Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2025 QMT 28 May 1965--F

(Live speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro at a ceremony in Uvero,
Oriente, to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the battle of Uvero
Against Batista's forces.

(Text) Comrade peasants of the Sierra Maestra: The day is rainy but we are
not going to say that it is a bad day because of that. The fact that a
slight drizzle is falling, or even a heavy rain, will be well received by
all of us, because when it rained before, the only thing the people had for
themselves was the mud from the roads. Today when it rains, the people know
that it means more root crops, more milk, more food; and the peasants know
that it means better crops for themselves, although in this thing of better
crops we will have a lot to learn because we still do not know how to
cultivate the land well.

Everybody knows why he is here in these hills, for each peasant family,
each parent, and perhaps even those who were youths here, almost men, came
with their parents to the Sierra Maestra when they were very young. Others
very possibly were born here. But everybody knows how and why they came
here, and how much work it took to establish themselves in these mountains,
how much work it took to make these mountains livable, how many ax strokes,
how many pick strokes, how many fires.

The economic and social situation of our country, the system of
exploitation under which we lived, forced the peasant to emigrate to these
lands when these lands belonged to no one. The owners of these lands
appeared in the lad office registers after the peasants had arrived,
established themselves, and cleared the land. Then sane little shyster
lawyer would appear, as well as some judge, a rural guard and a constable,
and they would determine that this land belonged to this one or that one.
Moreover, in order not to leave anything that was not taken by that
insatiable thirst, that pitiless voracity, even Turquino Peak was taken up
into one of the latifundiums.

And the (Disy--phonetic) Company (applause), one of whose managers, a
veritable thug, who in the company of the troops toured the fields sowing
terror, was summarily executed on 17 January 1957 by our revolutionary
forces, which at that time were very small. And that company laid claims
even to Turcuino Peak--Turquino Peak that is so high, Turcuino Peak that in
those times had been climbed by very few. How it must have been where the
peaks were not so high! How it must have been in the plains, when even
Turcuino Peak was included in one of those latifundiums into which the
territory of the Cuban nation had been divided by the exploiters.

Naturally, when the land belonged to no one, when it was covered with
jungle, the peasants came here emigrating from the area of the sir centrals
because the sugarcane estates and unemployment forced the heads of families
to search for (?relief), for a solution, no matter how difficult it was. Of
course, our country in 1959 lived on the same amount of sugar as in 1925,
the same amount as that produced 30 or 35 years before, even though the
population had doubled.

It grew, and you all know very well how a population grows. Twice the
population lived on the same amount of sugar, sugar that as you know was
cut and loaded by hand.

This means that the productivity of one man--as I have said on other
occasions, cutting and loading cane by hand--was so poor that it was barely
enough to feed a population of sparrows. In that fashion, forced by these
circumstances, our agricultural workers and our peasants came to our
mountains when there was not even one road, not even one highway, when very
rarely some little boat touched land here and there, some schooner that
hauled lumber. In any serious case, in any emergency, what hope did he have
of finding a doctor in the vicinity, of finding a doctor 100 kilometers
away, not to mention a school or a hospital? In such conditions, our
peasants came to populate these mountains.

Naturally, (long pause after which Castro muttered an indistinct phraseed.)
in such condition, when they came here things were chaotic. There was no
plan to utilize the forests. The latifundists annihilated the forests. Our
country was very rich in all kinds of wood, but what wood did they leave
us, what trees did they replant? What wood did they leave us to build
houses and to build (few words indistinct)?

And the peasants who came, wanting only to work a small plot of land, who
had no credit or resources, came only with hatchets and matches. They were
forced by need also to destroy many riches, to destroy many trees, for you
know how the mountains are. Trees are felled one year and underneath there
is fertile soil where vegetation grew for centuries and the first year it
produces an abundant crop, a great avalanche, and the first year is good.
However, the second year is not that way. Then coffee was planted among the
malanga, and plantains; and later, the next year, it was necessary to clear
more wooded areas to continue that cycle. And each woods that was so
cleared was wealth that was destroyed. It was land that was lost, because
then the rains cane and it washed away the organic topsoil that was left.
In many cases, the land remained barren for many years, because it takes
many years for the vegetation itself to return to the soil the elements
needed to produce a good crop.

