Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana, Radio Rebels, in Spanish to Cuba, Nov. 28, 1960, 0415 GMT--E

(Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro commemorating the anniversary of the
student martrys of 1871)

(Summary)  Students, rebel youth, youth brigades, militiamen, militiawomen,
people:  On this Nov. 27, there is something worthy of our attention:  It
is the fact that this year's ceremony has been even greater than last
year's.  That means a lot.  It means that what used to happen before, no
longer happens; commemorations of this sort used to lose the support of the
people.  The presence of a greater number of Cubans here tonight signifies
that patriotic and revolutionary functions have more and more support of
the people.

Why?  Simply because the revolutionary consciousness of the people grows
and becomes stronger.  And it is not only a matter of a greater number of
Cubans going to the university.  One must also bear in mind that this fact
signifies, in another sense, a defeat for the counterrevolution.

For the Cuban revolution this ceremony has great significance, after almost
two years of revolution, after the profound and radical measures the
revolution has brought to our country.  If this ceremony had taken place in
the country and the peasants had come en masse, it would be natural. If it
were given for workers and they were to attend en masse, it would be very
natural.  The working class and the peasants are with the revolution.  The
counterrevolution places its hopes in gaining positions in the University
of Havana did and in the student centers.  Why?  Because the student mass
is a heterogeneous mass.  The composition of the student mass is varied and
generally the sons of the poorer families did not have the opportunity to
study in universities. The opportunity to study in our country had been
inversely proportionate to means, that is, the poorer the families, the
less chance for their sons to study.  For example, who shined shoes in the
streets?  Where do these children who sell papers at night and in the
morning come from?  What chance did they have of studying at the
university?  What opportunity did the sons of peasant families have where
there were not even primary school teachers?

Those whose families had money could go to the city to study in the
institutes and universities. Some were even able to go to the United States
or Europe to study.  The poorer families in the country, in general, with
some exceptions, could not send their children to school. There are many
sons of poor families in the institutes, but in the university there are
sons of middle income families, and also children of rich families. Many a
poor youth could not go to school.  The rich youth who did not go to school
did so because he did not want to. And generally the rich families wanted
their children to study and perpetuate their interests. That is certain.
The counterrevolution is trying to gain ground all over the world.  What
will the counterrevolution tell a peasant who has stopped paying rent under
the revolution?  What will it tell the workers?  The counterrevolutionaries
do not go to the public school that the government opens in the mountains.
They have never gone to the mountains, even for a visit.

The counterrevolution does not go to the converted military barracks and
fortresses where the children of poor families go.  The counterrevolution
knows it has nothing to seek there.  Imperialism knows the same.  When the
counterrevolutionaries do go there, they go to the professors of those
educational centers.

Counterrevolution goes to them, directs itself to them, to convert them
into tools for its objectives against the people.  The counterrevolution,
above all, directs itself, as you know, to the schools of the privileged.
There the counterrevolution finds its best medium for growth.  In the
schools of the superprivileged where there is scarcely any young person
whose interests--as landowner, importer, financial representative, big
landlord, or professional man in the service of those interests that have
been eliminated by the revolution--have not been affected by laws of the
revolution for the poor, by the poor, and of the poor.  And since we are
speaking here on behalf of this revolution, it is our duty to speak very
clearly to the people, particularly to the poor, and speak likewise to the
privileged of yesterday and semiprivileged of today--for some privileges
are left to them--so that they may know what we leaders of the revolution
and the people that support the revolution, are doing, and know the
problems thoroughly, so that these semiprivileged who are left may know
that we understand why things are as they are, and that we understand why
those centers are the best media for counterrevolutionary ferment.

And when we talk here of counterrevolutionary teachers, we are not
criticizing our education minister.  It is not an easy task to confront the
heritage we have received from the past.  In any case, it is a natural
result of a generous revolution such as this one, but, although it is
generous, this revolution has not been weakened; it has a tremendous moral
hold on the people, tremendous moral strength for action.

