Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Source:  Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Foreign Relations,
Havana, pp 5-54

Distinguished visitors from Latin America and all the world who
are here with us today; workers, peasants, students, militiamen of the
fatherland, professional workers, juvenile patrol members, Cubans all:

On other occasions we have met in grandiose gatherings, sometimes
to defend our fatherland against slander, and on other occasions to
commemorate some patriotic anniversary.  On still others, we have protested
certain attacks, but at no prior time have the people gathered in greater
numbers nor in a ceremony as significant as that today, when we are
commemorating International Workers' Day, and therefore, the day of the
Cuban workers.  But it is also the day of the Cuban peasants, the day of
all those who produce, the day of the humble among our people, the day not
only of those who work with their hands or their minds, producing goods and
services for the country, but also the day of those on whose shoulders
rests the defense of the country and of the revolution in this decisive
hour for our fatherland.

It is also the day of the rebel soldier, of the heroic combatants
in the revolutionary army, and it is also the day of all the members of the
revolutionary armed forces, the day of the revolutionary militiamen,
because the soldiers of the rebel army are peasants and workers, too.  For
this reason, today is the day of all the revolutionaries, all of the united
revolutionaries, because upon them depends and will always depend the
success and the strength of our revolution.

Today it has been demonstrated not only that the great majority of
the people stands with the revolution, in case there were any doubts in the
minds of some naive individuals who see fit to deceive themselves or to let
themselves be deceived, but also something more important still:  the great
majority of the people are organized, because it is an organized people
which have gathered today.  For this reason, we are stronger this year than
last, because the revolution not only has the support of the majority, but
it has organized that majority.  And this fact to which all of us have been
witnesses today, this truly impressive and unforgettable event, is a proof
of what the people of Cuba are capable of.

Only a few months ago there was not a single organized worker or
peasant militia.  The appeal for the organization of the militia was issued
in the month of October, on 26 October, to be precise, in connection with
that protest gathering against the air attack which cost our citizenry more
than 40 victims.  Six months ago we did not have a single workers' militia.
Six months ago the workers did not know how to handle weapons.  Six months
ago the workers did not know how to march.  Six months ago we did not have
a single company of militiamen to defend the revolution in the event of
attack.  And in only six months we have organized the militia, we have
trained and instructed them.

Our people were not nor are they militaristic.  Our people have
never been and never will be a militaristic people.  In our fatherland
there was no military tradition.  Cuba was not Prussia.  Cuba is an
eminently peaceful and civilian country.  In Cuba we detested marching,
uniforms and weapons, because for us we were always the symbols of
oppression and abuse, symbols of privilege, symbols of outrate.  The
weapons and the uniforms had been hateful to us, and nonetheless, in six
months we have organized and trained more than a thousand worker, student
and peasant militia companies.  In only six months we have established this
formidable structure which is parading today!  And this shows what the
people of Cuba are capable of.

Those who underestimated our people believed that we were a people
incapable of organizing ourselves.  They believed that we were incapable of
uniting.  Those who underestimated us believed, and they now believe the
same of the other brotherly peoples in Latin America, that we were impotent
and easy to deceive.  They believed that we would be victims of lack of
unity, lack of preparation, inability to organize ourselves.  They believed
we would be incapable of defending ourselves, and we do not doubt that they
even regarded us as a cowardly people, and therefore, incapable of
defending ourselves.

What has been done, however, proves exactly the contrary.  What
has been done in so short a time shows the extraordinary virtues of our
people and shows what our people are capable of.

What is it, then, that today each citizen who has within him
feeling for his fatherland, each citizen who has had enough human
sensitivity, enough moral sensitivity, and enough dignity to feel and to
know what a sense of justice and a sense of love of his land and his people
is wants to belong to the militia today, wants to know how to handle
weapons today, and has learned to do those things which he had never done,
and to be organized in a way in which we were never organized before?  What
is it which has led our people to establish a militia?  What is it that has
led the workers, the students, the peasants, the doctors, the women as well
as the men, to organize a militia and learn to handle weapons?  What is it
that has made us into a spartan people?  What is the worker doing when he
finishes march at night, to march in the rain, or when he sacrifices his
weekly day of rest to learn to handle weapons?  How does it happen that
this sacrifice is not made just once, but on many days, and constantly over
a period of many months?  What is the reason for this feverish effort on
the part of the Cubans?  It is due simply to a reality: the real fact that
the fatherland is in danger, that the fatherland is threatened, that,
although this certainly should not discourage anyone, we must defend
ourselves.  And here we are not lying or exaggerating.  We have never lied
to the people, and what in particular we will never do is to keep the real
facts from the people.

We have had to learn many things.  We have all, without exception,
had to learn many things, and today, for example, as the organized units of
the people go and come in inexhaustible numbers, marching for seven
consecutive hours, when we have had an opportunity to see the tremendous
strength of the people, when we have had an opportunity to see the
incomparable, invincible strength of the people, we ask:  but is this
people today the same as the people of yesterday?  How is it possible that
a people which had within it such tremendous and extraordinary strength had
to tolerate what our people had to tolerate?  How is it possible, with the
tremendous strength of the hundreds of thousands of Cuban peasants, and the
tremendous strength of more than a million workers, and the tremendous
strength of hundreds of thousands of young people, like these we see
parading in the patrol and student militia ranks today?  How is it
possible, if we were the same men and women yesterday?

If these same compatriots who are parading here are the same as
those who made up our people only a few years ago, how is it possible,
then, that they had to suffer such a number of abuses?  How was it possible
that so many hundreds of thousands of families in our rural sector were
hungry, without land, exploited, victims of the most cruel exploitation by
foreign companies, the masters of our lands, where they were in total
command, who perhaps never saved a single seed in our soil, and who in the
majority of cases had never ever seen our land?

