Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19710707
-YEAR-
1971
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CASTRO HAILS RETURN OF FISHERMEN
-PLACE-
PORT OF HAVANA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA DOMESTIC RADIO
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19710708
-TEXT-
Castro Hails Return of Fishermen

Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 2301 GMT 7 Jul 71
F

[Text of speech by Cuban Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro Ruz at the welcome
of the four released fishermen at the port of Havana--live]

[Text] Comrade fishermen, comrade workers: We are going to say a few words
on the occasion of the arrival of our fishermen--now freed. You will recall
how the events transpired. You know perfectly well that this is not the
first time that our fishermen have suffered various types of aggressions
over these years, in different areas.

Nevertheless, though the aim of these aggressions has been to dismay, cow,
and intimidate our sea workers, the result has been precisely the opposite.

In our people's struggle in this field, wherein they virtually have
suffered and will continue to endure a situation of harassment, aggression,
of blockade--that war which the imperialists maintain against our
country--our fishing fleet has been surging forth and developing.

The fishing fleet actually was born with the revolution. In 1958 fishing
production was 21,000 tons annually. Now it exceeds 100,000 tons--that is
the current pace. Production has risen more than five times, and this will
continue.

There had been no deep sea fishing tradition, if we do not count the
handful of ships that fished in the gulf near Mexico. All fishing was just
off the insular shelf and with small boats. In other words we had no
experience of management and exploitation of fishing fleets. We did not
have the man for that task.

We had no resources, ships, nothing, despite the fact that we were an
island. By the same token there was no merchant fleet, despite the fact we
were an island wherein we had to bring in 99 percent of what we consumed
and had to export some of our products.

Unfortunately our country was that way; it will still be that way for some
time. For almost everything we consume must be brought in from some
country. And, due to the imperialist aggressions we must bring them in
increasingly--during these years of the revolution we have had to bring
them in from very distant countries.

Practically speaking, the average navigation [range] of our ships is 15,000
kilometers. Hence, with our country now having 52 ships in its merchant
fleet these ships virtually transport something like 8 percent of what
enters and leaves our country, 8 percent. And this despite the fact that we
have 52 ships--a merchant marine in full development.

But we must declare that our merchant marine and our fishing fleet were
born of the revolution. We must also declare something already known and
admitted everywhere: That our merchant marine men enjoy great prestige in
all the ports of the world. [applause] for their discipline, conduct, and
behavior--in other words, also developing has been a mass of sea workers in
our merchant marine who have a great revolutionary awareness, great
quality.

This logically makes us proud. However, hand in hand the same occurred with
the fishing fleet. We must state that fishing is arduous; that frequently
our fishermen go out 3 or 4 months on the high seas. For if the past
fishing was conducted on the insular shelf, we now fish in the Arctic, the
Atlantic seas, near Africa, and even in the Pacific.

Thus our fishermen now go to all seas. That fleet has grown year by year.
For instance, the figures last year--comparing that time with the
present--between 1 July of 1969 and 30 June 1970, in other words in 12
months, 88,524 metric tons of fish were produced.

Nevertheless, from 1 July 1970 to 30 June 1971--this year that just
passed--fishing had increased to 114,443 metric tons. This means production
increased by almost 30 percent during the past year.

By the same token up to a year ago--from 1 July 1969 to 30 June
1970--exports amounted to $14,499,240. Yet from 1 July 1970 to 30 June
1971, these rose to 520,039,410. Thus exports, like the products of the sea
are a very important factor for feeding our people.

Consumption, from 1 July 1969 to 30 June 1970, amounted to 74,060 tons.
Now, from [omits day] July 1970 to 30 June 1971, it was 86,549 metric tons.
So 12,000 more was consumed.

Hence this has been mounting. Look, from before the revolution when only
21,000 tons were fished, consumption was 86,549 metric tons. Consumption
rises and exports rise.

Hence, in these short years a fishing awareness has developed. A splendid,
growing fishing fleet, and what is the most important of all, a contingent
of fishermen, workers, revolutionary, combative, valiant workers, who like
our merchant seamen have developed over these years of struggle in these
years of blockade, in these years of harassment.

These harrassments naturally result from the concern over the growth of the
fishing fleet, how the catches increase, how this permits us to increase
the consumption of an important protein that has great nutritional value,
how this permits us to increase our exports, how this helps us to break the
blockade, how this helps us to win the war that imperialism has declared
against us.

