Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services 0302 GMT 14 March 1965--F

(Live speech from the steps of Havana University on the occasion of the
anniversary of the attack on the Presidential Palace)

(Text) Comrade professors and university students, and students of the
other centers of learning present here: This is the eighth anniversary of
the 13 March and the sixth anniversary of the commemoration of this date.
This is the sixth function commemorating this date held on these university
steps. It has become a tradition, it has become an unavoidable duty for
everyone, for revolutionary comrades and university students.

With the years, certain changes have taken place in the university--changes
that are reflected in the composition of our student body. The first year,
almost all of those who gathered here had been comrades of Jose Antonio
Echeverria and comrades of all those who fought on that day, and many of
them were active participants of the struggle of the university students
against the Batista regime. After six years, many of those students have
graduated. Many are already working on various fronts of the Revolution,
and naturally the university ranks and the very university steps are filled
with the youngest comrades who have been filling the university ranks these
years. One sees many young faces in the mass of students present here. I
said to the comrades: "The students that make up the mass here seem very
young to me. Are they university students?" And I was told yes, they are
university students except for a group of some 2,000 exemplary students
from preuniversity and secondary schools, from the technological schools
(commotion in the crowd--ed.). Do you not consider yourselves
preuniversity students? Well then, what are your protesting about

And there are many comrades from the Pedagogic Institute present here.
Comrade Armando took advantage of the opportunity to say with some irony
that we do not realize that our contemporaries are no longer here in the
university, and I said: "That is true, unfortunately."

The really important thing here is that we not lose youthful spirit and
that the youths not lose revolutionary spirit (applause). I think that this
is the point on which we should always agree, regardless of age. Let the
memory of our people's struggles not become something academic. Let it not
become cold history. Moreover, the continuity of the struggle has in no way
ceased. We are very far from being able to say that the revolutionary
struggle of our people has ceased. We are very far from being able to say
that there remain no great tasks and efforts for our youth. That is why
this deep link between the first revolutionary waves and the second
revolutionary waves and each new revolutionary wave is not lost.

Each day, like 13 March, signifies a climatic day, a brilliant day in the
life of our country. We commemorate those dates to redouble the impetus, to
redouble the struggle, but the history of a country--the victories of a
country, the progress of a country--is written each day. It is written in
daily efforts and work. It is written not only with the heroism of one day,
but with the heroism of all days; not with the duty which is accomplished
one day in a unique manner, but with the duty which is fulfilled every day.

Today the history of our country is being written in the sugarcane fields,
in the factories, in the schools, in tenacious and selfless work done
anonymously by thousands, by tens of thousands, by hundreds of thousands of
men and women in our country. It is being written by the teachers who teach
in the mountains; by the doctors who save lives in the more remote areas of
the country, by the peasants who work in the most remote areas, where not
even the most fundamental comforts of civilization come; by the soldiers
who, in the areas of danger or in the face of the enemy, stand guard to
defend their revolution; by the workers of the sugar centrals, who produce
millions of tons of sugar, by the hundreds of thousands of men from the
city and country who, slice by slice and drop after drops of sweat, are
butting the sugarcane that produces the tons of sugar which all Cubans
proclaim with pride as as victory for our economy. The history is being
written today in study, in the classrooms, in the long hours we dedicate to
carrying out something, to researching something, to understanding
something, to learning something, to penetrating something. The history of
our country is being written today with hard, arduous work and with the
attitude is always present and invariable when defending this work,
defending the fruits of this work. Therefore, the history of our country
has been written today, is being written, and will continue to be written
for a long time. No youth will have to feel nostalgia over not having been
older when this struggle started. No youth will have to feel nostalgia nor
think that he came late to this struggle.