At times the coffee remained, but it was coffee in its most primitive
state, without fertilizers of any type and also without pruning, and
without any type of technical attention. And it was there, there we had
first extracted the fertility from the soil by planting root vegetables,
that we then planted coffee. And thus, in this process, the mountains were
cleared. In this process, thousands and thousands of caballerias of forests
disappeared. That inhuman regime forced man to fight desperately for life,
and in that desperate fight for life man destroyed the wealth of the

Perhaps if many people had been forced to cone to these mountains to live
earlier and a revolution had taken place in our country, there would have
been no need to cut down the forests in the Sierra Maestra. It would not
have been necessary to plant coffee. It would not have been necessary to
have that Calvary of thousands and thousands of families in that hard
struggle against nature and in the hard struggle against poverty, and we
would have thousands and thousands of caballerias of precious lumber and
when there were circumstances of climatic types or natural phenomena like
the hurricane that lashed us so cruelly only some two years ago, there
would not have been so many deaths, there would not have been so many
casualties, because the forests would have prevented the rivers from
flooding so quickly.

Forests hold water. Rain falls first on the crowns of trees. It streams
down the trees, it is held by the roots and by the topsoil, and then runs
off slowly; but if there are no forests, we have what happened. In a matter
of hours, that gigantic wave swept over the populated areas, that great
torrent of water of which cur peasants speak; which resulted from the
swelling of rivers to incredible proportions.

We recall a small hurricane that passed close to this area during the war
and produced heavy rains and cost hundreds of lives in the Sierra Maestra
area, mainly as a consequence of what you call the [two words indistinct),
houses with families that were separated. And naturally the flood, without
these natural means of defense, made us pay the price.

But this is not to say that we should abandon our mountains. No, it means
that we should remember what the mountains are and should care for them,
that we should try to repopulate all the mountain areas that can provide
wood, and try to cultivate the land with (several words indistinct) to
apply fertilizer to the coffee plantations, to all the coffee plantations,
and watch over the life of the coffee plantations, because when you see
that much malanga produced, it is because there is much food for the
plants. But if the plant does not have food, you cannot expect to produce
an abundant harvest. Because of this, we have to introduce technology Into
cultivation in the mountains.

Naturally, there are many mountains which have been exploited and are
unproductive. We will have to replant these parts year by year. Almost all
of you have been in Santiago de Cuba and seen how beautiful the plantations
of soursop and tamarinds are. They are growing there on land that seemed
completely unproductive. Everyone said that nothing would grow there. But
in (Sait--phonetic) they are producing great quantities of fruits, great
quantities of soursop and tamarinds, I told Comrade Armando this. This is
what we should do with all this land--not leave a single inch of our land
without making it produce something: lumber if nothing else can be
produced, fruit when lumber cannot be produced. This depends on the type of
land, because it is proved that all land can produce something.

We came in a helicopter, seeing the highway, how it went, and seeing all
this area, some hills very bare, other areas covered with (?brush) which
would not serve to plant corn, or for beans or root vegetables. But some of
them would serve for pastures, and others would serve for fruit.

We are going to have a highway that undoubtedly will be an ornament for our
country. This highway is being built from Santiago de Cuba to Polon and
will run more than 150 kilometers all along the coast. This highway will
mean first of all the solution of one of the difficult problems in this
area. It will provide the possibility of rapid transportation from any
place in the rural area to the city when it is necessary.

On these highways, that are full of twists and turns, today we have the
carts, which are good, because the carts mean a step forward. This mountain
transportation, among other things, put an end to the speculation and abuse
that some exploiters of the worst kind were committing--the scale of
exploiters is very, very great. On top was the great one, and then one
after another, forming a scale of exploiters threatening the people. And
there were those who wanted 100 pesos on a certain day, collecting whatever
they could from the poor peasants who traveled these roads.

Primitive mountain transportation was a solution, but the day is not far
off when there will be bus transportation in these places (applause), the
day is not far off when we will be able to arrive in--well, a plane already
comes here (from Tampico?), but the day will not be far off when we will
arrive to this place rapidly in a car or any other vehicle in one-fourth of
the time it takes now, with less wear and tear on the vehicles, with less
weariness, with less cost. All in all, this highway will fill a great void.

However, how marvelous it would be if, in addition to this highway, a study
were made of all this coastal belt, of all the soils that are poor, all
those soils that are unproductive, and a plan drafted to plant mangoes
here, coconuts there, soursop here, tamarind some place else--that is, a
well-planned soil selection. Clearly, we understand what planning means. It
is the opposite of disorganization and lack of planning. It is a study of
all the land along this highway.

