Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Service in Spanish C130 GMT 27 June

(Live Fidel Castro speech at the School for Art Teachers in Havana to the
Cuban delegates to the ninth World Youth and Student Festival)

(Text) Comrade delegates to the ninth World Festival of Youth and Students:
For many months the selection of the representation of our youth to the
ninth festival has urgently held the attention of our people. The
enthusiasm at which the preparatory functions were being carried out and
the selection of the Cuban delegation was being made may possibly have been
greater than what was being done in other country. We do not know how their
delegates are selected. Naturally, we believe that their organizations make
efforts to select the delegates everywhere, but we can feel absolutely
certain and satisfied that, thanks to revolutionary process among the
masses, Cuba has selected a very first-rate representation, that is to say,
a true representation of the best of our people and revolution.

And all the people supported this effort. The millions of arrobas cut, the
thousands of caballerias weeded, the endless or countless hours, as well as
the countless efforts made in connection with the ninth festival, speak for
themselves of the warmth with which the entire nation centered its effort
on this activity even in the midst of the sugar harvest. And all efforts
were brought into harmony. The harvest served to help distinguish many, and
the selection and the effort that was being made to designate Cuba's
representatives in turn helped the harvest.

It is said that the efforts made was as if the ninth festival were going to
be held in Cuba. The country chosen as the site, our relations with the
people of that country and with the revolutionary movement that the country
represents, also served to stimulate our efforts. An extraordinary effort
was unquestionably made.

Our delegation practically had its bags packed. The ship had already left,
when suddenly the scene in which the ninth festival was to have been held
changed abruptly. It would no longer be clear and eloquent slogan to speak
of the World Festival of Youth and Students for solidarity, peace, and
friendship if it were to be held there, where at this moment solidarity,
peace, and friendship are very doubtful concepts. It can be said that at
this moment the events being experienced by Algeria are very different from
the events that moved the organizers of the festival to choose it as the
site for the event. It is in no way pleasant, it is always a very touchy
matter to pass judgment on events that may take place in a country outside
our boundaries. It is an even more painful and difficult thing when those
events take place in a country in which heroic people won the sympathy of
the entire world and, as part of that world, the sympathy of our people;
when those events take place in the midst of a revolutionary process that
aroused the interest of all the peoples of the world and particularly the
interest of the peoples of the countries that have been struggling
feverishly against colonialism and imperialism, of the countries that have
been liberated or are struggling to free themselves from these yokes, and
also of those countries that cannot be called underdeveloped, whose
progressive classes were extraordinarily interested in this revolutionary

These are the circumstances that, although they make the analysis doubly
painful and difficult, justify the concern, which is also universal, over
the realities that are taking place there. And they justify something more
than the right to have opinions, the duty to have opinions. We are not
endeavoring with our opinions to interfere in the internal affairs of any
country, but we are endeavoring with our opinions to exercise the right to
analyze events that happen, and where they happen, which necessarily
influence the rest of the world, which necessarily affect the interests of
the rest of the world, which inevitably affect the revolutionary sentiments
of the rest of the world, and the revolutionary interests of the rest of
the world, because to a certain degree the events in Algeria affect us all.
And, because of this, what is happening there in that country, that in its
long and extraordinarily heroic years of struggle stirred up the sympathies
and engendered solidarity and aid from very diverse points in the world, is
something that in one way or another concerns us all. And this is the
reason why, tonight at this meeting with the youth who are selected to
leave Algeria, and in the face of the unavoidable need to give an answer to
the question of what are we going to do, we find it necessary to enter upon
this matter and answer this question.

We are not going to talk in diplomatic language; we are going to talk in
revolutionary language. The diplomatic and revolutionary are not always
opposite--sometimes they are opposite, other times they are identical. In
this case we are forgetting about the diplomatic aspects of the matter and
restricting ourselves to the purely revolutionary aspect. Why should we
skirt the issue? You cannot enter upon this topic without offending
someone--although there is no intention of offending anyone--without
hurting someone. It is not possible to discuss this matter without creating
animosities over it. But in the face of events such as these, the important
thing is the correct point of view, a just and objective analysis wherever

In the first place, the military insurrection that overthrew Ben Bella's
revolutionary government is not--nor can anyone classify it as --a
revolutionary insurrection (applause). It is true that the crisis emerged
in the heart of the revolution and in the ranks of the revolutionaries. It
is also true that the men who led that insurrection played an outstanding
role in the struggle for the independence of Algeria. It is also true that
those men include figures who held to a good revolutionary line until that
time, and other who, although they distinguished themselves in the
revolutionary process, did not have a good revolutionary position.

