Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Source:  Revolucion, Havana, 6 March 1961

We give below the complete text, provided by the Shorthand Reports
Department of the Revolutionary Government, of the speech delivered on
Saturday by the Prime Minister, Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, at the
ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the sabotage of the
steamship La Coubre, which ceremony was held on the Pan American docks.


Today marks the first anniversary of that catastrophe which took
the toll of about 100 Cuban workers' and soldiers' lives.

As the people gather this afternoon, they are fulfilling a duty of
loving homage to those who gave their lives for their people.  They did not
fall in battle, but one does not die for the fatherland in battles only.
they were working, working for the fatherland, working to contribute to the
defense of their people and their cause.  Those workers and those soldiers
were unloading the first weapons to arrive in our country for the defense
of the revolution, for the defense of the integrity and the sovereignty of
the nation.

Already at that time the first threats of aggression were
beginning, and we already realized the need to prepare ourselves and to
obtain the necessary weapons to answer an attack, to defend ourselves, to
defend the rights of our people, to defend the integrity of our people, to
defend the wealth of our nation, to defend the lives of our citizens.

And this worries the enemy.  The enemy wanted an unarmed country,
a defenseless country.  The revolution would have to defend itself, because
no revolution succeeds without struggle, no revolution develops without
powerful enemies within and without.  No revolution could liquidate the old
privileges, no revolution would liquidate the foreign interests exploiting
the country without struggle, without being ready to resist the attacks of
the enemies.  And our main enemies were not just that dominant class, made
sluggish and lethargic by hatred and luxury.  The basic enemies of the
revolution were not national enemies, but foreign enemies.  They were
represented or symbolized by those exploiting monopolies found from the
wharfs to the electric companies, controlling the mines and the best lands
in our country, well as the bulk of the natural resources and the
industries established in Cuba.

Thus, for example, a ceremony such as this three or four years ago
would have brought here a platform of politicians (shouts of "out"),
precinct bosses, and groups of mercenary supporters who for rum or other
petty rewards would attend these gatherings of the old politickers.  And on
this platform there would not have been the honorable men who were seated
hear today (applause).  On this platform, there would have been a group of
attackers of the public funds (shouts of "out"), there would have been some
estate owners and magnates bearing the title "senator" or "representative"
(shouts of "out").  There would not have been on this platform any men who
work tirelessly, day after day, month after month, year after year, in whom
the people have confidence and the certainty that of the hundreds of
millions of pesos for the economy and the public funds they handle, they
will not keep a single center (applause).  Men who live dedicated to a
single idea: work, fulfillment of duty, service to the cause they

There would have been seated hear those loafers who headed the
workers' movement (shouts of "out"), not the honest and worthy leaders of
the Cuban workers' class (applause).  And there would perhaps have been a
half dozen FBI agents, "attaches" of the American Embassy (whistles), and
some ruffian with or without a cassock (shouts of "to the firing wall with
the priests").

There would not have been, as there are here today, distinguished
representatives of the rural organizations of the workers (applause), nor
courageous Latin American intellectuals such as those who are with us this
afternoon (applause).  And there would not have been a people like that
today, there would not have been working men and women, they would have not
been men in workers' shirts, those attending this ceremony, and these
weapons would not have been in the hands of men of the people who know why
there were hear (applause) and why they have these weapons in hand.  These
weapons would have been in the hands of ruffians and criminals (shouts).

And around us, what would we have seen?  Well, we would have seen
a series of docks and as many American companies.  We would have
seen merchant ships which although they had been bought, that is to say,
paid for, by the state, would have been in the hands of powerful industrial
magnates.  And these four smoking chimneys of the electric company would
not have been seen, as they are today, spewing forth toward the sky of the
fatherland the smoke coming from a national industry (ovation) managed by
workers who are rendering this service to the people and who are putting
back in the national economy, for the building of more thermoelectric
plants, the resources which were formally taken away abroad forever.  We
would not be seeing the locomotives and the trains of out nation, nor the
warehouses of the nation, and these buildings, the new and the old.  These
buildings were buildings where the people came from time in memorial to pay
rent which did not provide them ever with any future security.  In other
words, the people would have had nothing.

In the past the people had nothing.  They had neither docks nor
ships nor trains nor this electrical industry nor warehouses nor homes.
And today, today everything belongs to the people (applause)!

To understand what the revolution is, it suffices to stop in any
corner of Cuba here or near the chimneys of any one of the hundred and
seventy-some sugar plants (applause), here or in the heart of the
mountains, or the middle of the plains, and even in the waters which wash
our coasts, and to ask one's self to whom all this belonged yesterday?
(Shouts) To whom did it belong today?  (Shouts of "to the people".)

In order to learn a practical lesson of the revolution, it
suffices to go to any place in the nation, and everything, absolutely
everything will show us what the revolution is, from the rifle in the
hands of a man of the people to the most modern factories, from the land to
our industries, including transport and finally the bulk of the economic
and natural resources  of the nation.  Not to mention what exists today but
did not exist yesterday, not to mention the thousands of new schools, not
to mention the millions of books which are today enlightening the people
(applause), not to mention that there only remains one military barracks
now which has not been made a school (applause), and not to mention that as
of the end of this year we will be able to announce to the world that here
everyone knows how to read and write (applause).  And when we stop in any
corner of the fatherland and see that around us there is not a single
illiterate person, we will know what the revolution is (applause).

This is the great difference, the tremendous and far-reaching
difference existing between yesterday and today, and what we can glimpse of
tomorrow.  But the revolution is not merely the achievements we have made.
To understand a revolution, it does not suffice to know what the
revolution had done or is capable of doing.  In order to understand the
revolution is it also necessary to know what price must be paid for it

We have spoken of what we have, and we can constantly see and
speak of what has changed and what has been done, but we must also be
talking constantly, who knows for how long, of the process of struggle, of
the blood and the wounds which are the price demanded of our people by
those who cannot contemplate with resignation and calm this tremendous
change between yesterday and today, between the yesterday when nothing
belonged to the people, when the people were the human herd which sweated
and bled to serve those who had everything, and today, when the people
have ceased to be cattle and have become the masters (applause), today,
when everything belongs to the people.

And when the steamship La Coubre blew up, with that hellish toll
of workers and soldiers who were destroyed by this criminal sabotage, our
enemies were warning us of the price they were prepared to demand of us,
but they were also warning us that if the price they were forcing us to pay
for the revolution was high, our people would have to pay much more dearly
for the fact of having wanted a revolution if that revolution were defeated
(applause).  They were telling us that the 20,000 victims would be few
compared to the toll which would be exacted from the people if one day the
return of the past were possible (shouts of "never").  They were teaching
us this lesson, which was linked with another, one which the revolution
itself, in transforming the life in our country, in making the wealth of
the nation available for creative work, in giving man his dignity, in
raising all Cubans, without absurd prejudices, to the position of men
rather than outcasts, of masters of themselves rather than slaves, had
taught us.  Our country had chosen the only path it could:  the path of the
future -- always the path of the future, and never the path of return to
the past (applause).

For this reason, that tremendous holecaust did not frighten
anyone, it did not cow anyone.  That tremendous sacrifice had to serve as a
warning to the enemies of our fatherland and the enemies of our people.
They were kicking against the pricks, but via that path upon which they
embarked, they could not weaken the revolution, they could not intimidate
the people.  The next day the entire people marched behind the corpses of
the murdered workers.

And those militiamen who went immediately in disciplined fashion to
aid the victims, the unorganized, untrained and unarmed militiamen have
been transformed into the formidable organized, disciplined, trained and
armed battalions we have today (applause).

And if the imperialists believe that they could weaken the people,
the difference is now fully clear -- the difference between the day on
which La Coubre exploded and today can be measured not in fewer arms and
fewer tons of defense equipment, but in more tons, thousands of tons more
of weapons (applause), and weapons which the people now know how to handle.

They believe that after that criminal act of sabotage, no workers
would be willing to go on board ships to unload them.  Less than two weeks
later another vessel coming from the same country and carrying similar
arms arrived in the port of Havana, and thousands of workers volunteered to
unload that ship (applause).  And there was no reason for confidence:  the
weapons came from a country which was virtually dominated by the
imperialists and thus it was that a few weeks later, they cancelled the
deliveries still pending on contracts signed by the revolutionary

And those ships did not come back any more. Other ships, truly
friendly ships (applause), others which indeed had and inspired the
confidence and the trust of the workers began to arrive in our country.
Since then, many vessels have come since then, many weapons have arrived
over the period of the year.

But they have not blown up any more vessels.  That explosion,
without any doubt, was plotted abroad.  Without any doubt, the inferno
machine was planted when the ship was loaded.  And no one is unaware of
whose criminal hands it was which prepared that sabotage.  That sabotage
could not have been arranged here, on a vessel handled by chose workers,
entrusted to soldiers who were veterans of the war.  That sabotage could
only have been plotted and carried out abroad.  The possibility of an
accident is ruled out, and to prove this irrefutably, some of the cases
abroad were dropped from a height of 50 meters, if I remember correctly and
none of them exploded.

The imperialist government of the United States (shouts of "out")
was the main party interested in seeing that those weapons did not reach
Cuba.  The imperialist government of the United States had been exerting
pressure to prevent the delivery of those weapons. Diplomatic pressure
failed, because the allies of the imperialists sometimes demand certain
freedoms, and on that occasion of the government of Belgium, allied with
the imperialists because of economic interests and its need to sell its
industrial products, resisted the pressured from the Yankee government and
shipped the weapons.