Counterrevolution Openly Advocated

In many of these centers, counterrevolution is openly preached, and hatred
for the worker, hatred for poor youth, hatred for poor people.  That is to
say, hatred is preached against measures taken not to benefit privileged
minorities but to bring justice to those who lacked it, to bring well-being
to those who lacked it, to bring progress to those who lacked it, openly,
brazenly; and why thus?  Because nobody is more cynical than a

What do the scribes and pharisees know?  You know who the scribes and
pharisees are, and you know who the anti-Christs are here in this country.
That is, those who do not cast their lot with the poor, those who do not
want to go to heaven through the eye of a needle; that is, those who want
the camel to go through the eye of the needle; those who never went to the
poor districts, who never went to the poor abandoned villages; those who
devoted themselves to encouraging great social privileges; those pharisees
and scribes, those who make up the rotten rabble of counterrevolution. They
know what they have to deal with, they know what the revolution wants; they
know what the revolution aims at, they know that the revolution is
generous; they know that the revolution does not want to play into their
hands; they know the revolution does not want to cast fuel on the fire of
campaigns against our country.  They know what they are doing.  They know
that here they will fail to deceive anybody; they know that here they will
be unable to confuse anybody, but they are serving international interests.
They do not care about the game here; what matters to them is the game
outside.  They want to create conflict here for purpose of creating
propaganda outside.

Those who, here, use churches and the schools of the privileged to wage a
criminal campaign against the revolution that has done so much good for the
poor.  Those who want to rebel against the revolutionary country because it
destroyed selfish interests, immoral interests--immoral in the eyes of man
and God--those who rebel against the country because it destroyed those
immoral interests, they know that here they cannot fool anybody.  They
cannot even arouse fanaticism, for the martyrs in Rome were not the
children of the Roman patricians, but of the Roman plebeian.

Those who were burned on the crosses, those who were eaten by wild beasts,
were slaves, or semi-slaves, the poor of Rome, and among these men, faith
was firm. These men were not accustomed to the pleasures of the ruling
class, which lived from feast to feast.  It is hard to make fanatic
believers out of the privileged classes.  The believers do not come from
among those who are unaware of what suffering and sorrow mean.  It is hard
to make loyal servants of any idea out of people who have fine cars, who
have always eaten well, who think it is judgment day if they lack for
anything.  And the time of final judgment for privilege and criminal
exploitation did come in our country.  Heroes are not found among children
of the privileged class.  They will not find conviction inspiring a fight
to the death among children of the privileged.

But these people are recruited to make propaganda abroad, to make
provocations. Counterrevolutionaries know the revolution is generous and
does not want to throw fuel on the fire of the campaign against our
country.  They take advantage of this to implant reactionary opinions in
the untrained minds of children, opinions against the country, selfish
opinions, opinions against the revolution and against the people.  They
know the attitude of the revolution and they make provocations.  Maybe they
think the revolution is afraid of them. (Chanting.)

They have spread the worst calumnies, and under crime and terror they
registered more and more students in order in that way to benefit from the
university that closed its doors and went into the streets to combat a
tyranny.  Nevertheless, the revolutionary government eased the measures of
sanction that the students demanded while the little gentlemen got their

Religion Used in Counterrevolution

The revolution went against privilege, against the privileged classes but
since it was not a matter of religion but a problem of material interests,
an economic problems, all the rest--faith, religion and other things have
served as a pretext to cry out about the wound, not of religion or faith,
but the wound of the particular interests, the economic interests.

The revolution came to prove the close links between militarymen, estate
owners and clergy.  It was discovered that there were payments by the sugar
centers to some of the clergy. That is to say, they did not send the checks
to the henchmen--the sergeant, the lieutenant, the captain and the major,
they did not send the check only to the famous lawyer whose office defended
the sacrosanct interests of those gentlemen--they sent the little and the
big check to the clergy also, producing a repugnant link between the
exploiter, the henchmen who murdered, the lawyer who defended those
privileges, and the priest who preached submission among the peasants.
(Chanting:  "Fidel, be firm.  Hit the priests hard!)

That is why some of these cassocked henchmen, far from the true preachings
of Christ, began giving counterrevolutionary sermons in the churches and
writing parochial pamphlets that the very catholics, the very faithful,
received with the national anthem on their lips.

That was not known by the good faithful; that was not known by the poor
faithful.  They did not know that the priest received the checks of the
exploiters of our country.  They did not know that.  And the revolution did
not have a hostile attitude toward the religion. The revolution only
nationalized sugar centers.  The revolution was concerned with material
interests.  The laws of the revolution were never against any church.  What
revolutionary law has ever harmed any religious law?"  (crowd shouts "No.")

