Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Television Radio Service in Spanish 0311 GMT 14 March

(Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro from the steps of Havana University
at ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the assault on the
presidential palace--live)

(Text)  Comrade professors and students of the university (applause),
students all (applause):  It has become traditional at the ceremonies
marking the glorious event of 13 March 1957, 10 years ago today, to
discuss from this platform some weighty issue, some subject of interest to
the revolution and the people.  These topics can be quite varied but in
general on these occasions we have, when circumstances demanded it,
addressed ourselves to matters that are international in nature.

Again today circumstances demand that we attack a subject of this type
(applause):  the problems of Venezuela (cheers, applause), the problems of
the Venezuelan revolutionary movement, the imputations that the puppet
Government of Venezuela has made against our revolution and the accusations
of the official rightist leadership of the Communist Party of Venezuela.

For several days a big campaign against our country has been unleashed by
the government of that country and the Yankee news services because of the
death of a former official of the Venezuelan Government.  Also, for the
past several months, in the clandestine and semiclandestine press,
including the legal press of that nation, and at various international
events, the rightist leadership of the Venezuelan Communist Party has been
levying similar imputations against our party.

The proimperialist oligarchy (?says) that we are interfering in the
internal affairs of Venezuela, and the rightist leadership (?says) that we
are interfering in the internal affairs of the party in Venezuela. This is
not a strange coincidence taking place among reactionaries and rightists.

It has been necessary for me to come with a great many papers, among them
many cabled dispatches from various news wire services. To do it in
chronological order as much as possible, I will read the principal news
reports in such cables the better to appreciate the sequence of events. The
first cable is:

"Caracas, 1 March, (AFP)--Dr. Julio Iribarren Borges, former social
security director and brother of Foreign Minister Ignacio Iribarren Borges,
was kidnapped here this morning.  The kidnapping was perpetrated by three
extremists who, armed with pistols, asked him to get into a vehicle in
which they sped away.  Police authorities," the cable continues, "presume
that the kidnappers are youths who belong to the so-called Armed Forces of
National Liberation (FALN).  These authorities have taken extreme security
measures in order to to tighten the circle around the kidnappers who might
possibly be hiding somewhere in the city."

Naturally, I am not going to read the complete text of the cables, just the
paragraphs that contain the essential news.  Many of the cables are
repetitive in one way or another.

"Caracas, 1 March (AP)--A well-known Venezuelan public figure, Julio
Iribarren Borges, brother of the foreign minister, disappeared today under
mysterious circumstances.  Julio Iribarren Borges is one of the most
controversial figures in Venezuela because he recently increased the social
security tax.  Since 1 January, workers and employers have been paying a
much higher tax even though the promised expansion of social services has
not gone into effect.  A television commentator said that if the extremists
had done this, it was logical to suppose that this was why he was
kidnapped.  He is perhaps the most hated man in Venezuela at this time.
They would have prepared to kidnap him rather than a [Unreadable text]
public figure."  This is what the AP cable says.

"Caracas, 3 March (AP)--Julio Iribarren Borges, missing since Wednesday
morning, was found dead some 24 kilometers from Caracas, police sources
reported tonight.  Police sources said that the body of Iribarren Borges,
found near the Venezuelan scientific institute, has three bullet wounds in
the back.  Near the body were found many pamphlets of the so-called
National Liberation Armed Forces (FALN) which read:  'We have three other
political leaders on the list.'"

"Caracas, 4 March, (UPI)"--Referring to the funeral of Iribarren Borges
this cable publishes a statement by the former interior minister of the
Venezuelan Government which says:  "This is the Cuban Prime Minister Fidel
Castro with his methods in Venezuela, declared Carlos Andres Perez, former
interior minister and present leader of the parliamentarian faction of the
government party, Democratic Action (AD), to the UPI.  It is time for
Venezuela and all Latin American countries to decide to do something about
Cuba, he added."

"Caracas, 4 March (AP)--The Government today decided to suspend
constitutional guarantees 48 hours after they were reestablished as a
result of the assassination of Julio Iribarren Borges, prominent public
figure and brother of the foreign minister, who was found dead near Caracas
last night. The decision was adopted at a cabinet meeting in the afternoon
and announced tonight by Interior Minister Reginaldo Mora. The measures
that will be taken will serve to contain the [Unreadable text] committed
under the stimulus of alien ideas promoted from abroad by the dictatorship
that assumed power in Cuba."

"Caracas, 4 March (AFP)--Hector Mujica, member of the Venezuelan Communist
Party Central Committee, today vigorously condemned the assassination of
Dr. Julio Iribarren which took place between last Wednesday and Friday.
Mujica, who is a lawyer and professor at the Caracas Central University,
referred to the crime, declaring that his party categorically and
unequivocally condemns that form of struggle because it has nothing to do
with either the revolution or the people's cause.  He also added that this
morning, in his name and in the name of his family, he sent a telegram of
condolence to Foreign Minister Ignacio Iribarren Borges, brother of the

"Caracas, 5 March, (AFP)--Communist leaders Pampayo Murquez, Guillermo
Garcia Ponce, and Teodoro Petkoff, who in a mole-like manner escaped from
the San Carlos barracks in this capital last 6 February through a
tunnel, condemned the assassination of Dr. Julio Iribarren Borges.  In a
document sent to the national press as the official statement of the
Venezuelan Communist Party, the fugitives state they believe that personal
assassination and methods of struggle which are identified with anarchy and
terrorism not only are not revolutionary but are harmful to the cause and
therefore deserve its rejection."

On Monday, 6 March 1967 there appeared in the newspaper GRANMA a statement
by Maj. Elias Manuit on the execution of Iribarren.  This is what the
headline said:  "Statement by Maj. Elias Manuit on the Execution in Caracas
of Iribarren."  This statement says:  (Castro reads the 6 March statement
by Maj. Elias Manuit as printed in GRANMA--ed.)

"Caracas, 6 March, (AP)--Investigations are continuing to clear up the
assassination of Julio Iribarren Borges, and it is said that a student and
a key man in the case have been arrested.  There is a story that Iribarren
was the friend of an individual who had relations with the masterminds
behind a rightist coupist plot by the Ramo Verde garrison in October.
According to this story, this friend told Iribarren Borges what was being
plotted, and he informed on them.  The police sources explained that it is
to be supposed that groups from that sector sought revenge."

"Washington, 7 March (AP)--Dispatches from Caracas announced tonight that
the Raul Leoni government has arrived at the conclusion that the
preparation of the assassination and other acts of terrorism against the
Venezuelan people committed inside the country with the full consent of the
Cuban Government are a clear violation of international ethics and order."

