Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Source:  [Source not indicated], Havana, 31 October 1960

Fidel:  "Nobody must become impatient and nobody must despair."

Cuba is the beacon.  "Revolutions have never been defeated."

Graduation exercises were held at noon on Saturday, at the Managua
Cadet School for 55 new Rebel Army officers who had their insignia pinned
on and who received their commissions from the President of the Republic,
Dr. Osvaldo Dorticos and Prime Minister of the Government, Major Fidel
Castro Ruz.

The new graduates were introduced by the director of the school,
Captain Jose R. Fernandez Alvarez.  The simple ceremony was held at the
school's firing range where Lt Wilfredo Yera led the graduates who received
their insignia of rank after the national anthem, in the presence of
President Dorticos, the Prime Minister, Majors Augusto Martinez Sanchez and
Antonio Lusson; architect Osmani Cienfuegos; Secretary of the Office of the
President, Dr. Luis Bush; Minister of Justice, Dr. Alfredo Yabur; Captain
Emilio Aragones, national Coordinator of M-26-7; Major Efigenio Ameijeiras,
Chief of the PNR; Captains Juan Nuiry and Felipe Guerra Matos, and other
figures of the Revolutionary Government.

Four companies of militia officers were drawn up in perfect formation
of the firing range; they happened to be there, attending a training course
at this school.  The president, Dr. Dorticos, then pinned the insignia of
2nd Lt on Cadet Adolfo Castro Mesa who was in Number One position in the
class; and Dr. Fidel Castro pinned the insignia on Cadet Jose Diez Cagigal,
congratulating him warmly.

Fidel's Speech

After the insignia and diploma presentations ceremony was over, the
Prime Minister, Major Fidel Castro, addressed the numerous audience and
members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces; here is the text of his

Comrade officers of the Rebel Army (Applause); comrades future officers
of the militia (applause); ladies and gentlemen:

This is the first graduation of Rebel Army officers, approximately 2
years after the triumph of the revolution.

This, in my opinion, is another triumph here.  We have covered a long
road; the task has not been easy.  We had practically no means for
accomplishing this task easily.  The fact that we have been able to
graduate 55 officers today, at this Rebel Army officer training school, is
in great part due to the effort made by a group of honest military men who
gave the revolution their experience and their knowledge.  I repeat, the
task was not an easy one, in the midst of all of the convulsions of a
revolution, in the midst of the tremendous passions which always are
aroused in connection with revolutions.

We, the rebels, did not know much about military matters; we had
learned in the field, on the march, and we learned about military things in
war.  We learned in the mountains.  And our men gradually became leaders in
the midst of the struggle, each according to his merits.

But in peacetime we had nobody to organize an officer training school.
However, a small group of men who did have the necessary knowledge for
organizing this school, gave us their collaboration.  Likewise, it was not
easy to select candidates to take this course at this school.  It was
difficult to erase from the minds of many youngsters the ancient idea as to
what a military school should be like.

Many, who liked this career, and who were convinced that they had the
capability of serving the country in the military, wanted to enter this
school but there were also those who had a misconception as to what it
meant to be an officer in the Rebel Army; there were those who had a
misconception about the life and the sacrifices of a career military man.
And not all of those who first started out are with us here today; we only
have about one-third of those who started the course here with us today.

Places of Sacrifice

In other words, the officers who have graduated here today are the
product of a process of selection; they have gone through some tough tests
and they have finally reached their goal.

It might be possible that, among those who applied for admission and
who were accepted, there were some who believed that the Republic had
entered an easy stage, a life without risks or sacrifices, that it would be
easy to pursue a career in the military.  But the facts taught them that,
being a revolutionary military man, being a soldier or officer of a
revolutionary nature is far from an easy task, far from an easy career,
although it is a great honor; any man who pursues this career is worthy of
the respect and love of his people; this career provides an opportunity to
serve the country with pride but it also means sacrifice and self-denial;
it means risk and hard work; it means that this respect and love of the
people cannot be given to those who do not deserve them; this sort of thing
is not given to those who do not have the equipment for this sort of thing;
this sort of thing is not given to those who do not have the necessary
spirit of sacrifice, no matter how much they may believe that they are
capable of serving in this way.  But not all who think they can, can
pull it off when it comes down to brass tacks!  (Applause)

There are weak men who break or turn coward in the face of
difficulties; there are those who see their intentions frustrated; but
those who know how to overcome the difficulties, those who passed all the
tests, were awarded a prize, a prize such as the one you have just received
today; this is the same prize which the militia officers are going to
receive very soon.  (Applause)  That is, those who have passed all of these
tough tests.

