Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana, Cadena de la Libertad, in Spanish to Cuba, Jan. 14, 1961, 0254

(Summary)  First of all, we want to explain why we were a bit late in
arriving here.  We used the day in general to tour the countryside to see
how things have been progressing.  In order to understand the spirit of
each of us these days, one must consider that Jan. 1 marked for the
revolutionary government the beginning of a series of plans and
undertakings which had been planned the previous year.

On Jan. 1 several schools were to begin; classes were to be started for
those who direct the newly created ranches; a course was to be begun to
prepare trade and professional youths who are to manage cooperatives; newly
trained teachers were to be assigned to mountain and other areas.  This was
to be the year of education; the year when hundreds of thousands of youths,
many of them peasants, were to be helped to prepare themselves for better
paying jobs.

The benefits of the revolution have reached thousands of students.  Almost
200,000 persons who were not working on Jan. 1, 1959, have been benefited.
More than 20,000 new housing units have been made available.  The sick have
been aided; the great majority of the workers' wages have been raised,
rents lowered.

Most satisfying of all is that our country has become a light for all
exploited, colonized and backward peoples of the world.  It should be a
moral satisfaction to know that what was a hopeless country has become the
hope of hundreds of millions.  The Cuban revolution has demonstrated that
any people taking the path of Cuba will have the support of a considerable
portion of the world.

Thinking of all these things helps us to understand our spirit in these
days when we have seen that, because of the criminal plans of the enemies
of our people, we have had to postpone day after day all these projects,
that we have had to delay all these plans for more than a half month in
order to devote ourselves to defense of the revolution.

Tens of thousands of construction workers, thousands who were working in
Ciudad Libertad or on other projects which had to be held up. have been
digging trenches, planting mines, and doing whatever was needed to hinder
the attack of the forces of imperialism.  Many work centers and production
centers this week were deprived of their most expert and most experienced

The nation has had to devote itself to the vital need of defending the
revolution and the country.  We have lived in a state of uncertainty.  Our
people have had to stop the work they were doing to take up rifles against
the possibility that enemies would come to destroy that work.

We have lived in bitterness, contemplating every precious minute during
which our workers should have been at their jobs.  We have lived in the
uncertainty of what a criminal aggression might have cost the world.  We
have already said that we are not only worried about the fate of our people
but also the fate and sacrifices of other peoples who might be forced to
act should an aggressive act be committed against our country.

This bitterness and this indignation explain the miracle of energy and
efficiency shown by our people in these days.  Perhaps this is the only
explanation of the fervor shown by thousands for the defense of the
country.  This is the only explanation for what our men have accomplished
in the cold and the rain.  Perhaps this is the only explanation for the
fact that in a very short space of time our people mounted and placed on a
war footing all the weapons available to them.  Every rifle and gun was
placed in combat disposition; every strategic point was occupied; every
road of importance was mined with antitank mines.  We had decided to defend
our soil inch by inch, stone by stone, house by house.

If we were sure of one thing, it was that if imperialist forces invade, our
people would resist as long as necessary--even longer, so that the
"apocalyptical ray" would fall on the aggressors, which might mean their
disappearance from the earth.

If we were sure of one thing, it was that an aggression against Cuba would
result in heavy resistance and also in the solidarity of the friends of
Cuba, which would mean withdrawal or total destruction of the aggressors.

The important thing is that they could not count on the surprise factor.
They could not attempt an occupation of our island in 24 hours.  Those who
planned the aggression knew that it would not be a picnic.

Charges in U.N. Substantiated

We lost no time in going to the United Nations in order to present our
charges and to alert the world.  We went on a war footing so that we might
not only resist but also try to win the battle without it being waged, to
win the battle without sacrificing the lives of our people and the wealth
of our country.

We wanted to wage the preliminary battle before world opinion because
imperialism, like any criminal surprised at the moment of committing a
crime, would be paralyzed by the rapid and opportune charges aired by the
revolutionary government.  Any criminal surprised in the act of committing
a crime can be stopped before he commits it.  We told the criminal "you
propose to attack our country," so the criminal was faced with our charges
before he committed the crime.