"Caracas, 7 March (AP)--Reginaldo Leandro Mora, interior minister, today
directly accused Cuba of the kidnapping and subsequent assassination of a
Venezuelan public figure, adding that the government may initiate
diplomatic action within the organization of American States.  The criminal
acts of political terrorism are prepared, directed, and financed from Fidel
Castro's Cuba, said Leandro Mora.  Yesterday, in Havana, the Venezuelan
leader of the so-called Armed Forces of National Liberation, Elias Manuit
Camero, in a public communique said that the FALN assumed full
responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of Iribarren Borges.  This
reveals, Leandro Mora said today, that not only are the culprits criminals
but that they are protected by a criminal government as well.  The minister
made the statement moments before a routine cabinet meeting at the
Miraflores presidential palace.  The minister was asked whether Venezuela
was considering the possibility of accusing the Castro regime in Havana
anew before the Organization of American States.  Leandro More replied that
the cabinet today may possibly consider a matter of this nature."

"Caracas, 7 March, (AP)--President Raul Leoni and his cabinet today decided
to initiate diplomatic action against Cuba, perhaps including the United
Nations, for aiding and abetting acts of violence against Venezuela.  The
decision was announced by Manuel Mantilla, secretary of the Presidency, and
follows in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of Julio Iribarren Borges,
brother of the foreign minister. The question is to be brought to the
United Nations since Cuba does not belong to the OAS, said Prieto Figueroa.
The accusation is based on the publication in the official organ of Cuba of
the communique of the so-called Armed Forces of National Liberation,in
which the FALN assumed responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of
Iribarren Borges.  Before the meeting, the interior minister, Reginaldo
Leandro Mora, directly accused Cuba of the crime and mentioned the
possibility that Venezuela may decide to act diplomatically against Cuba."

"Caracas, 4 March, (ANSA)--While the government is waging an intensive
battle to end terrorism in the country, whether through security agencies
operating in the interior or abroad through action before international
bodies, according to the announcement yesterday by the Venezuelan
Government, the terrorists for their part have stepped up their activities.

"Following the dramatic kidnapping and murder of the foreign minister's
brother last week, the responsibility for which has been assumed by members
of the extremist organization, the Armed Forces of National Liberation,
other episodes have taken place today."

It goes on to cite recent happenings.  It says:  "Reports provided by
police say that six men armed with machineguns appeared at the home of an
army scout who had been sentenced to death by armed groups operating in the
(Bocono--phonetic) Mountains.  Teams of policemen and the military of the
antiguerrilla command of this have been combing the (Bocono) Mountains,
seeking armed groups.  Finally, they are investigating the disappearance of
an official of the organization and liaison command of the Defense
Ministry who was a colleague of Dr. Alfredo (Seixas--phonetic), police
consultant who was murdered three months ago by terrorists."

"Caracas, 8 March, (AP)--It is apparent that Venezuela will unleash a
diplomatic offensive against the Fidel Castro government's aggression
before the United Nations.  It is obvious that the diplomatic action will
begin within the OAS and will spread to individual nations.  It is logical
to suppose that we will forward this matter to the United Nations, but you
must recall that Venezuelan foreign policy is based on the thesis that
regional bodies ought to be strengthened, a high-level government official
told AP today.

"The diplomatic offensive will be focused on three fronts:  The OAS,
bilateral contacts, and, last but not least, Venezuela will bring the
question to the United Nations.  Obviously, we expect a lot from the OAS
(Castro interjection:  I think it should be 'we do not expect a lot from
the OAS') except for official condemnation.  This will only have moral
value, said the high-level government official, but remember that morality
was invented by weak nations.  The same official said that the OAS had done
everything possible with regard to the Cuban question.  The Cuban question
in the OAS has been exhausted, a Foreign ministry source said, and remember
that Cuba is no longer a member of the OAS.  What is more, Havana laughs at
everything the OAS does.

"It was said that among the bilateral contacts there are some friendly and
some unfriendly nations.  Venezuela will exert special pressure on the
United Arab Republic to get it to break off all official contacts with the
tricontinental organization, which may possibly hold its conference in
Cairo next year.  Venezuela will try to compel the UAR Government to define
its position--whether it wants to maintain relations with Latin America in
general, or with Cuba in particular, a high-level government source
indicated.  The tricontinental organization consists of a Secretariat
General and eight secretaries, one of whom is an official of the UAR
Government.  Venezuela asserts that this is an unsupportable position.  The
UAR will be asked to cancel its affiliation with the tricontinental
organization.  Last year this organization pledged in Cuba to continue to
help the rebels in Venezuela.  It will also be asked to withdraw its
request that the next conference be held in Cairo, said a high-level
official to AP.

"On the bilateral level, diplomatic measures will be initiated with regard
to Mexico, the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the four
other nations which met in Bogota last August:  Columbia, Chile, Ecuador,
and Peru.  Venezuela will ask Mexico for an act of solidarity.  The
Venezuelan Government is not happy because Mexico did not sever relations
with Havana, even after the OAS had condemned Cuba and had requested all
its members to suspend relations with the Fidel Castro regime.

"Venezuela will probably ask Washington to help exert pressure on the
nations that the Venezuelan Government wants to convince.  For example, it
could ask the State Department to inform the Soviet Union of Venezuela's
position.  It could ask Washington to Exert pressure on Great Britain by
credit guarantees so that the British will stop helping Cuba with offers
such as building a petrochemical complex.

"AP was told that Venezuela expects to have a Soviet Embassy in Caracas,
with the idea that Moscow will attach greater value to an entry into Latin
America than to a blind alley in Havana.  Contacts could be established
with the Soviets in the United Nations or in Washington."

About all these gentlemen apparently forgot to bring up was that they
thought about asking South Vietnam and North Vietnam to cease their
struggle against the Yankee imperialist. (applause)

"Caracas, 9 March, (AFP)--The Venezuelan Communist Party dissociates itself
from Elias Manuit Camero, who in the name of the so-called National
Liberation Forces claims for that organization the assassination of Dr.
Julio Iribarren Borges.  A condemnatory document signed by Dr. Hector
Mujica, member of the Venezuelan Communist Party Central Committee, says:
The statements by Manuit Camero caused as much amazement as did the
abominable crime.  He laments that a journalistic organ, GRANMA, spokesman
of a fraternal party, lends its columns to such nonsense.  The document
also says that there never existed anti-Cuban sentiments among the
Venezuelan people and that the enemies of the Cuban revolution are now
taking advantage of this to implant such sentiments among them.  The
document likewise reiterates their unequivocal rejection of the crime
committed against the brother of the Venezuelan foreign minister and of the
silly statement by a former member who was publicly expelled from the
ranks of the Communist party for engaging in fractional activities and for
a cooling of his political ardor in a manner similar to that of Douglas
Bravo, Gregorio Lunar Marquez (applause), Freddy Cartez (applause),
Francisco Brada, and others who use the name of the National Liberation
Movement.  The document concludes by urging the democratic movement not to
let itself be confused and deceived by the imperialist provocation against
Cuba and by the new offensive which the fractionalists and adventurers
expelled from the Communist Party will engage in against that country."