I recall the first days of the victory of the Revolution. I recall that
many men and women of the country greeted the rebel fighters with
extraordinary enthusiasm. Perhaps there were, among those who acclaimed the
victorious columns of the rebel army there, some workers who a few months
later, while unloading a ship of weapons, died in that dreadful explosion
which was the result of enemy sabotage. In the tanks of the people, there
were many of those who later fell fighting the mercenaries of Giron Beach.
In the ranks of the people there were certainly youths like Manuel Ascunce,
youths like Delfin Sen. youths like Conrado Benitez (applause), who, when
they were engaged in the noble and human task of teaching our peasants,
lost their lives, vilely murdered by counterrevolutionary bands. In the
ranks of the people were the men who, with innumerable acts of heroism and
sacrifice, have defended the Revolution on many different fronts and have
given it their lives.

In the ranks of the people were many heroes, any martyrs who have made
possible the victories and the successes of the Revolution--who have made
possible the survival of the Revolution, the resistance of the Revolution
against its enemies. The Revolution has much to do yet. The Revolution has
much to struggle for yet. The Revolution has powerful enemies; it has one
particularly powerful enemy--Yankee imperialism. That enemy threatens us
and will threaten us for a long time. That enemy will not give up easily
although it has no other choice before the revolutionary successes of our
people. That enemy attacks other countries, no here, but thousands of
kilometers away from here, as it is doing criminally against the people of
North Vietnam and the revolutionary people of South Vietnam also

That enemy intervenes in the Congo. That enemy sends its ships, its
marines, and its airplanes to any corner of the world. That enemy takes
advantage of the divisions among the revolutionaries. It takes advantage of
the lamentable divisions which exist in the socialist camp. Unfortunately,
they calculate, analyze, and take advantage of everything that may weaken
the revolutionary front. This means that circumstances exist which post
dangers for the people, people like ours, or other peoples in other parts
of the world who are struggling for their independence, struggling for
their freedom: dangers for all of us. There will be, then, no lack of

On these problems which relate to divisions and discords in the socialist
camp, and on which I am not going to spend any time today, on which we
basically do not even know how much we have to speak about because the
problem is not to speak just for the sake of speaking--(applause) The
problem is to talk about something and for something, and the problem is to
talk when, from talking or saying or expressing, something positive and
useful can be derived and not something only positive and useful for
imperialism and the enemies of the people (applause). God grant that we
will not find ourselves in those bitter circumstances, because enough has
been said about this matter of talking and somewhat more talking than
necessary has been done (applause).

In the field of discord, unfortunately, there has been enough--a good bit
more than necessary and a good bit more than is in the interest of the
peoples; but rather, unfortunately, good for the interests of the enemies
of the peoples. But we small countries, which do not entrust ourselves to
the strength of armies of millions of men, which do not entrust ourselves
to the strength of atomic power--we small countries, like Vietnam and Cuba,
have enough instinct to calmly see and understand that no one more than we,
who are in a special situation 90 miles from the Yankee empire and attacked
by Yankee planes, are affected by these divisions and discords that weaken
the strength of the socialist camp (prolonged applause).

There is no question of here analyzing in the field of theory, in the field
of philosophy, the matters in dispute; but one must keep in mind the great
truth that against an attacking enemy, against an enemy who is more
aggressive all the time, division has no reason for existing, division
makes no sense (applause), division is senseless. In any period of history,
in any area of mankind, from the time the first revolutionary emerged in
the world, from the time revolutions were carried out as social phenomena
in which the masses acted instinctively until the time revolutions were
carried out consciously and became tasks and phenomena that were fully
understood by the peoples--which took place when Marxism emerged--division
in the face of the enemy has never been a correct strategy. It was never a
revolutionary strategy; it was never an intelligent strategy.

All of us in this revolutionary process have been schooled from the
beginning in the idea that everything that divided, weakened--that
everything that disunited was bad for our people and good for imperialism.
And the masses of our people understood from the first moment the need for
unity, and unity became an essential thing for the revolution; unity became
the clamor of the masses, unity became the goal of all the people.

