that the imperialist government of the Unit
ed States may use that base, located in the heart of our national territory, as
an excuse to promote a self - aggression, in order to justify an attack on our c
ountry. I repeat: the Revolutionary Government of Cuba is seriously concerned
d makes known this concern over the fact that the imperialist government of the
United States of America may use a self-aggression in order to justify an attack
on our country. And this concern on our part is becoming increasingly greater b
ecause of the intensified aggressiveness that the United States is displaying. F

or instance, I have here a United Press cable which came to my country, and whic
h reads as follows:,
"Admiral Arleigh Burke, United States Chief of Naval Operations says that if Cub
a attempts to take the Gunatanamo Naval base by force we will fight back" In an
interview for the magazine U.S. News and World Report (please excuse my bad pron
unciation), Admiral Burke was asked if the Navy was concerned about the situatio
n in Cuba under Premier Fidel Castro.
"Yes, our Navy is concerned
not about our base at Guantanamo, but about the whol
e Cuban situation," Admiral Burke said. The Admiral added that all the military
services are concerned.
"Is that because of Cuba's strategic position in the Caribbean?" he was asked.
"No, not particularly,' Admiral Burke said. 'Here are a people normally very fri
endly to the United States, who like our people and were also like by us. In spi
te of this, an individual as appeared with a small group of fanatical communists
, determined to change all that. Castro has taught his people to hate the United
States, and has done much to ruin his country.'
"Admiral Burke said 'we will react very fast if Castro makes any move against th
e Guantanamo base.'
"If they try to take the base by force, we will fight back", he added.
Asked whether Soviet Premier Krushchev's threat about retaliatonary rockets gave
Admiral Burke 'second thoughts about fighting in Cuba' the Admiral said:
"No, because he is not going to send his rockets. He knows quite well he will be
destroyed if he does."
He means that Russia will be destroyed.
In the first place, I must emphasize that for this gently man, to have increased
industrial production in our country by 35 per cent, to have given employment t
o more than 200,000 more Cubans, to have solved many of the social problems of o
ur country, constitutes the ruination of our country. And in accordance with thi
s line of reasoning they assume the right to prepare the conditions for aggressi
So you see how conjectures are made
very dangerous conjectures, because this gen
tleman, in effect, thinks that in case of an attack on us we are to stand alone.
This is just a conjecture by Mr. Burke, but let us imagine that Mr. Burke is wr
ong, let us suppose for just a moment that Mr. Burke, although an admiral, is mi
Than Admiral Burke is playing with the fate of the world in a most irresponsible
manner. Admiral Burke and his aggressive militarist clique are playing with the
fate of the world, and it would really not be worth our while to worry over the
fate of each of us, but we feel that we, as representatives of the various peop
les of the world, have the duty to concern ourselves with the fate of the world,
and we also have the duty to condemn all those who play irresponsibly with the
fate of the world. They are not only playing with the fate of our people; they a
re playing with the fate of their people and with the fate of all the people's o
f the world or does thus Admiral Burke think we are still living in the times of
the blunderbusses? Does he not realize, this Admiral Burke, that we are living
in the atomic age, in an age whose disastrous and cataclysmic destructive forces
could not even he imagined by Dante or Leonardo Da Vinci, with all their imagin
ation, because this goes beyond the imagination of man. Yet, he made his conject

ures, United Press International spread the news all over the world, the magazin
e is about to come out, hysteria is being created, the campaign is being prepare
d, the imaginary danger of an attack on the base is beginning to be publicized.
And this is not all. Yesterday a United States news bulletin appeared containing
some declarations by the United States Senator Styles Bridges who, I believe is
a member of the Armed forces Committee of the Senate of the United States. He s
"The United States should maintain its naval base of Guantanamo in Cuba at all c
osts"; and 'we must go as far as necessary to defend those gigantic installation
s of the United States. We have naval forces there, and we have the Marines, and
if we were attacked I would defend it, of course, because I believe it is the m
ost important base in the Caribbean area."
This member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee did not entirely reject the use
of the atomic weapons in the case of an attack against the base.
What does this mean? This means that not only is hysteria being created, not onl
y is the atmosphere being systematically prepared, but we are even threatened wi
th the use of atomic weapons, and, of course, among the many things that we can
think of, one is to ask this Mr. Bridges whether he is not ashamed of himself to
threaten a small country like Cuba with the use of atomic weapons (PROLONGS APP
As far as we are concerned, and with all due respect, we must tell him that the
problems of the world cannot be solved by the use of threats or by sowing fear,
and that our humble people, our little country, is there. What can we do about?
We are there, however much they dislike the idea, and our Revolution will go ahe
ad, however much they dislike that. And our humble people must resign themselves
to their fate. They are not afraid, nor are they shaken by this threat of the u
se of atomic weapons.
What does all this mean? There are many countries that have American bases in th
eir territory, but they are not directed against the governments that made these
at least not as far as we know. Yet ours is the most tragic case. T
here is a base on our island territory directed against Cuba and the Revolutiona
ry Government of Cuba, in the hands of those who declare themselves enemies of o
ur country, enemies of our revolution, and enemies of our people. In the entire
history of the world's present-day bases, the most tragic case is that of Cuba;
a base imposed upon us by force, well within our territory, which is a good many
miles away from the coast of the United States, an instrument used against Cuba
and the Cuban people imposed by the use of force, and a constant threat and a c
ause for concern for our people.
That is why we must state here that all these rumors of attacks are intended to
create hysteria and prepare the conditions for an aggression against our country
, that we have never spoken a single word implying the thought of any type of at
tack on the Guantanamo base, because we are the first in not wanting to give imp
erialism an excuse to attack us, and we state this categorically. But we also de
clare that from the very moment that base was turned into a threat to the securi
ty and peace of our country, a danger to our country, the Revolutionary Governme
nt of Cuba has been considering very seriously the requesting, within the framew
ork of international law, of the withdrawal of the naval and military forces of
ortion of our National territory.
But is is imperative that this Assembly be kept well informed regarding the prob
lems of Cuba, because we have to be on the alert against deceit and confusion. W
e have to explain these problems very clearly because with them go the security

and the fate of our country. And that is why we want exact note to be taken of t
he words I have spoken, particularly when one takes into consideration the fact
that the opinions or erroneous ideas of the politicians of this country as regar
ds Cuban problems do not show any signs of improving. I have here some declarati
ons by Mr. Kennedy that would surprise anybody. On Cuba he says. "We must use al
l the power of the Organization of American States to prevent Castro from interf
ering in other Latin American countries, and we must use all that power to retur
n freedom to Cuba". They are going to give freedom back to Cuba!
"We must state our intention," he says, "of not allowing the Soviet Union to tur
n Cuba into its Caribbean base, and of applying the Monroe Doctrine". Half-way o
r more into the twentieth century, this gentleman speaks of the Monroe doctrine!
"We must make Prime Minister Castro understand that we intend to defend our righ
t to the Naval Base of Guantanamo." He is the third who speaks of the problem. "
And we must make the Cuban people know that we sympathize with their legitimate
economic aspirations...." Why did they not feel sympathetic before? "....that we
know their love of freedom, and that we shall never be happy until democracy is
restored in Cuba...." What democracy? The democracy "made" by the imperialist m
onopolies of the Government of the United States?
"The forces in exile that are struggling for freedom," he says
note this very ca
refully so that you will understand why there are planes flying from American te
rritory over Cuba: pay close attention to what this gentleman has to say. "The f
orces that struggle for liberty in exile and in the mountains of Cuba should be
supported and assisted, and in other countries of Latin America communism must b
e confined and not allowed to expand."
If Kennedy were not an illiterate and ignorant millionaire (APPLAUSE)...he would
understand that is is not possible to carry out a revolution supported by lando
wners against the peasant in the mountains, and that every time imperialism has
tried to encourage counterrevolutionary groups, the peasant militia has captured
them in the course of a few days. But he seems to have read a novel, or seen a
Hollywood film, about guerrillas, and he thinks it is possible to carry on guerr
illa warfare in a country where the relations of the social forces are what they
are in Cuba.
In any case, this is discouraging. Let no one think, however, that these opinion
s as regards Kennedy's statements indicate that we feel any sympathy towards the
other one, Mr. Nixon...(LAUGHTER) who has made similar statements. As far as we
are concerned, both lack political brains.
Up to this point we have been dealing with the problem of our country, a fundame
ntal duty of ours when coming before the United Nations, but we understand that
it would be a little egoistical on our part if our concern were to be limited to
our specific case alone. It is also true that we have used up the greater part
of our time informing this Assembly about the Cuban case, and that there is not
much time left for us to deal with the remaining questions, to which we wish to
refer briefly.
The case of Cuba is not isolated case. It would be an error to think of it only
as the case of Cuba. The case of Cuba is the case of all underdeveloped countrie
s. The case of Cuba is like that of the Congo, Egypt, Algeria, Iran...(APPLAUSE) that of Panama, which wishes to have its canal; it is like that of Puert
o Rico, whose national spirit they are destroying; like that of Honduras, a port
ion of whose territory has been alienated. In short, although we have not make s
pecific reference to other countries, the case of Cuba is the case of all underd
eveloped, colonialized countries.
The problems which we have been describing in relation to Cuba can be applied ju

st as well to all of Latin America. The control of Latin American economic resou
rces by the monopolies, which, when they do not own the mines directly and are i
n charge of extraction, as the case with the copper of Chile, Peru, or Mexico, a
nd with the oil of Venezuela
when this control is not exercised directly it is b
ecause they are the owners of the public utility companies, as is the case in Ar
gentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, or the owners of telephone s
ervices, which is the case in Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Paraguay and Boliv
ia, or they commercialize our products, as is the case with coffee in Brazil, Co
lombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, or with the cultivation, marketi
ng and transportations of bananas by the United Fruit Co. in Guatemala, Costa Ri
ca, and Honduras, or with the Cotton in Mexico and Brazil. In other words, the m
onopolies control the most important industries. Woe to those countries, the day
they try to make an agrarian reform! They will be asked for immediate, efficien
t, and just payment. And if, in spite of everything they make an agrarian reform
, the representative of the friendly country who comes to the United Nations wil
l be confined to Manhattan; they will not rent hotel space to him; insult will h
e heaped upon him, and it is even possible that he may be physically mistreated
by the police.
The problem of Cuba is just an example of the situation in Latin America. And ho
w long will Latin America wait for its development? It will have to wait, accord
ing to the point of view of the monopolies, until there are two Fridays in a wee
Who is going to industrialize Latin America? The monopolies? Certainly not. Ther
e is a report by the economic Commission of the United Nations which explains ho
w private capital, instead of going to the countries that need it most for the e
stablishment of basic industries to contribute to their development, is being ch
anneled referentially to the more industrialized countries, because there, accor
ding to their beliefs, private capital finds greater security. And, of course, e
ven the Economic Secretariat of the United Nations has had to admit there there
is no possible chance for development through the investment of private capital
that is, through the monopolies.
The development of Latin America will have to be achieved through public investm
ent, planned and granted unconditionally without any political strings attached,
because, naturally, we all like to be representatives of free countries. None o
f us like to represent a country that does not feel itself in full possession of
its freedom.
None of us wants the independence of this country to be subjected to any interes
t other than that of the country itself. That is why assistance must be given wi
thout any political conditions.
That help has been denied to us does not matter. We have not asked for it. Howev
er, in the interest of and for the benefit of the Latin American peoples, we do
feel duty bound out of solidarity, to stress the fact that the assistance must b
e given without any political conditions whatsoever. There should be more public
investments for economic development, rather than for "social development," whi
ch is the latest thing invented to hide the true need for the economic developme
nt of countries.
The problems of Latin America are similar to those of the rest of the world: to
those of Africa and Asia. The world is divided up among the monopolies; the same
monopolies that we find in Latin America are also found in the Middle East. The
re the oil is in the hands of monopolistic companies that are controlled by Fran
ce, the United States, the United Kingdom the Iran, Iraq, Saud
i Arabia, Kuwait, in short, in all corners of the world. The same thing is true,
for instance, in the Philippines, and in Africa. The world has been divided amo
ng the monopolistic interests. Who would dare deny this historic truth? The mono

polistic interests do not want to see the development of countries and the peopl
e themselves. And the sooner they recover or amortize the capital invested, the
The problems the Cuban people have had to face with the imperialistic government
of the United States are the same which Saudi Arabia would face if it nationali
zed its oil, and this also applies to Iran or Iraq; the same problems that Egypt
had when it quite justifiably nationalized the Suez Canal; the very same proble
ms that Indonesia had when it wanted to become independent; the same surprise at
tacks as against Egypt and the Congo.
Have colonialists or imperialists ever lacked a pretext when they wanted to inva
de a country? Never! Somehow they have always found a pretext. And which are the
colonialist and imperialists countries? Four or five countries
no, four or five
groups of monopolies are the owners of the wealth of the world.
If a being from another planet were to come to this Assembly, one who had read n
either the Communist Menifesto of Karl Marx nor the cables of the United Press o
r the Associated Press or other monopolist publications, if he were to ask how t
he world had been divided, and he saw on a map that the wealth of the world was
divided among the monopolies of four or five countries, he would say, without fu
rther consideration; "The wealth of this world has been badly distributed, the w
orld is being exploited."
Here in this Assembly, where the majority of the underdeveloped countries are re
presented, he would say: "The majority of the peoples that you represent are bei
ng exploited; they have been exploited for a long time. The form of exploitation
may have changed, but you are still being exploited." That would be the verdict
In the address made by Premier Khrushchev there is a statement that attracted ou
r attention because of the value of its contents. It was when he said that "the
Soviet Union has no colonies or investments in any country."
How great our world would be today, our world which today is threatened with cat
astrophe, if all the representatives of all nations were able to say: "Our count
ry has no colonies and no investments in any foreign country"! (APPLAUSE)
There is no use in going all over
atter, the substance of peace and
, since the beginning of mankind,
desire of some to despoil others

the question again. This is substance of the m

war, the substance of the armaments race. Wars
have occurred for one, fundamental reason; the
of their wealth.

Do away with the philosophy of plunder and you will have done away forever with
the philosophy of war! (APPLAUSE) Do away with the colonies, wipe out the exploi
tation of countries by monopolies, and mankind will have reached a true era of p
As long s that step is not taken, as long as that stage is not reached, the worl
d will have to live constantly under the nightmare and fear of being involved in
any crisis, in an atomic conflagration. Why? Because there are some who are int
erested in perpetuating this exploitation.
We have spoken here of the Cuban case. Our case has taught us because of the pro
blems we have had with our own imperialism, that is, the particular imperialism
that is ranged against us. But, since all imperialism are alike, they are all al
lies. A country that exploits the people of Latin America, or any other parts of
the world, is an ally of the exploiters of the rest of the world.
There are a number of problems which have already been discussed by several dele

gations. For reasons of time, we should like merely to express our opinion on th
e Congo problem. Of course, since we hold an anti-colonialist position against t
he exploitation of underdeveloped countries, we condemn the way in which the int
ervention by the United Nations forces was carried out in the Congo. First of al
l, these forces did not go there to act against the interventing forces, for whi
ch purpose they were originally sent. All necessary time was given, so that the
first dissension could occur. And as that was not enough, further time was given
, and the way was opened for the second division. And finally, while broadcastin
g stations and airfields were seized, the opportunity was provided for the emerg
ence of the third man, as they always call the saviors who emerge in these circu
mstances. We know them only too well, because in the year of 1943 one of these s
aviors appeared in our country, and his name was Fulgenico Batista. In the Congo
his name is Mobutu. In Cuba, he paid a daily visit to the American Embassy, and
it appears the same thing is going on in the Congo. Is it because I say so? No,
because no less than a magazine which is one of the most fervent supporters of
the monopolies and therefore cannot be against them, is the one that says so. It
cannot favor Lumumba, because it favors Mobutu. But it explains who Mobutu, is,
how he began to work, and finally Time magazine says in its latest issue: "Mobu
tu became a frequent visitor to the United States Embassy and held long talks wi
th officials there. One afternoon last week Mobutu conferred with officers of Ca
mp Leopold and got their enthusiastic support. That night he went to Radio Congo
which Lumumba had not been allowed to use
and abruptly announced that the army
was assuming power."
In other words, all this occurred after frequent visits and lengthy conversation
s with the officials of the United States Embassy. This Time Magazine speaking,
the defender of the monopolies.
In other words, the hand of the colonialist interest has been clear and visible
in the Congo, and our opinion is consequently that colonialist interests have be
en favored and that every fact indicates that reason and the people of the Congo
are on the side of the only leader who remained there to defend the interests o
f his country, and that leader is Lumumba (APPLAUSE).
As regard the problem of Algeria, we are, I need hardly say, 100 percent in supp
ort of the right of the people of Algeria to independence (APPLAUSE), and it is,
furthermore, ridiculous like so many ridiculous things in the world which have
been artificially created by vested interests
to claim that Algeria is part of F
rance. In the past, similar claims have been made by other countries in an attem
pt to keep their colonies.
However, these African people have been fighting a heroic battle against the col
onial power for many years. Perhaps, even while we are calmly talking here, Alge
rian villages and hamlets are being bombed and machinegunned by the French Army.
Men may well be dying in a struggle in which there is not the slightest doubt w
here the right lies, a struggle that could be ended even without disregarding th
e interests of that minority which is being used for denying nine-tenths of the
population of Algeria their right to independence. Yet we are doing nothing. So
quick to go to the Congo, and such lack of enthusiasm about going to Algeria! (A
We are, therefore, on the side of the Algerian people, as we are on the remainin
g colonial peoples in Africa, and on the side of the Negroes who are discriminat
ed against in the Union of South Africa. Similarly, we are on the side of those
peoples that wish to be free, not only politically for it is very easy to acquir
e a flag, a coat of arms, an anthem, and a color on the map
but also economicall
y free, for there is one truth which we should all recognize as being of primary
importance, namely, that there can be no political independence unless there is
economic independence, that political independence without economic independenc
e is a lie; we therefore support the aspirations of all countries to be free pol

itically and economically. Freedom does not consist in the possession of a flag,
a coat of arms, and representation in the United Nations.
We should like to draw attention here to another right: a right which was procla
imed the Cuban people at a mass meeting quite recently, the right of the underde
veloped countries to nationalize their natural resources and the investments of
the monopolies in their respective countries without compensation; in other word
s, we advocate the nationalization of natural resources and foreign investments
in the underdeveloped countries.
And if the highly industrialized countries wish to do the same thing, we shall n
ot oppose them (APPLAUSE).
If countries are to be truly free, in political matters, they must be truly free
in economic matters, and we must lend them assistance. We shall be asked about
the value of the investments, as we in return will ask: what about the value of
the profits from those investments, the profits which have been extracted from t
he colonized and underdeveloped peoples for decades, if not for centuries?
We should like to support a proposal made by the President of the Republic of Gh
ana, the proposal that Africa should be cleared of military bases and thus of nu
clear weapon bases, in other words, the proposal to free from the perils of atom
ic war. Something has already been done with regard to Antarctia. As we go forwa
rd on the path of disarmament, why should we not also go forward towards freeing
certain parts of the world from the danger of nuclear war?
Let the other people, let the West make up a little for what it has made Africa
suffer, by preserving it from the danger of atomic war and declaring it a free z
one as far as this peril is concerned. Let no atomic bases be established there!
Even if we can do nothing else, let this continent at least remain a sanctuary
where human life may be preserved! (PROLONGED APPLAUSE). We support this proposa
l warmly.
On the question of disarmament, we wholeheartedly support the Soviet proposal, a
nd we are not ashamed to do so. We regard as a correct, precise, well-defined an
d clear proposal.
We have carefully studied the speech made here by President Eisenhower
he made n
o real reference to disarmament, to the development of the underdeveloped countr
ies, or to the colonial problem. Really, it would be worthwhile for the citizens
of this country, who are so influenced by false propaganda, to compare objectiv
ely the statements of the President of the United States with those of the Prime
Minister of the Soviet Union, so that they could see which speech contains genu
ine concern over the world's problems, so that they could see who spoke clearly
and sincerely, and so they could see who really wants disarmament, and who is ag
ainst it and why. The Soviet proposal could not be clearer. Nothing could be add
ed to the Soviet explanation. Why should there be any reservations when no one h
as every before spoken so clearly of so tremendous a problem?
The history of the world has taught us the tragic lesson that arms races always
lead to war; but never has the responsibility been greater, for never has war si
gnified so was a holocaust for mankind. And the Soviet Union has made a proposal
regarding that problem which so greatly concerns mankind
whose very existence i
s at stake a proposal for total and complete disarmament. What more can be asked
? If more can be asked, let us ask it; if we can ask for more safeguards, let us
do so; but the proposal could not be clearer or better defined, and, at this st
age of history, it cannot be rejected without assuming the responsibility involv
ed in the danger of war and of war itself.
The representative of the Soviet Union has spoken openly

I say this objectively

and I urge that these proposals be considered, and that everybody put their card
s on the table. Above all, this is not merely a question of representatives, tha
t is a matter of public opinion. The warmongers and militarists must be exposed
and condemned by the public opinion of the world. This is not a problem for mino
rities only: it concerns the world. The warmongers and militarists must be unmas
ked, and this is the task of public opinion. This problem must be discussed not
only in the General Assembly, but before the entire world, before the great asse
mbly of the whole world, because in the event of a war not only the leaders, but
hundreds of millions of completely innocent persons will be exterminated, and i
t is for this reason that we, who meet here as representatives of the world
or p
art of the world, since this Assembly is not yet complete, it will not be comple
te until the Peoples' Republic of China is represented here should take appropri
ate measures (APPLAUSE). One-quarter of the world's population is of course abse
nt, but we who are here have the duty to speak openly and not to evade the issue
. We must all discuss it; this problem is too serious to be overlooked. It is mo
re important than economic aid and all other obligations, because this is the ob
ligation to preserve the life of mankind. Let us all discuss and speak about thi
s problem, and let us all fight to establish peace, or at least to unmask the mi
litarists and warmongers.
And, above all, if we, the underdeveloped countries, want to preserve the hope o
f achieving progress, if we want to have a chance of seeing our peoples enjoying
a higher standard of living, let us struggle for peace, let us struggle for dis
armament; with a fifth of what the world spends on armaments, we could promote t
he development of all the underdeveloped countries at a rate of growth of 10 per
cent per annum. With a fifth of the resources which countries spend on armaments
, we could surely raise the people's standard of living.
Now, what are the obstacles to disarmament? Who is interested in being armed? Th
ose who are interested in being armed to the teeth are those who want to keep co
lonies, those who want to maintain their monopolies, those who want to retain co
ntrol of the oil of the Middle East; the natural resources of Latin America, of
Asia, of Africa, and who require military strength to defend their interests. An
d it is well known that these territories were occupied and colonized on the str
ength of the law of force; by virtue of the law of force million of men were ens
laved, and it is force which sustains such exploitation in the world. Therefore,
those who want no disarmament are those interested in maintaining their militar
y strength in order to retain control of natural resources, the wealth of the pe
ople of the world, and cheap labor in underdeveloped countries. We promised to s
peak openly, and there is no other way of telling the truth.
The colonialists, therefore, are against disarmament. Using the weapon of world
public opinion, we must fight to force disarmament on them as we must force them
to respect the right of peoples to economic and political liberation.
The monopolies are against disarmament, because, besides being able to defend th
ose interests with arms, the arms race has always been good business for them. F
or example, it is well known that the great monopolies in this country doubled t
heir capital shortly after the Second World War. Like vultures, the monopolies f
eed on the corpses which are the harvest of war.
And war is a business. Those who trade in war, those who enrich themselves war,
by must be unmasked. We must open the eyes of the world and expose those who tra
de in the destiny of mankind, in the danger of war, particularly when the war ma
y be so frightful that it leaves no hope of salvation.
We, the small and underdeveloped countries, urge the whole Assembly and especial
ly the other small and underdeveloped nations to devote themselves to this task
and to have this problem discussed here, because afterwards we will never forgiv
e ourselves if, through our neglect or lack of firmness and energy on this basic

issue, the world becomes involved once again in the perils of war.
We have just one more point to discuss, which, according to what we have read in
some newspapers, was one of the points the Cuban delegation was going to raise.
And this, of course, is the problem of the Peoples Republic of China.
Other delegations have already spoken about this
fact that this problem has never been discussed
raison d'etre" and of the essential of nature of
never been discussed? Because the United Nations
right to discuss this problem?

matter. We wish to say that the

is in reality a denial of the "
the United Nations. Why has it
Assembly going to renounce its

Many countries have joined the United Nations in recent years. To oppose discuss
ion of the right to representation here of the People's Republic of China, that
is, of 99 percent of the inhabitants of a country of more than 600,000,000 is to
deny the reality of history, the facts of life itself.
It is simply an absurdity; it is ridiculous that this problem is never even disc
ussed. How long are we going to continue the sad business of never discussing th
is problem, when we have here representatives of Franco, for instance?
At this point is its appropriate to ask by what right the navy of an extra-conti
nental country
and it is worth repeating this here, when so much is being said a
bout extra-continental interference
intervented in a domestic affair of China. I
t would be interesting to have an explanation. The sole purpose of this interfer
ence was to maintain a group of allies in that place and to prevent the total li
beration of the territory. That is an absurd and unlawful state of affairs from
any point of view, but it constitutes the reason why the United States Governmen
t does not want the question of the People's Republic of China to be discussed.
And we want to put it on record here that this is our position and that we suppo
rt discussion of this question, and that the United Nations General Assembly sho
uld seat the legitimate representatives of the Chinese people, namely, the repre
sentatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China.
I understand perfectly that is somewhat
lf of the stereotyped concepts by which
ly judged. I must say that we have come
e problems objectively, without fear of
of the consequences of our position.

difficult for anybody here to free himse

the representatives of nations are usual
here free from the prejudices, to analyz
what people will think and without fear

We have been honest, we have been frank without being Fran coist (APPLAUSE), bec
ause we do not want to be a party to the injustice committed against a great num
ber of Spaniards, still imprisoned in Spain after more than twenty years, men wh
o fought together with the Americans of the Lincoln Brigade, as the comrades of
those same Americans who were there to do honor to the name of that great Americ
an, Lincoln.
In conclusion, we are going to place our trust in reason and in the decency of a
ll. We wish to sum up our ideas regarding some aspects of these world problems a
bout which there should be no doubt. The problem of Cuba, which we have set fort
h here, is a part of the problems of the world. Those who attack us today are th
ose who are helping to attack others in other parts of the world.
The United States Government cannot be on the side of the Algerian people, it ca
nnot be on the side of the Algerian people because it is allied to metropolitan
France. It cannot be on the side of the Congolese people, because it is allied t
o Belgium. It cannot be on the side of the Spanish people, because it is allied
to Franco. It cannot be on the side of the Puerto Rican people, whose nationhood
it has been destroying for fifty years. It cannot be on the side of the Panaman
ians, who claim the Canal. It cannot support the ascendancy of civil power in La

tin America, Germany or Japan. It cannot be on the side of the peasants who want
land, because it is allied to the big landowners. It cannot be on the side of t
he workers who are demanding better living conditions in all parts of the world,
because it is allied to the monopolies. It cannot be on the side of the colonie
s which want their freedom, because it is allied to the colonizers.
That is to say, it is for the Franco, for the colonization of Algeria for the co
lonization of the Congo; it is for the maintenance of its privileges and interes
ts in the Panama Canal, for colonialism through the world. It is for the German
militarism and for the resurgence of German militarism. It is for Japanese milit
arism and for the resurgence of Japanese militarism.
The Government of the United States forgets the millions of Jews murdered in Eur
opean concentration camps by the Nazis, who are today regaining their influence
in the German army. It forgets the Frenchmen who were killed in their heroic str
uggle against the occupation; it forgets the American soldiers who died on the S
eigfried Line, in the Ruhr, on the Rhine, and on the Asian fronts. The United St
ates Government cannot be for the integrity and sovereignty of nations. Why? Bec
ause it must curtail the sovereignty of nations in order to keep its military ba
ses, and each base is a dagger thrust into sovereignty; each base is a limitatio
n on sovereignty.
That is why it has to be against the sovereignty of nations, because it must con
stantly limit sovereignty in order to maintain its policy of encircling the Sovi
et Union with bases. We believe that these problems are not properly explained t
o the American people. But the American people need only imagine how uneasy they
would feel if the Soviet Union began to establish a ring of atomic bases in Cub
a, Mexico, or Canada. The population would not feel secure or calm. World opinio
n, including American opinion, must be taught to see the other person's point of
view. The underdeveloped peoples should not always be represented as aggressors
; revolutionaries should not be presented as aggressors, as enemies of the Ameri
can people, because we have seen American like Carleton Beals, Waldo Frank, and
others, famous and distinguished intellectuals, shed tears at the thought of the
mistakes that are being made, at the breach of hospitality towards us; there ar
e many Americans, the most humane, the most progressive, and the most esteemed w
riters, in whom I see the nobility of this country's early leaders, the Washingt
ons, the Jeffersons, and the Lincolns. I say this is no spirit of demegogy, but
with the sincere admiration that we feel for those who once succeeded in freeing
their people from colonial status and who did not fight in order that their cou
ntry might today be the ally of all the reactionaires, the gangsters, the big la
ndowners, the monopolists, the exploiters, the militarists, the facists in the w
orld, that is to say, the ally of the most reactionary forces, but rather in ord
er that their country might always be the champion of noble and just ideals.
We know well what will be said about us, today, tomorrow, every day, to deceive
the American people. But is does not matter. We are doing our duty by stating ou
r views in, this historic Assembly.
We proclaim the right of people to freedom, the right of people to nationhood; t
hose who know that nationalism means the desire of the people to regain what is
rightly theirs, their wealth, their natural resources, conspire against national
We are, in short, for all the noble aspirations of all the peoples. That is our
position. We are, and always shall be for everything that is just: against colon
ialism, exploitation, monopolies, militarism, the armaments race, and warmongeri
ng. We shall always be against such things. That will be our position.
And to conclude, fulfilling what we regard as our duty, I am going to quote to t
his Assembly the key part of the Declaration of Havana. As you all know, the Dec

laration of Havana was the Cuban people's answer to the Declaration of San Jose,
Costa Rica. Nor 10, nor 100, nor 100,000, but more than one million Cubans gath
ered together.
At that Assembly, which was convened as an answer to the Declaration of San Jose
, the following principles were proclaimed, in consultation with the people and
by acclamation of the people, as the principles of the Cuban Revolution.
"The National General Assembly of the Cuban people condemns largescale landownin
g as a source of poverty for the peasant and a backward and inhuman system of ag
ricultural production; it condemns starvation wages and the iniquitous exploitat
ion of human work by illegitimate and privileged interests; it condemns illitera
cy, the lack of teachers, of schools, doctor and hospitals; the lack of old-age
security in the countries of America; it condemns discrimination against the Neg
ro and the Indian'; it condemns the inequality and the exploitation of women; it
condemns political and military oligarchies, which keep our peoples in poverty,
prevent their democratic development and the full exercise of their sovereignty
; it condemns concessions of the natural resources of our countries as a policy
of surrender which betrays the interests of the peoples; it condemns the governm
ents which ignore the demands of their people in order to obey orders from abroa
d; it condemns the systematic deception of the people by mass communications med
ia which serve the interests of the oligarchies and the policy of imperialist op
pression; it condemns the monopoly held by news agencies, which are instruments
of monopolist trusts and agents of such interests; it condemns the repressive la
ws which prevent the workers, the peasants, the students and the intellectuals,
the great majorities in each country, from organizing themselves to fight for th
eir social and national rights; it condemns the imperialist monopolies and enter
prises which continually plunder our wealth, exploit our workers and peasants, b
leed our economies to keep them in a backward state, and subordinate Latin Ameri
can politics to their designs and interests.
"In short, The National General Assembly of the Cuban People condemns the exploi
tation of man by man, and the exploitations of underdeveloped countries by imper
ialists capital.
"Therefore, the National General Assembly of the Cuban People proclaims before A
merica, and proclaims here before the world, the right of the peasants to the la
nd; the right of the workers to the fruits of their labor; the right of the chil
dren to education: the right of the sick to medical care and hospitalization; th
e right of young people to work; the right of students to free vocational traini
ng and scientific education; the right of Negroes, and Indians to full human dig
nity; the right of women to civil, social and political equality; the right of t
he elderly to security in their old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and
scientists so fight through their works for a better world; the right of States
to nationalize imperialist monopolies, thus rescuing their national wealth and
resources; the right of nations to their full sovereignty; the right of peoples
to convert their military fortresses into schools, and to arm their workers
use in this we too have to be arms-conscious, to arm our people in defense again
st imperialist attacks their peasants, their students, their intellectuals, Negr
oes, Indians, women, young people, old people, all the oppressed and exploited,
so that they themselves can defend their rights and their destinies."
Some people wanted to know what the policy of the Revolutionary Government of Cu
ba was. Very well, them, this is our policy (OVATION).

Establishing Revolutionary Vigilance in Cuba

On the Formation of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution

.... We observed honor and hospitality and generous conduct and decency among th
e humble Negroes of Harlem. (Applause and Singing)
[A bomb explodes in the crowd
That little
omorrow you
lking about
o quiet the


bomb; everybody knows who paid for it; it is one of imperialism's. T

will read note this well that the bomb went off just as they were ta
imperialism. (Crowd cheers again for several minutes. Music played t

How naive they are. When they fired 500 to 1000-pound bombs marked made in USA t
hey couldn't do a thing; not even when they fired napalm bombs, and their planes
couldn't do anything. They had to surrender. They couldn't take the Sierra Maes
tra. how are they going to advance now behind the little explosives.
How are they going to impress the people with little bombs, if the people here a
re preparing to resist not just little bombs. The people are prepared to resist
anything that falls, even atomic bombs.
For every little bomb of the imperialists, we build 500 houses. For every little
bomb they make in a year, we construct three cooperative houses. For every litt
le bomb, we nationalize a Yankee estate. For every little bomb of the imperialis
ts, we refine hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. For every little bomb we
will build a plant to give employment in our country. For every little bomb the
imperialists pay for, we convert a garrison into a school. For every little bomb
the imperialists pay for, we arm at least 1,000 militiamen. (Applause) Comrade
(Pani?) had a good idea; he says we should dedicate a new labor circle, a regime
nt to this little bomb. (Applause)
We are going to establish a system of collective vigilance and we shall see how
the lackeys of imperialism are going to get around this. We shall see if there i
s a single district not well represented here. We shall set up a collective revo
lutionary vigilance system and everyone on the block will be known, what his act
ivities are. If they think they are going to have to deal with the people they w
ill get a tremendous scare. We are going to set up a revolutionary vigilance com
mittee on every block so that the people can see what is going on.
The imperialists and their lackeys will not be able to make a move. They are dea
ling with the people, and they do not know yet the tremendous revolutionary powe
r of the people. Therefore, new steps must be taken in the organization of the m
ilitia. Malitia battalions will be created throughout Cuba. Each man for each we
apon will be selected. A structure will be given to the entire mass of militiame
n so that as soon as possible our combat units will be perfectly formed and trai
ned. One thing is clear: We do not have to tighten up before the time comes. The
re is nothing to worry about. One must not worry. Let them do the worrying. We w
ill conserve our serenity and our march; it is a firm but sure march.
One of our impressions on this trip, this important trip, is the amount of hatre
d felt toward our revolutionary people by imperialism, the degree of hysteria wh
ich imperialism has reached, the degree of demoralization that imperialism has r
eached. And you have seen it. They are still thinking about the Cuban charges be
cause they really do not have anything with which to reply.
It is, however, important that all of us be very conscious of the struggle under
taken by revolution. It is necessary for all of us to know perfectly well that i
t will be a long, long and hard struggle. (Applause) It is important for us to r

ealize that our revolution has faced up to the most powerful empire in he world.
Of all the colonialist and imperialists countries, Yankee imperialism is the mo
st powerful in diplomatic influence and military resources. It is also an imperi
alism that is not like the English, which is more mature, more experienced, it i
s proud imperialism, barbarous,and many of its leaders are barbarous men who hav
e nothing to envy of the first cavemen. Many of their leaders are men with fangs
. It is the most aggressive, most warlike, and most stupid imperialism.
We are on the frontline, a small country with few economic resources giving batt
le on the frontline for our sovereignty, destiny, and right. It is necessary to
be very conscious that our country is facing the most fierce empire of the conte
mporary times. It must also be realized that imperialism will not stop trying to
destroy the revolution, hinder the revolution. It must always be borne in mind
that imperialism hates us with the hatred of the masters for the rebellious slav
es. And we will defend ourselves with the fierceness of slaves who have rebelled
There is nothing more fierce than the hatred of the master for the rebellious sl
ave. And to that must be added the fact that they see their interests endangered
not only here but throughout the world. We brought our case to the United Natio
ns, but our case was the case of all underdeveloped countries
the case of Latin
America, Africa, the Middle East, the case of the Asian countries. Our case was
one that could be applied to the rest of the world. The rest of the underdevelop
ed world is also being exploited by the monopolies. We told them that the proper
ty of the monopolies must be nationalized without any indemnification. We told t
he other countries: Do what we have done; do not continue to be victims of aggre
Therefore, there is a universal interest in our struggle. A battle is taking pla
ce for the liberation of Cuba and all the other exploited nations of the world.
It is necessary for us to know what we are doing, the interests we are affecting
. Those interests will not raise the white flag easily. It will be a long fight.
Not only do we have to defend ourselves from aggression, but we must also advan
ce, we must progress on all fronts. The clearest impression we brought back is t
hat we must redouble our efforts (Applause), that we must be aware of the great
role we are playing in the world. Actions are worth more than words. We have spo
ken of some of the things we have done. The important thing is action, deeds. We
must make our country forward. To do this we must devote ourselves to our task.
We all have a task.
We went there to speak on behalf of all of you. We went because we have the supp
ort of all of you. We could do this because we took with us the moral support of
all the men and women of our country. We took with us the moral strength of a p
eople. That is why we could go there to denounce imperialism, and that is why ou
r country is admired not for the words, but for the deeds; not for what a Cuban
may say there, but for what all the Cuban may do and can do.
The world is forming an idea of us, a better idea than it ever had
if the world
ever had an idea of our existence. And what is behind that opinion is a people,
what makes that opinion is the efforts of a people. We urge each and every one o
f you to form an image of the great responsibility each of us has. We are not in
dividuals, we are part of a people, we are part of humanity, at a decisive hour
for the human race. We are an idea, we are a hope, we are an example, and when t
he premier of the revolutionary government appeared at the United Nations (Appla
use) it was not a man appearing, it was a nation. (Applause)
Every one of
the force we
one of you.
nsibility to

you appeared there; every one of you was there. We went there with
receive from being able to count on the support and effort of every
We felt very obligated to the people; we feel we have a great respo
the people. And so, every one of you must feel
and keep this in min

the work we are doing, we are all doing it together.