"Miami, 9 March, (AFP)--What will be the limit of the patience of Latin
American government leaders with respect to the abuses of Castro? asks EL
DIARIO DE LAS AMERICAS today with respect to the death of the Venezuelan
foreign minister's brother.  This publication, the most important published
in Spanish in the United States, dedicates its editorial today to the death
of Julio Iribarren Borges under the headline:  'Ever Newer and Greater
Monstrosities.'  The editorial declares that as long as the crimes of the
communist dictatorship of Castro against the Cuban people and other
citizens of other countries of America do not receive the international
punishment they deserve, this chain of crimes will increase considerably
in number and intensity.

"Caracas, 9 March, (UPI)--Foreign Minister Ignacio Iribarren Borges today
consulted with foreign diplomats on the formal complaint that the
Venezuelan Government intends to make against communist Cuba before the
Organization of American States and possibly the United Nations.  The
Venezuelan Government accused Cuba of surreptitiously promoting the
resurgence of terrorism in the country.  President Raul Leoni and his
cabinet yesterday announced that they are studying the possibility of
bringing their complaint before international organizations.

Iribarren Borges met with North American Ambassador Maurice M. Bernbaum
yesterday and declare that he will discuss the subject with other
accredited diplomatic delegations. The decision of making formal charges
against Cuba resulted from the kidnapping and assassination of Julio
Iribarren Borges, former director of the Social Security Institute and
brother of the foreign minister. According to reports from Havana at the
beginning of the week the National Liberation Armed Forces boasted of being
responsible for the assassination. At the end of the 30-minute meeting with
Ambassador Bernbaum, he declared that one of the subjects discussed was the
case of Venezuela against Cuba. The North American ambassador declared: We
are against aggression no matter where it comes from."

"Bogota, 9 March (UPI)--Juan Oropeza, new Venezuelan ambassador, last night
declared on his arrival that his country will protest formally before an
international organization on the complicity of Cuba in the recent
assassination of Julio Iribarren Borges, brother of the Venezuelan foreign

"Caracas, 10 March (AFP)--President Raul Leoni will denounce Cuba's
participation in the assassination of Julio Iribarren Borges before
international organizations, it was announced today by the President
himself.  The announcement is included in a message to congress and is
based on statements made by the Venezuelan guerrilla, Capt. Elias Manuit
Camero, published in GRANMA, the official newspaper of the Cuban
Government, claiming credit for the death of the Venezuelan foreign
minister's brother.  The chief of state added that he will not seek
concrete sanctions, which would be unlikely to be approved in the present
international situation, but that he would seek the moral satisfaction of
adding one more to the charges which the public conscience of America has
against the despotism enthroned in the fatherland of Marti.  Demonstrating
himself implacably opposed to international communism, as he had never
done before to the congress or in his speeches to the nation, Leoni
attributed to the agents of Mao-Soviet-Castro communism the resurgence of
violence in Venezuela, violence which reached its peak last week with the
kidnapping and murder of Julio Iribarren Borges, former social security
director and brother of Foreign Minister Ignacio Iribarren Borges.

"In spite of his attacked on the Red China communists, the Soviet Union,
and Castro's Cuba, President Leoni, in his speech to the national congress,
did not propose any concrete plan of denunciation before international
organizations, such as the OAS on the hemispheric plane or the United
Nations on a world plane, to try once more to obtain sanctions against the
Fidel Castro government.  However, he said that Venezuela as a serious
country will resort to international organizations to denounce the
surprising fact of the participation of the Cuban Government in the
assassination of a citizen in Venezuela, making reference to the death of
Julio Iribarren, a fact made evident by a statement inserted in the
official newspaper of that government."  He was surely referring to GRANMA.

The cable then says:  "In political circles, attention was powerfully drawn
to the direct reference made by the Venezuelan President to Red China and
the Soviet Union as being jointly responsible with communist Cuba for the
resurgence of terrorist activities which led to the suspension of
constitutional guarantees in Venezuela last 14 December, the raiding of the
Central University, and once more, the cancellation of the rights of the
people on 4 March."

It is strange to see how already on 4 March, shortly before a statement
appeared in GRANMA, they were already accusing us, and how they wind up by
accusing, also directly, both China and the Soviet Union.  This is even
stranger if you take into account the fact that on New Year's Day, even
though relations between the Soviet Union and Venezuela do not exist, the
cables said that the Soviet ambassador had attended in a very friendly
manner the reception given by the Soviet Embassy in Washington on New
Year's Day this year, in the (Castro pauses, corrects himself) in the
Venezuelan Embassy on New Year's Day this year.  It concludes by saying:
"The government welcomes, pending inquiry, reports about disagreements in
the Communist Party, with the pure tendencies of the same party and with
another Marxist organization.  It behooves the Communist Party, Leoni
pointed out, to give unequivocal and repeated demonstrations of the
sincerity that moves them in their aim to correct erroneous behavior and in
their desires to return to democratic legality."  Note the contempt shown
by Mr. Leoni toward the statements made on behalf of the Communist Party.
Finally, one of the last cables:

"Caracas, 11 March, (AFP)--Former Navy Capt. Pedro Medina Silva, chief of
the military uprising in Puerto Cabello in 1962, once considered the
commander of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, announced in
a document that is circulating clandestinely that the justice of the people
will be applied to the slayers of Dr. Iribarren Borges.  Median Silva's
document, which is also signed by the guerrilla chiefs (German Claidet,
Tirso Pinto, and Pedro Vegas Castejon--phonetic), says that those who usurp
the name of the combat organization which we direct have become provokers
and accomplices of the people's enemies."

There is not a single event of all that takes place in this uneasy
continent that does not lead to an immediate and trite accusation blaming
Cuba.  A few weeks ago, because of the election in Nicaragua, Somozas'
forces perpetrated a massacre of the opposition party.  Immediately, as is
logical, even though it was a party named "the Conservative Party," Cuba
was blamed for having fomented that clash, that bloodshed.

Anything that happens anywhere:  If it takes place in Colon, Cuba is
immediately blamed; if it is in Guatemala, Cuba is immediately blamed; if a
military uprising occurs in Santo Domingo which leads to intervention by
Yankee troops--an intervention that still continues--the inevitable reason
for it is Cuba.  Practically nothing can happen in this continent that Cuba
is not blamed for.  And Cuba only has one responsibility--carry out a
revolution and be ready to carry it to its ultimate consequences!

This is Cuba's responsibility, and we assume this responsibility!
(applause)  But what does it mean?  What explanation does it have?  Both
the imputations of the oligarchy, especially the imputations of the
Venezuelan oligarchy, to charge Cuba with the actions of their
revolutionaries in their countries, and the charge that the rightist
leadership of the Communist Party of Venezuela has also levied, what is
the background for all this?   What are the origins?  What is the
explanation for it?

We must make a brief review of the history of the revolutionary struggle in
Venezuela.  In the first place, a few months before the triumph of the
Cuban revolution, a formidable popular movement took place in Venezuela and
deposed the regime of Perez Jimenez.  Broad popular forces took part in
that movement.  Among such forces was the Venezuelan Communist Party.
Distinguished among them was a young reporter:  Fabricio Ojeda (applause),
who figures as a president of the patriotic junta which directed the
overthrow of Perez Jimenez.

