Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Reply

Moscow in Spanish to Cuba 1200 GMT 20 May 1963--L

(Text) Comrades of the party and the Government of the Socialist Republic
of the Ukraine, dear friends of Kiev and the Ukraine!

We have been traveling and getting to know the Soviet Union, and this has
taken time. Yet when our obligations allowed us time, we were aware that
our trip would not be complete if we did not visit the Socialist Republic
of the Ukraine. (Prolonged applause) But this was not only a matter of
courtesy, not only a matter of perspective, but a matter of sentiment, of
admiration for the Ukrainians, for I know what they mean in the great
Soviet Union. It is also a matter of gratitude to the Ukrainians for all
the contacts mentioned by the first secretary of the technicians who have
been in Cuba, the young Cubans who are studying here, and the help which
the Ukrainian technicians are giving us in the development of our economy
and our agriculture. Furthermore, we had the honor of meeting the comrade
first secretary of the party Central Committee of the Ukrainian Republic
during the visit we made to the United Nations and since then have had a
pleasant memory of our meeting. So that as we were approaching the Ukraine,
I kept asking Comrade Kuznetsov if we were going to meet him here. And I am
very pleased to see him (and his friends?). (Applause)

We were very pleased when we met our compatriots. We were very pleased when
we met the Ukrainian people who, like all the people of the USSR, are very
affectionate toward us. On leaving Moscow,I was told it was not in the
Ukraine today. And we said very proudly: We are used to the heat. It seems
as though in the Ukraine we have found a climate similar to ours. I don't
know whether it is something subjective; I think it is something objective,
but it seems as though here we are at home, as though we were among the
Cuban people. (Prolonged applause) I was extremely moved to hear the first
secretary, when speaking of our difficult days, saying that millions of
Ukrainians mobilized to fulfill their international duty. When you think
that millions of men and women mobilized to fulfill their duty to a small
companion thousands and thousands of miles distant, one can truly say that
the relations between the peoples of the Soviet Union and Cuba are so
close, so fraternal, so solid, it is possible that nothing like this has
happened in the history of the world. The gratitude which this obliges, the
feeling which this arouses in us, cannot ever be depreciated. We are
certain that our brief sojourn in the Ukraine will be instructive and
pleasant. I hope that you will forgive us for its being very brief as we
have a great love for this country. (Applause)

Yesterday, when we were speaking with Comrade Nikita Khrushchev, he said:
Take a greeting from me to the people of the Ukraine. (Applause) With this
happy duty of transmitting the greeting from Khrushchev (applause), I say:
Long live the heroic people of the Ukraine! (Applause) Long live the
friendship between the Ukrainians and the Cubans!