But if one resource failed, others remained.  And as the Central
Intelligence Agency spends a billion dollars to maintain an army of spies
and agents throughout the world, it was logical that there would be plenty
of agents in Belgium, particularly in Belgium, governed by colonialists.

And when on that occasion we assigned the responsibility we stated
that it had been proved that the accident was arranged abroad, that the
great pressured exerted by the Yankee imperialist government to prevent the
delivery of the weapons had been proved, and that therefore we have a right
to think that they were solely responsible, that 'we had a right to think."

And we spoke thus simply because this was the conclusion to which
we were led by the most elementary reasoning, and we limited ourselves to
saying on that occasion "that we had a right to think."  Today, after a
year of experience, after study of the activities of this same Central
Intelligence Agency with regard to our country, after the experience of a
year of struggle against this Yankee Central Intelligence Agency, and after
the experience the entire world had acquired in this last year, we have a
right to say that it is our conviction that the imperialist government of
the United States was the murderer of these Cuban workers and soldiers
(shouts of "out"), "Cuba, yes, Yankee no," "to the wall," etc.).

There are very few skeptics about what the imperialists are
capable of left in the world.  It is possible that on that occasion there
were some who put their hands to their heads and wondered if this was
possible?  Who would have believed then that still more absurd and
shameless things than that criminal act of sabotage  which cost the lives
of so many of our brothers were possible?  Who would have believed then
that it was possible that a small African country, which had just been
given its charter of independence, but with every intention of maintaining
the colonial system in another form, would be attacked by the forces of the
European power which was exploiting it, and that this country could ask aid
and protection from the United Nations protection against the foreign
invaders, protection it believed it was asking of an international organ
established precisely to safeguard peace and protect the nations from acts
of aggression, and that this organ would send forces to this small country,
and that as a result of the maneuvers of the imperialists these forces,
instead of going there to protect the Congolese against the Belgian
soldiers, would go there to promote division and secession in this small
nation, to promote a coup d'etat, to give economic support to its
instigators and to the secessioners, and that before a year had passed
after the attack, the government leader of that small African people who
had solicited aid from the UN would not only have ceased to receive
protection, but that those called upon to protect him would have promoted
a coup d'etat and his overthrow, not only that but his imprisonment, and
not only that, but the murder of that government leader (applause).

Absurd, the skeptics would have said.  Impossible, some would have
said, with their hands to their heads, if they had been told that the
imperialists were capable of perpetrating such an act for all the world to
see.  There could have been skeptics and unbelievers who would have said
impossible.  But there are the facts, too bloody, too raw, too wounding to
the human sensibilities, perpetrated in the sight of all the universe, so
that there can be nobody left in the world with any doubts of what the
reactionary forces are capable of.

And here in our own country, the skeptics who may perhaps still
exist have more than sufficient proof, as we do, of what the reactionary
forces remaining in the world are capable of, of the acts of intervention
and the violation of the rights of the peoples and international norms of
which the imperialist forces are capable.  And right here we have
continuing examples, right here in our country we are under constant
harassment, engaged in an undeclared war with the Yankee Central
Intelligence Agency, which has never for a moment ceased to promote and
commit, through acts of flagrant intervention in the internal affairs of
our country, all kinds of problems, crimes, sabotage and subversive action
against the Cuban nation.  And this is a truly shameful fact, if they are
still capable of feeling shame, they and those who are sold out to them,
that currently it is precisely the Yankees Central Intelligence Agency,
that is to say, Yankee agents, who are maneuvering all the strings of
subversion, from the supplying of weapons and explosives and their attempts
to promote counterrevolutionary bans to the carrying out of acts of murder
or of sabotage and terrorism, such as the planting of a powerful bomb  in a
classroom or school full or students (shouts of "to the wall").

In an open and unconcealed manner, they are establishing training
camps.  In an open and unconcealed manner, they are building "pirate" air
bases, but they deceive no one, because planes.  In open and unconcealed
fashion they are recruiting mercenaries, and training them, in flagrant and
absolute violation of the international norms.  They are even so shameless
and cynical as to punish their photographs in American periodicals.

And then they speak of "hemisphere security," and then they say
that Cuba represents a danger to this security.  But unless we are
mistaken, Cuba is not located in Asia or in Africa or in the Pacific or in
the Antarctic, or on the planet Mars.  Cuba is located in this
hemisphere, and its national air space is constantly being violated by
planes which do not come from Venus, nor from Africa, nor from Antarctica,
but from this very continent.

And as proof of the shamelessness of the imperialists, it suffices
to note that while they talk incessantly of this security, they keep our
country under constant harassment by means of planes which have their bases
on this continent, from the United States to Guatemala.  And without the
slightest respect for international law, they not only recruit, arm and
organize mercenaries boldly and openly, but constantly violate our national
air space and the waters over which our country has jurisdiction, with
planes and boats coming from these counterrevolutionary bases ringing Cuba
and by means of ships and boats they bring here the explosives which cost
the lives of children, women and workers, which are cruelly cut short in
action designed solely to destroy lives in an effort to pacify our people.

And this is the word they use.  They use this word, claiming that
theirs is the tactic of "pacification," in other words, terror, bombs, and
murder of women and children, and cowardly attacks upon workers emerging
from their work.  And by means of these methods they attack and harass our
people, attempting to promote bands of counterrevolutionaries.  And the sad
thing, the truly insulting thing to our people, that which constitutes a
flagrant violation of international law, is the fact that all of these
activities are directly managed and directed from the United States by
agents of the Central Intelligence Agency.  It is they who maneuver all of
the strings of the plot, who kill children, who kill workers, and who in
cruel and inhuman fashion cut short the lives of the people.

And it is truly tragic that the puppets themselves who play their
game do not understand the strategy being used by the Central Intelligence
Agency.  No one believes, even for a minute, that any of these fugitive
gentlemen who appear as leaders of the counterrevolution had any authority
there to give orders.  The movements of planes, ships, and shipments of
weapons and explosives,  the military camps --  absolutely all the activity
is directly ordered by the Yankee agents (shouts of "down with them!").

We have full information about these details.  Not a single ship
moves without their orders.  Not a single plane moves without their orders.
Thee is not a single movement of mercenary troops that they do not order.
And the sad, the painful thing is that there are people who, however,
miserable they may be, however corrupt they may be, however abject they may
be, should have realized the Yankee strategy.  And it is worth thinking a
little about this detail.

One of the things they tried to organize was counterrevolutionary
bands.  Thus, making use of the complicity of pseudo-revolutionary elements
which moved during the war -- the war the people were waging, not they --
in the mountain zones of Las Villas, taking advantage of the complicity of
these elements, and the fact that the people there had not known the
revolution, they undertook the task of promoting counterrevolutionary
gangs, while abroad they organized and trained the mercenaries.

At a given moment, taking advantage of the threat of direct
aggression which the country found itself obliged to deal with, and
encouraged by the hope that they could effect the immediate landing of
troops, the counterrevolutionaries succeeded in rallying between 4 and 500
men in such bands, that is to say, some 500 "worms" (laughter).

Abroad, they recruited and trained such individuals but abroad
they had several thousand and here they had some 500.  What happened?  The
forces necessary to liquidate these groups which did not engage in battle
and which in general dispersed, and therefore had to be hunted down one by
one, were organized.  And sometimes it is not easy to find a "worm" in a
hole! (Laughter.)  Thus, it was necessary to carry out a systematic cleanup
operation.  The forces necessary to make this search  and total cleanup
were mobilized.

They knew that the counterrevolutionaries were surrounded, they
knew that they were being systematically sought out.  And what did they do?
it was to be expected that they would send the mercenaries, that they would
try to give them reinforcements.  If they had several thousand men in the
training camps in Miami and Guatemala, well armed and trained by Yankee
officers, it was logical, from the point of view of their obligations to
their own people, that they would reinforce those who were being
systematically surrounded, pursued and cleaned out here.  What did they do?
They undertook a radio campaign, telling them to "resist."  (Laughter)
They dropped parachutes left and right,  all of which fell into our hands.

We did not give out information about the progress of the
operation, because we believe that this would only serve to orient them
with regard to the situation.  We have always believed that any matter of
note, of any importance, of any seriousness, representing the slightest
danger, should be immediately known to the people (applause).  But the
situation there involved no danger.  It was a task which took time, because
it had to be done systematically.  We had to do away with any change that
they might remain within the territory we were clearing our.  Everything
went perfectly, and we did not issue any information precisely in order
that they would not be aware of the true situation here. They sent shipment
after shipment of weapons, and except for a slip here and there, some
reporter or other who published some details, we maintained silence about
the shipments seized, and about the progress of operations, so as not to
inform the enemy, and if possible, so as to lead him into error, not the
internal enemy, but the enemy abroad.

