Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Havana, FIEL Network, in Spanish to Cuba, Aug. 30, 1960, 0434 GMT--E
(Fidel Castro speech at gathering of teachers just returned from the Sierra

(Summary) Comrade teachers, today surely is a day of great gladness for
you, just as it is for us, and a day of hope for countless children.  This
is one more act of the revolution, and like all its acts, full of
significance and promise.  It proves that he who sows has a right to
harvest the fruit.  Some things take time, sometimes years, for

This has been one of the best fruits of the revolution.  We conceived the
idea that the problem of education could be solved with scholastic cities,
but we soon learned that the number of children in mountain areas was
extraordinarily large and that it was virtually impossible to bring them
together in scholastic cities.  It was difficult to find teachers for the
mountain areas but not because our teachers have no spirit of sacrifice.

We made an appeal and a surprising number volunteered--about 5,000 youths.
You are in the first group.  You know that all did not stay.  You must
recall how many failed.  There always are those who fail and those who
stick.  A large number stuck.  That is what gives us confidence in this
group which has been formed.  Today you enjoy a happiness which can be
purchased only with effort and sacrifice.  You are an example of what can
be accomplished.

Peasants need many things, but invariably their first request is for a
teacher.  The arrival of a teacher in a mountain area is cause for real
jubilation.  Within a few days you will arrive at your respective areas--in
the Sierra Maestra, Cristal, Baraboa and Escambray.  There may be remote
corners without a teacher, but it will not be for long.  We will send more
if they are needed.

But do not wait for pencils or books.  You must begin teaching at once.
You will have to call the peasants together and ask them to build a
schoolhouse and school benches.  Don't wait to get them from the ministry
of education.  You must use all your imagination.  Those you teach have a
great desire to learn.

Your house?  No one knows where you will be during the first days in your
location.  Perhaps it will be a hammock out in the open.  There will always
be a family to help you.  When we can find a way to get supplies to you,
you will get them.

You must also teach the adults.  In the mountains areas 90 percent of the
people are illiterates.  Each of you must set a goal to teach at least 30
peasants to read and write.  You must teach as many as possible.

All of you must take a course, each of you.  You will have a congress every
year at which you will relate your experiences.  In this way valuable
information will be gained, useful not only to Cuba but to other American

We need the utmost efforts of all our teachers.  Next year will be the year
of education.  We must establish as our goal the liquidation of all
illiteracy in our country.  How?  By mobilizing the people; by establishing
that obligation on the people, the brigades, the peasants, and workers
militia.  Let all militiamen take an oath of honor to learn to read and

We will give the world another proof of the vigor of the revolution,
winning in one year a battle which could not be won in many years, in
[Unreadable text] centuries.  We will see who teaches the greatest number
of illiterates in a single year.  The winner will pass into the history of
our country as a "hero of education."

The ministry of education has been solving many problems but much still
needs to be done.  We still have textbooks written with the mentality of
the past.  New texts must be written.  They must tell about the great
advances of the revolution.

There are many dreams still to be realized.  Can we continue to develop, to
be free and not to be exploited?  We can.  How can they prevent us?  What
means can they use?  What chance do they have of frustrating our aims?
None.  They deceive themselves.  They are mistaken.  He who walks on the
wrong path must be wrong as long as he does so.  The Yankee empire is on
that wrong path.  (chanting)

Cuba was one of the American nations under the domination of the empire.
Rebellion against the empire begun with Cuba.  Fortunately our country has
had the honor of initiating the American rebellion against the Yankee
empire.  (chanting)

Though we Cubans know what we are doing, every day we should try to
understand better what we are doing.  Cubans today are living one of those
moments in the history of peoples of which humanity will have to speak in
the future.  We are not on the wrong path.  That is why the revolution is

We can understand the situation.  It is possible that these days our people
have been somewhat filled with illusions, to which our own revolutionary
press in part has contributed.  In reality, the revolutionary government
long has been stating what the OAS was and what was to be expected of it.
Our revolutionary press also has stated what the OAS was.

Were we to expect a rebellion by the American nations?  No.  We could not
expect a rebellion by the foreign ministries of America.  Cuba, its
government, and its foreign minister can come out against imperial
domination because it is not the government of the empire or the oligarchy,
the government of generals or exploiters.

It was an illusion to think that the conservative sectors which govern the
sister nations of America, that the military oligarchy and the economic
oligarchy which govern the sister nations of America, would rebel against
the Yankee empire.  What government other than the Cuban revolutionary
government could counter a Washington order or a directive from the Yankee

All Cuban people know that the foreign ministry used to tremble when the
American ambassador spoke.  Neither the peasants nor workers governed in
our country.  The oligarchy that controlled the economy governed here.  Who
would have thought that without a revolution a representative of our
country would reply to a Yankee foreign minister?  Who would have thought
that we would have contradicted the word of the Yankee delegate?  Such a
person would have been dreaming.  There was only one government in America.
Our American foreign ministries were docile servants of Washington and
fulfilled its orders.  When an American government decided not to obey,
when an honest American government or a heroic American people raised a
voice, the empire, using its military caste and a mercenary army, overthrew
it.  (Chanting) It was foolish to think that the foreign ministries would
rebel against Washington's orders.