And we ask ourselves if the imperialists have disappeared. We ask ourselves
if the imperialists are not attacking North Vietnam. We ask ourselves if
men and women of the people are not dying there (prolong applause). Who is
it that they are going to make understand, who is it that they are going to
make believe that division is convenient, that division is useful? Can it
not be seen how the imperialists are advancing there? Can it be that the
imperialists strategy there cannot be seen? Can it be that the tactics of
the imperialists there to crush the revolutionary movement in South
Vietnam--first attacking North Vietnam under the pretext of reprisal, than
assuming the right to attack whenever they wish and continuing the use of
masses of planes against the combatants of South Vietnam--cannot be seen?

What is the situation at this moment? Well, the imperialists are talking of
blockading with their ships; they are landing their marines in South
Vietnam, sending aircraft carriers and mobilizing masses of airplanes to
crush the revolutionary movement in South Vietnam, to attack the guerrillas
of South Vietnam with all the means of war at their disposal while they
reserve the right to attack where thy please in North Vietnam, to carry out
that type of air war without any sacrifice on their part, bombing with
hundreds of airplanes and then indulging in the luxury of going to perform
rescue missions in helicopters for the pilots of the downed planes.

Undoubtedly, the imperialists want a type of very comfortable war.
Undoubtedly the imperialists want a type of war with only industrial loses,
that is, so many airplanes lost. Without a doubt, the South Vietnamese
people and the people of North Vietnam are suffering all this and suffering
it in their own flesh, because there it is men and women who die, in the
south and in the north, victims of the shrapnel and Yankee bombings. They
do not have the slightest hesitancy in declaring that they intend to
continue to carry all that out because not even the attacks against North
Vietnam have resulted in overcoming the divisions in the bosom of the
socialist family.

And who can doubt that this division is encouraging the imperialists? Who
can doubt that a united front against the imperialist enemy would have made
them hesitate--would have made them think a little more carefully before
launching their adventurist attacks and their increasingly more brazen
intervention in that part of the world? Can they convince someone of that?
With what for an argument? With what logic? And who are the beneficiaries?
The imperialists. And who are the victims? The Vietnamese. And who suffers?
The prestige of socialism, the prestige of the international communist
movement, the international revolutionary movement.

And that truly must hurt us, because for us a liberation movement is not a
demagogic phrase but a slogan which we have always truly felt (applause),
for we are a small country and we do not aspire to become the navel of the
world; we are a small country and do not aspire to become the revolutionary
center of the world. When we speak of these problems, we speak with
absolute sincerity and we speak with absolute selflessness; and we speak as
ones who did not win revolutionary power in bourgeois elections but by
fighting with weapons in hand.

We speak in the name of a people who for six years have resisted
steadfastly and without any vacillation the ambushes and threats of
imperialism (applause). We speak in the name of a people who did not waver
in strengthening the revolutionary movement, strengthening the socialist
camp, or in favor of the firmness and determination in defending the
revolution against the imperialists. They did not hesitate to face the
dangers of thermonuclear war, of a nuclear attack against us, when in our
country and our territory, with the full and absolute right which we have
not given up, and in an absolutely legitimate act for which we will never
by sorry, we agreed to the installation of strategic thermonuclear rockets
on our territory (applause). And in addition, not only were we in agreement
that they should be brought here, but we disagreed that they should be
taken away (applause)!

And I believe that this is not a secret to anyone at all. We are a country
and a people--in whose name we speak--who do not receive Yankee credits or
Food for Peace, and who do not have the slightest relation with the
imperialists. This is to say that, in matters of conviction and
revolutionary sincerity, no one taught us, no one taught us--as no one
taught our liberators of '85, of '68--the road to independence and dignity
(applause)--the people of the first and the second declaration of Havana
(applause). We did not copy any document, but rather it was a pure
expression of the deeply revolutionary and highly international feeling of
our people. And this has been the feeling and this has been the thought of
our Revolution, demonstrated on as many occasions as it has been necessary
for it to be demonstrated, and demonstrated without hesitation of any kind,
without retreats of any type, and without contradictions of any kind.

