Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Source:  Boletin [de Prensa] No. 90, Ministerio de Estado, Republica de
Cuba, 28 November 1959, Havana, pp 1-18

University comrades:

I would like to make it clear first of all why I am wearing the
uniform of the university militia.  First, it is because I am still a
student, and second, because the comrades of the University Battalion
honored me by making me a gift of it.  And also, because we are certain
that we can honor it.

This 27 November has been ... just a moment, if there is a
counterrevolutionary here, let his stay, do not disturb him.  There are
many more out there in the street, and they are not bothering anyone
much.  Also, I believe that any counterrevolutionary here will simply be

I was saying that this 27 November has been for us one of the most
extraordinary days we have spent.  As perhaps some of you know, we have
been in the Province of Camaguey, and it required a great effort for us to
be here even for a short while at the University.  I did not want to fail
to be present at this ceremony tonight, because of the symbolism it has for
us, because of what this date and this university site represent and
recall.  It was not a matter of the number attending, but of the moral
significance of this gathering.  For this reason, we made the effort, and
we will always carry with us in our minds eye the unforgettable impression
of today's events.

I believe that our people have worthily honored the martyrs of 71,
and with them all the university martyrs.  After this spectacle which we
witnessed this morning, with tens of thousands of children on a military
practice field waving Cuban flags, it was impossible to talk to the
children, very difficult to do so because they mixed with the people in
general, making this children's gathering too hectic, but I certainly
wanted to speak to them.  I thought that in the morning we would speak to
the primary school children, in the afternoon to the rural people and the
people in general, and in the evening to the students.  In practice it has
hardly been possible to do any one of these three things, for a different
reason.  We could not speak to the children for the reasons explained, to
the people, because of the extraordinary large crowds, and difficulties
with the loudspeakers, and tonight our reason is fatigue.  However, we
would like to stress at least the indelible impression we have of reaching
he military fortress.

And who is there who has not been in a military fortress, who has
not at least passed by, once or many times, a military fortress in earlier

It is possible that each one of us, at least one of us capable of
scorning force and oppression, capable of understanding the full meaning of
the purpose these fortresses serve, has felt this pain, this impotence,
this feeling of sadness when we passed one of these military fortresses set
in the center of the city and serving as the camp of hundreds, thousands of
soldiers of the republic in which hundreds of thousands of children had no
schools, nor teachers, nor books, nor pencils, nor hope of having them one
day.  It is necessary to remember, today when we pass a vestige of an evil
which is now behind us, it is necessary to remember, to remember what they
meant to us, until very recently, in order to understand the sensation of
coming upon a place where there was a fortress and failing to recognize it,
finding one's self suddenly among a series of buildings marked "school No.
such and such," "library," "such and such an art school," in a word, coming
to a place where one was on earlier occasions and failing to recognize it,
because instead of barracks, instead of battlements, instead of soldiers
with machine guns, bullets and rifles, we find an educational center, we
find desks, books, blackboards and, above all, children.  This was
certainly the greatest homage which could have been rendered to all the
students who have fallen in this long struggle.  And this, in the midst of
the bitterness of all we as revolutionaries have had to suffer, is the only
reward, the reward of these minutes which in themselves compensate for all
the unpleasantness there may have been in the midst of the lack of
understanding, the passions and the concerns which marked the life of a

How could we convert that fortress into a school city, in which
more than 3,000 children, without exaggerating, because it is possible that
the number is greater, will be educated, will have sports facilities, will
enjoy the benefits which until today were beyond the imagination of the
children of the humble families of our cities?  How, divorcing ourselves
from all the traditional considerations of a military nature, and far from
undertaking to build fortresses, have we been able to do away with
fortresses to convert them into schools?  Is the revolution, perhaps,
beyond danger?  Has our revolution no enemies?  Are there no plots against
it?  Or perhaps is it that we are not all aware that days of struggle are

Certainly the revolution has enemies, and increasingly bold and
insolent enemies, and possible increasingly mistaken enemies.  How, then,
could be demolish that hated fortress known as the Columbia fortress?  How
could we demolish this second fortress and why are we going to demolish all
the fortresses?  How can we explain that the revolutionary government,
faced with the growing threats of its enemies, of the international gangs,
which in increasingly close complicity with the national reactionaries are
conspiring against the country?  Why, then, are we going to dismantle the
fortresses one by one?  Why?  Because the first thing the governments
always did here, the first thing the tyranny did, naturally, as
revolutionary opposition increased, was to purchase or build more
fortresses, to recruit more soldiers and to prepare thus to defend itself
in a military way.  Why, on the other hand, is the revolutionary government
doing just the contrary, and this is naturally a good lesson for the
plotters and the confusionists here who are mulling over their impotence
and their hatred, that hatred which, as Marti said, was the more base
because it was like those hatreds born of the depths of man, a good lesson
for those who are so misguided, who believe that they can continue to apply
to us, the hackneyed procedures, labels and intrigues which might prosper
in other places, in other countries, and even in Cuba under circumstances?

It would be good for them to analyze why we can destroy and are
going to destroy all the fortresses, transforming them into schools, as an
eloquent proof that the revolution is advancing on firm foundations and the
revolution has confidence in what it is doing.

What were the fortresses in our fatherland but the sanctuary of a
professional army, the sole function of which was the defense of
established interests, the defense of the great privileged classes? Was
this in any way a national army? No. It was not a national army, because it
defended foreign interests. It was not a national army, because it had
foreign instructors. It was not a national army, because it was certainly
not motivated by the interests of the country, and this was perfectly
possible because the professional army never entered into conflict with the
interests its instructors and teachers represented.  It had to be a small
well trained army, perfectly automatized and equipped.  This was the only
system capable of imposing the empire of great interests, great privileged
classes and great injustices upon an unarmed and powerless people.  It
claimed to be the defender of the sovereignty of the country, but what they
did was to trample upon the sovereignty of the country.  They claimed to be
the defenders of the nations, the supposed defenders of our nation, but
they were certainly the worst cancer from which the nation suffered.  That
army had to be what it was:  a tool against the people, and it was based on
all of the aberration which characterized the politics of the country.