The Test in the Mountains

Some time ago, I visited this academy and I met one afternoon with
militia officers and with the students at the Army Officer Training School.

On that occasion, I explained my viewpoint, to the effect that officers
have to pass much tougher tests than enlisted men; that enlisted men must
pass tough tests also; that it was necessary for a man not only to have the
proper technical knowledge but that this particular officer will have to
perfect himself more and more as an officer and that an officer who has
full prestige in the eyes of the soldiers whom he is going to lead must
pass tests that are tougher than those which the enlisted men have to pass.
I said the same thing to the militia commanders; on that occasion I told
them that they soon would be marching toward the mountains of Sierra

And so they did march into the mountains and many passed the tests;
today we have the satisfaction here of graduating a group of officers, who
not only studied in the classrooms, who not only learned their duties in
books and from their instructors, but who also learned to do their duty
through the tough tests in the mountains; and I know that they must today
feel the kind of satisfaction which they deserve as reward for having gone
through all of these rigors; and they must have confidence in themselves as
men who have what it takes.  And so, these officers can proudly display
their insignia of the three points and a star, signifying that the wearer
has gone through the exercise of climbing Mt Turquino 10 times. (Applause)

But that is not all; together with a group of school instructors, they
helped instruct the Havana militia officers.  The knowledge which they
acquired was then passed on to those who also have a very important task,
in other words, those who are going to have to lead militia units.  And
these comrades likewise went through the tough tests in the mountains and
they also successfully went through a very tough and harsh training course.
Many of them were family fathers and they spent as many as 40 days without
being able to visit with their families; and nobody knows what other
sacrifices they may have to make.

From time to time, some people suggested to me or asked me whether all
of this might not be too much; each time, I told these people:  "No, it is
not; it is perhaps still not tough enough."  (Applause)  And I would like
to remind you that, for example, some people had to spend years in prisons,
without ever seeing their families; there were men who had to spend many
years out in the field; and I want to remind you that men who are called
upon to lead fighting men in combat must be men who have gone through those
tough tests and even tougher ones.

However, this does not in any way detract from the sacrifices which you
have made in peace time; in peace time, people usually do not see the need
for making such sacrifices.  But the important thing to keep in mind is
that we will very soon have more than 500 militia commanders who will have
scaled Mt Turquino 3 times (Applause) and who will have spent several
months in rigorous training.

Morale and Weapons

What does this mean?  What is the meaning of the fact that we can today
graduate 55 officers and that we can graduate more than 500 militia
commanders very soon?  It means that we have overcome the biggest obstacle
here; it means that we have overcome the obstacle of our own ignorance; it
means that we are learning; it means that we are creating; it means that we
are planting the seeds that will multiply.  Without this, there would be no
militia; without this, there would be no defense; without this, there could
not have been any revolutionary military power because you have to organize
the vast mass of militia men; you have to organize them in combat units
with maximum discipline and maximum effectiveness.  The vast mass of the
people must be trained; the people must be prepared; and that is the task
which will fall to you, the militia officers.

A small group taught a large group and that large group taught another
group, still larger, and all of them together, the first, the second, and
the third group, are now keeping the tens of thousands of militia men who
have been waiting for their instructors; and without these instructors
(applause), without these instructors, without these cadres, there would be
no training, because, if you want to train and organize a battalion, you
have to have men who know their business and who will be sufficiently well
trained to organize this unit.  You cannot improvise a combat unit; you
cannot resolve the technical problems of a combat unit merely through

Ah, yes!  If our men in the war, in addition to their understanding of
what they were doing, in addition to their tremendous morale and their
extraordinary enthusiasm, if they had also had the techniques and the
weapons, then many valiant lives could have been saved and the country
could have been spared many months of sacrifices.