From Pilon in this direction they are already planting coconuts and
mangoes. In these areas, as you know, a mango grows which does not grow
anywhere else. Nobody knows why, but it must be for some reason, some quirk
of nature, something with which nature has wished to distinguish this area
of Oriente. In some of the mountains, the bizcochuelo mango grows, but in
other places it does not grow in the same manner. Some day our technicians
will discover why the bizcochuelo grows so well here, what elements are in
the soil, what minerals are in the soil that make the bizcochuelo grow here
without blemish in El Canay and in Pilon. But we could investigate all
these 100 or so--almost 200 kilometers of this coastal road and find out
where the bizcochuelo grows, and we could have good and great plantations
of bizcochuelo here where nature has shown that the soil is good for them.

The same thing is being done with coconuts in one of the best
coconut-growing areas, this area of (Marea de Porti--phonetic), in
addition, we are planting tens of thousands of coconut plants, Almost all
the seeds, all the coconuts that are now being produced are being used for
seed and all the soil that is good for coconuts is being planted in

All this could be an area of fruit trees, but some day it will have a
greater value. In no other place in Cuba will there be almost 200
kilometers along a coast having the beauty of the mountains and the sea,
because here, where our highest mountains rise, are found the deepest parts
of our seas. Moreover, types of fish inhabit this area that do not appear
in other parts of the country, and the day will cone when circumstances and
the development of our economy and our wealth will allow us to build
recreation and rest centers, not one or two like Mar Bella or Caleton
Blanco, but all along the road, many recreation and rest centers, centers
for sports fishing all along the road.

Just imagine this spot, with its magnificent highway, filled with fruit
trees; and where trees cannot be planted, pastures; and where pastures
cannot be planted, trees for lumber, There will be no single bare or
unproductive spot. Then the workers can come to spend their month's
vacation, to choose a corner of the mountains if they want to climb
mountains, if they want to swim, or row, or fish, or take that rest that he
body and mind need in order to remain in the best state of health
physically and mentally. Some day such places will be visited often by the
workers of all the country. Some day this whole area will have great
tourist interests.

It will require work and study, for we must study, we must learn, we must
improve. We all have to study. We all have to learn. We all have to
improve. We have to learn to manage nature. We have to learn to manage the
laws of nature. We have to learn to control nature, because if we let
nature dominate us, we will have this scarcity, need. We must control
nature. We must build a dam on each river. We must not allow one drop of
water to be lost, We must perfect that technology, which is already
beginning to be used, of artificial rain, so that when one of those clouds
passes by carrying water it does not drop, as sometimes happens, we can
make the rain fall to cut those periods of drought.

I do not know whether you know that there are some airplanes flying about
testing this technique and making it rain, as some peasants say, because
when these tests were carried out in Havana some peasants said: "There goes
the airplane that makes it rain." Of course, in order for it to rain we
must have clouds. If there are no clouds, then it is true that there is
nothing that can be done, However, many times the clouds appear and no rain
falls. If we know all these things, these laws of nature, and we learn them
and we learn how to control them, and in each place we do what should be
done, we plant what should be planted, produce what should be produced, and
work with plans, work with order--then we will control nature. Then we will
lack nothing but have a surplus of everything; and when there are surpluses
of everything, we approach communism.

What does communism mean (applause)? It means to organize work, apply the
laws of technology and science to produce such an abundance so that we will
never again have what we have known up to now--shortages, and those who are
called "poor" because they do not have something they need. Shortages are
the cause of poverty, and the reason for shortages in our country was the
former system of economic and social exploitation that existed.

We will have such an abundance of everything--and we know that we can have
it--when all these lands are producing, and producing fully because we have
known how to select the proper seeds, given it the best care, known which
fertilizer to use, when to use it and how to use it. We can have it with
our work, with the effort of our working people, with a country of workers
without parasites of any type, where work will never be viewed as a
punishment or a dishonor, but rather as the most honorable, the most
worthy, the most beautiful activity of man, because what work does is to
make man advance; it is what educates man; it is what creates man's
happiness, and there must be no parasites of any type.

