Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

[Speech by Fidel Castro, Havana, Revolucion, Spanish, 17 January 1959]

It is easy to understand my emotion this afternoon.  Here beside
this tomb, which is full of memories for all of us and which today does not
symbolize only that great champion who fell when we needed him most, but
also others who fell in the struggle and whom we need so much today:
Eduardo Chibas, Pelayo Cuervo Navarro and Juan Manuel Marquez.  No homage,
then, could be more sincere, more fervent and more spontaneous.  Our
feelings are mixed.  We have come often to this tomb since 16 August 1951.
We have come to this tomb every month, before and since 10 March, and
whenever, in various periods, we have been nearby.  That 16 August 1951 --
the apotheosis of martyrdom, the vast crowd which accompanied his coffin to
this place, where he has rested since then -- those months which were of
hope and in which although our leader was gone, we had still his voice and
his prestige, and that 16 March 1952, six days after the treasonable blow,
when many people also gathered at this tomb, for the second time.  It seems
to me, I see that afternoon.  There was anguish mixed with indignation,
impotence mixed with the desire to fight.  It seems to me I see that crowd
which moved, it seems to me I recall my arrival that afternoon at the
cemetery where, like a human sea and perhaps because I had been one of
the most caustic opponents of those who had seized power, the crowd showed
great concern for us, even saying that we should not have come, protecting
us with their arms to prevent any attack in those moments of uncertainty
and fear.

It was that afternoon that we distributed the first revolutionary
manifesto, entitled "Revolucion no, zarpazo" (Revolution no -- a clean
sweep), which was also written in the indignation and the  anguish of
impotence and the desire to fight, and since then, too, we  have continued
to come to the tomb of Eduardo Chibas.

I see here many well known faces, the same ones a s have always
been loyal to this tomb, the same individuals who have always kept fresh
flowers in this sanctuary of Cuban dignity.

But as the months passed the people ceased to come in such
numbers.  I do not know if faith died in impotence, I do not know if faith
died in the bitterness of those days which cannot be forgotten, so sad and
hard were they.  I do not know if discouragement grew in the ranks of the
people, who were waiting, waiting for the arrival, finally , of some
solution, and I also remember what one individual said, I remember the
hateful presence of the leader of the ruffians of the tyranny on that day,
when he had the impudence to come with his machine guns to boast about his
forces and even to boast of his goodness in not shooting everyone -- a
concession from a ruffian.  I recall the humiliations we had to suffer
here, in the streets, everywhere, wherever a group of Cubans gathered, here
in the university, in the party premises, Prado 109, and everywhere,
because whenever the people gathered, they were the victims of some
outrage.  How could one forget those days when we saw the men, and
particularly the women, who were always the most faithful in remembering
Eduardo Chibas, because they were always the same, the women of the C.H.Q.,
those of Prado 109, the victims of blows, persecution and insults and
surveillance by the ruffians of the tyranny.  Those days are still fresh in
our memory.  And thus that other period from 10 March to 26 July in which
we could not return to Chibas' tomb passed, and after two years came a
period in which we could visit the tomb of Eduardo Chibas again.

But today is like a culmination of the whole story, the story of
the revolution and the events of 26 July, which are so closely linked with
the tale of this tomb, with the memory of the man who lies here, with his
ideology, feelings and preachings, because I should say here that without
the preachings of Chibas, without what he did, without the civic conscience
and rebellion he awakened in the Cuban young people, the events of 26 July
would not have been possible.

It was mainly among the young people who followed Chibas that the
combatants were recruited.  If these young people had not existed, if that
preaching had not existed, if that seed had not been sown, the events of 26
July would not have been possible, as they were the continuation of Chibas'
work, the harvesting of the seed he planted in our people.  Without Chibas,
the Cuban revolution would not have been possible.  His physical presence
was taken from us, we all miss him, and we all said "if Cubans were alive"
and we said it bitterly, as if we had lost hope, but yet, Chibas had not
abandoned us, Chibas was with the people, Chibas made his presence felt,
his work lay dormant in the people, and on this basis the triumphant
revolution which is today in power was built.