Have you not seen how there are many who grumble, when there is
talk of training the rural people, when there is talk of training the
workers and when there is talk of training the students?

Why do they grumble?  Why do they not want the people trained?
Why do they not want the people to prepare to defend themselves?  Well,
because they always nurture the hope that the past will return, they
nurture the hope that the republic will adopt the traditional system.

They know that today we have an army of honest men, of rebels, of
combatants, but they are not concerned with what the men individually are,
what interests them as a system, the nefarious system of divorcing the
people from the tasks if their own defense, and leaving the defense of the
nation in the hands of professional armies, which today could be the men
they are, but as men change, tomorrow others would come, the system of a
professional army against a people divorced from its own defense, against
an unarmed people, this is the most nefarious system from which the peoples
of Latin America Have suffered.  Armies with foreign instructors, who
rarely share the interests of the people.

The grumbling reaction -- this is the proper word.  All they do is
grumble when they see the students training, when they see the students
marching with their weapons through the streets of the capital, and they
are going to grumble much more still when they see the workers and when
they see the rural people marching, too.

The fact is they simply cannot tolerate the idea that the people
can defend themselves, because they adhere stubbornly to the idea that what
suits their interests is unarmed and impotent peoples.  Thus, we, the
revolutionaries, have the duty of establishing the safety of the fate of
the people on a firm foundation.

And it is logical that we think that their defense should lie with
the people themselves, because it is very sad, profoundly sad, to remember
those days which followed 10 March, when an armed gang seized command of
the country and against it, the people were unarmed and powerless.

Who does not recall those days?  It is possible that many of
those present here today, and there are many who cannot be here because
they have fallen, it is possible that many of those here today, were also
at the gatherings called by the University Student Federation to denounce
the dictatorship and its atrocities, and they must recall how just like
today, the people gathered, because the people never fail, they are there
"early and late." And these university steps were full then, too, when the
university was surrounded by persecutors, when the streets were full of
hired ruffians, and no citizen knew, on leaving here, in what dungeon of
the Bureau, or the Military Intelligence Service, or the BRAC, or some
other body, the Fifth, Fourth, Third or any of the 700 police stations he
would end up.

What was the feeling of the people in those days, what was the
pain of the people in those days, what was the pain of all of us in those
days when we could not explain how it was possible that a people could have
fallen into such a defenseless state, how it was possible that in the
majority of the nation the young people, the students, the men of the
people, full of valor and ideals and ready to make sacrifices, could have
fallen into such a horrible misfortune, how here for long months and years,
the people could do nothing but accept blows, lashes, beatings,
humiliation, men and women alike, without knowing when this tragedy would
end and without being able to understand fully how it was possible that
they were the victims of the sadism and the wanton behavior of a handful of
mercenaries who overnight, in a tragic hour for the fatherland, had become
the masters and lords of our lives?

And those times through which our people lived, that consequence
of the system implanted in our fatherland, from the beginning of that
semi-colony, or colony and a half, which undertook to call itself by the
euphemism "republic of Cuba," that system which we did not establish but
which was imposed upon us, the consequences of that policy they imposed
upon us, the interests they imposed upon us, are or were certainly the only
sources of the pain which our people had to suffer.  And it is certain that
there were not just a few of us who suffered from this bitter history.  It
as the vast majority if the people, those who decided and those who did not
decide to struggle against them, those who were active fighters and those
who were passive fighters, and those who were insensitive enough to resign
themselves to all this.  But the pain was the pain of an entire people,
which in hours such as these we must pledge ourselves never to suffer
again, since we can be anything now, but not naive.  We can be anything
now, but not improvident, anything, but not stupid.

Because those who believe that a revolution is an easy task, those
who believe that a revolution is an easy road, those who want to deceive
themselves may fail to understand what this moment means for Cuba, and may
fail to see the ambush being laid for us, the trap being set for us, the
nets being spread for us, to wreck us.  They may fail to understand what a
people like ours is -- small, economically lagging, that is to say,
underdeveloped, dependent on almost single markets, at the mercy of all
kinds if political, propaganda and economic maneuvers, a people standing
alone in defense of a great idea, which is their ideal, that is to say, the
ideal of all the men who have battled for more than a century for the
destiny of the Cuban nation.  This people stands alone and has no resources
but its own, it has a enemies powerful interests and it has a real fifth
column within it made up of the groups affected by the revolution and all
the rubble who in the middle of the last century were called
"annexionists," at the end of the century, while Cubans were struggling for
their independent, called "volunteers," at the beginning of this century
called "interventionists," and at the end of this stage, known as "hired
thugs," "politicians" and accomplices of the tyranny.  And this fifth
column exists, and is becoming more obvious, more daring and more insolent
every day.

Our enemies outside have the support of this fifth column.  We can
hope for the support of the conscience of other peoples, of the opinion of
other peoples, but we must recognize this enemy, because we cannot be like
ostriches, putting our heads in the sand in order not to see the dangers.

It must be recognized that international opinion is molded by
these news agencies which set the standards and write the stories for
millions of periodicals throughout the world, and that the thinking if the
readers throughout the world is determined because they usually learn of
what is happening elsewhere through the cables and the reports of these
agencies.  For example, any historic event, such as the attack on Pearl
Harbor, is written about by a news agency, and the people take what they
read as what actually occurred.  And thus it is through their pencils that
we hear an earthquake, an accident or a derailment in Europe, Asia or any
country and accept it as a fact.

Thus, the thinking of the readers is formed on the basis of
information obtained through this mechanism, and the readers accept as true
facts the news and the reports received in this way.  Thus, these agencies
have in their hands a tool which has been used to cover the prestige of the
Cuban revolution with mire. Thus, one day, for example, the news is
received that a Cardinal has said certain things about this revolution, and
another day the news is received that it was not true, that he had not said
these things about the Cuban revolution.