If we were so strong within ourselves, if there was such strength
within our people, how was such abuse of our workers, such exploitation,
possible?  How was such abuse of our people, such plundering, such robbery,
such a sacking of our people possible?  If we had so much strength, how was
so much crime possible?  How was it possible that a handful of men, a gang
of mercenaries or a band of politicians could maintain and direct the
destiny of the country as they wished for half a century, while our people
had to pay such a high, such a very high price, to understand which fully
we would have to see gathered in a single plaza, many times larger than
this one, the millions of Cubans who were not able to learn to read or
write in our fatherland, the hundreds of thousands of children who died
without ever seeing a doctor, the sea of suffering and agony, of hunger and
misery, of abuse and humiliation which the children of this land had to
suffer because they were poor, or illiterate, or Negro, or women?

Yes, within our people there was extraordinary energy and
strength, but we did not know this, or we would not have failed to rally
them and organize them.  And for this reason, the privileged and educated
minorities could do more, with the aid of foreign interests, than our
people could have done with the tremendous strength which lay within them.

And this has been the great lesson of today, because never have we
Cubans had an opportunity to see our own strength as we have today.  Never
has the Cuban people been able to make an exact assessment of its own
strength as it can today.  And it took this interminable river of columns
marching past for seven hours to give our people a concrete idea of their
own strength.  And this great lesson should be an unforgettable one for us.
First, the children and the young people marched past, leading the parade.
Then came the soldiers of the rebel army, and then the peasant militia
units.  Then, with the standards of their respective peoples, came the
militias of Latin America, then the student militia and finally, the
workers' militia, led by the women and followed by the men.  And behind or
around the militia units were the people.  What a formidable lesson!  It is
thus that the people have learned of their strength and it is thus that the
people are learning of what their strength consists.

The soldiers parading alone here today represent a force, but a
single one.  The peasants alone represent a force, but only one.  The
students alone are a force, but only one force.  The workers alone are a
force, but only one.  The peoples of Latin America represented here today
represent a force, but each one of them alone is a single force.  In the
past, the tactic of those who ruled our destinies was to separate and
oppose our forces.  They set the soldier against the peasant, the interests
of the peasants against those of the workers, and the people against
themselves, the peoples of America against each other.  This was the
international strategy of the great reactionary interests of the world.
They set the brotherly peoples one against the other and the sectors of the
people one against the other, in order to serve the sector of the
privileged.  They even set the humble sectors against each other.  They
made a soldier of the peasant, they made a soldier of him and then they
corrupted the soldier and made him an enemy of the worker and the peasant,
and they weakened the people with the tactic of setting some humble sectors
against other humble sectors.  They divided the people into political
parties which had no message for the nation.  They divided the people, the
ignorant and deceived people, they divided them into sympathizers of
various unscrupulous and ambitious politicians.  And thus they weakened the
people, thus they confused the people, and thus the state apparatus, with
its rigid and reactionary institutions, destroyed every hope and every
possibility of progress for our society.  The tools for diffusing ideas --
the films, the majority of the press, the teaching centers and the entire
state administrative apparatus -- were in the service of this policy of
subjection and weakening of the people.

This was what happened in the past.  What was a [Unreadable text]
parade in the old days?  Today the workers have not presented a single
demand, and yet in the past it was only on 1 May that the workers could
carry a whole series of placards on their shoulders.  And this is what 1
May was then, an opportunity for the workers to parade, carrying placards,
with some hope of achieving satisfaction for some of their demands.  And
thus, when all was said and done, those 1 May holidays were a joke on the
workers, who had to come back again another year, carrying the same
placards with the same demands.  And when they obtained satisfaction, it
was not that it was graciously granted, but because they won it in hand to
hand struggle, through strikes and organized movements in support of
economic demands.  The worker knew that he had to fight, the worker had to
be engaged in perennial struggle to obtain the slightest advantage of an
economic nature, to win respect for his most basic rights.  And for this
reason he had to march on 1 May to make his demands known.  What else could
he do?  The worker knew that what he could not do for himself, no one would
do for him.  The worker knew that if he did not work for himself, no one
would work for him.  Because you, workers and peasants, you always worked
for the others!  You worked for yourselves and for the others!  You workers
and peasants, you doctors or intellectual workers of all kinds, you worked
for yourselves ad for the others, but no one ever worked for you, workers,
and no one ever worked for you, peasants.  You gave everything, your sweat,
your generous energy, your lives, often your hours of sleep, you gave for
all, but no one gave you anything!  You were the majority of the people,
peasants and workers and young people, you were the majority of the people!
You who produced, who sacrificed, who worked, were always, are now and will
be tomorrow the majority of the people!

But you did not govern.  You were the majority but others governed
for you and against you!

They invented a democracy for you, a strange and curious democracy
in which you, the majority, counted for nothing, in which you, the peasants
and workers, the producers of the major part of the wealth, and along with
the intellectual workers, the producers of all the wealth, you who produced
everything did not even have a chance to learn, in many cases, even how to
sign your name.

They invented a strange democracy for you, a curious democracy in
which you, the majority, did not even exist politically within society.
They spoke to you of the rights of the citizens, but this right allowed
your child to die of hunger under the indolent glance of the government,
prevented your child from even learning the alphabet, allowed you yourself
to seal your labor at the price they chose to pay for it, if anyone was
interested in buying it from you.

They spoke to you of rights which never existed for you.  Your
children did not even have the right to a school.  Your children did not
even have the right to a doctor.  Your children did not even have the right
to a piece of bread.  And you, yourselves, did not even have the right to

They invented a democracy for you in which you, the majority,
counted for nothing.  And this despite your tremendous strength, your
sacrifice, the fact that you worked for the others within this national
life.  You, although you were the majority, neither governed nor counted
for anything.