It is true that parasites do not disappear in a day's time. The great
parasites disappear in a day, but a train of parasites remains. It is not
possible either--and it would be foolish to try--to put an end to
parasitism in one day. In the same way, it was not possible to finish off
the soldiers of the dictatorship in one day; no, it was a matter of time
and little by little, battle after battle. Well, all forms of parasitism
that may have survived will also disappear, and a working people like ours
will be able to create a great abundance of wealth instead of what we have
known up to now--shortages. There will be such an abundance of those things
a man needs to live that there will be surpluses, and when there are
surpluses there can be communism, because then each will take what he
needs, and that can only be a achieved on a basis of abundance.

There are many signs of progress here. You have seen schools, for
example--teachers--practically throughout the mountains. Youths are
teaching your children. They are teaching your children and satisfying that
need to learn that man has, and nobody like the peasants, who saw himself
deceived many times, who many times saw himself mocked, knows how important
it is to know how to read and write. There is no peasant who wants his
child not to know how to read and write. There is no peasant who wants his
child to be prepared to pass through the humiliation of being shown a paper
he cannot read, of being given something to sign and having to put his
finger on it, his fingerprint, like a criminal, or sign it with an X. There
is nothing more degrading, more humiliating.

Since our peasants did not have schools, and the large majority of them
knew these humiliations, they appreciate a school and a teacher all the
more. And the teachers are already arriving in every corner of the
mountains, and in every corner, there is studying, First they began classes
in houses; later, some places were prepared for them. Now plans are being
made for mountain boarding schools to resolve the problem of those who live
far away. And when they feed them their lunch in the boarding
school--breakfast, lunch, and dinner--then the peasant will not have to
feed them at home.

The same thing is happening with your daughters who are studying. If they
need something, if they need a doctor, they have a doctor. If they need a
dress, they have a dress. They have housing. They have teachers who not
only teach them a profession, but also teach them how to act in public, how
to put on a theatrical play, a song, a dance. They educate them. If they
need a dentist, they have a dentist. They have everything. That which
others had previously, they have now, and not just what the son of any
bourgeois had, but what the sons of the most prominent bourgeois had in
their own houses.

Your daughters may have told you how they live there where the others used
to live, those that left. Truthfully, we have not taken anybody's home. We
are not as bad as they say from their point of view. We have never taken
the house of any bourgeois. They went abroad believing that their return
was a matter of weeks, of months; later, they may have said years, but now
they must be thinking that it is a matter of decades and centuries
(applause). Well, anyway, they left their little house or their big house,
and what were we to do with those empty houses? Let the scholarship
students come. Let the peasant girls come to study. Tens of thousands have
come. Many who apply themselves very well and have special aptitude for
studying have been chosen, and there are more than 1,000 of those peasant
girls who are becoming teachers and there are many who are teaching the new

Well, you have children and they lack nothing-they have all they need. When
everyone can say the same, we will have communism. This is communism
(applause). And sometimes illness occurs. Before, when someone was ill, he
died if he was poor because he had to pay heavens knows how much for the
medicine, which was expensive--haven knows how much for a blood
transfusion. Of course, anyone contracting tetanus in the mountains could
not get to any place in time. How could he, and on what? However, when one
did arrive, it was usually too late. But if someone gets sick today and he
needs good medical attention which may cost thousands of pesos to save his
life, every one knows that he will get it. Everyone knows that there is not
a man, woman, child, or elderly person who, if his life depends on science,
if his life depends on resources--everybody has the assurance that he will
not die. Everybody knows that this is true no matter how much it costs and
that nobody is going to hand them a bill later (applause). Nobody is going
to come around later and say: "Look, compadre, vote for such and so," a
tremendous thief, one of the politicians who for any little miserable favor
comes around asking for the voting cards.

That is why we have replaced this with rifles, which are far more efficient
than votes (applause). This means that we now vote with our rifles. Our
rifles are our voting cards. This is our democracy. This is the one we want
(applause) and this is a true democracy (applause), that of a man who has
rights, not a piece of paper to be used every once in a great while for the
benefit of a miserable politician and a thief and an exploiter. And that
paper served only to pay for the miserable services they gave them.