Naturally, all of this coincides with the effort to attempt to
create problems for the revolution which do not really exist, to put the
revolution in a bind, with not other basis than the interests of certain
privileged people who, believing that our people are stupid, are trying to
confuse and entrap them all, but who are certainly going to have to hear us
state three or four trusts of a basic nature.  If they persist, we will
certainly have occasion here to unmask more than one impudent estate owner,
more than one "high living" great lady, who are incapable of understanding
the profound just and human meaning of the Christian thinking, particularly
that which preaches in favor of the poor and humble, and which therefore
cannot serve the purposes of the egoists and the greedy.  It is indeed
consistent with the just revolution and a just people, but never with the
unscrupulous mentality of the exploiters of the humble and the poor.  But
these people play with the idea of comparing religious feelings to
revolutionary feeling in an unscrupulous manner, although one cannot trade,
one cannot toy with the religious feelings of man.

It is regrettable that we have to deal with the maneuvers, which
we understand very clearly, of estate owning and stick wielding and
speculative elements of all kinds, elements without scruples and incapable
of understanding the revolutionary meaning of the preachings of Christ,
unscrupulous elements which want to damage the traditional religious
sentiments and devotion of our noble people toward the virgin of charity
herself, because this image is of all the Cubans, including those in the
Sierra Maestra, and it has developed in the faith of the Cubans, saving the
lives of very humble fishermen, not of filthy rich magnates, very humble
and very poor fishermen, among whom there was certainly a Negro.  This
should serve as an exemplary lesson to the hypocrites and Pharisees, who
from their aristocratic clubs or privileged positions have been
discriminating against the Negro, while they beatifically beat their

We say this because we certainly believe that there is neither
justice nor honesty in this maneuver of trying to profit from the Congress,
which is a legitimate gathering of believing citizens, as it is a
legitimate act respected by the other religions, of trying to profit from
this faith of our people, from the dozens and hundreds of thousands of
devout among our people, who will go there to pray for Cuba and for the
revolutionary laws.  As we went through the streets, there were thousands
of persons during the months of the war who approached us to give us a
blessing, to express some Christian desire, to give us a benediction, in an
open expression of the spiritual nature of our people, who are with the
revolution because it is just, because it is human, and because it is
consistent with all the noble sentiments of man.  And what will never be
consistent with it are egotistical and inhuman sentiments.  And better that
no one should go about trying to exalt the healthy faith and honest
devotion of our people, because this attitude will never serve to conceal
the actions which go against Christian charity, which go against the human
feelings of man, because it is good to remember that when Christ sought men
to preach his doctrine, he did not seek our 12 Palestinian estate owners,
but 12 ignorant and humble fishermen.  And it is these, the humble men, the
men who have been victims of injustice and oblivion, of exploitation, and
who have had no opportunity to acquire an education, it is these humble and
poor men in our fatherland, like those 12 apostles, whom the revolution
aids.  The combatants in the rebel army were also humble men, and many of
them did not even know how to read or write, but it is they whom the
fatherland thanks for freeing it from that horrible nightmare which ended
on 1 January.

And this is pertinent, because we were speaking of the weapons of
the enemies of our revolution, of the supposed statements of a US Cardinal,
and we were explaining the weapons which the enemy has and that therefore
we must not have any illusions about the hazards the revolution must face,
about the weapons our enemy has, and therefore, it is necessary to be
naive, not to see it, not to understand the struggles we have ahead of us.

This is the connection between the fact that we are converting a
fortress into a school and these ideas we have been setting forth, because
we can do it, and the fact is that the revolution is placing its fate in
the hands of the people.

The revolution relies on the rebel army combatants who are
handling the special weapons and who are training the people, but the
defense of the revolution, the basic defense of the revolution, rests with
the people.  No government could train the peasants, must less give them
weapons, because then the dispossessed would have been done away with for
good, and those families living in the compounds would have ceased to
tolerate the tremendous injustice.  No government could give weapons to the
workers and no government could train or give weapons to the students.
What would have happened here if the students at some time in the past had
been trained, and had received weapons?

Thus, the explanation is simple:  we can make the fortresses into
schools because our defense is not based on the traditional concept of
defense divorced from the people, because we have an absolutely different
concept, because we believe that the government and the people should be
absolutely identified, because the government which is not identified with
the people has no reason to be a government, since governments exist or
should exist to serve the people and the government which does not serve
the people has no reason to exist.  And the revolutionary government will
exist while it is the expression of the legitimate will of the people.  The
revolutionary government does not need fortresses, the protection of
professional armies, but bases its defense on the support of the people and
the capacity of the people to fight in defense of the national sovereignty
and the revolution.

This, then, is the idea which should be stressed today, when for
the first time in our fatherland the students are marching armed through
the streets of Havana, and the first battalions of peasants have been
trained too. And we will continue with the training of the battalions of
workers, because the revolution is advancing with a firm step, and the
revolution knows what it is doing, as the people, too, should know the role
which they must play.

It is possible that in Cuba we will have to face times of
struggle; it is possible that our people will have to rise as a solid
bulwark of dignity, in the midst of the sea of slander and self-interested
campaigns being waged against Cuba.  However, this should not discourage
us.  We know why they are fighting us.  They are not fighting us because
we have done evil, but because have done good. Once plunder, crime, the
selling out of the nation, petty politics and vice were denounced from this
university tribune.  Today, these thugs have disappeared from our
fatherland, and what the nation demanded is now a reality.  Why is battle
being waged then against the revolution which does not plunder?  Why is
battle being waged against the revolution which does not sell the
fatherland out to foreign interests?  Why is battle being waged against the
revolution which has been so humane, so tolerant, so respectfully of
others, a revolution which has governed for eleven months, in the midst of
a stage of disruption like all of those which follow periods of political
and institutional crises in nations, with an impoverished and
underdeveloped economy, confronted with myriads of detractors, powerful
opposing interests, bold counterrevolutionary campaigns?