It must be hard for any American foreign minister to be awaiting the word
of a minister of state of a foreign country.  It must be very painful.  All
the foreign ministries did was to make an effort to disguise their moves.

Never before did the word "shame" have any meaning in the OAS.  In the case
of Guatemala, they did not have shame.  This time, they exhibited some
modesty, until Herter took away their fig leaf.  The conference resulted in
the only possible thing: the foreign ministries betrayed their brother
American nation.  The foreign ministries did not join the aggressed nation.
They did not side with the Latin American country which was the victim.
They sided with the aggressor nation, with the powerful nation.

The foreign ministries of our sister nations sided with the foreign
ministry of the powerful Yankee empire.  They did not side with the sister
nation; they did not side with the small nation, they did not side with the
heroic nation; nor could they.  Socially it was logical: the exploiters
sided with the exploiters.  Those who represent exploitation in America,
the lawyers in America, did not side with the Cuban peasants and workers.
They could not side with the Cuban people.  They do not want an end to
exploitation in America.  They do not want agrarian reform in America.
They do not want the poor to organize in America.  They do not want men to
be equal in America.

They do not want backwardness to disappear in America.  They could not side
with the revolutionary government, they had to side with the exploiting
government, with the imperialist nation.  They sided with the nation which
today protects the most reactionary and backward social regimes of the
nations: the U.S. Government, which today is a government which associates
itself with the worst regimes in the world.  What is the U.S. Government
but the accomplice of all murderers in the world?

Even when some foreign ministers personally were impressed with the
tremendous moral strength and reasoning of the Cuban delegation, they
received orders from their respective governments, pressured by the State
Department.  There were foreign ministers who were disgusted by the
developments in Costa Rica.

The United States went to Costa Rica with bags of millions in one hand the
the garrote in the other.  Never has a government--that government which
granted credit to aid other governments at the conference, that government
which gives credit to Chile--acted with such impunity before the world.
Imperialism did not even try to save face.  Imperialism has forced
governments to face their respective peoples as governments which accepted
credits to serve the interests of American imperialism against the
revolutionary government.  Such governments face the indignation and
censure of their peoples.

Take the Venezuelan people.  They were out in the streets today in protest
against the betrayal of Costa Rica.  (chanting) seventy-eight members of
the Venezuelan Congress gathered to protest against the betrayal of Costa
Rica.  Venezuelans are one of the most revolutionary people of the
continent.  They have a tremendous anti-imperialist conscience.  Venezuela
is not a country with its arms folded.

The Venezuelan people are friends of Cuba.  (chanting) The U.S. State
Department cannot pressure the Venezuelan people as it did the OAS
conference.  Everyone knew what the OAS was.  But it was necessary for the
OAS to reveal itself before the world.  It was not Cuba which did this.  It
was imperialism which set the foreign ministries of America against the
heroic people of Cuba.  It was imperialism itself which put it in this
position.  The consequence will be an increase in the awareness of the
American peoples.  This is a revolution which speaks in Spanish.

This revolution is taking place on the soil of the American continent.  It
is impossible that the peoples of America do not understand this revolution
which speaks their own language and in which each conquest is a message to
them.  The language of the Cuban revolution is clear.  The empire which
speaks a different language will not be able to tear from America the
feeling of brotherhood toward the Cuban revolution, which is struggling
against those who exploit.  It is one thing to manage foreign ministers but
another to manage peoples.  This is the real situation in America.

Costa Rica is like a book that is opening for America.  It is a lesson for
the peoples of America.  Those who speak our own language and bleed from
the same wounds will never forgive the betrayal which turned the rights of
the Cuban nation over to the powerful empire.  One foreign minister said
that the conference made history.  Let him not doubt it; it will pass into
history as one of the most shameful pages ever written.  It will pass into
history as a page of betrayal.  Its writers never will be able to rid
themselves of the stigma which future generations will recognize.  The
writers of the betrayal of Costa Rica will pass into history as the Judases
of America.

What has been done there other than create a state of crisis for these
governments?  What do the American peoples want, if not land?  What do
illiterates want, if not teachers and schools?  What do peoples want, if
not an end to robbery?  What do peoples want, if not governments to
nationalize Yankee monopolies?  What do the peoples want, if not work for
all?  What do they want, if not truth, sovereignty, liberty, dignity?  What
do the peoples want, if not representatives who protect the honor of the
nation?  How then can these peoples agree to their representatives siding
with exploitation?