No other proof is necessary that the revolutionary government was right
than the mere fact that even though the representative of the U.S.
Government to the United Nations said that our charges were lies and
strange, a few days late the very papers of that country and the newsmen of
that country took it upon themselves to divulge the military preparations
which were being made in Guatemala, Miami, and other places around Cuba.
They themselves, their own papers--perhaps in an attempt to give vent to
their love for the sensational and because of the contradictory nature of
imperialism--have once again foiled--as if it mattered--that gentleman who
will leave the presidency of that country in a few days.  (Applause)

If he was intent on committing another faux pas, or in making another
ridiculous gesture, U.S. newspapermen took care to corroborate Cuba's
denunciation and to divulge to the world the construction of a military
base in Guatemala, the training of numerous contingents of mercenaries,
and finally a shameless and cynical plan for attacking our country without
the least respect for international law and the public opinion of the

Cynical Aggressors

Imperialism feels no shame at all in being revealed before the entire world
as the violator of the sovereign right of a nation and of international law
when it organizes armies for attacking our country and when it devotes
itself to concocting every sort of scheme against Cuba and every kind of
provocation, as it is doing by unashamedly organizing those expeditions,
mobilizing naval and marine forces around our country and even going to the
extreme--as they did recently--of torturing a Cuban worker at the Caimanera
naval base with the aid of myrmidons and criminals or refugees from
justice.  (Shouts)

All these incidents constitute a series of cowardly and cynical
provocations against our country:  a series of stupid provocations which
reflect only the desperation and the frustration of those who thought they
could undo in one second the existence and the fate of our people.

Cubans have not allowed themselves to be provoked for they are aware that
they can win every battle and that the imperialists have lost their
prestige.  The Cubans know that their government has acted in a much better
manner than their enemies.  Cubans know that the imperialists have done
everything possible to deprive us of replacement parts, products, vital
items, and so forth.  In spite of this, the revolutionary government
entered its second year with 200,000 more employed and a Christmas bonus.
The energy and capacity of our people, plus their ability to mobilize, have
taken the breath out of the imperialists.  They thought that the
Cubans were not capable, not energetic.  They thought we were an indolent
people, as the U.S. War Department told their military leader who fought in
Cuba in 1898.

Satisfied with ourselves and certain of what will happen to the
imperialists if they attack us--for theirs are the actions of the desperate
and those who have failed--we have understood the situation in which the
stupidities of the imperialist government have placed them.

We know what the mercenaries may not know; we know that they can have no
illusions.  They know the fate that befell them when we had only a couple
of machine guns and little ammunition.  They know the fate that befell them
then; they know what it means to fight against the revolutionaries.  They
know what would happen to them if they came here.  They know that if they
did not have the support of the imperialists their stay on our soil would
be brief.  We are going to employ against the mercenaries all the weapons
which are necessary and even these that are not necessary, that is, we are
going to pulverize them with all the mortars and cannons we have.

A few months ago when they tried to leave Guatemala for Cuba, we frankly
told our people that unless they took that opportunity the mercenaries
would find things more difficult with each passing day.  If two more months
went by, our strength would be much greater.  We can say with assurance
that the revolution has sufficient forces to pulverize all the mercenaries
multiplied 100-fold.

Jan. 20 is Critical Date

We still have seven days left until the 20th.  Let us see what they decide
to do, whether they decide to attack us directly or not, whether they
decide to launch the mercenaries or not. Let us see if they decide to send
expeditions or whether they will be satisfied with merely sending a few
little planes and dropping a few bombs on our cities.

Perhaps they will be stupid and barbaric enough, perhaps devilish enough
even, to dare commit such an act without consideration for the wave of
indignation and hatred that they will awaken in the entire world if they
murder a single Cuban citizen with a single bomb by means of a bold attack
from foreign bases (Applause).

Finally, the problem is not ours; it is theirs.  Let us see between now and
the 20th what they will do with the mercenaries, send them or not; and if
they do not send them, what the new U.S. President will do with the hot
potato that has been left in his hand.

The problem is not ours; it is theirs.  On the 20th considering that the
time of greatest danger is over, we will demobilize our forces, although we
will not stop preparing our people and will remain always alert because we
do not know how many years we will be in the necessity of being alert.  For
us, if something happens before the 20th, we will not be unprepared.  if
nothing happens from now to the 20th, then the headache is not ours.  The
headache is that of the new U.S. administration.  Inasmuch as we already
have brought to realization the revolutionary laws which have rescued all
the wealth that was in foreign hands; we have no points of friction of any
kind because now all the industries are ours, all the mines are ours, all
the banks are ours, and, finally, only the problem of the base remains;
and the base does not worry us.

The base is not a headache for us; it is a headache for them because after
breaking off relations with us, the situation of the United States before
world public opinion is untenable.  The legal position of the United States
with respect to the base is becoming untenable.  All, its positions with
respect to the other countries in which it has bases is untenable because,
in deciding to remain in this base after breaking off relations with us and
in declaring that it is determined to stay in this base by force, it is
telling more than 20 nations of the world--all the nations which have ceded
to the United States one piece or several pieces of their territory for
bases:  You who gave us bases have emasculated your sovereignty and your
territorial integrity (Applause).