It has not attacked anyone, it has not committed a single act of
violence against anyone, it has been respectful and has even allowed gross
attacks upon it which we would like to have seen voiced by these hypocrites
when the criminals and those who sold out the nation were governing the
fatherland.  Why is battle being waged against a revolution which is
establishing 10,000 schools? Why is battle being waged against a revolution
which is transforming the hateful barracks into school cities? Why is
battle being waged against the revolution which has done away with vice,
with graft, with all immoralities of an administrative nature, which has
recovered from the fatherland the lands which were in foreign hands, which
is recovering the nations part in the mining centers, which is promoting
the defense of the interests of the people against the trusts and
extortionist monopolies, which is building roads to the most distant
corners of Cuba and which is rescuing the peasantry from the misery in
which it has lived to date? Why is battle being waged against the
revolution except because of the good it has done to date, because of what
it has done to the benefit of the people? Why does it have enemies within
and without, except because of what it has done in defense of the people
and the country?

Battle is being waged against us for the good we have done the
fatherland and with a fury with which they never fought nor condemned those
who perpetrated or permitted all the outrages against the people of Cuba
and against Cuba.  Why, then, should we not be discouraged by these
obstacles?  Because the people answer, because the people understand,
because the people understand very clearly.

And today we have had a more than encouraging proof, today we have
had an opportunity to witness one of the largest and most impassioned
crowds we have ever seen to date -- more than a kilometer of people along a
broad avenue, men packed into a crowd which seemed to lose itself in
infinity.  Support so solid, so decided and so extraordinary that for us,
those of us who are living through this experience, this experience can
never be forgotten, no matter how acute the perspicacity of any of the
revolutions, we can never forget that we are experiencing a singular and
unique moment which must logically awaken our curiosity and draw our
attention to these political and social phenomena.

Since for us a crowed applauding us is not by any means a reason
for vainglory or personal satisfaction, as we observe the reactions of the
people, because the people are our army, the people are our force, and we
are confronted with a series of interests which have influence, we are
struggling with a substantial part of the press which is entirely sold out
to a campaign of confusionism and sabotage of the revolution, it is logical
that while we observe these unique maneuvers, while we observe people who
have not by any means been characterized by the belief or faith, who have
never been in a church and who, in certain places in the interior, as
everyone knows, have devoted special energy to evidencing political
intentions, while we observe these unusual things, it is natural that we
should be interested in the reactions of the people.

There are few with better reason then we to believe in the people,
because we believe in the people when very few did, when this people was
important, but we nonetheless believed that it could find strength in
itself to liberate itself.  There are few with more faith in the people
than we, and few who are more interested in understanding the people and in
examining the virtues and the characteristics of our people, because our
people are the reason for the existence of our revolution, and our
revolution will advance to the extent that the people advance, and the
ceremony today called my attention sharply to the characteristics if this
multitude, the strength of this multitude, the extraordinary large
proportion of people gathered together, in terms of the total number of
inhabitants in the province, and it led us to meditate on the fact that at
no earlier time have we seen a similar spectacle, as it was possible that
the revolution should have somewhat fewer supporters, and it was logical,
because at the beginning it seemed unanimous.  Certainly, within this
unanimity it was necessary to realize that there were those hoping that
this would not be a true revolution, but rather a sham revolution.  But in
view of the fact that there are some few against the revolution, the
militant and combat spirit of the majority who are with the revolution is
truly incredible.

And we try to explain to ourselves the reason for this fact, how
it was possible that at the end of eleven months the faith of the people
was more profound and more impassioned, when one could expect with the
exercise of power the natural tedium which beings to affect people, once
the moments of extraordinary emotion and agitated life are passed.  How,
nonetheless, could it be the reverse.  How, the more vigorous the
counterrevolutionary campaign, the bolder, more insolent and daring the
acts of the counterrevolution become, to the extent that the identification
between the national reactionaries, the interests affected by the
revolutionary laws and the moral reform measures of the government, the
more obvious the identification between these reactionaries and the war of
criminals, the international press attacking us, the Trujillo-type gangs
and all the gangsters teeming on this continent became, how as this
identification became more obvious could the support of the people become
stronger and more obvious?

How had the support of the people become more obvious and
stronger?  We tried to provide ourselves with an explanation and we found
it in the belief that the people have understood, that the people have
clearly seen that we are on their side, that the people have seen that the
revolution has risen above problems simply because the revolution has been
honest, the revolution has been just, the revolution has been brave. The
people have seen this, and our people are capable of understanding. One
does not act in vain in acting honestly and justly, in serving the people,
in issuing revolutionary laws in favor of the people, because it is a
certain fact, it is a fact incredibly evident that the people do not fail,
the people respond.

I do not know if it would work to the good of Cuba and in favor of
its interests if some of these intriguers of whom there are so many in the
capital were to make a little trip into the interior of the republic, and
were to visit, for example, one of the hundreds of cooperatives we have
organized, or the Zapata Swamp, or these distance settlements of fishermen
or charcoal makers, where government aid was never even thought of.  I do
not know if it would be good, or rather, I believe that it would be, for
them and for their interests, if some of those who are deluded were to
visit the interior of the republic, where the people have received full
benefits, but where there are not telephones, so that the people do not
hear the summonses of these hateful people who have never in their lives
worked but have servants to whom they pay a pittance -- because these are
miserable people, to whom they pay a pittance to iron, to wash, to cook, to
care for their children for them, so that they can devote themselves to
hatred and to all the negative consequences which derive from hatred
because it is the cause of many of the capital sins and, among other
things, of the fact that some people have time for plotting and talking and
practicing this entire art which privileges have enabled them to learn, in
order to work against the revolution which endangers their interests and
their privileges.  It would be good for them to visit these places where
neither their lies, nor deceits nor petty intrigues reach, where they do
not read the three or four foolish sheets written here to deceive still
further those who wish to deceive themselves and to please certain people
who, closing their eyes to the facts, are happy to deceive themselves,
believing that what is happening is what they believed is happening or wish
would happen, believing that their concerns are the concerns of others,
because certainly it is here in the capital -- and why should we be
hypocritical -- that the deceit is most prevalent, and where the people are
most the victims of these sectors of intrigue and petty lies, which are so
eager, although naive, that they make capital, for example, of the report
in some periodical to the effect that the Prime Minister, unlike his usual
custom, raced at full speed up I don't know what street and back down I
don't know what other.  This was just one lie more, because this never
happened, unless it involved someone else's automobile.