However, that victory by the Venezuelan people fell because as of that
instant, the Democratic Action Party, which at one time had played a
certain revolutionary role, a certain role in the anti-imperialist battle,
which has mass support--not in the capital, because in the capital the most
advanced tendencies had majority support but above all in wide areas in the
interior of the nation--that party had great strength.  After that moment,
the Democratic Action began to act as a fundamental factor to block the
deepening and developing of the Venezuelan revolutionary movement.

Betancourt wins some election and gets a ridiculous minority in the capital
but wins his majority in the interior  of the nation.  Something similar to
that occasionally happened in our country.  And from the very outset that
government dedicated itself to developing a very explicit policy of
conciliation, surrender, and defense of imperialism.  Naturally, on
becoming one of the instruments of U.S. policy, repression against the
revolutionary movement began, repression against the workers, the students,
and the revolutionaries.  Those repressions acquired an ever more bloody
character and the first massacres of students and people began to take
place in Caracas.  Betancourt felt a deep resentment toward the people
of the capital.  He did not forgive them their lack of support and that
type of affront that the people of Caracas had offered him.

We recall that during the early days of the revolution we visited that
fraternal country and in the Plaza del Silencio, in a gigantic ceremony of
more than 300,000 persons, when we mentioned the name of Betancourt, as was
our obligation, since he was the president-elect, an immense jeer rose from
that gigantic mass.  We, visitors in that country, were placed in an
embarrassing position, and I even felt obliged to protest against this,
saying that I did not mention anybody's name to be jeered, that it was
simply my obligation to refer officially to the man who after elections
was going to take over the government.  In this manner, furiously
anti-Betancourt, the people of Caracas expressed themselves. That feeling
of contempt of the capital of Venezuela, which was the vanguard in the
fight to overthrow Perez Jimenez, was shown in this manner.  This naturally
contributed no little to the extraordinary hate which Betancourt felt
toward the popular masses of the capital of Venezuela.

Soon, as the repression became bloody and intolerable, various movements of
armed struggle began to arise.  Among those movements, one of the first was
the Movement of the Revolutionary Left organized by a group of progressive
leaders who had withdrawn from the official party, Democratic Action.  They
organized that movement and began to prepare for armed struggle.  Likewise,
the communist party began to prepare for armed struggle.  At the beginning
they thought that the most rightist reactionaries of the army would
inevitably promote the overthrow of Betancourt, and at the beginning those
organizations prepared, thinking of that contingency, mainly for a struggle
against a reactionary military government.

However, the intensification of repression, which more and more
characterized Betancourt's policy, led these organizations to aim their
struggle, not against a potential military coup but against the Betancourt
government, which was becoming more and more repressive and bloody against
the people.  In that fashion the first actions began, and in that fashion
the Third Congress of the Venezuelan Communist Party approved the path of
armed struggle for the revolution in Venezuela.  Other dissident forces of
several parties also began preparations for armed struggle.

Among these forces was one sector of another political party to which
Fabricio Ojeda belonged.  Fabricio Ojeda, a friend of Cuba, a friend of our
revolution just like so many Venezuelans, one day abandoning--that is,
renouncing--his position as a member of parliament, marched to the
mountains to organize a guerrilla movement. Several years have passed since
then.  Doubtless, the Venezuelan revolutionaries, just like revolutionaries
in all parts of the world, committed diverse errors, diverse errors of
concepts of struggle, diverse errors of a strategic type, and errors of
tactical type.  Various factors contributed to those errors.  One of them
was the fact that the revolutionary movement was very strong in the capital
and on the other hand, as had happened in many other Latin American
countries, through the fault of the communist parties, the revolutionary
movement was very weak in the rural areas.  Why?  Because the Marxist
parties gave their preferential attention to the cities, their attention to
the worker movement.  This, of course, is very correct, but in many
cases--naturally all these generalizations have exceptions--they greatly
underestimated the importance of the peasantry as a revolutionary force.

Since the official Venezuelan party was strong, and the leftist parties
were weak in the rural areas although strong in the capital, for a long
time there was an overestimation of the importance of the capital and the
struggle in the capital in the minds of the leaders of the revolutionary
movement of Venezuela.  That is not all.  it was in Venezuela and the
revolutionary movement achieved the greatest penetration in the ranks of
the professional army in recent times.  Many young officers of the
Venezuelan Army showed their sympathy openly for the revolutionary
movement, in the most radical manner inspired by Marxist concepts, so that
the power of the revolutionary movement was great in the ranks of the
army.  That led to another error in concept--a minimization of the
guerrilla movement and a pinning of their hopes on a military uprising.

We Cubans are accused of promoting subversion; we Cubans are accused of
directing the revolutionary armed movement in Venezuela. If the Cubans had
had anything to do with directing that revolutionary movement we would
never have fallen, and that revolutionary movement would have never fallen,
into those two great errors in concept. (applause) Why? Because
revolutionaries and only revolutionaries are the ones who determine, the
only ones who can determine, their general strategy and their tactics. And
the revolutionaries must do this always, always. In Venezuela and in all
the other countries the concepts may be wrong many times but they can only
be corrected through the (?revolutionary) process itself, by the
experiences of the process, from the blows they receive during the process.

We Cuban revolutionaries are not leaders who tell them what they should do.
It is their own experience that tells them. The best teachers of the
revolutionaries in Latin American country, as it was in Cuba, the best
teachers, the great teachers, were reverses. Naturally the Venezuelan
revolutionary movement suffered many reverses. The revolutionary movement
in all parts of the world has suffered reverses also. The Latin American
movement, as is logical, had to go through along apprenticeship. Today it
can be declared that this movement has learned much, not from Cuba but from
its own experience from the blows it received. This is why this
revolutionary movement with more experience grows and consolidates itself
and the rulers are powerless to crush it; powerless to crush it in
Guatemala, powerless to crush it in Colombia, powerless to crush it in

Now, setbacks always cost something.  They often cost desertions from
revolutionary ranks of the weakest, the least tenacious, the least
persevering, in other words, of the least revolutionary.  Beside erroneous
concepts of strategy these strategic errors also led to serious practical
errors.  The guerrillas found themselves abandoned and deprived of the most
elementary resources.  In an effort to be led or rather, the revolutionary
leadership of the party, in an effort to direct the guerrilla forces from
the plains and from the capital, did not do what was necessary, what a
truly bold and revolutionary leadership would have done, what the
leaderships of the great contemporary historical movements did to bring
victory.  That is, they should have gone to the mountains with the
guerrilla forces to direct the war from the battlefield, to direct the war
from the mountains.  (applause)

It is absurd and almost criminal--and we do not say that it is 100 percent
criminal because it is the result of ignorance rather than deceit--to
attempt to direct guerrilla forces from the city.  They are two different
things, so very different; their theaters of action are so dissimilar that
the greatest folly, the most sorrowful and bloody error which a person can
make, is to attempt to direct guerrilla forces from the city.  The
guerrillas were really not considered a force capable of growing and of
seizing revolutionary power in countries such as ours.  Instead, they were
considered an instrument of agitation, political instrument, a tool for
negotiations.  Underestimating the guerrilla forces led to subsequent
errors.  In Venezuela the guerrillas were constantly being instructed to
cease fire.  That is folly, because a guerrilla who does not fight perishes
for lack of action; a guerrilla who does not fight does not progress; a
guerrilla who takes a respite is a guerrilla doomed defeat. (applause)

A guerrilla can take a respite for one or two days, as we did on our front
in order to turn prisoners over to the Red Cross.  However, in principle, a
guerrilla must never establish a truce of any other kind.  Men get used to
the tranquility of the camp.  The troops become demoralized and weak.  The
leaders of the guerrillas directed from the plains constantly received
instructions for a truce, truce, truce, and more truce.