It is telling all those peoples that, from the instant imperialism sets
foot on the territory of one of those countries it refuses to leave, and
that, therefore, if at any time that group of countries--France, England,
in short, even nations which in other times enjoyed positions of power and
now have U.S. bases--it is telling them that the day they want those bases
removed, the imperialist government of the United States will say 'no' and
that it is determined to keep that piece of territory by force.

Guantanamo Sets Precedent

What it has done with Caimanera is establish a precedent, which must be
reason for real alarm among all patriots of other countries.  What it has
done with Caimanera shows the formulation of a principle by virtue of which
all those nations which have rented a piece of their territory to the U.S.
Government have lost the right to remove these undesirable neighbors from
their land.

That is why the Caimanera naval base is not a headache for us.  We can sit
and calmly wait, certain that sooner or later in that base we will be able
to establish a great scholastic city as we have done with the other
fortresses.  We do not lose that hope, and we can wait calmly.  We know
that one day we will see that territory of our country full of children and
we therefore neither worry nor have reason to worry.  Let them worry
because the big headache is for them, not us (Applause)

That is the situation.  In such a situation the new U.S. administration
will find itself from the first moment having to make a decision.  We do
not believe; with the situation in Latin America and in the world after the
extraordinary loss of U.S. prestige under the Eisenhower administration,
that the new administration will have leeway to follow such an absurd and
stupid policy.

In another large American country, Brazil, there will also be a change of
government.  The situation, the American and world panorama, will not be
pleasant for these new leaders.  They will be forced to make some

This problem of Cuba places the new U.S. administration at the outset in a
dilemma as to what to do with respect to Cuba, and from the first moment it
will have to make a decision with respect to training camps for war
criminals, with respect to bases of operations with North American
instructors, and from the first it will be faced with the necessity of
correcting or unmasking itself and renouncing; all intelligent policies
which are possible when it assumes leadership.

Hints at Olive Branch

That is why we can imagine the feelings of the new president with respect
to that band of gangsters, and that is why we imagine that at least the
sponsors of those criminals have been asked what will be done with them,
whether on the 20th, when he assumes leadership of the government, all
those thousands of gangsters and criminals will be armed in camps in the
United States, Swan, and Guatemala, and in other countries.

The headache is not ours.  We have no conflicts of any sort.  We have no
worries to disturb us.  Our situation is clear:  From now on we will be
mobilized.  If they come, we will fight them; if they do not come, we will
resume our creative work without lowering our guard.  If they make
rectifications, very good.  It will benefit Cuba, the United States, and
the world.  If after the 20th, there is no rectification, that is also very
good.  We will then continue our same unalterable determination and we will
be stronger, better armed, better trained every day.  (Applause)

Therefore, our path is as clear as day; it is straight and clean.  We are
calm with respect to the future because we know that whatever it brings we
will know how to face it.  We know that if it brings better times, we will
know how to enjoy them.  (Applause)  If it brings worse times, we will know
how to face them.  This does not depend on us.  It depends on them.  Only
one thing depends on us:  To know how to remain firm, know how to face all
circumstances and how to continue ahead victoriously as we have marched
from the first day the revolution reached power.

Virtue and heroism are the shields we will always use against the launches
of the enemy.  They may attack but we have shields of dignity and honor to
defend the country the revolution, and the great future of the country.  We
have no knives in our hands!  We work for ourselves and do not exploit
anyone.  We have a powerful and certain shield, powerful and strong,
capable not only of defending our country but causing the imperialist
assassin to vanish forever from the face of the earth.  We prefer that
imperialist die of natural causes rather than commit suicide at our

Our people have demonstrated their capacity for the revolution, for the
tensions produced by revolution.  If given the opportunity to exchange this
life of tension, creative and patriotic emotion, for the miserable life of
yesterday, none of us would do so.  Above all, none of us would change the
future for the past.  We know what we have conquered.  We are proud of
what we are doing.  The coming generations will be proud of what we are
doing.  The children of today will be proud of what their fathers are
doing, of the militiamen in the trenches, of the men and women of today, of
the valor they are demonstrating, of the glory they have won for their
country throughout the world, of the just laws they have passed and the
privileges they have destroyed, of the truths they have established, of the
lies and vices they have eradicated.  This pride, this glory belonging to
this generation and this people, never will be taken away.

We shall keep moving forward;  We shall continue our plans; We shall keep
fighting against misery, illiteracy, and all the evils which we must yet
conquer.  Schools will be opened.

In a few days these whom duty obliged to leave their posts will return to
them with greater energy.  After Jan. 20 we shall redouble our efforts.
The beautiful future of our country will be ours because we have known how
to conquer it.  For this reason, with more pride we say today "fatherland
or death; we shall win."  (Castro spoke one hour thirty-three minutes--Ed.)