(Editor's Note: Another bomb explodes in the crowd. There are shouts from the cr
owd. After the dust settles, the national anthem is played and sung)
Let them explode; that way they are training the people to become accustomed to
all kinds of noise. (Shouts of "unity" heard) these things just confirm what we
have been saying: The revolution has a long battle ahead, a hard battle. Therefo
re, we reiterate that every one of us should taken to heart his role and his res
ponsibility. Easy things are not those that give the best fruits in the long run
. The worthwhile things in the life of nations and people are the difficult thin
gs, for these are the ones worth doing. (Applause)
Knowing the might of the empire we face does not discourage us. On the contrary,
it encourages us. The one that should be demoralized is the empire, because of
the battle being waged against it by a small nation. Let nobody think that the y
ears ahead will be years of tranquility and east. The greatest interest in the y
ears ahead is the work and the battle we have ahead of us. That is the extraordi
nary interest which the future holds for us. That is what liberates us from the
sorrows and shame of the past. That is what makes our people happy, above all, k
nowing that on Jan. 1 the revolution did not end, but was just beginning. That i
s what makes our people happy, thinking that if the first stage was the fruit of
effort by part of the nation, the future, tomorrow's victory, will be the fruit
of the effort of the entire nation.
And tomorrow no one need feel shame, because the future is full of riches, there
is a place for each of us. In the future there is a place for every one of us,
and we ourselves feel that we are beginning, that we have barely begun, that we
are on the first pages of the great book of the history which the Cuban people a
re wiring. (Applause) And this victory we will win with two things: Intelligence
and courage. (Applause) Neither intelligence nor courage must get ahead; both m
ust march together on the road to victory. (Applause) Up to today, those have be
en the main essentials of the successes we have achieved.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the imperialistic enemy. He made the mist
ake of underestimating us. (Applause) In our people there has been a greater rev
olutionary force than they ever imagined. In our people there has been a greater
moral force than they ever imagined.
We must not commit the mistake of underestimating the imperialist enemy. We will
correctly estimate his power and do what is necessary to be victories in this b
attle for the liberation of our country. We want to know every moment what they
are planning, what they are doing and how to combat it, as we are doing right no
w in denouncing their hysteria and how to combat it, as we are doing right now i
n denouncing the hysteria they are creating about the base, and the reports abou
t our attacking the base. We asked the president of the assembly to take note of
our concern over the campaigns they have been undertaking in order to create a
pretext for aggression against our country.
We don't want them to invade our country. We don't want to give them a pretext f
or invading it. What they would like is that we allow ourselves to do as they wi
sh. We should do what we want to do and what is beneficial for us, not them. Mar
ti said: Never do what the enemy wants you to do. That is why we have always exp
lained, as we did at the United Nations, that we would demand our sovereignty by
legal means, through international law, not through international law, not thro
ugh arms. Our arms are not to serve the enemy but to combat it. Our weapons shou
ld always be ready for what the enemy does not want
for our defense, for resista
"It is necessary that the people who have listened to our words in the United Na

tions know that one of the most delicate problems, one in which we must act with
the most intelligence, one in which we must overcome the imperialist enemy, is
that of the Caimanera Base because that base is the one they will try to use as
a pretext. Our position must be clear to the people and to the entire world: Tha
t when we go to reclaim it we will reclaim it in accordance with international l
aw as one of our deniable rights which they will have to acknowledge."
Against the imperialist enemy the best thing to do is to bar its path when it se
eks a pretext and tell it: Seek another way, for that one will not be open to yo
The imperialist enemy is capable of the unimaginable. The enemy uses any weapons
from the murder of leaders to military invasions, always seeking the murdering
hand, the gangster, the pretext. And we should not only be valiant but also inte
lligent. We must win the battle, we must be victorious against the imperialist e
nemy. We must win all battles, as we have won in the United Nations.
The imperialist enemy is being defeated at the United Nations. The supporters of
armaments, the enemies of peace, the militarists are receiving rough blows at t
he United Nations. The imperialist enemy must be demoralized before a war. The e
nemies of peace, those who play with the fate of all humanity, must be defeated
on all fronts.
We must go on orienting ourselves, preparing ourselves mentally, and educating o
urselves on these questions. Our interest in international problems must not fla
g. Previously we did not care about international problems because we were only
interested in what the Yankee delegate used to say. We were always silent and ob
edient. That is why no one worried. They would say: This is a Yankee problem, le
t the Americans worry about it. What were we? That is why no one worried. But no
w that we also have opinions in the world, now that we are also in the world, it
is good for us to know what is happening in Latin America, Asia, Africa; what p
eoples live there, what are their problems, what are the positions of their gove
That is why it is good for many books to be published and for us to continue to
study. All of us have the duty to learn, to know, and to teach. The opportunity
must be taken to learn of the problems, to know of the economic and social probl
ems of Cuba and outside of Cuba. Otherwise we will never be more than bachelors
of revolution; we will never become doctors of revolution. Books should be read
at social circles, in military camps, in unions
everywhere. We must learn what w
e must know. All can be sure that what the Cuban cannot learn cannot be learned
by anyone.
We consider that from our impressions on our trip, these are the most important
conclusions: The role of Cuba, the idea of the struggle ahead, the need for inte
lligence and valor, the need to work harder. We must be able to tell what we hav
e done. We are building a great land and we are proud of it. We alone are respon
sible for what we have done and what we are doing. We will not do it for the sak
e of vanity. We will do it because it is good for our people. We will try to do
the most perfect work possible, so that it will be our best defense, so that we
can say: Come to see our cooperatives, houses, schools, and universities. (Appla
Let them come. We will always have something to show. We will show the militia,
the youth brigades, the great reforestation projects, the school cities we are b
uilding, we will show what our country is. Those who have come to see what we ar
e doing are astonished that a small nation, facing so many obstacles, can do so
much. And this will always be a reason of pride for us. It is what sustains the
spirits of our copatriots in New York. It is the pride that sustains our delegat
es anywhere in the world. It is the basic idea we wanted to expose here tonight.

And thanks for the two little bombs, for they have been valuable in regard to wh
at we have been explaining. They demonstrated the mettle of our people, the cour
age of our people (Applause) for not a single woman budged from her place (Appla
use) not a single man budged (Applause) nor will anyone budge from his post in f
ace of any danger, any attack. We are soldiers of the country. We do not belong
to ourselves: We belong to our country. (Applause) It does not matter if any one
of us falls; what matters is that this flag shall remain high, the idea shall g
o forward, our country shall live. (Applause)

L'Unita Interview with Fidel Castro:

The Nature of Cuban Socialism
By Arminio Savioli
Havana, January
"Do you really want to write that this is socialist revolution?
All right, write it. We are not afraid of words. Do not say, however as American
s do that there is communism here, because communism cannot be found even in Rus
sia, after forty years from the overtaking of power... National middle classes?
Forget about them, my boy, forget it entirely that national middle classes can s
till play a revolutionary role in Latin America... Yes, I studied Marx's and Len
in's works even before launching the attack against Cuartel Moncada, in 1953...
A society is divided into classes, there is a class struggle: these are unquesti
onable truths... No, the Americans will not attack us. Imperialism is dying, any
way. It can choose between suicide and natural death. If it attacks, it means su
icide, a fast and certain death. If it does not attack, it can hope to last a li
ttle longer..."
I am reporting these sentences, which are the most significant among those which
were told me last night by Fidel Castro, during a conversation that started at
0200 hours and ended at 0530 this morning. The Cuban Prime Minister had promised
me an interview on last 3 January during a reception at the presidential palace
. However
overburdened as he is by a huge amount of political, military, and dip
lomatic work, and intolerant as he is of any formality and detailed planning bef
ore meetings,
he was unable, or decided not to keep his promise. Last night's co
nversation which was very extensive, open-minded, and cordial
happened by change
. This is how it happened.
At 0100 hours I was at the El Caribe night club, located on the second floor of
the Havana Libre Hotel. Fifteen jazzmen, six singers, and ten ballerinas were do
ing everything they could to entertain eight customers, including me. The waiter
s were yawning all the time. Boredom was supreme. At 0130, the night club glass
door was pushed wide open. Five athletic silhouettes in uniform, with pistols on
their waists and small submachine guns on their shoulders, came in in complete
silence (the carpet eliminated any noise made by the boots), sat around a table
and ordered Coca Cola.
In spite of the darkness (all Cuban night clubs and bars are almost completely d
ark), I recognized the heavy and slightly round shoulders, the tall size, and th
e black, Renaissance-like beard of Fidel Castro. I moved closer to him, and impo
litely lit up a match under his eyes. It was me.

I said

you promised me an interview. Let us set a date right away.

No chico (chico means boy, and Fidel calls everybody chico, at least all those w
ho are his friends). No, please, I hate dates. Sit down, let me/rest a while, to
morrow we'll talk about it...

The bodyguards (a fat one in shirt-sleeves, a slim one with an immobile Velasque
z-type Spanish face, and a Negro with a sweet melancholy lock) were smoking in s
ilence. Another soldier watched the door. Waiters and ballerinas pretended not t
o see anybody. The boring performance went on. From time to time, Fidel Castro a
pplauded politely. At 0200 o'clock he got up. Then a singer shouted "Viva el cab
allo!" El caballo, the horse, is Fidel Castro. This is the people's affectionate
way of referring to him because of his indomitable strength. The Premier went o
ut, thanking him with a smile. I followed him.
Comandante, what about the interview?
Chico, there are scores of journalists who are waiting...
Comandante, I have been waiting for a month.
Ah? Yes, you are the Italian Communist, the Togliattiano... [from the name, Togl
iatti, of the Italian Communist Party Chief].
Fidel Castro smiles, opens his arms and raises his shoulders (a usual, slightly
timid gesture of his).
All right, let's go.
We go to the Hall of Ambassadors, and sit down at a conference table under a hug
e chandelier of unbelievable bad taste. In a second, ten, thirty, forty people a
re around us: mulatto girl singers with bit eyes pained in black and blue, waite
rs, casino croupiers, Latin American delegates...
Q. Comandante, what is the character of the Cuban revolution?
Fidel Castro laughs, lights a cigar, handles it with his small tanned hands and
dark fingernails.
A. You newspapermen are crazy for definitions and neat schemes... You're impossi
bly dogmatic. We are not dogmatic... At any rate, you wish to write that this is
a socialist revolution, right? And write it, then... Yes, not only did we destr
oy a tyrannical system. We also destroyed the philoimperialistic bourgeois state
apparatus, the bureaucracy, the police, and a mercenary army. We abolished priv
ileges, annihilated the great landowners, threw out foreign monopolies for good,
nationalized almost every industry, and collectivized the land. We are fighting
now to liquidate once and for all the exploitation of man over man, and to buil
d a completely new society, with a new class contents. The Americans (Cubans say
just that, los americanos, to mean the United States) the Americans and the pri
ests say that this is communism. We know very well that it is not. At any rates,
the word does not frighten us. They can say whatever they wish. There is a song
, which is popular among our peasants, that goes more or less like this: "Bird o
f ill omen
of treason and cowardice
that are throwing at my joy
the word: commun
ism! I know nothing about these 'isms'
Yet, if such a great welfare conquest
ch can be been by my own eyes
is communism, then you can even call me a communis
Q. Comandante, what do you think about the Popular Socialist Party, which is the
party of Castro communists?
A. It is the only Cuban party which has consistently called for a radical change
of social structures and relations. It is true that at the beginning the commun
ists distrusted me and us rebels. Their distrust was justified, their position w
as absolutely correct, both ideologically and politically. They were right in be
ing distrustful because we of the Sierra who were conducting the guerilla were s

till full of petit bourgeois prejudices and defects, in spite of our Marxist rea
dings. Our ideas were not clear, although we wished to destroy tyranny and privi
leges with all out strength. Then, we met with each other, we understood one ano
ther, and started to work together. The communists have shed much blood and hero
ism for the Cuban cause. At present, we continue to work together in a loyal and
brotherly way.
Q. According to your opinion, following the latest developments of the Cuban rev
olution, has the historical outlook for Latin America changed? In other words, d
o you believe that the Cuban example can and must be followed by other peoples o
n the Continent?
A. Yes, I think so.
Q. Do you mean to say, then, that other peoples should take up arms in order to
overturn governments that are either dictatorial or sold out to the United State
A. yes, we hope that others will follow our example. In conclusion, we are all o
ne people, we speak the same language, from the Rio Grande to Petagonia, and hav
e shared a common history, which can be summed up in a few words: exploited as c
olonies first by Spain, and then by the United States. All that is going to stop
. There are countries
hold it, don't write this down, because I don't want to cr
eate international incidents there are countries where revolutionary spirit, pat
riotism and hatred against imperialism are much stronger, livelier, and more pro
found than they were in Cuba three years ago. A revolution will break out simult
aneously in many Latin American countries, which will destroy prejudices, region
alism and provincialism. Latin America will then become just one, great, free, c
ivil and independent nation. The Chinese were more divided among themselves than
we are, with different dialects and even languages, and a multiplicity of natio
nalities. And yet, the Chinese revolution is one and indivisible.
Q. Much is being said on "national ways" and on alliances... Do you believe that
national-minded middle classes can still play a positive role in Latin American
A. I don't believe so, I never did. It is true that there are groups of industri
al bourgeoisie which are against, at times very much against, imperialism, becau
se of competition. But these same groups hate the workers even more, for class r
easons. Between U.S. monopolies and national bourgeoisies there can be temporary
conflicts and skirmishes, not a true all-out struggle. There is no historical i
ncompatibility between them. Our national bourgeoisie here at home is complacent
and coward, and always ready to concede to imperialism which is conclusion keep
s it alive and gives it help and arms to be used against social revolutions. Nat
ional bourgeoisie sleep, just as the Cuban bourgeoisie used to sleep. Privileged
classes can no longer participate in true revolutions, least of all lead them,
in our century. Believe me, this is the truth.
Q. What are, then, in your opinion, the forces which have the historical task of
organizing revolutions in Latin America?
A. The industrial and agricultural proletariat, the peasants, the small bourgeoi
sie, above all the intellectuals. I do not wish to encourage factionalism. Nor d
o I deny that some layers of the national bourgeoisie can support, in part and t
emporarily, certain revolutionary events. I grant that some children of the bour
geoisie can enter the ranks of the people, participate in revolutions, and even
direct them, as conscious individuals, armed with a revolutionary theory (after
all, even I am the son of great landowners!). Yet, I am reasoning from a class v
iewpoint. There is no longer anything good we can expect from the national bourg
eoisie as a class. The same goes for national armies. Revolutionary and patrioti

c officers can be found, but professional and caste armies are like a cancer tha
t must be uprooted from Latin America. If the armies are not destroyed, there ca
n be no true governments of the people, and social reforms cannot be enacted. At
the first smell of an even modest reform, the army intervenes and paralyzes eve
rything. And when a corrupt government is on its way out, and a revolution is in
sight, there comes the army again with a state coup and with a new government w
hich is worse that the one that preceded it. These are the lessons of our histor
Q. In some countries, however, the national bourgeoisie is very strong. It will
not be easy to overturn it, together with the landowners, the generals, the olig
archic cliques, and the overlords...
A. Also in Cuba, the feudal-bourgeois group way very strong. It controlled every
thing: the army, the press, the judiciary, the radio, schools, universities, the
police, everything. Yet, we won. Armed and well organized workers, peasants and
students: this is the only revolutionary force of this Continent.
Q. Comandante, what is the socialist camp's contribution to the Cuban revolution
A. My boy, what would have happened to us had Khruschev not sent us oil and brou
ght our sugar? And had the Czechs not sent weapons to defend ourselves, and mach
ines, spare parts and technicians? We have here two or three hundred Soviet tech
nicians, great workers, correct, kind, true brothers. The USSR is gambling on he
r peace, in spite of here twenty million dead of the last war, is compromising h
er peace and prestige in order to defend us, a small island. And it is doing thi
s with not strings attached, without asking for anything. And you ask me what I
think of the socialist camp? They are our friends.
Fidel's voice is hoarse, but the indomitable caballo resists, jokes, laughs, spe
aks rapidly, and concisely, by using vernacular expressions which makes his eloq
uence more down to earth, and so different from the solemn and slow eloquence of
his official speeches.
Now, is it the others' turn in asking questions. They ask him personal questions
. One says with a certain pomposity: "What do you fool when you awake in the mor
ning and think that you are the great leader of all Latin America?"
Fidel blushes and shrugs his shoulders.
"I am a man like any other. Here, for instance, this chico right here (he points
his finger at me) wakes up worrying that he will not be able to write a good ar
ticle. True? So I wake up with the feat that I may not be able to do well my wor
k as a revolutionary... And with the added pain of having to execute people... W
hat do you think, that we like to kill? We are compelled to do it. The terrorist
s place bombs, and shoot out militiamen. Do you remember when they blew up the F
rench ship? There were one hundred dead. [On March 4, 1960, the Coubre , a Frenc
h freighter loaded with Belgian arms and ammunition, was blown up in Havana Harb
or] Yet, it is terrible to have to execute people (suddenly, Fidel's eyes are fi
lled with tears, and his voice is upset). Believe me, it's a death struggle. It
is either us or them. We have to defend the revolution and make it go forward. W
e cannot show any pity. And yet it's terrible..."
It is 0530 hours. Fidel gets up, shakes hand with everybody, patiently and modes
tly signs postcards, pictures and books, and finds again his beautiful smile. "A
dios, companeros, muchas gracias!"
Then, turning to me, he says: "Got your interview, Italiano? Now you won't be on
the look-out for me..."

On the contrary, Comandante, I still have many questions to ask of you.

All right, all right, we'll see...
Then he leaves, walking slowly and in a slightly bent way, with his armed escort
, and in a big black car disappears in the Havana streets, silent and deserted,
and swept by a cold wind from the north.

We must defend our country

Denouncing U.S. Bay of Pigs Agression
The people know a great deal about the events which have taken place as a result
of our special reports, the newspaper accounts and the interrogation of prisone
rs. The people know about the invasion, the details of its organization, and the
way in which it was crushed.
We can give you some general ideas about how their plans developed and how ours
were developed in the zone of operation. In the first place, we had known for so
me time that a force was being formed to attack our country. Since the revolutio
n, we have been living amid a series of threats all of them from abroad. But there
were differences in our enemies that is, imperialism was the only one strong enou
gh to attack.
The aggression was indirect only in regard to the personnel. It was direct aggre
ssion in that it came from camps of the North Americans, that North American equ
ipment was used, and that it included a convoy by the U.S. Navy and the particip
ation of the U.S. Air Force. It was a combined thing: they used mercenaries ampl
y supported by the navy and air force.
We were awaiting an indirect attack. But one type of indirect attack is the type
of attack made against the Arbenz government in Guatemala; it is known that U.S
. aircraft were used against him. We also thought of an indirect attack utilizin
g the OAS to launch some type of collective action. And we also were expecting a
direct attack. The United States has always advocated all three types of action
It began to prepare immediately for direct action. But it was not able to gather
enough support in Latin America for collective action. The Mexican Government h
as been very firm against intervention in Cuba. So have Quadros and Colombia. So
the United States has encountered powerful resistance among the governments and
people of Latin America in seeking to further its desire for collective action
in the OAS.
On whom could it count? Only on the most corrupt Latin American governments. Fir
st the United States tried to work with Trujillo, and most of the Cuban aggressi
on came from the Dominican Republic.
Then it tried to enlist the so-called democratic governments, under the guise of
democracy, when they broke with Trujillo because, they said, he was a dictator.
While the
its ties
not count

United States was taking action against Trujillo, it was strengthening

with Somoza and Ydigoras, who are typically corrupt, despotic, and rea
Those are the instruments on which the United States can count. It can
on Brazil, Mexico, or any other decent Latin American country. Its par

tners in this venture have been the most reactionary and corrupt governments in
Latin America, the governments of Nicaragua and Guatemala.
We have always been in danger of direct aggression. We have been warning about t
his in the United Nations: that they would find a pretext, that they would organ
ize some act of aggression so that they could intervene. That is why we have fol
lowed a cautious policy in regard to Guantanamo Base.
We wish to avoid giving them a pretext for intervention. We made this known in t
he United Nations. We said that we would never want to obtain the base by force,
only through international law, so that we would not provide a pretext for dire
ct aggression.
Danger of World War
Our position is that we will fight to the last man, but we do not want direct ag
gression. We do not wish to suffer the destruction that aggression would bring.
If the aggression comes, it will meet the total resistance of our people.
The danger of direct aggression could again gain momentum following this failure
. We have said that imperialism will disappear. We do not wish it to commit suic
ide; we want it to die a natural death. If it dies the world will live in peace.
But it will die violently if it begins a world war.
If imperialism acts with a maximum of responsibility it will bring about a war w
hich it could survive only a relatively short time. As an economic way of life,
it will have to disappear through historical laws. (Applause) We do not wish it
to commit suicide by attacking us. If they attack us, we would resist in an unbe
lievable manner. (Applause)
They are the ones who are bringing the world to the brink of war through their w
arlike spirit, their own contradictions, and their economic problems which cause
them to provoke a series of crises in order to maintain their war economy. Thei
r factories run only when they are building war material. Their regime is marchi
ng toward a crisis. It is not like our economy, which is perfectly planned.
The economy of our country is based on an increase of 10 percent a year, while i
n the United States the figure is only two percent. The U.S. economy is managed
in the interest of only a few groups; it is divorced from the interests of the p
eople. In war they have a cure for their crises.
They have the capacity to do all sorts of things for the benefit of their people
. But their system demands production for war, not peace. As a result, there is
extensive wasting of natural resources. Look at their military budget. What they
could do with this money for schools, industry, homes! What good it could mean
for the world!
And that is only part of the story. Some of their factories are working on a par
t-time basis. How different from the Soviet Union, where everyone works! If some
one wants to build a factory in the United States, he does so whether it is need
ed or not. This is the result of an unplanned economy. In the United States, war
militarizes the economy. They plan for that.
The government does not permit any monopoly to produce what they want they have t
o produce war materials. Then the government plans and controls production they pr
oduce fantastically. In time of war they plan, then all the people work. They ar
e not capable of solving the problem of unemployment in producing for peace. Onl
y in time of war can they resolve their economic crisis. That is why there are g
roups who wish to go on a war footing, if possible, with local wars. This has be
en the American policy after World War II. With respect to our country, they hav

e been holding these ideas of aggression. We have been and are now facing that t
Concerning the type of aggression against us: How could they organize a mercenar
y force against the united people, against our army and militia? They did not th
ink about that type of war. They thought of a frontal attack with mercenaries an
d of taking over our country.
First Step: Economic Aggression
The first step was economic aggression to weaken the revolution that is to say, they
attacked on the economic front: they took away our sugar quota. Our economy was
based on one product the export of sugar with one market: the United States.
When Guatemala tried to take over the United Fruit land, intervention took place
immediately. Since the days of Roosevelt, direct aggression has no longer been
used. Instead a puppet is sent. In Guatemala there is hunger and oppression and
a gentleman who dedicates himself to harboring mercenaries to attack our country
In our country, when reforms were initiated, a clash resulted with the imperiali
sts of the United States. Here they had no army directed by their diplomats to t
urn against the people. Here the old army had been destroyed and their weapons l
eft in the hands of the people. The U.S. military mission which had been here un
til the fall of Batista when our troops arrived in Camp Libertad were still there
to see if perhaps they could teach us, too. We told them to go home. (Laughter)
I well recall I told one of them "You taught Batista and we beat him. We don't w
ish to be taught by you." (Laughter and applause).
Here they had no military organization to direct, and they found that the intere
sts of the government were directly opposed to the military proposals. The Revol
utionary Government has an army of the people. They then began their economic ag
gression and their harrassment.
They said: Cuba depends on us economically. It is underdeveloped. Any government
from which we take the sugar quota will surely fall.
We were truly underdeveloped and our imports all came from the United States. Ou
r imports exceeded our exports. We then began a program of economy but not for t
he poorer classes. They were not the ones who took trips abroad and consumed lux
uries I understand that the import of cars alone was 30 million dollars agricultural
machinery was only 5 million. Much land was not being used. Many lived only dur
ing the few months of the harvest, the rest of the time they piled up debts.
We began a program of lowering rents, giving land to cooperatives, investing in
programs which would give work to people. The country was saving money, contrary
to what the imperialists believed. They have a policy of exploitation of the pe
ople. We established a policy of austerity which affected only the social strata
which lived in luxury. For their trips abroad we only allowed them a few dollar
s. This austerity campaign did not afflict the people but only the privileged on
es. The revolution imposed a program of austerity for the luxury- using class an
d not the people. When they heard of the appointment of Che to the national bank
s they waited for the country to fail. This did not come about.
Then, they took another step of aggression, and tried to leave us without oil. T
hanks to our agreement with the USSR, we agreed to sell the USSR sugar in return
for oil. Before that, we had had to pay for oil with dollars. So then they deci
ded not to refine Soviet oil. That was because they had control of refining and
exploitation of oil in other countries; it was a real monopoly. When they learne
d that some oil for Cuba would come from other sources, they refused to refine i

t. They thought if we had anything against them we would be left without oil. Bu
t the refineries were taken over, and the USSR made great efforts to give us all
the oil we needed. We got through that [U.S.] aggression thanks to the USSR. We
get the oil much more cheaply than from the U.S. monopolies, and we pay for it
in sugar, not dollars.
Faced with the revolution's success in regard to oil, they took another step cutti
ng us off entirely from the U.S. market. Aggression like that can be resisted on
ly by a Revolutionary Government supported by the people. When Cuba sold sugar t
o the U.S. market, most of the sugarmills and cane- growing land belonged to Nor
th Americans. The Cuban workers received miserable pay and had employment only p
art of the year. There was no profit for our country; the profit was for the mon
opolies. When the agarian reform went through and cooperatives were formed and y
ear-around employment was provided, then our people began to get profits from ou
r economy. So then the U.S. market was cut off in an effort to make our people y
The people responded with determination. The Soviet Union again, and other socia
list countries even though they had plenty of sugar production of thier own, made
a great effort and agreed to buy four million tons of sugar from us so the revol
ution could withstand the blow. The OAS, the American system, this hemispheric s
ystem the United States talks about so much, had a clause forbidding economic ag
gression. That clause said no country could use economic pressure or aggression
to gain its objectives or influence affairs inside another country.
Economic aggression was banned expressly, and yet our country was brutally attac
ked economically. Representatives of Latin American countries met at Costa Rica,
and did not condemn the aggressor; but there was a declaration against the vict
im. The powerful country had violated the law against economic aggression; but w
hen the time came to condemn the shark, the sardines met and condemned the other
sardine. But this sardine was no longer a sardine.
And some people ask why we distrust the OAS. How could we not distrust the OAS?
The other sardines were afraid. We got no protection from the inter-American sys
tem. But, thanks to the USSR, China, and the other socialist countries, we had t
he sale of millions of tons of sugar assured. Our revolution could keep going.
Then they forbade the export of raw materials and parts to us. Almost all equipm
ent for transportation, construction, and our industries came from the United St
ates. So we were to be left without raw materials or parts to keep our machinery
in operation.
Not content with that, they blocked export of our molasses. Some U.S. companies
had already agreed to buy our molasses, but by using pressure, they deprived us
of millions of dollars we would have received from that. It was not easy to sell
molasses elsewhere.
It was one step after another designed to blockade us, to drive us in a situatio
n in which we would face shortages. The purpose was to defeat the Revolutionary
Government, which was working for the people, and return to the old system of co
rruption, a system under which the monopolies got all types of concessions and c
ontrolled the Cuban economy.
U.S. imperialism also used pressure in other countries to get them to blockade u
s. In the midst of all this, the revolution was carrying out education, reforest
ation, public beach programs, and so forth.
Second Step: Terrorism
Then they turned to backing terrorists and saboteurs. A campaign to destroy our

stores and factories began. Now that the people own the installations, sabotage
comes. When the wealthy owned them, there was no sabotage. But now that people o
wn the establishments, the CIA goes into action. There is a sabotage campaign.
They organize sabotage against our wealth, they burn cane. They began to send pl
anes over to burn it, but there was so much scandal that they changed tactics. T
hey began to stir up counterrevolutionary groups, using formed soldiers, the wor
st elements. The worst were those who directed the second Escambray front. They
sent them all kinds of arms. You have seen the display of weapons in the Civil P
laza. These worms, in a few weeks, got a thousand weapons, while we, in our batt
les, had to acquire arms one by one. They sent arms by air, by sea. And we are [
Unreadable text] seizing these arms.
Aggression began economically, with maneuvers in sugar and an economic blockade;
then came sabotage and counterrevolutionary guerrillas.
The United States has no right to meddle in our domestic affairs. We do not spea
k English and we do not chew gum. We have a different tradition, a different cul
ture, our own way of thinking. Our national characteristics are different. We ha
ve no borders with anybody. Our frontiers are the sea, very clearly defined.
Only because it is a big country did the United States take the right to commit
that series of brutalities against Cuba. How can the crooked politicians and the
exploiters have more rights than the people? What right does a rich country hav
e to impose its yoke on our people? Only because they have might and no scruples
; they do not respect international rules. They should have been ashamed to be e
ngaged in this battle of Goliath against David and to lose it besides.
What did we have against their might? First, we had a sense of dignity and coura
ge. We were not afraid. That is a big thing. Then, we were determined to resist.
No matter what they throw against us, we will fight. Our men know how to die, a
nd they have shown it during the past few days.
Next Step: Direct Aggression
So far they have gone from aggression to aggression without stopping to think. O
nly direct aggression is left. Are we going to be afraid? No! (Applause) Imperia
lism's soldiers are blood and flesh too, and bullets go through them. Let them k
now they will meet with serious resistance. That may be enough to make them refl
ect a little. Our people men, women, and children must maintain that spirit. If they
have no weapons they can take the place of somebody who falls. Have no fear; be
calm! After all, the result of aggression against Cuba will be the start of a c
onflagration of incalculable consequences, and they will be affected too. It wil
l no longer be a matter of them having a feast with us. They will get as much as
they give.
To resist is to meet the enemy and fight him with whatever is at hand. To resist
is to prepare our spirit, our minds for what comes, for the bombs they drop, be
cause in such a case they would have superiority in the air. We would have to di
g many trenches to defend ourselves. They would not have a bomb for each man in
a hole.
We would most strongly defend our capital from house to house, as we have said b
efore, from position to position above all, without retreat. We would mine the fie
lds. We would kill whatever parachutists fell in our zone of control.
If they think they can take our territory by surprise, they are mistaken. They w
ould encounter firm resistance here and would awaken an unprecedented feeling of
solidarity with us throughout the world. The attack by the mercenaries had demo
nstrated this. I am certain that such aggression would be suicide for them. Of t

hat I am completely sure!

I am sure that we would resist in the same spirit as the men who have fallen up
to today. In the fight in the Sierra Maestra and in the fight with the mercenari
es, many of our friends have fallen. They paid their final tribute. They did the
ir part. We all have the same obligation to act with that spirit of duty, with t
hat feeling of loyalty. None of us has the right to save his life. That is to sa
y, that our decision is firm. To resist regardless of cost, in all ways. That is
what we have to do under the circumstances imposed on us through no fault of ou
rs. We feel proud of our position. We used to be the last card in the deck, now
we are among the first.
Throughout the whole world there are demonstrations in support of us and against
the United States. They are surprised because in less than 72 hours we have des
troyed the invasion which was prepared by the brains of the Pentagon with all th
e tactics and preparations of a war. The leaders of the invasion had great faith
in the plans on which the United States placed its prestige, and out of which t
hey came without prestige. Their plans were defeated. This they cannot accept. T
hey fell into this ridiculous situation through their own fault. They cannot sta
nd that consequence, so now they threaten with direct intervention, because they
could not win. Well, who doubts that if they were capable of making such a mist
ake, they may not make a greater mistake? Who doubts that if they were capable o
f making this mistake, they will not make another great mistake? We think that t
hey are capable of making even a greater mistake which will cost them not only t
heir prestige, but will cost them their very existence as well; and no one knows
what it may cost the world. The fact is that it is they who are threatening the
entire world. They are the gangsters who are threatening the world peace, threa
tening the world with a war, threatening Cuba with intervention, and threatening
Latin America. What can Latin America say to these threats? What they want is t
o bring back the right of intervention.
Our duty as a soldier in the trenches is to defend our country. All our spirit,
all our thoughts, all our energy should be concentrated on this history-making p
eriod. We must defend our country. We defend the peace of the entire world, beca
use our defense of our country may perhaps make these gentlemen stop and reflect
. If they believe that we will run, they are wrong nobody ran. Our firm decision i
s that before they subdue us, they will have to erase us from the map. Resistanc
e will be strong in all sectors, in the fields if they take the cities. Let's se
e how they take Havana for example. We must look at all these things objectively
because of our experience we cannot go to sleep and rest on our laurels, because
imperialism has received a rude blow and it is like an infuriated beast. Let us
see if they reconsider, this gentleman we have there now, let us see how he acts
Kennedy Intensifies U.S. Aggression
We awaited his inauguration to see if he would do something different. We did no
t believe that he would continue with the errors of the previous administration.
He himself said: "Let us begin anew." He did not begin anew; he began as of old
. He not only followed the policy of Eisenhower, but he was even more aggressive
against us. This gentleman has brought this problem on himself, through his lac
k of commonsense. He has earned this discredit all by himself. While we waited f
or him to show what policy he was going to follow, he increased the attacks agai
nst us. He increased in intensity the aggression against our country.
"Now he must do what he has to do: to recognize his mistake. What he has to do i
s to fire Mr. Allen Dulles. Because after a government has been placed before th
e world in such a ridiculous position, as the Yankee intelligence service has pl
aced the U.S. Government, it is the least he can do now. What he has to do is to
fire the chief of the intelligence service. You know why he should fire him? We

ll, because he `shipped' him too." (porque tambien lo embarco Sp.) (Laughter)
What was one of the most ridiculous things that ever happened in the history of
the United States, and they brought it on themselves. All we did was defend ours
elves. It is clear that to please Mr. Kennedy and Allen Dulles we could not let
ourselves be beaten by mercenaries. What did we do? We threw them into the ocean
. (Laughter) This invasion organized by the United States was a species of Norma
ndy which did not end in a Dunkirk because they did not get off the beaches.
Return to Trenches
That is what happened and that is why they are now furious and threatening. What
are we going to do before the threats of Mr. Kennedy? Be frightened? No, we smi
le, because there are many thousands of men in the trenches with weapons in thei
r hands. Once again we must take to the trenches. We have no other alternative onc
e more we must wait to see what happens in this crisis.
The defense of our country is what I wish to speak of first today. The expeditio
n should strive to warn us that these people make many mistakes and that they ar
e capable of committing the greatest imbecilities. As far as we are concerned, w
e cannot stop them from meddling. We do all we can to prevent it by arming ourse
lves and preparing for defense so that they may reconsider. But if they make a m
istake, we cannot stop them from making it. Our duty is to maintain our firm pos
ition and be ready to defend ourselves without alarm, without panic, just as our
many comrades went to fight and die. Nobody has the right to preserve his life.
We all have the same obligations. We must keep this thought ever-present, espec
ially right now when we have just finished a bloody battle where a great number
of friends and brothers of the people have fallen. Of that we want to speak firs
The lackeys that took part in this Yankee-planned invasion evidently had confide
nce that the plan would not fail. They were so confident that they even sent the
ir sons. Now they are seeking for clemency for the prisoners. Let them have clem
ency of the victims of their bombing. Let them cease sending arms to Cuba; arms
to murder and kill, and the send of explosives and incendiaries. Let all this ce
ase if they wish clemency.
Instead of defending the mercenaries, and there are some who do, they should be
defending the victims of aggression. That is the situation.
Invasion Analyzed
Let us now analyze the plan of attack by imperialism against Cuba, and why
landed where they did, and why they did not land on the other side. In the
place they exaggerated the number of mercenaries. Instead of four or five
and they did not have anywhere near that number. What they landed here was
roup they had in Guatemala.

