Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Nov. 20, 1959


Havana, Radio Progreso, in Spanish to Cuba, Nov. 19, 1959, 0505 GMT--E

(Live speech by Fidel Castro to CTC Congress)

(Summary) Delegates from labor movement of other countries visiting us, CTC
delegates, (Thunderous Applause): We are always moved by identification of
the workers with their government.  We are even more moved this time by
this symbolic tribute.

This is the first congress in revolutionary Cuba.  It is the first meeting
after many years of struggle and sacrifice in a completely free gathering.
Many compatriots have fallen in the struggle.  An equally large number have
had to suffer all kinds of humiliation and physical torture to achieve
this.  Much blood has been shed to make it possible today for the workers
to hold this congress.  It is not a congress attended by puppets only.  The
delegates present here were designated by the workers and the views
expressed here are the freely expressed views of the workers.  Decisions
made here will be the expression of the free will of the Cuban workers.
This must necessarily be a reason for pride for all of us.  For seven years
the working class was ruled by terror methods of the tyranny in complicity
with trained accomplices serving the worst enemies of the people.  For
seven years the working class was not allowed to parade on May 1.
(Applause).  These were sad years which are gone forever.  (Applause).

Those who believe we will forget the past are mistaken.  (Applause)  The
working class, which for seven years could not parade on May 1, has, by its
efforts by its triumph since Jan. 1 become the decisive factor in the
political life of the country, because it was the working class which in
the general strike, promoted in conjunction with the rebel army, prevented
efforts to snatch victory away at the last moment.  It was the working
class which in these 10 months of revolution has been in the front lines,as
it was in the first gathering of a million Cubans, as it was on May 1.
Cuban workers protested the criminal attack on the national territory by
planes from abroad.  (Applause).

Finally, it was the workers who organized the Oct. 27 rally.  Whenever the
workers have been called on, they have answered with enthusiasm and unity
(Applause).  This is a disciplined army which always answers "present" and
is in the front ranks.  It is the workers who have contributed most
generously to buy tractors, to contribute to a day's work to our agrarian
reform, to make their contribution to the defense of the sovereignty of the
country, to buy arms to defend the national territory.  Never has it failed
the revolution.

We have asked sacrifices of the workers.  We know today that when the day
comes when it may be necessary to defend the revolution by arms we shall
turn to the workers.  The destiny of Cuba and of the revolution is in the
hands of the working class (applause) and it is vitally important that the
working class understand that it holds the future of the country in its
hands.  The destiny of Cuba could not be in better hands.

Fortunately, we can also count on another sector of the nation, the Cuban
campesinos (applause).  The campesinos and working class need each other
fighting side by side.  In view of the threats and maneuvers by those who
want to bring down upon them the yoke of privilege and injustice, what can
they do against the united campesinos and workers?

Of what use would it be for them to try to take back power against our
united workers and campesinos?  Against our soldiers, the campesinos, and
workers with arms?  Anyone who makes a mistake now is either irresponsible
or stupid and unable to understand his own interests and the interests of
the enemies of the country.  if the workers should be defeated they would
be made to pay a terrible price for freeing themselves from centuries-old
evils.  The people must be saved.  Not only do we have the revolution's
military with the workers and campesinos, but also most of the
intellectuals.  They are defending the interests of the people of Cuba.

Enemies of Revolution

Who will be against the revolution?  Those whose interests are not the
interests of Cuba and the Cuban people.  The frustrated, those who sell
themselves, those who betray, all those who conceived the revolution as a
satisfaction of personal ambition, not a people's undertaking, will be
against the revolution, as well as all those who wanted to continue the

When you analyze those who write against the revolution you will realize
they serve the big interests, the enemies of the revolution.  When you
analyze the antirevolution press you will understand that a press developed
by paid subsidies is the enemy of the revolution.  The revolution has
destroyed privileges.  Those enjoying the privileges are against the
revolution.   Those who lack ideals are against it.

In the early days of the revolution, when we spoke of latifundists,
exploiters, war criminals, and Trujilloists, some thought we were
exaggerating.  It was difficult then to conceive that some of those who
wrote little articles in favor of the revolution when it triumphed would
joint those elements.