It was to be expected that they would try to provide the
counterrevolutionaries, the counterrevolutionary gangs here, with
reinforcements.  They had an obligation to reinforce these bands, but not
from a plane, with weapons parachuted into out hands, but with men.  And if
they have been recruiting mercenaries for many, many months, and training
them, they should not have permitted the bands to be exterminated without
reinforcing them, because if they did not, what "worm" would go back into
the mountains again?  (Shouts of "none.")  It was logical that those who
had launched into this adventure should consider themselves as criminally
engaged.  But what were the instructions issued by the Central Intelligence
Agency and the group of brand new leaders and puppets that had there?  Did
they reinforce them, did they help those they had "launched" as their
obligation required?  No.  The instructions they gave were to go and join
other groups in other provinces, that is to say, the tactical way of aiding
those they had "launched" was to launch some others still more heedlessly

All of these efforts were frustrated before they got started.
They tried to do this in Oriente, and they were captured before they ever
reached the mountains.  Some small groups which succeeded in meeting were
captured, the vast majority of them immediately.  They tried to do the same
in the north of Las Villas, and some 48 hours before the uprising which was
scheduled to take place there, the G2 comrades arrived and shipped them all
off under safeguard (applause).  Another uprising had been planned in
Pinar del Rio, but it could not even get started.

This means that to support those it had "launched" the Yankees
gave instructions to "launch" still more counterrevolutionaries.  Why order
50 to 100 of their accomplices to go into the mountains or into the
countryside to meet the forces of our battalions, instead of sending, as
would have been more logical, the thousands of mercenaries they have been
training for many months?  Why, if they did not believe themselves to be
strong enough for the conflict, did they send instead groups of 50 or 100,
without training and without the weapons which those abroad had?  What kind
of a tactic is this?  Setting aside the tremendous differences which
separate us in the ideological realm, the difference between what we
believe as revolutionaries and what the reactionaries believe, could we
send a group of men to fight, knowing that that a group of men was
surrounded and on the point of extermination, and not send a single one of
our battalions to aid them?  Could we allow two companies of militiamen to
remain in a difficult situation, when we had available many other
companies, without sending a single one to fight, and to die if necessary,
to defend those in a difficult situation?  (Applause)

And whatever the cause being defended, be it good or evil, any
armed force has the inescapable duty of supporting and aiding its men when
they are in difficulties, because failure to do so means the destruction
of the morale and the faith of the fighters, and a militiamen fighting at a
given point and knowing that he will not have reinforcements is not the
same thing as that same militiamen fighting in the knowledge that while a
single gun, a single rifle, a single bullet remains, he can count on it to
support him and to combat his enemies (applause).

It was shameless beyond description to give instructions calling
for uprisings here, promising villas and castles, promising triumph,
promising reinforcements, and then leaving them, then abandoning them to
their fate.  This is what they did.  If the Central Intelligence Agency and
the accomplices it planted here as so-called leaders made an error and
plunged into the adventure of organizing counterrevolutionary bands with
their supporters prematurely, they were under an obligation to support them
and provide them with reinforcements. It is really absurd, it is really
shameless and cowardly, that what they did under such circumstances was to
order the formation of new bands, while they had thousands of mercenaries
who had been trained and armed for months.

In an exchange with one of these counterrevolutionary leaders
during an interrogation, we reminded him of our method when we organized
the revolutionary struggle, and we said to him:  "We did not have a single
miserable plane, but the mercenaries there have dozens of them.  We did not
have one miserable boat, and we had innumerable difficulties in acquiring a
yacht to make the crossing."  (Applause.)  We did not have automatic
weapons, but this did not stop us."  And we explained to him:  "Any one of
those 82 men was worth at least as much, that is, we have a right to say
that we are worth as much as any one of them.  We believe in a tactic, but
we did not send anyone ahead as a guinea pig.  We did not send 40 or 50
others to see what they could to while we hung back.

This means that all of us, all of the comrades who undertook that
task, without exception, the comrades who carried that tactic to its full
development and who led the revolution to triumph, and who today have great
responsibilities in their hands, and one of these comrades can be said to be
worth at least as much as any one of these gentlemen who are the
illustrious expeditionary leaders there. (Shouts.)

However, all of us together came to share the same fate.  We were
in any case the guinea pigs, and we did not have automatic weapons, we did
not have a single miserable plane, and we had only a nutshell in  which to
cross the Gulf of Mexico (applause).  We could not hope for reinforcements
from abroad, and the Yankees did not send weapons to us, but to Batista
(shouts).  There was to hope of receiving reinforcements of any kind.  And
we advance together with the leaders, all of us, and since we believed in
our cause, since we believed in our tactics, we moved ahead.

What are they doing?  And this is a question which the unwary who
have let themselves be carried away by the illusion that they have any
chance of triumph should ask themselves -- how can the counterrevolutionary
leaders and those in the Central Intelligence Agency justify ordering
counterrevolutionary bands to revolt while they let us encircle them,
exterminate them, while they published the pictures of counterrevolutionary
leaders in the periodicals there is the camps of Miami and Guatemala?

And if they did not feel strong enough, although there are
thousands of them, to confront our combat units, how could they justify
ordering groups of 40 or 50 to come forth to meet us?  It is not obvious
that they are acting with a shamelessness which has no bounds?  It is not
obvious that they are moving abjectly toward the extermination of their own
people?  Otherwise, why did they not land the mercenaries?  And how long
are they going to wait before landing them?  Are they going to wait until
they do not have a single supporter left?  What are they waiting for?
Because the bands are being liquidated, and within a few days we will
release a report on the number of counterrevolutionaries captured and killed
in the Escambray (applause).

There was not a single battle there.  Would that there had been
some resistance.  It suffices to know that at the time of the great
offensive against the Sierra Maestra, we had fewer men and fewer weapons,
that is to say, fewer armed men, fewer weapons than have been sent to the
counterrevolutionaries, and yet, the tyrant's army, with all its plane and
tank support, was totally destroyed in that campaign.  We took possession
of the terrain and we waged adamant resistance, and for 70 days we were in
constant contact with the enemy.

Of course, we knew that everything depended on our own efforts,
and we could not expect anything from anyone.  The mentality of these bands
has been one of waiting for help to come.  What, then, is their mission?
To escape and survive.  Thus it has been necessary to take considerable
time to do systematic and full work.  And this effort is yielding its final
results.  Our casualties?  Very few, very few.  In general, in this
operation, there has been more wounds from stray bullets than from
skirmishes.  Very few casualties.

The counterrevolutionaries and their accomplices have undertaken
the task of spreading rumors in order to create concern on the part of the
families of militiamen, but to combat this we have suggested that they
write at least two or three times a week, so that their families will
constantly have news of them.  With the exception of the very few
casualties, all the men are perfectly well, healthy and happy (applause).
They are gaining experience there, learning and teaching (applause).  And
soon now they will be back (extensive applause).

In this final stage, we are going to send some battalions which
have just graduated from the schools, so that all of these battalions can
acquired some experience from this campaign (applause).  That is to say, we
are going in this final stage to replace some of the battalions which have
been there longest with the battalions just finishing school, but in any
case, this will not last long and the counterrevolutionaries are virtually
annihilated.  And the other uprisings they tried to promote?  Frustrated
before they began.

Now what we must do is to ask a question. Why have they allowed us
to exterminate their bands, without providing them with reinforcements?
Why have they not come?  (Shouts of "because they are cowards".)  What are
they doing with the thousands of trained and armed men as the foreign
bases?  They sit with their arms crossed while we exterminate their own
people.  What can they say to anyone now to entice them into the adventure
of uprisings?  Any when all is said and done, what are they waiting for?
Why didn't they come when they should have come?  Ah!  Because they were
not sufficiently well trained?  Then they will be less so within a month,
or within two months or within three!

It is a feeble argument that they were not sufficiently prepared
or trained.  And against it there is a more powerful argument, the fact
that here we are organizing and training, four times as many in a month as
they organized and trained in a year (applause).

This means that the reasons they gave for not coming now will be
multiplied by two if they do not come within a month or within three. This,
simply, is what I want to say.  But let it be noted that in a shameless
manner, in a cowardly manner, they have demoralized their own forces by
leaving them in a desperate situation of total defeat, without having sent
a single man, a single abject individual to support them.

Let us imagine, then, that Tony Varona (prolonged shouts) and
Chillidos  -- just a moment, don't devote so much attention to him, it will
go to his head -- let us imagine that he is a luminary (shouts), a clear
and ingenious mind,  a war and peace strategist, a statesman, a creator, in
a word, a human genius (shouts).  Let us imagine that Justo Carillo, for
example (shouts), is another luminary, another genius, that Barquin
(shouts), that Martin Elena, that all of these gentlemen, these
counterrevolutionary notables, are men of genius, worth of reserving for
mankind.  Let us imagine that Masferrer (shouts), that Ventura (shouts),
that Sanchez Mosquera (shouts) are also geniuses of the human species,
luminaries worthy of preservation by mankind as a valuable treasure.

But when these luminaries and geniuses -- Alexander, Hannibal,
Napoleon, Bolivar (shouts of no) -- became redeemers, warriors, their
fertile seed was not preserved so that mankind could count on a number of
their descendants.  All of these geniuses of war and great statesmen, to
whom perhaps some of these counterrevolutionaries believe themselves to be
equal, headed their campaigns, directed their armies, organized and led
their struggles.