In our relations with Algeria, we made contact with the revolutionaries,
with the representatives of that country, seeing them all as part of a
single thing. Thus, we met several of their notables. Many of them visited
our country. Many of them spoke with and exchanged information with
representatives of our country on the occasions of the visits made here or
there. Some of those men are today in one field or another. Some of them
are victims and others are victimizers.

But regardless of the names, the figures, the personalities, whether the
military uprising is revolutionary or not depends essentially on the
events. There can be revolutionary military uprisings. In that case, it
would no longer be as correct to call it an uprising as a revolutionary
movement. At the same time, a military uprising can also be something that,
in more vulgar terms, can be classified a putsch, a military coup, or a
gorilla coup. The objective against which the military insurrection is
directed is, in the first place, one of the elements that determine its
classification. But its classification will not depend solely on the
objective against which it is aimed. It will also be independent on the
goals it has.

More than 10 years ago, in another country in North Africa, the UAR, a king
named Farouk ruled. He was the representative of a feudalist monarchy and
of foreign monopolistic interests. He represented a regime of the roughest
exploitation of the workers and the peasants. From those events emerged a
military movement that led to the overthrow of that king, to the
establishment of the republic, and to the real independence of that
country. That movement was led by a soldier and carried out by the
military. That military uprising, from the moment it took place, could be
classified unquestionably as a revolutionary military uprising. There mere
fact that it was aimed against the most obsolete form of government and
against the representatives of the interests that exploited the country
classified that movement from the first as a revolutionary movement, or a
revolutionary military insurrection, or merely a revolution.

Those circumstances were radically different from the circumstances in
which this Algerian insurrection is taking place. In Egypt we find the
progressive forces of the army against the social system and the government
that it represented. We find counterfeudal revolutionaries,

Are these the circumstances in which the Algerian insurrection is taking
place? No. In the first place, this is a painful clash in the revolutionary
ranks, a painful and sad conflict in the seat of the revolution, in which
counterrevolutionaries are wielding weapons and efforts, not against a
feudal king, not against a representative of the imperialist interests, not
against a spokesman of the exploiters or the reactionaries, not against an
enemy of the people, but against the representative of the Algerian
revolution, against a revolutionary and anti-imperialist fighter, against a
fighter whose position in the international camp, in the struggle of the
peoples against imperialism, acquired, in a few years, considerable
prestige both in and outside of his country. They are wielding the weapons
of revolution and the people against those who unquestionably had the
support of the people, against those who unquestionably represented the
majority will of the people.

This consideration of what the overthrown government represented, against
which the military insurrection was directed, does not have anything to do
with judgment of the work of this government. It does not have anything to
do with the inevitable achievements or errors by men and governments
composed of men. With this, we are not trying to make a detailed analysis
of so many years of government, of what could be done better or could be
done worse, because this is already a disputable topic-- this is matter of
opinions, of criteria. You may have an opinion as to whether more could be
done, or if nothing more could be done, if they did more than they could or
less than they could. But we are referring to those things that are not a
matter of opinions or criteria, but facts accepted by the entire world; for
who can deny that Ben Bella was the leader of the Algerian people? Who
could deny his historic participation in the independence of Algeria and
the Algerian revolution? Who? What government? What party said before the
treacherous overthrow of President Ben Bella that Ben Bella was not a
revolutionary, that Ben Bella was not an interpreter of the sentiments of
Algeria, that Ben Bella was a traitor to the revolution, or that Ben Bella
was a proimperialist, a conservation, a reactionary, a despot?

The conference of the Afro-Asian countries was going to be held there as
well as the youth festival. No one suggested holding it in South Vietnam,
in the capital of proimperialist puppets. No one proposed holding it in
South Korea or in Formosa, or in the federation of Malaysia, or in any one
those countries where the representatives--the government--are genuinely
representative of the antisocial and antinational interests. By a virtually
unanimous concensus of all--of all the revolutionary and progressive
movements--it was decided that the conference be held in Algeria, that the
festival be held in Algeria. No one, no government, no party said that this
man was a (word indistinct) or a traitor, or a despot, or any enemy of the
Algerian people. Replete with realities--this is not a matter of opinions,
but of facts and truths universally accepted.

The day following the inglorious coup, the situation posed a delicate
predicament for all of the governments and all of the parties. What to do?
We also faced a dilemma of what to do. What to do and why? What should our
attitude be in the face of those events?