And after all, if it is true that the people of our capital are
better educated, better informed and more literate, it is also true that
the capital has become the refuge of large numbers of individuals of all
kinds, including rogues, ruffians, politicians, thugs, grafters,
speculators, dealers and rascals of all kinds.  In particular, our capital
is the center for those with great privileges, those who have a large
estate, a big business somewhere else, and a "little place" in one of the
"poor" aristocratic quarters, where no government "ever" put a street or
planted a flower, where no government "ever" paved a street, that is to
say, these poor people who had done so much "work," and now this government
comes to abuse them and embitter their lives.  As if, after all, we had
done anything to emitter the life of anyone.  Would that the problems of
our fatherland could be resolved without offending anyone, would that it
could be, but this is not the case, because the facts demand something
else.  The fact is that in our fatherland, as among all peoples who have
tried to correct human injustices, many privileges must suffer when these
injustices are corrected.

But it is certain that the largest number of displaced
bureaucrats, former politicians, have come to rest in our capital, and, in
a word, there is the greatest possible circulation of counterrevolutionary
organs, that is to say, certain periodicals which are published legally and
which wage openly counterrevolutionary campaigns, because they are not
clandestine organs.  What is curious is to hear them say that and speak as
if in fact there were no freedom of expression, as if anyone of these
gentlemen had ever been hauled to a police station.  Thus, anyone reading
them would think they were heroes, when in fact they are simply impudent.
And do you know why?  Because it is very easy to wage counterrevolutionary
campaigns.  As we have said, when our patience was exhausted, we sought
more patience, and we are seeking all the patience in the world.

I know that the people are complaining, and that they are saying:
to the firing wall!  The rural people are gathering and sharpening their
machetes and brandishing them.  I know that the people want steps taken
against these gentlemen, and if there is something for which we can be
reproached, it is that the enemies of the revolution are writing, working
and planning as they please, and if there is something for which the
government can be reproached it is simply having had patience, and
continuing to be patient, as it will continue to be patient.  There is
no problem.

Naturally, this is a great responsibility for us, because it is a
question of estimating to what point they can do damage, and at what point,
they begin truly to do harm on the domestic front of the nation with their
constant and contumacious campaigns.  For us it is a true responsibility to
estimate and estimate again what damage they can do to the revolution.  But
what is certain is that we will make every effort to win the battle, even
in the midst of the licentiousness they have tried to establish.

In other words, the situation is convenient for them.  Nothing is
done because they combat the revolution.  For example, nothing has happened
to "Petinillo" because of these editorials he writes against the
revolution.  He writes them as a hero, at the Yacht Club or one of the
others, and there they stand and applaud him as a hero, even as a hero.
There his own kind applaud him as if it were an accomplishment to write an
insolent and slanderous tract, because of which nothing happens to him, he
suffers nothing.  Because I want you to think of the comfortable position
of these gentlemen, who write as much as they want and wage their campaign
against the revolution with impunity.  Everyone here knows what would
happen if the revolution were crushed.  Everyone knows what would happen to
the students, to the student militia, for example, everyone knows what
would happen to the ministers, to all the revolutionaries, to all the
workers and the leaders and peasant leaders.  Everyone know what would
happen to the people.

This means that if the other times there were 20,000 deaths, this
time ... this means that it is obvious that the revolution, the men of the
revolution, are risking their lives, and if the revolution were one day
crushed by a combine of domestic and international interests, with the use
of foreign forces against the country, everyone knows what would happen to
the revolutionaries, as everyone knows that all of these gentlemen who are
attacking us would be placed on the level of heroes by the
counterrevolutionaries.  This means that for us it is a life or death
battle, but for the "pepinillos" it is not a life or death matter, but a
question of applause at the Yacht Club while they combat the revolution, on
the one hand, or medals from the counterrevolutionaries if the revolution
were overthrown.  This is a convenient situation for the "heroes," to whom
nothing happens because of what they write.  Nonetheless, it should be
noted that the war criminals are not longer sending the little publications
from Miami they did before.  Now they are sending pages reproduced from
some periodicals here which are openly waging a counterrevolutionary
campaign, but are not being molested for writing libel.  Now they have the
Mariana and other periodicals being written here.  I can tell you that when
their time comes, I will not be very sorry.  What is of interest is the
miracle, not the saint.  That is, what is of interest is that the people
understand the game which is being played.

It is obvious that we, to free ourselves from this, have two
choices:  the old one, bribery, in which we will never engage, we will not
purchase mercenary pens to defend us.  The other would be shutting them up,
and yet everyone knows, everyone understands the effort that the revolution
is making to win the battle despite this libertine press.  This means that
we daily accept the challenge of the lie, as we daily accept the challenge
of intrigue.  But it is obvious that their main effort is designed to make
us close them down, because this is what they want, so that they can go
then and weep, not as Egyptian mourners, but as magdalens, so that they can
go abroad to say that that they can go to foreign senates, to
organizations of international deceivers, beating their breasts and tearing
out their hair, cursing our revolution, which if it should be reproached
for anything should be reproached for its generosity, because it would have
been worthwhile to seek out the periodical Avance, Marina, and others,
particularly it would have been worthwhile in those sad days when the
people were suffering daily blows, in those horrible days when the nation
was being systematically robbed and every abuse was being committed against
the people, to see if they were as they are today, now that they publish
four out of four articles against the revolution. And they continue this
policy, always presenting news as it suites them, always distorting it,
always trying to do damage, as if they had a right, as if they had a right
to do damage to the fatherland, in its moment of struggle, and at a time
when it is confronting every kind of external enemy.