Our democracy is represented by something more, which is the true right of
the people organized in revolutionary power (applause). Because now it is
not the yellow ones (amarillos) who come by with their large, clumsy horses
and the boss ready to give anybody a kick in the ribs, ready to interfere
with anybody, with anybody's family. No, now the authority is the people;
there is no longer any difference between the people and authority, because
now there is no distinction between the two. Authority and power used to be
represented by an oligarchic and exploiting minority. Now the battalion of
the militia, of the peasants and workers is created (applause). These are
the rights of the people converted into reality, and when the people are
the creators of their own destiny, no one will dare come to collect for

As I said, regardless of the cost, everyone feels the security that their
children, wife, husband, brother, father, brothers, comrades--because today
we are all brothers--have when they are in need. And when this can be said
it is a (word indistinct) in which a human life is worth what is necessary,
in which the value of a human life is not counted in some miserable pesos.
If it has to be spent to save a life, it will be spent. Spend what must be
spent and save a human life, save a child, save an old person--it is not
important if he is very old or very young. This is also true in saving the
sight of a person. How many persons formally had to be sent abroad to save
their sight, to undergo a difficult operation of a certain type that could
only be done in certain countries!

When a human being feels the security of having everything he
needs--education, medical attention, the real right to live really
honorably, and decently, this is what the revolution seeks, abundance which
will make men happy.

That is why in all these things--in the schools, hospitals, on the
highways, in the shoes that the mountain children receive at the
schools--because since the hurricane hundreds of thousands of pairs of
shoes have been sent to the mountains and distributed through the schools.
The maintain areas is where more shoes are worn out. There, where more
walking has to be done, there is not a single child who says: "I do not go
to school because I have no shoes." And seeing some children here and
there, I could almost tell you what brand of shoes they are wearing,
because many of them are even imported shoes that have been brought in for
the children of the mountains. And when children have their shoes, it does
not matter if the father has more or less, if he is ill or healthy; this is
teaching us and is giving us a lesson of what we want to do.

These are examples of what some day will be general and will be the type of
society we want, because these things of which we have spoken and which
please everyone--the highway, the doctor who arrives, the hospital which is
open, the teacher who teaches, the scholarship received by the son or
daughter, the shoes received by the child, not counting all the other
things such as credit--but I am referring to these things that the people
are beginning to receive and which they will receive in ever-increasing
amounts in the degree to which we progress; this teaches us what the
revolution is. This is what has made us all the more revolutionary. This is
what has most awakened everyone's enthusiasm for work.

This is what enabled us to attain 6 million tons of sugar this year as we
are going to, as we are going to; when there are no longer almost a half
million unemployed, when people no longer have to go and leave their little
farms to work for some months to buy salt and lard; when there are no
longer so many hundreds of thousands unemployed, who are the ones that used
to cut the big landowners' cane. Today the people spring into action and
mobilize to cut their own cane, because they know their cane means more
resources, more foreign currency, more prosperity for the nation. Hence
these impressive mobilizations, these extraordinary efforts put forth by
certain workers.

The thing is, revolutionary awareness is constantly getting a stronger hold
on the people. At first, the revolution was an emotion, something
sentimental; today the revolution is in the people's awareness, a feeling
of the (few words indistinct) what they are doing, why they do it, and what
the objective is. And so, despite all aggressions and the blockade (?we
laugh at our enemies). When they thought we were being ruined, we turn up
with 6 million tons of guar. (Several words indistinct) because when we
already thought--and after the hurricane, still more so--for after the
hurricane hard work really began planting cane here. And in 1963 it came to
3.8, and a little more in 1964; and cane whose planting was begun after the
hurricane (several words indistinct)--after the hurricane, that hurricane
they thought was wrecking us. And you see it has not even stopped the road;
it delayed it a little, but the highway has come here, hurricane or not

From 3.8 million to 6 million is an imposing leap, and after three years of
blockade, not like in the earliest period there was no blockade yet, there
were big cane reserves left by the big landowners, who left it from one
year to the next (?in a good year). After three years, through our workers'
efforts, overcoming all difficulties, and after a hurricane, sugar output
rises from 3.8 to 6 million, almost the maximum of our industrial capacity.

Now planting and industrial capacity must march together, and in 1967, two
years from now, produce the biggest yield of all times, attaining 7.5
million tons in 1967 (applause); introducing more and more machinery and
cane-loaders, because--do you know that a man loads 60,000 arrobas in one
day with a cane-loader? How that man produces, how he increases work
productivity! With technology, science, and machines, a man can produce 20,
30, or 40 times more. And the people, armed with technology and science and
machines, will produce 10,20, 30 times more.