A government which was our close fiend had been overthrown--a government
with which we maintained magnificent relations because we saw in it a
representative of the revolution. It is not as some men have tried to
insinuate, that we are looking at this problem through the eyes of
friendship--no, in the light of the truth, in the light of the principles,
and in the light of dignity? Our relations with President Ben Bella were
simply the expression of our relations and our sympathies toward the
Algerian revolution and people.

It is true that our people had great sympathy for President Ben Bella
personally because we could not forget that gesture, which cannot be easily
forgotten, of the Algerian revolutionary leader, of the president of the
new independent state, after seven years of heroic fighting, on the eve of
those critical October days in 1962, in an atmosphere of growing tension,
when he arrived in the United States, invited by that country's
government--that country which held such a high degree of hostility toward
us, that country which judges men and governments and adopts reprisals
against them in the measure that they are more friendly or hostile to us;
we cannot forget that the representative of that country, defeated--not
defeated, but rather by that country devastated by war, razed by
war--rejecting all pressures by the U.S. imperialist government, expecting
nothing from us, to receive nothing from us, spontaneously
accepted--without hesitation--an invitation to visit our country. He
irritated the imperialists and traveled from Washington to Havana.

It was precisely in those days, in those critical and very tense days, we
recall our contacts with that leader, his nature--decent, kindly,
revolutionary-- but not only in words, in fact too, because the real
revolutionary spirit is not the revolutionary spirit of words, but of
actions (applause).

And it was not cheap talk; it was a deeply revolutionary gesture of
solidarity so completely understood by our people that it gave the visitor
one of the warmest receptions ever seen in our country for a visitor from
abroad. But we also remember the embarrassing situation in which we found
ourselves with the visitor, because the crisis was in the making. The U.S.
Government had made certain statements in view of the concern expressed by
the visitor over the hostility of the United States in Cuba. They told him
that if the weapons that were in Cuba were not offensive, there would be no
problems. (Word indistinct) in that classification of our weapons,
unacceptable to us because the sovereignty of a country does not contain,
nor can it can contain, by any concept the obligation to render accounts
with respect to its armament.

When the United States was making its military pacts with Turkey, which
borders the Soviet Union--closer to the Soviet Union geographically than
Cuba is to the United States, or with Japan or with Italy, or with any of
the many countries with which it had military pacts and in which they
placed the type of weapons they believed necessary, ranging from strategic
rockets with thermonuclear wearheads to atomic submarine bases or atomic
bombers, they did not permit-- neither they nor the governments with whom
they made military pacts--anyone to ask them for an accounting, nor did
they feel obliged to render accounts to anybody. That is why we never
entered into an accepted those disquisitions. We never agreed to those

We are not going to stir up the mud of those days, because for us they were
the expression of the most extraordinary heroism that a people can
demonstrate and the maximum dignity which a people can show. We are not
going to dig into the background of tactical errors in the field of policy,
of the public pronouncements that could have served to play the enemy's
game, because when one has the right and the truth in doing something, it
is not necessary to resort to lies, and lies should not be resorted to at
any time.

However, it is a fact that the imperialists had made up that doctrine of
the offensive or nonoffensive weapons. We understood clearly that they were
strategic weapons, if you like, or nonstrategic, nuclear weapons, or
conventional weapons; but in the days in which President Ben Bella visited
us, very near the time of the crisis, the entire plan of the military
strengthening of our country was fully on the way and the establishment of
nuclear weapons was ending. What were we to do with that visitor? Quietly
accept the explanation that the imperialists had proposed? Let him go
without saying a word, without explaining the storm that was gathering and
the truth of events--perhaps revealing secrets or facts that should be
rigorously maintained secrets? Reveal the extent of the military
strengthening of our country and the nature of that strengthening? It was
truly a delicate and embarrassing situation.

What did we do? We did not say to him that we were going to have nuclear
weapons, but we gave him to understand that we would. We explained the
philosophy of our position to him, the truth of our situation with respect
to Yankee imperialism, its incessant interference in our affairs, its
implacable hostility, its aggressive plans, its criminal intention to crush
our fatherland, the dangers which hovered over our country, the danger of a
conventional war when they felt like it, in addition to the danger of a
nuclear war if it exploded for any reason in any part of the world. And we
explained to him how we directed our strategy toward simplication of the
problem so that we could emerge from this dilemma and remain with only one
danger hanging over our heads, the danger which we faced anyway: that of a
thermonuclear war if it exploded for any reason in any part of the world.