Scarcely a few months had passed when we found a small group of
latifundists associated not only with war criminals, but with a foreign
tyrant who has been maintaining a bloody rule in his country for 30
years--Trujillo.  Today it is evident that there is a connection between
reactionary foreign press charges--between those who say there is no
freedom of the press and those who receive prizes from certain
international organs (not specified--Ed.).  One of these shameless ones has
written an article "Lenin and Cuba."  All agree on imputing to the
revolutionary government the same charges.  They insinuate that this is a
foreign revolution (applause) when they themselves are the real supporters
of foreigners.  They come here to quote cables manufactured abroad against
us and lies invented abroad against our revolution.  They are defending the
worst foreign interests.  (Applause)

The measures taken by the revolutionary government and the agrarian reform
will recover more than 800,000 caballerias of land in the hands of a group
of foreign countries to deliver it to the campesinos who live in hunger in
our canefields.  (Applause)

Is this serving foreign interests?  Is defense of the people against
monopoly serving foreign interests, or a measure such as reducing the cost
of electricity, putting an end to gambling and exploitation of the people,
rice production (applause), protection of currency, customs measures,
school construction, a clean administration, investment in public works
instead of putting money into New York or Swiss banks, establishing justice
(applause)--are these serving foreign interests?

I ask the people:  Are the measures taken by the revolutionary government
just?  (Applause)  if we are to be fought for taking just measures, let us
be fought?  If we must be invaded for this, let us be invaded.  Our just
revolution fulfills an historic mission.  Can it be said after 10 months of
government that there has been a single minister who has grown rich in
office?  The revolutionary government cannot be charged with promoting
gambling, traffic in drugs, vice--all traditional evils in our country.

it is enough to read a cable such as I received here at this congress.  It
reveals enemies of our country.  The cable reads:  Washington, Nov.
18--There is evidence that in Cuba a rocket launching base is being
established which could destroy Cape Canaveral and even the Pentagon, says
Emilio Nunez Portuondo (Boos) in a weekly Latin American publication which
is again circulating here.  Almost all comment by Nunez Portuondo attacks
our government and alleges dangers of communism.  I am convinced, he says,
that Cuba is becoming as dangerous for U.S. security as any captive
country of East Europe.  Thus they openly promote a policy of foreign
intervention in our country.  To justify this, they invent tales such as
this ridiculous story.

What and whom do reactionary press insinuations serve?  In articles such as
one yesterday, titled:  "Lenin and Cuba," they simply tend to promote
foreign intervention.

The problem is clear.  You must think as workers, campesinos, as Cubans.
(Applaud)  Our strength lies in our identification with the revolution.  Is
there a single worker who does not agree with us?  (Applause).  The
revolution stands above all.  This is the party of the country.
(Applaud).  It is justice which unites comrades, it is patriotic ideals
which unite us.

When a criminal bomb falls over a district of Cuba, or when terrorists and
bandits carry out acts, they do not discriminate or ask on which house it
is going to fall, or what Cuban it is going to kill.

The enemy who unites forces us to unite.  This is our strength.  The
spectacle which would most please our enemies is any division in this labor
congress.  (Applaud)  They fear the tremendous strength of the working
class.  They know that it is invincible.  They are going to listen
carefully to the congress to see whether there are problems of

This means it is the duty of all of us to see that this congress is an
example of revolutionary unit.  (Applaud)

We know of the plans made to turn certain social groups against us.  We can
see how they are trying to set one social group against another.  They have
no inkling of the revolutionary fevers which nowadays affect Cuban workers
and farmers.  (Applaud)  These privileged groups are incapable of realizing
that the measures which have affected certain privileged classes are the
same which have brought hope and happiness to the immense majority of our

The Enemy's Power

Despite the injustices and nonsense which motivates them, they are still
powerful.  It is a struggle between those who possess it all and those who
possess nothing.  The same group who had a monopoly on the wealth of the
country also possessed a monopoly of the means of publicity and

They have the wealth necessary to lie around conspiring against the
revolution.  Their strength lies not in their numbers but in their
resources and cunning.  They also possess the education which the immense
majority of our people lacks.

The revolution is attacked by these privileged circles because it is trying
to wipe out social ills and raise the social standards of the masses.  In
the face of aggression by these groups we have only one alternative--to
unite farmers and workers in order to defend the revolution.

There must be discipline in the army of workers.  You are the officers and
leaders of that army.  We must maintain the strength necessary to defend
this revolution which will continue to forge ahead to its goals if we know
how to defend it.

When each farm, factory, household, ship, is a bulwark of the revolution,
who will be able to defeat it?  We must be aware that we will be attacked
and that we shall have to defend it.

Camilo was of the people just like you (applause).  Our revolution had many
men who were ready to die.  They did not have any education, yet they knew
their duty.

It would have been logical that those fighters would have passed into
government offices once the revolutionary cause was victorious.  However
they were not equipped for it.  However, in the future they will be able to
serve.  This demonstrates the difficulties we face, but it also shows that
in the long run victory will be ours.

