Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana, Radio Progreso, in Spanish to Cuba, Aug. 21, 1960, 2115 GMT--E

(Live speech by Fidel Castro to graduating militia in San Julian, Pinar del

(Summary) Some months ago I spoke or organizing the militia in the
countryside as well as in the cities. The countryside, and especially the
mountains, are strategic spots and must be properly defended. We have
fought in the mountains before and know their worth. Today the revolution
is strong militarily both in the cities and in the countryside, but it must
be even stronger for today there are possibilities of a struggle. To be
ready for these possibilities we began training the militia.

Not many knew how to handle arms, but all will learn. The peasant has a
good knowledge of the countryside and this is very important. No one can
resist as well as the peasant does. The peasant is a true revolutionary and
a natural soldier. Never could any Yankee soldier face a peasant soldier.
(Much applause and extended shouting.) But to be prepared, the peasant
soldier must know how to use his weapons and he must be organized.

We must let our enemies know how we will defend out country. Then we will
see who will try to destroy our revolution; who can destroy our revolution;
who can get the land away from the peasants; who can drive the militia out
of the mountains; who can get the workers out of the plants; and who can
conquer a people who are determined to fight for freedom. The revolution
has the support of the great majority of the people. Everyone knows that
for the first time in the history of the country the people really count;
it is the people who command. For the first time in the history of our
country, everything we do is for the people and by the people. The
revolution belongs to the people and the revolution knows it owes
everything to the people.

However, it is not enough that a majority of the people stand with the
revolution. The majority must not simply stand idle with the revolution, it
must be industrious because the enemies of the revolution must be revealed.
Some have been set to betray the revolution. They must know that the
majority of the people are not only with the revolution but are working
hard for it. So their maneuvers fail and will continue to fail one by one.

Many attempts have been made to confuse the people, but the people are more
than ever aware of what is going on. The people are more courageous than
ever, and they are working harder than ever. The people are growing more
alert and more firm in their stand with the revolution. Our enemies are
used to threatening countries, they are used to trampling on the
sovereignty of nations and issuing orders. But there are no Yankee soldiers
commanding our armies any more, and there are no workers without weapons to
defend themselves. The guajiros are armed to the teeth, and this is the
remedy. The people are armed to the teeth, the guajiros, the workers, the
students, the women, and the teachers. This is the final remedy.

So that our country can never be exploited, we must work. Our people will
enjoy the fruits of their labor and the militia and the weapons are here to
guarantee that. Imperialism is now operating to draw other Latin American
nations into a plan against Cuba. But while imperialism is threatening us,
while it tires to subordinate nations to get them to act against Cuba, we
have Cuba's answer to imperialism's intrigues and maneuvers and our one
answer is: The people armed to the teeth defending their country.

The Cuban revolution is working and preparing itself, it is consolidating
itself and arming itself. The Cuban revolution says: Fatherland or death.
The peasants with this knowledge and their security are not the peasants of
yesterday, unarmed, ashamed, defenseless; they are the peasants of today,
armed and organized. They are being educated and prepared to fight so that
the mountains will remain theirs. The peasants are being trained so the
country will be theirs; so that country will be free, and for the future,
for happiness and a better country.

The peasants will receive more than military instructions. They will learn
to handle weapons, but they will also learn to read and write, something
not all the peasants can do. In the old days, politicians and others came
to the mountains but never any teachers. That was the old way. Soon there
will be 14 companies of peasant militia in the mountains and there will
also be 14 companies of teachers in the Sierra Maestra. During the first
week of September 350 teachers will be distributed throughout the Sierra.
It will no longer be the Sierra Maestra but the Sierra of the Maestras. In
the second week of September we will send 500 teachers and then 950 more
teachers to 950 parts of the Sierra. There will not be a single corner of
the Sierra without a teacher.

Now that we have freed ourselves, we must be everything possible to aid the
enslaved peoples who look to us with hope.

We must justify these hopes. Whatever we do, let us do it well. If we are
learning, let us learn well, and if we are fighting, let us fight well. We
must do everything well and carry out our mission on this continent. The
hopes of others are legitimate. Let us unite the necessary qualities for
freedom. Our generation is making a sacrifice. Let us work for the future
generations and make them proud of this one.

The militia men of Pinar del Rio, the peasants of the mountains in Oriente
and Las Villas will continue training. Pinar del Rio is of strategic
importance. The enemy is maneuvering around our coasts, but Pinar del Rio
is a province of revolution and of great military value. This province is
extraordinarily important from a military point of view and so we shall
devote special care to the military training of the militia of this
province. Everyone is going to get training. They will receive training in
the handling of all kinds of weapons, such as mortars, machineguns, and so
forth. The troops will be perfectly prepared to fight. Every militia man
worker and peasant of Pinar del Rio will have to go to this school. Since
the women are workers, they are included in the program too.

We shall have to work hard so that by next May the militia units from the
Pinar del Rio Province will be ready to parade with the workers of the
capital. On May 1 next year the units of the rebel army will march with new
weapons. Remember, our slogan is: "Today our country is free forever, and
someday, all the Americas will be free forever."