the g

They have another in Caimanera, but it is smaller and not armed as well. The gro
up that had the most arms, were better trained, and had air cover, was the Guate
mala group. At first it appeared that the intentions were to take the Isle of Pi
nes, to take it and free the war criminals imprisoned there and add them to thei
r ranks and to take a piece of national territory and then give us the problem o
f dislodging them.
They were to direct their efforts toward gaining a piece of territory to establi
sh there a provisional government from which to operate. The establishment of a
base on our territory would have given them a base to bomb our country and would
have created a difficult situation for us. We had to stop this at all costs. Th
e Isle of Pines was ideal for the establishment of a base on our territory which

would open the road for aid on territory of Cuba and make unnecessary to use of
other countries to launch aggressions. But here is what we did. We filled the I
sle of Pines with tens of batallions of cannon and tanks, we posted a force in t
he Isle of Pines that make the Isle of Pines invulnerable. A huge army would hav
e been needed to attack it. They could not count on Escambray after it had been
cleaned out. Would imperialism land mercenaries with just one combat force, or w
ould it split its force into several groups, that was the problem if faced. Woul
d it try to introduce groups and send them arms from the air, to establish many
counterrevolutionary networks. We took measures to counter multiple landings, co
ncentrating on logical points, in case they divided force into many groups. We c
oncentrated especially on places giving access to the mountains.
A few days before the aggression, many U.S. papers carried the report that imper
ialism had decided on splitting up the force and opening different fronts in Cub
a. That could be true. It could also be true that the rumors were intended to th
row us off the track. Events later showed that they had decided to send the whol
e force together and seize a point of our territory. Among the rumors in the U.S
. press, it was said that it was risky to send all forces against one point and
expose them to a crushing defeat and strengthening the revolution.
If they had split up their forces in many landings, they could have used it for
much propaganda. A defeat in that case would have been diluted. I believe they c
ould have chosen either tactic. We trusted that we would defeat them wherever, t
hey came. For us it would be best if they all came against the same point but we
did not think they would do this. They chose something that offered more but al
so was much more risky for morale and prestige. They should have been worried ab
out the blow to the morale of imperialism and counterrevolution. For us it was b
etter for them to come in one force, but we thought they would avoid that mistak
e. But we were still ready with adequate force if they all came together.
Preparations for Invasion
A series of facts showed that the time was near: statements; formation of counci
l of worms in exile; the famous White Book from Kennedy. A whole series of polit
ical facts and statements plus the indications in the U.S. press, including disc
repancies about possible tactics. We heard that the last shipments of arms and m
en had gone to Guatemala. We increased our vigilance. On 15 April, because of a
report from Oriente, we had not gone to bed. Everything indicated the attack mig
ht come at any minute; we got news from Oriente that many groups of ships were o
ff Baracoa. Our forces were put on the alert.
It was necessary to be very careful because American ships often came close to t
he coast trying to cause trouble. One American ship without any flag was very cl
ose to the coast. It was detained by our craft. Then U.S. planes came, apparentl
y to provoke an incident, so our vessel was ordered to let the ship proceed to a
void an incident. In connection with the mercenary landing, Americans carried ou
t some ship movements to throw us off the track. The Baracoa battalion was waiti
ng for a landing so there could be no doubt as to what kind of a ship it was. Bu
t in the end there was no landing at Baracoa. We still did not know what group o
f ships that was. It may have been mercenaries who never landed, it may have bee
n U.S. ships; anyway, nothing happened.
We heard bombs and ack-ack. We saw it was a bombing raid in Ciudad Libertad. We
decided it was definite that the aggression was beginning. We tried to get in to
uch with San Antonio to get our planes up and found that a simultaneous attack w
as going on there; and Santiago was attacked too.
We had taken measures at the air base. We have few planes and even fewer pilots.
We were taking care of those planes. We wanted to be sure they would not be des
troyed. So our planes were kept scattered. At San Antonio they managed to destro

y one transport plane and one fighter; that was not much. At (Santiago?) they de
stroyed one fighter and several civilian planes.
They had hoped to destroy our air force. Imperialist aggressions are characteriz
ed by an attack on aviation to immobilize it. Our force is small, but we expect
to make good use of those few planes and pilots.
At San Antonio the ack-ack reaction was formidable. Planes were driven off and o
ur planes took off in pursuit of the enemy till he was on way to Miami. The firs
t step of aggression to destroy our planes on the ground had failed. We reinforced o
ur ack-ack but they did not come back. They had attacked with six planes. Some d
id not get back, others were riddled. Our air force was intact and ready. And ou
r pilots wanted revenge. That was Saturday. All forces were alerted. Sunday the
funeral services were held, our own planes kept guard.
An ammo truck has been set afire by the attack but the people kept calm. They dr
ove the other trucks away while the ammo on the first one was exploding. (Applau
se) Of course no trucks with ammo should have been there but those things do hap
pen. We were alert all day Sunday. We slept in the afternoon and not at night. W
e figured that the air raid was not just harrassment but had a military objectiv
e, to destroy our air force. Therefore we figured the aggression would come soon
. We reinforced our measures after the air attack.
Invasion Comes
Why was this attack made two days early? Tactically speaking it was an error bec
ause we had a chance to take some measures. We mobilized all combat units. On Su
nday nothing happened. On Monday morning at 3:15 I was informed that fighting wa
s going on at Playa Giron and Playa Larga. We confirmed this. Then came the repo
rt that an invading force was bombing heavily with bazookas and cannons at the t
wo beaches. There was no doubt of a landing attempt at that point one supported by
heavy equipment. Resistance began. Results of the attacks came. The microwave s
ystem was cut off. Communications were then cut off. This was the situation.
Here is Cochino Bay and here is Cienfugeos. There was a Cienfugeos battalion at
the Central Australia. These were the first to meet the aggression. Here is Play
a Larga and here Playa Giron. Here is Zapata Peninsula. This piece of impassible
swamp land was the sole communication available to peasants. This area bothered
the revolution most.
(Editor's Note: At this point Castro discusses for approximately six minutes the
Zapata swamp area and tells what the revolution has done for it and its people,
the building of schools, roads, and medical facilities. He then spends about fi
ve minutes giving in some detail a list of the weapons captured in this area, ap
parently reading from a report. Then during a period of bad reception of approxi
mately 10 minutes, he discusses the invader miscalculations of the Castro air fo
rce and, in some detail, the battle plans and the tactical situation during the
early stages of the invasion. During much of the time Castro seems to be referri
ng to maps.)
That was the plan. They put two battalions here, and five further back; here wer
e four and six, that was very early in the morning. Then planes were to drop par
atroops. They began landing very well. But at Playa Larga and Playa Giron they m
et resistance. They began losing time. They got two battalions ashore. Paratroop
s began operating. As they dropped paratroops at these spots, our troops were ca
ught between the main force and the paratroops. Our first measures were to alert
all commands and the air force. Orders were given to disperse planes and have a
ck-ack ready if an attack was made on the airstrip.
We had planes ready for defense against air attack. The battalion at the Austral

ia central was ordered to Playa Larga to fight. It was an infantry battalion rec
ently formed. At the same time an order given to mobilize Matanzas militia batta
lion and advance to here. Orders were given to other forces. We had two battalio
ns in Las Villas. The problem first of all was to keep a beachhead here. The mai
n thing was to keep a bit of Playa Larga here, on this side. The Cienfuegos batt
alion got there before dawn and began fighting. But then came time another group
of our forces was fighting at Cayo Ramona. The air force was ordered to take be
fore dawn and attack all ships off Giron and Playa Larga. Our battalion prevente
d battalion five from getting ashore. Our planes began attacking the ships and d
oing much damage. Meanwhile our battalion was facing strong fire, and was taken
from the rear. It fell back fighting the paratroops. A battalion was sent from M
atanzas to reinforce it.
Enemy planes were painted with revolutionary armed forces insignia. They attacke
d our advancing troops. We were most interested in keeping this bit of territory
. When we saw paratroops dropped we realized that the attack would come against
a single point and any other move would be for diversion. Mobilization of two co
mbat columns of the army was ordered; also of a company of tanks and anti-tank b
atteries and mortars. Since they controlled the air, the first day our forces ha
d to wait till night to advance. Our planes could not shift from attacking the s
Our planes continued to attack the ships. They did wonderful work. Besides attac
king the ships, they fought with enemy planes. But they kept hammering the ships
until not much was left of their fleet. We lost two planes the first morning. F
ive enemy planes were downed. Four ships were sunk. That was the first day.
They had an unexpected surprise. They had thought our air force was knocked out,
and so the first day ended. They lost more than half of their ships. Our pilots
acted with special courage. What they did was incredible.
The militia attacked the Playa Larga position. The battalion had only a narrow r
oad to attack from. On the first day they deployed forces. They were attacking w
ith planes here, and here. We tried to approach the enemy as close as possible u
nder B-26 fire. The battle was accompanied by tanks. So we attacked them all day
without respite, fighting constantly. An early morning tank attack came from th
e same beach with antiair fire support. One of our tanks was damaged. An antitan
k battery hit us and also another entrenched tank. The goal was to take Playa La
rga beach.
U.S. Sabre Jets Involved
They then began to flee. Here a tank surrendered. At dawn on 19 April the planes
bombed the Australia central. On the 19th we had antiaircraft in position. This
column, when in movement, was attached by American Sabre planes. They (the inva
ders Ed.) had B-26's, not jets. Then, this column of ours, when it advanced betwee
n Playa Larga and Playa Giron during the afternoon, suffered many casualties und
er attack of American Sabres. Those planes were at high altitudes, and on that d
ay when it was already dusk on the 18th, they attacked our column, with Sabres,
with jet planes, and they caused many casualties in the column. That was one of
the cases in which American planes participated directly. They attacked the colu
mn coming from Playa Larga to Giron. At dawn on 19 April a plane attacked the Au
stralia central and was downed and then two more planes. Our planes downed more
B-26's. We downed 10 planes during the entire fighting. On the 19th none of thei
r planes returned and we did not see the enemy anymore.
List of Casualties
On 19 April there were losses, as they were well entrenched. Our people had to f
ight facing heavy mortar fire and anti-tank guns. There were 87 dead on our side

and 250 wounded. That means that our combat units paid a high price in lives wh
ile they were on the offensive and that was due to the fact that we were on the
offensive constantly until the last position was taken. It is possible that the
dead on our side will amount to 100. That indicates the heroism of our troops. T
hey fought constantly without relief against an enemy with relief and more plane
s than we had. (Castro confers with one of his aides on figures Ed.) An exact figu
re cannot yet be given on losses because many of those who came in ships were dr
owned. According to date here 88. One cannot count those lost in bombing and sun
ken ships. This will be possible only after identification and a check of person
nel lost from each unit. There are some 450 prisoners. We cannot study all data
of units and determine how many men were in ships which were sunk. One cannot gi
ve an exact figure on that. As I said, one of the basic principles of battle was
the courage with which our men fought. It is one thing to defend a position and
another to attack without protection under heavy fire. Of course, under such ci
rcumstances the losses increase. In the future, we shall be able to have more of
ficers, Battalion chiefs are learning more. The training of units and officers w
ill be better. All kinds of personnel mortar, shell, cannon will be specialized. The
fact have shown us the necessity of using our knowledge to defend the revolutio
n. The units have acquired considerable experience.
Decorations and Pensions
The government plans to create a decoration to decorate as "Hero of the Revolution
" those who were outstanding for valor; and another type of decoration to reward
acts of valor in battle. Meanwhile the government will pass a pension law to gi
ve a pension to kin of militia and soldiers who fell in this fighting. The least
the revolution can do for those who fell is to protect their families who depen
ded on them. This will be done as soon as the cabinet meets.
If our troops had had more experience, we could have had fewer casualties. When
imperialism found what had happened, it had no army left here. The enemy is stil
l dumbfounded.
Counterrevolutionary Suspects Rounded Up
The committees for defense of the revolution acted too. There was a needed to ar
rest anybody who for one reason or another might help the counterrevolution. Tha
t kind of measure always entails some injustice, but that is inevitable. The cou
ntry faced aggression and had to take any measure for defense. Those persons wil
l be released unless there are charges against them other than that they were co
nsidered suspect. Those who have counterrevolutionary activity proven against th
em or are well known will continue to be held. Since yesterday, those arrested a
s a precaution have started being released. This does not mean that the danger i
s past. We think the danger is great, especially of direct aggression from the U
nited States.
At Mesa, Arizona, Senator Goldwater said he had recommended direct intervention
if all else failed. That is the idea of right that this ultra has. What respect
for sovereignty of other countries and international law! How calmly they speak
of direct military intervention. They respect nothing. And they talk as if it we
re so easy. They do not learn. They should think of the sorrow military aggressi
on causes and all to restore privileges here. What need was there to bring this bl
oodshed to our country? What need to threaten us with intervention? They are so
irresponsible that after causing bloodshed here, they threaten with more interve
ntion. The reply is our determination to resist; and if they attack, it will be
the end of imperialism. Better to die than live under the yoke of those gentleme
First Imperialist Defeat in America

Glorious death fighting to defeat imperialism deserves a monument. There should

be a big monument in Zapata swamps with the names of the fallen on it, to tell t
he world that on that day Zapata imperialism sustained its first great defeat in
America. Precious lives were given in this battle. The militia performed countl
ess feats of prowess. The people defended their land, honor, rights. They have e
arned the admiration of the world and prestige. They waged a battle for peace.
Just think, during these past days the literacy campaign was not halted; the lif
estock fair is opening; the Conrado Benitez literacy brigade is about to set for
th. This work did not stop in the midst of tension. This shows the stuff the rev
olution is made of.
The comrades who fell saved tens of thousands of lives. Their service to the nat
ion is incalculable. The pilots who fought so steadily and eagerly have created
the air force. I am sure no air force ever did before what they have done. We be
lieve 17 April should be made Cuban revolutionary air force day.
Mansfield said the Cuban crisis is very grave. The Vermont senator said Cuba is
a permanent threat to the hemisphere. If that means they will invade Cuba, nobod
y here is frightened at all. We will give them a great reception. The might of a
n empire cannot go as far as the dignity of the people. It will collapse when it
runs into the will of the people.
Latin American War
It is regrettable that U.S. leaders make so many mistakes, such as this one. Why
did the U.S. Government need to make itself so ridiculous? It calculated a lot
but it calculated badly. In Latin America, there will be war by all who support
our revolution. Latin American forces would have a hard time to protect U.S. amb
assadors. They should reflect on that. It is too bad they are playing with the i
dea of attacking us. Such a mistake nobody knows where it would end. It is too bad
the world has to be exposed to the mistakes of those men who know nothing about
Kennedy's speeches and his threats are similar to Hitler's. Hitler threatened th
e small neighboring countries, and Kennedy is threatening Cuba and is saying tha
t he will intervene. He says that his patience is coming to an end. Well, what a
bout our patience, with all the things we have had to endure? In attacking Cuba,
they shall unmask themselves more and arouse more revolutionary spirit in Latin
America and they will only increase their own future worries. We want them to l
eave us alone. We want to live in peace with our revolution without losing any m
ore sons. They should stop supplying the counterrevolutionaries with weapons. We
will simply have to use a heavy hand. (Applause)
The imperialist powers use the method of surprise
tler and Mussolini. We wish they would reconsider
hower, anything. Let humanity, let history, end a
Imperialism must pass just as feudalism did, just

attacks, the same method of Hi

things, take a cold or a hot s
system which is outdated now.
as slavery did.

The wars of 1914 and 1940's were bad. Nazism didn't save itself. The forces in t
he world in favor of peace are great. They know history is with them. They need
not fight against history to preserve their system and privileges. It will be a
sorry day for the world if those gentlemen are not able to reconsider. This is t
he question we must consider quietly. Cuba is part of the world today and there
can be no discussion with Cuba that do not effect the world. (Applause)
We shall keep all the revolutionary forces mobilized and we shall plan for the M
ay Day celebrations and we shall work for the victory of the revolution. We shal
l prepare ourselves to make the necessary sacrifices. The people have tasted vic
tory. Victory is based upon sacrifices, on the basis of the 87 who died to guara

ntee the future of the country. They sacrificed themselves for the rest, for the
independence and sovereignty of the nation and to obtain a better nation. This
joy of today we owe it to those who fell and we hope that the future generations
will enjoy their lives for today's sacrifices.
The first prisoner, (Anzon Bayon?) said he was in training for two months in Gua
temala under American instructors and then went to Nicaragua but was there only
one day. He said that the situation in Cuba was pictured as intolerable.
The second prisoner, whose name was not heard, said he was trained at the Helvet
ia Ranch in Guatemala, that he saw the Guatemalan minister of war at the Retalhu
leu base in November and that President Ydigoras visited the camp in December. W
hen asked if he had joined or enlisted in Miami, he replied, "In Mexico."
Questioned about the nationality of two destroyers which the prisoner said serve
d as an escort, he replied;
"They came in the area of the straits between Caiman Grande and Jamaica. I could
see in the distance that two destroyers escorted us. I could see the number on
one of them that came more to the North. The number was 507."
Question: "Did you understand what I asked about the destroyer?"
Answer: "It was of North American nationality. The destroyer accompanied us from
Caiman strait and Jamaica up to very near the Playa Giron."
Question: "What idea did you and those who were with you have about the Cuban si
Answer: "Our ideas were principally from information media we had from (here?).
We had bulletin board notices at the brigade headquarters, a series of notes hea
ded News about Cuba: That the militia was discontented; that there was friction
between the army and the militia, very great friction I do not have to tell you th
at that was not true; that the people were discontented with the government, wit
h the economic measures the propaganda was constant. They emphasized that the inve
stigation services of the government were...

May Day Celebration (1961): Cuba is a Socialist Nation

Distinguished visitors from Latin American and the entire world, combatants of t
he armed forces of the people, workers: We have had 14 and a half hours of parad
ing. (Chanting) I think that only a people imbued with infinite enthusiasm is ca
pable of enduring such tests. Nevertheless, I will try to be as brief as possibl
e (Chanting)
We are very happy over this attitude by the people. I believe that today we shou
ld outline the course to follow, analyze a little what we have done up to now, a
nd see at what point in our history we are, and what we have ahead. We have all
had a chance to see the parade. Maybe we who are on this platform could apprecia
te it better than you in the square, maybe still better than those who have para
ded. This May Day tells a lot, it tells a lot about what the revolution has been
so far, what it has achieved so far; but maybe it does not tell us as much as i
t tells our visitors.
We have been witnesses, all of us Cubans, of every step taken by the revolution,
so maybe we cannot realize how much we have advanced as fully as can be underst

ood by visitors, particularly those visitors from Latin America, where today the
y are still living in a world very similar to the one we lived in yesterday. It
is as if they were suddenly transported from the past to the present of our revo
lution, with all its extraordinary progress as compared to the past. We do not i
ntend tonight to stress the merit of what we have done. We merely want to locate
ourselves at the point where we are at the present.
We had a chance today to see genuine results of the revolution on this May Day,
so different from the May Days of the past. Formerly that date was the occasion
for each sector of labor to set forth its demands, its aspirations for improveme
nt, to men who were deaf to the working class interests, men who could not even
accede to those basic demands because they did not govern for the people, for th
e workers, for the peasants, or for the humble; they governed solely for the pri
vileged, the dominant economic interests. Doing anything for the people would ha
ve meant harming the interests that they represented, and so they could not acce
de to any just demand from the people. The May Day parades of those days marked
the complaints and protest of the workers.
How different today's parade has been! How different even from the first parades
after the revolution triumphed. Today's parade shows us how much we have advanc
ed. The workers (Light applause) now do not have to submit themselves to those t
rials; the workers now do not have to implore deaf executives; the workers now a
re not subject to the domination of any exploiting class; the workers no longer
live in a country run by men serving exploiting interests. The workers know now
that everything the revolution does, everything the government does or can do, h
as one goal: helping the workers, helping the people. (Applause)
Otherwise, there would be no explanation for the spontaneous sentiment of suppor
t for the Revolutionary Government, that overflowing good will that every man an
d woman has expressed today. (Applause)
Fruits of the revolution are seen everywhere. The first to parade today were the
children of the Camilo Cienfuegos school center. We saw the Pioneers parade by
with the smile of hope, confidence, and affection. We saw the young rebels parad
e by. We saw the women of the federation go by. We saw children from numberless
schools created by the revolution parade. We saw 1,000 students from the 600 sug
ar-cane cooperatives who are studying artificial insemination here in the capita
l. We saw young people, humble people, parade with their uniforms of the school
center where they are learning to be diplomatic representatives of the future.
We saw the pupils of the schools for young peasants of the Zapata swamps parade
by, the swamps that the mercenaries chose for their attack. We saw thousands and
thousands of peasants who are studying in the capital and who come from distant
mountain areas or from cane cooperatives or from people's farms parade. We saw
the young girls studying for children's club work. And here everyone of these gr
oups staged scenes that are worthy of praise. And we saw also what is going into
the rural areas. The volunteer teachers paraded and also representatives of the
100,000 young people on their way to the interior to wipe out illiteracy. Where
does this strength come from? It comes from the people, and it is devoted to th
e people in return.
These young people are truly children of the people. When we saw them today writ
ing Long Live Our Socialist Revolution with their formations we thought how hard
it would have been to have all this without a revolution; how hard for any of t
hese children from the mountains to have paraded here today, or any of these you
ng people from the rural areas to have a chance to get to know the capital, or t
o study in any of these schools, or to parade with the joy and pride shown here
today, or to march with the faith in the future shown today, because schools, un
iversity professions, art, culture, and honors were never for the children of po
or families, in town or in the country. They were never for the peasant of the r

emote rural areas; they were never for the poor young fellow, black or white, or
our countryside and cities.
Art, culture, university professions, opportunities, honors, elegant clothes wer
e only the privilege of a small minority, a minority represented today with that
grace and humor shown by some worker federations in their imitations of the ric
h. It is astounding to think that today more than 20,000 athletes paraded, if on
e remembers that we are just beginning. And this, without touching on the most m
arvelous thing we had a chance to see today, that is, this armed nation, this un
ited people, which came to attend these ceremonies.
How would it have been possible without a revolution? How can one compare this p
resent with the past? How can one avoid emotion on seeing endless lines of worke
rs, athletes, and militiamen parade by? At times all went to intermingled. After
all, workers, athletes, and soldiers are the same thing. Anybody could understa
nd why our people must emerge victorious in any battle. We noted the many women
in the ranks of the federations. The men were in the artillery units, mortar uni
ts, ack-ack units, or militia battalions. The women were the wives and sisters a
nd sweethearts of the militiamen who marched by later in the battalions and thos
e young men of the basic secondary schools, the Pioneers who paraded by were the
ir sons.
And so one can see today the unity of the humble people who are fighting for the
poor. Workers of every profession; manual laborers and intellectual workers; al
l were marching together, the writer, artist, actor, announcer, doctor, nurse, c
linical employer. Marching together in great numbers under the flag of the natio
nal education workers union were the teachers, employees of the Education Minist
ry. (Applause).
Today we have had a chance to see everything worthwhile in our country, everythi
ng produced in our country. We have understood better than ever that there are t
wo classes of citizens, or rather there were two classes of citizens; the citize
ns who worked, produced, and created and the citizens who lived without working
or producing. These latter were parasites. (Applause)
In this young, fervent nation, who did not parade today, who could not parade he
re today? The parasites! Today the working people paraded, everybody who produce
s with his hands or his brain. I do not mean that workers who did not have a cha
nce to parade were parasites, because they had to take care of their children, o
r were ill, or even just did not want to parade today. I am speaking only of tho
se who were not represented here because they could not be represented by those
who produce.
This is the people, the true people. He who lives as a parasite does not belong
to the people. Only the invalid, the sick, the old, and children are entitled to
live without working and are entitled to have us work for them and to care for
them, and from the work of everyone they can be benefited. For the children, the
old, the invalid, and the sick, we have the duty to work, all of us. (Applause)
What no moral law will be able to justify ever is for the people to work for th
e parasites. (Applause)
Those who paraded today were the working people who will never resign themselves
to work for the parasites. (Applause) In this manner our national community has
understood what the revolution is, and has understood clearly what the meaning
of a revolution is in which a nation gets rid of parasites from the outside and
those inside. (Applause) We remember that because of the nationalization of the
largest industries of the nation, and just before the U.S. factories were nation
alized, some asked: Was not this factory a Cuban factory? Why should a Cuban fac
tory be nationalized? Well, such a factory did not belong to the people, it belo
nged to some man. Now they belong to the nation. (Applause)

New Concept of Motherland

It was the custom to talk about the motherland; there were some who had a wrong
idea of the motherland. There was the motherland of the privileged ones, of a ma
n who has a large house, while the others live in hovels. What motherland did yo
u have in mind, sir? A motherland where a small group lives from the work of oth
ers? A motherland of the barefoot child who is asking for alms on the street? Wh
at kind of motherland is this? A motherland which belonged to a small minority?
Or the motherland of today? The motherland of today where we have won the right
to direct our destiny, where we have learned to decide our destiny, a motherland
which will be, now and forever--as Marti wanted it--for the well-being of every
one and not a motherland for few!
The motherland will be a place where such injustices will be eliminated, now we
can have the real concept of motherland. We are willing to die for a motherland
which belongs to all Cubans. (Applause) That is why the exploiting classes could
not have the real concept of motherland. For them, the motherland was a privile
ge by which they took advantage of the work of others. That is why when a Yankee
monopolist (shouts of Out!) when a leader, or a member of the U.S. ruling circl
es, talks about the motherland, they refer to the motherland of monopolies, of t
he large banking monopolies. And when they talk about the motherland, they are t
hinking about sending the Negroes of the South, the workers, to be killed to def
end the motherland of monopolies. (Applause)
What kind of morality and what reason and what right do they have to make a Negr
o die to defend the monopolies, the factories, and the mines of the dominating c
lasses? What right have they to send the Puerto Rican of Latin blood, of Latin t
radition, to the battlefields to defend the policy of large capitalists and mono
polies? This concept of motherland and this danger to their security to which th
ey refer is the danger of the monopolies. You can understand what concept they h
ave of morality, law, and rights, to send the Negroes of the South and the Puert
o Ricans to the battlefields to fight for them. This is their concept of motherl
and. That is why the people receive the real concept of motherland only when the
interests of the privileged classes are liquidated, and when a nation with its
wealth becomes a nation for everyone, the wealth for everyone, and opportunity a
nd happiness for everybody.
This happiness now belongs to those youths who paraded, and the families who kno
w that their children can have a school, receive scholarships, and go to the bes
t universities abroad, a privilege enjoyed only by the richest families. And tod
ay any family, regardless of how poor, has the opportunity to send its children
to schools in the nation and abroad. Any family knows that thanks to the revolut
ion its children have all the opportunities which formerly belonged only to the
rich. A nation which works for itself, whether it be in defense of or in achievi
ng wealth can achieve what the minorities cannot. (Applause)
The revolution can win the people with its fervor and enthusiasm. The revolution
can utilize all intelligence and creative spirit and take everyone toward a pat
h of well-being and progress. The people who spent 15 hours here today are the s
ame people who formerly could not spend even one hour at a public rally, or who
were paid or forced to go to a public rally. These enthusiastic people are the d
iscouraged people of yesterday. The difference is that yesterday they worked for
others and today they work for themselves. (Applause)
Fight Against Imperialism
Think of the men who died in recent battles and decide whether a single drop of
blood was worth being lost to defend the past. Consider that these workers and y
ouths, the children of workers, fell 10 or 12 days ago to defend what we have se

en today. They fell to defend this enthusiasm, this hope, and this joy of today.
That is why when today we saw a happy face or a smile full of hope, we though t
hat each smile of today was a flower over the grave of the fallen hero.
It was like giving thanks to those who gave their lives in the battle against im
perialism. Without them we would not have had the May Day parade. We would not h
ave been able to see what passed in front of us today. What would have happened
to our antiaircraft batteries, what would have happened to our cannons and our s
oldiers who marched here? What would have happened to our workers, wives, sister
s, and factories? What would have happened if imperialism had established even a
single beachhead on our territory? What would have happened if the imperialists
succeeded in taking one part of our territory, and from there, with Yankee bomb
s, machineguns, and planes, would have launched an armed attack against us.
Let us not talk about what would have happened if the imperialist had won. There
is no sadder picture than a defeated revolution. The uprising of slaves in Rome
[Spartacus uprising] and their defeat should give us an idea of what a defeated
revolution is. The Commune of Paris should give us an idea of what a defeated r
evolution is. History tells us that a defeated revolution must pay the victors i
n blood. The victors not only collect the past debts but also try to collect fut
ure debts. But under certain circumstances, it is impossible to crush a revoluti
It has never happened in history that a revolutionary people who have really tak
en over power have been defeated. What would have happened this May Day if imper
ialism had won its game? That is why we were thinking of all we owed those who f
ell. That is why we were thinking that every smile today was like a tribute to t
hose who made possible this hopeful day. The blood that was shed was the blood o
f workers and peasants, the blood of humble sons of the people, not blood of lan
d- owners, millionaires, thieves, criminals, or exploiters. The blood shed was t
he blood of the exploited of yesterday, the free men of today. The blood shed wa
s humble, honest, working, creative blood--the blood of patriots not the blood o
f mercenaries. It was the blood of militiamen who voluntarily came to defend the
revolution. It was spontaneously offered blood to defend an ideal.
This ideal was not the ideal with which the Yankees inclucated their mercenaries
. It was not an ideal of parrots. It was not an ideal of the tongue, but of the
heart. It was not an ideal of those who came to recover their lost wealth. It wa
s not the ideal of those who always lived at the expense of others. It was not t
he ideal of those who sell their soul for the gold of a powerful empire.
It was the ideal of the peasant who does not want to lose his land, the Negro wh
o does not want discrimination, the humble, those who never lived from the sweat
of others, and of those who never robbed from others, an ideal that a poor man
of the people can feel.
The revolution is all for him because he was mistreated and humilated. He defend
s the revolution because the revolution is his life. Before sacrificing this he
prefers to lose his life. He knows that he may fall, but never in vain, and that
the cause for which he falls will serve for millions of his brothers.
Humble, honest blood was shed by
enaires of imperialism. But what
tablish that beachhead, to bleed
, to burn our cane? It was to be

the fatherland in the struggle against the merc

blood, what men did imperialism send here to es
our revolution dry, to destroy our achievements
a war of destruction.

U.S. Planned Aggression

We can tell the people right here that at the same instant that three of our air
ports were being bombed, the Yankee agencies were telling the world that our air

ports had been attacked by planes from our own airforce. They coldbloodedly bomb
ed our nation and told the world that the bombing was done by Cuban pilots with
Cuban planes. This was done with planes on which they painted our insignia.
If nothing else, this deed should be enough to demonstrate how miserable are the
actions of imperialism. It should be enough for us to realize what Yankee imper
ialism really is and what its press and its government is. It is possible that m
illions have heard only the report that Cuban planes piloted by defectors had at
tacked our airports. This was planned, because the imperialist studied the plan
to bomb and the way to deceive the entire world. This should serve to keep us al
ert and to understand that the imperialists are capable of the most monstrous li
es to cover the most monstrous deeds.
U.S. leaders publicly confessed their participation--without any explanation whi
ch they owe the world for the statements made by Kennedy that they would never w
ould participate in aggression--and save us the effort of finding proof. Who wer
e those who fought against those workers and peasants? We will explain.
Privileged Class Mercenaries
Of the first mercenaries captured, we can say that, without counting ships' crew
s, there were nearly 1,000 prisoners. Among that thousand we have the following:
About 800 came from well-to-do families. They had a total of 27,556 caballerias
of land, 9,666 houses, 70 industries, 10 sugar centrals, 2 banks, and 5 mines.
So 800 out of 1,000 had all that. Moreover, many belonged to exclusive clubs and
many were former soldiers for Batista.
Remember, during the prisoner interrogation that I asked who was a cane cutter a
nd only one said that he had cut cane once. That is the social composition of th
e invaders.
We are sure that if we ask all those here how many owned sugar centrals, there w
ould not be even one. If we asked the combatants who died, members of the milita
or soldiers of the revolutionary army, if we compared the wealth of those who f
ell, surely there would be no land, no banks, no sugar centrals, or the like lis
ted. And some of the shameless invaders said that they came to fight for ideals!
The invaders came to fight for free enterprise! Imagine, at this time for an idi
ot to come here to say that he fought for free enterprise! As if this people did
not know what free enterprise is! It was slums, unemployment, begging. One hund
red thousand families working the land to turn over 25 percent of their producti
on to shareholders who never saw that land. How can they come to speak about fre
e enterprise to a country where there was unemployment, illiteracy and where one
had to beg to get into a hospital? The people knew that free enterprise was soc
ial clubs, and bathing in mud for the children because the beaches were fenced.
The beaches were for the wealthy. One could never dream of going to Varadero, fo
r that was for a few wealthy families. One could never dream of having a son stu
dy law. That was only for the privileged. A worker could never dream that his so
n might become a teacher or lawyer. Ninety percent of the sons of workers, or at
least 75 percent of those who lived in places were there were no secondary scho
ols had no chance to send their children to study. Not even in a dream could the
daughters of the peasants dance here or parade here.
How can one of those who never knew labor say that he came to shed the people's
blood to defend free enterprise? (Chanting, applause) And they did not stop at t
heir fathers' mention of free enterprise; they included the United Fruit and the
electrical company. Those were not free enterprises; they were monopolies. So w
hen they came here they were not fighting for free enterprise; they came for the
monopolies, for monopolies do not want free enterprise. They were defending the
monopolistic interests of the Yankees here and abroad. How can they tell the Cu

ban people that they were coming to defend free enterprise?

They also say that they came to defend the 1940 constitution. How curious! That
constitution was being torn into bits with the complicity of the U.S. Embassy, t
he reactionary church, and the politicians. So it is cynical for this group of p
rivileged and Batista-type tyrants, criminals, and torturers to tell the people
that they were coming to defend the constitution of 1940, which has been advance
d by the Revolutionary Government.
Who represented you in the congress? The corrupt politicians, the rich, the big
landholders. There was only a handful of workers in congress. They were always i
n the minority. The means of disseminating ideas were all in the hands of the ri
ch. It was hard to learn about the horrible conditions because of that. The deat
h of thousands of children for lack of medicine and doctors did not bother the f
ree enterprise men. There was never an agrarian reform law because congress was
in the hands of the rich. Even though the constitution said the land must be ret
urned to the Cubans, and even though in 1959 the 1940 constitution had been in e
ffect 19 years, no law took land from the Yankee monopolies, which had huge expa
Up to 200,000 hectares were held by some foreign monopolies. The constitution wh
ich said that land must be returned to the Cubans and the law setting a limit on
landholdings were never enforced. There were teachers without employment, while
children lacked schooling.
The Batista group took over through a coup sponsored by imperialism and the expl
oiting class; they needed such a man as Batista, so that the rural guard would s
erve the landowners against the peasants. (Applause) It did not matter to them t
hat the nation was being plundered. The landowners did not give anybody modern w
eapons to fight that regime; they gave arms to that bloody regime itself, not ca
ring about how it violated the constitution. The Yankees did not give arms to an
ybody to fight Batista. None of the fine little gentlemen fought, because they s
till had their Cadillacs; they had a regime that guaranteed their frivolous life
. They cared nothing about politics, for they had a very good life. Now that the
ir privileges have ended, they found a Yankee government willing to give them ar
ms to come here and shed the blood of workers and peasants. (Applause)
Those gentlemen spoke of elections. What elections did they want? The ones of th
e corrupt politicians who bought votes? Those elections in which a poor person h
ad to turn over his ballot in return for work? Those fake elections that were ju
st a means for the exploiting class to stay in power? Those elections which were
not a military coup? There are many pseudo-democracies in Latin America; what l
aws have they passed for the peasants? Where is nationalization of industry? Whe
re is their agarian reform? (Applause)
A revolution expressing the will of the people is an election everyday, not ever
y four years; it is a constant meeting with the people, like this meeting. The o
ld politicians could never have gathered as many votes as there are people here
tonight to support the revolution. Revolution means a thorough change.
What do they want? Elections with pictures on the posts. The revolution has chan
ged the conception of pseudo-democracy for direct government by the people.
No Time for Elections
There had to be a period for abolition of the privileges. Do the people have tim
e now for elections? No! What were the political parties? Just an expression of
class interests. Here there is just one class, the humble; that class is in powe
r, and so it is not interested in the ambition of an exploiting minority to get
back in power. Those people would have no chance at all in an election. The revo

lution has no time to waste in such foolishness. There is no chance for the expl
oiting class to regain power. The revolution and the people know that the revolu
tion expressed their will; the revolution does not come to power with Yankee arm
s. It comes to power through the will of the people fighting against arms of all
kinds, Yankee arms.
The revolution keeps in power through the people. What are the people interested
in? In having the revolution go ahead without losing a minute. (Applause) Can a
ny government in America claim to have more popular support than this one? Why s
hould democracy be the pedantic, false democracy of the others, rather than this
direct expression of the will of the people? The people go to die fighting inst
ead of going to a poll to scratch names on paper. The revolution has given every
citizen a weapon, a weapon to every man who wanted to enter the militia. So som
e fool comes along to ask if, since we have a majority why don't we hold electio
ns? Because the people do not care to please fools and fine little gentlemen! Th
e people are interested in moving forward.
They have no time to waste. The people must spend tremendous amounts of energy i
n preparing to meet aggression, when everybody knows we want to be building scho
ols, houses, and factories. We are not warlike. The Yankees spend half of their
budget on armaments; we are not warlike. We are obliged to spend that energy, be
cause of the imperialists. We have no expansionist ambitions. We do not want to
exploit any worker of another county. We are not interested in aggressive plans;
we have been forced to have tanks, planes, machineguns, and a military force to
defend ourselves.
The recent invasion shows how right we were to arm. At Playa Giron, they came to
kill peasants and workers. Imperialism forced us to arm for defense. We have be
en forced to put energy and material and resources into that, although we would
prefer to put them into more schools, so that in future parades there can be mor
e athletes and school children. If our people were not armed, they could not cru
sh mercenaries coming with modern equipment.
The imperialists would have hurled themselves on us long ago if we had not been
armed. But we prefer to die rather than surrender the country we have now. They
know that. They know they will meet resistance, and so the aggressive circles of
imperialism have to stop and think.
So we are forced, by the threat of aggression to proclaim to the four corners of
the world: All the peoples of American should rise in indignation after the sta
tement that a country can intervene in another just because the first is strong.
Such a policy would mean that the powerful neighbor takes the right to interven
e to keep a people from governing themselves according to their own choice. It i
s inconceivable that there should be such miserable governments; after the aggre
ssion that killed peasants and workers, it is inconceivable that they have even
begun a policy of breaking with Cuba, instead of breaking with Somoza, Guatemala
, or the government in Washington that pays for planes, tanks, and arms to come
her and kill peasants.
The Costa Rican government has said that, if mercenaries are executed, it will b
reak with us. It has no reason at all for a break, so it seeks some pretext, and
hits on the idea of if there are executions. That government, in insolent inter
vention, stated its disposal to break with us if any of the mercenaries are exec
uted. It does not break with Kennedy who organized the expedition, or with Guate
mala, or Nicaragua. We did not break with it; we merely answered the note.
Those who promote the policy of isolating Cuba at the orders of imperialism are
miserable traitors to the interests and feelings of America. (Applause) These fa
cts show us the rotten politics that prevail in many Latin American countries, a
nd how the Cuban revolution has turned those corrupt forms upside down to establ

ish new forms in this country.