Thus, the homage we come here to render him is just, the homage
which we also render to the two champions who also fell in the struggle:
Pelayo Cuervo Navarro and Juan Manuel Marquez.  Of them, we can also say
today how much we miss them.  If they were among us, how useful they would
be.  If Juan Manuel Marquez, if Pelayo Cuervo Navarro, were with us, how
many services they could render their fatherland in the present hour.  But
yet, although they are not physically present, they too, are still with us.
We have here their example, we have here their preachings and above all, we
have here their work, because this revolution triumphed on the basis of the
sacrifice of those who fell.  Physically they may be dead, but spiritually,
and it is the spirit which has proved triumphant, the spirit which has
shown the strength of reason, the force of justice, and has shown itself to
be stronger than matter -- spiritually they are with us.

This is not a phrase of consolation but a great truth, for
otherwise, on what has this history of our people been built?  On justice,
on faith, on fervor.  If we had no weapons or army or resources, with what
was the revolution built?  With modesty, with faith, with morality, with
right, with justice.  And today the people, who were so often beaten down,
so often humiliated, are gathering again -- where are those who wrested our
rights from us?  They are either in prison, or have fled, or have been shot
or will be shot.  Those who murdered Juan Manual Marquez are in prison.
Those implicated in the murder of Pelayo Cuervo are in prison.  And what
are the enemies of the revolution asking us?  To let them go, to pardon
them.  This is what those who had no sympathy with the people when the
scores of bodies appeared in the streets, those who sent bombs, tanks, guns
and planes to the murderers, those who sent military missions to train the
assassins are asking.

We have come to pay tribute to these three unforgettable fighters
-- Eduardo Chibas, Juan Manual Marquez and Pelayo Cuervo Navarro.  Our
feelings are mixed.  Along with sadness, there is the satisfaction of duty
fulfilled.  For the first time since that 16 August 1951 our visit to the
tomb of Eduardo Chibas has a new aspect, another meaning.  Again the mass
of the people have gathered together at the tomb of these heroes.  For the
first time there are not only tears, the tears shed over the tombs of
martyrs, but for the first time since that sad day, smiles as well as
flowers are overflowing -- the smiles of the people who are proud of having
fulfilled their duty, kept their word, because often we stop before this
tomb to say "We will continue faithful to your ideals."

"We swear we will complete your work, which we will never betray."
And now we can say:  "You fought graft, Eduardo Chibas, and now there is no
graft.  You fought petty politicking, Chibas, and now there is none.  You
fought administrative corruption and it no longer exists.  You fought force
and now force is not used.  You fought profiteering and there is none any
more.  You fought crime and crime is no longer found here, Chibas.  You
fought Batista and Batista is no longer here.  Chibas, for the first time
since your death, your people are happy again.  For the first time since
your death, Chibas, your people are happy again thanks to the seed you
planted, the revolution you implanted, you began, and which your comrades
Pelayo Cuervo, Juan Manual Marquez and Raul de Aguir continued, and for
which an interminable list of your comrades, comrades in the party you
founded, fell, along with men of all parties, because your cause, your
ideals ceased to be the cause of one party to become the cause, the ideals
and the ideology of a whole people."

What we have said here is true, and all of the martyrs such as
Juan Manual Marquez, Hchevarria, Frank Pais, and Pelayo Cuervo do not
belong to the 26 July Movement or to the orthodox sector or to any party --
they belong to the fatherland, they belong to Cuba.

Eduardo Chibas, Pelayo Cuervo Navarro, Juan Manuel Marquez, all
martyrs of this glorious campaign, we have kept our promise, we will
continue to carry our our duty, and just as you were able to die without
selfishness, generally, all of your people will be able to die to if it is
necessary.  Eduardo Chibas, your last blow has finally echoed!