It has come to worry them because we now have some fishing boats that are
better than any the United States itself has. That is a fact. [applause]
Evermore modern techniques are being developed. The nation has done
everything possible to train the fishermen, to give them the best working
conditions and the greatest safety at sea.

The harrassment is due to political and economic reasons, but all they have
gotten with all this harrassment and aggression is to bolster our
fishermen's consciousness because in the face of each aggression, this
consciousness and this espirit has emerged stronger.

Now we have had this latest aggression. You will recall the earlier
occasion when we met, somewhat over a year ago, owing to the kidnapping of
a group of fishermen by mercenaries. The nation decided that the fishermen
had to return alive, and all the populace was mobilized in support of these
fishermen. And this moral, political, revolutionary, human battle was won
and the fishermen returned safe and sound to our country due to the
struggle of our people.

However, 13 or 14 months had not elapsed since that last villainy--hardly a
year ago since the last villainy--and even before that an arbitrary arrest
had been made on the high seas and outside U.S. exclusive fishing waters
some months ago a group of fishermen. On that occasion they were held
prisoner and the question of the fine was brought up--that is to say, the
payment of a fine--and on that occasion, to avoid any further prolongation
of the fishermen's detainment there under prison conditions and while we
pondered whether there was really an error here, a battle between the State
of Florida and the federal government or whatever, it was decided to pay
certain sums that they established before the trail in order to free the
fishermen. Even so, scarcely a few weeks had passed, and again, 35 miles
off Dry Tortugas the arbitrary and illegal arrest of a group of Cuban
fishermen took place by naval units of the United States.

On this occasion it was already clear to us that if we continued the
procedure of paying high fines, as one of the fishermen said here, the time
would come when they would be arrested as they left the Morro. [Morro
Castle at the entrance to Havana Harbor] Under the circumstances we did not
wish to accept any formula similar to the previous one. We saw that it was
their responsibility. This is why we decided to pay this arbitrary
imposition, and arbitrary and unilateral imposition.

Then a trial took place. I said that without any doubt our fishermen were
outside the exclusive fishing waters. I want to clear up this matter. Here
we are not discussing a limit to fishing [waters]. The United States has
established a 9-mile limit in addition to the 3 miles of its sovereign
waters which makes 12 miles. This is an exclusive fishing area and our
country respects these 12 miles. It is not a question of a discussion of
limits, rather it is a question of the real fact that our fishermen had
been arrested many miles from these limits.

They said that it was within 12 miles of Dry Tortugas. In the first place,
at the depth our fishermen were fishing, according to all the charts, such
a depth does not exist less than 30 miles off Dry Tortugas. In the second
place, the Dry Tortugas light can be seen for 18 miles and you could not
even see the shadow of that light from the place our fishermen were, and
according to all the reckoning, and according to all the studies, they were
without any question very far from the 12-mile limit. And this was the
second time this happened.

What is our position? What should our position be with regard to the
American nations who are keeping up a struggle over certain limits of
fishing areas. They are nations to whom nature has given vast maritime
resources. Naturally, they are poorer, less industrialized nations lacking
the great resources of the United States. The United States, a rich nation
with great industrial development, a nation with large economic resources,
can naturally develop great fleets and invade these waters, these natural
resources, and practically seize all of them, thus depriving coastal
nations of the chance to exploit such resources.

Our country is not in such circumstances, in other words, this is not a
country that has great fishing resources close to its coasts. On the
contrary, we have to go to the oceans and to large fishing grounds, for
tuna, codfish, herring, mackeral, [Castro chuckles] in short, what is the
other one called? Hake. Hake is a good fish but there was once a period
when there was too much hake.

I remember that in some exclusive restaurants they used to have hake
fillets at very expensive prices; it was considered a top fish. As time
went on the great abundance of hake at a given moment produced a certain
dislike for hake but I want to say is that in some areas in the open sea
there are great fishing possibilities and this is where our boats have to
go.

Now then, we could adopt two positions. If we were to oppose, strictly on
national interests, the theses of nations like Chile and Peru, we would be
defending a selfish interest and in a certain sense we would be agreeing
with Yankee interests. This cannot be in any way. Our internationalist
spirit, our Marxist, socialist, revolutionary, and Latin Americanist
consciousness compels us to think about the interests of the other peoples
of Latin America. [applause] After all, we are part of this vast humanity,
as the declaration of Havana says.