And to a man who understands well, few words are necessary, and Ben Bella
demonstrated that he was a person of magnificent understanding and a person
of comprehensive and intelligent understanding. It is redundant to say that
this was not the only reason for the presence of the strategic weapons, for
we were not only thinking about our purely national interests: our
thinking, when the decision was made, was not only about the security of
our country, but was not the essentially about the security of the whole
socialist camp, about the safety and strengthening of all the enemies of
imperialism. And we must say that, in the opinion of the Cuban leaders when
the decision was adopted, it safety of the country that was the essential
factor, but the full agreement on two policies: our national policy and our
international policy--the full identification, without contradictions of
any kind in our revolutionary policy, for our country was strengthened and
the socialist camp was strengthened.

Naturally, this may be the object of many discussions if your wish, because
everything can be argued as to whether or not it meant a strategic,
strengthening of the socialist camp: whether rockets were needed here or
not, whether they were "soft" or "hard"--that is, whether they were buried
or on the surface. But the true and undeniable fact is, without attempting
to leave the question settled conclusively, that history will show that the
strategic projectiles located in Cuba had to travel in incomparably shorter
distance then the strategic projectiles installed on the territory of the
Soviet Union (applause).

We believe that this is not the proper time, and that history must record
the intentions of each and all who acted on that occasion. Changes in
governments take place, new situations, men pass on, and the facts remain;
and history will record the actions of men. But I simply say--and not
without very solid bases--that in our view the presence of the missiles in
Cuba implied the strengthening of the power of the entire socialist camp. I
say this in order not to bypass this delicate matter and to clarify a few
points that must not remain clouded.

But basically I was referring--and this is the reason it is being cleared
up today--to the practical problem that arose with the visit of Ben Bella
in those moments, a few hours after he had talked with the U.S. President.
What was our attitude? What was his attitude? What he understood, he
understood quickly and well, and furthermore he told us that it was all
right, that he understood our position.

Furthermore, when the Cuban-Algerian communique was written--and we must
say that when these communiques are written the most radical and least
radical positions are always included, and the positions of the Foreign
Ministry were not at that moment the most radical--the most radical and
most clear positions were the positions represented by Ben Bella, not by
the Algerian Foreign Ministry. I do not remember whether this "butterfly"
(in English--ed.) or Bouteflika, or a predecessor of his was the foreign
minister. But one thing is true: when the communique was written--and we
will never forget--and when Ben Bella was shown the communique which had to
reflect the statements of the two parties and we felt that in our portion
we should not say anything that would make it difficult for the other
party--our visitor--to accept; I remember than when the final communique
was read before his departure, if I remember correctly, I recalled the
conversation we had had regarding offensive or nonoffensive arms; and when
I clarified this point, I told them that, without meaning to, I had omitted
an explanation of the alternatives; and we also explained our position in
connection with our definition of offensive or defensive arms. Recalling
that conversation, which without doubt had dealt with the most important
matter we had discussed, he told us: "We must add this sentence to this
communique: Cuba as the right to adopt any measure it deems appropriate for
the defense of its security." (applause).

That sentence, more or less as I have stated it, must be in the communique
which is in the archives, and that sentence was included by Ben Bella and
demonstrates how well and how clearly he understood our position and how he
won our confidence and our gratitude by his gesture at that time. Without
going (?strictly into cases) and concrete facts, we did not hesitate to
explain to him the philosophy of our position and the bases of our
position; and everything else he deduced for himself. When he visited our
country, without being told, he learned much of this extraordinarily
important secret. Those relations and that friendship between the two
nations became stronger and stronger.

Later on, circumstances arose in which Algeria faced moments of crisis and
difficult moments for the Algerians, during which they requested our aid.
Men and weapons from our country, crossing the Atlantic in record time,
arrived in Algeria (applause) ready to fight at the side of the Algerian
revolutionaries. When our ]men arrived there, those who today are divided
were united, those who today, in a fratricidal struggle, turned their arms
against Ben Bella were at his side. At that time, distance was not an
obstacle to the achievement of a proletarian internationalism of acts and
not cheap words (applause).

Our small nation, which is constantly threatened by the imperialists,
stripped itself or part of its most important weapons and sent them to the
Algerian people. All these actions improved the relations and increased the
friendship between the two peoples during Algeria's best and most glorious
moments. Perhaps--and unfortunately not perhaps--these weapons which once
were sent out to the revolution and for the defense of the Algerian people
during a moment of beautiful solidarity have been employed during an
inglorious moment in a fraticidal action against the Algerian Government
and people.