New Socialist Constitution
To those who talk to us about the 1940 constitution, we say that the 1940 consti
tution is already too outdated and old for us. We have advanced too far for that
short section of the 1940 constitution that was good for its time but which was
never carried out. That constitution has been left behind by this revolution, w
hich, as we have said, is a socialist revolution. We must talk of a new constitu
tion, yes, a new constitution, but not a bourgeois constitution, not a constitut
ion corresponding to the domination of certain classes by exploiting classes, bu
t a constitution corresponding to a new social system without the exploitation o
f many by man. That new social system is called socialism, and this constitution
will therefore be a socialist constitution.
Kennedy's Protests
If Mr. Kennedy does not like socialism, well we do not like imperialism! We do n
ot like capitalism! We have as much right to protest over the existence of an im
perialist-capitalist regime 90 miles from our coast as he feels he has to protec
t over the existence of a socialist regime 90 miles from his coast. Now then, we
would not think of protesting over that, because that is the business of the pe
ople of the United States. It would be absurd for us to try to tell the people o
f the United States what system of government they must have, for in that case w
e would be considering that the United States is not a sovereign nation and that
we have rights over the domestic life of the United States.
Rights do not come from size. Right does not come from one country being bigger
than another. That does not matter. We have only limited territory, a small nati
on, but our right is as respectable as that of any country, regardless of its si
ze. It does not occur to us to tell the people of the United States what system
of government they must have. Therefore it is absurd for Mr. Kennedy to take it
into his head to tell us what kind of government he wants us to have here. That
is absurd. It occurs to Mr. Kennedy to do that only because he does not have a c
lear concept of international law or sovereignty. Who had those notions before K
ennedy? Hitler and Mussolini!
They spoke the same language of force; it is the fascist language. We heard it i
n the years before Germany's attack on Czechoslovakia. Hitler split it up becaus
e it was governed by a reactionary government. The bourgeoisie, reactionary and
profascist, afraid of the advance of a socialist system, preferred even dominati
on by Hitler. We heard that language on the eve of the invasion of Denmark, Belg
ium, Poland, and so forth. It is the right of might. This is the only right Kenn
edy advances in claiming the right to interfere in our country.
This is a socialist regime, yes! Yes, this is a socialist regime. It is here, bu
t the fault is not ours, the blame belongs to Columbus, the English colonizers,
the Spanish colonizers. The people of the U.S. will someday get tired.
No Threat to U.S.
The U.S. Government says that a socialist regime here threatens U.S. security. B
ut what threatens the security of the North American people is the aggressive po
licy of the warmongers of the United States. What threatens the security of the
North American family and people is the violence, that aggressive policy, that p
olicy that ignores the sovereignty and the rights of other peoples. The one who
is threatening the security of the United States is Kennedy, with that aggressiv
e policy. That aggressive policy can give rise to a world war; and that world wa
r can cost the lives of tens of millions of North Americans. Therefore, the one
who threatens the security of the United States is not the Cuban Revolutionary G

overnment but the aggressor and aggressive government of the United States.
We do not endanger the security of a single North American. We do not endanger t
he life or security of a single North American family. We, making cooperatives,
agrarian reform, people's ranches, houses, schools, literacy campaigns, and send
ing thousands and thousands of teachers to the interior, building hospitals, sen
ding doctors, giving scholarships, building factories, increasing the productive
capacity of our country, creating public beaches, converting fortresses into sc
hools, and give the people the right to a better future--we do not endanger a si
ngle U.S. family or a single U.S. citizen.
The ones who endangers the lives of millions of families, of tens of millions of
North American are those who are playing with atomic war. It is those who, as G
eneral Cardenas said, are playing with the possibility of New York becoming a Hi
roshima. The ones who are playing with atomic war, with their aggressive war, wi
th their policy that violated the rights of people are the ones who are endanger
ing the security of the North American nation, the security of the lives of unkn
own millions of North Americans.
What do the monopolists fear? Why do they say that they are not secure with the
socialist revolution nearby. They are, as Khrushchev says, proving that they kno
w their system is inferior. They do not even believe in their own system. Why do
n't they leave us alone when all our government wants is peace.
U.S. Refusal to Negotiate
Recently, our government issued a statement that we were willing to negotiate. W
hy? Because we are afraid? No! We are convinced that they fear the revolution mo
re than we fear them. They have a mentality that does not permit them to sleep w
hen they know that there is a revolution nearby.
Fear? No one has fear here. The people who struggle for their liberty are never
frightened. The frightened ones are the wealthy. The ones who have been wealthy.
We are not interested in having imperialism commit suicide at our expense. They
do not care about the death of Negroes, Puerto Ricans, or Americans. But we do
care about every Cuban life. We are interested in peace.
We are ready to negotiate. They say that economic conditions can be discussed, b
ut no communism. Well, where did they get the idea we would discuss that? We wou
ld discuss economic problems. But we are not even ready to admit that these talk
s so much as brush a petal of a rose here. The Cuban people are capable of estab
lishing the regime they want there. We have never been thought of the possibilit
y of discussing our regime. We will discuss only things that will not effect our
sovereignty. We do want to negotiate on behalf of peace.
Those who do not worry about taking American people to war are being led by emot
ions. We have no fear. If they think so, let them get over that idea. No Cuban i
s afraid. If they think we will discuss internal politics, let them forget that,
for one one will do that here. Let them discuss all topics they want to discuss
. We discussed things with invaders, did we not? Well, we will debate with anyon
e. We are willing to talk. We are willing to debate. But does that mean we are a
ching to negotiate? Of course not. We are just taking a sensible step. Does that
mean the revolution will slow down? Of course not! We will continue, picking up
speed as we can.
Kill Foreign Invaders
If they want to say that that they do not care about the sovereignty of countrie
s, let them. But we are ready to defend as well as to negotiate. We are ready to
fire a million shots at the first Yankee parachutist that tries to land here. F

rom the first moment they land on our soil they can be sure that they have begun
the most difficult war they ever heard of. That war would be the beginning of t
he end for imperialism. With the same willingness to negotiate, we will fight. E
ven the Pioneers will fight. Each man, woman, and child has one duty in case of
foreign attack--kill! If we were attacked by foreigners there would be no prison
ers. The invading foreigners must know they must kill us all! While one lives, h
e has an enemy! Death struggle! There is no middle ground! It would be a war wit
hout prisoners!
If the invaders land on Cuban soil we will not want our lives. We will fight to
the last man against whoever sets foot on our land. All men and women must know
their duty. This duty will be fulfilled in simple and natural manner as peoples
fight in a righteous war.
It is a crime that our people are not left in peace to complete our work of just
ice for those who once lived in humiliation and misery. It is too bad that illeg
itimate interests have determined to harm our country. While they tried to cut o
ff our supplies, they were supplying mercenaries with weapons to invade our coun
try and shed the people's blood. And in this shameful task, who participated?
I have already told you of the social composition. Well, the priests were not mi
ssing either. Three of them came. None were Cubans, they were Spanish. You remem
ber that when we asked them they said they came on a purely spiritual mission. T
hey said they came on a Christian mission. But reviewing their books we find thi
s: An appeal to the people by Ismael de Lugo: Attention Cuban Catholics: Liberat
ing forces have landed on Cuban beaches. We come in the name of God--as if Calvi
no came in the name of God--justice, and democracy to reestablish trampled freed
om; this must be a lie. We come because of love, not hate. We come with thousand
s of Cubans, all of whom are Catholics and Christians-- what a lie--their spirit
is the spirit of the crusades. (Editor's Notes: Castro continues reading the me
ssage written by Father de Lugo.....)
And that gentlemen is not even a Cuban; he is a Falangist Spaniard. He could hav
e saved all those appeals and warlike energy by fighting against the Moorish gua
rd of Franco. Why should he come here with three other Falangist Spanish priests
instead of going to Spain to fight for freedom against Franco, who has been opp
ressing Spanish people for 20 odd years and who has sold out to Yankee imperiali
sm? The Yankees are not fighting for freedom in Spain, or Nicaragua, or Guatemal
a. They are great friends of Franco. And these Falangist priests came here, when
it is in Spain they should fight for freedom for peasants and workers. That Fal
angist priest comes here instead to preach against workers and peasants who have
thrown off exploitation. And there were three, not just one; and the fourth, in
the Escambray, is a Spanish priest too.
Foreign Priests To Be Expelled
We are going to announce here to the people that in the next few days the Revolu
tionary Government will pass a law declaring void any permit to remain in Cuba h
eld by any foreign priest in our country. And this law will have only one except
ion; do you know for whom? A foreign priest can remain with special permission,
provided the government approves, if he has not been combatting the Cuban revolu
tion; that is, if he has not displayed an attitude opposed to the revolution; th
at is, there will be exceptions if a priest has been honest, has not been combat
ting the revolution, has not been carrying out counterrevolutionary activities.
He can request permission, and the government can grant it if it deems proper, b
ecause there are some foreign priests, by way of exception, that have not taken
a stand against the revolution, although the general rule has been otherwise.
Of course, they will say we are impious, enemies of religion. Can they say that
after a leader of the ecclesiastic service, while proclaiming that he is coming

to give spiritual service, also signs a manifesto like this one--of this politic
al nature? Can the revolution go on allowing these acts to go on with impunity?
And let these gentlemen come to bring hell here, to bring hell on earth here, wi
th their war criminals, their Calvinos, their Soler Puigs, their big landowners,
and their privileged sons, to bring hell on earth here to the peasants and work
ers? Can we let the Spanish Falange go on promoting bloodshed and conspiracy her
e through its priests? No, we are not disposed to allow it. The Falangist priest
s know now, they can begin packing. (Applause)
They have been waging counterrevolutionary activities in the schools, too, poiso
ning the minds of pupils. They have found fertile soil in schools usually attend
ed by children of the rich. There they have been promoting counterrevolutionary
poison in the minds of the young. They have been forming terrorist minds. They h
ave been teaching hatred for the country. Why should the revolution stand for th
at? We would be guilty if we let that go on.
Nationalization of Private Schools
We announce here that in the next few days the Revolutionary Government will pas
s a law nationalizing the private schools. This law cannot be a law for one sect
or; it will be general. That means the private schools will be nationalized; of
course, not a little school where one teacher gives classes, but private schools
with several teachers.
Directors of private schools have displayed different types of conduct. Many pri
vate school directors have not been instilling counterrevolutionary poison. The
revolution feels it is its duty to organize and establish the principle of free
education for all citizens. The people feel they have the duty of training futur
e generations in a spirit of love for the country, for justice, for the revoluti
What shall be done in the case of private schools that have not displayed counte
rrevolutionary conduce? The Revolutionary Government will indemnify those direct
ors or owners of schools whose attitude has not been counterrevolutionary, whose
attitude has been favorable to the revolution; and the revolution will not inde
mnify any school whose directors have been waging a counterrevolutionary campaig
n, who have been against the revolution. That is, there will be indemnity for th
ose schools that have displayed a patriotic, decent attitude toward the revoluti
on. They will be indemnified, and their directors will be invited to work with t
he Revolutionary Government in directing that school or another school. That is
to say, these directors will be called on to help in the field of education, bes
ides being indemnified.
The teachers and employees of all these schools, of a lay nature, will be given
work. That is, the employees and teachers of these schools will have their work
guaranteed. The pupils of these schools can go on attending them, the educationa
l standards will be kept up and even improved, and furthermore they will have to
pay absolutely nothing to attend these schools.
Religion Not Restricted
Villanueva is included in this nationalization, of course. They will say this im
pious government opposes religious instruction. No sir. What we oppose are those
shameless acts they have been committing, and this crime against our country. T
he can teach religion, yes; in the churches they can teach religion.
Religion is one thing, politics another. If those gentlemen were not against the
political interests of the people, we would not care at all about their pastora
ls, their discussions of religious matters. The churches can remain open; religi

on can be taught there. Would it not be much better if they had stuck to their r
eligious teaching? Would it not be much better to have peace? They can have peac
e, within strict limits of the respect due the revolutionary people and governme
nt. But they cannot make war on the people in the service of the exploiters. Tha
t has nothing to do with religion; it has to do with blood, with gold, with mate
rial interests. They can have the consideration of the people, in the limits of
that mutual respect for rights.
Christianity arose as a religion of the poor, the slaves, and the oppressed of R
ome--the religion that flourished in the catacombs. It was the religion of the p
oor, and it obtained the respect of the laws. It coexisted with the Roman Empire
. Then came feudalism. That church coexisted with feudalism, later with absolute
monarchies, later with bourgeois republics. Here the bourgeois republic disappe
ars; why should not that same church coexist with a system of social justice tha
t is far superior to those previous forms of government? This system is much mor
e like Christianity than Yankee imperialism or bourgeois republics, or the Roman
Empire. We believe coexistence is perfectly possible. The revolution does not o
ppose religion. They have used religion as a pretext to combat the poor. They fo
rget what Christ said about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye
of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.
Small Business man Protected
Those are the facts. We have spoken, as always, clearly. It means only that we a
re prepared to defend the revolution and continue forward, convinced of the just
ice of our cause.
We have spoken of our socialist revolution. It does not mean the little business
man or little industrialist need worry. Mines, fuel, banking, sugar mills, expor
t and import trade--the bulk of the economy-- is in the hands of the people. Tha
t way the people can develop our economy. The little industralist and little bus
inessman can coesxist with the revolution. The revolution has always cared for t
he interests of the small owners.
Urban reform is a proof. This month all little landlords will be collecting arou
nd 105,000 pesos. Formerly if the tenant did not pay his rent the landlord did n
ot collect; now a fund has been established to insure that the little landlord w
ill be paid. The revolution will have some 80 million pesos a year for construct
ion from the urban reform. And when rental is the only income of these landlords
, the revolution has ruled that after the house is all paid for, the landlord wi
ll receive a pension. A socialist revolution does not mean that interests of cer
tain sectors are eliminated without consideration. The interests of the big land
holders, bankers, and industrialists were eliminated. No social interest of the
lesser levels of society is to be condemned. The revolution will adhere to its w
ord: No middle interest will be affected without due consideration.
Little businessmen industrialists have credit today. The revolution has no inter
est in nationalizing them. The revolution has enough to do with developing the s
ources of wealth it now has at its disposal. The revolution feels that there can
be collaboration from the little businessman and little industrialist. It belie
ves that their interest can coincide with those of the revolution. Counterrevolu
tionaries have claimed that barbershops would be nationalized, even food stands.
The revolution does not aim at those. The solution of those problems will be th
e result of a long evolution. There are some problems; sometimes tomatoes and pi
neapples are sold in the city at far higher prices than in the country. There is
still a small plague of middlemen. The revolution still has measures to take to
do away with the middleman abuse, to improve consumption for the people. But I
do not want anybody to be confused. I want everybody to know what to expect.
Call for Collaboration

Basically, the revolution has already passed its measures. Nobody need worry. Wh
y not join in this enthusiasm, in this prowess? Why are there still Cubans bothe
red by this happiness? I asked myself that while watching the parade. Why are so
me Cubans so incapable of understanding that his happiness can also be theirs? W
hy do they no adapt to the revolution? Why not see their children in the schools
here also? Some people cannot adopt, but the future society will be better than
the old one.
This is the hour in which we, far from using the moment against those who do not
understand, should ask them if the time has not come for them to join us. The r
evolution found it necessary to be detained. Perhaps they have. The revolution d
oes not want to use its force against a minority. The revolution wants all Cuban
s to understand. We do not want all this happiness and emotion all to ourselves.
It is the glory of the people.
We say this to those who have lied in the past and have not understood. We frank
ly say that our revolution should not be lessened by severe sanctions against al
l the mercenaries. It might serve as a weapon for our enemies. We say this becau
se we tell the people all that will benefit the revolution. We have had a moral
victory and it will be greater if we do not besmirch our victory.
The lives lost hurt us as much as they do others. But we must overcome that and
speak for our prestige and our cause. What is before us? The risks of imperialis
t aggression! Big tasks! We have reached a point in which we should realize that
the time has come to make the greatest effort. The coming months are very impor
tant. They will be months in which we must make greater efforts in all fields. W
e all have the duty to do the utmost. no one has a right to rest. With what we h
ave seen today we must learn that with efforts and courage we can harvest wonder
ful fruit. And today's fruits are nothing compared to what can be done if we app
ly ourselves to the maximum.
Before concluding, I want to recall what I said during the Moncada trial. Here i
s a paragraph: The country cannot remain on its knees imploring miracles from th
e golden calf. No social problem is resolved spontaneously. At that time we expr
essed our views. The revolution has followed the revolutionary ideas of those wh
o had an important role in this struggle.
That is why when one million Cubans met to proclaim the Havana Declaration, the
document expressed the essence of our revolution, our socialist revolution. It s
aid that it condemned landed estates, starvation wages, illiteracy, absence of t
eachers, doctors, and hospitals, discrimination, exploitation of women, oligarch
ies that hold our countries back, governments that ignore the will of their peop
le by obeying U.S. orders, monopoly of news by Yankee agencies, laws that preven
t the masses from organizing, and imperialist monopolies which exploit our wealt
h. The general assembly of the people condemns exploitation of man by man. The g
eneral assembly proclaims the following: The right to work education, the dignit
y of man, civil rights for women, secure old age, artistic freedom, nationalizat
ion of monopolies, and the like. This is the program of our socialist revolution
Long live the Cuban working class! Long live the Latin American sister nations!
Long live the nation! Fatherland or death! We shall win!

U.N. Demands of Cuba

Wanguermert: Good evening televiewers. The Cuban radio and television stations h
ave joined the national hookup this evening in order to broadcast the statement

of the premier and commander in chief, Dr. Fidel Castro, on the talks held in Ha
vana with U.N. Secretary General U Thant and other current subjects.
Commander Castro, what can you tell us about U Thant's visit to Havana?
Castro: Well, the talks held with U Thant, the U.N. secretary general, lasted tw
o days, and I thought that the best way to inform the people of this matter was
to read the copies of the conversations.
The following should be pointed out and considered: On the first day talks of a
general nature were held in which our country's position was set forth. On the s
econd day he wanted to discuss several confidential matters. I then asked him if
he minded if the shorthand version of the first day's talks, in which the entir
e position of the Cuban revolution of the reasons for Cuba's conduct is set fort
h if he minded if I made it public. He agreed. We also promised him that the poi
nts the questions and the matters of a confidential nature he might discuss, lab
eling them as such, not for our sake but for his
would not be published for the
time being. However, everything that was discussed is right there. Therefore, I
shall read the shorthand version of the conversations held at the Presidential P
alace on 30 October 1962 which began at 1510 hours.
U Thant
I shall read the names of the persons speaking so U Thant
there is one p
oint I should like to bring up (Castro explains
Ed.) he (U Thant Ed.) is speakin
g: In the discussions I had in New York, both with the representatives of the So
viet Union and with the representatives of the United States, General Rikhye was
always present, and I feel that his presence would be useful at this meeting wi
th the Premier.
We: We do not mind. General Rikhye is invited to participate in the interview.
U Thant: First of all, Mr. Premier, I should like to thank you and your governme
nt for your invitation to visit Cuba, not only for this mission, but also for th
e invitation given me earlier. As I informed you when I accepted your invitation
, I came as soon as possible. I am certain that today and tomorrow we shall have
very fruitful talks toward finding a solution with regard to Cuba's sovereignty
and independence.
We: We can talk for as long as is necessary. We have plenty of free time to give
U Thant: As you well know the Cuban problem was presented to the Security Counci
l last week during the meetings of the 45 neutral countries, principally those w
hich had attended the Bandung and Belgrade conferences. Two meetings were held,
and they sent representatives to confer with me
since I also belong to a neutral
country and participated in the two meetings to ask me to take the initiative,
the initiative which could contribute to the peaceful solution of this problem.
On 24 October I decided to take this initiative. After I heard the statements by
the three delegations in the Security Council I came to the conclusion that the
immediate problem was to make an appeal to the three powers and I called upon P
remier Khrushchev to suspend the arms shipments to Cuba voluntarily for two or t
hree weeks and upon President Kennedy to lift the quarantine voluntarily; and th
en I called upon Your Excellency to voluntarily suspend the construction of the
missile bases to give us an opportunity to discuss the problem calmly. Immediate
ly after my request the Security Council suspended its meetings to give me a cha
nge to put my plans into effect.
On the following day I learned that Soviet ships are approaching the quarantine
area. I sent a second appeal to Premier Khrushchev and to President Kennedy aski
ng them to avoid a direct confrontation on this matter, so that I could have the

few days necessary to discuss this matter. On the same day I send you a letter
to which you very kingly replied asking me to visit Cuba. The subject of this le
tter was the suspension of missile base construction in Cuba.
Since then there have been communications between Premier Khrushchev and Preside
nt Kennedy, between Premier Khrushchev and myself, between President Kennedy and
myself. Naturally, Your Excellency also replied to my letter of 27 October. The
contents of this letter are already known to the public because it has been pub
As I see the problem, Your Excellency, it is in two parts: one immediate and the
other long term. For the time being the Security Council wishes to deal with th
e solution of the immediate problem. The object of my negotiations with the thre
e powers I mentioned concerns only the immediate problem, naturally. However, th
e United National will have to be involved in some way in the solution of the lo
ng term problem.
Several factors are involved in the immediate problem: The first is that Premier
Khrushchev responded to my request, giving instructions to the Soviet ships to
keep away from the quarantine area for the time being for several days. Presiden
t Kennedy replied that he was prepared to avoid a direct confrontation with the
Soviet ships if they were not carrying armaments, and Premier Khrushchev told me
very explicitly that the Soviet ships are not carrying armaments at present.
If the two powers agree, no armaments will be sent to Cuba for two or three week
s, and for two or three weeks if no arms are being shipped the United States wil
l lift the quarantine.
What the United States wants to be sure of is that the Soviet ships will not car
ry armaments. What the United State wants is a machinery
an arrangement
the United Nations which would assure it that during this period of two or three
weeks no arms will enter Cuba.
The Soviet Union does not agree with this proposal. Yesterday the Soviet Governm
ent proposed another solution, that is, that the Soviet ships would permit inspe
ctions by the Red Cross, verification by the Red Cross that they are not carryin
g weapons.
This reply by the Soviet Union was communicated to the United States last evenin
g. The Red Cross, which we contacted in Geneva by telephone yesterday, replied t
hat in the name of world peace and international cooperation it would agree to t
ake charge of this matter, either on the high seas or in the ports of disembarka
tion, if the Cuban Government agreed.
I cannot take sides at all. I am not empowered to associated myself with any of
the proposals. I only informed the Red Cross, the Soviet Union, and the United S
tates that, with due consideration to Cuba's sovereignty, I would request this o
f the Red Cross, always subject to the consent of the Cuban Government. The thre
e parties were informed of this, and it was reported that the Cuban Government w
ould be informed of it.
Therefore, Your Excellency, the first point, which would help my work considerab
ly, would be to know the attitude of the Cuban Government to the idea of the Red
Cross checking the transportation of armaments on Soviet ships for the next two
or three weeks. The question is: What would Cuba's attitude be to this proposal
President Dorticos: Are you speaking of the high seas, or in Cuba?
U Thant: Of course, I informed the governments of the Soviet Union and the Unite

d States of this proposal made by the Red Cross. The Soviet Government replied t
hat this is a matter pertaining to Cuban sovereignty. I have not received a repl
y from the U.S. Government on the matter. Would Your Excellency like to discuss
the matter point by point or all together?
We: I would prefer you to continue your statement.
U Thant: The United States told me, and also said so during the negotiations and
during the Security Council meetings, that its main concern lies with the launc
hing pads rather than the armament. Its principal concern is the missile launchi
ng pads. As is well known, last Sunday Premier Khrushchev instructed the Soviet
technicians to dismantle the missile launching pads and to return the missiles t
o the Soviet Union. He also said that he would ask the United Nations to send te
ams to verify if this has actually been done.
I replied to the Soviet representatives that before a team could be sent to chec
k on this the most important point was to obtain the prior consent of the Cuban
Government. This matter could not be presented without the knowledge and consent
of the Cuban Government and no action could be taken which would violate its so
I also informed both the Soviet representative and the U.S. Government that I wo
uld come to Cuba to present this viewpoint to Premier Castro and to his colleagu
es. Of course, but the Soviet Government and the U.S. Government agree on this p
that if the launching pads are removed tension will be reduced. What the Un
ited States is seeking through me is a temporary agreement prior to the conclusi
on of the dismantling of the pads.
I asked the Soviet representatives how long this would take. They asked Moscow,
but this morning they had not received a reply.
What the United States is looking for is a temporary agreement with the United N
ations, subject, naturally, to the authorization and consent of the Cuban Govern
ment. Naturally, no one knows how long this will take
one or two weeks, and perh
aps more.
Thus, the first U.S. proposal is that if Cuba consents, a team of U.N. represent
atives consists of persons whose nationalities are acceptable to the Cuban Gover
nment would be suggested. The second proposal would be a reconnaissance plane ma
nned by persons acceptable to the Cuban, Russian, and American Governments. A pl
ane with a Cuban, a Russian, and a U.S. representative on board for the two or t
hree weeks this may last was also suggested. I replied to the United States that
this proposal would also be presented to Premier Fidel Castro.
The United States informed me that as soon as this system has been put into prac
tice it would make a public statement, in the Security Council if necessary, tha
t it would harbor no aggressive intentions toward the Cuban Government and would
guarantee the territorial integrity of the nation. I was asked to tell you this
As I replied to the United States and to everyone, the most important thing is t
hat all these decisions cannot be reached without the consent of the Cuban Gover
nment. I was told that if this decision was reached with agreement of the Cuban
Government and the United Nations, not only would the United States make the sta
tements in the Security Council but it would also lift the blockade.
I informed the United States yesterday that while I was conferring with premier
Fidel Castro and the Cuban leaders, it would be ill advised for the blockade to
be maintained, and I asked that is be suspended. This morning it was announced t
hat the blockade had been suspended for the 48 hours of my visit to the Republic

of Cuba.
As Your Excellency knows, I said in the Security Council that this blockade was
highly unusual, not very common excepting in times of war. That is what I told t
he Security Council. This viewpoint is shared by the 45 countries which me and a
sked me to make this request.
Two of these 45 countries, who also have seats on the Security Council at this t
the United Arab Republic and Ghana
made statements in this connection during
a meeting in the Security Council. Other countries of the 45 neutrals, particul
arly those which participated in the Belgrade conference, will make similar stat
ements if given an opportunity. So much for the immediate problem.
Your Excellency, the Security Council did not authorize me to discuss the longte
rm problems, although this is something which will have to be discussed in the S
ecurity Council later. For the purposes of this first conversation, this is all
I have to say to you, Your Excellency.
We: There is one point which confuses me: it concerns your proposals on inspecti
on. They speak of two points here
a team and a plane. I should like more explana
tion on this point. Please repeat to me the part referring to the inspection pro
U Thant: Both proposals would come from the United Nations and would consist of
two units: one on land and the other from a plane for the period of the dismantl
ing of the bases, that is, about two weeks.
We: I do not understand why this is asked of us. Could you explain a little bett
U Thant: The explanation given by the United States why it is making the request
is that it wants to be certain that the pads are actually dismantled and that t
he missiles are returned to the Soviet Union.
We: What right has the United States to ask this? I mean, if this is based upon
a real right of if it is a demand based upon force, or a position of strength.
U Thant: This is my viewpoint: it is not a right. Such a thing could only be don
e with the approval and consent of the Cuban Government.
We: We do not exactly understand why this is asked of us because we have not vio
lated any right, we absolutely have not attacked anyone. All our actions have be
en based upon international law. We have done absolutely nothing outside the nor
ms of international law.
On the other hand, we have been the victims first of all of a blockage, which is
an illegal act, and in the second place, of the attempt to determine from anoth
er what we have a right to do or not to do within our frontiers. It is our under
standing that Cuba is a sovereign state no more nor less than any member nation
of the United Nations with all the attributes inherent in any of these states.
Moreover, the United States has repeatedly been violating our airspace without a
ny right, committing an intolerable act of aggression against our country which
it has sought to justify by an OAS decision, but this decision is not valid for
us. We were even expelled from the OAS. We can accept anything that is just, tha
t does not imply a reduction of our sovereignty. The rights violated by the Unit
ed States have not been reestablished, and we do not accept any imposition by fo
I believe that this question of inspection is one more attempt to humiliate our

country, therefore we do not accept it. This request for inspection is to confir
m their attempt to violate our right, to act within our frontiers with complete
freedom, to decide what we can or cannot do within our frontiers. This line of o
urs is not a new one; it is a viewpoint we have invariably and always maintained
In Cuba's reply to the joint U.S. resolution we said textually: The threat of a
direct armed attack if Cuba strengthens itself militarily to a degree to which t
he United States takes the liberty of deciding is absurd. We do not have the sli
ghtest intention of giving an account or of consulting the U.S. Senate or House
of Representatives with regard to the weapons we deem it advisable to acquire an
d the measures to take to fully defend our country.
Do we not have the rights which the international norms, laws, and principles re
cognize for every sovereign state anywhere in the world? We have not granted and
do not plan to grant the U.S. Congress any sovereign prerogative. This viewpoin
t was confirmed in the United Nations by the President of the Republic of Cuba,
and also during many public statements made by me as premier of the government,
and this is a firm stand of the Cuban Government.
All these steps were taken for the security of the country in the face of a syst
ematic policy of hostility and aggression. They were all taken in accordance wit
h the law and we have not abandoned our determination to defend these rights.
We can negotiate in all sincerity and in all honor. However, we would not be hon
orable if we were to consent to negotiate a sovereign right of our country. We a
re prepared to pay the necessary price for these rights, and this is not just so
much talk, but an attitude very keenly felt by our people.
U Thant: I understand Your Excellency's sentiments perfectly. That is why I told
the United States and others clearly: Any U.N. action in Cuban territory can be
undertaken only with the consent of the people and the Government of Cuba. I to
ld them that in the name of peace, which is ardently desired by everybody and by
all inhabitants of the world. I told the 45 countries and I agreed to come to C
uba without having any commitment to either side.
Last night and this morning, before I began my trip, certain press reports said
I was coming to settle the details of the United Nations' presence in Cuba. That
is completely erroneous. That would be a violation of the sovereignty of the Re
public of Cuba. I have come here only to present the other side's viewpoints and
explore the possibilities of finding a peaceful solution. The 45 countries that
asked me to come also know what position is legal and what is not, but in the n
ame of world peace, and for a period of only one or two weeks, perhaps three, th
ey asked me to come to try to find a possible solution.
Your Excellency, my conscience is clear on this point. The United Nations can on
ly undertake an action of this sort when it has the consent of the government in
volved. It is not the first time this has happened. In Laos, when a situation ex
isted there that threatened international peace, the United Nations established
itself in that territory only after obtaining the consent of the Government of L
aos. In 1956, in Egypt, in the UAR, a situation arose and the United Nations est
ablished itself in Egypt, and still is in Egypt, with the consent of the governm
ent. Similarly, in 1958, in Lebanon, another situation threatening world peace a
rose, and the United Nations went in only after it had obtained consent of the G
overnment of Lebanon. One condition is absolutely necessary: In order to underta
ke an action of that nature, the consent of the government involved must be obta
We: In the case of the Congo too?

U Thant: And in the case of Somalia.

We: In the case of the Congo I have understood they requested it of the United N
U Thant: In the Congo the petition was presented by the Government of the Congo.
We: In the Congo the government that requested it is buried now. In the first pl
ace, our government has not the slightest doubt of the fine intentions and the d
isinterestedness and honesty with which the present U.N. Secretary General is wo
rking. We have no doubts at all about his intentions, his good faith, his extrao
rdinary interest in finding a solution for the problem. All of us hold his missi
on and his person in great esteem. I say this in all sincerity. I understand the
interest we all should feel in peace, but the path of peace is not the path of
sacrificing the rights of peoples, of violating the rights of peoples; that is p
recisely the path that leads to war. The path of peace is the path of guarantees
for the rights of peoples and the peoples' readiness to defend those rights.
In every case mentioned by the Secretary General, Laos, Egypt, Lebanon, and the
Congo, which I just mentioned
in all of these cases we see nothing but a series
of aggressions against the rights of the peoples. All were caused by the same th
ing. The road to the past world war was the road marked by the annexation of Aus
tria, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, tolerated acts of German imperialism
d it led to that war. And we are keenly aware of those dangers. We know the path
s aggressors like to take. We guess the path the United States wants to take wit
h regard to us. Therefore it is really hard to understand how it is possible to
speak of immediate solutions independently of future solutions, when the matter
of greatest interest is not to pay any price for peace now, but to guarantee pea
ce definitely, and not to by paying daily the price of an ephemeral peace.
And of course Cuba is not Austria, nor the Czechoslovak Sudetenland, nor the Con
go. We have the most resolute intention of defending our rights, in the face of
all difficulties and risks. And it is necessary for the U.N. Secretary General t
o know this determination of ours so he can succeed in his mission, or at least
be able to work with a perfect knowledge of this circumstance.
U Thant: I understand your sentiments perfectly, as well as the viewpoints Your
Excellency has expressed. As for the point of immediate solutions and long-term
solutions, I wish to say that the Security Council has authorized me to seek mea
ns of obtaining peace in this area. I understand that immediate solutions and lo
ng-term solutions are intimately interrelated, and for those long-term solutions
we should explore the possibilities in the light of the situation as it exists
now. The Security Council has given me authorization for that. In practice, it i
s very hard to separate the two. I believe that, if we find an immediate solutio
n for this, it will lead us to a permanent solution, not just for the United Nat
ions but for all interested parties.
In mentioning Laos and the other cases where the United Nations has established
itself, I agree with you, but I also want to say that the United Nations, in tho
se places, has succeeded in removing or averting aggression from without. I thou
ght, if you please, that the U.N. presence in Cuba for a period of perhaps more
than three weeks may likewise lessen or eliminate the danger of aggression. It i
s my opinion that, in current and future times, the presence of the United Natio
ns in certain countries will serve especially to remove and avert aggression.
President Dorticos: I would like to say something. I agree with what our Premier
has said about our full understanding of the high mission the Secretary General
is carrying out with such nobility. That mission, of course, is none other than
to seek means of guaranteeing peace in this critical situation.

It seems there is a question to be defined: Where is the danger of war? In the a

rms of one kind or another that Cuba has, or in the aggressive U.S. designs agai
nst Cuba? We believe aggression is what can engender war. The arms that exist in
Cuba, regardless of what they may be, will never begin an aggression. Therefore
, we ask ourselves: Why is inspection, and an acceptance of inspection, a condit
ion for guaranteeing peace? To guarantee peace it would suffice for the United S
tates to pledge, with all necessary guarantees through the United Nations, not t
o attack Cuba. That is why we have set forth
and our Premier has repeated it her
e very clearly that the questions of a long-term solution, if they can be called
that, are intimately connected with the immediate solution of the crisis.
The immediate solution of the crisis would come as soon as the United States off
ered guarantees against an attack on Cuba, minimum guarantees that are contained
in the declarations made by our Premier on 28 October and which are surely know
n to the Secretary General. A U.N. stay in Cuba for purposes of inspection, whic
h the Revolutionary Government of Cuba does not accept because of the reasons se
t forth by the Premier, would at most mean a guarantee for two or three weeks of
that peace, which he has rightly called emphemeral. Immediately afterward, the
danger of war would resume, because the conditions that favor North American agg
ression against Cuba would remain.
Let the United States give the guarantees that we demand as a minimum, and the s
olution of the immediate problem will have begun. I would say, in the last insta
nce, that for the purpose of obtaining peace now, there are no immediate questio
ns or long-term questions to be discussed. We believe the five points contained
in the declarations made by our Premier are ingredients that form part of the im
mediate discussion intended to guarantee peace. We believe that these five point
s are not deferred for long-term discussion, but that circumstances demand that
they should be part of the immediate discussion because, in our opinion, they ar
e minimum conditions for guaranteeing peace.
I repeat, peace is not endangered by our arms; peace is in danger because of the
aggressive conduct of the United States, and negotiations and discussions cover
ing these five points are what will immediately eliminate the dangers of war. Th
at is our understanding of the problem.
U Thant: First, I want to thank Your Excellencies, the President and the Premier
, for their kind words for my person and the post I occupy, and I am in full agr
eement with both as to the solution we may find, for short-term agreements shoul
d also include negotiations for long-term agreements. But in terms of the United
Nations, I believe the best solution
and in this I believe the 110 member natio
ns will agree is for the United Nations, through the Security Council, to provid
e U.N. representatives to seek and find the long-term solution.
But right now, at this moment, I do not believe the United Nations, and its Secu
rity Council, can arrive at a positive, acceptable long-term solution in the bes
t interests of everybody and world peace. If a long- term solution if sound, it
will be in the best interests of all and of world peace, but I believe it is dif
ficult to obtain at present in the United Nations.
We: I understand that if that short-term solution of which the Secretary speaks
were not achieved, it would be simply because the United States does not want it
and would persist in demanding inspection as a humiliating act for Cuba, becaus
e, for purposes of that unilateral security which the United States demands, the
Soviet Government's decision to withdraw the arms of a strategic nature which h
ad been brought for the defense of the Republic of Cuba should have sufficed.
The Cuban Government has not hindered the withdrawal of those arms, and the Sovi
et Government's decision is in itself a decision of a public nature. The mere fa
ct that it was made in this manner in the public view has had an effect on world

public opinion. The United States knows that that decision was made seriously b
y the Soviet Union and that, in fact, the strategic weapons are being withdrawn.
If what the United States wants, beside that, is to humiliate our country, it wi
ll not get it. We have not hesitated an instant in the decision to defend our ri
ghts. We cannot accept impositions that can be forced only on a conquerered coun
try. We have not desisted from our determination to defend ourselves, even to su
ch an extent that they will never be able to impose conditions on us, because fi
rst they will have to destroy us and annihilate us, and in any case they will no
t find anybody here on whom to impose humiliating conditions. (Prolonged applaus
U Thant: On the subject of the U.S. declaration, the United States has said that
it will make a public declaration of nonaggression and respect for Cuba's terri
torial integrity once the missiles have been dismantled and withdrawn. In my opi
nion, on that there is no disagreement.
I am completely in agreement with the Premier that the U.N. actions involve an i
nvasion of the rights of a member state, and in this case, speaking of Cuba, if
it is not in agreement with accepting a U.N. action, then my duty
what I must do
is to inform those who made the proposal of this. It is not my intention here t
o impose anything. My duty is merely to explain the possibilities for finding th
e means, the manner, or the form by which we could find a peaceful solution, wit
hout making concrete proposals. I shall take into account everything that has be
en said here this afternoon and I shall return, I shall go back, to make my repo
rt to the parties interested in this.
I feel that this meeting has been very useful, and if the Premier is agreeable w
e can meet again tomorrow, before I leave. Meanwhile, I can be thinking over car
efully what the President and the Premier have said about this matter.
We: To conclude, I should like to reply on the question of Red Cross inspection.
We also oppose that inspection in our ports. I wonder, if the Soviet Union auth
orizes inspection of its ships on the high seas, why would it then be necessary
to inspect them again in Cuban ports? In the second place, I see that the Secret
ary centers his interest on getting the United States to make that public declar
ation, that pledge in the United Nations, that it will not invade Cuba.
On this point, I wish to say first that the United States has no right to invade
Cuba and that it is impossible to negotiate with a promise not to commit a crim
e, with a mere promise not to commit a crime, and that in the face of that dange
r we trust more to our determination to defend ourselves than to the words of th
e U.S. Government. But moreover, if the United Nations attaches great value to a
public commitment entered into in that body by the United States, such as a com
mitment not to invade, why not concede equal value to the public commitment to t
he United Nations made by the USSR to withdraw the strategic weapons it send for
the defense of the Republic of Cuba?
These would be two equally public commitments. If one of them needs no additiona
l guarantee
that is, the U.S. commitment not to invade Cuba
why does the Soviet
Union's commitment to withdraw its strategic weapons need the additional guarant
ee of inspecting us?
We shall meet with you again with pleasure as often as you wish and at the time
you choose.
U Thant: Many thanks, Your Excellency.
(Castro speaks for himself at this point Ed.): And that was the end of the first
meeting. At the second meeting, he began by saying: "I want to thank the govern

ment and the people for the hospitality and the facilities they have afforded me
in this country. The motive for this new meeting is to exchange opinions on cer
tain confidential matters I have in mind."
Thus, at this second meeting, he started off by saying it would deal with matter
s of a confidential matter. We agreed with him not to make public the things he
said. Fundamentally, at this second meeting we maintained our viewpoints from th
e first meeting and brought up a few things, such as the danger inherent in the
violations of our airspace, the danger of an incident, and the fact that it was
indispensable for the United States to suspend those flights.
At the same time, the U.N. Secretary General asked us for information about the
plane which the U.S. Defense Department reported had disappeared on one of its f
lights to Cuba. We gave him the information he requested, and, at the same time,
we agreed on acceding to his request to send the body of the pilot, who died wh
ile on an illegal flight over our territory
we decided for humane reasons to ret
urn the body.
As a matter of fact, we regretted that this North American had to die in our cou
ntry as a result of the illegal acts, in violation of our sovereignty, ordered b
y the U.S. Government. We hope the circumstances that resulted in that death wil
l not be repeated; that is, that the causes that resulted in that death will not
be repeated.
In general terms, the opinion of the government regarding the U.N. Secretary Gen
eral is that he is an honest and impartial person who has a real desire to strug
gle to find solutions for these problems. He also appeared to be a competent per
son, and he, in reality, did inspire our confidence. That is the conclusion we d
rew from the meeting we had with him, from the way he expressed himself, from th
e respect he showed at all times toward the ideas of our country and toward the
rights of our country.
Moreover, we understand that at this moment the U.N. Secretary General is carryi
ng out a very important mission, which enhances the post he holds, and, at the s
ame time, if he achieves success in that effort, it will undoubtedly increase th
e prestige of the United Nations. It is possible that the institution will devel
op and carry out its work. It is at present carrying out a very important task.
Undoubtedly, it is of interest that the
n guaranteeing the rights of countries,
e countries. At this moment, it appears
g out that role well. In that sense, we
that is, in the efforts and activities
to find a solution. This is apart from
d to the problem of inspection, because

United Nations constitutes an institutio

and particularly the rights of the littl
to us that the United Nations is carryin
give the United Nations all our support;
it is carrying out in favor of peace and
our having been intransigeant with regar
we consider that we cannot accept any in

We cannot accept inspection for several reasons. First, because we have no desir
e to sacrifice a sovereign principle of our country. A series of rights has been
violated. Freedom of the seas has been violated by the United States. The Unite
d States is trying to meddle in things which we have a right to do or not do wit
hin our borders. The United States, in an open manner, has been violating the ai
rspace of our country.
How, in the face of all those facts of aggression and violation, in the face of
those acts of force, are we going to accept inspection of our country, an inspec
tion which actually validates the pretensions of the United States to decide wha
t kind of weapons we have or do not have the right to possess?
We have not renounced the right to possess the kinds of weapons we may consider

convenient in the exercise of the sovereign power of our country. We have not re
nounced that right. We consider it one of our rights. How are we to authorize an
inspection to validate a pretension of a foreign country? Therefore, we do not
accept it.
In the second place, this constitutes a demand from a position of force, a posit
ion of force of the United States, and we do not yield to that position of force
. We will never yield to positions of force. (Applause) What Cuba defends in mai
ntaining its position is not inconsiderable. It defends the sovereign right of c
ountries. Moreover, it defends peace, because our position against the positions
of force which is required by these things, our firmness against the demands of
the aggressors and those who like to practice such a policy, is a position that
will not encourage the aggressors.
The aggressors can be aggressors; that is, the world may find that there are agg
ressors, but the aggressors will find resistance in our country. The aggressors
will find resistance to all kinds of aggression which is being attempted, or an
aggression against a right. And they will not be encouraged by the position of C
uba! We are absolutely in the right and we are absolutely determined to defend t
hat right.
Above all, as is clear in the explanation we gave the U.N. Secretary General, mo
re than anything else this is an attempt to humiliate us. Therefore, the positio
n of Cuba was and is that we do not accept inspection.
We have noted the conditions that are needed, and we repeated to the U.N. Secret
ary General in the second meeting that the Cuban view is that, if a real solutio
n is desired for the existing tensions and problems in the Caribbean and on the
continent, which also affect the entire world, it is necessary that the guarante
es that Cuba demands be granted. Those guarantees have the virtue of being absol
utely just demands, and all are based on the indisputable rights of our country
the ending of the economic blockade and all the measures of economic and commerc
ial pressure which the United States exerts against our country all over the wor
ld and which it has been exercising against our country, aggressive acts that we
re part of the ingredients that aggravated the situation to the point it reached
this time, aggressive acts they continue to commit at this moment.
We are constantly receiving reports of vessels which were coming to Cuba and who
se goods were left in Mediterranean, European, or Latin American ports, goods th
at were destined for Cuba. Just yesterday a report came of one or two ships, loa
ded with jute for our sugar production, which left their cargoes in a Mediterran
ean port because of pressure by the United States.
Moreover, we demand the cessation of all subversive activities and the launching
and landing of weapons and explosives by air and sea, the organization of merce
nary invasions, and the infiltration of spies and saboteurs all actions which ar
e carried out from U.S. territory and some accomplice countries. Do not a people
have a right to demand guarantees against those actions? The cessation of the p
irate attacks that are carried out from bases in the United States and Puerto Ri
co, the cessation of all violations of our airspace and territorial waters by U.
S. planes and warships that is to say, our country requests that crime not be co
mmitted against it, that violations and illegal acts not be committed against it
, and, finally, that the naval base at Guanatanamo be withdrawn and the Cuban te
rritory occupied by the United States be returned.
It is absurd that the withdrawal of friendly weapons be requested and that an en
emy base be left in our country. That has absolutely no foundation! This is abso
lutely absurd! No one in any place in the world would dispute the right of our c
ountry to request the return of the territory on which this base is situated, a
base where, in these days of crisis, troops were accumulating to attack our coun

try. How are we going to be asked to withdraw friendly weapons, while enemy weap
ons remain within the heart of our country?
The United States says that is possesses that base by virtue of a treaty, an agr
eement between the United States and a Cuban government
of course, a Cuban gover
nment that emerged during the intervention. It was not through any treaty; it wa
s through a unilateral agreement in the U.S. Congress, through an amendment they
imposed on our constitution and imposed by the United States, by the United Sta
tes in a law of its Congress, Cuba was warned that they would not depart the cou
ntry if that amendment were not accepted, and amendment which contained the ques
tion of the naval base!
If they call that agreement legitimate, even more legitimate are the agreements
between the Soviet Government and the most free government of Cuba, by virtue of
which those strategic missiles were situated in our country and for our defense
. And if the United States has placed the world on the brink of war to demand th
e withdrawal of those missiles, then what right and justification has it to refu
se to abandon the territory it occupies in our country?
We are not an obstacle to a solution of peace, a real solution of peace. We are
not a warrior or a warlike people. We are a peaceful people, and being peaceful
does not mean permitting oneself to be trampled upon. Not in the least! When the
trampling comes, then we are as warlike as we must be to defend ourselves. Fact
s have demonstrated this.
We shall
nment of
t with a

never obstruct a true solution of peace, and the conditions for a true
of peace are the guarantees of the five points established by the Gover
Cuba. The United States should begin by demonstrating its good faith,no
promise deeds and not words.