This is the task to which they devote themselves, and it is good
that the people should understand it, as it would be good for them to
understand, too, that they are in error, that they are proceeding
erroneously, that their confusionist campaigns attempting to attach certain
labels to us can only lead to plunging the country into convulsions, a
situation in which those who would suffer most would certainly be those
privileged individuals who dare to oppose the people.

It would be good for them to visit the republic to rid themselves
of this poison, because they give the impression of being intoxicated by
their own brew.  They are cooking in their own lies and they are deceiving
themselves.  This was the reason for trying to prevent the people from
accepting the words of Raul, when he said that the people will not fall
alone, and that they should harbor no illusions.

Everyone knows, certainly, as I have said before, that these
gentlemen have been able to count on me to pacify the people, to have all
the patience we have had and will even continue to have.  I do not regret
begin patient.  It is our duty to be patient.  Thus, they have been lucky
to have me, for when all is said and done it is I who give them the best
advise, I who protect them, I am the protector of the reactionaries, I am
almost, almost in their corner, because after all, everyone knows, not
simply now but since the time we were at war, that I have always said to
the people that when the war was ended, no one would attack a house, no
one would call off a thug, because we are going to punish them in exemplary
fashion, and the people believed it.  Everyone knows that we have always
exhorted the people to act in orderly fashion.  Everyone knows that we even
exhorted the peasants, when they began to redistribute some estates, not to
do this, because this confusion would ruin production, and they must wait
until we could do this in orderly fashion.  Everyone knows that in my post
as Prime Minister and before the revolution came to power, I have always
urged the people to be calm and not to take justice into their own hands.

I do not regret this.  I believe that we did right.  I believe
further that the more generous we have been, the more patient we are, the
more right we have to take the steps which are not necessary when the
circumstances require.  The government leader who does not make use of his
authority and his resources to combat the enemies of the revolution is
preferable.  That is, the government leader who does not go to excesses,
even when the people demand severe measures, is preferable to the
government leader who goes to excesses when the people do not demand it.
We want to be the kind of government which does not favor the use of harsh
measures even when the people demand them.

That is to say, we prefer to sin by omission than to sin by
excess.  And I know that the people understand this feeling, because the
people know that men in our situation have to be very calm and very
balanced, because the greater the confidence the people have placed in us,
the greater the power and the force they have put in the hands of the
revolutionary government, the more measured and careful the government must
be in the use it makes of these powers.

This means that the people understand that the traitor merits
severe punishment, that the counterrevolutionary merits elimination, but
nonetheless, we, not out of sentimentality, because when the time comes to
shoot war criminals there is no sentimentality, but because I am a Cuban,
and my peculiarity is that of the Cuban and I have a function of highest
responsibility which I must exercise to satisfy all Cubans who know that we
are not partisans of excess and that we have all the calm and all of the
serenity the circumstances require, and no one should doubt that on the day
when the revolution requires the harshest measures, the day when the
defense of the revolution requires it, the day when the enemies of our
revolution make it necessary, the day when the enemies of our revolution
have carried their plans so far or have pushed things to the breaking
point, on that day the revolutionary government will apply the measures
which are necessary.

Let them think the people for the favors they receive, because it
is the people, with this clear awareness, the people, with this firmness of
conviction, the people with this full support of the revolution which is
sparing them from revolutionary measures, because measures are taken to do
away with evils, and in truth, the popular strength of the revolutionary
government is so tremendous, the support of the revolution is so solid, and
so little an impression has yet been made on the fortress of the revolution
that it can allow itself the luxury of hearing the worst attacks upon it
with a smile on its lips.

Let us prepare in case they attack us.  Let us train the rural
people, the workers, the students.  Let us have our weapons oiled and
ready, but not because we wish to use them.  As Raul has said, no one here
wants to use weapons, or planes or machine guns either, because in the
final analysis what we still need more than planes are guns for our
infantry, which is the best in the world. It would be difficult for us ever
to compete with others in planes, but in revolutionary and courageous men
we can compete with anyone. Thus we will purchase planes but above all, and
more than planes, we need guns, apart from those which we will take from
any enemy -- apart from these. Let us prepare in case they attack us, and
when they declare open war on us, when they attack us, when these gangs
come and whoever may come, then we will settle accounts, then we will
settle accounts with the invaders. To date, all they have done is make
plans. They go to trouble, and then nothing further happens, because they
know they have no problems [sic]. They are heroes like "Pepinillo."

And thus they are well aware that all we have shown of calm and
patience in the face of provocations will be a moral strength, if one day
it becomes necessary to settle accounts as a result of the conduct of these
gentlemen.  This means that the more patience we show -- if the revolution
is strong, if it is solid, if we have nothing to fear -- the more patience
we can have, the stronger our moral position will be when the time comes to
settle accounts, don't you think?  Why worry if we are strong?  Why worry
if we are invincible, as one citizen has said?  Obviously, they believe
what Raul says is true.  No!  It is because they wish to create a
reputation for Raul in a harsh and severe fashion, an evil reputation.
This is the part of the campaign to distort the nature and the sentiments,
the feelings of Raul.  Raul expresses himself as I do.  What is happening
is that Raul does not have my responsibilities, and thus, he is not obliged
to hold his tongue and he speaks as I do.  But they want to distort his
character, as they want to distort the character of Che Guevara and other
comrades, and they want to represent them other than as they are.  Here we
are all one, in nature and in our way of thinking.  What we have said is,
fine, the revolution, at each given moment, will implement the measures it
has to implement, and also, we have made it very clear, I am not concerned
about what they may do to me.  I sincerely say that I believe that anything
can happen to anyone here, to any number of us.  But I say that I am not
concerned, because I have already made this clear.  An attack, well, let
them come.  We are not going to worry about any of this.  But I am calm,
because I know that it does not matter if they kill one, or two.  Here we
have a long line of leaders, and we will use them one after the other.
What the people must do in such a case is to stand closely united, always
giving support.  What is important is for all to support the leader,
whoever he may be.