The Workers' Contribution

Our most difficult task now is that of defending the revolution.  Without a
revolutionary government there can be no revolutionary program.  I was very
impressed by the resolution of the workers to contribute four percent of
their earnings for the purchase of farm machinery.  This shows what the
workers have learned.  They know that this is their government.  They know
that the agrarian reforms affects precisely that part of our economy which
we can improve.

Our rice and cotton production this year will be great.  We must be able to
meet our consumer needs.  We have invested much money in agricultural
production.  The more we produce on all types of necessary articles, the
sooner our living standard will rise.

Our strategy must be to put all unemployed to work.  In this way I am such
we will reach our goals.

The four percent the worker gives now represents an investment he will
enjoy later.  He will receive (bonds?) which will not be redeemable for
five years.  The worker not only will receive more from his investment but
will also enjoy a rising standard of living.  These sacrifices will repay
us three or four-fold.

We are going to undertake the task of training you as soon and rapidly as
we can (applause).  Former governments here had large armies to protect the
privileges and investments of the wealthy landholders.  Who was then in a
position to do anything for the farmers?  Nobody!  Now, on the other hand,
the farmers are being defended against the large landholders.  The same
applies to the workers.  They have won their rights.

The privileged classes tremble--they know that their privileges are a thing
of the past.  Let them return if they dare, but they will find an armed
Cuba awaiting them--and armed Cuba which will defend its hard-won rights.

Foreign Lies

You know the efforts of foreign news agencies to subvert the
revolutionary government.  They continue to print lines and slander.  You
can imagine how it hurts us to read those slanderous lies about Camilo
Cienfuegos.  We shall always keep the people abreast of the news and latest
slanderous and subverting campaigns of our enemies so that they will know
the truth.

To be a revolutionary is to have the courage to face the truth.  The
efforts and sacrifices of the people have not been in vain.  They did it
once and will do it again, as many times as necessary.  We shall take care
of each problem and difficulty as it arises.  If the rich
antirevolutionaries begin to conspire, the farmers and workers are lined
up, ready to defend the revolution.  We can say with certainty that none of
their maneuvers, will succeed here.

(Announcer:  You have just heard Fidel Castro, the leader of revolutionary

Property Confiscation

Managua, Radio Mundial in Spanish to Nicaragua, Nov. 19, 1959, 1630 GMT--P

(Text)  Havana--Fidel Castro told the labor congress that a law will be
promulgated which will authorize the government to confiscate all or part
of the properties of the rich who undertake revolutionary activities as a
means of obstructing the agrarian reform.


Havana, Radio Progreso, in Spanish to Cuba, Nov. 20, 1959, 1300 GMT--E

(Summary)  The first plenary session of the 10th National Labor Congress
opened at CTC headquarters Nov. 19, with 2,938 attending.  After a report
by the credentials committee, Conrado Becquer was elected chairman of the

David Salvador presented a two-hour report on the work of the CTC since
Jan. 1, which was unanimously approved by the congress.  The congress
appointed a committee charged with purging from the CTC "supporters of
(Mujal?) still in the labor movement."

The congress approved a motion banning strikes during 1960 "in order not to
create problems for the government."  Nine working committees were
appointed to begin work on Nov. 20.

it is reported that within the congress an effort is being made to present
as candidates for the new revolutionary executive committee a united slate
representing various groups, but it appears that the leaders of the July 26
labor movement, members of the national Autentico labor committee, members
of the Orthodoxo labor section, and members of the labor committee of the
Mar. 13 directorate, have expressed opposition to such a slate.  Labor
leaders of the Escambray second front favor a united slate and advocated
the inclusion of both Catholics and communists.

Mexican labor leader Vicente Lomberdo Toledano spoke at the congress.
Other international labor leaders are expected to speak later.

On Nov. 19 numerous motions were presented which will be submitted at the
Nov. 20 and 21 plenary sessions.  Among them is a motion supporting the
revolutionary policy of the government, the agrarian reform, and the
formation of a labor militia.

David Salvador's report proposes that the CTC withdraw from the ORIT.  This
proposal will be discussed and decided on by the plenary session of the
congress.  Also proposed is the creation of another Latin American central
labor organization.  The 10th National Labor Congress will close on Nov. 21
with the election of the new CTC executive committee.

- O -

PLOT DISCOVERED--"An important conspiracy" was discovered on Nov. 20 in
Marianao and it is reported that more than 30 persons have been arrested.
Arms were found at the residence where the conspirators were meeting.
Shots were also heard and it is reported that a number of persons were
wounded, although no official announcement of this has been made.  (Havana,
Radio Progreso, Nov. 20, 1959, 1300 GMT--E)