We do not know of any of them who sent vanguard forces and patrols
months ahead of them to soften up the terrain, while safeguarding the bulk
of the army, letting these vanguards be destroyed.  Assuming we are dealing
with noble leaders, they have no other choice but to do what leaders do, to
do what great generals, great warriors, great statesmen do. What is this
business of appearing in a picture in a khaki uniform (laughter) and
sending people to fight from Miami!  What is this business of having one's
picture printed in camps a thousand leagues from Cuba, while the unwary who
got involved here are being exterminated!

Since they have the pictures taken in their khaki uniforms, it is
our fervent desire, and we extend to then the most friendly, hospitable
invitation (applause), inviting this group of notables and strategic
generals, warriors and leaders to a kind of military parade, inspired by
the muses of Allen Dulies. Let them come to put on a marvelous military
parade for our country.  Our country desired a visit from such illustrious
warriors.  Our country is most anxious to see the emulators of Hannibal,
Alexander, and Napoleon on their white horses (laughter), because we have
never seen such a fantastic spectacle, we have never had such a marvelous
opportunity.  And how is it possible to believe that men so full of love
for their people, so desirous of freeing their people, would not even
satisfy the desire of our people to see them parade gallantly, in their
party uniforms, at the head of their heroic legions? (Applause.)

We did not have a single miserable plane, but we came.  We did not
have automatic weapons, but we came.  In fact, we are mentioning that we
came, to show that it is not so difficult, and what we did, modest citizens
of this country, these illustrious leaders giving orders from Guatemala can
do. What was easy for use, a group of your comrades, none of us soldiers or
warriors, doctors, lawyers, or masons, like Comrade Almeida (applause) --
in a word, what we, without boats, without planes, without automatic
weapons, without millions of dollars, without the support or any one could
do, despite the fact that we did not have the talents these illustrious
gentlemen boast, they can easily do.  And thus, there is no possible

And let them not talk of useless sacrifice, because their orders
to their supporters here calling for uprisings was useless sacrifice.  This
indeed was useless sacrifice.  And those who assume this responsibility
should now cease to have themselves photographed, and we are certain that
even these mercenaries will share the view that these gentlemen should come
and fight with them (applause).

(A note was handed to Doctor Castro, who read it.)

"On a hill to the north of Baracoa, Lt. del Perino has shot down a
two-engine pirate plane."  (Ovation and shouts of "Cuba, yes, Yankee, no,"
"Down with the Yankees, they are idiots," "Down with Caimanera," and other
revolutionary slogans, which continued until the national anthem was

Now you see how a country which is dedicated to work, a country
which is not at war with anyone, has "war dispatches" forced upon it, and
on a peaceful day, an afternoon such as this, therefore, we have to read
here a kind of war dispatch:  "Pirate plane violating the national
territory shot down."  And this happens all the time, every day the
activity of the pirate planes from the Yankee Central Intelligence Agency
bases is increasing.  (Shouts of "out!")

These planes violate our national territory constantly, therefore
there is no reason to be surprised.  They have just been a little lucky,
but these "parades" over our national territory will be stopped, too
(applause).  First, we have strengthened our land forces, first of all,
because the most important thing is to secure the land base here.  We are
strong on the ground: we are immovable.   Now, we will continue to
strengthen in the other branches, and the time will come when they will not
date to stick their noses into out surroundings (applause).  Meanwhile,
they have been reconnoitering, flying at night, at low altitudes, in
clandestine fashion, dropping bundles of propaganda, but we have no
assurance that one day they will not begin to drop bombs.

And I know that no one here is afraid (shouts of "no one").  And
this is precisely what the enemies of the revolution cannot tolerate, the
knowledge that no one here is afraid (shouts of "no one!").  Evidently it
pains them, and irritates them, but let them not complain later that we are
brining in tons and tons of weapons, because while they continue to harass
us, while they continue to violate our national territory, while they
continue to threaten the country with bombing, while they continue to
surround us with pirate bases, while they continue to train
counterrevolutionaries, we here are going to bring in mountains of weapons
to defend the country (lengthy applause)!  And we are going to bring in as
many weapons as are needed and of the type we need to defend the country!
(Extended applause.)

And let the "most illustrious" Mr. Berle, or so they call him, say
that this Cuban problem is not a unilateral one for the United States but a
problem for the entire continent. As if the continent had anything to do
with the monopolies!  As if the continent had anything to do with the
continual attack by the monopolies on the people of Latin America!  As if
the continent were to blame for the hunger which exists in Latin America,
for the underdevelopment, for the lack of education, for the illiteracy!

And now this gentleman -- this gentleman which is here today
(laughter) has invented an extraordinary theory.  How intelligent!  Or
rather I should say what an intelligent man!  What a luminary guides the
destiny of the United States!  He has decided that the Cuban problem is no
longer a problem between the United States and Cuba, but a problem of the
continent and Cuba.  But as far as we know, Latin America has no monopolies
here, no large estate owners, no electrical companies, not a single vessel
or wharf or bank, not a single mines or sugar mill.  And we, as far we as
know, have never had any problem to date other than with the US monopolies,
with no one else, because unless I am mistaken, there has been no Latin
American monopolies or factories or sugar mills here.  Who cut short our
quote?  It was the Yankee government which cut short our quota.  The only
economic attack there has been has come from the Yankees.  Moreover, it is
they who are involved in all this plotting and maneuvering, the conspiracy,
the terrorism, the pirate planes, the camps of mercenaries, the open, bold

And they do not want to negotiate!  Cuba says that it wants to
talk, and it has made this plain to all the foreign ministers, to the UN.
Why do they no want to talk?  Because this would upset their games!

Cuba wants to talk, but they do not, because as they place great
hopes in these "extraordinary strategies" and this "formidable army," in
this "invincible legion" they have trained in Guatemala and these
countries, well, they have placed great hopes in this, and they have
intended a great "theory" according to which our problem is not
unilateral, with the United States, but involves the whole continent.

Well, then we ask them to negotiate.  They know that they cannot,
because if they did, all their maneuvers, their plotting, their schemes
and all the illusions they have nurtured would collapse!

The problems of the tensions of Latin America can be resolved
perfectly if we discuss them.   Let us examine our rights.  What are the
rights you believe you have?  Well:  "We have a right to this, to that, to
market quotas" -- we will discuss it all, as one equal to another, as one
friend to another but nothing more!  (Applause.)  As two sovereign
countries, two neighbors on this continent.  We can live in peace, we want
to live in peace, and we have the right to live in peace.

Obviously, while we have here rural people eating dirt while a US
company owned 17,000 caballerias of land here, we could not live in peace.
it was impossible.  We want to live in peace in our own land (applause),
and we want to live in peace from what is ours.  Cuba has shown that we do
not, with the resources we have, need anything more.  Let them leave us in

Let us examine all these attacks.  They believed that at the
first blow, everyone here would be crushed (shouts of "never!"), that if
they cut short our quota, they could damage the revolution and damage the
country!  (Shouts of "never!") But their tactic of economic attack has
failed to the extent that now, seeing that we are all dying of laughter
here, because of what they have done, they are planning a total blockade.
They are going to stop purchasing tobacco and vegetable oils and certain
other articles, and to deprive us of certain things we have been purchasing
there.  They have even threatened not to sell us certain foodstuffs.

Thus they are threatening not to sell us butter. Well, this will
not bother us at all.  We are developing a production of fats
extraordinarily.  Obviously, we need some time, but what if we are left
without butter? Well, we will put everyone "on the line!" (Applause.)  A
year without butter?  They will not defeat us this way, and they should
know this -- that they will not defeat us this way or any other.

This gentlemen says that they will try again?  Well, they tried
before!  (Laughter.)  Because as far as we know, with regard to Cuba, if
they invested a million before they have now invested four, in a
counterrevolutionaries.  If they sent one plane a day before, now three are
coming.  If there were a given number of mercenaries, there are more now,
and the attacks continue.  He is playing the role of the "brave one" in
Cuba, the role of the aggressor, the role of the statesman, the role of
the strategist, in Cuba.  But he does not take into account the difference
between his position as a government leader of a country with such vast
military and economic resources and our small country, which is making an
effort as meritorious as it is heroic to advance, through its labor, and
with its own wealth and its resources.

He does not understand that the greater the gap between the power
of his country and ours, the greater the moral defeat, the greater the
historic ridicule to which he exposes himself becomes (applause).  There is
nothing to fear from us.  We are not threatening his security or his empire
in any way -- well, his empire, yes, but not his country.  We represent no
threat to the security of his country and his people.  But he indeed is a
threat to our people and our country, but he is exposing himself more than
we, because we, for example, are not exposing ourselves to moral defeat,
and we not exposing ourselves to ridicule, while he is.  But we are
threatened with extermination, as he is also (applause).  And would it not
be better if no one in the world were exterminated?  Would it not be better
if no one in the world could live in peace?  If the peoples and the nations
respected each other and aided each other peacefully?  Is this not a
better ideal for mankind and the desire of mankind?  (Shouts of "yes").
this is our desire.

Now then, in answer to these words, what have we heard?  There
have been proud, haughty, aggressive gestures which do dishonor to those
who pursue such a policy.  And it is a shame that a government so recently
inaugurated should advance so soon along the paths of discredit, continuing
the stupid policy pursued with regard to our country by its predecessor.