That is what happened in Venezuela, and naturally, as the result of inept
leadership, coups and setbacks followed one after another.  However,
despite errors of leadership, despite the errors of views, the government
was not able to crush the guerrillas.  It could not crush the guerrillas,
and what the repressive and pro-imperialists force of Betancourt and Leoni
were not able to do they themselves were about to achieve because of the
inept revolutionary leadership.

The leadership of the Venezuelan Communist Party began by talking about
democratic peace.  Many people wondered what the talk about democratic
peace was.  We leaders of the Cuban revolution also wondered what was meant
by democratic peace.  We did not understand, but still we wanted to
understand.  We asked several Venezuelan leaders what was meant.  Then we
learned about the well-known and formulated theory of those tactics and
that maneuver which was not (words indistinct) of abandoning the war.  No.
It concerned a maneuver to broaden the base, to destroy the government, to
weaken it and to undermine it.

We could not understand it at all. However, we had faith, and we waited.
Although we thought the talk about democratic peace was absurd and
ridiculous, for a revolutionary movement that is winning the war can talk
about peace because it is beginning to win over national feeling for a
peace which is only possible with the victory of the revolution (sentence
not completed).

Thoughts, public opinion, and the people are mobilized along with their
desire for peace on the only possible basis--the defeat of tyranny and
exploitation.  However, to speak of peace when the war is being lost is to
concede peace on the basis of defeat.  The historical peace movement heard
the expression "democratic peace" for the first time following the victory
of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.  They launched the slogan of
democratic peace, that is, a peace in the midst of a world war without
annexations or seizure of any kind.  The new Soviet power launched this
slogan, and it fought for peace without annexations or conquests.  It was a
victorious revolutionary power which did to want to continue that
imperialist butchery.  That war when the slogan was launched.  So we
wondered:  What similarity can there be between that historical situation,
between that victorious proletariat during the first Socialist Revolution,
and the situation of a revolutionary leadership unable to lead the armed
struggle to victory?  At bottom, behind these explanation, lies deceit.
They did not say that democratic peace was a maneuver, but that the
struggle, that guerrilla warfare, would be stepped up.  However, this was a

At the bottom the intention was to abandon the armed struggle, and the way
was just being prepared.  How did we know these things, these facts?  How
did we substantiate them?  We would have wished not to have to clear that
question publicly.  For many weeks and months we have borne in silence a
slanderous campaign from the rightwing leadership of the Venezuelan
Communist Party, making charges against us at the various congresses of
communist parties, sending written statements to the different communist
parties in Latin America and accusing Cuba of meddling in its domestic
affairs and supporting and fomenting fractionalism.

We did not wish to discuss it,but it has regrettably become impossible to
avoid it.  And so as to be able to reply to the imputations made by
pro-imperialist oligarchs and renegade communists, we find ourselves
obliged--since they are closely linked--to clarify and reply, while
reserving the right to do it more extensively at a suitable time, in a
document of our party when we deem it advisable.  The latest events in
Venezuela have forced us to do this.

I mentioned the name of Fabricio Ojeda, his clean record, his part in the
overthrow of Perez Jimenez, his sacrifice--something rarely known, a man
giving up parliamentary immunity and parliamentary privileges and going to
the mountains--a rare example of a political figure in our America.
Fabricio was shamefully murdered 21 June 1966.  Just 17 days before, 4 June
1966, Fabricio wrote a letter.  He sent me a letter which was possibly one
of the last things he wrote before his death.  That letter, which I have
kept without knowing that one day I would need to reveal its contents,

"Esteemed Friend:  Here, the same as always, we are striving to overcome a
heap of transitory difficulties in order to step up the struggle on a more
serious, precise basis.  We have made some progress in that direction.  The
basic step has been to aim directly at solving the problems of leadership,
organizing national bodies such as the FLN Executive Committee and the FALN
Executive Command, the starting point for a general reorganization of the
whole structure of the movement; to this end work is going on in order to
arrange, as soon as possible, a national FLN-FALN conference which, as a
constituent body, is to study and analyze the situation, deliberate on
strategy and tactics, on the political and military line, and decide on the
effective constitution of directing bodies at every level.  in this way the
liberation movement will overcome its present stagnation, overcome
differences, and clarify its historic significance, in addition to
consolidating the principal factor for moving ahead, which is unity of
revolutionary forces.  Our determination to orient the struggle on a new
basis has led us to turn our attention concretely to certain important
questions.  The first is the provisional reorganization of the present
bodies of the FLN-FALN national leadership.

"In this connection we have decided to make use of the existing nuclei of
leadership.  This had produced a critical situation in the Venezuelan
Communist Party because of the sanctions adopted by the majority of the
party's Political Bureau against Comrade Douglas Bravo, who was ousted from
that body on charges of anti-party fractional activity.

"The second is the decision to cope with any circumstance to weld all
revolutionary forces to a stepping up of national liberation war as the
only way to advance toward winning power and achieving national
independence, taking into account the objective conditions in the country
and the peculiarities of the Venezuelan process.  In both of these aspects
we have made progress.  A single FLN-FALN political-military command has
been created.  It is headed by me, by Douglas Bravo, as president in charge
of the FLN and top commander in charge of the FALN, respectively, and a MIR
leader who, as secretary general, will take his place this week.  The FALN
General Command has been made to include the top commanders of the
guerrilla fronts.  This decision was made after analyzing the current
situation of those organizations, for it was felt that the group of three
members of the FALN General Command still active was not large enough to
direct general military activity.  The rest of the members are in prison or
abroad.  As for welding the revolutionary forces to an increase in the
national liberation war, a unitary committee will be named to examine and
prepare theoretical material on strategy, tactics, and political and
military lines of the movement, for discussion at the next FLN-FALN
national conference.

