Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Nov. 9, 1960


Havana, Fiel Radio Network, in Spanish to Cuba, Nov. 9, 1960, 0420 GMT--E

(Live speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro at Joint Meeting of Several
Cuban Unions in Havana)

(Summary) I want to begin with a little protest:  We have learned that many
persons were searched on entering the sports palace.  (Applause shouts)  Of
course it was done with the best intentions, in the line of duty by those
entrusted with security.  Nevertheless, we want to beg the pardon of the
people gathered here and point out that if we had known we were to meet
here with people who had been searched on entering, we would not have come
here tonight.  (Applause, shouts)  It is true that everybody appears to go
around armed with revolvers, but in all sincerity, when we meet with the
people--particularly the workers--we do not want a search of all workers
present under any circumstances, just to keep some evil person from getting
by.  We urge that no more of these measures be taken.

[Unreadable text] must, therefore, accustom ourselves to live with weapons,
weapons in the hands of the workers, weapons to combat imperialism.  That
is why we have acquired weapons, many weapons, many more than they
imagined.  (Commotion--shouts of "Rockets, rockets")

Own Efforts, Not Rockets

No, do not speak of rockets. I will tell you why; because that is too
simple. The effort must be our own, and to defend ourselves we should think
of trebling and quadrupling our efforts rather than comfortably expecting
them to send rockets against the enemies of the country.

We should speak of rockets as little as possible so as not to fall asleep
on the rockets, so as not to create in the spirit of the people a tendency
to complacency, so as not to lull the spirit of resistance of our people;
moreover, if we do not want rockets ever to be used, if we do not want the
world ever to be involved in the tragedy of an atomic war as the
consequence of an invasion of our country, we have a way to contribute to
preventing it:  by being strong.

To be weak would be equivalent to inviting the enemy to attack us.  And the
attack of imperialism could lead, it can be said, would lead the world to
war.  And to be weak is to invite imperialism to attack.

If they thought that our island could be occupied with a few hundred
parachutists, it is probable they would decide to attack us.  When they
understand that if they fought for months for Okinawa--which was a small
island defended by foreigners--if to take Okinawa they had to mobilize
their fleets and marines, let them figure out what they would have to do to
take an island larger than Okinawa and defended by six million Cubans.
That should show the Pentagon people they are ridiculous to think they
would intimidate us with 1,400 marines in Caimanera.  They send a ship
loaded with marines.  They publish a report that the marines are going to
rest in Caimanera.  Three days later they participate in military maneuvers
against an alleged attack which could only take place in the feverish
minds of Pentagon generals.  When they become convinced that our island
cannot be taken in 24 hours, then the changes of an attack are more remote.
That is why we must not go to sleep on rockets.  We must rely on our own
efforts.  Because without our own efforts, the support of Soviet rockets,
the support of the CPR and of the other countries of the world, would not
have the change of materializing.

You recall that we explained in the days before the U.S. elections that
each candidate pushed the other into a more aggressive position against us.
Moreover, in the minds of the leaders of the attack on our country, there
lingered for many days the idea of starting the attack before the
elections to influence election results.  The revolutionary government
denounced the maneuver in the United Nations and used all means to
counteract the attack.  Nothing happened in these days, and many things
contributed to this.  The best thing would be for them to attack before we
developed our power.  We said so.  If they attacked right away bad; if they
waited weeks, much worse; but if they waited months, far worse.

Organizing mercenaries is not the same as mobilizing the people.  While
they recruit a mercenary, we can recruit 30 men.  Transporting 10,000 men
is not the same as transporting 30,000.

It may be that the U.S. imperialists were not completely equipped.  But the
truth is that two weeks have passed and in those two weeks the militia
forces of the revolution have increased considerably.  Those two weeks they
have lost are two weeks they will never recover.  Those two weeks are weeks
we have used to the maximum.  Another week is passing and another is being
used to the maximum.  Time is on our side.  If they stay away, fine.  We
know we would destroy them; but if they want to spare us the trouble, so
much the better.  We prefer victories without bloodshed.