Today we have the rational understanding of what we are doing, the
enthusiasm, the high morale, but we are also going to have the techniques
and the equipment so that the country can feel much more secure, so that we
can save lives, and so that the victories over the enemies of our cause
will be much more crushing victories.  (Applause)

In the old days, in addition to the necessary techniques we were also
rather short of weapons but now, in addition to high morale (applause), in
addition to enthusiasm, in addition to understanding and techniques, we
will also have the weapons!

(Applause and shouts of:  "We shall win, we shall win.")

But the enemy knows this; the enemy knows that, with every day that
passes, we are organizing another hundred men; the enemy knows that with
every day that passes, we will organize a thousand more men; the enemy
knows that we will soon have hundreds of men busy organizing and training;
the enemy knows that each day that passes further removes his hopes and
this is why the enemy is in such a hurry, this is why I am explaining all
of this to the people so clearly, as I always did in the past.  This is why
the enemy is trying to get ready in a hurry; the enemy knows the tremendous
potential of the people and the enemy does not want that strength to be

This is why there is all this risk of attack, this is why the attack is
so imminent now; and that is the only reason, a very simple reason; they
have hopes of accomplishing what they want to accomplish today with a
certain number of mercenaries; but they realize that within a few months
they will need many more mercenaries in order to accomplish the same thing.
The enemy knows that this is so and this is why he is hurrying to attack
even before the revolution has developed its tremendous potential; this is
why the attack is so imminent; this is why this problem of Cuba has aroused
the basest passions among the enemy.

The Enemy Unmarked

This Cuban problem has become the essential point in the bitter debate
between the monopolist groups which aspire to control the government of the
United States; and both groups have dropped their masks in a shameful and
repugnantly cynical fashion; stupid leaders of monopolish cliques
(applause) have been begging for an aggression; they have been begging for
intervention, intervention in the affairs of an independent country.  They
have trampled underfoot the basic principles of respect for the sovereignty
of peoples and, before the eyes of the world, the hysterical monopolists
have dropped their mask and they have not been able to conceal their
thoughts.  And the world has been the witness to the scandal which they
have staged; the bluntnesss with which they have been recommending direct
or indirect intervention in the affairs of our sovereign fatherland!  And
so our island has almost been turned into an object of the arbitrary
desires and ambitions of those people; our island has become a "bone of
contention" in an election; this is very dangerous because the group that
is currently giving the orders -- in its ruinous ambition -- in the crazy
hope of satisfying the interests of the groups that exploit and plunder the

This is one more reason why we must think of the imminence of the
attack during these critical days before the election; however, we will be
facing risks also after the elections; the days after anyone of those
stupid people who take over the presidency of the imperialism come to power
will also be days full of risk.  (Applause)

However, they know that with each day that passes their task will
become more difficult; they know that with each day that passes, they will
need more and more mercenaries than they needed the day before.  And
mercenaries will have to be recruited and trained and organized and they
will have to be "shipped" -- and I mean that in a double sense here!

And every time they need more mercenaries, they will also need more
boats and more aircraft and more training camps; and this is why , with
every day that passes, they know that the battle will be harder; their
possibilities -- if they imagined that they have any possibilities at all
-- keep shrinking day after day and this is why the attack is so imminent;
and if they do not attack, then this is because they have lost all of their
hopes or because they are lazier than we think they are.  (Applause)

Let Them Go On Fooling Themselves

It would therefore be most logical and most intelligent for them to
attack right now, rather than a month from now; it would be much more
intelligent for them to attack now than to attack in 2 months or 3 months.
This is quite logical.  And we and you must learn to reason correctly here;
if we do not reason this out correctly, then things might not go well with
us; it is our duty to reason this thing out correctly and if anybody makes
any mistakes in calculations and if anybody makes a wrong situation
estimate, then let it be them and not us; when we make our situation
estimate, we must not be wrong; but let them fool themselves, let them make
the mistakes.  (Applause)  And if their situation estimate causes them to
rush on ahead, well and good!  (Applause)

I think that what they are going to do is completely different from
what they think they can do today; nothing can change this fact, because it
is not easy to recruit thousands of men and then to have them just sit
around and wait, to do nothing; when anybody begins to play with weapons,
when the mercenaries are hired, the people who try to run this thing
eventually come to depend on those whom they have hired!  (Applause)  And
the decisions then take their fatal course almost be themselves.