"Incorporation of the MIR into leadership bodies and preparatory work for
the conference is a very important step, for this initiates a period of
internal discussions on present differences, polemic diatribe is halted,
and truly democratic ways are opened for unity of the revolutionary
movement in the ideological and political spheres.  Nevertheless, a new
branch in our ranks has presented itself as a result of the disciplinary
measures adopted by the majority of the Venezuelan Communist Party's
Political Bureau.  Regarding this fresh problem, I am informed that
the middle and base organizations, even in the Central Committee itself,
have been reacting unfavorably to the sanction adopted against Comrade
Douglas.  Certain papers in circulation have begun expressing this reaction

"In my opinion, the disciplinary measures adopted by the majority of the
Political Bureau are due to clearly ideological and political problems, to
fundamental questions that an attempt was made to camouflage behind
allegations concerning the use of methods or supposed errors by Comrade
Douglas and other comrades who agree with him, in relation to the strategic
and tactical aspects of our revolutionary process.  The thing is, two
important trends of thought are struggling in the Venezuelan Communist
Party.  One, in the minority, in the rank and file but with a foothold
among the members of the Political Bureau and the Central Committee, is in
essence the following:  The processes under way allow the revolutionary
movement to take the initiative on the political front; however, it will be
necessary for the FALN to order the guerrillas and Tactical Combat Units
(UTC) to fall back.  It is not a new truce, but something much more
profound; it is a question of a change in the forms of battle.  That is to
say, the start of a new tactical phase in which, instead of combing every
form of struggle, action by the guerrillas and the UTC will be suspended.

"For the guerrilla units and the UTC to be able to fall back in order and
the revolutionary movement to make changes in its tactics, a number of
conditions are indispensable, particularly maintaining unity and internal
cohesion and iron discipline and giving support and aid to the directing

"In order to achieve these conditions, the party and youth groups will have
to operate in two directions:  first, through persuasion with all kinds of
reasons and political arguments in support of the new tactical changes and
by calmly talking to everyone who needs to be convinced; second, by waging
an active struggle against adventurous tendencies and provocations.  This
is a synthesis of the two documents submitted by prominent members of the
political bureau for the consideration of this organization.  The other
trend, which has a majority in the rank and file of the party, but is
weaker in the higher echelons of leadership, is firmly led by comrade
Douglas Bravo.  He is not only opposed to any turnabout or changes in
tactics, but has formulated severe criticism of the way in which
revolutionary warfare is being waged.

"I do not have the slightest doubt that the sanctions of comrade Douglas
mark the beginning of the change and that there is the intent to eliminate,
by disciplinary methods, those who oppose the opening of a new tactical
period in which, instead of combining all forms of warfare, the activities
of the guerrillas and UTC will be suspended.  Under such circumstances, the
decision to expand the integrated leadership organizations by incorporating
the most effective and resolute cadres represents a step of the utmost
importance.   The majority of the Political Bureau has opposed this
measure, and it has proceeded to deprive us publicly of our authority by
refusing validity and legality to the constituted organizations.

"We, however, stand firm, and it is with pleasure that we have noticed the
emergence of a strong current of public opinion to support us, both on the
guerrilla fronts and in the middle and rank and file echelons of the
Venezuelan Communist Party.  To this is added the support we have reached
from members of the Central Committee, other FLN parties, and from among
urban FALN units.  We are now in a period of ideological clarification and
establishing a revolutionary course.  There is a temporarily unfavorable
factor in this situation, which is making our position difficult:  it
concerns our financial problem, which stems from the fact that the
Political Bureau has been in control of this department.  Hitherto, all
assistance given the revolutionary movement has been concentrated in this
organization and utilized as a function of its policy.  That is, it
financially throttled the guerrilla centers.

The letter goes on to say:  "The morale of our fighters is high, and we
ourselves stand fast.  We are aware of our present difficulties.  However,
we are certain that we shall overcome them quickly.  Skeptics will have to
face the truth, and a bright era will loom in our future.  We must not take
one step backward, not even to take a running start.  The bearer can give
you greater details and a better picture of some things.  We are advancing
toward victory.  We shall fight until victory.  A firm embrace from your
friend, Fabricio Ojeda."  (applause)

Fabricio was arrested 17 days later and basely murdered by the [Unreadable
text] of the tyranny that oppresses Venezuelan, just as he was taking those
steps of organizing and reshaping which he mentioned in his letter.  One
might say:  Well, that was the opinion of a respectable, honorable, brave
comrade, but what does it prove?  Is that sufficient to lend credence to
his words?  Of course, for us, who knew Fabricio well there was not the
slightest doubt.  The uprightness that appears in this letter, its
calmness, were guarantees of the honesty of the man who signed it.  But in
addition to that, certain documents came into our possession confirming 100
percent what Fabricio said, documents that were disseminated among the
militants of the Venezuelan Communist Party for discussion, documents which
without any doubt (?are known to)--and this at the same time is what
explains the policy pursued recently by--the Government of Venezuela.

One of these documents is written by Pompeyo Marquez, Teodoro Petkoff, and
Freddy Munoz.  Its essence is as follows:  First, some changes have
occurred that oblige the revolutionary movement to revise certain aspects
of its tactics, basically that relation to the armed struggle.  The rough
outline of the situation is this:  The armed struggle has sustained a
number of setbacks and has been weakened; the revolutionary movement is not
at present in a condition to continue an open, frontal clash with its
enemies; the armed branch of the party has been severely damaged; the
bloody, brutal repression is affecting the revolutionary movement's
capacity to organize, unite, and mobilize the broad masses and give a
fitting reply to the government's policy.

Because of the continuous blows and setbacks and its own present weakness,
which prevent successful actions, the armed struggle, unless appropriate
measures are adopted to safeguard its tools, may lose the role it has been
playing in the recent past, a period in which it gave the masses promise of
a revolutionary transformation.  Actually, in the present hour, it is no
longer playing that role, and its future depends on what steps we take

Weak armed operations that merely repeat similar preceding operations,
without making truly meaningful progress, are:  1) hampering political
action and the regrouping of forces against the Betancourtist guerrilla; 2)
letting the Betancourtist guerrilla clique retain its alliances; 3) acting
as a brake, preventing an acceleration of the disintegration of the "broad
base" and 4) destroying conviction and faith in the correct general
strategy of the revolutionary movement, whose foundation was laid by the
Third Congress of the Venezuelan Communist Party and later added to by
successive plenary meetings of the party.

Second, as a result the party must fall back on the military front and
recommend suspension of armed action in order to regroup its forces and
prepare them for a new revolutionary stage, which from the operational
point of view must be qualitatively superior to those known heretofore.
Until our recovery has been basically achieved and progress is made in
promoting fresh forces and regrouping nationalist sectors, all operations
by the FALN must cease.

This military falling back must be accompanied by a political offensive
which will enable us to cover the withdrawal, relieve repressive pressure,
and regain the political initiative.

To sum up:  It is not a new truce, but something more profound--word for
word what Fabricio explained.  It is a question of making a temporary
change in the forms of battle; that is, of suspending the action of the
guerrillas and the UTC and bringing political initiatives to the fore.