It is by reason of this that we have the right to ask, as many other
countries should ask, whom these discords benefit other than our enemies.
And, of course, we have a complete right, a full and absolute right--I do
not believe that anyone dares to refute this--to keep these discords and
Byzantine battles out of our country and the land of our people (applause).
It is good to know that here the propaganda is made by our party
(applause), that here this is a question which concerns our jurisdiction.
And if we do not want the discord to come here because we do not want it,
no one can bring it to us as contraband (applause).

And our enemies, our enemies, our only enemies, are the Yankee imperialists
(applause). Our only insurmountable dispute is with Yankee imperialism
(applause). The only adversary against whom we are ready to break all our
lances is imperialism, and furthermore, we do not understand any other
language. We do not understand the language of division. And in the
concrete case of a country attached by imperialism, like Vietnam, our
position is only one, and it is not, it is not (Castro repeats
negative--ed.) for the reason of protecting our beard because we see our
neighbor's beard burning, as some may think, particularly the imperialists.
The fact is that as we see it, when we see our neighbor's beard burning, we
begin to wish our beard would begin to burn (prolonged applause).

We are not people who become frightened by such events; on the contrary, we
become inflamed. And our position is uncomplicated: we are in favor of
giving Vietnam all the help that may be necessary (applause). We are in
favor of that help being in weapons and in men (cheering and applause). We
are in favor of the socialist camp running the risks that may be necessary
for Vietnam (prolonged applause, chanting).

We are quite aware of the fact that in case of any serious international
complication, we will be one of the first targets of imperialism, but that
does not worry us nor has it ever worried us. And we do not adopted the
position of shutting our mouths and acting the fool to see if they will
have mercy on our lives. (applause). That is--with all frankness and with
all sincerity--our reasoned, dispassionate position, which emanates from
our right to think, to reason, and for our very legitimate and inviolable
right to adopt the measures and act in the way we deem most just and
revolutionary without anyone attempting to deceive himself into thinking
that he can give us lessons in being revolutionary (applause).

I hope that the mistake will not be made of underestimating, of ignoring
the special nature of our people, because many such mistakes were made by
Yankee imperialism, one of whose characteristics was scorn for others,
scorn and underestimation of the small countries. That imperialism made
great mistakes of underestimating our revolutionary country. It would be
deplorable for others to commit similar mistakes.

Our sincere policy has been and is that of uniting, because we are not and
never will be satellites to anyone (applause).

In this entire problem, we have maintained a very dispassionate, very
hones, and very sincere position. These are not times for stirring up
papers and files. I believe that as long as we have imperialism before us
and attacking us, it would be ridiculous to come here to debate, as in the
fable, whether they are wolves or hounds (applause), whether they are made
of paper or iron. And the papers and the files and the documents--let us
leave them to history and let history say who acted right or wrong, who had
and who had not the right on their side. Let it be history that reveals
what each thought, what each did, everything each said; but let it be
history, because it is humiliating to wash our dirty linen before our
enemies--enemies who are attacking and who are attacking, not the most
powerful, but the smallest and the weakest (applause).

We have many things to do. We have many very difficult, very hard tasks
before us--millions of tons of sugarcane to cut to defeat the imperialist
blockade; and they are not cut with papers; they are cut with work. They
are cut with sweat, they are cut with machetes. Great are the dangers
waiting in ambush for us, but they are not fought with Byzantine discord or
academic charlatanry, no! They are cut with revolutionary determination,
revolutionary integrity, the determination to fight. The imperialist enemy
is fought effectively in any part of the world with revolutionaries divided
among themselves, with revolutionaries insulting each other, with
revolutionaries attacking each other, but rather with unity, with cohesion
in revolutionary ranks! And to those who do not believe that this is the
correct tactics for the international communist movement, we say that for
us here on our small island, on our territory, in the advanced trench 90
miles from the imperialists, it is the correct tactic (applause, shouting;
Castro's voice cracking at this point--ed.)!