However, what is important is that acts remain, acts which forge the
history of the relations between nations and two revolutions. It will be up
to Algerian historians from other parts of the world--because all of them
seem to feel that they have the right to express their opinions about
happenings everywhere--to record the work done by Ben Bella while heading
the Algerian Government. Many of them may be satisfied and many of them may
not be satisfied. However, some of them--perhaps many of them, and us among
them--do not have the slightest doubt about the extraordinary good faith
with which Ben Bella worked: of the honesty of his objectives and of his
positions in international conferences attended by Cuba, where we were
witnesses to the fact that the most revolutionary positions were presented
by Ben Bella and not "Butterflika" (Castro purposely mispronounces the
name), the foreign minister whose insubordination marked the culminating
moment of the overthrow of Ben Bella; because--let no one doubt it--this
mastermind of the coup is not a revolutionary but a man of the right who is
known as such by all the Algerian people. And he is known throughout the
world. He is a man of the right, an enemy of socialism, which means an
enemy of the Algerian revolution.

Although in their proclamation, as in all proclamations in such cases, they
used a certain revolutionary language--not even an entire language, but
just a certain part of a language, for they did not say even one word about
the movement of liberation of the people, of help to the liberation
movement of the people, help that without any doubt Ben Bella never would
have denied, solidarity which Ben Bella never did deny (Castro fails to
complete sentence--ed.). And that gentleman, spokesman and one of the men
of the coup, is a man of the right. He is a reactionary, and I believe that
this profile serves to begin to define the situation.

In international conferences, the position of Ben Bella was the most
revolutionary. It will not be easy for us to judge; we have a rely on
events. Each will have his own opinions. Each has his own style. Others
perhaps would have done other things. Perhaps, with a little more suspicion
and less nobility and good will, he would not have been the victim of what
he became the victim of, and he would have foreseen the danger, a danger
which we unfortunately saw. We saw that around Boumedienne there milled a
clique. We saw that around Boumedienne there gathered officers who liked to
speak ill of Ben Bella; and here, unfortunately, many times in visits by
delegations, our comrades could see with sorrow that a certain caste of
military men, evidently influenced by certain military concepts, showed a
certain contempt for the Algerian president.

Naturally, we were not going to bear tales, because that also was a general
attitude among the men who surrounded Boumedienne. I am not judging
Boumedienne. Let us reserve judgement on what he has just done so that it
will be history which will judge him for what he does now and what he will
do later. However, it is undeniable that around him--he is a very quiet
man, sparing the words. It is hard to know what he thinks, but his
followers were neither sparing nor short with words. Unfortunately, the
coup took place. If Ben Bella had been more suspicious and less native,
there would have been no coup. The masses would have taken care of
disarming the coupists.

However, the unfortunate events took place, and I repeat, we base ourselves
not on exaggeration but on what we know for certain, and it does not
contain an analysis of the work of Ben Bella, but it does contain an
analysis of his intentions, of his characteristics, his decency, his
nobility, his good will, his passion for the revolution and for Algeria,
demonstrated on many occasions. Now, receiving the news of these events,
are we to forget all this history, all the bonds that united us with the
Algerian revolution and its more legitimate representatives? Are we to make
firewood of the fallen tree because he no longer rules in Algeria, and try
at any cost to try to win for ourselves the good will of those who rose to
power by the sword? No, because we would be indulging in the most repugnant
political opportunism! (applause)

Could we express our support of the coup? No, because in present Algerian
conditions, in the midst of the revolutionary process, we do not find any
justification for the way in which they proceeded. At best we could wait to
see if the improbable and almost impossible will happen: that, having used
ignominious and treacherous procedures, they then would demonstrate
intentions that are truly revolutionary; that they would demonstrate that
they are more revolutionary then Ben Bella and that they would demonstrate
that they are ahead of, and not behind, the Algerian revolution. By that
time we could well exonerate them or tolerate their most serious faults of
today because of the way in which they were able to repair those faults

However, there is no way. It is not possible to wait for this. It is not
probable. It could be possible, but it is not probable. Let us imagine that
these gentlemen were even more revolutionary, that they considered the
Algerian revolution imperfect and slow, that they wanted to expand it, go
further, reach further. Let us imagine for a moment that the arguments or
motives that inspired their action had a basis, at least with respect to
their intentions. Let us hypothetically imagine that they had right on
their side. When one has the right, is it necessary to resort to treachery?
Could it be that military uprising is the only path that was left? Could it
perhaps be the situation of Masir in Egypt against King Farouk? In no way
is it the same. Many of the ministers are still there.