That, in essence, is the stand expounded in this document by Pompeyo
Marquez, Teodoro Petkoff, and Freddy Munoz.  At the same time, other
leaders sent a similar document to the party, signed in this case by
Guillermo Garcia Ponce and other leaders, which with slight variations was
essentially the same. They themselves explain that in the introduction.  It

"We attach a document.  We submit it to you comrades to obtain opinions
more collectively.  However, you will receive not one but two documents,
this one and the other.  As you can see, the remarks and conclusions are
the same:  the falling back of the guerrillas and the UTC and a change of
tactics to emphasize political initiatives.  There is, hence, no
disagreement on the basic decisions.  There is complete unity on the core
of the problems.  The motivation is likewise the same--the reasons
mentioned for changing the forms of struggle for a specific period.  And
yet there is a shade of difference.  Our document places political
motivation first, and then the motivation of blows received.  For the other
comrades, that order is reversed.

"The blows received are a very important factor, but we must not give the
explanation that it is fundamentally because of this factor that we are
going to introduce change in our tactics. Setbacks help us realize the
changes we must introduce, but they are part of a concrete reality, chiefly
political, which is what obliges us to make a certain change of course. As
a matter of fact, we should have fallen back before receiving the

That is to say, in essence Pompeyo, Teodoro, and Freddy Munoz are talking
of falling back because they had been dealt blows, and this document says:
Yes, yes, quite so, we agree, but with one basic difference: we should have
fallen back even before sustaining the setbacks.

Second, by stressing political factors first, emphasis is placed on one
peculiarity of the current situation, to wit, that while the guerrillas and
the UTC are falling back, the revolutionary movement can take the
offensive on the political front, where every militant, organization, and
so on of the party and the (?UC) can throw the weight of his action in a
spirit of struggle and liberation from passiveness and terrorist attacks.

Further on it says: "Need for a FALN fallback. The processes under way
enable the revolutionary movement to take the initiative on the political
front. However, it will be necessary for the FALN to order the guerrillas
and the UTC to fall back. It is not a new truce but something more
profound; it is the start of a new tactical phase in which, instead of
combining every form of struggle, action by the guerrillas and the UTC will
be suspended, and first place will be given to political initiatives, the
grouping of the left, the promotion of new forces in the struggle against
Betancourtism; unity, organization, and mobilization of the masses;
alliance with the nationalistic sectors of the armed forces, action by
labor in support of its demands, the battle against repression, and so

All that was lacking was the colloquialism "the electoral battle," which of
course they did not put in here in order to put it in later.

"Until another political situation emerges and material conditions improve,
the guerrillas and the UTC should withdraw."  Withdraw means disappear,
dissolve, because they had been holding them back almost all the time.
Then it says:  "In that regard, the FALN should be advised to publish a
manifesto giving the political reasons for the withdrawal of the guerrillas
and the UTC."

Finally, the well-known litany, the classic cliche, the cheap verbiage, the
diatribe:  "it is especially necessary to watch the uncontrollable, the bad
ones, the (word indistinct), the rebels, and also to actively defend the
policy, tactics, and leadership of the communist youth and the Communist
Party from the attacks of the MIR-ist anarchic-adventurist group."  The
anarchic-adventurist group!  If they only had the imagination for
revolutionary action that they have in the field of words and diatribe!

"To prevent the tactical changes from being presented in an unadulterated
form by the United States and the Betancourtists, and to prevent the enemy
from taking advantage of any inadequate statements or excessive
information, it will be necessary to pay special attention to propaganda
and, in general, to all written material."

The FALN was not made up of the Communist Party alone.  The FALN was made
up of at least two other organizations, three other organizations.  One of
them was the Revolutionary Leftist Movement (MIR), which was one of the
first organizations to begin the struggle.  It included the forces
Fabricio Ojeda represented, which came from the Republican Union party
(UR) if I recall the name correctly.  It also included the Communist Party
and some organizations of fighters.

Notice how in these two documents the allies are not mentioned, other than
to accuse them as anarchic adventurers.  There is not a single word about
the current represented by Fabricio Ojeda.  No!  The right of the rest of
the organizations to participate in the formulation of the line is
disregarded.  They issue the line.  They draft it as an order.  And they
not only violate the agreements adopted at a party congress--which cannot
be violated--but also disregard the forces that had been loyally fighting
alongside the party.  Moreover, they not only disregard the agreements of
the congress, they not only disregard the allies, but they also disregard
the militants, the combatants, the guerrillas; and they begin to speak of
discipline and of imposing discipline.

And what happened?  The principal guerrilla leaders--including the most
distinguished one, the one who from the bosom of the Communist Party, from
the very beginning, since 1959, was in charge of the military section,
organizing the cadres for the armed struggle, who was in the mountains for
years--waged many victorious clashes.  They were not big battles, but
clashes, because this was all their forces permitted.  And this was in the
midst of the incessant orders for truce, truce, and more truce!  Along with
the most esteemed of the guerrilla commanders, a number of commanders
reacted similarly.

As we see here, Fabricio rejected that concept, as did the combatants who
followed him.  The MIR rejected the defeatist concept, as did the
combatants of the Bachiller front.  And the best, the most experienced and
tested members of the party, those who had borne the principal burden of
the struggle, refused to accept that defeatist concept.

That was the situation.  Of three organizations, two remained in the
struggle.  In the MIR there were some desertions by the first leaders, but
the majority--represented by (?Saez) Merida, who was captured and replaced
by Americo Martin, who currently heads the MIR fighters on the Bachiller
front--maintained their position in favor of armed struggle and continued
to advance their policy.  Fabricio maintained his policy until his death.
Douglas and the most distinguished guerrilla leaders maintained their

How can we be accused of fomenting factionalism within the Venezuelan
party?  On what grounds do they blame Cuba for problems which result only
from the incompetence of a political leadership?  From the standpoint of
revolutionary principles and theory, from the standpoint of revolutionary
dignity, and from the standpoint of our revolutionary experience, could we
accept the thesis of the official leadership, the thesis expressed in this
document?  No!  Never!  Because if he had been men of such little faith in
the revolution, we would have abandoned the struggle after our first
reversal at Moncada.  (applause)

When our small army landed from the Granma and was completely dispersed in
three days and only seven armed men gathered again, thousands of reasons,
millions of reasons better than these could have been given to declare that
we were mistaken, that we were not right; that those who said it was
impossible to fight against that army, that it was impossible to fight
against those forces, were right.  And we, who had hardly just regrouped,
attacked the first little post and reduced the first enemy garrison three
weeks later, on 27 January.  Five days later we were again fighting against
the parachutists.

These first two successes were followed by intensive persecutions,
betrayals that almost caused our destruction.  Thousands of soldiers
pursued a mere 20 men, virtually isolated from the rest of the country.
Under those circumstances, we maintained our faith in the possibility of
conducting a victorious struggle.  As many of you will recall, the April
strike dealt a demolishing blow to our movement, and there were sufficient
reasons, reasons similar to these, to abandon the struggle.

Letters were written, one of them the so-called "Letter to the Patriot,"
urging us to abandon the struggle.  However, that crisis situation in the
revolutionary movement was overcome in less than 4 months, when a force of
10,000 soldiers, sent with artillery and cannon against 300 guerrillas,
failed resoundingly and was defeated.  Because of our experience, because
we had experienced a revolutionary struggle when it was merely an uncertain
light, how could we accept without question defeatist arguments from those
to blame for the lack of development of the guerrilla movement, from those
who were incapable of leading that armed struggle?