The imperialists have tried to keep us divided by every means. One must not
forget how they committed aggression against our country by depriving us of
our sugar quota. They distributed it seeking the complicity of the
oligarchic governments of Latin America. Now they begin to do the same
thing. Every time they have a conflict they threaten to withdraw sugar
quotas and things of the like.

We must pursue a principled policy in our foreign affairs and we simply
have taken with regard to this matter of fishing the position of supporting
the demands, the points of view, the opinions, and the struggle in defense
of the natural resources of the peoples of Chile and Peru. They are
espousing the right to a 200-mile exclusive fishing limit, and we support
these positions.

We cannot have a position of support there and have an opposite position
here. In other words, we must be consistent. If other nations extended
their limits we would have to respect them.

There was another occasion in which they even--as has happened in some
other Latin American nations--because our fishing boats were fishing
committed an act of hostility against us, but this is not the fundamental
thing.

We have a position in this because it is a position that suits the more
underdeveloped nations, the poorer nations, the ones with less resources.
Hence, for us it is a matter of solidarity with the Latin American nations
but principally with those Latin American nations that are marching along
the paths of their national liberation and we therefore support these
positions.

Therefore, we are not talking about the right of the United States to
establish 12 miles or 20 miles or 40 miles, or whatever; for example, even
200 miles. If it wants to do it some day then we will divide these seas
down the middle. Since we are less than 200 miles away we will be able to
fish here for tuna, white marlin, [Castro chuckles] swordfish; in short we
will do what we can, but this is our position.

The people ought to be very clear what our position is and why we take it.
We cannot take positions that depend on a national type of interest. In the
long run, we want that the best interests of all our people is what suits
the peoples that struggle against imperialism, the peoples that fight for
their liberation. The ones that serve the interests of all Latin American
peoples are the positions that best serve the interests of our people.
[applause] Let it be very clear that we are talking about the rights of
coastal nations to set their limits.

Now then, we have been fishing outside of established limits. We have not
violated that principle. We have not violated any policy. We have not
violated any law. We are acting consistently, and we are fishing in waters
considered to be international by everybody, even by the United States
itself. They established limits of 9 plus 3, 12 miles. And we wish outside
these 12 miles. Our boats even have orders not to travel too close to the
12-mile limit. We prefer this in order to avoid this type of conflict. In
this way they will be unquestionably outside these limits. There are plenty
of areas to fish in and there is no reason to get near the limits which can
create conflict for our comrades who are working in the sea. On the
contrary, we are on the lookout and concerned about their not being the
victims of aggression, that they will not have trouble, that they will not
have problems.

That little key of Dry Tortugas is deep in the gulf. It is not Key West, it
is not Florida, that they are talking about. It is a lonely little key deep
in the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles west of Key West.

What they are discussing or claiming is that the limits were violated near
that key. Actually, they were 35 miles from the key. These are the facts. I
have explained the facts as well as the policy of the revolutionary
government.

Our revolution does not seek trouble. Our revolution is not looking for
trouble and international problems with an adventuresome spirit, no.
However, we must not confuse this with the position of the revolution in
defense of its interest, in defense of its dignity, in defense of its
prerogatives. We are not looking for trouble with anyone.

However, of course, and this is the policy of the revolution, we have no
fear of imperialist aggression. Nobody can intimidate us nor blackmail us.
We do not want trouble. But we are not afraid of any trouble when it is
forced, inevitably, on us. [applause]

Now then, if our fishermen are arrested on the high seas, then they are
forcing a conflict. What other choice is there? Quit fishing? Quit
developing our fishing fleet? [audience shouts disapproval] Quit working
the seas? No. And when they impose such conditions on us in international
waters, then that is something else. Then we have no option. And when they
give us no choice this nation will never retreat. We will never retreat.
This is part of the most deep-rooted principles of our people, the most
deep-rooted traditions of our people [applause] and of our revolution.
[applause] And this was one of those cases in which we could not yield. If
they impose a conflict on us, what option do we have? We have to accept the
conflict. This is what the question was in fact.

The same thing happened during the kidnapping. What were we going to do?
Let them get killed? On an islet? No, we could not allow that.

This time, we were going to concede them the right to arrest our fishermen
in international waters and let them be tried unilaterally by a jury that
must have been an imperialist, racist, exploiting jury? What can you expect
from a Miami jury, gentlemen? What kind of justice can you expect? If a
lawyer was appointed there, it was to contact the fishermen to advise them
and to make them realize that the people were concerned over them.