"But the revolutionary laws were against the monopolies, against the
landowners, against the institution of rents, against foreign interests,
against the institution of rents, against foreign interests, against all
those that harmed the interests of the country.  No revolutionary law was
made against any church.  If the revolutionary laws were restricted to
material laws, it is clear that the attitude of some priests against the
revolution has nothing to do with religion but with the harm done to some
of the classes with which they were allied, and these truths were said
here by a worthy Catholic priest.  These same truths were proclaimed here
by one who came in his habit to speak on a revolutionary tribune, to serve
his country and government, and to serve his people without denying Christ.

The republic practices freedom of religion; it represents believers and
nonbelievers.  But one thing is true, that within the country we know all
who love the country.  Those who do not fit within the revolution are those
who hate the poor, those who hate the people.  Those who cannot serve God
or country are those who serve the interests of the selfish, those who
serve the interests of the privileged.  Those are the ones who cannot speak
on this tribune where truth fluorishes and where all hypocricy was
abolished from the first instant.

And these reasons explain why the counterrevolutionaries tried to take
positions among the students in the universities and in the private
colleges.  In the private colleges we will not meddle.  We said we would
make schools for sons of poor families that are better than the best
private schools and we are fulfilling our promise.

It is hard for any private school to compete with Ciudad Libertad.  It is
logical that as such schools grow, some schools of the privileged will
begin closing, for two reasons:  because they are better schools and
because the money of the great importers and landowners is now serving to
make schools for the people.  The Revolutionary Government takes those
funds and uses them to build school cities.  The result is that some of
these privileged schools will be ruined.

But they do not resign themselves to operating economically.  What do they
try to do?  Before closing the doors they double and treble provocations.
They pretend that the Revolutionary Government is closing those schools.
The Revolutionary Government has not wanted to give the
counterrevolutionaries a pretext for campaigns. But that does not mean that
they have a right to impunity.  Moreover, do not be deceived.  On this
island the poor will be with the revolution.

The poor fight, and the privileged--the privileged will be left alone. And
the privileged are not of the same quality as those in the days of ancient
Rome, who know how to die.  The privileged go to the embassy and head for
Miami.  That is what many have done.

They say that the revolution is very bad because the revolution wanted all
to have homes and parks. The revolution is so bad that is left 30
caballerias of land to the landowners.  A peasant would like to have that
much land.  It is so bad that it let them keep a monthly income of 600
pesos.  Any family of Las Villas would like to have that income. The
revolution is so bad that it has not taken away any houses.

It is possible that in a few places of the world, there are homes like
there are here.  It may be that even in the United States, the center of
imperialism, there are not many residences as luxurious as these.  And we
suggest, as a method of revolutionary instruction, going around to the
country club, and from there to the poor quarters of Marianao. That is the
world they wanted, that is the world they sigh for, with a few hundred in
palaces, and millions in poverty, having to pay perhaps 60 to 80 pesos for
a miserable two-room apartment.  The worker worked like a slave and for

Marti said the country was for everybody and for the good of everybody.
The revolution has been fulfilling Marti's idea of the country being for
everybody, and there are few cases in history where this idea has been
fulfilled as generously, without the guillotine.  In France they cut off
people's heads.

In Haiti, when the people rebelled, the owners of coffee plantations were
beheaded.  When peoples have risen they have not used gentle means.  Here,
the privileged were well treated.  And when they wanted to go, they lined
up outside the embassy and were not molested.  Nobody told them they had to
stay here.  If Uncle Sam wants to pay their expenses, all right, better for
him to pay for them than Cuba.  The 30 caballerias of land they leave
behind can be used to give employment to more peasants through agrarian

The 600 pesos income they give up can be used to employ men building
houses.  As for the country club section houses, what will we do with them?
(people shout suggestions)  Not schools, no, poor children do not live
around here.