A really convincing deed would be for the United States to return to us the terr
itory it occupies in the naval base of Guantanamo. That would be a much more con
vincing deed than any word, than any promise the United States could give.
If Cuba's guarantees are not complied with there will be no true solution of pea
ce, and then we shall all have to continue living in this same atmosphere of ten
sion in which we have been living up to now. We want solutions of peace, but sol
utions of peace with dignity. Moreover, there would be no peace without dignity,
because the nations without dignity are not respected. We have a right to peace
, to one kind of peace or another, to the peace which is neither peace nor war,
simply because we were able to resist and were able to have dignity. We have the
right to a peace, to a real solution of peace, and sooner or later we shall obt
ain it because we have earned that right due to the spirit of our people, due to
their resistance and their dignity.
Our cause, and our right to peace, will continue to gain ground throughout the w
orld. Everyone also knows who is to blame for these problems, who is to blame fo
r all these tensions. And the people of the world will go on giving support to o
ur five points which are indispensable conditions for peace. Our people have won
and will keep on winning even more the right to a worthy and to a just peace.
We must be allowed to work in peace. More than weapons we prefer to use instrume
nts of work. More than to kill and destroy, we prefer to create. Our people are
not permitted to create. They are constantly being forced to mobilize, to put th
emselves on a war footing, to defend themselves, to prepare themselves because t
hey are forced to do so, not because we desire this policy.
It is a policy imposed upon us by the aggressors against our country. What our c
ountry wants is to work. What it wants is to develop its resources, to develop t
he people, and to progress with its peaceful work.

Some things are amusing. A few days before the crisis, barely two days earlier,
we inaugurated the institute for basic sciences. Some 1,000 young people were to
enter it to begin studying medicine. Within three days the institute for basic
sciences was converted into an anti-aircraft artillery school, and thus went eve
rything else. Compare one thing with the other: peaceful work and the desires an
d efforts of a nation to improve its well being and health, to train all the doc
tors our peasants need, and to train all the doctors our people need to raise th
eir average life span and to improve their health.
There were 800 young people who had entered and within three days 800, 1,000, or
2,000 youths had to enter to be taught to kill, to be taught to handle not surg
ical instruments but cannon.
Our road, the desire of our people, is not the artillery school, but the institu
te of basic sciences; the rest are bitter tasks which have been imposed on us by
the aggressors. Some days before this crisis, signs could be seen everywhere ho
w the work of the revolution had advanced. Supplies were improving considerably
production, both agricultural and industrial, and the plans the entire creative
work of the revolution were advancing at a high rate. And the organisms were dev
oted to creating the work conditions for next year, 1963, with the hope of achie
ving a leap ahead in the economy, a leap in the production.
But the crisis came, and the threat. Mobilization was necessary, the abandonment
of all the projects, the abandonment of all the tasks, in order to assume under
those circumstances the most sacred task, which is the defense of the country.
And we defend the fatherland because we want a country in which to work, not a c
ountry of parasites but a country of workers, a country of creators. And we want
that country in order to work, to create!
That is why we must defend it before all else. And the ardor with which the peop
le prepared to fight and to do whatever else was necessary demonstrates the love
the people feel, more every day, for creative work. What were they defending in
the trenches? What they are doing in the rural areas, what they are doing in th
e universities,what they are doing in the factories, what they are doing in the
that is what the people are going to defend in the trenches! And the mor
e awareness they have of what they are doing, the more they love what they are d
oing, the more logical it is that they go to the trenches with more love and mor
e courage.
We will not be an obstacle to any real solution of peace. We gladly offer our ef
forts toward that solution, to the effort being made by the United Nations to fi
nd that real solution of peace, to the effort being made by different neutralist
countries to find that solution of real peace, a peace with dignity and with ab
solutely no lessening of any of the sovereign rights of our country. But if ther
e is to be a lessening, we shall continue as we are. We shall not accept it. How
long? As long as necessary.
We shall have patience, all the patience necessary, so that as the climax of all
this struggle we shall some day attain that peace with all the attributes of a
state that is totally and absolutely sovereign, which has always been the aspira
tion of our people. We must have patience.
We shall not accept just any little formula. We shall accept any formula of peac
e that is truly worthy. And I think that, with such a formula, not only we would
profit, everyone would profit, the world would profit, American would profit, t
he United States would profit; that is to say, the very ones to blame for this s
ituation would also profit from a solution of peace is acceptable to our country

And we express the view of our people when we say that we are ready to fight and
to cooperate for that peace. We have proposed it, we have said it in all our pr
oposals. Let us see if now, after this crisis which shook the world for several
days, the conditions or the circumstances are achieved in order to attain that p
I still have some questions to deal with. In the course of this crisis, it must
be said that during the development of the crisis there arose some differences b
etween the Soviet Government and the Cuban Government. But I want to say somethi
ng to all Cubans. It is not here that we should discuss those problems; it is no
t here, where our enemies might find it useful or try to profit from those discu
ssions. We must discuss this with the Soviets at the level of government and par
ty, sit down with them to discuss everything that might be necessary in the ligh
t of reason and principles.
It must be said that, above all, we are Marxist-Leninists. (Prolonged applause)
Between the Soviet Union and Cuba there shall be no breaches!
We want to say another thing, that we have confidence in the policy of principle
of the Soviet Union and we have confidence in the leadership of the Soviet Unio
n; that is to say, in the government and the leading party of the Soviet Union.
If my compatriots were to ask me at this moment for an opinion, what should I te
ll them, what advice amid confused situations, things that have not been underst
ood or are not well understood, what to do? I would say that what must be done i
s to have confidence, that what must be done is to understand that these interna
tional problems are extremely complex and extremely delicate, and that our peopl
e, who have given evidence of great maturity, of extraordinary maturity, should
demonstrate it in this way
taking care to analyze things, to make no premature j
udgments, to be disciplined, and, above all, to have confidence; moreover, to ha
ve complete faith in the revolutionary government, in the leadership of the revo
lutionary government; to have complete confidence that everything
all the proble
ms, all the questions will be discussed opportunely; to keep in mind that elemen
ts of judgment needed to understand certain things could even be missing; and to
keep in mind that the dramatic and urgent circumstances in which events took pl
ace must not be forgotten.
Now there is time in which to discuss all that completely, and we shall discuss
it. We must prevent the enemy from profiting from our impatience, from our judgm
ents, because an honest revolutionary may make judgments; he has the right to fo
rm his opinions. But if the opinions he formed at a given moment about certain t
hings that he does not understand well are voiced, there might also be someone a
round who is not a revolutionary, someone interested in creating distrust, divis
ion, and resentment. That is why the advice we must give is: Have confidence, be
firm, and have faith; be guided by what we have said here today that is what mu
st be done in these circumstances and it is that which we must do.
Above all, and I say it with absolute sincerity
there are things I want to say i
n these moments in which a certain disagreement may have been created because of
those misunderstandings or differences it is good to remember, above all, what
the Soviet Union has done for us. It is good to remember, above all, what it has
done for us in every one of the difficult moments we have had, how the friendly
hand of the Soviet Union has been there with us after each Yankee blow
aggression, the suppression of the sugar quota, the suppression of the shipment
s of petroleum to our country after each of the aggressions we have endured, and
we are grateful. We must say that here loudly.
Moreover, there is another even more moving thing, at least it impresses me extr
aordinarily the Soviet men, the Soviet men we have met here, the technicians who

have come to work with us in our rural areas, the teachers, professors, enginee
rs, planners, technicians of all kinds, the interest, the devotion, the fondness
with which they have helped us.
Moreover, there are the military technicians, men who have been ready to die her
e with us, who have helped us in the instruction, training, and preparation of o
ur fighting forces; who have worked with us for months and years, teaching our m
en to fight; who have worked with us for months, years, teaching our men to figh
t and organizing that formidable army we have at this moment; all the weapons th
ey have sent us, the basic weapons of our armed forces which are all weapons tha
t the Soviet Union has sent us and for which the Soviet Union has not charged us
! (Applause)
I should like to say that several months ago the Soviet Union decided to cancel
all the debts of our country for armaments. Some of these matters are of a milit
ary nature, which must be treated with great care. Nevertheless, I will explain
something; for example, the strategic weapons for our defense. Those weapons, th
e strategic weapons, were not the property of Cuba. That is not the case with th
e tanks and an entire series of weapons, which are our property. The strategic w
eapons were not our property.
In the agreements by virtue of which they were sent to our country to strengthen
our defenses against the threats of attack, it was decided that those strategic
weapons, which are very complex and require very specialized personnel, would c
ontinue under the direction of Soviet personnel and continue being the property
of the Soviet state. That is why, when the Soviet Government decided to withdraw
those weapons, which belonged to it, we respected that decision.
I explain that so that the reasons why the withdrawal was decided on by the Sovi
et Government can be understood. That is why I was saying that, even though we m
ay have some well-founded reason for discontent over some fact, some detail, mor
e than ever, we must remember how good, generous, noble, and friendly the Soviet
s have been toward us, and I was precisely speaking of the technicians, whom we
have seen at our side, ready to die, to sacrifice their lives in the defense of
our country. They are magnificent men. That is why another thing that we must fe
el at this moment more than ever is appreciation, affection, respect, and gratit
ude toward those men. I believe that that is the conduct which we must follow at
this moment. (Applause)
That is what we must show, and, above all, we must conduct ourselves better than
ever during these moments, with higher morale than ever and with more greatness
than ever.
Let it not be thought that the withdrawal of the strategic weapons disarms us. T
his does not mean that we are disarmed. I can assure you that we have formidable
means of defense, powerful means of defense, extraordinary resources with which
to defend ourselves.
The strategic weapons are leaving, but all the other weapons
all the other weapo
ns are staying in our country, and they are very powerful means of defense, with
which we can face any situation. There is no reason for confusion; there is not
reason for confusion. The confusion will pass little by little.
There is one matter I want to stress, one observation I want to make, and it inv
olves the people, the conduct of the people during these days. I want to say tha
t the action of the people has surpassed everything even the most optimistic cou
ld ever have imagined in determination, valor, and discipline. It must be said t
hat thousands of men who were not militiamen, who did not become militiamen duri
ng these four years of revolution, became militiamen during this crisis. It must
be said that thousands of persons who did not belong to mass organizations or c

ommittees for the defense of the revolution went to register in the mass organiz
ations during these days.
It must be said that the enemy was unable, inside our country, to count on allie
s of any kind. It must be said that during these days of extreme crisis it was n
ot necessary to arrest anybody. Even men and women who criticized the revolution
in this decisive hour the patriotic, revolutionary core became apparent in them
and they went to enlist, and they went to enlist for a battle that according to
every prospect was a serious battle, a terrifying battle; a battle that could b
e fought with conventional weapons or with atomic weapons.
The President of the United States tried to intimidate our people, these people
whom he called a captive people, when he spoke of how we might be a target for a
tomic attacks, and the result was that there were more militiamen than ever, mor
e revolutionary militants than ever. It must be told how the women went to work,
and how the pensioners went to work to replace the men in the trenches.
It must be noted that, although this was the greatest mobilization of all, it wa
s the one that affected production the least. Never during a mobilization had pr
oduction gone as it did. The people's discipline was truly impressive, the peopl
e's ardor, the people's valor.
Impressive also was the organization acquired by our people, above all by our re
volutionary armed forces, and the efficiency with which the commands operated. I
t was demonstrated how the revolution has been creating discipline, has been sha
ping a people. By harassing us, the enemy has made us disciplined, has made us o
rganized, has made us battle-hardened. The result of these four years of harassm
ent has made a heroic people, a people more than Spartan, for it is said that sh
ield, or on it." And here, an entire people, men, women, and children, young and
old, told themselves, "with our shield, or on it." (Prolonged applause)
A people like that are an invincible people. A people like that, who in that man
ner so calmly, so admirably, confront such difficult situations, are a people wh
o have a right to win what they aspire to, which is peace, respect, to keep invi
olate their dignity and their prestige, because we have long-range moral missile
s that cannot be dismantled and will never be dismantled! (Prolonged applause) A
nd that is our most powerful strategic weapon, of strategic defense and strategi
c offense!
And so here I want to bear witness today more than ever to our admiration for ou
r people. And all we revolutionaries should feel doubly obliged, after this expe
rience, to fight for our people, to work tirelessly for our people. I want to sa
y here today from the very bottom of my heart, in conclusion I want to say, that
today more than ever I feel proud of being a son of this people.
Fatherland or death, we will win! (Applause)

Fourth Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Distinguished visitors, workers, peasants, students, all citizens: Mr. Kennedy w
ould say (applause for approximately two minutes) that I am addressing the capti
ve people of Cuba. (Applause) According to the concepts of the imperialists, the
concept in which exploitation is just and crime and aggression are right, to be
mercenary is right; according to the concepts of imperialists this country is a
captive country. If we start by imagining things in this vein, nothing else the
y do is surprising.
Recently an event took place which, even if they try to ignore it, is an histori

c event. Imperialism agreed to pay our country the indemnity fixed by the revolu
tionary courts of the invaders of Playa Giron. The Government of the United Stat
es tried by all means to avoid its official responsibility, to elude the officia
l acceptance of this fact. This is in accordance with the pharasaical mentality
of the leaders of imperialism. This is in accordance with everything they do. Fo
r example, when they attacked us on 15 April they sent airplanes with Cuban insi
gnia. And when Cuba denounced the aggression, they declared through their cable
agencies to the whole world that these were not planes from abroad but Cuban pla
nes (whose pilots
Ed.) had revolted. And they made this version known to the who
le world.
Fortunately, for them, a lie of that type was only one more lie. They have alway
s acted in this manner and for that reason it was not surprising that on one sid
e they were mobilizing to gather the funds and on the other side they pretended
that it was simply a committee of families that was carrying out these negotiati
ons. In the background, it was the Government of the United States.
Now it has been learned that the brother of the President of the United States h
ad made the main arrangements to obtain the funds to pay the indemnity. They, na
turally, do not call it indemnity. They said it is rescue. This, too, is logical
for them to say. To the imperialists, who jailed a Negro newspaperman for visit
ing Cuba and fined him 10,000 dollars for exercising a constitutional right, thi
s is justice. On the other hand, the fact that a revolution has been generous to
the criminals who attacked us while serving a foreign power, the fact that the
revolutionary courts, instead of giving them a sentence which they deserved
tal punishment for all of them let them go with a fine, is not justice. To punis
h those who attacked us one morning by surprise and cowardice, to punish those w
ho came escorted by foreign battle ships, to punish those who, in serving a fore
ign power, committed an act of flagrant treason by all codes, that was not justi
ce. They call is rescue. But we do not care what they call it. The fact is they
that had to agree to pay indemnity and that for the first time (short applause)
in history, imperialism paid a war indemnity.
And why did they pay it? Because they were beaten, because in Playa Giron the im
perialists suffered their first great defeat in Latin America. (Short applause)
What did the President of the United States do? How has he acted? First he assum
ed the responsibility for the attack to our country. However, during 20 months,
they avoided paying that indemnity. When at the end they decided to pay, and the
revolutionary government greed the invaders, what was the conduct of the Presid
ent of the United States? Was it the conduct of a statesman. Was it the conduct
of a responsible man? No. It was the conduct of a pirate. It was the conduct of
a chief of filibusters. Because, really, never has a President of the United Sta
tes degraded the dignity of his office to such as did Mr. Kennedy on the day he
met with the criminal invaders of our country.
Here I have the little speech he made on that day. It is good that I have no lov
e for him, because reading these things teaches us to understand the imperialist
s. He started by saying
I am going to read the most important paragraphs, as som
e paragraphs lack pervasiveness; the most important paragraphs "I want to expres
s my deepest thanks to the brigade for making the United States the custodian of
this flag. I can assure you that this flag," and listen well "this flag will be
returned to this brigade in a free Havana." We do not know if there is a bar in
Miami called Free Havana.
Then he says, and this is the height of ridiculousness and (word indistinct), as
we Cubans say: "I ask Mr. Miranda, who kept this flag for 20 months, to come fo
rward so we can know him. I wanted to know the person to whom I should return it
." Perhaps that morning he had one drink too many.
In the first place the story of the flag is a lie, a complete lie. Everyone know

s that the mercenaries that come here dressed as "silk worms," as the people say
, with camouflaged uniforms of the North American army, were totally and absolut
ely surprised and captured. But not only that, everyone knows that they left eve
n their underwear.
Now they have invented the story that one escaped and carried the flag in his cl
othes and that is the flag they delivered to Kennedy. In the first place they ha
ve swindled Kennedy because no one could escape from that cell. The best proof i
s that the whole brigade fell prisoner. They all said they were cooks and aidmen
Let them forget the "show" of the flag, and give this man (Kennedy
Ed.) acting l
ife a chief of pirates, a chance to meet with these criminals, with these coward
s, and there declare to the world that he can assume them that this flag will re
turned in a free Havana. But there are more interesting things. He says: "You me
mbers of the brigade and members of your families are following a historic path,
a path followed by other Cubans in other times and by other patriots of our hem
isphere in other years Marti, Bolivar, O'Higgins
all who fought for freedom, man
y of whom were defeated, many of whom were exiled, and all of whom returned to t
heir countries."
To compare these mercenaries with Marti, to compare these mercenaries with the p
atriots of independence
all the world knows Marti's history, of that Marti with
ragged clothes, of that Marti who did not receive his funds from the Yankee trea
sury, of that Marti who suffered this humble emigration, of proletarians, of tob
acco raisers, who gathered funds to buy weapons which once acquired were taken a
way by the Yankee authorities. Of that Marti who did not come escorted by the Ya
nkee fleet, nor was he preceded in his landing by Yankee bombers, of that Marti
who on a stormy night landed in a rowboat almost by himself on the western shore
s. To compare this integral, anti-imperialist man, to compare the effort of thes
e patriots with these miserable individuals is an affront to the memory of those
Our liberators came to free slaves, to build a nation, a nation which imperialis
m has frustrated, a nation which Yankee imperialism stepped upon for 50 years. A
nd who were these men? They were slave owners, latifundists, exploiters of game
and vice, millionaires, criminals, and robbers. All exploiters are robbers. They
came to enslave, to take from the country its riches, to return to Yankee monop
olies our factories and our lands. And this man (Kennedy Ed.) says that 60 years
ago Marti, the first spirit of independence, lived in this land. In 1889 the fi
rst international conference took place. Cuba was not present.
Comrades, this man says: "Then Cuba was the only state in the hemisphere still c
ontrolled by a foreign monarch. Then as now, Cuba was excluded from the society
of free nations. And then as now, brave men in Florida and New York dedicated th
eir lives and their energies to the liberation of their country." Kennedy's "the
n as now" means "now as never before" to us.
We can wave the flag of the lone star with pride now more than ever. We are resp
ected now more than ever. And the best proof of this is the respect we inspire i
n the imperialists themselves. It is the respect inspired by a nation that has n
ot been cowed by its power, that has not been cowed in four years of heroic stru
ggle. Now more than ever, Mr. Kennedy, we are free and we are the free territory
of America. (Applause, chanting)
This gentleman continues by saying things, some of which can cause us some laugh
ter. He says: "The brigade comes from behind the walls of a prison, but you have
left behind more than 6 million of your compatriots who are also, in a very rea
l sense, in a prison, (crowd boos) because Cuba today is a prison surrounded by
water." Which means that you are prisoners. (Crowd shouts "no") Didn't you know

that? Then he continued: "Your conduct and your courage are proof that although
Castro and his dictator colleagues may govern nations, they do not govern people
s." (Crowd shouts "no") I do not know what you are, then. I do not know what thi
s impressive crowd that gathered in this plaza behind their weapons could be. He
says: "Bodies may be imprisoned, but not spirits." You must be unimprisoned spi
rits. (Laughter)
He says: "The revolution promised the Cuban people political freedom, social jus
tice, intellectual freedom, land for the peasants, and the end of economic explo
itation." He says we made a promise. He continued: "What they have received is a
police state, the elimination of the dignity of owning lands, the destruction o
f the freedom of expression and of the press, and the total subjugation of indiv
idual human well being to the service of the state and of foreign states."
We have not carried out a single social reform, nor agrarian reform. Nor have we
taught a million illiterates, nor do we have nearly 100,000 scholarship student
s studying and creating a new intellectual generation. (Applause) The intellectu
al freedom of which Kennedy speaks is the intellectual freedom by virtue of whic
h more than half a million children did not have schools in our country. The int
ellectual freedom of which Kennedy speaks are the 20 million Latin American chil
dren without teachers and without schools.
But the curious thing is that this gentlemen says that we promised the end of ec
onomic exploitation. To what exploitation does this gentleman refer? Could it be
that of the United Fruit Company? (Crowd shouts) Could it be that of the electr
ic company and the telephone company, that same company that on the bloody day o
f 13 March, over the blood of the heroic students who fell there, signed an expl
oiting and one-sided contract against our country? Could it be that those compan
ies are still exploiting our country?
But the curious thing, could Kennedy be changing? (Crowd laughs) The curious thi
ng is that he speaks of our offering an end to economic exploitation and then im
mediately says: "Under the Alliance for Progress, we support for Cuba and for al
l the countries of this hemisphere the right to free elections and the right to
the free exercise of basic human rights. We support agrarian reform." (Crowd lau
ghs) Could Kennedy be converting to Marxism-Leninism? (Crowd laughs)
The fact is that in this country more than 100,000 peasant families paid rents,
which at times were 50 percent of their products. Who finds a peasant along the
length and breadth of the country paying rent now? More than 100,000 exploited p
easants became owners of their lands. (Applause) But why does this gentleman thi
nk that the peasants are with the revolution? What kind of a snarl has formed in
the head of Mr. Kennedy when he says that we have promised the end of economic
exploitation and that we have not kept our promise? And he speaks of agrarian re
form? We already know what their friends, the Latin American latifundistas, will
tell them. As the Chilean latifundists said: "Listen, you speak of distributing
the land. Why not talk about distributing the copper mines also?"
It is very curious that we hear the chief of the Yankee empire speak of economic
exploitation, agrarian reform, and such things. When, before, did he speak of s
uch things? Never, of course, they do not speak sincerely, but how long have the
y been speaking this language? What taught them to speak this language? (Crowd s
houts) Who were their teachers? (Crowd shouts) The Cubans. Too bad we have such
bad disciples. (Applause) And this gentleman uses a strange language, a revoluti
onary language. This is curious. He is going to create some problems with the re
actionaries because, although the reactionaries know that what he says is a stor
y, they also know that one must not play with words. And the Latin American lati
fundistas are going to say: "Well, if we will distribute our lands, you must dis
tribute the oil, the copper, the iron, and all the monopolies you have here." Th
ose are the irreconcilable contradictions of imperialism. How can they use this

He then says: "We support the agrarian reform and the right of each peasant to o
wn the land he works." That is precisely what we said, but we are the only ones
who have done it. And, of course, we do not need the Alliance for Progress. But
the Yankee ambassador complained about that. Mr. Bonsal protested about that eve
ry day, that we had nationalized the lands of the United Fruit and the Atlantica
del Golfo and all the Yankee companies, so that the land would belong to those
who work it, and all the peasants who paid rent would be freed from rent. The Ya
nkee ambassador protested about that every day. When do you think the Playa Giro
n expedition was organized? After the law of agrarian reform, which was rather k
ind because it left them with 30 caballerias. When they left they lost that too.
The United Fruit Company had 10,000 cabellerias of land, and another company had
17,000. Now they don't have it. Has the imperialist economic exploitation ended
or not? In the rural areas the men were without work most of the time, desperat
ely awaiting the sugar harvest or the harvest of coffee. The lands were uncultiv
ated. The big land holdings where proletarian workers worked
not peasants, for t
he peasants were the ones who worked the land on their own began to be exploited
. The results: rural employment was eradicated. The layoff, which was the plague
of our rural areas, disappeared forever.
And now, who goes to harvest the peasant's coffee? The scholarship students. Tha
t means that the revolution has not just made those peasants owners of their lan
ds and built them hospitals, roads, schools, sent them teachers, made them liter
ate; but now, as the result of the economic development of the country, there ar
e no more of those hungry pariahs who used to collect coffee because there was n
othing else to do. The revolution sends them the youth, the students to harvest
the coffee. There is no more off-season in our rural areas. There is no more une
mployment in our rural areas. There is no more illiteracy. Children no longer di
e without medical attention. (Applause) And cultural life is developing with gia
nt strides. How can they pretend to ignore these truths? In ignoring them they s
uffer those tremendous mistakes into which they fall.
Then he says that he "supports the right of all free peoples to freely transform
their economic institutions." That is what we have done. We have transformed as
a free people our economic institutions. In words, this gentleman is changing.
But it is dangerous to change in words alone, because this creates a confusion i
n the mind which no one can remove. He said that he supports the right freely to
transform economic institutions nothing more or less than exactly what we have
done. And because we did so we have the enmity of the imperialists. Who can they
deceive. Then he says: "There are principles of the Alliance for Progress, the
principles which we support for Cuba. These are the principles for which men hav
e fought and fallen." Yes, they have fallen, but on our side.
Then he tells those mercenaries, sons of latifundio-owners, bankers, industriali
sts, usurers (garroteros), and crooked gamblers (tahures)
he tells them: "These
are the principles for which you fought and for which some members of your briga
de gave their lives." You might remember what those men said. They talked about
free enterprise. And all of them, in their immense majority, those who were not
henchmen, were sons of latifundio-owners or wealthy men. Then this man comes and
tells them they came to fight for the economic change of society. But what he s
ays next is even better. He says: "I believe that these are the principles of th
e great majority of the Cuban people today."
Yes, principles as we understand them, not as they see them! He says, and listen
well, he says: "I am certain that throughout the island of Cuba, in the governm
ent, itself." How intriguing, how intriguing this Mr. Kennedy is, because he say
s: "I am certain that within the government itself, in the army and the militia,
there are many who hold to a faith in freedom and are filled with consternation

at the destruction of freedom in their island and are determined to restore tha
t freedom so that the Cuban people can again govern themselves." (Shouts from fr
om the crowd)
It is fitting to tell Mr. Kennedy, the intriguing Kennedy, to change sleeping po
sitions. He speaks, but a funny thing, he speaks of the rebel army and he speaks
of the militia, those militiamen who have been the terror of the imperialists,
(applause) those soldiers, those heroic soldiers who in 72 hours, or I should sa
y in less than 72 hours, crushed the pirates of the Yankee empire. (Applause)
How strange that the imperialists have tested all of the weapons and have failed
in all of them. They have failed because we have an armed people. Today he spea
ks, and today he tries to intrigue and tries to make it appear possible that tho
se patriotic soldiers, those proletarian militiamen, can place themselves at the
service of Yankee imperialism. (Applause) Mr. Kennedy, between us and you and b
etween those revolutionary soldiers and the Yankee empire there is much blood. (
Applause) And that blood began to flow many years ago. That blood began to flow
in the Sierra Maestra, when we fought against an army trained by Yankee military
missions, under the fire of Yankee arms, under bombardment by Yankee planes. An
d these soldiers saw entire families die enveloped in the napalm of Yankee incen
diary bombs. They saw mutilated children assassinated by machine guns, and many
comrades dying in the fighting.
Mr. Kennedy, between our people and the imperialists, between our combatants and
the imperialists there is much blood. There is the blood of the workers assassi
nated during the Le Courbre explosion, for a criminal sabotage prepared by the Y
ankee agency. There is the blood of the workers who died putting out the first i
n the sugar cane fields set aflame by small planes from the United States. There
is blood such as that of Fe Del Valle who died when the Central Intelligence Ag
ency terrorists set fire to one of our work centers. Between those combatants an
d imperialism there is the blood of more than 100 soldiers and militiamen who di
ed gloriously at Playa Giron. (Applause) There is the blood of the assassinated
teachers, such as Conrado Benitez. There is the blood of the cruelly assassinate
d brigade members such as Manuel Ascunce Domenech. There is an abyss of blood be
tween us and you, messrs. imperialists.
But there is something more than blood. There is still a deeper abyss. It is the
abyss which separates the workers from the exploiters, the liberated salves fro
m the enslavers. There is the abyss of our ideas, the abyss which separates our
ideas, and there a profound abyss separating them from the dignity of our people
, the dignity of each Cuban man and woman (Applause). The Cuban people are not t
hat sort of people. They are not the group of outcasts, of exploiters and traito
rs, of privileged people whom the revolution deprived of their lands.
The Cuban people today are very different from that group of wretched people. Th
e dignity of these people has had an irrefutable test, and that is, that despite
the imperialists, despite their gold, their crimes, their aggressions, their bl
ockades, and despite all they have done to destroy our revolution, today we cele
brate, or rather yesterday we celebrated, our fourth anniversary. Mr. Kennedy, w
e celebrated our fourth anniversary and started on our fifth year. (Applause) We
are speaking about the five points, but I wanted to get out of the way of the m
atter of the little meeting in Miami.
How did these men behave, these men who left? How could they behave like rates,
according to a man on the street. The entire world saw it over television. There
was not one single one who said he had not been shipped. There was not one sing
le one who did not admit he had made a mistake, that they thought the militia wo
uld join them, that the army would not fight. There was not one single one who d
id not believe it was going to be a military parade, and then they became repent
ant Magdalenes before television cameras. In prison, they wrote lengthy and unen

ding letters of repentance

whom the people know.

their main chiefs (those who wrote the letters


The revolution dealt with them generously not because they deserved it, but beca
use those are our principles. None of them was beaten. Almost all of the lives o
f their wounded were saved in revolutionary hospitals. In accordance with the la
w and by their actions, they deserved capital punishment. However, the sentences
given them were sentences that allowed them to go free if damages to our countr
y were indemnified.
What the imperialists do not say is that if they remained 20 months in prison, i
t was due to the Yankee pharisee-like spirit, the Yankee hypocrisy which prevent
ed them from showing their face, which kept them from paying, because scarcely t
wo months or less following the attack, they could have been released, if the im
perialists had paid. The imperialists likewise have not disclosed that the revol
utionary Government had previously released, many months ago, 60 wounded and sic
k, allowing them to pay indemnification later, which they paid only now, that th
e Revolutionary Government acceded to release the prisoners when they had paid o
nly 20 percent. None of that have they been willing to disclose.
And what have they done over there upon their arrival, all those wretched ones,
those cowards whom an entire population saw pleading for clemency, trying to elu
de responsibility, describing themselves as cooks and nurses, saying they had no
t fired one single shot. When they arrived there, their first statements were to
the effect they hoped to return, to come back, and so forth and so forth. This
gives the people an idea of the treatment deserved by such pests (alimanas). How
ever, if the Revolutionary Government has released them through an agreement wit
h the U.S. Red Cross for the implementation of all of the agreements we have sig
ned guaranteed by a Canadian banking organization guaranteed, if the revolution
released them it is because the revolution can combat 50 expeditions such as tha
t one, not one gang like that (applause), but 50 gangs like it that would land s
imultaneously on our national territory. We could destroy them even more rapidly
than we destroyed that one.
The security of our country is not affected in the least by the fact that the ga
ng of pests is out of the country. The U.S. Red Cross was in charge of implement
ing the arrangements, and we must say that up to this moment, it has been carryi
ng out its duties satisfactorily. It is a pity that with that botchery (chapucer
ia), that ridiculous attitude which is incompatible with the dignity of the posi
tion, Mr. Kennedy sounded that sour note and dropped a stain on an action which
was motivated by a lofty humanitarian spirit. But then, what else can be expecte
d from the chief of the pirates.
He went there to be near his defeated army, near his pirates who left this count
ry with their heads hanging in shame. And what a moment that was for us, the mom
ent when at the same airport where the cowardly attack of 15 April took place, a
t the same airport where planes of Yankee make dropped their load of bombs on 15
April, Yankee planes also alighted later as meek peace doves leaving their carg
o of medicines and baby food. Those of us who lived through those two episodes,
through the aggression and the unloading of the indemnification, cannot forget i
t because they were not the haughty and arrogant attackers who one day dropped b
ombs and, as a penalty for that adventure, one day they had to come and bring ot
her things to save lives and to benefit our people. (Applause)
With respect to the encouragement that Mr. Kennedy tried to give them, we say to
him that if he wants to finance the economic development of the Cuban socialist
republic, let him continue to send expeditions such as this one. (Applause) We
must say that the Cuban Government demanded the entire payment imposed by the se
ntences; that is, 62 million, the value of the products delivered here. We hope
that this is a lesson to the imperialists.