If it were true that they represented a feeling among the people, these
authors of the coup; if it were true that they had right on their side, why
did they resort to the coup? Why did they not bring the problem before, the
masses, before the people? Why did they not bring up the problem in the
party, among the revolutionaries? How could we Marxist-Leninists accept a
coup with its offensive actions in the night, its stealth, in the situation
now prevailing in Algeria--a coup which reminds us of our 10th of March
because of the time and the way in which it was carried out and because of
the forms of repression that are now being used against the
people--employing soldiers, fire trucks, bullets, blows, patrol cars with
howling sirens.

With profound sorrow we recall the days prior to the 10th of March. It
would not be fair to say that this coup is similar to that of the 10th of
March in the composition of forces, no; but in method it is like one drop
of water compared to another, and it has to be similar because always, when
soldiers move against the sentiments of the people repression follows, and
repressions of the people and the masses are very similar anywhere, any

If they thought themselves to have right on their side; if they believed
that they were interpreters of the sentiments of the majority of Algerians,
why did they not turn to the masses? Why did they not turn to the party?
If, in addition to strength, in addition to the military commands, they had
right on their side, and they had the feeling of the people, why did they
resort to force? Why did they not explain the problem to the masses and to
the political organization of those revolutionary masses?

I believe that anyone who is really convinced that he is in the right and
that he has the feelings of the people with him would not lack the courage
to present things to the people and to their representative institutions.
Those who are not sure of being in the right and of having the feelings of
the people with them resort to the only thing that they can have at any
given moment--force. We, as Marxist-Leninists, cannot honor that coupist
procedure against the masses and the party.

Regardless of what they do afterwards, if they were as revolutionary as
Karl Marx himself we would still tell them about their mistakes and the sin
they have committed--but we would still be able to recognize their
virtues--about the damage that they could cause to the Algerian revolution
and to the revolutionary movements of Africa and other parts of the world,
and the distrust they could arouse among other liberated nations of Africa,
and how unfortunate it is to install in that continent, in the midst of the
revolutionary process, the barracks coup method; and we would ask if they
really want to be more revolutionary, how are they able to carry out those
more revolutionary intentions? Could they do with a divided nation what Ben
Bella, full of good intentions, could not do with a united nation? Could
they, with a divided nation, face the imperialist danger? Could they wage
the difficult battles, the difficult battles which a process of
radicalization of a revolution must inevitably cause?

How could we have waged those difficult battles with divided nation,
battles which we won as a united nation, will all the forces of a united
nation? Divorced from the masses, from where will they generate strength?
Will this strength perhaps be generated in the barracks? No, the strength
generated in the barracks, divorced from the people, will never be
sufficient to resist the power of the imperialists, a power that can only
be countered with the tremendous revolutionary strength and force generated
from the people, and above all from the united people.

To make the revolution more radical under these conditions would be
extraordinarily difficult. It would not be impossible, naturally. However,
to fact those very difficult battles and those very difficult situations
would require from these who have replaced Ben Bella a political ability
and a revolutionary audacity which do not seem to come with Butterflika (as
heard) and company. Support would not come from the conservatives, but the
revolutionary masses, the workers, peasants, students. I cannot see anyone
gaining the support of those masses with blows and shots. I doubt that the
masses would be won over by those who do not believe in the masses, by
those who disregard the force of the masses and who may try to replace them
with the force of the barracks, behind the people's back. It was not in
vain that the authors of the coup made every effort possible to prevent the
character of the Algerian army from becoming popularized, to prevent the
association of the armed forces with the working class and peasantry, as
has happened in our country, for in efforts to promote a militarist spirit,
it is self-defeating to organize a strictly popular and revolutionary armed
force deeply rooted in the people and in their revolutionary and
progressive classes. I cannot see anyone, regardless of his good intention,
regardless of how imbued he may be in revolutionary ideas and objectives,
being able to go anywhere by repressing students, youths and workers.

As the news and dispatches tell of the repressions, we believe that facts
will more and more show how unjustified the action was and how very painful
the consequences that it may bring to Algeria will be. However, there is
something more: the Algerian army was formed to a great extent from the
ranks of revolutionary fighters, and it would be quite difficult for any
clique to be able to promote a caste spirit in such a few years and in the
midst of a revolutionary process, and be able to eliminate the
revolutionary and patriotic sentiment of the men. The fighters who form
that army and armies of that type are not efficient in the business of
repression. Armies of that type cannot be led against the people for long.
Only crazy men and self-destroyers can think that they have the
unconditional support of an army of revolutionary origins in the midst of a
revolutionary process and against a revolutionary people.

