Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro's Declaration
Havana, 28 October--With relation to the pronouncement made by the
president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, in a letter sent to the
premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, to the effect that the
United States would agree, after the establishment of adequate arrangements
through the United Nations, to eliminate the measures of blockade in
existence and give guarantees against any invasion of Cuba, and in relation
to the decision announced by Premier Khrushchev of withdrawing the
installation of arms of strategic defense from Cuba territory, the
revolutionary government of Cuba declares that the guarantees of which
President Kennedy speaks--that there will be no aggression against
Cuba--will not exist unless, in addition to the elimination of the naval
blockade he promises, the following measures among others are to be
adopted: 1) Cessation of the economic blockade and all the measures of
commercial and economic pressure which the United States exercises in all
parts of the world against our country; 2) Cessation of all subversive
activities, launching and landing of arms and explosives by air and sea,
the organization of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and
saboteurs, all of which actions are carried out from the territory of the
United States and some other accomplice countries; 3) Cessation of the
pirate attacks which are being carried out from bases existing in the
United States and Puerto Rico; 4) Cessation of all the violations of our
air and naval space by North American war planes and ships; and 5)
Withdrawal of naval base of Guantanamo and the return of the Cuban
territory by the United States. (Applause)

Fidel is quite right in the latest points he has made in the name of the
Cuban people to world public opinion and to the U.S. President. If there
really is good will, as we would like to believe sometimes may be present
in the minds of the U.S. leaders, if there really is a desire to correspond
to the calm gesture made in the name of humanity by the Soviet Union, it is
not enough to go back to the status quo of the days before this grave
international crisis. What the Cuban people propose is little enough. It
has been repeated many times that we extend our hand to all who, if not
with intentions of true friendship, at least treat us with the same respect
with which we treat other countries, all countries. We have repeatedly
stated that we want to have diplomatic and commercial relations with all
countries, regardless of their political and economic systems. And those
propositions represent the minimum we can demand in order to really believe
in a word that was given once before, prior to Giron, and on 15 April and
the 17th of the same month it was seen they were lying.

They must accept these demands made by our government and our people. What
they might most regret, taking into account their aggressive spirit and
their constant provocations, is abandoning the naval base at Guantanamo
Bay, but sooner or later that must come to pass, and we repeat once more,
it must come to pass by peaceful means, like the one Fidel proposes; it is
the best opportunity for the President of the United States to show
(applause) that his words are sincere about respecting our country's
integrity and sovereignty. That base is embedded in Cuban territory; it was
a concession obtained through pressure and force at a time when they were
intervening with the physical presence of their troops in our country. It
is not the same case as in other places, where even though the peoples
oppose the bases they at least have the legalist argument that the bases
are authorized by the puppet governments. Here both people and government
repudiate the U.S. military base at Guantanamo and demand its peaceful
return. (Applause)

That is the current situation in general terms. Our people, come what may
and whatever Kennedy may say, will remain mobilized until our commander in
chief orders otherwise. We demand concrete acts, not words, which because
of past events we must perforce distrust and are duty bound to distrust. It
was precisely in the days before the Playa Giron aggression, when they said
they did not intend to attack us, that Fidel told us; now is when we must
be most alert. And in the same way, and with more reason than on that
occasion, now that Mr. Kennedy gives guarantees against an attack on us we
Cubans are going to be more watchful than ever, (applause) maintaining the
enthusiasm and dignity that have been increasingly manifest up to now.

We have seen adolescent youths who have gone to the mountains to help the
peasants gather the coffee harvest, dissatisfied because they were not sent
to a trench to handle a rifle as the people are doing in these moments.
(Applause) On repeated occasions in an infinity of meetings different
comrades have had to explain to them the importance that production has for
defense at these moments, and above all the production of food.

Today all the people are mobilized on a war footing. It does not matter
what their post is, whether it is a most on a committee of defense, a
factory, a farm, or a trench. Today defense encompasses all. It is the
supreme effort to save the revolution of the people, and within that
defense there is undoubtedly the production of good, precisely to maintain
that defense.

We have seen youths, like those who an instant ago handed us a torch, who
have gathered as much as 14 tins of coffee, breaking a record. (Applause)
We have seen women take the place of men who have been mobilized in
factories and in the fields, in the shops and in offices. We have seen
today, as we have every moment since this situation began, that our people
maintain that happiness. Everything follows its normal course, with the
difference that we are on guard, with the difference that we are mobilized,
with the difference that we are ready to resist, to reject, and to bury the
invaders of our fatherland. (Applause)

Varying somewhat in its form, the revolution follows its irreversible
course with its immovable force, with the faith the people have in its
cause, and we must fight, and change the form a little more, the revolution
will follow its uncontainable course forward and toward the future.
(Applause) All have faith in the country. All serve a purpose, without
regard to age: the pioneers continue to study; the students gather coffed
in numbers close to 35,000, the indispensable workers at their production
posts--the vacant posts were filled by women--and the fighters in their

The earth continues to produce; the revolution continues to advance;
cultural life continues its normal course, and precisely here on this
platform is Comrade Licia Alonzo and her national ballet (applause)--who
with her national ballet, which undoubtedly constitutes the greatest
artistic representation our people have, will for some days entertain first
the people of Santiago, Cuba, and then the population of other cities of
the province.

To the commander in chief, to the comrade of clear precise, concrete
leadership who has known how to lead us during the past years, who has
known how to conduct us to victory in all difficult moments, we can say: In
this eastern province everything is normal. All of us do something, we are
all ready! (Applause)

To Comrade Fidel as the maximum representative of the party and government,
the founder of the first socialist state in America (applause; rhythmic
clapping), we can say that the people of Oriente, his united party, his
organizations of masses, his first army, like all the people of Cuba and
all the armies of the armed forces (applause) are fully in agreement with
the proposals of his last statements (applause; shouting), and here, as in
all of Cuba; we all are one, (applause) and here, as in all of Cuba we find
ourselves more united than ever, and here, as in all of Cuba, there is only
one will, the will to win and to continue forward. (Applause; shouts of
venceremos; clapping). Here, as in all of Cuba, we are ready to heed and
unconditionally carry out the orders which in the name of the people of
Cuba, the party and the government, as commander in chief he may give us.

To comrade Camilo, more than words, we can say to him: See the worthy
attitude of your people. See the determined and brave decision of your
people. (Applause) See how we fulfill those watchwords of yours that only
once shall we bend our knees and bow our heads, and those knees and those
heads will only bend before you Camilo and those who like you have died for
our fatherland. (Applause) But those same knees are more firm than ever,
and those same heads of your people are held higher than ever before this
insolent and aggressive enemy: North American imperialism. (Applause)

This exemplary mobilization, this admirable serenity of your people against
the problems which confront it is the best homage to your memory. To you
and to those who like you have fallen, (applause) and to you, all the
comrades who fell here and other parts of the world defending us, to the
commander in chief, to other friendly peoples who help us defend the
sovereignty of the Cuban people, to all the people of the world who have
given signs of solidarity to the extent of their ability in these moments,
more emphatically even today we can say to them: Cuba will not fail.
Fatherland or death, we will win.