This is why we must think this thing out very carefully and this is why
we must explain everything; this is why I have said that if they are ready,
then, so much the worse for them; but it will be even worse, if they wait
any longer; the longer they wait, the stronger will we be!  (Applause)

However, with their mercenaries they cannot perform the miracle of the
fish and the leaves of bread.  The number of men they have today, they
cannot multiply overnight; the men they have today are the men they will
have tomorrow; we are the unknown factor here!  (Applause)  To them, this
is a tremendous unknown factor and we do not want to give them and
information that might tell them exactly what we are about to do; but we
think very simply that we have enough with what we have.  (Applause)

Beacon for All the Peoples of America

Should we worry, by chance, about what the enemy might do?  Once
before, we have found ourselves in a situation in which we were attacked by
numerically superior forces; there were 5,000 perfectly well-armed men,
with air support and with light artillery support, with supplies and lots
of resources; and they were advancing against us; we only had about 300
armed men and some of them were poorly armed and had very little
ammunition.  The enemy commander at that time was sure that he was going to
win; he was so sure that he sent us a message and even bewailed the fate
that awaited us; it seemed that, in spite of everything, he had some
admiration for a group of men who had kept the enemy forces in check for 18
months; and so he might even have felt sorry for us, in the conviction that
he was going to wipe us out.

And we replied in another message; we replied in a chivalrous manner;
we thanked him for his concern and we explained to him that he was in a
position to do something for his country, to do something for the
revolution; and we thought that we could talk after the offensive was over;
we indicated that we did not want to do any talking before the offensive,
but we were indeed prepared to talk after the offensive, and we told him
that if the men, who were fighting for that bad cause, were to manage to
overcome our resistance and wipe out the very last rebel soldier, then he
should not be sorry for us because we would be leaving the fatherland a
page containing one of the most glorious episodes in its history; even the
children of the same soldiers who were capable of destroying us would
someday contemplate the peaks of Sierra Maestra with admiration and
respect.  (Applause)

We were completely surrounded; we only had 300 men, some of whom were
rather poorly armed; nevertheless, it was not we who were wiped out; the
forces that were wiped out, those forces were the 5,000 men who advanced
against us.  (Applause)  And one point, there were less than 10 of us and
we were facing tens of thousands, the full power and resources of a
government; nevertheless, we saw to it that they did not defeat us; we were
sure of victory even when there were less than 10 of us.

And this is how we built the Rebel Army; this is how we built the army
of which you now are now officers (applause), an army which always fought
at a numerical disadvantage and with poorer weapons, at incredible
disadvantages, and army that sprang virtually out of nothing, an army that
went from victory to victory and sacrifice to sacrifice and an army that
came to turn into the force that liberated the fatherland, an army that
destroyed the privileges, an army that turned into the force that could
face up to the national authority of the privileged; an army that could
face down the big foreign privileges and that raised the banner high on the
flagstaff, a sovereign and free banner, symbol of a people that would no
longer live in humiliation, symbol of a people which would always live in
justice, symbol of a people that would have earned glory and prestige
throughout the world, symbol of a people that had become a revolutionary
people and the right beacon for all of the peoples of Latin America!

Wait with Discipline

Ant they will not be able to rip that symbol from the flag staff
anymore, they will never be able to tear that symbol down and throw it on
the ground; that flag will never be the flag of a people that must live on
its knees.  (Applause)

Now, what does it matter how many they send?  What does it matter, what
kind of support they have when they come?  Our people will remain
steadfast; when they come, we do not expect anybody to leave his job; on
the contrary, the very first thing to do is to keep our production effort
up and to keep the country fractioning normally.  (Applause)  There is one
thing that I must alert the people to and that is the danger that everybody
might want to pick up a rifle; the danger that everybody might rush to
take up weapons, that the citizens might leave their jobs; this is
precisely what we want to avoid and this is why nobody should be downcast,
and nobody should interfere with the work of the responsible comrades, the
officials and functionaries, by asking them for weapons, because this is
not the only way to resist aggression.