Of what will they convince Latin America?  This is not clear.  But
it is clear who is serving them unconditionally -- the worst regimes, the
most reactionary, the most tyrannical, and most corrupt.  But what has
happened?  Various Latin American government leaders have spoken out
recently, and spoken clearly and energetically.  Do you know why?  Because
this continent has ceased to be afraid (applause), and they can no longer
play their ostentatious and bullying role on this continent.  The peoples
lost their fear a short time ago and the governments have lost their fear.
And sincerely, without any desire to insult or minimize the great merits of
Mr. Berle, I believe that he is in the doghouse in Latin America

The people are no longer impressed, no longer frightened, since
the day when a small country stood firm and said no (applause).  It was
threatened and it said that threats did not concern it.  Economic attacks
upon it were begun and it said it was not concerned about economic attacks.
They began to organize mercenary forces and terrorists and we told them we
would annihilate the mercenaries and the terrorists here (applause).  And
that is all there is to our problem:  we are working and the government of
the United States is harassing us.  We speak in terms of peace, and the
government of the United States talks in terms of war and aggression.  We
are ready to negotiate, and the government of the United States says that
this is a Latin American problem, that is, it is not willing to discuss it.
And we will continue to insist on our position, and well continue to send
reports on our position to Latin America in the UN, to the Latin American
foreign ministers.

And soon we are going to initiate an exhibit in the capitol of all
the weapons we have captured (applause):  bazookas, 1957 recoilless rifles,
automatic weapons, machine guns, a good display.  And it is worth asking
the President of the United States a question.  If we asked the President
of the United States if he would be prepared to send up some weapons, some
hundreds of or a thousand guns, the President of the United States would
say never, this would endanger the security of this continent (shouts).
This would endanger peace on this continent, this would be a denial of the
representative, democratic, worthy, honorable, honest and humanitarian line
of the United States (shouts).  Never -- selling arms to Cuba would be
betrayal of the sacred principles we defend.

Does anyone have any doubt that if we sent a request asking to
buy some few guns they would say this, they would say that never would the
US public agree to such a policy, that this would be condemned by the
public in the United States and by the public in the "free countries," that
Franco, Trujillo, Somoza and all those people would say this is aggression
(shouts), that this is an attack upon representative democracy and human?

And more than that, not only are they not selling to us, but they
are telling their allies not to sell us weapons.  Well, then, although they
do not want to sell us these weapons, the fact is that they have been
giving the to us (shouts), the fact is that they have dropped them by
parachute,  greased and wrapped, with the ammunition.  If they cannot sell
them to us, how, then, can they make us a gift of them (shouts and
applause)?  Something is wrong when they do not want to sell weapons, but
yet they want to give them to us.  Something is wrong there, some screw is
loose (laughter) in the management of the policy of the United States,
because we are going to display a large quantity of Yankee weapons which in
friendly fashion, and without charging a single center, they have given to
us as a gift.

But can it be said that the free world is in danger, that the
security of this continent is threatened, that the security of the
hemisphere is in danger?  And after all, what would the public in the
United States say?  What would the representative democracy in Spain, Santo
Domingo, Salvador, Peru and Nicaragua say? (Shouts).  What would Mobutu
say? (Laughter)  What would say Kasavubu say?  (Laughter.)  What would
Tshombe say? (Laughter.)  What would Chiang Kai-shek say?  The world is out
of whack, because those who would never sell us a weapon as friends are
giving them to us as enemies.  And these are the facts.

And in the Capitol the entire people, probably free, will be able
to see the stock of weapons, and the foreign journalists and the Latin
American ambassadors can come to see these weapons, and then they will be
able to answer the questions as to who is in danger, what security is
threatened.  Whole is intervening in the problems of other countries?  Who
is intervening in internal affairs of other countries?  Because as far as I
know, there are no Latin American weapons in our country, but very soon the
capitol will not be large enough to hold the weapons which the government
of the United States has delivered to the ruffians and the war criminals.
These are the facts.

Little by little we have learned to reason, to consider, to
analyze problems ourselves.  Before it was not thus, before we were given
everything predigested, readymade, and we were obliged to accept it. Little
by little we are coming to understand the world.  Little by little we are
discovering the marvels of the world which they tried to pound into our
heads, this world whose philosophy can be summarized in statements that
nothing belongs to the people, as compared to a revolution whose philosophy
is that everything belongs to the people (applause).  And fortunately, our
people have been learning.

How heedless are those who allow themselves to be deluded by the
illusion that they have some change of returning to the past, of winning
power, of dominating the people!  They must be truly blind, or be equipped
with the kind of blinders put on horses so that they cannot see properly,
because do they not go out in the streets?  Do they realize that for each
individual who has suffered here, there are a hundred whose lives have been
bettered?  That for each one who dislikes the revolutionary laws, there are
a hundred who are infinitely grateful for them?  That for each one who has
lost a large estate, there are a hundred or two hundred or more who have
had their economic problems definitively resolved?  That for each one who
has lost a "building estate," as they were called, an apartment house,
there are a hundred who today have houses?  (Applause.)  Do they not
understand that for each one of those who lost his little palace of his
factory, there are two hundred who have work today (applause) and who have
schools and teachers today?  But above all, gentlemen, today they have
human dignity, human conditions (applause).  For each one who can no longer
take trips to the French Riviera there are a thousand who have beaches
today where then can stroll (applause) and there are a thousand who have
workers' social circles.  For each one of the millionaires who have ceased
to exist here, there are 20,000 Cubans who have their living guaranteed
(applause). Do they no realize, and to they believe the bitter claims of
the few who bewailed their misfortunes resulting from the revolution and
who complain of the "cruel" revolution which took way the land and the
factory of a "poor unhappy" millionaire in order to give work and guarantee
a living to a thousand "poor unhappy wretches?"

In other words, each of these "good and noble" millionaires was
deprived by us, the "evil" ones, of the product of "the sweat of their
brows," that for which "they spent all their lives working," and when they
had acquired some "little savings" of a few million, while the poor barely
managed to subsist, we, to aid the people of the street, these
"antipathetic" people, do you understand?  -- these coarse people, these
"uncultivated" people, these "illiterates," in order to aid these "ignorant
natives," we robbed them, the gentlemen who "had worked so hard," Look how
we took what they had worked so hard for to give it to the
idlers!  They, who knew how it was in Paris and London, they who knew how
to site at a table and eat delicately, they who never forgot Mother's Day,
who never missed a single canasta party, whose names were always in the
social columns--look how they have to publish La Marina (The Coastal
Daily), Avance (Advance) and all those periodicals, just as in the United
States, and the poor Cuban readers do not have the opportunity today to see
those illustrious names in the newspapers!  And how happy the people were
to see those names!  How it calmed their souls, how it mitigated all the
pain of the people to open the Diario de la Marina one morning and have the
infinite satisfaction of knowing that at a cocktail party on such and such
an avenue in such and such a district, the distinguished Mrs. So and So of
such and such a quarter was present!

What need have the people to eat?  What need have the people to
work?  What need had the farmer of land?  What need had the peasant of
teachers or doctors?  And what need had the country of factories, a country
which had so many illustrious people?  What need had the country for the
prosperous economy, when it had so many prosperous people?  Was the economy
of this country in which there were 40 or 50 millionaires poor?  What a
flourishing economy that of these millionaires was!

Thus, we are evil, very evil.  Look how we are converting the
barracks into schools!  And who is defending the estate owner?  Who is
defending the estate of Don So and So, or the sugar mill of Mr. Thus and
such? Who is defending him?  How sad a country it is where no one owns a
sugar mill any more!  And in which no one can have 15,000 caballerias of
land!  How sad this country has become, isn't it true?  How harsh life in
this country is!  How evil these government leaders are, who have sent
teachers to the poor rural people!  Because the peasants are happier not
knowing anything, gentlemen!  Why teach this creature who is happily
innocent to read, why teach him the sad things of this life?  What an evil
government it is which has dared to send 11,000 t4ached to the peasants!

And what an irresponsible government it is which proposes to do
away with illiteracy!  What an ignorant government, to print millions of
books so the people can read, and to sell them at 20 centavos!  (Applause.)
What a stupid government, which instead of continuing to import ten
thousand automobiles a year -- and how sad Havana will be without these
sleek-thing Cadillacs, so beautiful and shining, at the end of the year
when the new models come out!   And the people, saddened, now see that
there are not late model Cadillacs, and we do not know what the newest
luxury cars are like!   How said this republic is!

And we no longer see those fiestas on which a hundred thousand
pesos were spent for flowers!  Where is there a country so unfortunate that
no one-- and you see the violation of individual rights, you seek the lack
of freedom -- a country in which no one can spend a hundred thousand pesos
on flowers for a single night!  How cruel this government is, what an
enemy-of the family, because there is no longer heads of families who can
celebrate with expenditures of 50,000 pesos every two weeks!

These are the "terrible" things which the revolution has brought
to the country, and the reason why such "heroic" efforts are being made to
put things back as they were again, to make it possible to spend a hundred
pesos on flowers, so that the shiny late model Cadillacs can be brought
back to out streets, and so that instead of these barracks full of
children, the fortresses full of material soldiers defending the gentlemen
and the masters can be brought back -- for this, so that the "unhappy"
peasants can stay happy in their ignorance, and so that there can continue
to be "very prosperous" people, so "prosperous" as to accumulate 20 and 40
million pesos, and so that these "unfortunate ones" who had a thousand
homes which they rented to tenants can again become "happy" persons in a
world of "freedom" and "law."  It is for this, then, that the great
"heroic" deeds are undertaken, so that this situation can be brought back.