We will tailor our line to that way of thinking, and we will tailor our
conduct. I believe that thus we honor our dead comrades in a worthy manner.
I believe that we honor those who have fallen, from the first to the last,
because this revolution was born from the rebellion of an entire people. It
was born from the dignity of an entire people. It was born from the
progressive and revolutionary spirit of an entire people because this
struggle, which today is linked and related to the struggle of the other
countries of the world against imperialism, began practically a century
ago. It began with the first men who rose up in arms against the
colonialism and the exploitation of our country. And that trend has
continued, that line has continued, and that line has never been abandoned
by our people. It has never been betrayed by our people. This clear, firm
line has been followed. That is their spirit. That is their tradition.

Along this path have gathered all the worthy men of this land. In the long
struggle, many worthy men of this land have died. The first were not
Marxist- Leninists. Carlos Manuel de Cespedea was not. Marti was not,
because he could not be one in the era in which he lived and under the
historic conditions under which his magnificent struggle developed. We,
then, would have been like them; they, today, would have been like us
(applause), because the decisive factor in each era was the revolutionary
spirit of our people. The task of our people at all times--and what can be
said is that from then until today, the path has been long. Long has been
the evolution of our revolutionary thinking, because at the beginning of
the second half of the last century the tasks of the proletarian revolution
were not the ones which had to be faced. It was the fight for independence
against the colonial Spanish power. And we came to life, to that
independence! Then a much greater power rose elsewhere, a more fearful
power--Yankee imperialism. The struggle against that power became the great
historic task of our people. It became the great task of our people in this
century to achieve independence from that power, to resist its aggressions,
and to maintain on high the flag of the revolution. It became the great
task of our people, coinciding with similar tasks of other peoples in this
same continent, and in Africa and Asia, and in Oceania, and wherever the
people struggle every day more determinedly against colonialism and
imperialism. It has been a single path. It has always been a single
revolutionary line.

Many have traveled along that line, along that path--many patriots, many
martyrs; and those who have carried that flag forward, those who have
followed that line, represent the will of all. They are duty bound not only
to the present and future generations, but also to the past generations who

And in this fashion, on a day like today, when we remember those who have
died we think that there is only one feeling -there is essentially only one
idea which is absolutely consolidating, absolutely compensating: and that
is that the men who have fallen, the men who have died, have not died in
vain. Other times, in our era, from these very same steps, the dead were
remembered, but with sadness, with sorrow, with desperation, under the
intolerable idea that even those sacrifices had not born fruit. When in an
era such as this one, under circumstances such as this one, on a day like
today, we remember those comrades-- all of whom are symbolized by the name
of Jose Antonio Echeverria, we have with us the consoling idea, the
tranquillity and the satisfaction that their sacrifices were not in vain
and that the progress of our revolution, the upward progress of our people
on the path of history, on the path of revolutionary thinking, on the path
of the extraordinary evolution of our ideas--the men who fought for this
become whole again.

You youths of today should feel like followers of those men, like followers
of those men who have taken their standard, who continue progressing, who
continue marching forward on the upward road of our people toward the
glorious history of our country. You are the new revolutionary wave and we
are certain that you will know how to do it and that you will be worthy of
Jose Antonio Echeverria and his companions. Fatherland or death, we will

(Editor's Note: Havana Domestic Service in Spanish at 2330 GMT on 13 March
1965 presents a roundup of the ceremonies held throughout Cuba earlier in
the day in commemoration of the anniversary of the attack on the
Presidential Palace in 1957. The speakers reported include ICR Director
Ramiro Fuerta, Maj. Rolando Cubela, Education Minister Armando Hart, Lazaro
Mora, Deputy Communications Minister Jose Venegas, Dr. Rene Anillo, and
Communications Minister Maj. Jesus Montaine. All the speakers listed
stressed the great sacrifice made by the participants in the attack and the
duty of the Cuban people to pay homage to their memory by contributing all
their efforts to make a reality of the cause for which they died. The
roundup concludes by repeating that the ceremonies to be held at the steps
of Havana University will begin at 2030 hours Cuban times.)