What is this that Kennedy says, as it says here, that he can assure that that fl
ag will be returned to the mercenaries in a free Havana? What does Mr. Kennedy m
ean by this? What threat is implied in that statement? Why does he dare say he a
ssures such a thing? How is that compatible with a promise of nonaggression agai
nst our country, a promise not to invade Cuba? That is why we have maintained an
d we maintain that the guarantees offered by imperialism must not be contained s
imply in words? They must be accompanied by actions. We have more than good reas
on to mistrust the imperialists and we know that guarantees can never be contain
ed within the mere word of the imperialists. Guarantees lie in our decision to f
ight, in our decision to resist historically any attack from the enemy. (Applaus
Guarantees lie in those arms you say in this parade and many more weapons which
were not shown in this parade. Guarantees lies in our hundreds of thousands of f
ighters, guarantees lie in the heroism of our people who more than proved their
heroism during very difficult moments. When Mr. Kennedy threatened to turn us in
to a nuclear target in efforts to intimidate us, what happened then? The people
shouted: fatherland or death! ((Applause followed by rhythmic applause) More men
and women than ever enlisted in the militia. More men and women than ever asked
to be inscribed in the mass organizations. With a smile on their lips and with
an impressive calm, an entire population became determined to face the enemy, to
die, if necessary (applause), because among these revolutionary people, the imp
erialists will never find weakness. We might die, yes, but never weaken. (Applau
se) We might die, yes, but we will die free and in dignity. (Rhythmic applause)
We would die not because we have no regard for life, not because we have disdain
for the creative work our people are carrying out, not because we have failed t
o love the luminous future to which we we have a right through our work, but bec
ause all of our lives are indisolubly associated with that idea and that future.
Without a fatherland, we want no life. Without freedom, we want no life. Withou
t dignity, we want no life! (Applause) Without justice, we want no life! Without
bread for our children, we want no life! (Applause) Without a future, we want n
o life! That is why we say: Fatherland or death! (Applause)
That is why the hymn of our fighters for independence left it clearly establishe
d that to live in chains is to live sunk in opprobrium and affront and to die fo
r the homeland is to live. (Applause) This explains the attitude of our people,
the wherefores of the measures we took in the face of imperialist aggression and
in the face of the imperialists' threats, without hesitation, so that imperiali
sts may know that these people do not vacillate. That is why we took measures to
arm ourselves, and that is why we agreed with the Soviet Union (applause) on th
e weapons that were set up here, (applause) because we understood that we were f
ulfilling two obligations: one toward the country, fortifying its defenses in vi
ew of imperialist threats, and one obligation toward the peoples of the socialis
t camp; that is, an international proletarian duty. (Applause, about one minute)
We were fulfilling two duties: one toward the workers of the world, our interna
tionalist duties, in accordance with the principles of proletarian international
ism because patriotism is proletarian internationalism within socialist revoluti
on. That was the thought that preceded the conduct of Cuba revolution.
You know how the crisis started, developed, and culminated. We mean to say that
our people always reserve the rights in front of their imperialist enemies to ta
ke all measures deemed pertinent and to possess the weapons deemed necessary. (A
pplause) The Soviet Government, in search of peace, arrived at certain agreement
s with the North American government, but this does not mean that we have renoun
ced this right, the right to possess the weapons we deem proper and to take the
international policy steps we deem pertinent as a sovereign country. (Applause)
And for that reason we do not accept the unilateral inspection that they wanted
to establish here with the only purpose, of the imperialists, to humble us. And

there was no inspection and there will never be inspection. And if they want ins
pection let them permit us to inspect them. What do they expect from a sovereign
country, a sovereign country (repeating
Ed.), we are as sovereign or more than
they are. (Applause)
We must know how cunning the imperialists are, what foxes they are in all their
acts and deeds. Therefore, we do not trust the imperialists. The guarantees in w
hich we have always believed, as I said, are the ones I mentioned before and the
solidarity of the socialist camp. They have always been our guarantee. Without
the solidarity of the socialist camp, we would have been disarmed, this is clear
because when we went to buy weapons in a West European country they blew up our
ship and killed about 50 workers and soldiers. The imperialists demanded that w
eapons not be sold to us, and while they were arming and training their mercenar
ies, they were preventing us from acquiring weapons, and it was the countries of
the socialist camp who furnished us weapons. And thus the solidarity of the soc
ialist camp is an efficient weapon against imperialist aggression. (Applause) In
that guarantee we do believe, in this guarantee which gives us two things: our
will to fight to the last man and the solidarity of the socialist camp; and not
in the worlds of the imperialists. That is the reason we have presented our five
demands, so just, so logical, and so consubstantial with our rights that no one
could object to them.
What kind of peace are the imperialists complaining about? With their economic p
ressures against our country, promoting subversion, organizing piratical attacks
, declaring their purpose of violating our airspace. What peace can this be? Wha
t kind of peace?
Do the imperialists think by chance that we are going to accept violation of our
rights. What peace would that be? A peace that could be broken any moment by a
violation. In any moment an incident could occur, because of that declared polic
y, because it is clear that if the imperialists are permitted one of their trick
s, they will then try others. And they showed with their planes; in the days of
the crisis, during a truce, they started to fly over and buzz our bases and over
our artillerymen until they received orders to fire; then the Americans went as
high as they could, and they quit flying low.
What kind of peace would that be? A peace in which we would have to accept these
violations. We do not accept them. These violations could be sources for incide
nts. We are acquiring better antiaircraft weapons as time goes by. Today the fir
st ground rocket training unit passed in review (Applause), units that are in tr
aining. What kind of peace would that be, a peace in which the imperialists expo
se us to incidents of this type through their stated policy of violating our air
space. And lastly, what are they doing in part of our territory, threatening us,
making plans from there against our country? That territory is ours and we have
every right to claim it. What right to the imperialists have to possess a base
on our territory?
These are the five points that we have presented as a just demand of our people
for a true solution of the Caribbean crisis. The imperialists as yet have made n
o clear statements. They have spoken with reticence; they have spoken in a threa
tening and insidious voice saying that if Cuba does not promote subversion and s
uch there will be no invasion. The statements they made to the mercenaries are n
ot declarations of peace. They do not imply a guarantee for our country, because
everyone knows that 50 or 100 expeditions like that one or any type of direct a
ttack will be rapidly repelled. What do the imperialists mean with this threat?
What kind of guarantees are these? They have not spoken clearly and openly. The
Soviet Union has fulfilled its part. The Government of the United States has not
fulfilled its promise.
It is superfluous to say that our position is not a position contrary to solutio

ns or against peaceful solutions. We agree with the policy of discussion and neg
otiation of problems by peaceful means. We agree with that basic principle. We a
gree, too, with the policy of concession for concession. Our position maintained
throughout this crisis is a position strictly adjusted to principles. We refuse
to accept inspection. We do so because our country cannot renounce an absolutel
y sovereign prerogative. And we have defended our integrity because the fact tha
t we favor peace does not mean that they are going to land on our shores and we
not fire a shot. We are for peace but if we are attacked we are going to repel t
hem with all our means. (Applause).
We know that in the present world the hands of the imperialists are not free. If
they had been free, we would have had to suffer the consequences from the outse
t. It's a true fact that the world correlation of forces permitted them to do wh
at they pleased
what they did in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Santo Domingo and in oth
er small countries of Latin America. Their hands are not free now and they are n
ot in a position to act freely as they did before. The irresponsible acts of Mr.
Kennedy placed the world at the brink of war.
Whom can they blame? Us? The Soviet Union? (Crowd shouts "no") Who were the aggr
essors? Who has been baiting our country incessantly from the first? It is they
who have maintained a declared war against our country, ceaseless aggression aga
inst our country. These are the facts that cannot be hidden or denied. There was
the meeting with the mercenaries he sent to invade our country. They were the a
ggressors. They are the only ones to blame. Let them stop their policy of aggres
sion and the threat of war will end in the Caribbean. Let them stop their policy
of aggression and there will be peace in the Caribbean. But let them not think
they can attack us and that we will not defend ourselves. Let them not think tha
t we will fold our arms in the face of their aggressions. The harm they try to c
ause us we will try to cause them as well. If what the imperialists want in exch
ange for peace is that we stop being revolutionary we will not stop being revolu
tionary. We will never lower our flag.
We are examples for the brother peoples of America because the captives, Mr. Ken
nedy, are not the Cubans. The captives are the millions of Indians and Latin Ame
ricans who are exploited by the Yankee monopolies, exploited by Yankee imperiali
sm in Latin America. (Applause) When you, Mr. Kennedy, when you speak of captive
s, you say Cubans, but you do not think of us. You think of and fear the rebelli
on of the real captives, the rebellion of the exploited. If the workers and peas
ants of Latin America had weapons as our people do, we would see what would happ
en. We would see who are the real captives, because these, whom you call captive
s, are armed captives, with tanks, planes. (Applause) Give the workers and peasa
nts of Latin America tanks and planes and you will see who are the captives. Tha
t is the irrefutable proof.
But there is no hurry. We did not have cannons either. We did not have planes, b
ut today we do. We were as disarmed as those captives of Latin America, but that
did not prevent the triumph of the people, the triumph of the revolution. When
the peoples decide to struggle, they can do what we did, and the millions of Lat
in American exploited by the imperialists can do what we did. (Applause) And the
peoples are beginning to awake and struggle.
Thus is the proof of solidarity with our country; the action of some peoples, li
ke the Venezuelan people who, while Betancourt, the puppet was sending his ships
, along with the puppets of Argentina and Santo Domingo to blockade us, the Vene
zuelan people struggled and gave extraordinary evidence of revolutionary spirit,
led by the glorious Communist Party of Venezuela (applause) and by the valiant
militants of the leftist revolutionary movement. The imperialists were given evi
dence of what revolutionary solidarity is, and active solidarity of revolutionar
ies who do not sit in their doorways to wait for the corpse of their enemy to pa
ss by, of revolutionaries who understand that the duty of all revolutionaries is

to create the revolution.

Comrades, we begin a fifth anniversary. With what spirit should be view this new
year? With an optimistic spirit, the spirit of a revolution, with faith in the
future. May are the tasks ahead of us. Tasks do not end with years, but new task
s begin. Our problems today are not the same as four years ago. New problems, ne
w obligations, and new tasks are ahead of us. Basically, it is our duty to creat
e the riches that our country needs, to create the means of production we need t
o raise our standard of living, to satisfy the rising needs of our masses. Today
everything belongs to the people and the fruits of work are for the people; the
first duty of the people is to struggle to create all those means to satisfy al
l their needs. We must do that amid a bitter situation, serious problems that co
ncern us all in the struggle against the common enemy, in the struggle against t
he imperialists.
What are the discrepancies in the bosom of the socialist family, the public disc
repancies between large forces of the socialist camp? That concerns us all. It c
oncerns us because we see with clarity here, from this trench 90 miles from the
Yankee empire, how much cause for concern these discrepancies can be, how much u
nity is needed, how much all the strength of the entire socialist camp is needed
to face up to those enemies.
We have the great historic task of bringing this revolution forward, of serving
as an example for the revolution of Latin America, and within the socialist camp
, which is and always will be our family. (Applause) We understand it to be our
duty to struggle for unity under the principles of the socialist family, of the
socialist camp. That is to be the line of our people, the line followed by the p
olitical leadership of the revolution. There are many problems and very great ta
sks ahead of us
first of all, to face up to imperialism. In that same situation
are many peoples, the colonialized peoples subjected to imperialism. That is why
that unity is so necessary. That is why it is so necessary to present a united
front to the imperialists and that, I am certain, will be the clamor of the thre
atened peoples, the peoples who are fighting for their independence, the peoples
who are struggling against the aggressions of imperialism.
A guide for our people: our task is to unite inside and outside, to eliminate ev
erything that divides us inside and outside, to struggle for everything that uni
tes us inside and outside, the unity of all principles, that is our line, father
land or death, we will win!
This will be the year of organization. (Applause) Why? Because we must place our
main effort in organization; in the first place, organization of the live party
of socialist revolution, the development of the organization of our masses; tha
t is, our mass organizations, the organization of our administrative agencies an
d the organization of economic agencies. This does not imply that this year will
not be for education. The principal impetus will be for organization. All years
are years for education and all years will be years for organization. But this
year we will place emphasis on organization. And for that reason it will be call
ed the year of organization.

Comments on Czechoslovakia
[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro on the Czechoslovak situation-live]
[Text] As was announced today, my appearance here is to analyze the situation in
Czechoslovakia. I am going to make this analysis in the light of revolutionary
positions and of the international policy which our revolution and our party has

sustained. Some of the things I am going to say here will in some cases run cou
nter to the feelings of many people. In other cases, they will run counter to ou
r own interests, and they will constitute serious risks to our country.
Even so, this is a moment of utmost importance to the revolutionary movement all
over the world. It is our duty to analyze the facts objectively and to voice th
e opinion of our political leadership. It is the opinion of our Central Committe
e, of the leaders of our mass organizations, and of the members of our governmen
t, and I am sure that this opinion is deeply rooted in the tradition and sentime
nts of our people.
I think it is necessary in the first place to make at least a brief analysis of
our position with regard to the events which have been taking place in Czechoslo
vakia. Our people have received sufficiently broad information on all these even
ts. Although our party's position with regard to these events has never been air
ed officially so to speak, because among other things, these events were in the
process of development, and I am not obliged to analyze each one of the things h
appening every day in the world, I was keeping track of the development of the p
olitical process in that country.
Analysis of Czech Crisis
It was approximately at the beginning of this year that a number of changes bega
n to occur in Czechoslovakia. There was talk, or rather, Mr Novotny did in fact
resign as secretary of the party, although he remained as President of the Repub
lic. Subsequently, an important military officer deserted to the United States.
Then there were a number of demands for the President of the Republic to resign
too, and a number of events and phenomena began to occur. A process began which
they called a democratization process. The imperialist press invented another wo
rd, the word liberalization. They even began to label people progressives and co
nservatives. They called the supporters of a number of political reforms progres
sives, and the followers of the older leadership conservatives.
It was obvious over there--and I must give my opinion about both, the conservati
ves and the liberals; this reminds us a little of Cuba's old history--that divis
ion existed between conservatives and liberals. A thing which of course was not
supposed to happen in the political process of the socialist revolution. This ha
d a number of implications in the world. Some began to sympathize with the so-ca
lled liberals or democratized persons. We observed what was happening. For examp
le, on 24 April 1968 the newspaper RUDE PRAVO--organ of the Czechoslovak Communi
st Party--with the headline of favorable reaction by the U.S. press to events in
Czechoslovakia, pointed out that the United States (?was following) a foreign p
olicy more understanding of the new direction taken by Prague.
Possible Western Economic Aid
Here, [he loses his place] it seems that there is something missing, but in that
dispatch it was told with some glee what had been the reaction of the U.S. pres
s to the changes in Czechoslovakia, and in fact the U.S. press reaction--the cap
italist press, the imperialist press--was very favorable to the changes in Czech
oslovakia. Now everything that begins to receive the praise, support, enthusiasm
, and applause of the imperialist press naturally begins to raise our suspicions
. Later, on 2 May 1968, the press reiterates that Czechoslovakia and the United
States are in a period when the return of Czechoslovak gold is requested. The Pr
ague government repeated to Washington its request for the quick return of Czech
gold held by the United States.
In a note sent on that date to the U.S. Embassy, the Czech Government describes
the U.S. attitude as flippant, and pressed Washington to quickly remit a down pa
yment of the 18,433 kilograms of gold that Washington was holding and that belon

ged indisputably to Czechoslovakia. It was gold stolen by the Nazis from the Cze
chs and confiscated by the United States as a guarantee of a settlement of affai
rs between the two countries.
Then on 11 June 1968, there was a possible loan by the United States to Czechosl
ovakia. That is, the possibility for Czechoslovakia. That is, the possibility fo
r Czechoslovakia to receive a loan from the United States was planned on that da
te, according to reliable sources, by the vice president of the National Bank in
New York in a conversation with Czech banking leaders. The vice president of th
e American [as heard] Bank, Miroslava (Kry) maintained that Poland and Yugoslavi
a had both received large loans from U.S. banks without changing the socialist p
rinciples of their societies. Here the argument advanced in favor of the loan wa
s that other countries such as Poland, one of the countries that sent its troops
to Czechoslovakia, had received large loans from U.S. banks. Something strange,
don't you think? [chuckles]
Hers is one dated 18 June 1968, a German magazine says that Czechoslovakia sough
t credits from the German Federal Republic. It says: The weekly DER SPIEGEL reve
als today that Prague, fearing economic reprisals from Moscow, recently sought a
loan from Bonn. The federal government however, according to the weekly, so as
not to increase the existing tension with the Soviet Union, preferred to get off
the hook with Czechoslovakia in a direct manner, and the Council of Ministers a
pproved an idea of Minister of Economics Schiller to give Prague a guarantee for
a World Bank loan. DER SPIEGEL writes that in exchange, Czechoslovakia has prom
ised to give the GFR trade mission a wider scope in Prague and has also alluded
to the possibility of normalizing diplomatic relations between both nations at t
he beginning of next year.
An economic conference between Czechoslovak and West German representatives bega
n on 27 June--a 2-day conference began here today between Czechoslovakia and Wes
t German group is headed by the president of the above Bonn society, Ambassador
Gebhardt von Walther, who was GFR ambassador in Moscow until the end of last yea
r. Von Walther said that the West German representatives should know the needs a
nd possibilities of the Czechoslovak economy.
He let it be understood that West Germany is ready to substantially increase eco
nomic relations with Czechoslovakia. Dr (Sejarik) said that the conference shoul
d serve to shed light on possibilities and be highly instrumental to the future
development of economic relations between both nations, and so forth.
All of you may remember how, in the wake of the recognition of the German Democr
atic Republic (GDR), the GFR drastically broke relations with us and this situat
ion has continued all this time. In other words, I know how all these government
s act, above all, how the GFR acts like Yankee imperialism's principal pawn.
Liberals and Imperialism
Here we see a number of things, the beginning of a honeymoon in the relation bet
ween the liberals and imperialism. I have brought up some of this economic infor
mation on various dates simply because a number of political events transpired t
hroughout this process. A veritable liberal hysteria began to develop over there
. A number of political slogans began to be aired in favor of the creation of op
position parties, in favor of ideas which were frankly anti-Marxist and anti-Len
inist, such as the idea that the party should cease to exercise the function whi
ch a party should exercise within a socialist society and that it should play th
e role of guide, reviewer, and the like--above all, a sort of spiritual director
. In short, that power should cease to be a function of the Communist Party. [Th
is was] revision of some alleged fundamentals on which a socialist regime, a tra
nsitional regime on the road to socialism and communism, that is to say, the socalled government of the dictatorship of the proletariat--in other words, a gove

rnment in which power is exercised in the name of a class and against the old ex
ploiting classes, which means that in a revolutionary process, political rights
cannot be given away--the right to exercise political activities cannot be given
to the old exploiters whose aim is to struggle precisely against the very essen
ce and reason for the being of socialism.
A number of slogans and events began to appear and norms were adopted, such as (
those pertaining) to bourgeois freedom of the press-in other words, the right of
the counterrevolution and of the exploiters, and of the enemies of socialism th
emselves, to talk and write freely against socialism. Indeed, a process began in
which key communications media were taken over and fell into the hands of react
ionary elements. There wee a number of slogans used in foreign policy which amou
nted to a frank rapprochement with capitalist ideas and theses, and to a rapproc
hement with the West.
Of course, all this linked to a number of slogans which were unquestionably corr
ect. Some of these slogans won some sympathy for the liberalization or democrati
zation movement. Even some European communist parties which were confronting the
ir tragedy and their contradictions began to say that they were starting to look
favorably upon the liberalization movement. It was a phenomenon is which everyb
ody was trying to get a piece of the pie.
Then there were the problems in connection with incorrect methods of government,
the bureaucratic policy, the alienation of the masses. In short, a number of er
rors for which they blamed the old leadership. There was also talk about the nec
essity of giving revolutionary orthodoxy to the development of the socialist rev
olution and the socialist system in Czechoslovakia.
Move Toward Capitalism
Thus did these undercurrents develop in tandem, one in justification of the chan
ge, another which transformed this change into a frankly reactionary policy. Thi
s caused a division of opinion. For our part, I did not have any doubt--and this
is a very important thing--I did not have any doubt that the Czechoslovak regim
e was developing dangerously toward a substantial change in the system. In short
, the Czechoslovak regime was moving toward capitalism and it was inexorably mar
ching toward imperialism. About this we did not have the slightest doubt.
I want to start by discussing this because I also want to cover some other matte
rs with regard to what was going on there. There are some in the world who do no
t have this opinion. Many thought this danger did not exist. Many looked favorab
ly upon a certain freedom of artistic expression and some of these things becaus
e, naturally, there are many people in the world who are sensitive regarding the
se problems. Many errors have been committed concerning these problems and many
blunders have been made. Logically, certain sectors, above all the intellectuals
, are very sensitive about certain means for coping wit this.
The intellectuals are also concerned about other problems. They have been very s
ensitive to Vietnam problems and all these matters, although it must be said tha
t a part of the progressive thought of the world, which lives with their own pro
blems--the general problems of Europe, the problems of the developed world, the
problems of the developed society--places more emphasis on problems which are of
less concern to a large part of the world.
The problems of a world which lives under imperialist oppression, neocolonialism
, capitalist exploitation in the underdeveloped areas of the world, and billions
of human beings who practically live under conditions of hunger and misery and
without hope, are not the problems of intellectuals. They are more interested in
questions such as whether they ought to let their grow long or not. It may well
be a very debatable issue, but [Castro chuckles] it certainly is not an issue w

hich is of concern to people who want to know whether they have a possibility or
hope of eating. And thus, some emphasized the positive aspects which that evolu
tion may have had and others emphasized negative aspects. Some favored new metho
ds and placed their hopes in them and some did not have any hope. I reached that
conclusion at the outset. I had no doubt that the Czechoslovak political situat
ion was deteriorating and Czechoslovakia was sliding downhill to a return to cap
italism and would inexorably fall into the hands of imperialism.
Western Imperialists' Campaign
It is very important because I think that this opinion of mine, which I honestly
held and still hold, is very important in order to determine what our position
is in connection with these events. Of course, the imperialist world welcomed th
is situation with great satisfaction and abetted it in every way and without any
question whatsoever. They rubbed their hands with satisfaction at the thought o
f the debacle which this would mean to the socialist world in one way or another
The imperialists have abetted it and have publicly said many times what their po
licy is toward the East European socialist nations.
They have always talked in Congress and the newspapers about fanning the flames
of liberalism, going so far as promoting and making viable selected types of eco
nomic aid and using as many forces as they could over there to create an opposit
ion to socialism. The imperialists are waging this campaign not only in Czechosl
ovakia but in all East European nations including the Soviet Union. They try by
every means to mount publicity campaigns in favor of the way of life of the deve
loped industrial society and in favor of the tastes and the consumer goods of th
e developed bourgeois societies. They do this on the radio and through what they
call cultural exchange programs. They very subtly try to awaken in the masses a
dmiration and an appetite for such tastes, for such consumer habits.
They know full well that the development of these feelings run counter to the re
volutionary sentiments of the masses and to the spirit of sacrifice of the masse
s. The imperialists make much use of the entire bourgeois facade, the utter luxu
ry of a class society which has greatly developed the art and refinement of cons
umer tastes and luxury, which cannot ever be the aspirations of the socialist so
cieties or of the peoples who seek to march toward communism.
They have a policy called the East European policy, through which they manage th
eir resources, their commerce, with this in mind. They do not do this with Cuba.
To Cuba they apply a policy of incessant persecution in all the markets so that
we cannot buy, well, or acquire even a little seed, so that we cannot acquire a
nything. They are relentlessly executing this policy against Cuba. Why? We must
ask why. They know that they have not the slightest possibility of penetrating o
ur country with such maneuvers. The imperialists know this and they know it full
They have no chance of applying these maneuvers, to come here to crack or soften
up the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people. Therefore, they carry out an i
mplacable war incessantly, always trying to place us in the worst position. This
has been its policy all this time. Everyone knows that there is not trade of an
y kind between Cuba and the United States, because even though they always had a
policy to sell us medicines--it was always academic--what medicine can we by? T
hey have prohibited even the sale of medicines to our country. The imperialists
have forced us to spend much more money for many things. Their blockade puts us
in a difficult situation to obtain essential products which cost us a fortune, a
nd all those things we have mentioned on other occasions.
Opinion on Intervention

I wish to quickly make the first important statement that we considered Czechosl
ovakia to be heading toward a counterrevolutionary situation, toward capitalism
and into the arms of imperialism. This is the operative concept in our first pos
ition toward the specific fact of the action taken by a group of socialist count
ries. That is, we consider that it was unavoidable to prevent this from happenin
g--at any cost, in one way or another.
Of course, let us not become impatient, because we propose to analyze this in li
ne with our ideas. Discussing the form is not really the most fundamental thing.
The essential thing, whether we accept it or not, is whether the socialist bloc
could permit the development of a political situation which lead to the breakdo
wn of a socialist country and its fall into the arms of imperialism. From our vi
ewpoint, it is not permissible and the socialist bloc has the right to prevent i
t in one way or another.
We first wish to begin by establishing what our opinion is about this essential
matter. Now, it is not enough to explain simply that Czechoslovakia was heading
toward a counterevolutionary situation and that it had to be stopped. It is not
enough to conclude simply that the only alternative was to prevent it and nothin
g more. We must analyze the causes and determine the factors which made possible
and necessary such a dramatic, drastic, and painful remedy. What are the factor
s which required a step unquestionably involving a violation of legal principles
and of international standards, which have often served as shields for peoples
against injustices and are so highly regarded in the world?
What is not appropriate here is to say that the sovereignty of the Czechoslovak
state was not violated. That would be fiction and a lie. The violation was flagr
ant, and on this we are going to talk about the effect on sovereignty, and on le
gal and political principles. From the legal viewpoint, it cannot be justified.
This is quite clear. In our judgment, the decision on Czechoslovakia can be expl
ained only from the political viewpoint and not from a legal viewpoint. Frankly,
it has absolutely no legality.
What are the circumstances that have permitted a remedy of this nature, a remedy
which places in a difficult situation the entire world revolutionary movement,
a remedy which constitutes a really traumatic situation for an entire people--as
is the present case in Czechoslovakia--a remedy which implies that an entire na
tion has to pass through the most unpleasant circumstances of seeing the country
occupied by armies of other countries, although they are armies of the socialis
t countries. A situation in which millions of beings of a country have to see th
emselves today in the tragic circumstance of electing and choosing either to be
passive toward these circumstances and this event--which so much brings to mind
previous episodes--or to struggle in comradeship with pro-Yankee agents and spie
s, the enemies of socialism, the agents of West Germany, and all that fascist an
d reactionary rabble that in the heat of these circumstances will try to present
itself as champions of the sovereignty, patriotism, and freedom of Czechoslovak
Logically, for the Czechoslovak people this experience and this fact constitute
a better and tragic situation. Therefore, it is not enough simply to conclude th
at it has arisen as an inexorable necessity and even, if you wish, as an unquest
ionable obligation of the socialist countries to prevent such events from happen
ing. [One must inquire] what are the cases, the factors, and the circumstances t
hat brought forth--after 20 years of communism in Czechoslovakia--a group of per
sons whose names do not even appear anywhere, and this petition directed to othe
r countries of the socialist camp, asking them to send their armies to prevent t
he triumph of the counterrevolution in Czechoslovakia and the triumph of the int
rigues and conspiracies of the imperialist countries interested in breaking Czec
hoslovakia from the community of socialist countries?

Could it be imagined, gentlemen, that at the end of 20 years of communism in our

country--of communist revolution, of socialist revolution--that under any circu
mstances it could happen that a group of honest revolutionaries in this country,
terrified at the prospects of an advance or, better said, of a retrogression to
ward counterrevolutionary positions and imperialism, would see the need of askin
g the aid of friendly armies to prevent such a situation from occurring?
What would have remained of the communist consciousness of this people? What wou
ld have remained of the revolutionary consciousness of this people, of the digni
ty of this people, of the revolutionary morale of this people? What would have r
emained of all those things that mean for us essentially the revolution if such
circumstances should one day arise?
But no circumstances of that kind will ever occur in our country. First, because
we believe that it is a duty and fundamental responsibility of those who direct
a revolution to prevent deformations of such a nature that might make possible
such circumstances. Secondly, gentlemen, for an unquestionably practical reason
and not only a moral elemental reason, because we could ask if it would be worth
the trouble if, after 20 years, to survive a revolution one had to resort to su
ch procedures. And also, for a very simple practical reason: who would false per
sonalities of this country ask to send armies? The only armies that we have in o
ur vicinity are the Yankee army and the armies of the puppets allied with the Ya
nkee imperialists, the because we are too alone in this part of the world for th
ere ever to exist the most remote possibility of saving this revolution by askin
g aid of allied armies.
And it must be said that I do not know anyone capable of having enough shame to
do such a thing if they had the need and opportunity to do it, because what kind
of communists would we be and what kind of communist revolution would this be i
f at the end of 20 years we found ourselves having to do such a thing to save it
Always, when we have thought about foreign aid, we have never had the idea of fo
reign aid to fight against the imperialist soldiers and against the imperialist
armies. I simply analyze these facts because I know that, legally, our people ar
e concerned with an explanation of these concepts. Such things are not in our id
ea of the revolution.
I do not think that a person can justify the appeal of high-ranking persons, bec
ause the justification can only be the political fact in itself--that Czechoslov
akia was marching toward a counterrevolutionary situation and this was seriously
affecting the entire socialist community. And besides, there is no lack of figl
eaves of any kind. It is the political fact in itself, with all its consequences
and all its importance. (?As) we were saying, recognizing that and nothing else
is simply enough.
Or if it is obligatory, it is elementary to draw from this most bitter experienc
e all the political conclusions. And as it is possible, we repeat: In these circ
umstances, an analysis must be made of all the factors. For the communist moveme
nt, there is the unavoidable duty of investigating deeply the causes leading to
such a situation, a situation inconceivable for us, the Cuban revolutionaries. I
f such action is impossible for us Cuban revolutionaries--we who saw the necessi
ty for carrying out this revolution 90 miles from imperialism--we also know that
we cannot fall into these circumstances because it would mean the very end of t
he revolution and falling into the worst situation, [word indistinct] by our ene
mies, full of hatred. But this is not the reason for making or trying to make th
is profound analysis.
Communist Ideals

We can enunciate some of the facts and concepts, such as the bureaucratic method
s for the direction of the country; the lack of contact with the masses, an esse
ntial question of all really revolutionary movements; and the forgetting of comm
unist ideals, and what is meant by the forgetting of the communist ideals--forge
tting that men is class societies, that the exploited ones in the society of cla
sses, the enslaved ones, fight for a whole series of ideals.
When they talk of socialism, when they talk of communism, they talk not only of
a society in which exploitation disappears de facto, and poverty resulting from
this exploitation disappears, and underdevelopment resulting from this exploitat
ion disappears, but also of all those beautiful aspirations which constitute the
communist ideal and a classless society.
They speak of a society without selfishness, of a society in which man ceases be
ing a miserable slave of poverty, in which society ceases to work for profits an
d all society begins to work for necessities and to establish among men the reig
n of justice, fraternity, equality, and all the ideals of human society and peop
les who have always aspired to attain these possible objectives as we have expla
ined on other occasions, as we were fully explaining precisely on 26 July.
If in later stages it were necessary for our revolutionary people to go deeply i
nto these concepts of what is meant by the communist society, [it would be found
that] the ideal of the communist society cannot be the ideal of the industriali
zed bourgeois society. It can in no way be the ideal of the society of capitalis
t bourgeois consumption.
The communist ideal cannot for a single instant omit internationalism. Those who
struggle for communism in any country of the world can never forget the rest of
the world and the situation of misery, underdevelopment, poverty, ignorance, ex
ploitation in the rest of the world. What misery has accumulated, what poverty!
Not for an instant can one forget the needs and realities of this world.
We understand that the masses of the people cannot be educated in a really inter
nationalist awareness, in a really communist awareness, if one is permitted to f
orget these realities of the world, the threats these realities involve--realiti
es of confrontation with imperialism, of the dangers of softening up involved in
the drawing away from the mind of the people all these real problems so as to t
ry to move the masses only through incentives and only through aspirations of co
European Socialism
We can say--and today it is necessary to speak sincerely and frankly-that we hav
e observed to what point these ideals and these internationalist sentiments, and
that state of alert, that awareness of world problems have disappeared or have
been manifested only in a very subtle manner in some socialist countries of Euro
pe. We are not going to say that these have manifested themselves in all sociali
st countries, but [simply] in more than one socialist country of Europe.
Cuban visitors and scholarship students have many times returned saturated with
dissatisfaction and disgust, and have said: The youth there are not being educat
ed in the ideals of communism; the youth there are not educated in the principle
s of internationalism; the youth there are highly influenced by all the ideas an
d by all tastes of the Western European countries; in many places there they spe
ak only about money; in many places all they talk about is incentives, about mat
erial incentives of all sorts, about profits, and wages; and really an internati
onalist, a communist awareness is not being developed.
Some have told us with astonishment: Well, volunteer work does not exist; people

are paid for performing volunteer work; payment for volunteer work is [word ind
istinct]; it is almost a heresy from the Marxist viewpoint on simple volunteer w
ork. All sorts of practices are followed, including: if a plane makes a good lan
ding or another plane does not land well; if a man makes a good or poor parachut
e jump--there goes an incentive or something else. Many of our people, many of o
ur men have more than once suffered trauma because of this vulgarization of mate
rial incentives of that making of men's awareness vulgarly materialistic.
Peace Advocates
In addition to all this, there has been the preaching which advocates peace. Wit
hin the socialist countries there has been a constant and widespread preaching.
And we ask ourselves: What is behind all these campaigns? Do we say this because
we are advocates of war? Do we say this because we consider ourselves enemies o
f peace? We are not advocates of war; we are not advocates of universal holocaus
ts. We have to say this because the analysis of these matters leads to clinches,
schemes, charges of warmongering, of being incendiaries of war and of irrespons
ibility, and so forth and so on.
On this matter we hold a position. The dangers posed to the world by the existen
ce and aggressiveness of imperialism are unquestionable. The threat handing over
the world because of the tremendous contradiction existing between the fact of
a great part of the world being dominated by imperialism and the people's desire
and need to liberate themselves from the imperialist yoke is unquestionable. Th
ose who are incendiaries of war are the imperialists; the imperialists are the a
Very well, these threats are realities--realities--and these realities are not e
rased simply by preaching in our own homes, by an excessive desire for peace. In
any event, they can preach peace in the enemy camp, but never in their own camp
, because this will only bring about the disappearance of combat spirit, a weake
ning of the people's readiness to face risk, sacrifices, and all the consequence
s that the international reality entails. That international reality imposes all
sorts of sacrifices, not only the danger of sacrificing our blood but also sacr
ifices of a material nature. When the peoples know that the realities of the wor
ld, the independence of the country, and their internationalist duties, demand m
aking investments and sacrifices to strengthen the country's defenses, the masse
s will be much better prepared to work enthusiastically in this direction--to ma
ke sacrifices and to understand this need, being aware of the dangers caused by
their unwillingness to make these sacrifices when their minds have been influenc
ed and softened by an incessant, senseless, and unexplainable campaign for peace
That is a very strange way to defend peace. It was for that reason that at the o
utset we committed so many blunders--either through ignorance or ingenuousness.
It has been a long time since we have painted signs saying: "Long live peace! Lo
ng live this or that!" At the beginning, either to mimic or to imitate, everythi
ng that came here was repeated, until the time came when we said: What sense doe
s the sign "Long live peace" make? Let us place this sign in New York: Long live
peace in New York! Long live peace in Washington!" Let us preach peace there in
the midst of the only ones responsible for the fact that peace is not secure, i
n the midst of the only ones who are really belicose, in the midst of the only o
nes responsible for war, the only ones among whom the preaching of peace could a
t least help to weaken the tremendous taxes imposed upon the people to finance a
dventuresome, aggressive, colonizing, imperialist, and exploiting war--and not h
ere in our camp.
Softening of Revolutionary Spirit
A series of opinions, ideas, and practices which we do not understand has really

contributed to the relaxation and softening up of revolutionary spirit in the s

ocialist countries, to ignoring the problems facing the underdeveloped world, to
ignoring the ghastly poverty which exists; to a tendency to maintain with the u
nderdeveloped world trade practices that are the same trade practices followed b
y the capitalist, bourgeois, and developed world. This does not prevail in all c
ountries, but it does in several countries.
Technical aid--gentlemen, as you know, our country has great need for technician
s, great need for technicians. However, when we render some technical assistance
, we do not think of sending anyone a bill. We think that the least that an unde
rdeveloped country, a socialist and revolutionary country can do, the least way
in which it can help the underdeveloped world is with technology. It does not en
ter our mind to send anyone a bill for arms that we give or to send anyone a bil
l for technical assistance. It does not even enter our minds to mention it. If w
e are going to give aid and we are going to mention it every day, what we are go
ing to do is constantly humiliate those to whom we are giving aid. I believe tha
t one should not talk about it too much. But that is the way we are, and it is n
o virtue. One cannot claim it as a virtue. It is a basic thing. The day we have
thousands and thousands of technicians, surely, gentlemen, the most basic of our
duties is to contribute at least technical aid to the countries that achieve th
eir liberation after us or that need our assistance.
All these ideas have never been brought up. All these problems that have a great
bearing on communist awareness, internationalist awareness, and which are not g
iven the place they should have in the education of the masses in the socialist
camp--have much to do with the terrible softening up which explains these situat
We all know that the leadership that Czechoslovakia generally had for 20 years w
as a leadership saturated with many vices of dogmatism, bureaucracy, and in sum,
many things which cannot be considered a model of a truly revolutionary leaders
hip. When we here present our views on the pseudoliberal nature of this group, w
hich has been praised so much by imperialism, it does not at all mean that we ar
e expressing our support for that [former] leadership. We must keep in mind that
that leadership, with which we maintained relations from the beginning, sold us
many arms that were war booty captured from the Nazis and we have been paying a
nd are still paying for weapons that belonged to the Hitlerite troops that occup
ied Czechoslovakia. Naturally, I am not referring to the weapons which a country
has to manufacture as an industrial and commercial product, especially if it is
a country with a limited economy. We do not pretend to say: Give away the arms
you manufacture in your industry as part of the social production and trade exch
ange to a country with relatively few resources. But they sold to us many weapon
s that belonged to the Nazi armies, and we have to pay for them and we are still
paying for them. That is a reality.
It is the same as if any country that liberated itself from imperialism needed t
he rifles that we took from Batista, and we were not rushing to given them away,
and then were to charge it--a country ridden with poverty, with many needs, an
underdeveloped country--for the rifles. It is as if any country liberated itself
tomorrow and we sent it some weapons--the San Cristobal carbines, the Springfie
ld rifles and all such things belonging to Batista's army--and we charged for th
em as if it were a great trade transaction. Does there exist doubt that this dev
iates from the most basic concept regarding the duty of a revolutionary country
toward other countries?
On many occasions they sold us industries whose technology was very backward. We
have seen the results of many of the economic ideas about trade transactions ca
rried out in desperation to sell old weapons. There is no need to say that such
practices led to circumstances under which a country that has carried out a revo
lution and needs to develop was sold old and obsolete weapons.

I am not going to say that this was always the case. However, all the concepts a
bout financing, benefits, profits, and material incentives that were applied to
foreign trade organizations led to desperation to sell an underdeveloped country
any old weapon, and this naturally leads to discontent, disgust, misunderstandi
ngs, and a deterioration of relations with the underdeveloped world.
These are truths, and today we have to say bitter truths and to admit some bitte
r truths. We are going to take advantage of the occasion, not as an opportunity,
but as a need to explain to ourselves some of things that otherwise would be in
It would be very unfair if I did not say that we have known, and our country has
known, many technicians from various countries, many Czechoslovak technicians,
many good men, who have worked in this country loyally and enthusiastically. I a
m not referring to men but to institutions, and especially the institutions that
deform men. even though there are institutions that deform men, many times we h
ave seen men who have not been deformed by institutions.
Before learning this experience that we are analyzing today, we learned other ex
periences that explain how one phenomena led to another, another, and another, a
nd at a given time in a society, revolutionary and communist awareness were far
from developing; individualism, egoism, and indifference of the masses developed
; the cooling of enthusiasm increased. For that reason, some as, if in Cuba enth
usiasm is going to decrease or increase--if it is going to increase now, decreas
e later, and then increase. This has never worried us because experience has tau
ght us that as one goes deeper into the revolution, enthusiasm becomes more cons
cious, and conscious enthusiasm increases and does not decrease.
Spirit of Sacrifice, Suffering
The spirit of sacrifice of the people increases--the discipline, the work capaci
ty, the willingness--everything increases. That is what our own revolutionary ex
perience has shown us, and we cannot imagine it diminishing. And we think that a
s we advance it will have to become greater and greater, and that when our count
ry arrives a a higher stage, becomes a communist society, that enthusiasm, that
awareness will reach incomparably higher degrees that any we have ever known. We
have seen the attitude of the workers, the willingness to work, to accomplish d
ifficult tasks, the willingness to do voluntary labor, the giving up of overtime
, and a whole series of all kinds of activities; and there are no longer activit
ies of 10 or 50 or 1,000 persons, but rather there are activities of hundreds of
thousands of persons in this country--dozens of thousands of workers that go of
f to effect the harvests, leaving their families behind; dozens of thousands of
young people who go wherever they are sent--Isle of Pines, Pinar del Rio, Camagu
ey--anywhere--to live under difficult conditions, under difficult housing condit
ions; and we have seen that this has increased in our country year by year, as a
wareness grows. Thousands of youth always willing to go anywhere as technicians,
as anything; thousands of youths always saying that they are ready to go strugg
le where they are needed.
Our constant problem here is that everybody wants, everybody dreams of one day b
eing permitted to leave the country so they can help the revolutionary movement
anywhere. Our country has an internationalist awareness. Our country's communist
awareness has been growing--it has been growing day by day. And this is a real
unquestionable asset of this revolution--for this revolution deals with and live
s in world realities.
Perhaps, too, the fact of having the enemy only too close is favorable for us. P
erhaps the fact that we are not protected by great armies favors us, the fact th
at we know that here we depend on our ability to resist, on our people's willing

ness to fight and to make sacrifices, on our people's willingness to give their
lives; and because not only was the revolution effected through the effort of th
is people, not only was this revolution not imported in any way, not only is it
a very autochthonous revolution, but also it has had to defend itself in tight s
pots with an enemy that is very near, and a very powerful enemy.
Our people have been developing that spirit of struggle, that spirit of combat,
that willingness to challenge any danger that they have always had. And naturall
y, all those factors have contributed to the development of our revolutionary aw
areness. For surely--from the point of view of socialist ideas, from the point o
f view of revolutionary ideas--not a justification, but rather an explanation, a
n analysis of why such circumstances might arise in a country like Czechoslovaki
a is required. And they did indeed occur, and the need did indeed arise, the und
eniable need--it is undeniable that there was only one alternative--to prevent i
t. But to prevent it, of course, the price that has to be paid is a very high pr
ice. For a people such as ours, with such a historical revolutionary tradition,
who for many years had to face the problems of intervention and struggled agains
t all of Yankee imperialism's policies, it is logical that there be an emotional
reaction. Many people, in the face of that fact that armies from outside the co
untry's borders have had to enter in order to prevent a catastrophe, and since l
ogically, for different reasons, awareness, concepts, and repudiation of those a
ctions have been formed, only the development of our people's political awarenes
s can given the ability to analyze when analysis becomes necessary.
And even when this--it is necessary to admit it--even when it violates rights su
ch as the right of sovereignty, our judgment considers as the more important int
erest the rights of the world revolutionary movement and of the people's struggl
e against imperialism, which is in our judgment the fundamental question, and wi
thout any doubt, the tearing away of Czechoslovakia and its fall into the arms o
f imperialism would have constituted a very hard blow--harder still--to the inte
rests of the world revolutionary movement.
Bourgeois Liberal Economic Reforms
And we must learn to analyze these realities, and [to learn] when one interest m
ust give way to another interest in order that romantic and idealistic positions
that do not in with these realities may be avoided. We are against all those bo
urgeois liberal reforms within Czechoslovakia, but we are also against the liber
al economic reforms that wee taking place in Czechoslovakia and that have also b
een taking place in other socialist camp countries. Of course, we have the crite
rion that we should not tell them how they should realize the building of social
ism. But in the face of the occurrences: analysis.
A whole series of reforms were tending more and more to accentuate mercantile re
lations within the socialist society--profits, benefits, and all those things. I
n an article--there is an article around here somewhere, or maybe, with so many
papers, the article has been misplaced--let's look for it, well--Ah! Here it is;
it hasn't been lost--an article published in the newspaper PRAVDA regarding Cze
choslovakia, the fact that--the following fact is pointed out: It says if the CP
SU is constantly perfecting the style, the form and the method of the building o
f the party of the state--stresses PRAVDA-- this same task is being effected in
other socialist countries. It is being effected with tranquility, based on the f
undamentals of the socialist system. But this observation is very interesting: P
RAVDA says--unfortunately, it was on another basis that discussion of the matter
of economic reform in Czechoslovakia developed. During that discussion, on one
hand overall criticism of the entire earlier development of the socialist econom
y was presented, and on the other hand replacement of the principles of planning
with spontaneous mercantile relations, leaving a wide margin for action (?by) p
rivate capital, was proposed.