You have already seen the self-criticism in which the
revolutionary government is engaged.  Well, this is what these gentlemen
think. This is the philosophy of these gentlemen (a shout of something
about the priests). We will leave that to another day, I do not want to
pronounce that word here, because otherwise you will not let me finish
tonight.  (Shouts of "Yes we will" and "Fidel, indeed, strike hard at
them" and "Fidel, let the priests cut cane, or if they won't, let them go
to Spain".)

Above all, gentlemen, we must cut cane.  It is a great thing to
cut cane on Sundays.   It is marvelous, excellent exercise, and healthy.
One gets to know the rural sector.  Above all, one has the knowledge that
one is producing something.  No one ever feels his lunch is as well earned
as when he has cut several arrobas of cane.  When this happens, we have the
feeling that the mean is a gift to us.  It is great exercise to cut cane,
and more important, it is a duty of all of us, the duty to work.  Here we
must establish the Leninist principle according to which "he who does not
work does not eat" (applause).  This is a key to the problem.  The very
large number of persons who want to eat without working.  This is the heart
of the matter, the larger number of persons who want to live without
working, and want to eat without working, to be dressed without working.
And we as men, in this connection, should at least imitate the ants. All
ants work, and save up for the winter, and you feel your duty to contribute
to the collective.  Because of the fact that the revolution believes that
work is honorable, and that is the duty of all to work and to contribute to
the creation of the goods which will serve to satisfy the needs of tall,
for this reason alone, the revolution has many enemies.

We can say that the majority of enemies the revolution has
are enemies for this reason, the fact that we believe that everyone should
work in order to live.  There were many who wanted to work but did not have
a chance, and many who had no need to work. They did not work because
others worked for them.  We must establish the principle according to which
every man or woman has the right to work, and at the same time, every man
and woman has the duty to work (applause and shouts of "to the cane

Later it will be said that you are arousing passion in the
government, that you are promoting radicalism in the government, that you
are awakening our base feelings and that your are demagogues (laughter),
since we did not want to speak of this subject here, because we had many
other subjects to speak of today, but the people insisted (shouts of
"Certainly, Fidel, strike hard at the priests!").

We are running the risk that they will excommunicate all of us!

Well, I am going to tell you something.  This entire problem is a
complicated one, a complex one.  Do you know why?  Because they have tried
to twist this problem in the way that suits them.  They want to identify
themselves with religion, and then make it seem as if we, in combating
their anti-social, antinational and counterrevolutionary attitude, are
combating religion.

Have you not seen what they have accused the government of?  Have
your not heard it said that we were going to send the little children to
Russia?  (Laughter.)  Imagine, to Russia, they said!  And that we would
take the children from the parents?  For a long time, you hear, they were
spreading these lies.

This was one of the charges they made against the government.  The
concern of the government is that everyone shall work, precisely in order
to be able to provide for their children, and we wish that we had enough
schools to award all the scholarships for which the government is asked!
(Applause.)  Would that we could, but we cannot.  To help all the families
who ask us to provide a scholarship for a child, to meet the demands of all
these families who want their children to have good schools and good food,
all of these things.

And now you see what ridiculous things, what absurd things, the
stupidities they invent are.  Well, these people never did anything else,
never were concerned with anything else, never worked physically, because
they worked with their heads, but they did not do proper mental work,
because they were always trying to find a way to exploit others.  They are
the great authors, promoters and impresarios of all these lies, but now all
of this is on the way to being completely discredited.

They want to paint the revolution as the enemy of religion, as if
this had anything to do with the things in which the revolution is
interested.   This is a matter of the internal conscience of each
individual and the revolution has not had a single problem with these
gentlemen.  Why are the peoples so indignant?  For this reason.  Why are
the peoples so indignant?  Now they will say that this is a group of wicked
people who have gathered here to shout (laughter), a crowd intoxicated with
blood and things of this sort.

I imagine that they at least realize that all the people who are
here have come, have spent many hours on foot, and yet, no one (shouts of
"Since 2 o'clock"), some 7 hours on foot, without water, without foot.
They will not say that this is a crow like that which came to the
ceremonies here before. They cannot deny that this mass here is a mass of
workers.  Let's see, will all of those who have large estates here raise
their hands (shouts of "no one").  Will all those who have spent vacations
on the French Riviera raise their hands (shouts of "no one").

They cannot deny that the mass here is a mass of laborers, of
producers, of men and women who render services of all kinds to the
country.  They cannot say that this is a parasite mass which lives off the
work of others.  No, this is a mass of men and women of the people, like
those who gather everywhere, on all the corners, in the streets, in the
sugar mills, in the fields, in the hills -- this powerful mass which is the

And yet, why is this people indignant?  Have the people seen the
government go into any church or interfere with any church?  (Shouts of
"no").  Have the people seen us exert pressure on a single priest (shouts
of "no").  And so the people believe that there are no priests who have
plotted against us?  (Shouts of "no").  Is there anyone here who believes
that there has not been a single priest who has plotted against us?
(Shouts of "no").  No one.  However, there is not a single priest in
prison.  No one has interfered with any church, no one has interfered with
any institution of this type.

In a word, no one has interfered with them.  Imagine even the
matter of the cemetery -- the people have even demanded the nationalization
of cemeteries (applause).  There is no other answer, because we have no
reason to tolerate this immoral privilege, this gross traffic in corpses
and this rental of tombs which exists in the cemetery (applause and shouts
of "Fidel, Fidel!").

Cemeteries should be placed where the mortal remains of our loved
ones can rest, and not a market of death.  Any every family should have the
right to have a piece of ground in which to rest, in which to lay to rest
its mothers, it brothers, its loved ones, such that they cannot be thrown
out of the cemetery (applause).

These are measures which will inevitably come, but to date the
revolutionary government has not even proclaimed this measure of elementary

Has the government interfered with the church?  (Shouts of "no").
Has the government interfered with the priests?  (Shouts of "no").  Then,
what is this war the priests are waging against us?  However, a series of
incidents have occurred, in this classic pattern of intrigue, since they
create the problem and then they preach sermons blaming this government,
speaking of violence, speaking of a lack of guarantees.  Naturally, there
are some very honorable ones, some honorable exceptions.  Here, there are a
number of revolutionary priests (shouts of "Lence, Lence!").

Everyone knows that we are speaking very seriously and with the
greatest sincerity when we say that we have not adopted here any measure
which could be regarded as a provocation of or an attack upon religious
institutions. Everyone knows that this is strictly true.  What has the
government done to win the enmity of these gentlemen?  But is it
conceivable that these gentlemen, when everything here was corruption and
putrefaction, when the daughters of the humblest peasant families came to
work here in the city, and were tricked, and ended up as prostitutes, when
prostitution was a social institution here in this country, as a result of
the lack of work, as a result of the lack of protection for women, as a
result of lack of jobs (applause) -- because what women who can earn a
living honorably and establish a home will sell herself publicly to anyone
(applause)?  And prostitution was a result of social exploitation, it was a
consequence of social privileges.

And what did these gentlemen do to combat this.  All they did was
to beat their breasts hypocritically and to engage in the pardoning of sins
of the lofty ladies and gentlemen (shouts of "out!"), who lacking any
Christian spirit, any awareness of these problems and all these vices, all
these shortcomings, were not concerned about them.  Here everyone put in 5
and took out 6, millions of pesos were stolen, there was revolting
exploitation of the people on all levels.

I will give you an example.  For labor accidents in the rural
sector, the companies collected something like 14 centavos per 100
arrobas.  When agrarian reform was undertaken in the sugar cane sector, the
figure established was, I believe, 2 or 3 centavos.  If this seems
insignificant, the total was a million pesos, directly covering all the
workers in all cooperatives, and also all the workers in all the people's
farms, and this was much less than what was spent before.  This means that
in the labor accident sector, the workers were taken for five times what
they really had to spend.  The workers then were at the mercy of the
individual who obtained payment for him.  When someone lost an arm or a leg
or his life, the family of the victim received 40% of what was really due
them, after an endless amount of red tape.

This is one case.  But in what sector were the people not
exploited, in what fashion were they no humiliated?  The citizen of
humiliated.  In a whole series of places a larger number of our compatriots
were not welcome, because they were black (applause).  And this man...
imagine a child, how many humiliations did the black children suffer,
condemned by society, full of prejudice, prejudice born of what?  Of
slavery, and because they were the heirs of prejudice, the heirs of
slaveowners, in whose minds prejudices was born, to be transmitted and
inculcated through every possible medium.

This unhappy child, suffering humiliation from the time he could
reason until his death.  When did one of these gentlemen stop to combat
racial discrimination?  When did he stop to combat prostitution, not as an
evil in itself, but as a consequence of the social system?  When did they
engage in battle with the robbers?  They left any robber who shared his
loot with them, and they blessed the tyrant, and they blesses all the
beasts.  They did not write sermons against them.

The catechism says "do not steal" (laughter), but they stole here,
and they were friends of those who stole!  "Do not kill," but they killed
here, and they were friends of those who killed.  "Do not lie," but
everything was a lie, and they lived in shameful complicity with deceit!
Sloth is a "capital sin," but who was more slothful here than the parasites
who lived off the work of others?