But we had no confidence in any Yankee jury or judge. That judge which
appeared in GRANMA--the cartoon--with a wooden leg, is actually a real
pirate, a pirate in every sense of the word.

So what confidence could we have. This is why the trial came and the
government decided that it would not appeal the verdict. For to appeal such
a verdict would be tantamount to going along with the fiction that the
court there was moral and authoritative enough to rule on it.

Thus there was no appeal; our fishermen had to be returned. There simply
was no appeal in any way. We demanded that our fishermen be respected on
the high seas. That was our posture. There is a reason why our people stand
firmly, steadfastly, and as one man against these aggressions.

The revolutionary people are revolutionary people, and each and every one
of the millions of workers and youths of this country who belong to our
revolutionary people as a family--not just their father, mother, aunt,
grandfather--have all the people, who are the fathers of our workers.
[applause]

All the people are brothers of our workers. Due to this every man here has
the strength of the 8 million Cubans--every revolutionary and every worker
in our country.

This is crystal clear. Some renounced their people. Those do not have a
father, they have no people as their father, no people as their brother.
They renounced the fatherland. These do not have a fatherland. They are
rightfully called stateless.

But the revolutionaries do have a fatherland. Those who fight and work for
the fatherland have a fatherland. [applause]

Those who fight and work for the people have a people, and the people will
defend them in any circumstances and at any price--be they one or 1,000 as
this is not measured by numbers. Morale is not measured by quantity, it is
qualitative. Principles are not measured by fractions, they too are
qualitative, an integral whole.

We shall defend the rights of 100 fishermen, 10 fishermen, one fishermen at
whatever price is necessary. [applause] That great reality, that fact is a
stimulus for our workers, for all workers, and very especially for our sea
workers who so frequently are victims of aggressions.

They know there, wherever, they are stuck, that the people stand united as
one man behind them. They realize this; they know they are not alone. They
know that however powerful the imperialists, they cannot in this era do
whatever they feel like and that they have their weak points, their
Achilles heels. [applause]

Therefore, at bitter moments, imprisoned in imperialism's stinking
jails--just as the comrade fishermen related here--at those moments they
are cognizant that the people stand with them, and this is all-important.

But there is more. These fishermen demonstrate our people's morale in all
these conflicts, the morale of the revolutionary generation that surges
forth from this process.

One would have to look at the past to comprehend how much everything has
changed. In the past any Yankee launch with some cannon mounted in the bow
and the stern imposed respect, fear, fright. Yet what do we see today? We
see how our fishermen rendezvous on the high seas fearlessly, defending
their rights there. They voice their protest and solidarity with the
imprisoned comrades.

But when they go to intimidate the fishermen, when they arrive to try to
bribe them -- to offer them villas and castles, everything--they run smack
against a steadfast morale, with a discipline, an awareness. This impresses
them, because for imperialism the only thing is that of value is money,
material goods.

However, here we are training a generation that sets human dignity, man's
morale above any money or any material good. [applause] Duty to the
fatherland, duty to the revolution. [applause] Duty to the people and
solidarity with their comrades in the cause is placed before any other good
on earth by this new revolutionary generation that is arising.

When they behave this way they make an impression. We could state that the
first trench for defending the fatherland precisely is that trend of
morale. That trends of morale; for when the imperialists see youths 15 or
16 years old--youths who belong to the youth columns, who came from the
mountains in the interior of our country--taken to the heart of the
empire, jailed, chained, and surrounded by worms, they offer them
everything. Yet they reject it.

They try to intimidate them and find there is no fear, but rather that they
are as solid as a rock. Then, when they see there is no power capable of
freightening them, they begin to realize what kind of people remain here
[applause], that they have no similarity, with that herd of mercenaries,
traitors, cowards, or deserters who left their fatherland.

They then begin to realize what the people are like, and they must gasp
that no one can intimidate a people like this, that no one can make vessels
of them, that no one can oppress them, no one can enslave them.

Hence we declare that their morale values are extraordinarily important and
that there, in the heart of the empire the conduct of these youths
constitutes a trench--the first trench, an all-important trench.