We have a long road ahead.  It is good to know that we have
reserves.  We have a long struggle ahead, and it is good to know that this
struggle does not depend on certain men, but on the people.  Thus, for your
reassurance and ours, all that matters is durability, not of men, but of
the revolutionary work we have undertaken.  The people are eternal, because
the people will endure.  Men come and go, but the people endure, and the
work will endure with the people.  Thus, all we are saying is that what
concerns us is what concerns the men who are axes or cornerstones, and the
revolution has many cornerstones.  Thus what I am saying is that we do not
have to fear, and that it is always better when a government sins by
omission rather than by excess, that it is always better when the people
are right, when people are generous, and when the people are noble, because
it is this which gives the people the right to be severe.  Let us see how
this revolution is different from other revolutions.  In other revolutions,
the people have applied their power harshly.  In other revolutions, many of
those who have openly waged their campaign against the people have been
shot or guillotined, as in the French revolution.  However, the people have
to know when harsh measures are required, because the interests of the
nation and the collective truly demand them, and when they are not
necessary, because it should not be a matter of men's passions.  We already
know what we think of all those who do harm to the people, all those who
want to destroy the revolution.  We believe that they should be destroyed,
that destruction is what they merit, but the revolution does not destroy
them because it believes they merit it, but because it is made necessary by
the damage they have done to the people.

Let the courts judge this gentleman, so that the Egyptian mourners
of whom Raul spoke will not pretend to be scandalized or claim that we have
persecuted him here, although I have taken care to state that the people
will express their opinion independent of the decision of the revolutionary
courts.  And you have heard the lies of the UPI and the AP to the effect
that he is being held incommunicado.  No, sir, everyone knows that we are
incapable of doing this to anyone, gentlemen, they are playing a game of
which they hope to make us victims, they are engaging in the maneuver of
making wolves appear to be lambs, but we will not give them a chance to
make victims of us, because we understand this game well and because we who
have suffered all kinds of humiliation in prison are incapable of
humiliating anyone or committing certain acts against anyone.

There is certainly here one of those corrupt shameless individuals
who receive open pay from the enemies of the revolution, who go so far as
to repeat what they say, that this gentlemen has been murdered.  We murder
no one, even there in the Province of Camaguey we took care not to allow
the people to get at him, simply to prevent them from taking justice into
their own hands.  The revolution, which can execute those whom it is
necessary to execute, the revolution, which the people have even asked to
execute him, what need could it have to assassinate anyone?  We have never
used this method.  And it is certain that he is guilty of the Camilo
affair, it is certain.  Because although it is impossible to analyze the
designs of man, it is obvious that there is a direct relation between the
events in Camaguey, the betrayal in Camaguey, and the loss of Comrade
Camilo Cienfuegos.  In his desire to attend to all his obligations, in his
haste to get from one place to another, he undertook to travel at night
under those circumstances.  It was not the first time he had undertaken
bold acts such as this, but the time had to come when he could not do so
without the sad consequences which occurred.

And it is certain, too, that the extraordinary courage of Comrade
Camilo could never be measured or compared with the moral abjectness of a
simple traitor.

Thus what I am explaining to the people is the reason for the way
in which the revolutionary government is proceeding, that is, we are
warning the people, we are informing the people, we want to awaken the
awareness of the people of the dangers which are threatening us, of the
tactics we must pursue, so that the people will understand all this.  We
are more concerned with the awareness of the people than anything else,
because it depends on the degree to which we succeed in awakening this
awareness how safe or threatened the revolution will be.  To the extent
that the revolution creates awareness in the mind of each citizen, the
revolution will be stronger and more invincible.

We have no reason to be skeptical, to complain of the degree of
the understanding of the people, because certainly this understanding has
been greater than the most optimistic hopes, and this order which the
people have maintained here at all times, this control, this calm, this
awareness -- this is what makes us feel so proud of the Cuban people, what
creates in us such admiration for the Cuban people, because this is a
people acting in unison with a single thought, a single attitude, a sole
line of conduct, the same from one end of the island to the other.  This
makes us feel confident, this makes us feel certain of the fate of the

Our duty is to develop awareness.  The more awareness we create in
our compatriots, the stronger the revolution will be and the less we will
need to undertake drastic measures, because intrigue is valuable to the
extent that it creates confusion.  Counterrevolutionary campaigns matter to
the extent that they confuse and disorient, and the greater the awareness
of the people is, the less a lie is worth.  What do the lies written matter
if the people pay no attention to them, if the people do not even read
them?  What is the ink they use worth if the people do not look at it?  It
is therefore sad that they spend so much on paper.  It would be much better
if all this paper were used for printing millions of copies of the best
works of literature and universal thought, and if our people, instead of
these piles of slanderous reports which accumulate, could collect books,
which have been so expensive to date, because it is a shame that in a
country in which periodicals have been sold so easily, books from people,
on the other hand, have been so expensive and so difficult to get. It is a
shame that our students, our young people and our citizens, have no way of
getting books which will open the horizons of thinking and intelligence to
them, and contribute to man this intellectual wealth which mankind, which
human thought, has been producing for centuries. It is sad that paper,
which must be paid for in foreign currency, is wasted on
counterrevolutionary campaigns. And certainly it would be much more useful
to devote this paper to printing books, and for the work of these laborers
to be devoted to printing books.

This is certain, analyzed in the light of reason it is certain,
but we must not only analyze these problems in the light of reason but in
the light of historical processes.  They must be analyzed in the light of
the development of human thinking and the social and political organization
of the people.