And after all, in the reality of our life, they never did
absolutely anything humane.  I am perfectly well aware of those
institutions which we must indeed recognize were dedicated to serving the
sick, the blind, for example, the religious institutions which served the
hospitals, the little nuns who worked in the lepers' colonies, in the
hospitals (applause).  Those who did humane work merit our respect, and all
that they sacrificed for others merits our respect.

What government has given more aid to the ill?  What government
has given more help to invalids?  What government has helped the poor more?
What government has helped the persecuted and the humble more?  Only the
revolutionary government (applause) has been concerned with bringing a
little happiness to millions of human beings who lived forgotten,
humiliated, unknown, reduced to a less than human level.  Only the
revolution has eradicated a series of vices and evils from the life of our

Why do they fight us?  Because of ideological differences. And do
they not differ ideologically with the great assassins?  Do they no differ
ideologically with the great thieves?  Do they not differ ideologically
with the great corrupters?  Of public morality?  Do they not differ
ideologically with the exploiters?  Do they not differ ideologically with
the vicious?  Because we have fought all these evils, and they say that they
differ with us ideologically.  We have differences -- they are the
differences between those who remedied all these evils and those who were
accomplices in all these evils.

In the spiritual sector, in the religious sector, we do not
interfere.  What difference does it make what individuals believe, who can
they hinder the revolution, if these individuals are aware of their social
duties, of their duties toward society, of their duties toward their
fatherland, and if, accordingly, they engage in just social conduct?  The
revolution does not interfere in these sectors.  Each individual has a
right to believe, and those who speak in the name of religion should have
the same respect for the political beliefs of others as the revolution
should have for their religious beliefs.  "My kingdom is not of this earth"
(applause).  And have not those who claim to be interpreters of Christian
thought interfered in the problems of this world?

The doctrine of Christ was one which was echoed by the slaves, by
the humble people.  It was persecuted by the aristocracy, by the dominant
classes.  It is only in modern times that these gentlemen, completely
abandoning the essence of the Christian doctrine, have undertaken to seize
religion as a tool for concealing all the vices and all the shortcomings of
the present dominant classes, forgetting today's slaves, the workers, the
slaves of today, the peasants without land (applause).  These gentlemen
stood apart from the interests of the exploited masses, the humble masses,
from the people, and they prostitute the essence of early Christianity

The revolution represents the interests of the masses.  The
revolution brings a message to the masses, to the humble man of the people.
This message is in conflict with the interests of the dominant classes.
Those who dominated here, those who passed us in their Cadillacs and
splashed us with water, those who discriminated against us, those who
looked at us with contempt -- it was in their service that they placed
themselves.  And as the revolution conflicts with these interests, their war
against us is the war of the dominant classes.  The ideological problem is
a lie and a clumsy pretext.  If they could get along with the cooperatives?
If they could coexist with the foreign electrical company, why can they not
coexist with the national electric company?  Why can they not tolerate a
people's farm?  Because if they got along with the masters, with a regime
in which a few were the masters of all the establishments, why can they not
get along with the regime under which the people are the masters of their
establishments?  They adapted to life with the regime of exploitation, the
regime of colonial and imperialist exploitations, and now they opposed a
regime of social justice.  What do they want?  For the people to continue
to be sheep?  For the people to continue to be slaves?  For the people to
continue to be discriminated against and exploited?  Is this what they
want?  This is what they want.

It is for this reason that they never spoke against these evils
in the past, but now devote themselves to attacking the revolution.  Their
label, slogan, or refrain, whatever we call it, is a pretext -- communism.
In such a case, Christ was a communist, too (applause).  Thus, they would
oppose Christ, because he said that it was more difficult for a rich man to
enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needled (applause).  Philosophical questions?  Good, let them discuss them
there in their cloisters, there is their conferences, let each discuss his
philosophy.  But has anyone attacked religion here in the name of political
ideas?  (Shouts of "no one").  No one has.  Why, then, do they have to
attack political ideas in the name of religion, if their kingdom is not of
this world?  Why do they have to attack political ideas in the name of
religion if no one here is attacking religious ideas in the name of
political concepts?  Because what we are attacking and combating is the
placing of bombs (shouts), the army or revolutionaries, the creating of
divisionism here, which is distorting the thinking of our young people.
This indeed we cannot permit, whatever the case (applause), because they do
not have a right to do this.

It is they, and exclusively they, who have created this conflict,
because they were representatives of the dominant classes, they were in the
service of the dominant classes and the imperialists, and as a result, in
the struggle of the people against imperialism and the dominant classes,
they took sides against us, and today they are the fifth column here of the
counterrevolution within the country (applause).

Now there is another aspect.  Why have the imperialists been so
interested in stirring up the ruffians in cassocks here?  Why?  Because
they have ulterior motives.  Here there is no one who believes in these
gentlemen, no one!  (Shouts.)  Here there are many people who believe in
God, many people who believe in many things, but very few who believe in
the priests (shouts).  Here they deceive no one.  Here they see the boat
and they all go to Spain and nothing happens (applause).  Certainly, we
have a good priest who has remained here.  (Shouts of "let them go!")
churches to pray, and the churches will be respected by the revolution.
But those who want to pray do not need a priest in the pulpit preaching
counterrevolutionary sermons, because these are not sermons, these are
nothing, or who undertaken here to play the game of those who want
bloodshed in our country, who want an attack on our country, the murder of
children, workers and women, because people know that it may be their
children who are killed by the bomb of their husbands or wives or friend
who lose their limbs or are blinded.  And many women, many mothers lost
their children in the explosion here, and many families had to experience
the horror of seeing their children wounded by a shot in the schools, or in
the shops, and the terrorists and the saboteurs are the enemies of society.

And thus it is of interest to the people that no one should go
there to promote terrorism or sabotage.  And for this reason, those who
want to pray do not need a ruffian there talking of terrorism.  And those
who are good priests do not have problems.  What is a good priest?  Well, a
good priest is one who is devoted to his religious duties without being a
conspirator, without plotting and promoting terrorism (applause).

I believe that we cannot speak more clearly than this.  We have
no fear of these gentlemen, we have no fear of their power.  We believe
that we have things to discuss with them wherever it is necessary, to
discuss and to state certain truths.

"I know the monster because I lived within him."  (Applause).
Thus, everyone has rights, and no one should interfere with them.  They
have guarantees.  And this is the reality: a war they have declared against
us, a war of which we have no fear (applause).  And it has been our duty,
the duty of the government leaders, to avoid these problems, above all, to
show the people that we have no aggressive intent against any religious
institution.  The people should know that they, not we, have created all
these problems, that what we want is to continue to promote the
revolution, without engaging in battles which we have no reason to wage,
except that they have been forced upon us.  In other words, if we are
challenged, we will fight, and properly.  Let them have no illusions!

These gentlemen are blind.  They do not see, they do not know the
people.  The people are motivated by a profound sense of justice.
Religious feelings cannot be separated from the feeling for justice,
because injustice and honest religious feelings are two antagonistic
things, and all of those who have honest and just religious feelings will
stand with us, because the facts are there.  They are not going to block
them or deceive them with tales, nor do we believe in excommunication, nor
in tall tales of any kind (shouts).  And if they want to waive their
secular weapons, we are not living in the Middle Ages, we are living in the
modern age, and the era of obscurantism and of the inquisition, when people
were burned alive, has passed.  And with all due respect, we are stating to
them here that we do not fear this problem at all.  We have tried to avoid
it up to the point at which they promoted one conflict after another. But
if they challenge us to battle, very simply we will give them battle.  And
obviously, the imperialists logically count on them, because everyone knows
their weapons here.   The imperialists know that they have a backward
force in the upper church hierarchy here and in other places. Thus, they are
mobilizing their legion in order to turn it against their enemy:  The Cuban
revolution, so that in turn the problem will have repercussions in Latin
America, but in the long run, Latin American eyes, too, will be opened.

And there is hunger.  And if a man who has no work is suffering
from hunger, they are not going to convince him with a series of
social chronicles or sermons.  And if a native has no land there, and if a
family sees its daughters die for lack of medical aid, and if the Indian or
the Negro finds himself discriminated against, they are not going to
convince them with sermons or a series of stories.  But they will ask
themselves what has happened in Cuba?  How did the peasants get land?  How
did the tenants acquire their houses?  Who gave work to everyone?  How did
the American monopolies become nationalized?  This is good, this is a good
people!  (Applause).  And the more they are pressed by hunger and misery
there, the more the peoples are going to think that what we are going here
is good.

Thus, the lines of struggle are clear.  They fear the example of
Cuba, they fear the moral force of the revolution.  Because of the moral
force of this revolution, they want to exterminate us, but we are
determined that they will not.  This we have decided -- the revolution
exists and will continue to be, and no one, no one can prevent this!
(Applause).  Even if international fascism and imperialism join in closer
collaboration in order to exterminate us, they will not succeed.

Thus, they must realize the truth that this has been done with the
flesh of the people, with the heart of the people, with the soul of the
people, with the will of the people and the courage of the people (applause
and shouts of "Fidel, Fidel").

This is what we want to tell them, in order to explain a real
fact:  the rejection of the hypocrites by the people.  Later they will say
that it was us.  Now it was the people here, the same here as in Baracoa,
wherever the people gather, they are thinking as you do.  Thus, no one will
weep here on the day we are deprived of the services of all the ruffians in
cassocks we have here (shouts).  Let it be clear where the blame lies.