What the failures, the incompetents, had to do was not to condemn,
discipline, and expel those who had shown ability to defeat the enemy in
the open field of war in the mountains, but to resign.  That was the only
honest thing, the only just thing--to assume responsibility for the
failure and turn over the leadership of the party to those who had
demonstrated ability to wage war.

Why were we going to be obliged to accept that thesis?  We have absolutely
no duty to decide the problems of strategy or tactics in the Venezuelan
revolutionary movement.  No one has ever asked us to make decision on such
problems.  We have never tried to do that.  But we do have a right no one
can deny us in the name of anything, and that is the right to think, the
right to have opinions, the right to express our sympathy and solidarity
with the combatants.  And it was not possible for us revolutionaries, it
was not possible for us--faced with a choice between the uncertain, the
defeatists, and men determined to achieve their goal of liberating their
fatherland or dying for Venezuela, (applause) who were not a group of
theorizing charlatans but a group of fighters--for an elemental reason of
principle and revolutionary ethics we could not but express our solidarity
with those fighters.

Our history, the history of our country, a beautiful history full of
examples, gives us one that can never be forgotten.  In our wars of
independence, when in 1978 after 10 years of war (Castro corrects himself)
1878, in 1878, when after 10 years of war, many, even a majority, of the
leaders of the revolutionary movement decided to (?ask for) a truce, and
when after 1 years of heroic struggle the peace of El Zanjon was concluded,
one of our generals, the most brilliant, objected to accepting that peace
and issued the famous Baragua protest.  (applause)

What does our history teach us?  In the pages of Cuban history, what taught
us greater aspirations than that rebellious, noble gesture, full of dignity
and grandeur, with which Antonio Maceo asked for an interview with Partinez
Campos and declared that he did not accept peace with the Spaniards,
(applause), in a gesture that earned him immorality in the eyes of
generations past, present, and future, and immortality in worldwide public

After 10 years of war, how are we to consider Douglas Bravo a common
fractionalist, a common adventurer, a common follower of ambition, if
Douglas Bravo has, in the sector of the revolutionary movement that
originated in the party, issued a sort of Baragua protest against the peace
of El Zanjon which that defeatist leadership has tried to impose on the
party?  (applause)  That is why our sympathies and our solidarity--and we
have an unrenounceable right to express honestly what we feel and
think--were not with the vacillators but with the fighters.  Accepting that
vacillating argument would also have meant that we would have had to
withhold our solidarity from Americo Martin and the MIR members fighting in
the Bachiller Mountains.  (applause)  It would have meant withholding our
solidarity from Fabricio Ojeda and his comrades.

Proof that they were mistaken, and proof that the argument was tantamount
to handing the proimperialist Leoni government the revolutionary struggle
in Venezuela on a silver platter, is found in the fact that in spite of the
virtual betrayal the proimperialist Leoni government, aided by U.S.
officers and supported and supplied with Yankee arms, has been unable to
crush the heroic, invincible guerrillas who are fighting in Venezuela's
western mountains and the Bachiller Mountains.  (prolonged applause)

The defeatists signed the document I read you on 7 November 1965.  We are
now in mid-March 1967.  If the defeatists had been right, the Venezuelan
Government would not have been forced to adopt the desperate repressive
measures it has used because of the upsurge of the guerrilla movement, and
the last fighter would have been exterminated some time ago.  In this case,
then, it will be unnecessary to wait for time to prove the fighters right.
They are already being proven right.

On any of those fronts in the western mountains or the Bachiller Mountains,
they have as many or more men and arms as our columns when we considered
ourselves invincible in the Sierra Maestra; the betraying, sellout
oligarchy that governs Venezuela will be unable to crush those fighters.
This explains its fury as it writhes around, seeking someone to blame,
calling for attacks on Cuba and the Cuban revolutionary example.

In the name of what principles, what reasons, what revolutionary essentials
were we obliged to declare the defeatists right, those of defeatist,
vacillating tendencies?  In the name of Marxism-Leninism?  No!  In the
name of Marxism-Leninism we could never have held them to be right.  In the
name of the international communist movement?  Were we perchance obligated
by the fact that it was the leadership of a communist party?  Is that
perchance the idea we must have of the international communist movement?
For us the international communist movement is, first, just that:  a
movement of communists, a movement of revolutionary fighters; and whoever
is not a revolutionary fighter cannot be called a communist.  (applause)

We conceive of Marxism as a revolutionary thought and action. Those who do
not have a truly revolutionary spirit cannot be called communists. Anybody
can call himself an eagle without having a single feather on his back. In
the same way, there are persons who call themselves communists without
having one iota of communism in their makeup. The international communist
movement as we conceive it is not a church, it is not a religious or
Masonic sect that obliges us to sanctify weakness, to sanctify deviation,
to pursue a policy of making bosom friends of every kind of reformist and

Our position regarding communist parties is based strictly on revolutionary
principles.  Those parties which unhesitatingly follow a line--a
revolutionary line--we will support in spite of everything.  Those parties
which call themselves communist or Marxist and believe themselves to have a
monopoly on revolutionary feeling but who really are monopolizers of
reformism we will not treat as revolutionary parties.  If in any nation
those who call themselves communists do not know how to fulfill their duty,
we will support those who--even though they do not call themselves
communists--behave like real communists in the struggle.  (applause)
Revolutionaries who have revolutionary spirit will end up Marxists.  It is
impossible for a revolutionary, a true revolutionary, not to end up a

All responsible revolutionaries in this continent will end up with a
Marxist concept of society; the only thing that matters are
revolutionaries who are capable of waging revolution and learning
revolutionary theory.  Practice often comes first and then theory.  Our
people are an example of this.  Many--the large majority of those who today
proudly call themselves Marxist-Leninists--became Marxist-Leninists because
of the revolutionary struggle.

To reject beforehand all who since the beginning have not been called
communists would be an act of dogmatism and sectarianism.  Whoever denies
this is the revolutionary path that leads the people to Marxism is not a
Marxist, even though he calls himself a communist.  This will be our line
of conduct in relations with revolutionary movements.

At the Tricontinental Conference in Havana, representatives from
revolutionary organizations of three continents met; some were called
communists and others were not.  What defines a communist is his action
against oligarchies, action against exploitation, action against
imperialism, and, in this continent, action in the armed revolutionary
movement.  What defines communists of this continent is their action in
the guerrilla movement in Guatemala, in Columbia, and in Venezuela.

Only one who has the right to call himself a communist will support the
rightwing's official leadership against Douglas Bravo. Communist parties
will have to be differentiated between guerrillas who fight in Venezuela
and defeatists who want to renege, who practically want to sell out the
guerrilla movement. This will be a point of differentiation, for we are
reaching a time when they will have to be differentiated, not because of
anyone's whim but because of the process of historical events. (to be