And it will never be the way it was before, when a machine was brought and
the worker saw it as his enemy. "The machine takes my place." The tobacco
workers said, "This machine takes my place and makes me starve." The dock
worker would say, "This machine takes my place, this bulk sugar takes my
job and makes me starve." Who would have introduced a combine on a big
private cane plantation? Who would have introduced a combine? Because it
was obvious that the combine would have benefited the owner and nobody

But today the worker sees that the machine is his great ally, his good
friend, which is going to multiply productivity and create wealth. Isn't
that right, old fellow? (Answers to these questions are inaudible--ed. )
Are you from here in the mountains? Where did you come from? (?Sonador)?
But where did you come from to start with, where was your first work,
before you came to the mountains? (?Preston). You cut cane? What year did
you come? 1925?

And how is it that you started to work there? (Apparently conversing with a
member of the audience--ed.) It is more or less the story we were just
talking about. You see how I guessed right (laughter)? This is the same
story with almost everyone. And I asked you because I can see that you are
along in years. (few words indistinct) I was telling this man that he must
understand all of this because he has lived through it (few words

So you have already cut cane? Then you helped me to study (laughter).
Studies are very important. If I had not studied, I would not have been
able to understand--I would not have been useful, I would not have been
able to contribute my grain of sand. (Voice from the audience indistinct)
Very well, that is why I am very pleased: because you helped to bring me up

(More audience talk) But still, there is no (few words indistinct). We will
pick it up right away, but the mail is not in yet. (?We will pick that up)
to get a head start. I know that I will have to read about 30 letters.
(Fidel chuckles) Oh, but let us not discuss that problem here; we can
discuss that later. We will read the letter first and then see what the
matter is.

Eight years have elapsed. Many things have occurred during eight years
since the Uvero battle. During these eight years we have learned very much
everything from those times of the (?Babun)--do you remember? Do you
remember that two of the (?Babun) children joined the mercenary expedition?
Do you know what they came after? They wanted to continue--well, to recover
this again-to continue to use the little lumber still in the mountain (few
words indistinct). But how mistaken they were; they did not know what
awaited them there. It is a good thing that they did not come around here,
because we all know that you also were awaiting them here--they were being
awaited everywhere (applause).

(Voice from audience) What is that? For 60 pesos? (Audience answer)
Oh--that is what it was charged? Oh, they charged 60 pesos for the boat.
Well, not even a transatlantic ship (laughter)--gentlemen. And so we recall
those days. Today's things everything--seemed to be so far away--the
hospital, the school, the people, the road, the teachers, the
technicians--everything seemed so distant then.

When the revolutionaries appeared, behind the revolutionaries were the
(?craftsmen) (few words indistinct). Behind the revolutionaries were the
planes dropping bombs, sowing terror. How little we could contribute, how
little we had to offer! Many times the enemies' crimes and their abuses
followed us and occurred where we had been. But despite all of this, we
were well received everywhere. They welcomed us as friends.

At first there was much fear. Of course, this had been instilled by
centuries of being fearful--fear of everything--fear of the stranger, the
landlord, (few words indistinct), fear of the gun, fear of the judge, fear
of the mayor. How long these people had feared something--something.
Naturally, things appeared insurmountable. They seemed insurmountable
evils. Who would ever get involved with those powerful people, who was
going to tangle with those guards?

Guns, (?troops), planes--who could measure up to those authorities who
represented the privileged classes! A people accustomed to live in fear
logically trust nothing. They had no faith--they could not believe in
anything. Politics--politicians! And the people were scared at the outset,
very fearful.

The revolutionaries (few words indistinct] were so few. They sympathized
with the noble peasants despite their fear and apprehension. However, all
of these things were overcome. Time took care to prove that they were not
invincible. Tine proved that they were not omnipotent. Time passed and the
revolutionaries, instead of dwindling in numbers, became more; just the
opposite of what happened to the counterrevolutionaries, who are
progressively decreasing (applause). It is not the same to come to the
mountains as we came, to fight against what we fought--against all of that
filth, all of that rottenness, all of that injustice--as it is to come as
they have tried to come, to fight for all of that rottenness, for all of
the injustice, for all of that misery.

How many times they practiced, even though they had a tremendous supply of
arms--aboard mother ships, submarines, in the air, in the sea with frogmen,
aboard launches and through every means (few words indistinct). And we, in
order to get one single little bullet, how hard we had to fight, what
sacrifices we had to undergo, what efforts we had to make! No one sent us
little bullets, or dynamite or guns.