One point that has always been a possible objective for attack is the Isle
of Pines, and for several reasons.  One, to serve as a base of operations;
another, to serve as a center where they can try to swell their ranks with
the war criminals and counterrevolutionaries who are in prison there.  But
we have taken measures to defend the Isle of Pines, and it cannot be taken
by any invasion of mercenaries.  There, the revolutionary soldiers and the
worker and peasant militia that defend that position have everything needed
to repel any attack.

The people must become familiar with these matters so that each individual
can form his own opinion and understand the problem thoroughly and not be
carried away by imagination or taken in by rumors.  The people must rest
assured that no important news will be withheld.  Few governments have
spoken so clearly as ours.  There are some facts which do not need
publicity, as for example, when a bomb is thrown by terrorists, but causes
no harm.  If damage were caused, then the news should be given out.  The
current situation is sound.  The people can feel calm and assured.

Right now there are thousands and thousands of men--we will not say how
many thousands--in training camps studying the use of special weapons; a
formidable people's army is being organized.  Suffice it to say that in
order to belong to an infantry battalion, militiamen must cover 62
kilometers in one night.  If a man fails the first trial, he must train
himself.  If he cannot make the march he cannot be in the battalion.  This
does not mean that whoever cannot make the march cannot serve in the
militia.  Everybody can be useful in the defense of the nation.  It is a
question of attitude.

Women's Militia

Militia women have been wondering when they will be called up; we are going
to begin calling them, too.  For what service?  For all services, including
fighting.  How could we give up the force represented by women?  We would
be reduced to half the number of combatants.  The slogan of the people
"Fatherland or Death" holds for men and women alike.  (Applause, chanting.)

Sometimes we have difficulties because of excessive enthusiasm on the part
of the militia members; an enterprise will be left without a director or a
group of workers cannot be replaced.  The solution is for anyone who holds
an irreplaceable position in an enterprise not to let himself be carried
away by a warlike spirit.  Help us solve these situations without damage to
production or embarrassing us before the men who are responsible for the
factories and who ask about their technicians who turn out to be in our

Each soldier should know how to use his weapons, but he must also know how
to work with his squad, platoon, and company.  Some militiamen thought this
would be easy, but now it turns out that it is a serious thing.  But we
must say one thing--it is extraordinary how many have come through.  And
this training force which is being formed to train others, those sacrifices
of today, will be compensated threefold.  The worker in training becomes
more self-assured and gets a clearer view of the strength of his class.
When a worker sees that he has weapons, he understands that the weapons
will never be used to exploit him.  The worker finally understands the
social problem and that his future is the future of his class and that one
must work for his class and his people.

Economic Sanctions

Of course international reaction will not resign itself to the revolution.
There was only one way to save our sugar, to prevent economic attack:  that
was to bow to imperialism, and this our people would not permit.  Our
people rose up.  They told us they would not give us replacement parts.
Why did they not respect our sugar quota?  What medicine can we buy without
money?  Where is human reason?  Imperialism is hypocritical.  They think
they will defeat us this way.  They went further.  Last week a ship from
Canada was bringing potatoes and beans.  Yankee influence saw to it that
the ship was unloaded in Puerto Rico instead of Cuba.  Why does imperialism
not want the potato ship to arrive?  Why?  So that there be no potatoes and
beans, and so the people then (speech interrupted by shouts of "Arms, yes;
potatoes, no")  What is the aim?  To demoralize the people.  It is not
enough that they hold military maneuvers, the shameless ones.  But they
also try to take away our food.  Despite that we must continue what we are
doing.  Potatoes, beans, nothing will be lacking.  In December we will
harvest the beans--between 1 1/2 and 2 million quintals of beans.

There is more:  potato production last year was 2.3 million quintals.  Next
year we can produce what we used to import.  Three million quintals will be
gathered this December.  Beginning mid-December the egg shortage will have
ended for good.  There is more turkeys used to be imported for Christmas;
for this Christmas, the people's farms will bring 50,000 turkeys to market.
Next year we plan to boost that figure.  And there is more yet:  tomatoes
and vegetables used to be imported.  Now in one people's farm near San
Cristobal, we have almost finished the first hydroponic system for growing
vegetables all year round.  Next year we will have vegetables all year.
For Christmas we will have apples and grapes from Czechoslovakia.  (Cheers;
chanting.)  And we will have toys from Japan, Russia and People's China.