For that reason, we view the scene in Algeria with grief. In the depth of
our hearts we wish that that sisterly nation could avoid that enormous
abyss which has been opened and overcome its difficulties without
bloodshed. For that to happen, it would be necessary for those who staged
the adventure to understand in time the extent of their actions and the
consequences that could be brought upon their country. It would be
necessary--almost a miracle--because, at the juncture at which they find
themselves, they must forge ahead with firmness and determination,
demonstrating with acts the intentions they claim to have; and if they do
this and are audacious and capable, and understand that that battle cannot
be waged without people, they will have a difficult but not impossible path
to tread. They will face great but not insurmountable obstacles.

The path of counterrevolution cannot be constructed in Algeria. Military
despotism, military reaction and repression cannot last in a nation whose
people only a few years ago won independence and liberty at the expense of
hundreds of thousands of deaths among a people that learned to handle arms
and to fight against an army many times larger and better (?led) than that
of Boumedienne. Repression, reaction, and counterrevolution have no
possible place in Algiers.

Our attitude will be determined by acts and based on principles. We hope
that they are able to understand the barbarity of the act they have
committed, and if they are not capable of this understanding, we hope that
they will have the courage to demonstrate with deeds that they are more
revolutionary then the man they ousted, of justifying with acts that which
under no circumstances can be justified in the light of their actions.

Our position will be determined by their actions. It does not matter what
they do now. If they decided to break relations with us, they would not be
the first coupists to do so. We do not think of today, but of tomorrow; and
we do not act as opportunists, but as Marxist-Leninists (applause). If
those who staged the coup demonstrate by deeds that they are against
imperialism, that they are really with the Algerian revolution, and that
they are body and soul at the side of the revolution of the oppressed
peoples of Africa and all the world, then we will not deny them our
support, we will not deny them our backing.

And if some day, because they are revolutionaries, the imperialists launch
themselves against them and threaten Algeria, we would not longer deny them
our moral support or even our blood to help them, to help the Algerian
revolution, to help the Algerian people, because we are and we will
continue to be at the side of the Algerian people and those who interpret
the revolutionary will. The Algerian people will be at the side of the

Our support, therefore, will be for the revolution, and the people will be
the ones who determine it, tomorrow. They are the ones who are already
determining it today. For these reasons, we believe that our delegation
should not got to the festival of Algeria (prolonged applause, shouts of
"Fidel, Fidel"). Because the circumstances which justified our presence
there have disappeared; because our presence, the presence of our exemplary
delegation, cannot be there to honor something that under no concept can be
considered exemplary, but rather, in any case, can be considered as a very
bad example.

This means that we will not go to Algeria. Where shall we go? (shouting and
applause) Wherever it may be (shouting, clapping, chanting of "We will
win")--We cannot determine whether the festival should be held in another
country or in which country. If it is held in Algeria under the present
conditions, we will not go (applause). If it is held in any other country
where conditions exist that justify the presence of this delegation and the
presence of youth delegations from other countries, we will collaborate
with the same enthusiasm, and our full delegation will participate in the
festival, and if the festival, because of the untimely Algerian incidents,
cannot be held with the participation of all, then we will wait for better

We would be agreeable to having another date scheduled, another site, and
we would attend. Yes, if the conditions are present that will permit the
attendance of the representatives of the youth of all the world, and if
there existed, as there have always existed, the requirements and
conditions that justify our presence. I know very well that for you this is
not bad news under any circumstances. Interpreting your feelings, I am sure
that it is, on the contrary, the news that satisfies you the most. In the
yes of all the people, the trip and the festival itself were only part of
this entire matter, for the methods and the path followed for the
selections of our delegates have been very valuable. The title of exemplary
delegation was not going to be awarded outside of Cuba, but it was given in
Cuba and by a sector of the people.

If there were were no festival this year and there were one next year or
the next, this delegation, the youths who make it up, would surely, in
almost every case and probably in every case, continue to be it members,
carrying out the same conduct that led to their being appointed. This
delegation would be the one representing Cuba. You are not going to grow
old in one year or two. You are not going to change. Therefore, you will
continue to be our exemplary delegation even if there is no festival this

And what shall we do meanwhile? Where shall we go? (several answers from
the crowd, all unintelligible) We could do something even better than wait
for the problem of the festival to be resolved, or if there is no festival
we could use the time that was to be used in the festival. That is the idea
I want to suggest. The idea is to go to a place in Oriente (applause) and
initiate with your efforts what could be one of the most beneficial and at
the same time proper, appropriate, and most promising of activities of our
youth today: that is the initiation in a revolutionary manner of the
reforestation of our country (prolonged applause).