Does this mean that they are also going to brake certain trends in the field of
economy in the Soviet Union, too? Do they advocate putting the accent more and m
ore on mercantile relations and on the effects of spontaneity on those relations
--on those criteria that have been defending even the existence of the market an
d the beneficial effect of that market's prices? This means that the Soviet Unio
n is becoming aware of the need to brake that trend, for more than one imperiali
st press article speaks jubilantly of those trends, that have also appeared with
in the Soviet Union.
On reading these statements, we ask ourselves if this means that an awareness of
the problem has been reached. In any case, we find it very interesting that thi
s was noted in the PRAVDA editorial.
There is a series of matters worrying us. We are concerned that up to now, in th
e statements of the countries that sent their divisions to Czechoslovakia and in
the explanation of the occurrences, no direct accusation of Yankee imperialism
has been made. There has been exhaustive talk about all the antecedents, of all
the occurrences, of all the deviations, of all the rightist group, of all that l
iberal group--there has been talk about everything they did. The activities of t
he imperialists, they intrigues of the imperialists are known, and we are nevert
heless worried that neither the Communist Party nor the Soviet Government, nor t
he governments of the other countries that sent their troops to Czechoslovakia,
have made any direct accusation of Yankee imperialism for its responsibility in
the occurrences in Czechoslovakia. Certain vague references to world imperialism
, to imperialist circles of the world, have been made, and certain more concrete
references to West German imperialists circles. But who can fail to know that W
est Germany is simply a pawn of Yankee imperialism in Europe--the most aggressiv
e, the most notorious? It is the CIA's pawn, the Pentagon's pawn, and the pawn o
f the imperialist government of the United States, and we certainly wish to expr
ess our concern that none of the statements has made a direct accusation of Yank
ee imperialism, the main cause of the machinations and the worldwide conspiracy
against the imperialist [as heard] camp--against the socialist camp. And it is o
nly elementary that we express this concern.
Yugoslav Problem
The occurrences in Czechoslovakia only serve to confirm to us the correctness of
the positions and the theses that our revolution and our party have been mainta
ining--our position at the Tricontinental Conference, our positions in the Latin
American Solidarity Organization, and our positions regarding all the internati
onal problems--there is a series of facts that confirm this point of view. It is
known, for example, that one of the factors that we have explained--which expla
ins--which has been a constant element of irritation in our relations with many
countries of the socialist camp and with many communist parties is the problem o
f Yugoslavia.
Some people must have asked themselves the reason for that attitude--why Cuba is
always emphasizing the role that the Yugoslav League of Communists Party plays
in the world. What is the role of an instrument of imperialism that that party p
lays in the world?
Now, in relation to the occurrences in Czechoslovakia, the main promoter of all
that bourgeois liberal policy--the main defender, the main promoter--was the org
anization of the so-called Yugoslav communists. They applauded with both hands a
ll those liberal reforms, that whole concept of the party ceasing to be the inst
rument of revolutionary power, of power ceasing to be a function of the party--b
ecause this is very closely linked to the entire outlook of the Yugoslav League
of Communists. All those criteria of political nature that completely deviate fr
om Marxism, those criteria of an economic nature, are intimately linked with the
Yugoslav League of Communists' ideology.

However, (?it has happened) recently in many countries that the communist partie
s, including the communist parties of the Warsaw Pact, have begun quite to forge
t the role and nature of the Yugoslav League of Communists. They began to call Y
ugoslavia a communist country, they began to call it a communist party, to invit
e the Yugoslav League of Communists to meetings of the socialist countries, to m
eetings of base organizations of the communist parties; and this evoked our cons
tant opposition, our constant disagreement, our constant taking or exception, ex
pressed on various occasions.
And here we have the facts. It was this organization that was one of the princip
al promoters of the deformations of the political process in Czechoslovakia as t
he agent--that is what this organization is--of the imperialists.
Some will say that (?I err, but) I am going to show at least some facts. Tito wa
s received as a hero in Prague a few weeks ago. Th is was the result of what? Of
the ideological weakening, of the political weakness in the consciousness of th
e masses. And were we not saying, how this can be? And to what extremes we are g
oing, when this element--known to be revisionist, condemned historically by the
revolutionary movement, which has taken the role of an agent of imperialism--was
received by a nation practically as a hero? Now, of course, Tito is one of thos
e most scandalized by this event of the participation of Warsaw Pact countries i
n Czechoslovakia.
Cuban Purchase of Yugoslav Arms
I was saying that some will ask why have we been so tenacious in our attitude to
ward the Yugoslav League of Communists. We want to point out a fact, a very impo
rtant fact from the beginning of the revolution regarding our relations with Yug
oslavia. It was in the year 1959, when our country had already made the first la
ws, when not only had we begun in our country the agrarian reform that brought u
s into confrontation with imperialism, but also, in the United States, the first
plot against us was already being hatched.
At that time we did not have relations as yet with the USSR or with other countr
ies of the socialist camp. And we had to buy our arms in some capitalist countri
es. We made our first purchases of arms in Belgium and Italy. Because of pressur
e by the imperialists, and first not by pressure but by CIA conspiracy, there wa
s an explosion on one of the ships coming from Belgium with arms, which resulted
in around 80 victims. Later, the Belgian Government, under pressure from the U.
S. Government, stopped selling arms.
Meanwhile, the United States was preparing its mercenaries against us and on the
other hand was carrying out its policy of blockading our purchase of arms. The
Italian Government at that time was under such pressures. We recall that we were
trying to buy 16 mortars--16 mortars from Italy, and they had already sold us f
our and (?some parts) of the other 12. But under pressure of the Yankee imperial
ists, they stopped the sale of the 12 pieces. That left us practically with four
pieces and (?parts) of the others, but without the cannon.
In this situation, we turned to the Yugoslav Government to try to buy some arms,
including the 12 cannon and some 120 mortars and some other pieces. And here we
have a report by the comrade in charge of that mission, Maj Jose M. Fernandez A
And here is it in synthesis; I am going to read this information. It says:
In 1959, as the Batista tyranny was defeated, after the defeat of the tyranny, m
ilitary equipment had to be acquired. This equipment was needed urgently and imm
ediately to defend the revolution, whose laws and measures in process of being p

romulgated would surely cause hate among its logical enemies, who would try to d
estroy it.
On a tip that was given us, we got in touch with the ambassador of the Yugoslav
republic at the end of 1959 and at the beginning of 1960, in a very superficial
manner. Later, we went to visit him in the Yugoslav Embassy on 42nd Street and (
Tercera) Miramar, accompanies by Maj Raul Castro. On this visit, the minister of
the armed forces informed the ambassador of Cuba's interest in buying arms and
equipment, especially light infantry arms, rifles, machineguns, rocket launchers
, mortars, and ammunition. The ambassador was evasive in general, and when the m
inister said something about payments, he said that the matter of arms was a dif
ferent matter in regard to payments and that many details (?were involved). The
minister indicated to the ambassador that I should stay in contact with him to l
earn about prices and the arms available, and to carry forward negotiations in t
his regard.
It as extraordinarily difficult to carry out this task since the lists were dela
yed. Evasive answers were constantly given us. It was said that there were no ar
ms available and that they had to be manufactured, that the prices had not arriv
ed; and when the prices were finally in our possession, they dealt especially wi
th small caliber arms at extraordinarily high prices, even on the international
market. Before this and afterward, when we tried to get arms in Yugoslavia, some
comrades went to Yugoslavia and also tried to arrange for the purchase of arms
with the same results, with the presentation of other obstacles.
We can say that in no operation could we make progress, despite our negotiations
and great interest, since the Yugoslav representation here in Cuba did not make
it feasible. As a conclusion to the foregoing, we can say that Yugoslavia's att
itude was markedly opportunistic, since it wanted to be paid in dollars and at b
lack market prices for the few lines that it offered, and said that the total am
ount of the operation did not justify the difficulties that they would have with
the United States over selling us arms. And they were reluctant to give us the
lists and prices. They proposed that discussions be carried out through a privat
e Yugoslav commercial company as a screen, in order that the operation should no
t appear under that country's name, and in general little cooperation was shown.
But it appeared that Yugoslavia did not want to make the sale to us, and on the
other hand it appeared opportunist or at least intended to dissuade us from the
conditions stipulated.
This was the attitude of that socialist, communist, revolutionary country when o
ur country, in the face of the first dangers of imperialist aggression, wanted t
o buy arms from it, and that is why there is not one Yugoslav bullet here.
Imagine our surprise some months later when, one day, poking around in the archi
ves, in the archives of the Batista government, we found the text of this docume
"From the military attache to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico, Mexico, D. F., 13 Dec
ember 1958; Gen Francisco Tabernilla Dolz, (?MP), Military City, Marianoa.
"My dear friend, I enclose various photographs which have been given me by the Y
ugoslav ambassador in this country--a great friend of mine. On a certain occasio
n I talked to him when I had been told that private negotiations were taking pla
ce about the possibility of acquiring armaments. He tells me that in fact he can
supply us with various types of armaments that we might need, such as .30-06 ri
fles and so forth, and he talked about a type of boat like those in the photogra
phs that could be of great use to us.
"He explains that he has an ample quantity of these torpedo boats, which would b
e very economical, since they produce with very cheap labor and have the best na

val shipyards today, after the English. These boats have a speed of over 40 kilo
meters an hour. They have two antiaircraft machineguns, an antiaircraft gun, and
torpedo launchers. There is also a great abundance of these torpedoes, which ar
e very cheap. Although I explained to him that at this time the negotiations for
any kind of armaments were suspended because we had acquired enough in other pl
aces, he told me that at any rate he would give me a list with exact specificati
ons, cost, date of delivery, and freight charge to our ports. As soon as he give
s me these data, I shall send them to you immediately."
After talking about other matters, he signs it "Col Chief A. P. Chaumon, militar
y attache."
Those who have read the history of Moncada know that this Chaumon was precisely
the officer who perpetrated tens of assassinations in the Moncada garrison after
the attack. He was the most criminal of all the officers, who assassinated tens
of prisoners, and he was later sent to Mexico and was a "great friend" of the Y
ugoslav ambassador, to whom, 18 days before the triumph of the revolution in Dec
ember 1958, when thousands of Cubans had been here--we had been fighting for 2 y
ears--this ambassador, in the name of Yugoslavia, and after consulting, was offe
ring all kinds of arms--cheap, economical, launches, everything.
How great, I say, was our indignation and surprise when we found this document i
n the archives, signed by the person who signed it, especially when we needed ar
ms to defend ourselves from the imperialists, and they had put all kinds of obst
acles in our way and did not sell us a single weapon, and they were offering arm
s to Batista just as the war was ending. As we are not going to hold the worst o
pinion, we are not going to have the worst concept of the role that this party p
layed, when even the imperialists would not sell arms to Batista, when not even
the Yankees would sell them arms, these gentlemen were offering good and cheap a
The communist movement for a long time--with much justification--kept that party
ostracized. An infinity of articles written by all the parties appeared in publ
ication against that movement, denouncing it, pointing a finger at it.
Afterward, naturally, some parties forgot this, and the friends, followers, the
unconditionals, began also to forget this in the face of all the political preac
hing about the ideological resurgence of the revolutionary movement, which has l
ed to these most dolorous situations.
And we wonder whether, perhaps, this bitter experience with Czechoslovakia will
not lead to a rectification of these errors, and whether the party of the League
of Yugoslav Communists will cease to be accepted as a communist party, as a rev
olutionary party, and will cease to be invited to mass meetings and the politica
l organizations of the socialist camp.
We are seeing many interesting things as a result of these events. It is explain
ed that the countries of the Warsaw Pact sent armies to put down on imperialist
plot and the development of counterrevolution in Czechoslovakia. However, it has
caused us to disagree and be discontented and to protest over the fact that the
se same countries have been fomenting relations and a rapprochement of an econom
ic, cultural, and political nature with the oligarchical governments of Latin Am
erica, which are not simply reactionary governments, exploiters of their peoples
, but are shameful accomplices in the imperialist aggressions against Cuba and s
hameful accomplices in the economic blockage against Cuba. And these countries h
ave seen themselves stimulated and encouraged by the fact that our friends, our
natural allies, have forgotten this cavalier role, this traitorous role, that th
ese governments carry out against a socialist country, the blockage policy which
those countries carry out against a socialist country.

Communist Relations With Latin America

And when we see that they explain the necessity for an internationalist spirit a
nd for giving aid with troops to a brother country against the intrigues of the
imperialists, we ask ourselves whether perhaps this policy of economic, politica
l, and cultural rapprochement with these oligarchical governments, these accompl
ices of the imperialist blockade against Cuba, is not going to cease.
It is well to see now how those countries react to this situation. They say that
all the Latin American bloc expressed, in the forum of the nations of the world
, their unanimous repudiation of this Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia. A
spokesman for the group said that "we all receive this intervention with sadness
and we feel sympathy with the Czechs.
"The political result that this Soviet intrusion into Czechoslovak internal affa
irs will strengthen the anti-Soviet tendency in Latin America," said the informa
nt, and so on.
Then they said, "The source said that this Soviet attitude, the theory about are
as influence that they have criticized so much, would enable the United States t
o claim the right to invade Cuba, inasmuch as it falls within its area of securi
ty." These puppet governments have already begun to draw up the theory that Cuba
should be invaded because it falls within an area of security. All these countr
ies--there is a single exception, Mexico, which has been the only government tha
t has not participated in plans for the blockade, aggressions, and imperialist a
ctions against Cuba-- all these same oligarchic governments that have received g
reat consideration, delicate treatment, are the standardbearers in the United Na
tions of scandals and attacks against the socialist countries in connection with
events in Czechoslovakia; these countries belonging to the Latin American bloc
are even proposing a meeting of the General Assembly and are the most rabid accu
sers and critics of the Soviet Union and socialist countries because of these ev
These countries have been accomplices in the aggressions against Cuba; they are
countries that have no right to speak of sovereignty or anything of that nature,
countries that have no right to speak of intervention because they have been ac
complices in all the wicked actions committed by imperialism against the people;
' the savage counterrevolutionary action executed in Santo Domingo, the aggressi
ons against Cuba and many other Latin American nations. Such oligarchic governme
nts as Brazil, Paraguay, and others sent troops there to Santo Domingo and are n
ow the standardbearers of attacks and condemnation of the socialist camp because
of the Czechoslovak events.
What magnificent justification! How well this shows the fairness of the position
s that the Cuban Revolution has held regarding these events! And we also ask our
selves if this policy will be rectified or if the path of political, economic, a
nd cultural rapprochement toward these countries will continue to be followed.
Some of them, such as Argentina, even shelled a Soviet fishing vessel--yes, shel
led. I believe that they even wounded a crew member and then awaited the other v
essels like fierce beasts. They have carried out gross and indecent actions agai
nst everyone, and yet this soft policy has been followed, a policy has been foll
owed, a policy which in our judgment only encourages their attitude as accomplic
es in the aggressions against Cuba.
I have a very interesting press dispatch which says that Venezuela decided [does
not finish sentence]: Caracas, 21 August--Venezuela has decided to suspend its
talks with the Soviet Union and the communist bloc aimed at the resumption of di
plomatic relations, in protest over the invasion of Czechoslovakia. The announce
ment was made by Foreign Minister Ignacio Irribaren Borges. The declaration says

: "In view of reports about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by troops of the Sovi
et Union and other East European countries, the Venezuelan Government declares t
hat this act against the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of that count
ry represents an open violation of the principles of nonaggression and of free d
etermination of peoples included in the United Nations Charter and the principle
of nonintervention set forth in Resolution 2131 of the General Assembly and inv
ariably defended by Venezuela.
"The events
er, an open

that have occurred are a source of serious concern to the Venezuelan

because they constitute a disturbance of international juridical ord
employment of superior force, and a serious setback to the people's
for peaceful coexistence.

"The Venezuelan Government considers that the invading troops must withdraw imme
diately and unconditionally.
"The Venezuelan Government interprets the sentiments of the Venezuelan people by
expressing its profound support for and solidarity with the Czechoslovak people
The Venezuelan Government did not assume such an attitude, did not make such a s
tatement, did none of these things when the Yankee troops landed in Santo Doming
o. There was no break of relations, no interruption of trade or economic activit
ies--absolutely nothing. And now it takes the luxury of throwing in the face of
the socialist countries that type of relations which they have been begging, in
reality, that type of relations which they have been begging from that governmen
t, which is among the most reactionary and one of the best accomplices of Yankee
imperialism; and now it insults [restriega] the socialist countries. These are
the results of such a policy when the hour of events, the hour of truth arrives.
The same occurs with the communist parties of Europe that at this time have fall
en prey to vacillation. We ask if perhaps in the future the relations with commu
nist parties will be based on their principles or will continue to be governed b
y their degree of submissiveness, satellitism, and lackeyism, and if only those
who unconditionally accept everything and are unable to express absolutely no di
sagreement with anything will be considered friends. Observe those who have crit
icized us many times, how under these circumstances they have now fallen confuse
d in the midst of the great hesitations.
Our party did not hesitate to help the Venezuelan guerrillas when a rightist and
traitorous leadership, deviating from the revolutionary line, abandoned the gue
rrillas and entered into shameful connivance with the regime. At that time we an
alyzed who was right--the group committed to maneuvering and political chicanery
, which betrayed the fighters, which betrayed the dead, or those who continued t
o uphold the banner of rebelliousness. We did not take into account the numbers
involved in the rightist group; we took into consideration who was right. We did
not take into account how many members of the Central Committee or Politburo we
re involved, because right has nothing to do with numbers.
At that time the revolutionaries remained in the minority, keeping the banner of
guerrilla warfare flying. We were loyal to the same positions that we hold toda
y when we supported guerrillas over and above the rightist leadership in Venezue
la, when for the same reason we supported the Guatemalan guerrillas over and abo
ve the maneuvers and betrayals of the rightist leadership in Guatemala, and when
we supported the Bolivian guerrillas over and above the maneuvers and betrayal
of the rightist leadership in Bolivia.
However, we were accused of being adventurers, of intervening in the affairs of
other countries and in the affairs of other parties. I ask, in the light of the
facts and in the light of the bitter reality which led the Warsaw Pact countries

to send their forces to crush a counterrevolution in Czechoslovakia and to supp

ort a minority there--so it is said--against a majority with rightist positions;
I ask if they will cease supporting also in Latin America those rightist, refor
mist, submissive, and conciliatory leaderships, enemies of revolutionary armed s
truggle who oppose the people's liberation struggle.
In the face of this example, in the face of this bitter experience, I ask if the
parties of those countries which support the decision made in Czechoslovakia wi
ll cease supporting those rightist groups which are betraying the revolutionary
movement in Latin America. Surely we do not believe in the possibilities of impr
ovement [of relations] by the socialist camp with imperialism under present cond
itions, and really under no conditions so long as such imperialism exists. We do
not and cannot believe in the possibilities of improvement between the socialis
t camp and the imperialist U.S. Government so long as that country represents th
e role of international gendarme, an enemy of the revolution throughout the worl
d, an aggressor against the people and a systematic opponent of revolution throu
ghout the entire world. And much less do we believe in that improvement in the m
idst of such a criminal and cowardly aggression as the aggression against Vietna
Position on East-West Relations
Certainly our position on this is very clear: Either one faces the reality of th
e world--either one is really internationalist and really and resolutely support
s the revolutionary movement in the world, and relations then with the imperiali
st U.S. Government cannot be improved; or relations with the imperialist U.S. Go
vernment are improved, but only at the expense of ceasing to loyally support the
world revolutionary movement.
This is our thesis, this is our position.
Here is a press dispatch from Washington--22 August--"The Soviet intervention in
Czechoslovakia hinders any rapprochement between East and West, U.S. Secretary
of State Dean Rusk stated here publicly today. The situation created can comprom
ise ratification of the nonproliferation treaty by the U.S. Senate, the chief U.
S. diplomatic official added. He issued this press statement upon leaving a cabi
net meeting at the White House, a meeting devoted to the Czechoslovak problem an
d the Vietnam situation."
We can only express our happiness over this. Our people are aware of the positio
n assumed by the Cuban delegation toward this famous nonproliferation treaty, a
treaty which amounted to a permanent concession of monopoly of a technology of a
power source which will be essential to the future of mankind.
We were especially concerned over the fact that this meant that many countries o
f the world would accept an imperialist U.S. Government monopoly over those weap
ons, which could be used at any time against any nation, since, in addition, tha
t draft treaty was accompanied by an astounding declaration in defense of the co
untries signing the treaty which were threatened by nuclear arms. Such countries
as Vietnam and Cuba, if they desired to differ and not agree with that type of
treaty and even less to sign it under circumstances in which the aggression agai
nst Vietnam was being carried out in the sharpest manner, were deprived of any p
rotection. Theoretically the imperialists could even have the right to attack us
with nuclear weapons. Of course, all are aware of our position.
In the light of events, in the fact of an imperialism that is always plotting, a
lways conspiring against the socialist camp, we ask if we should continue mainta
ining idyllic hopes of an improvement in relations with the imperialist governme
nt of the United States. We ask, in line with the events in Czechoslovakia--in t
he relations with Yankee imperialism--a position will not be adopted that will i

mply the renunciation of such idyllic hopes. And it is said here that this will
make rapprochement more difficult, and that the new ratification is endangered.
In our opinion, the best thing that can happen is for it not be ratified.
The statement by TASS explaining the decision of the governments of the Warsaw P
act says in its final paragraph: "The brother nations firmly and resolutely oppo
se their unbreakable solidarity against any threat from abroad. They will never
permit anyone to snatch away even a single link of the socialist community." We
ask: Does this statement include Vietnam? Does this statement include Korea? Doe
s this statement include Cuba? Does it consider Vietnam, Korea, and Cuba as link
s in the socialist camp that cannot be snatched away by the imperialists?
On the basis of this declaration, Warsaw Pact divisions were sent to Czechoslova
kia, and we ask: Will Warsaw Pact divisions be sent to Vietnam also if the imper
ialists increase their aggression against that country and the people of Vietnam
ask for this aid? Will Warsaw Pact divisions be sent the the Korean Democratic
Republic if the Yankee imperialists attach that country? Will Warsaw Pact divisi
ons be sent to Cuba if the Yankee imperialists attack our country, or simply if,
in the face of the threat of an attack by the Yankee imperialists, our country
requests it? [long applause]
We accept the bitter necessity which demanded the sending of troops to Czechoslo
vakia. We do not condemn the socialist countries that adopted this decision; but
we, as revolutionaries, and on the basis of principles, have the right to deman
d that a consistent policy of adopted in all the other questions that affect the
revolutionary movement in the world.
Defense of Cuban Revolution
Regarding our country, why hide [the fact] that many dangers will arise? The par
tisans of armed military attack on Cuba almost rub their hands with joy. Even to
day we have a cable to this effect. We must say how we see things. It is perhaps
the principle of sovereignty, is it perhaps the law, that has protected and con
tinues to protect our country in the fact of Yankee invasion? No one believes th
is. If it were the law, if it were the principle of sovereignty that was protect
ing our country, it is certain that this revolution would have disappeared from
the face of the earth.
What has protected this revolution, what made it possible, was the blood of the
sons of this country, the bloody fighting against the bailiffs and against the a
rmies of Batista, the bloody fighting against the mercenaries, the willingness h
ere to fight to the last man in defense of the revolution--as shown in the Octob
er crisis--and the conviction of the imperialists that here they will never be a
ble to execute a maneuver or military parade. What defends this revolution is no
t a simple abstract legal principle that is recognized internationally.
What defends this revolution is the unity of our people, their revolutionary con
sciousness, their combative spirit, and their decision to die to the last man in
defense of the revolution and the country. I do not believe that even our enemi
es have any doubts about the mettle and the spirit of this people. What defends
the sovereignty of a country or a just cause is a people who are capable of feel
ing this cause as its own, capable of having a profound conviction about the jus
tice of this cause, and the decision to defend it at any price. This is precisel
y what protects our revolution and what protects the sovereignty of our country
in the face of the imperialist threat that has always existed here.
Cuban-U.S. Relations
Now, the imperialist have not ceased for a single instant to dream of the destru
ction of our country. These dangers will now naturally increase. Well, now, prec

isely now--because we must talk of things at the necessary moment--once again we

are going to set forth our position--the position of our revolutionary governme
nt--in regard to the United States. To say it now, precisely when to say things
has a real and not simply a declamatory or theoretical significance. It is all t
he more necessary to express our position, because some speculations have been m
ade about possible improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States.
The revolutionary government has at no time expressed the slightest interest in
improving its relations with the imperialist U.S. Government. It has not shown,
nor will it show, nor will it pay the least attention or express directly or ind
irectly, tacitly or expressly, any kind of consent to discuss with that governme
nt as long as it is a government which represents the bulwark, of reaction in th
e world, the international gendarme, enemy of revolutionary movements, aggressor
in Vietnam, aggressor in Santo Domingo, and interventionist in revolutionary mo
vement. This has been, is, and will be unquestionably the position of the Revolu
tionary Government of Cuba.
Never, under no circumstances--the comrades of our Central Committee know this,
they know that this is the line adopted by our committee--that never, under no c
ircumstances, even in the most difficult circumstances, will this country approa
ch the imperialist government of the United States, even if one day it puts us i
n the position of having to choose between keeping the revolution alive or takin
g such a step. Because gentlemen, beginning at that movement, no revolution woul
d continue living.
If one day this revolution, in order to survive, has to pay for its security and
survival the price of concession to Yankee imperialists, we would prefer--as ou
r Central Committee unanimously prefers and as our people prefer--that this peop
le sink with out revolution rather than survive at such a price. [applause]
In the United States there are honest and progressive people, people who oppose
blockades, aggressions, and all those things. Naturally, we have always maintain
ed a friendly attitude toward those who honestly have held such a position, towa
rd those who oppose the Vietnam war and the imperialist policies of the United S
tates. Well, regarding the government of that country, our position is clear, ab
solutely unmistakable. We are not interested in economic relations and we are no
t yet interested in diplomatic relations of any kind.
Their criminal blockade has been in effect for 10 years. They have taught us to
defend ourselves and to form a revolutionary conscience. They know that it will
not be easy to sink us. They know that they will not be able to scare us with th
eir threats or to subdue us. They know it will not be easy to starve us to death
under any circumstances. We have struggled these 10 years, making enormous effo
rts. The time is not far when we shall begin to reap the fruits of our efforts.
We are prepared to live 20 years--a whole lifetime--without relations of any sor
t with them. We repeat, regardless of the circumstances, we will wait until Yank
ee imperialism ceases to be Yankee imperialism, and we will have enough patience
and courage to persevere for as long as is necessary. This is our position. Thi
s is the only revolutionary position.
We know that they will start trying th threaten us. They will not be successful
in this. It is difficult for them to instill fear or dread in this country becau
se this country has learned to live for 10 years in the face of this enemy and i
ts threats. Let us say sincerely that we prefer this clear situation. We prefer
this position of risk to those indefinite positions that can lead to a weakening
of our spirit of defense. We have not had a war alarm for a long time. We have
not had any tense situation for a long time. Now, because of these incidents, se
veral cables have reported that our armed forces have been placed partially on t
he alert. Yes, immediately; our forces will never be taken by surprise. Our phil
osophy of struggle includes the basic concept that we will never be taken by sur

prise. We prefer to be excessively on the alert than to be surprised. Under all

circumstances we have always been on the alert and ready, and never have been su
rprised. The following is our philosophy; we shall never have to give the order
to fight, because that order has been permanently given. It is unnecessary to gi
ve the order.
One will never be able to enter this country against our will. The circumstances
will never exist, no one will ever enter here without at the very start encount
ering a closed and implacable battle. It is not necessary to sound the alarm for
battle. Neither will the order to stop firing ever be given in the face of an a
ggression. Never will a surrender be accepted. These are three basic concepts of
our philosophy against the Yankee imperialist forces.
This philosophy has been drilled into our people who are prepared to fight to th
e very last man. This also is part of our philosophy. Man has to die one way or
another. The only sad way to die is to die shamefully with one's back to the ene
my. We are not warmongers, but revolutionaries prefer to die fighting rather tha
n from natural death. This does not mean that we shall provoke wars to avoid a n
atural death. Not even revolutionaries can always do what they prefer. Duty will
always come first. This--and everybody knows this--is what really defends our s
A phase of threats will begin. We will be more occupied in the future than we ha
ve been in the past. We will not abandon our work or our development plans; not
even this will they achieve. Our present organizational level will go forward. W
e will carry out our plans and we will strengthen our defense and increase our f
ighting ability.
Well, here already is the cable from Brazil. A paper that serves as one of the g
reatest spokesman of the oligarchy there says: "The Soviet interference in an in
ternal matter of Czechoslovakia reopens the Cuban question, which had appeared t
o be healed, and of which no more was being said." Thus begins an extensive edit
orial of JORNAL DO BRAZIL in its yesterday's edition. In a story entitled, "Here
and There," the paper says textually: "With the entrance of Soviet troops into
Czechoslovakia, several points of equilibrium in the world balance of power need
to be automatically reappraised. We cannot fail to recognize that the Cuban pre
sence now takes on a new meaning in the light of the cold and brutal realism tha
t led the Soviet Union to feel insecure simply because one country of the commun
ist orbit decided to debate the need for freedom.
"Moscow intolerance was obvious in its hushing all the words of order so that it
could give the floor to brute force. If the USSR can soil the principle of self
determination of the peoples simply because it considers that Czechoslovakia is
a territory under its ideological jurisdiction, then there is no way of invoking
the same doctrine to prevent the Cuba case from being studied in the light of t
he specific interest of continental unity.
"There are notorious differences in the two cases. First, Czechoslovakia has not
broken with socialist principles, nor has it opposed politically the bloc to wh
ich it belongs. Only in the internal plane did it eliminate the rigidity of the
suffocating dictatorship and permit itself to be led to a discussion in which th
e word freedom came to be considered a dimension without which socialism is a fa
rce. Cuba's situation is very different. The Havana government is out of step wi
th the ensemble of the continental countries, whose commitments are to democracy
and freedom. The Havana communist regime, besides being an exception, is assumi
ng the mission of exporting subversion to the point of financing groups that per
turb democratic order in Latin America.
"As long as the Soviet Union was capable of permitting the breeze of freedom tha
t blew in Czechoslovakia, the world had the impression that finally the large na

tions, the captains of the blocs, were playing in a more tolerant manner than wi
th the automatism of military interventions. But the panorama brutally and unexp
ectedly changed. The brunt of Soviet violence was brought to bear against the Cz
echoslovak attempt to practice freedom.
"The situation automatically changes as far as Cuba is concerned. Not because of
the effect of any compensation, but rather because of the simple fact that it i
s necessary to reevaluate the balance of power on the world scale. The Cuban pro
blem will be reopened, and Brazil, which rose to the defense of the principle of
nonintervention, will have to keep in mind that the Rio de Janeiro Treaty is th
e appropriate legal document for reexamination of the problem.
"The Cuban question is thus converted, since the early hours of yesterday mornin
g, into a current matter, and should be reconsidered without the wrong connotati
ons which reported it in a rather unrealistic manner. The Soviet aggression on C
uba is exposing its flank in Latin America to inevitable investigation." So conc
ludes the editorial in JORNAL DO BRASIL in its edition of yesterday, 22 August.
And it pretends to say that this is a realistic examination. There is a wee diff
erence, gentlemen of JORNAL DO BRASIL and of Brazil and other oligarchs; and thi
s is that we Cuban revolutionaries would drive Brazil's best divisions out of Cu
ba in a matter of hours with kicks in the ass. [prolonged applause]
And the same goes for the best divisions of the imperialist Government of the Un
ited States. We are ready, like the Vietnamese, to struggle for 100 years if nec
essary [applause]. That is the only slight difference, imperialist and oligarchi
c gentlemen. We willingly maintain our positions and will always maintain them w
ithout being frightened by any kind of threat.
Fatherland or death!
We will win!

El Nuevo Diario Interview with Fidel Castro:

Blaming Stalin for everything would be historical simplism
By Tomas Borge
Q: Montesquieu said history is the noise surrounding certain events, but there a
re events that are simply not noise, like the collapse of the socialist countrie
s and the survival of the Cuban revolution. Does this at mean you are going down
in history?
A: I would say the simple fact that we decided to keep going forward when the so
cialist bloc collapsed, and now that we have become the only victim of a vicious
imperialist attack, is a significant event in history. The mere fact that Cuba
has decided to keep going forward and face the dangers and the challenges follow
ing the collapse of the socialist bloc and the disappearance of the USSR is a si
gnificant event in history.
Tomas, it is not a matter, however, of what we may have done up until now or of
what we may be capable of withstanding from here on. I believe it all depends on
what lies ahead because that will determine the real significance of what we ar
e doing today.
Q: Undoubtedly you have much confidence in that, and I share it. Does that mean
the Cuban revolution is the beginning of a resurrection of a socialist option at

the world level?

A: I believe we are defending certain principles that are immensely, extraordina
rily valuable at a moment of confusion in the world. It is a time for opportunis
ts, a time in which politicians are trying to accommodate themselves, and we may
say it is a time of apotheosis for imperialist military and political power.
Mankind has never before experienced such a reactionary expansion and empire bui
lding. That does not mean it will go on forever. That empire is corroded by all
types of contradictions. We are living in the present and I believe that preserv
ing our values is of great importance for all men who want the best for humanity
. I believe and I have always believed that symbols are of great importance, fla
gs are of great value. I believe that even if we became a lonely island, that wo
uld be of great value. If we were invaded and were capable of resisting until th
e end, that would have great value. If we were capable of prevailing, as we will
undoubtedly prevail, because it would be impossible to exterminate millions of
men determined to fight, that would have great value.
Q: You recently said, not referring to socialism in general but to the USSR in p
articular, that socialism had been assassinated, stabbed in the back. In this co
nspiracy of daggers that killed socialism, would you say Gorbachev was one of th
e assassins?
A: No, I could not say that about Gorbachev because I have another view of Gorba
chev and it is not one of an assassin who plotted the USSR's destruction.
The USSR self-destructed in an incredible way. The responsibility for that selfdestruction undoubtedly lies in the hands of the country's leaders, those who le
d that nation. Now, some of them were aware they were destroying it and others w
ere not. That is what I was trying to say, more or less, and we saw it all from
the beginning.
I cannot say Gorbachev played a role in which he was aware of the destruction of
the USSR because I have no doubt that Gorbachev intended to fight to improve so
We approved of Soviet efforts to improve socialism in the USSR. But we could not
approve of, and never would have agreed to, not only the destruction of sociali
sm in the USSR, but also the destruction of the USSR itself. That inflicted terr
ible damage on all peoples of the world and created a bad situation for the Thir
d World in particular.
Imperialism would have been able to disintegrate the Soviet Union, had the Sovie
ts not destroyed themselves, had those responsible for the strategies and tactic
s and for the country's political and government policies not destroyed the coun
try. In other words, socialism did not die from natural causes: it was a suicide
, socialism was murdered. That is what I meant.
Q: Fidel, for most Latin American revolutionary leaders, the current crisis of s
ocialism has a mastermind: Josef Stalin.
A: I believe Stalin made big mistakes but also showed great wisdom.
In my opinion, blaming Stalin for everything that occurred in the Soviet Union w
ould be historical simplism, because no man by himself could have created certai
n conditions. It would be the same as giving Stalin all the credit for what the
USSR once was. That is impossible! I believe that the efforts of millions and mi
llions of heroic people contributed to the USSR's development and to its relevan
t role in the world in favor of hundreds of millions of people.

I have criticized Stalin for a lot of things. First of all, I criticized his vio
lation of the legal framework.
I believe Stalin committed an enormous abuse of power. That is another convictio
n I have always had.
I feel that Stalin's agricultural policy did not develop a progressive process t
o socialize land. In my opinion, the land socialization process should have begu
n earlier and should have been gradually implemented. Because of its violent imp
lementation, it had a very high economic and human cost in a very brief period o
f history.
I also feel that Stalin's policy prior to the war was totally erroneous. No one
can deny that western powers promoted Hitler until he became a monster, a real t
hreat. The terrible weakness shown by western powers before Hitler cannot be den
ied. This at encouraged Hitler's expansionism and Stalin's fear, which led Stali
n to do something I will criticize all my life, because I believe that it was a
flagrant violation of principles: seek peace with Hitler at any cost, stalling f
or time.
During our revolutionary life, during the relatively long history of the Cuban R
evolution, we have never negotiated a single principle to gain time, or to obtai
n any practical advantage. Stalin fell for the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact at
a time when Germans were already demanding the delivery of the Danzig Corridor.
I feel that, far from gaining time, the nonaggression pact reduced time, because
the war broke out anyway. Then, in my opinion, he made another big mistake, bec
ause when Poland was being attacked, he sent troops to occupy that territory, wh
ich was disputed because it had a Ukrainian or Russian population, I am not sure
I also believe that the little war against Finland was another terrible mistake,
from the standpoint of principles and international law.
Stalin made a series of mistakes that were criticized by a large part of the wor
ld, and which placed Communists - who were great friends of the USSR - in a very
difficult position by having to support each one of those episodes.
Since we are discussing this topic, I must tell you that I have never discussed
it with any journalist (or on any other occasion, he added).
The things I mentioned are against principles and doctrine; they are even contra
ry to political wisdom. Although it is true that there was a period of one year
and nine months from September 1939 to June 1941 during which the USSR could hav
e rearmed itself, Hitler was the one who got stronger.
If Hitler had declared war on the USSR in 1939, the destruction would have been
less than the destruction caused in 1941, and he would have suffered the same fa
te as Napoleon Bonaparte. With the people's participation in an irregular war, t
he USSR would have defeated Hitler.
Finally, Stalin's character, his terrible distrust of everything, made him commi
t several other mistakes: one of them was falling in the trap of German intrigue
and conducting a terrible, bloody purge of the armed forces and practically beh
eading the Soviet Army on the eve of war.
Q: What do you believe were Stalin's merits?
A: He established unity in the Soviet Union. He consolidated what Lenin had begu
n: party unity. He gave the international revolutionary movement a new impetus.