And they call this democracy!  In a democracy, the majority
governs.  In a democracy, the majority counts.  In a democracy, the
interests of the majority are safeguarded.  In a democracy, man is
guaranteed not only the right to think freely, but also the right to know
how to think, the right to know how to write what he thinks, the right to
know how to read what is being thought or what others think.  He has the
right to bread, to work, to culture and to count for something in society.
Democracy, therefore, is what we have, this democracy of the Cuban

In a democracy you, the peasant, receive the land we have
recovered from the hands of the foreign usurers who exploited it!  In a
democracy, you, the sugar grower, receive 80,000 caballarias of land so
that you will not have to live in a compound!  In a democracy, you, the
worker, are assured the right to work without being thrown into the street
to suffer hunger!  In a democracy, you, the poor students, have the
opportunity to obtain a university degree if you are intelligent, even if
you are not rich!  In a democracy, you, the son of the worker, or the
peasant or of any humble family have a teacher and a school in which to
obtain an education!  In a democracy you, the old person, have your support
guaranteed when you can no longer earn your living by your own effort!  In
a democracy, you, the Cuban Negro, have a right to work, and no one can
push you out because of a stupid prejudice!  In a democracy, you, woman,
have full equality with all other citizens and the right even to take up
arms to defend your fatherland along with the men!  A democracy exists when
a government converts fortresses into schools, when it wants to build a
house for each family so that each family will have a roof!  Democracy
exists when a doctor is sought to attend each sick person!  A democracy
exists when peasants are not recruited to make them soldiers, to corrupt
them and to make them into enemies of the worker or their own peasant
brothers, but soldiers, not to defend the privileged, but to defend the
rights of their brothers, the peasants and the workers!  A democracy exists
when the people are not divided into humble sectors to be set one against
the others!  A democracy exists when the government seeks out the strength
of the people and unites them!  A democracy exists when the people are made
strong by uniting them!  A democracy exists when guns are given to the
peasants, and to the workers, and to the students, and to the women, and to
the Negroes, and to the poor -- to each citizen who is prepared to defend a
just cause!  A democracy exists when not only do the rights of the majority
count, but when they are given weapons as well!  And this can only be done
by a truly democratic government, wherein the majority governs!

And this could never be done by a pseudo-democracy.  We would like
to know what would happen if the Negroes in the southern part of the United
States, who have so many times been lynched, were each given a gun!  What
could never be done by an exploiting oligarchy, what never could be done by
a military camp representing those who oppress and plunder the peoples,
what could never be done by a minority government is to give each worker,
each student, each young person, each humble citizen, each of those who
make up the majority of the people a gun.

And this does not mean that the rights of the others do not count.
The rights of the others count to the same extent as those of the majority,
they have the same importance as the rights of the majority, but the rights
of the majority must prevail over the privileges of the minorities.

And this real democracy, this unchallengeable democracy, this
sincere and honest democracy is the democracy which has existed in our
country since 1 January 1959.  This democracy has been expressed in this
way, has been expressed directly, in the close union and identification of
the government with the people, in this direct relation, in these deeds and
battles for the good of the vast majority in the country and in the
interests of the great majority in the country.  We have exercised this
direct democracy with greater purity, a thousand times greater purity, than
that false democracy which makes use of every means of corruption and fraud
to falsify the true will of the people.

And this democracy has prevailed today in this direct form because
we are in the midst of a revolutionary process.  And tomorrow it will be as
the people wish, tomorrow it will be as the needs of our people and the
aspirations of our people and the interests of our people demand.  Today
there is direct relation between the people and the government.  When the
revolutionary process has advanced sufficiently, and the people understand,
and the revolutionary government and the people will always understand each
other, that we must advance to new methods, once the main tasks and goals
of the revolution, among which the defense of the revolution and the
defense of the people have priority today, then the people and the
government will adopt the procedures which the circumstances of a
consolidated and triumphant revolution demand of you and of us.

Here no one is in public office out of ambition or for pleasure.
Here we are all exclusively fulfilling our duty.  Here we are all in the
same position and equally ready for sacrifice.  Here all of us are equally
prepared for work.  Here all of us have a single goal, which is to serve a

Our enemies, our detractors, are calling for elections.  Even a
Latin American government leader stated recently that only those
governments which are the product of an electoral process should be
accepted into the OAS, as if a true revolution, like that in Cuba, could
come to power without the people, as if a true revolution, like that in
Cuba, could come to power against the will of the people, as if the only
democratic way of gaining power were through the electoral process, which
has so often been prostituted in order to falsify the will and the
interests of the people, and to bring to power those who were often the
most inapt and the most cunning, not the most competent and the most

As if, after so many fraudulent elections, as if after so much
false and treasonable politics, as if, after so much corruption, it were
possible to make the peoples believe that the only democratic procedure for
a people is the electoral method, and that on the other hand, this
procedure by means of which a people, not with pencils, but with their
blood and the lives of 20,000 compatriots fighting without weapons against
a professional and well armed army, trained and equipped by a powerful
foreign country, destroyed the chains which enslaved them, simultaneously
doing away with privilege, injustice, abuse and crime in our country
forever, and initiating a true democratic era of progress, freedom and
justice, was undemocratic.  Because if there was ever any process in which
the inept revolutionary process, which has opened a pathway for virtue and
merit, never cunning, ambition or bravery, because in a process of
revolutionary struggle as in no other activity, no other struggle, only
stronger men, truly convinced men, truly loyal men can advance.

And the revolutionary process does not mean only the stage of war.
Here we have the stage of rebellion, and then came the stage of the
revolution.  First there was a war which was the consequence of the
rebellion of our people, and now we have the revolution, the consequence of
the creative spirit of our people.

It is for this reason that we have said that in Cuba a truly
democratic aspiration indeed is being implemented, despite what the enemies
of our revolution choose to write and assert.