From the beginning of the revolution, an effort in this direction has been
made, but when we visited many places of Cuba we saw entire regions,
mountains under the destructive efforts of erosion, completely without
forests, land being wasted, climatic conditions being affected. And we saw
regions which were devastated by merciless exploitation which razed the
forests of this country with no thought of the future. We see that these
areas make up hundreds and hundreds of thousands of hectares on which we
could establish bases of untold wealth which would contribute billions to
the economy of the country in the near future, wealth which all youths
would enjoy.

I believe that this is possible only through a revolutionary effort by the
masses, a well-organized effort on the forestry front, a mobilization of
youths in zones that are truly healthful and pleasant, areas which will
attract any youth, preparing the nurseries in the numbers necessary, making
plans, and gathering resources. Beginning this year, we could with this
effort--a relatively modes effort--plant a million pine trees, for example,
beginning with a vast plateau of impressive beauty located near the zone of
Mayari, in the pine groves of Mayari (applause), beginning in a practically
symbolic manner so that the experience will serve our youth so that, in
coming years, through massive mobilization, coffee can be taken care of by
some 20,000 youths--and already this year there are more than 40,000
available (applause).

We have before us a task which could become on of the most positive
objectives, the most beautiful and beneficial in all aspects for our youth,
and that is the pledge to rebuild that which was destroyed by exploitation,
the pledge to create--with all the wealth and beauty this means--to create
anew the forests of our country. During the course of a few years, those
hundreds of thousands of hectares could be planted again. They could be
cared for by groups of workers dedicated to the care and maintenance of the
forests to fight fires and protect the trees with modern techniques. Our
youth, with their efforts and enthusiasm, with a minimum of investment,
could create fabulous wealth which nobody could enjoy better than they.

If we invited our elderly people to plant the forests with trees which are
to be cut within 10 or 15 years, we would be doing something ridiculous.
However, I am sure that many men, just for the pleasure of
creating--interpreting that beautiful sentiment of Marti, that to be a man
three things are necessary: to write a book, to have a son, and to plant a
tree--I am sure that many would plant a tree just for the sake of planting
a tree, even though they expected nothing from that tree.

Would it not be quiet logical to invite the youth perform this task? Who if
not the youth of this country should be invited to do these things which
they more than anybody else are going to enjoy? We can take advantage of
this occasion and these circumstances to begin this task with you exemplary
youths. I am sure that you would give this task such moral impetus and such
vigor that when our communist youth took this task from your hands, they
would carry it to its final conclusion sure of success, and it would become
part of the history of the revolution as one more positive accomplishment,
as a new creation.

I take this opportunity to suggest this beautiful task to our youth and to
invite you to plant the first trees of that great effort. I do not believe
that we will lack the seedlings to plant a million pine trees. On a recent
visit to that area where a few million have already been planted, they
informed us that they would plant 3.6 million. This means that there should
be enough pine seedlings so that none of you will be left without planting
a few trees.

We have also been discussing a plan with the reforestation comrades to
plant that whole plateau next year. The following year, a much greater
effort could be made in the same place by mobilizing several thousand and
planting a few tens of millions if all the necessary seeds are obtained.
All the comrades are dedicating themselves to gathering all the pine seeds
from the pines that grow there. If they manage to gather all the seeds
necessary, by next year we will have finished that plan of planting some
20,000 or 25,000 hectares. And thus progressively, until there is not a
single bare, sterile, eroded mountain left (indistinct shout from the
crowd, laughter, clapping).

I do not believe that youth is only a stage of life, but rather a right of
all those who do not let themselves be overcome by years (laughter) and do
not lose their youthful spirit (applause). I believe that, with this, we
will have a concrete task to which we can devote our activities while
awaiting the turn of events, while we wait for this festival; or to invest
the time that we would have used in the festival. We have this concrete
task, and we also know what our line is and that there is no more proper
place and more more proper auditorium to explain this international
political line of our party and this concrete work plan for our youth.

And it is almost unnecessary to say that we are sure that you will take
this line and this task in your hands and make them your own.

Fatherland or death, we will win!