The USSR's industrialization was one of Stalin's wisest actions, and I believe i
t was a determining factor in the USSR's capacity to resist.
One of Stalin's - and the team that supported him - greatest merits was the plan
to transfer the war industry and main strategic industries to Siberia and deep
into Soviet territory.
I believe Stalin led the USSR well during the war. According to many generals, Z
hukov and the most brilliant Soviet generals, Stalin played an important role in
defending the USSR and in the war against Nazism. They all recognized it.
I think there should be an impartial analysis of Stalin. Blaming him for everyth
ing that happened would be historical simplism.

The barbaric world order that humanity endures today cannot last much longer
Fellow Cubans:
History has proved that nothing could defeat our people in its noble endeavors a
nd that weapons are no more powerful than ideas.
Gomez and Maceo, their tenacity and heroism, ride today like invincible horsemen
through our fields; Cspedes and Agramonte bear with them the constitution and th
e justice for which they shed their blood in the free and sovereign republic the
y proclaimed in 1868. Mart s ideals live on in the nation of workers that we are to
day, as nothing could prevent that, from the proletarian spirit of a country bui
lt over centuries with the blood and sweat of slaves and workers, the deepest ye
arning for freedom and justice that our national hero demanded would flow with i
nextinguishable strength, that is, our socialism. What we are today we have defe
nded with honor and a sense of humanism and justice that will live on like an et
ernal flame.
Glory be especially to this July 26 and to those who on the same date forty-nine
years ago shed their blood and gave their lives to resume with ever growing con
science the march down the road opened by their predecessors!
Glory be to the people that, educated in just ideas and heroic traditions, has s
tayed true to them until today and will stay true tomorrow and ever onwards to v
What are we, what shall we be if not one single history, one single idea, one si
ngle will for all times?
Ciego de Avila and Morn, yesterday a line of barricades that the enemy tried to u
se to divide the country the East from the West, what are they this July 26? The
y are an indestructible path linking the thought, the heroism and the will to st
ruggle of that imperishable bulwark with whose independence Mart wanted to preven
t and did prevent the powerful and expansionist neighbor to the North from sprea
ding through the Antilles and falling with that additional force on our American
People of Ciego de Avila and fellow Cubans from the former province of Camagey, w
ithout the memory of your sacrifices of yesterday, our dreams of today would be
Hardly twelve years ago, many in the world expected to see Cuba, the last social
ist state in the West, crumble. Not much time has gone by and today, instead, qu

ite a number of us on this earth are waiting to see how the developed capitalist
world led by the United States disengages from the colossal and chaotic economi
c mess in which it is enmeshed. Those who yesterday talked so much about the end
of history might be wondering if this profound crisis is not the beginning of t
he end of the political, economic and social system it represents.
Nevertheless, being aware of the disaster affecting that system does not necessa
rily mean to be unrealistic, to indulge in excessive optimism or to see mirages
in the midst of what is still an arid desert.
The men who to some degree foresaw a fragment of the future, as a rule perceived
the demise of their eras tragedies as closer and imminent. However, one would ha
ve to be really blind to fail to understand that the barbaric and cruel world or
der that humanity endures today cannot last much longer.
History has shown that new eras have always arisen from the profound crises of a
ny dominant system.
The 21st century will not be like the century that just ended when the human pop
ulation grew four times more that it had grown in the hundreds of thousands of y
ears that man wandered through the woods, groves, rivers and lakes of the earth,
seeking sustenance in obscure corners of the planet which are today threatened
with pre-emptive and surprise attacks. Today, one could almost envy those noble
barbaric predecessors!
When Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, it seemed that almost the only
limit to the inexhaustible fount of riches that would make possible a truly just
and worthy social system for human beings was the exploitative and merciless ca
pitalist system born from the bourgeois revolution. Not even his wondrous genius
could imagine how much damage capitalism was yet to bring on humanity.
Lenin discovered and analyzed its imperialist phase.
Today, almost one hundred years later, humanity is suffering under the horrors o
f its neoliberal globalization.
New and enormous challenges have surfaced in each of these stages that lead it c
loser to its end.
Hardly 30 years ago, few people in the world discussed the environment. Ideas or
themes linked to the destruction of the forests, soil erosion and salinity, cli
mate change, the disappearing ozone layer, melting icecaps, whole cities and nat
ions doomed to fatally disappear beneath the sea, polluted air and water; overex
ploited oceans seemed to be inventions of doomsday scientists and not pressing r
What does it mean for the overwhelming majority of humanity the spectacular brea
kthroughs of science, space flights, the possible colonization of Mars and suchl
ike things?
What is it they promise to the billions of starving and diseased people, total o
r functional illiterates, who live on this planet?
And what does the alleged existence of the United Nations Organization and the G
eneral Assembly mean to them, when the only thing that counts there is the Secur
ity Council, where five countries have veto power, and the real tyranny on any m
atter exerted by the dominant hegemonic superpower?
How can they be explained about the 200 million children who work for a living,
others who are sold in the marketplaces of pleasure, or die by the millions ever

y year when their lives could be saved with just a few cents?
What can we feel proud of?
What kind of humanity do we belong to?
It is necessary to build an awareness of these realities.
We should send this simple message of truth to the billions of people who in one
way or another are experiencing this and are aware of it, so that no sophistica
ted weapons or mechanisms of deceit and lies that can destroy the conscience of
our species.
Selfishness, ambition, hatred, envy, rivalries, the worst instincts are sown eve
rywhere. Education is what the overwhelming majority of people on this planet mo
stly lack, and that is what turns newborn babies into human beings. A minimal am
ount of political education for young people and adults would allow them to unde
rstand the worlds realities.
Perhaps, of the evils brought about by developed capitalism none is so nefarious
as the way of life and the consumerist habits, as unrealistic as they are unatt
ainable, which advertising drums into the world population 365 days a year, 24 h
ours a day at a cost of a trillion dollars. If this amount were spent on instill
ing values and on rationally educating nations, the face of the earth would chan
Human beings are not educated to realistic patterns of consumption and distribut
ion that include our infinite cultural and spiritual wealth. These could realist
ically be within humankinds reach without destroying nature, as could food, housi
ng, and other essential material goods. Actually, the exact opposite is done, wh
ich constitutes an enormous tragedy.
Cuba is a modest example of what could be done with a minimum of resources. Our
current struggle becomes especially important as we find ourselves up against th
e hostility and aggression of a government, which is the sum of the most overwhe
lming powers that have ever existed. It is, nevertheless, completely lacking in
the ethical, social and humanist values which an endangered species like ours ne
ed to survive.
Twenty U.S. universities have introduced crash courses to explain the complicate
d tangles created by neoliberal capitalisms latest feat: accounting fraud. What i
s accounting fraud? It is barefaced robbery, a criminal swindling of millions an
d millions of Americans who had bought shares in big companies or had invested h
undreds of billions of dollars in them. It is a fraud that directly affects reti
rees who had invested their money in these seemingly juicy shares.
The fraud scandal has given rise to controversies and direct and indirect accusa
tions between political leaders in the United States. President Bush, in a recen
t speech given in Alabama, insinuated that the blame lay with the previous U.S.
administration. He said that the U.S. economy was suffering a hangover from the
economic binge of the 90s. He did not mention President Clinton by name but he c
riticized that culture of endless corporate profits in the stock markets where n
o one ever thought about the future.
The Democratic leadership has coincided with major newspapers in responding with
harsh direct criticisms linking the current president with the same practices t
hat he now pretends "to get rid of". They have mentioned the use of a company on
the brink of a crisis, and how Mr. Bush, fully informed of the situation as a b
oard member, sold his shares for $848,560, while the price was still high.

Additionally, the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate has asked the
body regulating the Stock Exchange to publish information about the privileged l
oans received by the president, at low interest rates, when he worked for the Ha
rken Energy Company.
Accusations are flying while "millions of investors and pensioners have seen the
ir savings and pensions reduced by more than one trillion dollars," to quote one
prominent newspaper.
In the midst of the year 2000 crisis, the effects on the stock markets in the Un
ited States and Europe have been devastating and have had a serious impact on th
e world economy dealing a blow to hopes of a slight recovery in 2002.
More than 50% of U.S. consumers have shares in the stock market, which could neg
atively impact on the economic recovery
Unemployment in the United States has now risen to 6%.
Company profits have fallen in five consecutive quarters.
From March 2000 to date the Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices, the most important for
the New York Stock Exchange had fallen, the former by around 31.6% and the latt
er by 73.9%. The New York Stock Exchange had lost $1.4 trillion in the last two
On Tuesday July 23, the New York Stock Exchange plummeted again because of the a
ccounting fraud at WorldCom, the second largest world communications company. On
Wednesday 24, it closed at a relatively high trend, and yesterday Thursday 25,
it was announced that 12 investment banks were under investigation for possible
links with the accounting frauds. Nobody knows what surprise tomorrow might brin
After several years of high surpluses, the current administration is accused of
bringing back budget deficits with its economic policy.
Public debt has risen to 6 trillion dollars, which is equivalent to a $66,000 pe
r capita debt for every American.
The trade deficit continues to grow while the countrys spending in 2002 could exc
eed 500 billion dollars.
The external financing they receive has fallen to less than half the previous am
ount and so has foreign investment.
The dollar has been devalued against the Euro and the Yen.
The interest rate has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years, a symptom of uncer
tainty and insecurity.
There are some positive economic indicators, which do little to offset the set o
f overwhelmingly unfavorable factors just mentioned.
I have not said a word about what is happening in Latin America where, according
to information known to our people, the economic and social situation is terrif
ying and getting worse.
Given the major significance of the U.S. economy for that of the rest of the wor
ld, including Cubas, which in addition to the blockade suffers the indirect damag
e caused by the international economic crisis, the figures are far from encourag
ing for anyone. The set of problems that are piling up in the world point object

ively to a disaster for neoliberal globalization and for that unsustainable econ
omic order.
Since Cuba is a Third World country, it is also suffering from low sugar and nic
kel prices. The 10-year sustained growth of tourism of more than 15% annually wa
s hit by the devastating terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, the effects of the
world economic crisis on this industry and the growing cost of life insurance a
nd fuel. Additionally submitted to an economic blockade by the United States for
more than 40 years, but saving and managing its resources efficiently and honor
ably, there is no place here for murky businesses, the plundering of public fund
s, money laundering, drug trafficking or any other similar situations. There are
no children who dont have a school. They dont go barefoot or panhandling. Thirtee
n vaccines protect their health. The infant mortality rate is one of the lowest
in the world. All get immediate free medical care. All complete their sixth grad
e and almost one hundred percent their ninth grade. Today, all options for study
ing are within their reach. Their diet has improved. Their general education and
art knowledge are growing. Our young people are guaranteed the continuation of
their studies and a job when they turn 16.
Unemployment is not growing; it is falling, from 6% about 2 years ago and it wil
l be 3.5% by the end of 2002. The number of drugs in short supply for the popula
tion is clearly decreasing. Medical services are improving and other new ones ar
e being introduced. The people are protected in case of natural disasters and re
ceive immediate assistance when have been affected; also, recovery after such ev
ents takes place in record time. Hundreds of thousands of televisions are suppli
ed every year. Old schools are repaired and new ones are built. Audiovisual aids
and computers are being introduced into school and general education on a massi
ve scale. Programs such as the training of social workers and University for All
are coming into being. Teachers and professors-training-on-the-job to increase
the numbers of teaching staff and reduce classroom size are being educated. Comp
uter skills teachers are teaching this subject from pre-school on. University ed
ucation is advancing significantly while we continue to help other countries wit
h education, health and sport, free of charge.
The social and humane advantages of our system are infinite. We are well ahead o
f many industrialized nations in many of the most important areas of life and ah
ead of all of them in some areas such as education, culture, scientific knowledg
e for the masses and other fields. Not all have been mentioned.
We have unity, a political culture, cohesion and strength. Nothing can even affe
ct our brilliant future. In the battle of ideas no one can go up against our int
elligent and ever more cultured people. We have been able to withstand the block
ade for more than 40 years, including 11 of special period. We have just waged a
sound struggle against lies, infamy, political subversion and the attempt to im
pose the fickle will of the masters of the most powerful empire that has ever ex
isted on our people. We did so with such impressive strength and popular support
that nobody should have any doubts that there is no way to break our invincible
will to win or to die defending our socialism, which we think is the most just,
humane and decent society that can be conceived of. And with every minute that
passes the lies, the ignorance, the lack of culture and the threats will crash u
p against the invincible spirit of our people.
Hardly three days ago, the Miami terrorist Mob created, hand-fed, trained and su
pported by the U.S. administration openly declared the millions that it invests
in interfering, destabilizing and terrorist actions against our people. One more
proof of the lack of seriousness behind the declarations, the lies and the alle
ged policies of an administration that promises to fight terrorism.
Even if only out of a sense of political decency, the U.S. government should sto
p tolerating and supporting the extremist group which made it put on such a ridi

culous show on May 20, which only led to greater unity, a strengthening of the r
evolutionary spirit and the patriotic conscience that the Cuban people has shown
to the world.
The smallest municipality in Cuba is stronger than all the scum that met with Bu
sh in the James L. Knight Center in Miami.
I have always said and I shall never regret it that the American people, idealis
t by nature due to its ethical values and its traditions of love of liberty will
be one of the Cuban peoples best friends when it learns the whole truth about Cu
bas honest and heroic struggle. It showed this in an impressive way with its supp
ort for Elins return.
Scarcely 72 hours ago, the House of Representatives also made an important gestu
re when, based on various criteria and viewpoints, and even under assault by the
hysterical screams and shouts of a little group of Miami mobsters, it paid no h
eed to the arguments of the supporters of the blockade and genocide against Cuba
, voting with determination and courage for three amendments that bring glory to
that institution. It does not matter if the executive as was already announced
vetoes them, nor does it matter if new ruses and provocations are invented to an
nul them.
We shall always be grateful for that gesture. I would like to express our peoples
gratitude to both the Democratic and Republican legislators who on that day act
ed intelligently and strongly, following their own beliefs. We shall always be o
n the American peoples side in its struggle to preserve the lives and interests o
f its citizens who might become innocent victims of criminal terrorist attacks.
On this historical date for Cubans, I can assure you that we wish for a sincere,
respectful and fraternal friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United
Long live socialism!
Patria o Muerte!

Cuba's achievments and America's Wars

Distinguished guests;
Dear fellow Cubans:
Our heroic people have struggled for 44 years from this small Caribbean island j
ust a few miles away from the most formidable imperial power ever known by manki
nd. In so doing, they have written an unprecedented chapter in history. Never ha
s the world witnessed such an unequal fight.
Some may have believed that the rise of the empire to the status of the sole sup
erpower, with a military and technological might with no balancing pole anywhere
in the world, would frighten or dishearten the Cuban people. Yet, today they ha
ve no choice but to watch in amazement the enhanced courage of this valiant peop
le. On a day like today, this glorious international workers day, which commemora
tes the death of the five martyrs of Chicago, I declare, on behalf of the one mi
llion Cubans gathered here, that we will face up to any threats, we will not yie
ld to any pressures, and that we are prepared to defend our homeland and our Rev
olution with ideas and with weapons to our last drop of blood.

What is Cuba s sin? What honest person has any reason to attack her?
With their own blood and the weapons seized from the enemy, the Cuban people ove
rthrew a cruel tyranny with 80,000 men under arms, imposed by the U.S. governmen
Cuba was the first territory free from imperialist domination in Latin America a
nd the Caribbean, and the only country in the hemisphere, throughout post-coloni
al history, where the torturers, murderers and war criminals that took the lives
of tens of thousands of people were exemplarily punished.
All of the country s land was recovered and turned over to the peasants and agricu
ltural workers. The natural resources, industries and basic services were placed
in the hands of their only true owner: the Cuban nation.
In less than 72 hours, fighting ceaselessly, day and night, Cuba crushed the Bay
of Pigs mercenary invasion organized by a U.S. administration, thereby preventi
ng a direct military intervention by this country and a war of incalculable cons
equences. The Revolution already had the Rebel Army, over 400,000 weapons and hu
ndreds of thousands of militia members.
In 1962, Cuba confronted with honor, and without a single concession, the risk o
f being attacked with dozens of nuclear weapons.
It defeated the dirty war that spread throughout the entire country, at a cost i
n human lives even greater than that of the war of liberation.
It stoically endured thousands of acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks organiz
ed by the U.S. government.
It thwarted hundreds of assassination plots against the leaders of the Revolutio
While under a rigorous blockade and economic warfare that have lasted for almost
half a century, Cuba was able to eradicate in just one year the illiteracy that
has still not been overcome in the course of more than four decades by the rest
of the countries of Latin America, or the United States itself.
It has brought free education to 100% of the country s children.
It has the highest school retention rate over 99% between kindergarten and ninth
grade of all of the nations in the hemisphere.
Its elementary school students rank first worldwide in the knowledge of their mo
ther language and mathematics.
The country also ranks first worldwide with the highest number of teachers per c
apita and the lowest number of students per classroom.
All children with physical or mental challenges are enrolled in special schools.
Computer education and the use of audiovisual methods now extend to all of the c
ountry s children, adolescents and youth, in both the cities and the countryside.
For the first time in the world, all young people between the ages of 17 and 30,
who were previously neither in school nor employed, have been given the opportu
nity to resume their studies while receiving an allowance.
All citizens have the possibility of undertaking studies that will take them fro

m kindergarten to a doctoral degree without spending a penny.

Today, the country has 30 university graduates, intellectuals and professional a
rtists for every one there was before the Revolution.
The average Cuban citizen today has at the very least a ninth-grade level of edu
Not even functional illiteracy exists in Cuba.
There are schools for the training of artists and art instructors throughout all
of the country s provinces, where over 20,000 young people are currently studying
and developing their talent and vocation. Tens of thousands more are doing the
same at vocational schools, and many of these then go on to undertake profession
al studies.
University campuses are progressively spreading to all of the country s municipali
ties. Never in any other part of the world has such a colossal educational and c
ultural revolution taken place as this that will turn Cuba, by far, into the cou
ntry with the highest degree of knowledge and culture in the world, faithful to
Mart s profound conviction that "no freedom is possible without culture."
Infant mortality has been reduced from 60 per 1000 live births to a rate that fl
uctuates between 6 and 6.5, which is the lowest in the hemisphere, from the Unit
ed States to Patagonia.
Life expectancy has increased by 15 years.
Infectious and contagious diseases like polio, malaria, neonatal tetanus, diphth
eria, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough and dengue have been eradicated; o
thers like tetanus, meningococcal meningitis, hepatitis B, leprosy, hemophilus m
eningitis and tuberculosis are fully controlled.
Today, in our country, people die of the same causes as in the most highly devel
oped countries: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, accidents, and others, but with
a much lower incidence.
A profound revolution is underway to bring medical services closer to the popula
tion, in order to facilitate access to health care centers, save lives and allev
iate suffering.
In-depth research is being carried out to break the chain, mitigate or reduce to
a minimum the problems that result from genetic, prenatal or childbirth-related
Cuba is today the country with the highest number of doctors per capita in the w
orld, with almost twice as many as those that follow closer.
Our scientific centers are working relentlessly to find preventive or therapeuti
c solutions for the most serious diseases.
Cubans will have the best healthcare system in the world, and will continue to r
eceive all services absolutely free of charge.
Social security covers 100% of the country s citizens.
In Cuba, 85% of the people own their homes and they pay no property taxes on the
m whatsoever. The remaining 15% pay a wholly symbolic rent, which is only 10% of
their salary.

Illegal drug use involves a negligible percentage of the population, and is bein
g resolutely combated.
Lottery and other forms of gambling have been banned since the first years of th
e Revolution to ensure that no one pins their hopes of progress on luck.
There is no commercial advertising on Cuban television and radio or in our print
ed publications. Instead, these feature public service announcements concerning
health, education, culture, physical education, sports, recreation, environmenta
l protection, and the fight against drugs, accidents and other social problems.
Our media educate, they do not poison or alienate. They do not worship or exalt
the values of decadent consumer societies.
Discrimination against women was eradicated, and today women make up 64% of the
country s technical and scientific workforce.
From the earliest months of the Revolution, not a single one of the forms of rac
ial discrimination copied from the south of the United States was left intact. I
n recent years, the Revolution has been particularly striving to eliminate any l
ingering traces of the poverty and lack of access to education that afflicted th
e descendants of those who were enslaved for centuries, creating objective diffe
rences that tended to be perpetuated. Soon, not even a shadow of the consequence
s of that terrible injustice will remain.
There is no cult of personality around any living revolutionary, in the form of
statues, official photographs, or the names of streets or institutions. The lead
ers of this country are human beings, not gods.
In our country there are no paramilitary forces or death squads, nor has violenc
e ever been used against the people. There are no executions without due process
and no torture. The people have always massively supported the activities of th
e Revolution. This rally today is proof of that.
Light years separate our society from what has prevailed until today in the rest
of the world. We cultivate brotherhood and solidarity among individuals and peo
ples both in the country and abroad.
The new generations and the entire people are being educated about the need to p
rotect the environment. The media are used to build environmental awareness.
Our country steadfastly defends its cultural identity, assimilating the best of
other cultures while resolutely combating everything that distorts, alienates an
d degrades.
The development of wholesome, non-professional sports has raised our people to t
he highest ranks worldwide in medals and honors.
Scientific research, at the service of our people and all humanity, has increase
d several-hundredfold. As a result of these efforts, important medications are s
aving lives in Cuba and other countries.
Cuba has never undertaken research or development of a single biological weapon,
because this would be in total contradiction with the principles and philosophy
underlying the education of our scientific personnel, past and present.
In no other people has the spirit of international solidarity become so deeply r
Our country supported the Algerian patriots in their struggle against French col
onialism, at the cost of damaging political and economic relations with such an

important European country as France.

We sent weapons and troops to defend Algeria from Moroccan expansionism, when th
e king of this country sought to take control of the iron mines of Gara Djebilet
, near the city of Tindouf, in southwest Algeria.
At the request of the Arab nation of Syria, a full tank brigade stood guard betw
een 1973 and 1975 alongside the Golan Heights, when this territory was unjustly
seized from that country.
The leader of the Republic of Congo when it first achieved independence, Patrice
Lumumba, who was harassed from abroad, received our political support. When he
was assassinated by the colonial powers in January of 1961, we lent assistance t
o his followers.
Four years later, in 1965, Cuban blood was shed in the western region of Lake Ta
nganyika, where Che Guevara and more than 100 Cuban instructors supported the Co
ngolese rebels who were fighting against white mercenaries in the service of the
man supported by the West, that is, Mobutu whose 40 billion dollars, the same t
hat he stole, nobody knows what European banks they are kept in, or in whose pow
The blood of Cuban instructors was shed while training and supporting the combat
ants of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, who fou
ght under the command of Amilcar Cabral for the liberation of these former Portu
guese colonies.
The same was true during the ten years that Cuba supported Agostinho Neto s MPLA i
n the struggle for the independence of Angola. After independence was achieved,
and over the course of 15 years, hundreds of thousands of Cuban volunteers parti
cipated in defending Angola from the attacks of racist South African troops that
in complicity with the United States, and using dirty war tactics, planted mill
ions of mines, wiped out entire villages, and murdered more than half a million
Angolan men, women and children.
In Cuito Cuanavale and on the Namibian border, to the southwest of Angola, Angol
an and Namibian forces together with 40,000 Cuban troops dealt the final blow to
the South African troops. This resulted in the immediate liberation of Namibia
and speeded up the end of apartheid by perhaps 20 to 25 years. At the time, the
South Africans had seven nuclear warheads that Israel had supplied to them or he
lped them to produce, with the full knowledge and complicity of the U.S. governm
Throughout the course of almost 15 years, Cuba had a place of honor in its solid
arity with the heroic people of Viet Nam, caught up in a barbaric and brutal war
with the United States. That war killed four million Vietnamese, in addition to
all those left wounded and mutilated, not to mention the fact that the country
was inundated with chemical compounds that continue to cause incalculable damage
. The pretext: Viet Nam, a poor and underdeveloped country located 20,000 kilome
ters away, constituted a threat to the national security of the United States.
Cuban blood was shed together with that of citizens of numerous Latin American c
ountries, and together with the Cuban and Latin American blood of Che Guevara, m
urdered on instructions from U.S. agents in Bolivia, when he was wounded and bei
ng held prisoner after his weapon had been rendered useless by a shot received i
n battle.
The blood of Cuban construction workers, that were nearing completion of an inte
rnational airport vital for the economy of a tiny island fully dependent on tour
ism, was shed fighting in defense of Grenada, invaded by the United States under

cynical pretexts.
Cuban blood was shed in Nicaragua, when instructors from our Armed Forces were t
raining the brave Nicaraguan soldiers confronting the dirty war organized and ar
med by the United States against the Sandinista revolution.
And there are even more examples.
Over 2000 heroic Cuban internationalist combatants gave their lives fulfilling t
he sacred duty of supporting the liberation struggles for the independence of ot
her sister nations. However, there is not one single Cuban property in any of th
ose countries. No other country in our era has exhibited such sincere and selfle
ss solidarity.
Cuba has always preached by example. It has never given in. It has never sold ou
t the cause of another people. It has never made concessions. It has never betra
yed its principles. There must be some reason why, just 48 hours ago, it was ree
lected by acclamation in the United Nations Economic and Social Council to anoth
er three years in the Commission on Human Rights, of which it has now been a mem
ber for 15 straight years.
More than half a million Cubans have carried out internationalist missions as co
mbatants, as teachers, as technicians or as doctors and health care workers. Ten
s of thousands of the latter have provided their services and saved millions of
lives over the course of more than 40 years. There are currently 3000 specialist
s in Comprehensive General Medicine and other healthcare personnel working in th
e most isolated regions of 18 Third World countries. Through preventive and ther
apeutic methods they save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, and maintai
n or restore the health of millions of people, without charging a penny for thei
r services.
Without the Cuban doctors offered to the United Nations in the event that the ne
cessary funds are obtained without which entire nations and even whole regions of
sub-Saharan Africa face the risk of perishing the crucial programs urgently need
ed to fight AIDS would be impossible to carry out.
The developed capitalist world has created abundant financial capital, but it ha
s not in any way created the human capital that the Third World desperately need
Cuba has developed techniques to teach reading and writing by radio, with accomp
anying texts now available in five languages Haitian Creole, Portuguese, French,
English and Spanish that are already being used in numerous countries. It is near
ing completion of a similar program in Spanish, of exceptionally high quality, t
o teach literacy by television. These are programs that were developed in Cuba a
nd are genuinely Cuban. We are not interested in patents and exclusive copyright
s. We are willing to offer them to all of the countries of the Third World, wher
e most of the world s illiterates are concentrated, without charging a penny. In f
ive years, the 800 million illiterate people in the world could be reduced by 80
%, at a minimal cost.
After the demise of the USSR and the socialist bloc, nobody would have bet a dim
e on the survival of the Cuban Revolution. The United States tightened the block
ade. The Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts were adopted, both extraterritorial in
nature. We abruptly lost our main markets and supplies sources. The population s
average calorie and protein consumption was reduced by almost half. But our coun
try withstood the pressures and even advanced considerably in the social field.
Today, it has largely recovered with regard to nutritional requirements and is r
apidly progressing in other fields. Even in these conditions, the work undertake

n and the consciousness built throughout the years succeeded in working miracles
. Why have we endured? Because the Revolution has always had, as it still does a
nd always will to an ever-greater degree, the support of the people, an intellig
ent people, increasingly united, educated and combative.
Cuba was the first country to extend its solidarity to the people of the United
States on September 11, 2001. It was also the first to warn of the neo-fascist n
ature of the policy that the extreme right in the United States, which fraudulen
tly came to power in November of 2000, was planning to impose on the rest of the
world. This policy did not emerge as a response to the atrocious terrorist atta
ck perpetrated against the people of the United States by members of a fanatical
organization that had served other U.S. administrations in the past. It was col
dly and carefully conceived and developed, which explains the country s military b
uild-up and enormous spending on weapons at a time when the Cold War was already
over, and long before September 11, 2001. The fateful events of that day served
as an ideal pretext for the implementation of such policy.
On September 20 of that year, President Bush openly expressed this before a Cong
ress shaken by the tragic events of nine days earlier. Using bizarre terminology
, he spoke of "infinite justice" as the goal of a war that would apparently be i
nfinite as well.
"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any othe
r we have ever seen."
"We will use every necessary weapon of war."
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with
us, or you are with the terrorists."
"I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is comin
g when America will act."
"This is civilization's fight."
" the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time --now depend
s on us."
"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain
w that God is not neutral."

and we kno

Did a statesman or an unbridled fanatic speak these words?

Two days later, on September 22, Cuba denounced this speech as the blueprint for
the idea of a global military dictatorship imposed through brute force, without
international laws or institutions of any kind.
"The United Nations Organization, simply ignored in the present crisis, would fa
il to have any authority or prerogative whatsoever. There would be only one boss
, only one judge, and only one law."
Several months later, on the 200th anniversary of West Point Military Academy, a
t the graduation exercise for 958 cadets on June 3, 2002, President Bush further
elaborated on this line of thinking in a fiery harangue to the young soldiers g
raduating that day, in which he put forward his fundamental fixed ideas:
"Our security will require transforming the military you will lead -- a military
that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the wor
ld. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolu
te, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and t

o defend our lives."

"We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries "
" we will send you, our soldiers, where you're needed."
"We will not leave the safety of America and the peace of the planet at the merc
y of a few mad terrorists and tyrants. We will lift this dark threat from our co
untry and from the world."
"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of
right and wrong. I disagree.
We are in a conflict between good and evil, and Am
erica will call evil by its name. By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do
not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposi
ng it."
In the speech I delivered at a rally held in General Antonio Maceo Square in San
tiago de Cuba, on June 8, 2002, before half a million people of Santiago, I said
"As you can see, he doesn t mention once in his speech (at West Point) the United
Nations Organization. Nor is there a phrase about every people s right to safety a
nd peace, or about the need for a world ruled by principles and norms."
"Hardly two thirds of a century has passed since humanity went through the bitte
r experience of Nazism. Fear was Hitler s inseparable ally against his adversaries
Later, his fearful military force [led to] the outbreak of a war that would infl
ame the whole world. The lack of vision and the cowardice of the statesmen in th
e strongest European powers of the time opened the way to a great tragedy.
"I don t think that a fascist regime can be established in the United States. Seri
ous mistakes have been made and injustices committed in the framework of its pol
itical system --many of them still persist-- but the American people still have
a number of institutions and traditions, as well as educational, cultural and et
hical values that would hardly allow that to happen. The risk exists in the inte
rnational arena. The power and prerogatives of that country s president are so ext
ensive, and the economic, technological and military power network in that natio
n is so pervasive that due to circumstances that fully escape the will of the Am
erican people, the world is coming under the rule of Nazi concepts and methods."
"The miserable insects that live in 60 or more countries of the world chosen by
him and his closest assistants --and in the case of Cuba by his Miami friends-are completely irrelevant. They are the dark corners of the world that may become
the targets of their unannounced and preemptive attacks. Not only is Cuba one of t
hose countries, but it has also been included among those that sponsor terror."
I mentioned the idea of a world tyranny for the first time exactly one year, thr
ee months and 19 days before the attack on Iraq.
In the days prior to the beginning of the war, President Bush repeated once agai
n that the United States would use, if necessary, any means within its arsenal,
in other words, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons.
The attack on and occupation of Afghanistan had already taken place.
Today the so-called "dissidents", actually mercenaries on the payroll of the Bus
h s Hitler-like government, are betraying not only their homeland, but all of huma
nity as well.
In the face of the sinister plans against our country on the part of the neo-fas

cist extreme right and its allies in the Miami terrorist mob that ensured its vi
ctory through electoral fraud, I wonder how many of those individuals with suppo
sedly leftist and humanistic stances who have attacked our people over the legal
measures we were forced to adopt as a legitimate defense against the aggressive
plans of the superpower, located just a few miles off our coasts and with a mil
itary base on our own territory, have been able to read these words. We wonder h
ow many have recognized, denounced and condemned the policy announced in the spe
eches by Mr. Bush that I have quoted, which reveal a sinister Nazi-fascist inter
national policy on the part of the leader of the country with the most powerful
military force ever imagined, whose weapons could destroy the defenseless humani
ty ten times over.
The entire world has been mobilized by the terrifying images of cities destroyed
and burned by brutal bombing, images of maimed children and the shattered corps
es of innocent people.
Leaving aside the blatantly opportunistic, demagogic and petty political groups
we know all too well, I am now going to refer fundamentally to those who were fr
iends of Cuba and respected fighters in the struggle. We would not want those wh
o have, in our opinion, attacked Cuba unjustly, due to disinformation or a lack
of careful and profound analysis, to have to suffer the infinite sorrow they wil
l feel if one day our cities are destroyed and our children and mothers, women a
nd men, young and old, are torn apart by the bombs of Nazi-fascism, and they rea
lize that their declarations were shamelessly manipulated by the aggressors to j
ustify a military attack on Cuba.
Solely the numbers of children murdered and mutilated cannot be the measure of t
he human damage but also the millions of children and mothers, women and men, yo
ung and old, who remain traumatized for the rest of their lives.
We fully respect the opinions of those who oppose capital punishment for religio
us, philosophical and humanitarian reasons. We Cuban revolutionaries also abhor
capital punishment, for much more profound reasons than those addressed by the s
ocial sciences with regard to crime, currently under study in our country. The d
ay will come when we can accede to the wishes, so nobly expressed here in his br
illiant speech by our beloved brother Reverend Lucius Walker, to abolish such pe
nalty. The special concern over this issue is easily understood when you know th
at the majority of the people executed in the United States are African American
and Hispanic, and not infrequently they are innocent, especially in Texas, the
champion of death penalties, where President Bush was formerly the governor, and
not a single life has ever been pardoned.
The Cuban Revolution was placed in the dilemma of either protecting the lives of
millions of Cubans by using the legally established death penalty to punish the
three main hijackers of a passenger ferry or sitting back and doing nothing. Th
e U.S. government, which incites common criminals to assault boats or airplanes
with passengers on board, encourages these people gravely endangering the lives
of innocents and creating the ideal conditions for an attack on Cuba. A wave of
hijackings had been unleashed and was already in full development; it had to be
We cannot ever hesitate when it is a question of protecting the lives of the son
s and daughters of a people determined to fight until the end, arresting the mer
cenaries who serve the aggressors and applying the most severe sanctions, no mat
ter how unpleasant it is for us, against terrorists who hijack passenger boats o
r planes or commit similarly serious acts, who will be punished by the courts in
accordance with the laws in force.
Not even Jesus Christ, who drove the traders out of the temple with a whip, woul
d fail to opt for the defense of the people.

I feel sincere and profound respect for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. I unders
tand and admire his noble struggle for life and peace. Nobody opposed the war in
Iraq as much and as tenaciously as he did. I am absolutely certain that he woul
d have never counseled the Shiites and Sunni Muslims to let them be killed witho
ut defending themselves. He would not counsel the Cubans to do such a thing, eit
her. He knows perfectly well that this is not a problem between Cubans. This is
a problem between the people of Cuba and the government of the United States.
The policy of the U.S. government is so brazenly provocative that on April 25, M
r. Kevin Whitaker, chief of the Cuban Bureau at the State Department, informed t
he head of our Interests Section in Washington that the National Security Counci
l s Department of Homeland Security considered the continued hijackings from Cuba
a serious threat to the national security of the United States, and requested th
at the Cuban government adopt all of the necessary measures to prevent such acts
He said this as if they were not the ones who provoke and encourage these hijack
ings, and as if we were not the ones who adopt drastic measures to prevent them,
in order to protect the lives and safety of passengers, and being fully aware f
or some time now of the criminal plans of the fascist extreme right against Cuba
. When news of this contact on the 25 was leaked, it stirred up the Miami terror
ist mob. They still do not understand that their direct or indirect threats agai
nst Cuba do not frighten anyone in this country.
The hypocrisy of Western politicians and a large group of mediocre leaders is so
huge that it would not fit in the Atlantic Ocean. Any measure that Cuba adopts
for the purposes of its legitimate defense is reported among the top stories in
almost all of the media. On the other hand, when we pointed out that during the
term in office of a Spanish head of government, dozens of ETA members were execu
ted without trial, without anyone protesting or denouncing it before the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights, or that another Spanish head of government,
at a difficult moment in the war in Kosovo, advised the U.S. president to step u
p the war, increase the bombing and attack civilian targets, thus causing the de
aths of hundreds of innocent people and tremendous suffering for millions of peo
ple, the headlines merely stated, "Castro attacks Felipe and Aznar". Not a word
was said about the real content.
In Miami and Washington they are now discussing where, how and when Cuba will be
attacked or the problem of the Revolution will be solved.
For the moment, there is talk of economic measures that will further intensify t
he brutal blockade, but they still do not know which to choose, who they will re
sign themselves to alienating, and how effective these measures may be. There ar
e very few left for them to choose from. They have already used up almost all of
A shameless scoundrel with the poorly chosen first name Lincoln, and the last na
me Daz-Balart, an intimate friend and advisor of President Bush, has made this en
igmatic statement to a Miami TV station: "I can t go into details, but we re trying
to break this vicious cycle."
What methods are they considering to deal with this vicious cycle? Physically el
iminating me with the sophisticated modern means they have developed, as Mr. Bus
h promised them in Texas before the elections? Or attacking Cuba the way they at
tacked Iraq?
If it were the former, it does not worry me in the least. The ideas for which I
have fought all my life will not die, and they will live on for a long time.

If the solution were to attack Cuba like Iraq, I would suffer greatly because of
the cost in lives and the enormous destruction it would bring on Cuba. But, it
might turn out to be the last of this Administration s fascist attacks, because th
e struggle would last a very long time.
The aggressors would not merely be facing an army, but rather thousands of armie
s that would constantly reproduce themselves and make the enemy pay such a high
cost in casualties that it would far exceed the cost in lives of its sons and da
ughters that the American people would be willing to pay for the adventures and
ideas of President Bush. Today, he enjoys majority support, but it is dropping,
and tomorrow it could be reduced to zero.
The American people, the millions of highly cultivated individuals who reason an
d think, their basic ethical principles, the tens of millions of computers with
which to communicate, hundreds of times more than at the end of the Viet Nam war
, will show that you cannot fool all of the people, and perhaps not even part of
the people, all of the time. One day they will put a straightjacket on those wh
o need it before they manage to annihilate life on the planet.
On behalf of the one million people gathered here this May Day, I want to convey
a message to the world and the American people:
We do not want the blood of Cubans and Americans to be shed in a war. We do not
want a countless number of lives of people who could be friends to be lost in an
armed conflict. But never has a people had such sacred things to defend, or suc
h profound convictions to fight for, to such a degree that they would rather be
obliterated from the face of the Earth than abandon the noble and generous work
for which so many generations of Cubans have paid the high cost of the lives of
many of their finest sons and daughters.
We are sustained by the deepest conviction that ideas are worth more than weapon
s, no matter how sophisticated and powerful those weapons may be.
Let us say like Che Guevara when he bid us farewell:
Ever onward to victory!