And what is the main task we Cubans have before us now?  What is
the answer to this question?  What is it that every Cuban citizen should
know today?  And why is this our basic task now?  What are the reasons our
country is threatened by aggression?  What has the revolution done except
for the good of its people?  What has the revolution implemented except
justice?  What has the revolution done but defend the interests of the
great majority in our country, those who make up the vast majority, those
who not only have the right to count in the destiny of our fatherland
because they constitute the majority, but because they are the largest
part, the most suffering part of the country, as the majority has been the
most exploited sector of our country?  What is the crime in struggling for
the people?  Where does the crime lie in wanting the peasants to have land
and giving land to the peasants?  How else can we struggle for the people,
do what the revolution has done for the people, as the presence of this
multitude here today bears witness -- this multitude which is flesh and
bone, true men and women, men and women of the people, who came here
spontaneously, who came here at their own expense, who came here from
distant places, traveling all night and walking all day, standing all day
under the sun, without water and without food?  The presence of this
gigantic multitude is the best proof that the revolution has fought for the

But what is wrong with the revolutionary government which has put
an end to so many injustices, a revolutionary government which has
established 10,000 schools, a revolutionary government which is converting
the great fortresses in the country into great educational centers, a
revolutionary government which has put the soldiers who made so many
sacrifices in the war, which has put these same soldiers, who have turned
over their barracks, to work building schools, building roads, and building
school cities for the people, a revolutionary government which, far from
representing a parasitic and privileged military casts, has organized an
army of workers, an army of model citizens, into which go not the worst, as
in the past, but the best, those who pass the true tests which a true
soldier must pass, a revolutionary government which is building two
university cities, and which proposes to help, aided by the efforts of the
students themselves, with the building of a third university city, a
revolutionary government which is building a school city for 20,000
children, which will be the first in the series of school cities in which
200,000 children of peasants, the most intelligent and best trained boys
and girls, will study, a revolutionary government which has built 10,000
houses for humble families in the first year, a revolutionary government
which has opened all the beaches, to which in the past only an
insignificant minority could go, to the people, a government which has
recovered for the country the wealth which was in foreign hands, a
government which has recovered for its peasants the land which the foreign
masters of our economy exploited, a government which has given jobs to more
than 100,000 new citizens in a single year, a government which has created
a thousand cooperatives in a single year, a government which has made all
the small renters, sharecroppers and tenants who had to pay rent before
into landowners, a revolutionary government which has done away with
luxuries to meet the most basic needs of the humble families, a
revolutionary government which does not sacrifice the interests of the poor
to supply luxuries to the rich, but sacrifices these latter to serve the
interests of the poor, a revolutionary government which, without economic
resources, with a country ravaged by plunder, without asking anyone for a
single centavo, without begging a scent from the powerful master who
controlled our economy, is carrying forward a creative and productive
policy and has achieved extraordinary results in only 16 months, has
achieved great things in only 16 months, and has today succeeded in
establishing the monetary reserves of the country at about 150 million
pesos, in order to have the resources necessary for the industrialization
of the country, a government of a small people which has had to carry out
this gigantic task in an environment of constant harassment, constant
threat, and an incessant campaign of slander throughout the entire world,
as a preparation of the conditions for armed aggression against our
territory, a government which has had to work in the midst of threats, in
the midst of international maneuverings, a government which has had to meet
so many needs in such a short time, and which in the midst of this
overwhelming task has suffered the burning of its sugar can by pirate
planes coming from Florida, which has been harassed and persecuted by
diplomatic notes from a powerful country, a government which has always had
its economic plans threatened with the suspensions of quotas and reprisals
of an economic nature, a government which has to work under constant
pressures from foreign officers and despite the incessant plotting of
intrigues against our country, a government which in the midst of this
overwhelming task has had to tolerate the most adamant and cruel campaign
of slander to which any government on this continent has ever been
subjected, a revolutionary government dedicated to the superhuman task of
resolving so many problems, such as those we inherited as the legacy of a
policy of foreign economic domination for 50 years, while in the midst of
this task, one day the city of Havana is bombed, the next small planes burn
millions of arrobas of sugar cane and the homes of our peasants, and on yet
another day a vessel loaded with arms for our defense is blown up, taking
the lives of 60 Cuban workers.

And why should a government which, apart from all the
revolutionary measures adopted in the social sector, has put an end to
age-old vices in our country, such as gambling, misappropriation of funds,
smuggling, and all the vices from which our people had suffered for
centuries, a government which is doing such just and such positive work for
the benefit of the people -- why should it be cursed and isolated and
threatened with destruction and death?  Why should a government which has
done only good for its people be the object of hatred and the intrigues of
the foreign office of a powerful country determined to destroy it.  Why
should thousands of plots be directed against it by the reactionary press
and the reactionary news agencies throughout the world?  Why were they not
concerned with our people in the past?  Why were they not concerned with
our people when there were hundreds and thousands of families living in
miserable huts here?  Why were they not concerned with our people when
everything was misery, when the rural people lived in compounds, planting
yucca, malanga, and yams?

Why were they not concerned with Cuba, Cuban affairs, Cuban
problems when young people began to be murdered in the streets in our
country, when the police stations and the prisons were centers of torture,
when the peasants were assassinated en masse, when so much injustice and
abuse was committed here?  Why did this merit not even a single line of
print in these newspapers which attack our revolution so violently today?