We cannot forget what Marti said: "Trenches of ideas are worth more than
trenches of earth." [applause] These are trenches of ideas [applause],
trenches of ideas dug in the self-same heart of the empire. These are
creating the tradition of our young people. These are traditions being
written with abnegation and sacrifice--the one written by the youths of the
centennial column by working for 3 years cutting millions upon million of
arrobas side by side, 10-million or more than 10-million [arrobas],
macheteros, in 3 years.

It is the tradition of our youths who ply the seas and reach the most
distant ports of the world, transporting and bringing our merchandise, the
tradition of our fishermen who likewise ply the seas, seeking food and
resources for our people in the remotest areas.

They are creating a tradition, something that is indestructible, very
solid. Material things can be destroyed, but no one can destroy these
traditions now or ever. This then is how a people is formed--in struggle.
That is how a people are forged.

It gives us great pride to know how our merchant seamen are looked upon in
every port-- how different, so special, so exemplary in every way.

We likewise are proud over the way this formidable contingent of our
fishing fleet is rounding out. Our fleet shall keep growing. However, there
is something that is more important for a fleet to grow than the
ships--more important than the cold storage installations, and the
ships--the men.

And indeed we can declare that in our merchant marine and our fishing fleet
we have men. [applause] Moreover, we understand man to mean the
revolutionary man, the man of ideas, the man of dignity, the man of valor
who is a product of these years.

The dialect of life demonstrates that. Struggle makes a man; combat makes a
man; and work makes a man. These youths are not young people of the bygone
past, some of the bourgeoisie. No, they are sons of peasants, sons of
workers. Their age does not matter--be it Lilo, Roberto, or anyone of 14,
13, or even 16 years of age--they stand as an example and motivation for
others who are fishing.

They stand as an example and encouragement for the others who are here
likewise training to go to sea, for the youths of the sea column. They are
giving us, they are offering our people something of inestimable value: The
example, their example, the example of their conduct, the example of their
behavior, morale, and dignity. Truthfully, we could thank them, and we
should do so, not just because they made us feel pleased, proud of their
conduct--a stand never voiced in a Yankee jail. For this is a group of
humble, poor youths: They say: "Do not pay the fine. For we would remain
here for all the years necessary in order to keep from paying the fine."
[prolonged applause]

Naturally, for money we would not sacrifice men. In this case we cared not
if it were 1,000, 2,000, or 10,000.

But we are defending something else, not them, but the others. Better said,
them and the others, them and everyone. We were defending a principle, a
principle, the right for them to be respected on the sea, the right for
them not to be attacked. That is what we are defending.

Yet you saw how many arbitrary actions were taken, not just the illegal
arrest outside the waters; no, in addition the illegal, unilateral sentence
in the United States. And not just that, either, for in addition to the
fine, they imposed 6-months' imprisonment unnecessarily and abusively.

But there was more than the illegal fine and the illegal imprisonment: The
maltreatment and outrages. They took them away in chains. That is what
irked all of us the most: The imprisonment and maltreatment.

That is what made our workers indignant and kept the protest blazing. That
is what kept our people resolute to whatever degree was necessary.

Very well, the conduct of the revolution was different, for,
constantly--for one reason for another, by error or not, with a justified
or unjustified cause--ships pass and arrive at our coasts.

We are here, an island, stretched out like an alligator in the middle of
the Caribbean, and it is very easy for them to reach.

A number of North American citizens became involved in this incident.
However, the treatment given them was different.

Logically, irritation and indignation over what we had been reading in the
papers could have induced us to take radical, similar, measures with North
American citizens. However, we would have been acting wrongfully. It would
have been at variance with revolutionary principles and conscience.

The fact is that those North Americans found themselves affected by the
aggressive, illegal action of their own government.

We were not obliged to be reciprocal in treating those who arrived here. If
our fishermen were arrested we were not bound to take any reciprocal action
nor afford those who arrived here any hospitality.

Good, as far as the political question goes, but to depart from this and
adopt an inhuman policy, a policy of maltreatment, is something else again.
Note the resolution's attitude toward the 18 North Americans who became
involved in this problem. They were not sentenced to prison. We could have
said: "6 months." They were not chained, and they were treated respectfully
at every moment.

I say this because there was a place in the country where there was a
certain ill-feeling, to be more specific, in the Moron area. One of the
little Yankee boats wound up over there with some crew members, and some
persons--I cannot think that they were acting with good intentions; I think
that some were acting with bad intentions--exhibited a certain form of
protest and demanded that they [the Americans] be treated like our
fishermen were being treated. In other words, chains, prison, all those
things.