What we encountered were warships that were shelling--planes that were
bombing. What has happened to the (?counterrevolutionaries)? A tragic
thing, which should be a good lesson. They are fewer and fewer each time
(applause). If they had any sense, they would be thinking that something is
wrong somewhere. Something is wrong. They should figure out that something
is amiss here, for with all of the aid of Yankee imperialism, they become
fewer and fewer.

And these other people, without anyone's help we grow in numbers. Why?
Because it is not the same to fight for the people as it is to fight
against the people. It is as simple as that. This is the simple and
decisive differences. We grow progressively larger in number, and they
diminish progressively.

They passed through there, killing. You will remember a certain Merob
Sosa--passing through that place, near here, by the area--I have forgotten
the name of the place--by the (?Peladero) River, brutally assassinating
peasants' along the road. Then came the war communiques. You will remember
that to the north, on the other side in Guisa was Sosa Blanco--two
Sosa's--one Sosa here and a Sosa Blanco over there. Forty-six peasants on
Oro de Guisa. Each time they fell into an ambush and suffered a defeat they
appeared with a bunch of bodies of defenseless peasants, obtaining
decorations for their victories.

They committed crimes everywhere. They sowed terror because they knew that
fear was the fact that had kept them in power, And when they saw that fear
began to disappear they wanted to instill fear at any cost. That is why
they assassinated and killed, because their basis was fear. It was the
cement of that building of exploitation, It was the (?mortar), the bricks,
the walls of that exploitation building--fear!

That is why the committed those crimes: to sow terror, to spread fear. But
fear was disappearing. People began by becoming unafraid of the little
helmets (los casquitos), the guards, and they ended up by becoming unafraid
of the imperialists, who were here first. Later they became the enemies of
the world--those who assassinate here, in Santo Domingo, in Vietnam, and
all over the world.

And the people became fearless. When this process spreads to the other
countries in this continent, when the people begin to liberate themselves
from all of these ties--the fear instilled by Che oligarchies through their
terror and crimes--when the things that occurred here occur in the sister
nations of Latin America, we will see what the imperialists will do.

The case of Santo Domingo is a perfect example of how people are becoming
fearless. They are no longer laid when they are told that the marines are
coming. The imperialists have declared their plan to impede revolutions in
Latin America, as if they were lords and masters of 200 million Latin

And the governments of Latin America accede to this. They accept the
so-called "Johnson doctrine." If the Latin American governments accede to
the imperialist's right to intervene in any American nation, they will
shamefully be renouncing the independence and sovereignty of their peoples
(applause), And it will be the people who will take it upon themselves to
defend that right to sovereignty and that right to independence.

When the imperialists declare that they are ready to intervene in any Latin
American country, they are alerting the conscience of America. They are
preparing the revolutionary spirit of America. They are preparing the
people of America to fight against the interventionists and toe against
them (applause). There will be no revolutionary or honest man in any Latin
American country who. In the face of these events, will not reflect right
now that he will have to face the enemy. And with that threat, the
imperialists are alerting the people and are serving them warning. They are
preparing the people to fight against them. When the people become
fearless, nothing will contain them--not even 20,000 marines, nor 20
million Yankee marines (applause).

This date makes us recall the moment when we began to lose our fear. We are
reminded of the time when the people began to be convinced that it was
possible to fight. The importance of the battle of Uvero was that it was
the first battle.

It is true that with what we learned later in the war, we could have
captured more soldiers and would have been able to capture more arms with
fewer losses. Just as we did during the attacks--we would surround a unit
and wait on the road for their reinforcements. Then we would beat them to a
powder and thus liquidate the reinforcements (applause). Later we would
liquidate the encircled troops.

Sometimes there were battles when, for each man of ours taking part in the
battle, we caused the enemy--counting dead, prisoners, and wounded--two
casualties for each of our men. Here, this kind of combat--in daylight and
with frontal attacks against emplacements--was costly in valuable lives, it
was costly in ammunition. But (we had--ed.) one thing--a sentiment of
solidarity--because a few days before we had been lying in wait on the Tiro
de la Agua-Uvero road, where now and then a small truck with 30 or 40
soldiers went by. I must say that we set some ambushes on that road in
which not all the men could take part because there was not enough room for
them, and we had the machineguns and the rifles. Had a truck gone by, there
would not have been anything left, not even pieces, and probably without
costing us a single casualty.