Friendship Institute Established

We have an idea.  Those houses can be used for our guests, for worker,
peasant, student visitors who come here.  The revolution always has
distinguished guests.  We will prepare 100 houses for guests invited by the
institute of friendship with peoples, which has been established.  We will
keep up the gardens.  Youth brigades for revolutionary work will supply 100
young people who want to study languages and serve as tourist guides.  We
will establish a school for those who want to study for a diplomatic
career. But meanwhile, they can take our visitors around.  Later, they can
even become ambassadors.  That is what we are going to do with the houses
at Cubanacan--a former country club--abandoned by distinguished families
who have gone to the hospitable shores of Uncle Sam, and thanks for the

That is what has happened here.  A gentlemen left, leaving a school behind
called the Havana Military Academy.  Now we are adding to it, and it will
be the first rebel army polytechnic school for revolution is organized now,
and it has the manpower to do all the tasks it proposes and achieve all the
goals it proposes.  Now we have 600 scholarship holders for the university
and a capacity for 2,000 more, and buildings are being prepared to handle
2,500 more.  Every young person from a poor family wanting to study in the
university needs only to ask for a scholarship.  He does not need any

Later he will pay for his studies.  The money will merely be advanced to
him.  He will have hygienic quarters, good food, books, clothing, all
expenses, and 10 pesos a month the first year.  As he goes on, greater
amounts will be given him.  Afterwards, in a 10 year period, with a small
part of his earnings, he will pay for his studies.  What is the revolution
doing?  It is providing opportunity at the University of Havana, of Las
Villas. (shouting)

Bomb Explosion

Do not pay attention!  Those are bombs they place against the poor people;
none of these bombs is placed by a countryman, anybody who has benefited
from the revolution. None of these bombs is placed by a worker, by a poor
person whose rent has been lowered, by a family that has been given a
house, by a family with a loved one admitted to a hospital without a letter
of recommendation, by a family whose children now study at reconverted
barracks.  No patriot places any of these bombs. Those bombs are placed by
the agents of imperialism, by those who kneel to a foreign power and want
to see their country drenched with blood.

Formerly revolutionaries used dynamite to combat exploitation and crime and
tyranny.  Revolutionaries used dynamite to fight the crooked politician,
embezzler, imperialist exploiter, privilege. The revolutionary had to face
torture, informers, a shot in the back of neck.  The revolutionary faced
all that to fight for an idea.  Nobody paid him.  The counterrevolutionary,
agent of imperialism, who is paid by the embassy, who is paid by privileged
groups, knows he does not face torture.  He knows the revolution's
generosity is the guarantee of his life.  I believe no terrorist has yet
been executed.  They know nobody is beaten at the police station.  They
know the revolutionary courts have been mild.  But we know that in the soul
of a mercenary, an enemy of his people, an enemy of the poor, a servant of
privilege, there is no valor to face revolutionary courts and the penalty
he deserves for his crimes.  So there is no reason to become impatient.
This is a proof of their impotence.

Where are the mercenaries who were being trained in Guatemala?  Where are
the planes, the landing craft?  Where are the mercenary legions?  How is it
they have not landed?  And now they content themselves with making noise,
with placing little bombs around.  They have gotten an idea of the number
of battalions organized, of the extraordinary mobilization of the people,
of the weapons, and they know what these weapons mean in the hands of
workers and peasants and students.  Enemies of the country and the
revolution know what these guns and mortars and other weapons mean in the
hands of the people.

They and their imperialist bosses could not face our people and much less
face part of the world that support us. (Applause)  Where are their hopes?
Can they mobilize against the revolution the man who did not have work, any
of the 200,000 workers who began working in the country after the triumph
of the revolution?  Are they going to mobilize against the revolution the
35 percent of the workers who have found work after the triumph of the

New Training Schools

Some time ago we spoke of the inheritance of the past.  The inheritance of
the future will be what we are doing now.  It will be the thousands of
youths selected on the basis of their merits and natural conditions, where
the weak of spirit and character were left behind and the best stayed here
to progress.  Some will go to the school of maritime arts and crafts and
within a year they will be handling the fishing fleets whose ships are
already being built in the national yards.  Others will go to naval schools
where they will be trained to man warships.  They will serve without pay
for 2-1/2 years.  Those 2-1/2 years will be partly training.  They will
patrol our coasts.  They will defend our sovereignty and then will be hired
in our national merchant marine and will travel the world in Cuban ships.
They will have the opportunity in aviation schools, naval schools, and
technical schools where they will also form combat units while they are
studying.  Our finishing technical studies, they will be able to work in
factories or they will receive scholarships to continue higher studies.
And those youths are of the poorest families.  Many sold papers; many
shined shoes; others did other things.  Those youths are truly of the
revolution.  Among them there will be no counterrevolutionary seeking
converts.  How different from the gentlemen of the Yankee university of

And that is how we are marching ahead with what we have. What we have is
not perfect.  We have received the inheritance of the past. But the present
generation is reacting and the professionals, who are partly a product of
the past, nevertheless react for the revolution against those who leave the
country.  These professionals are showing up better all the time and those
who left are looking more miserable all the time.