The most thing is to keep the schools and the factories and the life of
the country functioning properly; we cannot have everybody running off with
a rifle to fight the enemy.  We can fight the enemy only with a portion of
our manpower and resources and it is our job to fined the men and the women
who are going to do this.  (Applause)

This is why, in the face of any aggression, the first duty is to remain
calm, not to become inpatient, not to despair, but to wait with discipline
until you are called, because we are going to call those we are going to
need; we cannot become the victims of our own enthusiasm; we cannot become
the victim of our own patriotic fervor; we must remember what we say here
today and we must do our routine jobs under any circumstances; and we must
wait calmly, with full assurance that we will destroy the enemies that
might come over!  (Applause)

And we are going to step up our organizational efforts even further; we
are going to keep up our efforts to organize battalion after battalion,
even after the fight has begun, even under fire.  We have the cadres for
instructional and organizational purposes so that we will not have to slow
down our organizational effort under any circumstances and so that we will
not have to slow down the accelerated growth rate which we have achieved
today; and we are going to turn out battalions in series because we have
already laid the foundation and established the pattern.  (Applause)

Revolutions Have Never Been Defeated

At any rate, regardless of who attacks us, the whole thing involves the
application of an inexorable law of history, and unchanging law of all
revolutions:  the attack from the reactionary forces, the international
reactionary forces, the struggle which characterizes all of the revolutions
and which has been a law of world history.  They will come at us, just as
there has always been a reaction against the revolutionary peoples; but
there is also another inexorable law of history:  the revolutionary
peoples, that is to say, the revolutions, have never been defeated in the
history of the world!  (Prolonged applause and shouts of:  "We shall win!
We shall win!")  This is because of the strength and the solidarity of the
other peoples.  We are going to see what happens in America, when they
attack us directly or indirectly:  we are going to see what the reaction
will be form the peoples of America when they know that the Cuban
fatherland and the heroic and revolutionary people of Cuba are fighting
once again not only for their own liberty and future but also for all of
the other sister nations on the continent!  (Applause)

Our People Will Win

And we are going to see what the reaction will be when they hear of the
heroism of our people; when they learn of the ferocious resistance which
the attacking enemies will encounter; when they fine out that not a single
man left his post; when they know that there was not a single company of
soldiers or militia men who abandoned its position!  (Prolonged applause)
When they know that each Cuban knows how to die at his post!  And as he
dies at his post, he also kills many of those who intend to attack and
enslave the fatherland!  (Prolonged applause)  When they learn of the
devotion with which the sons of this land defend this land; when they learn
of the firmness with which the standard bearers of justice defend their
cause; when they learn of the honor with which the liberators of Cuba and
of the oppressed people...because with our example, with our victory, with
our example alone, we will destroy the enemy!  With our victory here,
alone, we will destroy the enemy!  And, because of our example here, we
therefore are the standard bearers of all of the colonized and exploited
and plundered and oppressed peoples of the world; when they learn of the
honor which we defend that banner, with which we will defend that banner,
from the first to the last, because we do not know the word retreat!
(Prolonged applause)  We do not want to be buried in any other soil than
the soil of our country!  (Prolonged applause)

Let them come and let them attack us!  What do we care!  Our calmness
springs from the secure belief in our victory, it springs from the
conviction of our destiny, and this calmness and this belief will not
desert us for one moment.  I can repeat to you today what the Titan in
Bronze said:  "Anyone who intends to seize Cuba will only hold the
blood-soaked dust of that land!"  (Prolonged applause)  But we have another
slogan here:  "Fatherland or Death!"  (Applause)  And there is just one
certainty that gives us strength:  the certainty that our people will win!

...of solidarity with our sister nation of Venezuela which is under the
barbarian repression of the pro-imperialist authorities which run that
country, we have received declarations from the provincial directorate of
the Association of Young Rebels of Oriente; the post office and telegraph
employees of San Jose de las Lajas; the worker and peasant militias of
Tapaste; the "Victor Gonzalez" nursery employees in San Jose de las Lajas;
the No 16 Defense Committee, San Jose de las Lajas; the "Paco Cabrera"
Peasant Association in the districts of Chavez, Pedro Pi, Ganuza, Jaula,
Santa Barbara, El Peru, Zenea, Tapaste, Citilla, and Nevio, region of San
Jose de las Lajas; delegation of the Federation of Cuban Women of San Jose
de las Lajas; Union of Workers of the Communications in Camaguey.