It happened that during that time there was a landing of Cubans who were
attempting to overthrow Batista--to fight against Batista too. They did not
belong to our organization--we did not care. Because of our experience, we
knew of the persecution that was going to be unleashed on them. We knew
that because of their lack of experience, they were going to be at a
disadvantage, and that the same thing that happened to us at the beginning
could happen to them. That feeling of solidarity--that desire to help those
Cubans who had landed--was essentially the feeling which decided the attack
on the Uvero garrison.

In Uvero there were 60 soldiers. One must say that the information which we
had was deficient information, as far as the emplacements, the houses,
goes. That is why, when we made our battle plan--after traveling eight or
ten hours, maybe more, perhaps 12 hours--we organized our battle plan. We
met a difficult situation. The information was not very exact. The barracks
could not be seen very well, as there were-neighboring houses in the
middle. It was necessary to wait for daylight. It was necessary to make
special last-minute efforts, because once our forces were placed here and
there we did not have radio contact or telephone whereby we could contact a
patrol which had predetermined time to attack and which had orders to
position itself after dark. It could not move during daylight--that is, it
could not withdraw--because we had incomplete information, because things
were not what we thought they would be. We had no other alternative but to
carry out our plan. It was necessary to rely on the bravery and heroism of
the men in our columns.

Even without having to ask, the comrades readily volunteered. First Comrade
Almeida, then Comrade Guevara. Almeida descended frontally down these hills
to be able to overcome one of the blockhouses, which they had well-defended
with automatic weapons. It was necessary that the comrades make supreme
efforts to win that battle, which lasted three hours, and which ended in a
victory for our forces.

(Editor's note: Castro goes into details of events during the battle,
including a letter written by him to Frank Pais after the battle giving
details of casualties, prisoners taken, weapons and ammunition captured,
and asking that a second front be opened. This lasts for about 8 minutes.
Castro resumes:) We needed urgently that a doctor or two be sent to us. We
did not have the surgical material or doctors. The only doctor was also one
of our best fighters--Comrade Guevara, who at times (applause), at times
was a solider, and when we did not have a doctor he was also a doctor. He
stayed in the neighborhood of (?Peladero) with the wounded at that time.

That is the story of that historic battle, the reflection of a feeling of
solidarity, a spirit of unity among the revolutionaries- who were fighting
in the mountains, and a sense of duty toward the others who were fighting;
a reflection, too, of our men's determination to win or die, the spirit of
our fighting men, inspired by the people. Our strength grew after that
battle. Many comrades left their shotguns and grabbed a Garand or a
Springfield in those days. Some pieces little better than blunderbusses
were left behind by our forces, and enemy weapons were taken; it should be
stated that we fought our war essentially with weapons we took from the
enemy (applause).

In reality, the people's weapons, are in the hands of their enemies. For a
long time we expected them to come from outside, but they never came, and
it was in battles like this, with the capture of 46 weapons at one swoop,
doubling our effectives and acquiring experience, which later enabled us to
capture not dozens but hundreds of weapons (applause), as in the offensive
lasting 70 days [applause)--in 70 days we captured 504 weapons.

In the final offensive from the mountains to Santiago de Cuba, in 40 days
we armed 1,000 recruits from Minas del Frio with weapons we took from the
enemy (applause continuing). When we learned to take weapons from the
enemy, we had learned to wage the revolution, we had learned to wage war,
we had learned to be invincible, we had learned how to win. And without
anybody sending us anything, without anybody sending us weapons by
submarine or plane, we fought our revolutionary war here, and here we won
our revolutionary war (applause).

And we come here today full of deep gratitude and admiration, to pay
tribute and recall our comrades who fell on that glorious day (applause):
Comrade Emiliano Diaz, Comrade Julio Diaz Gonzalez, Comrade Oustavo Adolfo
Moll, Comrade Francisco Soto Hernandez, Comrade Anselmo Vega, Comrade
Eligio Mendoza--a peasant from here, from Peladero, and Comrade Siglero
(applause after each); and to tell them that even though they fell that day
to enemy bullets, for us they did not die. Since that day, we have held
them closer in our memory. And they live on the work of the revolution, in
every school built in the Sierra, every hospital, every road, every
revolutionary project [applause). They live in the hearts of the people and
will live forever. Fatherland or death, we will win!