Agriculture, Livestock Gains

Agriculture, livestock, and dairies are developing very well.  Grain
production is developing greatly.  And another thing:  Cotton had not been
grown in Cuba.  This year 1,500 caballerias were planted in cotton.  That
means more than 50,000 persons were employed in December and January for
the cotton crop.  In former times those 50,000 would have been idle this
time of year.  Next year we will double the area in cotton and give work to
100,000.  We are going to reduce the area in sugar cane, for the sake of
diversification.  This is part of a plan to give work all year round to
families that live on the sugar cane cooperatives.  We are going to build
100 towns for the sugar cane co-ops.  We are diversifying agriculture
beginning with people's farms and cane co-ops.  There will be several model
people's farms in each province.  On people's farms the workers have
housing, electricity, and social clubs--all free.

We are not advancing just in armaments.  We are also advancing in beans,
turkeys, pigs, potatoes, and everything.  We are also advancing in
industrialization plans.  Next year installation of many factories will
begin, including a tractor, truck, bus and auto factory.  In January we
will take a young man from each cooperative up to a total of 1,000 for a
six-month course in horticulture at Havana.  They will go back to the
co-ops to teach others.  In January business students will begin a course
in accounting at Holguin.  And in Matanzas, in January, representatives
from the cooperatives will study an agrarian course.

While imperialism is trying to take away our technicians to set us back,
the first 600 university scholarship holders are beginning to study
engineering.  Everything they need is furnished.  Two more buildings are
being prepared, so that in January, 4,000 scholarship holders can be
accommodated.  When the university city is begun, we will have
accommodations for 7,000 students.  And there is more:  In the Sierra
Maestra, there are already 5,000 youth brigades.  One hundred of them will
begin studying aviation; 600 technical courses.  In December, the first
technological school of the revolutionary army will be ready to take in
young men.  We will have six of them next year, able to take 6,000 young
people, who will study technical courses, aviation, and maritime exercises.

In every field, then, the revolutionary effort is being carried forward.
We have 1,000 teachers in the mountains now.  In every corner of the
mountains, there is a teacher.  At Guajay a luxurious estate belonging to
Miguel Angel Ouevedo has been turned into a school.  Four hundred poor
little girls, are studying there.  We hope to take care of 10,000 in that

See how the revolution is advancing?  Every time one of those gentlemen
leaves the country, he does us a favor.  Many of the gentlemen have left.
(They left fine houses behind?).

We have not thrown anyone out. But those who go of their own free will--you
have seen the lines in front of a certain embassy--are not bothered by
anyone. The places of those who go will be taken by others, by those who

Counterrevolutionary Rumors

The counterrevolutionaries have said that the government will intervene in
private colleges.  It is false to say this.  Why?  We have been building
better colleges.  The counterrevolutionaries constantly start ridiculous
rumors.  It is best not to heed them.  They harm the ones who tell them as
much as those who invent them.  Some counterrevolutionaries said that the
government would take over the children--and there are some people who have
gone to psychiatrists because of this.  But this is ridiculous.  We are
collecting orphans only so that they may have a home.  Girls are picked up
and educated.  We are building centers for the youths of the brigades.  The
government explained its steps to the people.  It said that drastic
measures were not needed.  The government has fulfilled its promises.

We warned that there was one zone in which drastic measures would be taken.
That was in Escambray, because the landowners there were aiding the
counterrevolutionaries.  We thus decided to take drastic measures and
undertake a special agrarian reform.  A sector that conspires against the
country will sacrifice its own interests.  So that occupation of those
farms was ordered.  The cooperatives formed were staffed by militiamen who
fought in Escambray against the counterrevolutionaries.

The revolution is going well.  We can all be satisfied.  We know what we
are doing and how we are doing.  We are trying to do our duty, all of us.
We are carrying out a worthy task and we will know how to defend it.  We
also have enthusiasm and optimism, and courage to defend it.  It will be
defended by a people because it is the work of a people, and the work of a
people cannot be destroyed.  That is why the enemies of our country and the
enemies of the revolution have vain hopes and why they should know that
they have a people against them.