And today, the war criminals are being summoned to the US Senate
to make statements on Cuban problems.  Today, when no one is tortured in
this country, when everyone knows how rebel soldiers, the rebel police and
the rebel military forces comport themselves, when everyone knows that here
no one is being murdered, no one is being tortured, because these men who
are in command today are the same men who during the war respected the
lives of their most adamant enemies and treated their wounds in battle,
today when our prisons, our barracks, the few barracks the rebel army has
today, and the police stations, set an example of respect for the
citizenry, when it can happen that a representative of authority is
attacked, but never does such a representative attack anyone or allow
anyone who has been arrested to be attacked, now when this is a truth known
to everyone in our fatherland, we read cables from Washington stating that
a group of mothers of war criminals is going to speak before an
"Inter-American Peach Commission" on "The Torture of Members of Their
Families by the Revolutionary Government in Cuba."

This people has had to bear seven years of crime and torture.
This people knows the unspeakable stories of innumerable acts of terrorism,
the numberless acts of cruelty committed in this Fifth Station and the
other police stations, in the barracks, and with the troops in the fields
by the likes of Ventura, Chaviano, Ugalde Carrillo and all those criminals.
This people knows better than anyone what it suffered, what it bore and had
to tolerate in impotence for seven years.  It remembers the screams of pain
of those being tortured and the wails of the mothers whose children were
assassinated and whose families were decimated ad whose homes were burned
and leveled and whose neighbors were murdered by the hordes of the tyrant.
Yet never during these seven years did they have the consolation of a
"inter-American commission" interested in their sad fate or in knowing of
the acts of terrorism under which our fatherland was suffering!

And today, when all the world knows of our very different methods,
when everyone knows that we are men of another sort, very different from
those cowardly, vile men who perpetrated so many barbarous acts, today when
the tortures and the criminals of yesterday are paying the penalties they
merited for their innumerable crimes -- now, today, an "inter-American
commission" will hear the charges against the "acts of torture" committed
by the revolutionary government against the war criminals!

And why?  Why have they recourse to these slanderous procedures,
to these cynical methods, to these shameless processes?  Simply to
discredit the Cuban revolution in the eyes of the world.  Simply to paint
us to the world as a band of criminals and torturers. Simply to discredit
us, to implant doubt in the other brotherly peoples on this continent.
Simply to prepare the conditions for aggression.

And now the murderers of yesterday are being welcomed by the
Senate of the United States to "report" on matters in Cuba!

But still stranger things are happening, and they are things which
show us the real nature of the period which lies ahead of us.  When not the
slightest problem, the slightest difficulty, existed, the President of
Guatemala sent for his Ambassador one day, and although not the slightest
incident had occurred, he broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba and
stated that in the Sierra Maestra -- in the Sierra Maestra, from which the
soldiers parading here today came -- troops were being trained to invade
Guatemala.  This was a charge so baseless, so absurd, that neither we nor
anyone could find any logical explanation for it, were it not for the fact
that we were informed that the US foreign office was preparing for an
attack on Cuba through the Guatemalan government.  And there have probably
been fewer occasions on which a maneuver of this type has been promoted so
cold bloodedly as in this instance, because neither had there been the
slightest incident nor was there the slightest pretext.  In fact, when the
Ambassador of that country was summoned, he was working on some statements
expressing thanks for the consideration which had always been shown by the
revolutionary government, and suddenly, that gentleman who presides over
the suffering Republic of Guatemala stated that he was breaking off
relations with our country, accusing our country of training troops in the
Sierra Maestra to attack his nation.  This was something which, naturally,
absolutely no one believes.  This was a plot to make Cuba seem an aggressor
nation in the eyes of the OAS, with a view to justifying an armed attack
upon our country, or at least preparing the conditions for such an attack.

The enemies of our revolution know that they have not made
progress in their attempt to organize a fifth column here.  The enemies of
the revolution know that the revolution is stronger with every passing day.
They know that the revolution is daily better organized.  They know that
they cannot defeat the tremendous revolutionary and social forces
supporting the revolution.  They know these things perfectly well.  They
know that they cannot organize a counterrevolution here, because they know
that there is nowhere, no way, no one, with whom they can even begin.  So
they hope to destroy the revolution through a maneuver of an international
nature.  What a coincidence it is that the withdrawal of the Guatemalan
Ambassador from Cuba and the statements by the President of Guatemala came
about in precisely the week when 10,000 Caballerias of United Fruit Company
land were transferred to the National Institute for Agrarian Reform for
distribution to the peasants!  What a coincidence!  What a coincidence that
the maneuver came through that country, where no one can govern without the
support of the United Fruit Company!  And what a coincidence that with each
just step we take to the benefit of our people, we have to be on guard
against such maneuvers!  And what a coincidence that, simultaneously, a
series of reports were preparing to attach any vessel carrying arms to

Thus a few weeks after the vessel carrying arms exploded, certain
newspapers, which claimed to be well informed about government affairs in
the United States, announced that pirate vessels opposed to the Cuban
revolution were pledged to attack vessels carrying arms to our country.  If
we also take into account the fact that in recent months we have received
cables reporting maneuvers by parachute troops and counterguerrilla
landings in this Caribbean zone, when in fact we did not know that this
country had any type of problem involving guerrillas anywhere in the world,
if even here, despite the existence of our revolution and in the midst of
this climate of threats, we have seen these reports and learned of the
maneuvers of these troops and this kind of intrigue, the use of which in
Cuba seems to us the only logical thing, what are we to think, if in the
midst of all these threats and maneuvers they are blowing up vessels and
talking of intercepting ships carrying weapons!

This means that they want to reduce us to a state of complete
impotence, while the dangers and the threats grow.

This is the reality of our revolution.  And why?  What is it about
our revolution that they wish to punish?  They wish to punish the example,
to destroy the example.  Why do they want to hinder the Cuban revolution at
all costs?  Is it perhaps because we have taken something or made some
threat against another country, because we want to exploit another country,
because we want to decide matters which are not our concern?  No.  They
want to destroy the Cuban revolution so that the example of the Cuban
revolution will not be imitated by the brotherly peoples of Latin America.