It is understood that we are waging a battle against these evils,
that we want to promote a revolution, one of the few or perhaps the only
one in the world which has moved forward with its revolutionary laws,
maintaining the right of the privileged to wave the weapons of protest and
attack on the revolution itself, because if when all is said and done our
people win the battle, and our people will win the battle in one way or
another, but if we win it, if we win it without allowing ourselves to be
provoked, if we win it by acquiring awareness, if we win it by ensuring
that our creative work overrides the adverse effects of the
counterrevolutionary campaigns, the better and the more solid the
satisfaction of our people will be.

We are not doing this because they say this or that abroad,
because we know that they are going to say the worst things in every way,
they are going to say the worst things, but it is really because of our
peculiarities, the infinite magnanimity and generosity of our people,
because of the nature of our people, which we are trying to interpret, this
is why we must bear the consequences of some things which even appear to us
irrational, and also, because we have time ahead of us to observe and to
draw conclusions.

What after all we believe is that the revolution does not need to
resort to drastic measures because it is strong.  The legal provisions have
already been made, the revolutionary courts we have here have been created,
and the measures calling for the capital penalty for certain
counterrevolutionary actions have been established.  Finally, we are going
to issue another law, we are going simply to prepare the measures which the
circumstances at a given moment may require.  We are going to issue a law
authorizing the confiscation of all of the property of those convicted of
counterrevolutionary crimes.  We are going to see if this will alter the
appetite for conspiracy of some gentlemen here, we are going to see if the
idea that they might lose the 30 caballerias they still have might calm
them, because they can be certain that they will lose what matters most to
them, that is to say, money, material things, if they persist in this game
of conspiracy.

Thus, the revolution is taking the steps necessary to pacify, or
rather than pacify we should say to calm the ardor of the
counterrevolutionaries, little by little, without concerning ourselves,
because the revolution is strong and has ahead of it all the time necessary
for observing and analyzing, and even for tolerating such evils such as
this expenditure of exchange.  However, it is simply that our people still
have much to do, much to learn along the way, and we will never impose
things which do not come from the conscience of the people, and for this
reason, all that the revolution is doing must be a reality first in
the minds of the people.  This is our principle, that all that the
revolution accomplishes must be a reality first in the awareness of the
people, and this is truly democratic, since this is a revolution of the
majority.  And this is why it is a democratic revolution, not because
"Periquito de los Palotes" can buy more votes than his neighbor, not
because the members of this little party have more money than the members
of that little party, and can buy more political supporters -- only the
impudent call this democracy. We call democracy what is truly democracy --
a majority revolution and a revolution in which everything which is done is
not imposed but is first made a reality in the minds of the citizens, and
when it is a reality there, it becomes law, becomes a revolutionary
measure, and the majority of the people support it.

For this reason, this is a truly democratic revolution, and not
that infamous lie which is what they want to establish here again.  If the
day were to come when even the people wanted to reestablish it, because it
would suffice for it to be a reality in the minds of the people, this would
mean that we have not been able to awaken in the people an awareness of the
higher truths, because we as a part of mankind must set ourselves the
problem of seeking better solutions, more intelligent and more just
solutions, to the tremendous political and social problems of man.  This
means that we must break with the lies of the past, because they were
nothing but shameful, bold lies, just as a great part of what was written
here was lies, because they were purchased words, because they were paid
writings and because freedom of the press was confused here with the right
to sell one's self to the highest bidder.  There were, of course,
exceptions, naturally there were exceptions among the periodicals and the
honest writers which have always been in Cuba.  There were, of course,
exceptions, and it is not fair to generalize, but nonetheless, this was

For the time being, the people must be clearly aware that the war
against the ruffians ended on 1 January, but that was when the war against
the established interests and the privileged began, and this war is the
more difficult.  The tyranny fell, but the interest and the privileges of
which that tyranny was made use remained intact.

For this reason, after the military victory, the difficult war
began, the long and quiet struggle between the revolution and the
privileged, between the revolution and the great interests.  You who are
gathered together in such large numbers know, as the people of Camaguey
know today, that we are waging a battle against the interests and a battle
against the privileged, and that this is a hard struggle for which we must
be prepared.  You know that the revolution can again take on the aspect of
the armed struggle.  Yes.  It is possible that at any moment the people of
Cuba will have to fight again.  Would that it were not so, but we must
realize it is possible.  Then, the revolution will again take the form of
an armed struggle, and again, after each armed struggle it will return to
the form of struggle against private interests and privileges.

The ignorant and those who did not want to understand what the
revolution meant believed that it was designed to take from some to give to
others.  They believed that it was the same old game, the mercury-chromium
treatment for the cancer of the social evils of the republic, but they
found that it was the true surgical treatment that he revolution was
applying.  These gentlemen cannot understand the revolution, they are not
capable of understanding it.  They seek allies abroad, they even seek them
abroad to attack the interests of the fatherland, and in opposition to a
revolution which has done nothing but defend what is Cuban, the interests
of the nation, they bring in the interests of the foreignizers, of the
defenders of the foreign monopolies, the foreign companies, the foreign
trusts and the foreign slogans, the foreignizers come, promoting all the
measures of bringing what is foreign to the fatherland, of promoting
foreign interests, the foreign press, foreign news monopoly campaigns,
against the revolution. For this reason, the revolution can at any time
resume the form of armed struggle, and again the form of struggle against
interests and privileges. You must not forget that the privileged had in
their power not only a substantial proportion of the press, not only money,
not only powerful international allies, but also the ideas that they have
sown, they have control of the lies they have planted. And they make use of
these ideas and these lies, because for many years they have been planting
them, because these have been their means and their tools, along with the
professional armies, for keeping the peoples ignorant of the truth,
deceived by lies, misinformed and submissive.

These are the things the people must know, and they must know
their significance, because each Cuban man and woman must know that where
the revolution must be strong, is not only in sympathy, not only in
feeling, but above all, in the awareness of each Cuban citizen.