All of these things teach us something:  Life is a school.
Everything is a school and we all know a little more than we began.  This
school teaches us and gives us daily lessons, and the people learn, and the
people know that they known, and the people know that they are learning and
the people know that they are winning.  Before we felt somewhat at a
disadvantage, we did not see problems very clearly, we believed that the
others knew a great deal and that we knew nothing.

Today everyone knows, everyone sees, and everyone understands.
The revolution is the great school and it teaches us daily what we must
do.  We have a serious struggle, a serious and harsh struggle ahead.  The
enemy is using all his weapons, using all the resources he has in hand --
lies and prejudices.  He is using all the heritage and the baggage left
behind here on which his empire was built.  He is using everything against
the people, to deprive the people, to weaken the people, simply to dominate
the people, to deceive the people, to live off the people.

Rarely at any time in the past has the work of the people in any
country had the forceful authority it has today, as shown in innumerable
facts, in everything -- in this very event, in the hours you have stood, in
the effort the people are making, in the tens of thousands of men and women
who are going to chop sugar cane and to work.  All of these things reflect
the presence of the people -- the militia, the tens of thousands of men
who are going to take training.  They reflect the presence of the women,
the presence of all the men without color distinction, the presence of the
people as a single will, the people as a single army, the people as a
single force, knowing that they are a great force, knowing that they are an
invincible force,  knowing that they are confronted with enemies, with
those who want to exploit them, to humiliate them, to make them unhappy,
knowing that there are those who want to rob them of the dignity each
citizen has today and of the happiness which can be achieved today by every
man and woman, that there are enemies who want to see their blood shed, to
endanger their children, to assassinate them, to rob them, to pacify them,
not realizing that each day the people are more experienced and more
hardened, because the people are like any army.

We have already waged the struggle for two years and more.  The
struggle teaches, the struggle heartens the people, makes them better.
Ours today is the hardened, veteran people, stronger every day, stronger
today as we commemorate this first anniversary than at the time the
explosion occurred, stronger next month, more hardened, more experienced,
stronger and more hardened next year, and filled with greater faith in
itself, and greater pride in the struggle it is waging.

Those who deserted the ranks of this army, the army of the people,
are unfortunate!  Those who went there where there is contempt for them,
discrimination against them, where they have been set to washing dishes,
there where they are looked upon with pity, are sad creatures!  And they
are looked upon with pity first because they are lackeys, which is already
a reason for scorn; second, because they are a beaten people, yet another
reason for regarding them with contempt; third, because they are beggars;
yet another reason for regarding them with disdain; fourth, because they
are cowards, yet another reason for despising them; and fifth, because they
are deserters and traitors who abandoned their fatherland and went there at
the orders of foreign agents, to sow terror among their brothers, to sow
crime, yet another reason for regarding them as despicable.  And there is
an old Roman adage which says:  "Rome pays traitors, but it scorns them."
And this is their lot there.

Sad, much sadder still, is the situation of those who were our
comrades, fellow travelers of the revolution, who got on at one station or
another and went along to a certain point, where they abandoned us for the
enemy.  And I ask myself, where are the first ones?  They are here.  Where
are the 12?  They are here.  And where are the 100?  They are here
(applause).  But there were travellers who got on the revolutionary wagon,
and at the moment of triumph, occupied places of honor.  The people
respected them.  Later, they became hesitant, later they became timid.  The
people knew it, but they respected them.  The people did not agree with
these gentlemen, some of whom were even ministers, but the people respected
them.  With good or ill will, they regarded them with respect.  They were
respected here, and they left.  And today, they are neither respected here
nor there!

They believed that they would be welcomed as heroes there abroad
for betraying us!  And there abroad, the more they campaigned against us,
and the more "evil" we were, the worse it was to have been our comrades.
Those who have had the worst of it are the deserters, those who at one time
advanced with the revolution, and later left,  because the ruffians are
more highly considered than they abroad.  Now the ruffians are beginning to
beat their breasts there:  "we were right, when we murdered these people.
They were evil, they were evil communists.  We have to assassinate all
these people."  And then, they go there and say:  "They are communists."
And then the russians say:  "We were right."  And the ruffians are more
highly regarded, because they say:  "We were clearly against these people."

The ruffians struck promptly, and when a deserter comes they say:
"Look at him, now he comes, but earlier he was there with them.  He is a
spy!"  Also, they believe that we have infiltrated there, and probably it
is true that there are some infiltrators there!  And there are others who
participated in drafting the revolutionary laws, and now they cannot
forgive themselves.  Thus they go there beating their breasts.  "But you
see, the revolution..." And then, Gaston Baquero and the navy people come
forth and say to them:  "Look, don't talk of the revolution any more, and
don't utter stupidities.  The revolution is there.  Here we have
counterrevolution, and we are going to be clear here about what we are
combating."  And as they participated in drafting the revolutionary laws,
there is nothing they can say.  They find themselves between Scylla and
Charybdis..  They run into all the large estate owners there, all the
presidents of enterprises.  "Oh, but weren't you a minister?" Or "Weren't
you in the government?"  "Didn't you help draft the laws?"  They have
repented, but they are regarded as renegade revolutionaries, which is worse
than having been a hired ruffian.  It is they who are the worst, the
reformed revolutionaries, because men who had the respect of the people
here, who participated in the affairs of the people, go there and are
scorned by the hired ruffians.

Can you understand what a sad fate it would be to go to a place in
which even the ruffians were contemptuous?  What a change from the time
when they boasted of being revolutionaries, and scorned the ruffians, to
this era when the proud ruffians scorn the reformed revolutionaries!  This
is the fate of the deserter and the traitor.  They believed that they would
prosper, that everything would be put in their hands, but they found that
nothing was put in their hands.  They made a leap into the absym, and now
they have to try to explain their actions.

They are the objects of contempt -- they abandoned the army of the
people.  How proud they must be not to advance with this army, not to be
part of its ranks, not to experience its triumphs and face its reverses,
not to share in its joys and weep for its sorrows, not to participate in
its holidays and days of struggle with the people!  How much more
honorable it must seem to belong to no people, to belong to no army, not
even that of the mercenaries and parasites!  To join with the worst, not
the best, because that best have remained in this army of the people and
the worst has gone away.

And where is the worst?  There!  Where is all the garbage?  There!
Where are all the pitiful ones?  There!  Where are all the worms?  There!
And here all those who have faith, all those who have wisdom, have remained
with the people, those who are not frightened by the campaigns threatening
invasion, by the bombardments, by the economic attacks, those who do not
fear anything, those who have no prejudices, who do not believe in the
lying priests who come to talk to them of counterrevolution, nor in the
campaigns of the counterrevolutionaries.  This is what is really clear
here. This is without the slightest doubt the best of the people, the
determined men, those who have faith, those who do not vacillate, those who
know that they are advancing on firm ground.

How much more honorable it must be to belong to the army of the
people who betrayed this army, who abandoned this people, who became
beggars, who became the objects of contempt, who became paid mercenaries!
And thus, the revolution has been left, all in all, with the best, and the
best is waging the battle.  And this people is learning, this army is
become more experienced, more hardened, every day.

And thus today we have come to render this homage, and to remember
those who also taught us, those who were among the first to give their
lives so that today we can be stronger, so that today we can be better
defended.  Their children, the children of these workers, of the soldiers
who died, were not left orphans.  They were children of the people, and the
people helped them, the people protect them.  And the people have provided
about half a million pesos to the families of those comrades who died a
year ago.  Their parents were taken from them, and yet they have had the
fatherhood of an entire people, which helps them and will continue to help
them, as we will help any worker who is injured at his work, any worker who
loses his life in his work, and as we will also aid the families in combat.
And we will soon promulgate a law so that all of this will be set forth,
and that each combatant in the revolution will know that he has in each one
of us a brother, and that in the entire people, his children have parents,
or guardians, that we all all going  to work for all (applause) and that
no man who fulfills his duty, be he soldier, militiaman or workers, no man
who fulfills his duty need have any fear that because of this duty his
children may be left orphan, abandoned and miserable.  The republic has
enough for all, all of us have enough for all, all of us have enough for
the children of all.  (Applause).

And this will soon be the law in our country.  And thus,
increasingly united, not only in feeling, but also in interest, and
comradeship, in brotherhood, in all circumstances, this great army of the
people, of the best of the people, will continue to advance triumphant, and
no aggression, no barbarous or savage act can frighten us.

And we will always respond as the people responded when La Coubre
exploded, when the flames crept near the cases of explosives, but the
people went to save the wounded.  There was another explosion, the flames
crept along the explosives, but the people continued to care for the
wounded.  This is the people!   Long live the La Coubre martyrs!  Long live
the people! (Ovation).

Fidel Said:

"They did not fail in combat, but one does not die for the
fatherland in combat alone."

"They were working, working for the fatherland, working to
contribute to the defense of their people and their cause."

"Those workers and those soldiers were unloading the first weapons
to reach our country for the defense of the revolution and the defense of
the integrity and the sovereignty of the nation."

"No revolution is brought about without struggle, no revolution
develops without creating powerful enemies within and without."

"No revolution can liquidate the old privileges, no revolution can
liquidate the foreign interests which exploited the country witho