What everyone knows is this, that they want to destroy our
revolution at all costs, that they have condemned our revolution to death,
simply so that the peasants of Latin America, the workers of Latin America,
the students of Latin America, the intellectuals of Latin America, in a
work, the peoples of Latin America will not follow the example of Cuba and
undertake agrarian reform in all these countries one day, or undertake
revolution in all these countries.  They want to destroy our revolution
simply in order to continue exploiting the other peoples of Latin America.

And thus they want all Cuban people to "pay for the damage," to
pay for the crimes they are committing against other peoples, they want the
Cuban people to pay for the exploitation of other peoples.  They want to
destroy us, because we wanted to free ourselves economically.  They want to
destroy us, because we wanted to implement justice.  They wanted to
destroy us, because we concerned ourselves with the humble people in our
land, because we cast our lot with the poor in our fatherland, because we
gave land to the rural people who have none, because we gave schools to the
children who had none, because we gave work to the workers who had none,
because we gave homes to the families who had only huts, because we gave
doctors to the sick people who had none, because we gave books and
resources to the students who had none, because we gave justice.  They want
this, as if the people were obliged to live in misery, in backwardness and
exploitation, as if the peoples were obliged to have a yoke upon their
shoulders and around their necks, as if the people were eternally obliged
to resign themselves to misery and backwardness, as if the people were
obliged to be slaves.  Because our people wanted to break the chains, our
people did not want to continue living in backwardness, our people want to
progress, because our men, our women, our young people, our children, our
old people want justice and well-being, they have the noble aim of living
from their work, living happy and in peace in this land, which is our
little piece of land, because unfortunately for us, foreign hands seized
our land one day, foreign hands took over our mines, foreign hands took
over our natural resources and our public services, because we suffered
this misfortune, because foreign hands took over our economy, our politics
and our destiny, because we suffered this misfortune, and because this
generation of Cubans has set itself the honorable and great task of
liberating the country from these bonds, from this exploitation, for this
reason alone, which is just and which is the right which cannot be denied
to Cubans or any people, which is a right of our people which no one can
challenge, for this reason, because we want to trace our own path, because
we want to live our own lives, because we want to plot our own future, and
because we want to achieve our own happiness, without doing harm to any
other people, because what we want is to live in peace and friendship with
all the other peoples of the world.

Why should we not wish for friendship and peace with all peoples
who are struggling for progress, all peoples struggling for their
liberation, all peoples struggling for their welfare!  Those with whom we
can never agree are those peoples who are exploiting other peoples, or what
is worse, an oligarchy exploiting another people.  That with which we can
never agree is the exploitation of peoples by the oligarchies of other

And our desire is for progress, to plot our own future, to create
our democratic institutions, to create a new fatherland, to develop the
happiness of our people, without taking anything from any other people.
For this reason, logically, we wish to live in peace with all peoples and
in friendship with all peoples, because we have absolutely no quarrel with
any other people.  Those who want to take something from another people
have problems with them, but a people which wants to take nothing from
another people can never have these problems.

And there is something even more important.  All of us are engaged
in a great task.  The revolutionary government and the people are engaged
in great works.  What we want is to see these works become a reality one
day.  What we want is to see this new generation grow in a different life,
toward a very different future, and with an education very different from
that which our generation received.  We want to see these school cities
full of children one day.  We want to see these 200,000 peasant children
sitting and studying in these school cities one day.  We want to see the
thousand cooperative villages we are going to build in five years.  We want
to see this beautiful reality, when each family has its own roof, one day.
We want to see the day on which each Cuban will have work, we want to see
the day when there will be a doctor for each sick person, a pension for
each old person, we want to see the day when each man and woman knows how
to read and write.  We want to see the fatherland great one day, and it is
for this that we are struggling!

And what man does not want to see his dreams, his ideals,
transformed into a reality one day?  And if the desire that all we want of
well-being and happiness for our people should become a reality one day
burns within us, we cannot be the trouble makers.  Those who want to see a
great task accomplished, those struggling to achieve a great goal cannot be
the trouble makers.  The provocation will not come from us.  The
provocation can only come from those who do not want us to accomplish this

Provocation cannot come from us, and it is absurd for them to try
to push the blame on us, when we are living with our thoughts constantly
fixed on the work we are doing, on the morrow, on the creative work of this
revolution, just as yesterday our thoughts were fixed on today, just as
yesterday we lived with our thoughts fixed on the triumph of the people.

The triumph of the people over the tyranny has been achieved.  The
struggle against hunger, against misery, against poverty, against pain has
been begun.  And we want to win this battle, too, and we are leaving today
with our thoughts fixed on the creative work of the revolution.  Thus it
cannot be we who will raise these problems.  Provocation will come from
those who are not resigned to losing their privileges, to seeking to
exploit other peoples, those who wish to impose their will entirely and the
bastard interests of the powerful owners of the great international
capital.  It is they who are not resigned to living in peace with the
peoples, that is, they are not resigned to leaving the peoples in peace.
And this is what is happening in our country and it is for this reason that
we must become a spartan people, because we are faced with a dilemma:
either we resign ourselves and yield, or we must prepare to fight against
any aggression.

And we will never be a people who, faced with this choice, will
agree to bow our heads so that they can put on the yoke again, because we,
faced with this choice, must follow the path of dignity, of honor, the only
path toward the future, the only one which, with all its risks, promises us
a life very different from that which the yoke promises.  And we prefer
freedom with all its risks, we prefer struggle for a better future to the
yoke.  We want nothing to do with the yoke.

And these militias which have marched past here, these peasants
who have marched, these workers' brigades, these students, this people --
they are not a subject people.