Medical Student Support

We thought that the medical students who were in the countryside should not
get 240 pesos a month. That was a test period.  If they are going to show
love of country, it is not a matter of money.  For the government a few
more dollars did not mean a thing.  It was a moral issue.  We were
interested only in the moral character of the recently graduated students.
They were led by a few counterrevolutionary leaders into making economic

But the new class has had a completely changed position.  Here is the
document they sent me:

"The undersigned medical students who will graduate in six months,
conscious of the situation of the country, want to fulfill their social
function. Since we do not think it moral to make economic demands in times
like these, we hereby proclaim: We will support the revolutionary measures
with our life if necessary. We are at the disposition of the revolutionary
authorities. We will accept the salary the government thinks it can pay. We
only want to be useful to the country. We reject as counterrevolutionary
all other attitudes that tend to undermine the revolutionary spirit of the
country. We ask all classmates to express revolutionary sentiments."

The medical association yesterday agreed to give a last chance to members
who want to come back, up to Dec. 31. After that date we feel that no
chance should be given any of these professional men who abandoned their
country in difficult times. Those who leave thus should at least lose their
citizenship and the right to practice their profession here.

The international picture will have to improve.  The revolution has won.
The revolution is a reality.  The revolution will continue forward,
invincibly.  What can imperialism do in face of the world picture?  With
every day that passes, the mercenaries have a harder nut to crack here.
The military might of the revolution has grown so that mercenaries can be
awaited with laughter.  They would last a very short while. What has
imperialism obtained with its Caribbean patrol? More discredit, and it is
proof of their fear.  The imperialists are striking out blindly.

The revolution does not have to be exported.  Revolutions will take place
of their own accord in Latin America.  The imperialists have covered
themselves with ridicule with their aggressions and maneuvers.  Sugar is
very high in the United States.  After next year we will see how the sugar
problem is settled.  Late in December or early in January, we will call a
meeting of all sugar workers and we will lay down a sugar policy in keeping
with the prospects.

Will Await Kennedy's Attitude

Kennedy was guilty of much demagoguery in the recent campaign, encouraging
aggression against Cuba.  But we will see what he will actually do. We will
see.  We will see if, with our literacy drive, Kennedy becomes politically
literate and reeducates himself politically.  Perhaps this literacy drive
will contribute to aiding Kennedy's perception. We will see if the policy
of aggressions against our country continues, a stupid, base policy that
has failed.

The stupid U.S. leaders have sacrificed their own workers and industries.
And their embargo has made little impression; we have continued much the
same, and our farm output has grown tremendously. We are putting up frozen
poultry for Christmas; the grain cop is being harvested; there are 50,000
turkeys; hog output is developing so much that at Christmas we will even
have suckling pigs, for those who could not bear a Christmas without them.
The embargo has failed. We have been solving our problems, and they have
sacrificed this market.  If they did with everybody what they have done
with Cuba, imperialism would be quickly undone.

For us it would be better for imperialism to go on dying slowly until its
inevitable historic disappearance.  That is how we see things.  That is
what we wanted to talk about here today.  Maybe a few things have been left
out, but it does not matter.  The main things have been said. We have been
frank and sincere; we have spoken the truth bluntly when we thought we
should, but we have also expressed faith and optimism.  Today, with more
assurance than ever, we can talk that way from this terrace, for it has
become more and more revolutionary every day, and more and more identified
with the people.  No better tribute to the martyrs of 1871 can be paid than
the triumph of our country that we have before us today.

[Unreadable text] thank the students. We thank their leader Rolando Cubela,
who played his part in the war and has done his duty in peace. Soon he will
graduate as a doctor; he deserves our public, sincere expression of
gratitude. We are happy to know he has the right of honorable men, the
right to hold his head high, the gratitude of his people. Our appreciation
to all the university, our faith and conviction that the University of
Havana will likewise be in the front ranks in this creative, glorious hour
of our country.