What has been done can never be justified before the peoples of America.
It has only increased the awareness of America.  The fact is the United
States went to Costa Rica to discuss the matter of credits.  It never
worried about granting aid.

The fact that the United States, faced with the Cuban revolution, has given
600 millions in credit only demonstrates the force of the revolution and
imperialism's fear of the Cuban revolution.  An empire which never shared
its juicy profits in America and now is granting credits shows its fear of
the Cuban revolution.  It went there to discuss prices.  The louder the
Cuban protest, the higher the price; the firmer the Cuban stand, the higher
the price to be paid the governments of Latin America.

The United States was not worried about the result of the conference; it
was only worried about the price it would have to pay.  It has had to pay
600 millions because of the prestige of the Cuban revolution.  What does
this show?  That the empire only yields when oppressed and heroic peoples
rebel against its power.  And then it seeks to buy American nations.

The people know that those millions will not reach the peoples, that that
money will be lost along the way.  They know that those millions will be
kept by the governments.

What will they be able to do to crush the Cuban revolution?  What have they
done by the Costa Rican maneuver?  They have sown indignation in America
and strengthened the Cuban revolution.  They have united our nation ever
more.  That is why the reply to the conference of Costa Rica will not be
given by us but by the Cuban people.  We will give our reply to the
"declaration of Costa Rica" next Friday--Sept. 2--in the Plaza Vivica.  The
general assembly of the people at 3 p.m.  (Cuban time--Ed.) must be the
largest of all.  You must be there with the same determination with which
you would face any invasion attempt against our people.  We will show
imperialism the sort of people it must face.  We will tell the American
peoples not to hesitate.  We will tell them what they must do to be free
and sovereign.

We will tell the world about the determination with which the Cuban people
will defend the revolution.  The world is backing us and turning against
them.  To understand this problem of America, a book which explains the
truculence of U.S. policy in our continent must be read.  It is called "The
Fable of the Shark and the Sardine."  The shark is the Yankee empire; the
sardines the weak American nations.  In the OAS the shark joins the
sardines.  That is why, in the face of the imperialist maneuvers, the first
maneuver was that against Trujillo.  The aid which the USSR is offering is
not interference; it is solidarity with a nation which is defending its

We asked the sardines what they would do to defend us from the shark?  What
did they want?  That we renounce Soviet support?  Why?  So that we would be
weak so the sardines and the shark would devour us.  Of course the Cuban
rebel government would not fall into this trap.  But the economic
aggression was not condemned; the le coubre was condemned.  The murder of a
U.S. child was not condemned in Miami, the U.S. policy against Cuba was not

The Yankee government was even able to break down the firmness of one of
the governments of Europe.  Finally it bowed and became one of the
sardines.  They did not have a word against the constant aggression against
our country but they did have the word demanded by the United States
against the nation which, when the oil trusts stopped oil shipments, sold
us oil, the nation which offered the backing of its atomic rockets.

Who said that the world belongs to the Yankees?  They interfere all over
the world--in Korea, Formosa, Indochina, Turkey, and everywhere else.  They
are defending the Chiang Kai-shek puppet.  That is not interference.  But
when a powerful nation offers to help us, the sardines support the country
that opposes Cuba.

The manner in which the Pentagon, during the conference of Costa Rica,
declared that its infantry is ready to act in the Caribbean if the order is
given was stupid.  Why this impatience?  Who told the Pentagon that Cuba
would be sanctioned?  Why the hurry in sending parachutists to Cuba?  Does
the Pentagon think we Cubans are panicked?  Does it believe that they can
come down like butterflies, without any trouble?  Who told the Pentagon
that it could send parachutists here?  If the Pentagon does not want to
lose its parachutists, it better not send them to Cuba.  If they fail here
they will stay.

Do they realize that times have changed?  That we have undertaken a social
revolution?  Don't they realize that they must fight against a people who
have been liberated from the worse of regimes?  Are they so proud that they
do not heed realities?

How difficult it is for an empire to admit that it is on the decline.  How
difficult it is to admit that gangsterism has disappeared for good.  How
difficult it is to understand these truths of history.  How blind they are
that they do not understand that the world has reached a stage in which a
small country cannot be destroyed.  We are in an era in which an empire can
be destroyed much sooner than it can imagine.  If these truths are not
understood it is best to tell them, so they at least will not blame us, so
that they at least will have a chance to reconsider.  That country is
marching on a path of mistakes and its candidates are competing in

What blindness!  What historic insensibility!  What an Olympiad of
mediocrity!  That is the picture.  Leave them to themselves.  If they want
to sink themselves, let them.  We know our duty: to strengthen ourselves,
to prepare and entrench ourselves, and raise even higher our banners
"country or death," "we will conquer."  History and the world are with us.