Thus we are doing the only worthy and just thing we can do.  We
are adopting the path of a people who want to be free and will be free.  We
are pursuing the only path which the men worthy of our fatherland could
follow.  We have chosen the only path consistent with the teachings of the
founders of our nation.  We are following the only path acceptable to those
who have died.

We are fulfilling our duty.  We have been faithful to the comrades
who fell and we are implementing a revolutionary task.  Each school center
we build bears the name of the comrade who fell in battle.  Each barracks
we are converting into a fortress bears the name of a comrade who fell in
the struggle.  Each school city bears the name of a fallen comrade.  Each
new village bears the name of a comrade who fell in the struggle.  Each
cooperative bears the name of a comrade who has fallen.

We did not choose to commemorate our fallen brothers by means of
cold marble statues.  We did not choose to give the names of revolutionary
heroes to parks which solved the problems of no one.  In the past, while
they plundered our country from one end to the other and betrayed the
thinking and the hopes of the founders of the fatherland, they put a statue
of one of our revolutionaries in every park and gave each street the name
of one of our patriots.

This was the past.  But we perpetuated the memory and the names of
our fallen heroes in something which has a meaning to true revolutionaries.
We are perpetuating the memory of our fallen heroes in a revolutionary
project, in what they wanted done in our fatherland.  And thus, a school in
which hundreds or thousands of children are studying is a worthy monument
to a fallen comrade.  A cooperative in which hundreds of peasant families
will earn their living is a worthy monument to a fallen comrade.  A new
village is worthy of the memory of a fallen comrade.  A hospital which
saves many lives is proper tribute to a fallen comrade.

And thus our works carry the names of our dead, and each
cooperative, each hospital, each school, each revolutionary projects bears
the name of one of our fallen heroes.  And thus the names of those who fell
will endure eternally in the memory of our people, in the mark which will
be made by a new generation of men, in the children who will be educated
there, in the families who will be happy there, in the lives which will be
saved there, in the infinite benefits which this sacrifice will mean for
our people.

For this they sacrificed their lives, and this is what our people
have now.  Our revolutionary work is profoundly identified with the love we
have for the comrades who fell.  And this is yet another reason why we want
to see this work completed.  This is yet another reason why we are prepared
to defend it to the last drop of our blood.  This is yet another reason
which forces us to follow the worthy path, so that this work will not be
destroyed, so that the schools cannot be transformed back into fortresses,
so that never again can their land, their homes or their rights be taken
from our peasants, our people, unless they wipe us from the face of the
earth, because before they can wipe out these names and this work, they
will have to wipe us out.

Our fallen heroes did not die in vain.  For wherever we go in our
land, our eyes and our minds encounter their names, and each one of them is
a reminder of a comrade who fell, either in the first engagements or in the
clandestine struggle, in the mountain battles, in the early days of the
struggle, or later.  And there were so many of them, that for each of the
many projects of the revolution there is a name!  And thus we have the
feeling that these comrades are still among us, that they are living with
us.  Their names will endure forever, so that present and future
generations will know that one does not die in vain in the defense of a
just ideal!

It is worth dying when each life sacrificed means a school
founded, a cooperative established, advantages provided to many of our
comrades.  It is worthy dying when death becomes a fruitful seed.  What
does it matter if one dies in fulfilling his duty, if the blood he sheds
and the life he gives becomes a work to the advantage of his peers, his
brothers!  It is sad to die if one's life contributes nothing!  It is sad
to die as traitors and mercenaries do, but it can never be sad to die when
one's death creates something!

And this is the path and the example we want for the future
generations.  These generations which will be better than this one, but
which will never have its merit.  The great task has fallen to this
generation, and future generations, which will be better than we, but
thanks to our effort, will know that this generation had a spirit of
sacrifice as its slogan, that this generation thought it was worth any
sacrifice to ensure a better world for those following after it.

If we are confronted with necessary sacrifices, we will make them
gladly, because this will be the grandeur of this generation of Cubans, and
this is what "fatherland or death" means.  It means that to do away with
our fatherland, they must first do away with our lives, as we are
determined to have a fatherland and to leave a worthy fatherland for the
coming generations.  This is the expression of the determination of a
people, and in this brief phrase we say it all, we say all we have to say.
This is our position.  We are a small people, and we will never attack
anyone.  No, we will never attack any one, and we say to those who believe
that we are planning aggression, those who are saying here and abroad that
we plan to attack and are going to attack the Caimenera Naval Base that
they should not delude themselves.  We warn them against any Mind of Maine
incident, and it is our duty to warn them that they should be very careful
with their self-provoked aggression.  They will deceive no one with this,
because we state here that the revolutionary government will never make an
attack of this kind, and that the revolutionary government, aware that its
detractors and those interested in destroying it may in their hysteria go
so far as to plot a self-provoked aggression, assures them that no such
attack will ever come from us.  In other words, we want to clarify things
thoroughly.  They cannot use war criminals, those they are arming here, or
mercenary elements to organize self-provoked aggression to justify an armed
attack upon our fatherland.  It is our duty, partly because of our
historical experience and partly because we know certain of the treacherous
methods of international politics, to step forward and warn those who are
crazily seeking pretexts for attacking our fatherland with arms that we
will not give them these pretexts, and also we warn the world against any
pretext they may arrange to justify an attack upon Cuba.

We have always said that we would never attack anyone, but that we
are prepared to defend our rights and our fatherland at any cost.  We have
always said that no one should ever expect an attack from Cuba, but with
the same firmness with which we proclaimed this policy, we also assert that
any attack upon us will mean a war to the death with the Cuban people, that
any attach upon our country will encounter the most adamant resistance any
aggressor army has ever met.  We know the Cubans well, we know how much
dignity and bravery there is in the breast of each Cuban.  We know the love
and the passion the Cuban people feel for their cause, and it is better to
call attention to this real fact to those committing the error of ignoring
it.  We warn them that we know the people well and anyone who carries out
an attack upon our country will be defeated!  He will be defeated not only
because of the resistance he will encounter in Cuba, but because of the
resistance he will encounter throughout the world!  Because a revolution
like this, which has such formidable popular support, which defends such a
just cause, and which enjoys the solid support of all of the men of
revolutionary thought on the American continent cannot be destroyed.  The
most sensible, most prudent, most intelligent thing for those who do not
want to resign themselves to this revolution to do is to resign themselves,
because it is a reality, and to leave us in peace.  They should leave us in
peace, because in a senseless effort to destroy this revolution, they will
lose much more than they have lost to date!

And the realities of the world do not develop out of anyone's
whim.  Revolutions, which are real facts, do not develop out of the will of
anyone.  Revolutions are real facts which result from other real facts.
Revolutions are remedies -- bitter ones, yes, but sometimes the only
remedies applicable to still more bitter evils.  And the Cuban revolution
is a reality in the world.  The Cuban revolution is real, as the people
which support it are real, as the guns which will defend it are real, as
the men who are ready to die for it in side Cuba and outside it are real!
And, if our fatherland is attacked, attacked by any power, on any pretext,
or by any group of nations which have fallen into the net of some intrigue,
the attach upon our fatherland will mean a war not only against our people,
but against every Cuban, wherever in the world he may be, and against the
friends of Cuba and those ready to fight for Cuba, wherever they may be!
And we set forth this determination to struggle with the same firmness with
which we state that our desire is to see the work we are doing completed,
to see our dreams transformed into reality, and that no battle will ever
result through our fault or provocation, because we will never be the
aggressors against anyone.

It is not possible to speak more clearly.  And so that nothing
will remain unsaid, we would solely add, for the benefit of Cubans, the
fact that we must always be alert.  We do not know how many years we will
have to remain on guard.  This is the price which we must pay for this
work.  Always alert, against any attack, by surprise or known in advance!
Always alert and equally ready to struggle, wherever we may be!  Always
alert, each soldier of the rebel army and each military revolutionary!
Always alert, each militiaman, each peasant, each worker, each student,
each young person, each man and each woman, each old person and each
child, always alert!  Always alert, in any circumstance; always alert,
under every condition!  Always ready to resist any attack without
flinching, always determined!  They can never crush the spirit of the Cuban
people, and no people can be subjected if its spirit cannot be crushed, if
its determination cannot be destroyed!  Always alert, and ready to fight,
to fight with what we have in hand, to fight wherever we are, but always
with the idea of resisting, of combating any attack!  Always with the idea
of winning, and if we do not triumph, dying!  Always alert, and ready to
fight, whatever may happen, whoever may fall!  Always alert and ready to
fight, whatever may be necessary, whoever may die!  Thus, our revolution
cannot be defeated because the enemy takes a life, or two lives, or three
lives.  If a leader falls, our duty is to promote another leader,
immediately and without discussion of any kind.  If a leader falls, another
must immediately take his place, whoever that leader may be.  We gave our
opinion, when circumstances were other than they are today, and the people
made a decision.  If a Prime Minister is needed at any moment, the problem
is not whether this is good or bad, but that everybody should know what
must be done under such circumstances.  And what concerns us is that the
people should know what to do under any circumstances, and this is our duty
to the people.  If a prime minister is needed, that is to say, if the
enemies of the revolution attack us, the only realistic and objective thing
to do, what you must know that you must do immediately, is to replace the
prime minister, and you must decide.  At an earlier gathering we said that
we proposed Raul for Prime Minister, if another is needed.  If something
happens to both of us, the President of the Republic will meet with the
Council of Ministers and appoint another prime minister, because here it is
necessary to be prepared for every contingency.

When a people undertake the task such as that which the people of
Cuba have undertaken, when a small people like that of Cuba have powerful
enemies as Cuba has today, all contingency should be provided for, and that
people must know what has to be done, and what is necessary above all is to
know that this people must never be divided by an enemy action, and that
the reaction of the people must be to close ranks always.

When a small people such as ours takes upon itself a task such as
that which our people has undertaken, it must always know what to do.  And
it does not matter that we are small.  If we act properly, if we know what
to do, we will emerge triumphant, because those who are right and those who
know how to implement it, who know how to fight for the right triumph.  And
we can be certain that if we do what we must do, we will emerge triumphant,
we will be victorious.

Thus, all that remains for me to do on this 1 May is to reaffirm
this determination, this determination which all of us have to continue
fulfilling our duty in our jobs, and to ask all of you to do the same.  We
assert to you our faith in the future of the fatherland, in the solidarity
of the brotherly peoples of this continent, for whom we are struggling,
because they will learn from our experience, they will learn from our
successes and even from the errors we have made.  And thus we will be
useful to our brotherly peoples in our successes and in our failures.  We
have faith in the solidarity of these brotherly peoples and in that of all
the peoples of the world.

We want to tell the brotherly peoples of America what Cuba is, to
refute the lies written about this generous and noble land, to tell the
that this people are not here on any one's orders, they are here for very
profound reasons, because the revolutionary government has fulfilled its
obligations to them, and the people are loyal to those who are loyal to
them, and the people have faith in those who have faith in them.

We want to tell the brotherly peoples that here there is a Spartan
people, and that the inscription on the stone in Thermopylae Pass applies
to us:  "Let the world known that here lie 300 Spartans, who preferred
death to surrender."

Thus, this is what America expects of us.  This is what the world
expects of us, and we will respond to the sympathy and the solidarity with
us which has been evidenced.

Let us all make a pledge, soldiers of the rebel army, militiamen,
peasants, workers, students, young people.  Let us raise our Cuban flags,
let us raise our rifles, let us raise our machetes as we swear that we will
be true to our slogan:  Fatherland or death!