However, our people have progressed sufficiently. We have attained enough
political and revolutionary maturity to know that this is wrong. If we, out
of revenge of this kind, out of anger, conduct ourselves in this way, if we
uselessly, needlessly maltreat a North American citizen just because he is
a North American citizen and because he belongs to a country that suffers
the misfortune of governments such as it has [Castro leaves thought
incomplete]. A great part of the North American people are against the
Vietnam war, and are increasingly against the imperialist policy. Therefore
an American would have felt justly offended and would have said: "It does
not matter what I stand for, all you have to be is a U.S. citizen to be
maltreated over there for they make no distinction."

We could not under any circumstances do this. I have said it once and again
that we not only have to think about the imperialists who are a minority,
not only about the government of that imperialist state, we have to think
about the people of that state. We have to think about the North American
people. We have to guide ourselves with internationalist principles in our
relations with the people of the United States. [applause]

It is quite plain that when it comes to aggression, to mercenaries, to
infiltrations, when they come to attack the nation, let none of them think,
no matter what their citizenship, whether they are stateless persons or
U.S. citizens, or wherever they are from, they cannot expect the least
consideration nor the least hesitation. The revolutionary line is clear,
conclusive, and final. And the resolution is not afraid to take any measure
of any kind, that is force, against criminals, spies, infiltrators, and
aggressors.

If any of these boats had been involved in an act of this type against our
country then they would have gotten the treatment deserved by a bandit, an
aggressor to the fatherland, an enemy.

Now then, another type of act, the violation of sovereign waters is another
type of problem. If it established that there is no attempt to commit
aggression, to infiltrate, ah, then we have no grounds, no matter how angry
we are to use abusive tactics, to maltreat anybody. This is very plain.

There were not just 18 North Americans, there were two of them who came
over in a light plane. They landed in one place and they were captured.
"What are you doing here?" "No, they were going to Jamaica." "Ah, you are
going to Jamaica," well then we have to investigate. What did they not say
and we found out later is that before they landed where they did they had
landed earlier at another place and had dropped off an armed person there.
"I understand." "Ah, good, that is something else."

That is why those two Americans did not leave with the others who were
implicated in violations of our sovereign waters. This case is under
investigation.

Then they said that they had been hijacked. The armed man had come aboard
and forced them here. Actually, whoever is hijacked and lands somewhere for
whatever reason is not going to fabricate the story that he was going to
Jamaica. Then he immediately says that they were at such and such a place
and that "a person invited them for a ride" or something, or to fly a kite
or something. [audience laughter] Well, "they were fooled and they were
hijacked," but they did not say a word. We found out later and actually
they tried to deceive us. They concealed the facts and this is actually
very suspicious. This problem is of another kind and different from the
problem of the violation of sovereign waters. In this case a real
investigation is under way because it is a problem of a different nature.

I return to the idea that our conduct was much different. Why? There is no
glory in maltreating U.S. citizens. There is no glory coming to us from
chaining them. There is no demonstration of our internationalism in this.
There is no revolutionary demonstration in this. It would not be pursuing a
principled policy. The facts are there.

Our fishermen are here and they can talk about maltreatment. They cannot
talk about maltreatment over there. They will have no right to talk. Those
who return they may talk. One of them was an adventure-seeker who was
paddling a canoe. I do not even remember his name. He arrived [actually
Castro means he left] in the plane yesterday. He returned to the United
States and was one of the 18 North Americans. We all knew he was a
revolutionary character; that he was a worthless character. Naturally, we
knew that he would start fabricating stories.

He said that he lived with the idea that they were going to shoot him
before a firing squad, and things like that. [Castro chuckles] And I think
he said that "they did not shoot him because he had shown a letter in
Spanish from his senator. [crowd derision] Had this person been found
guilty of committing a serious crime against our country, not even a
senator's letter would save him, not even the letters of all the U.S.
Senators put together! But what can you expect?

None of them can say over there that he was shackled, that he was abused,
that he was maltreated. After this incident our morality has risen to a
higher plane. Our morality has been shown to be much more solid owing to
our conduct. And we think that the shackling was a vexatious act. It is an
act of cowardice proper of imperialism. It is as if they were trembling
lest four of our fishermen could have escaped from Key West, could have
escaped from Miami. Put them in chains? Why? Place chains around their
waists and around their wrists? Why? Obviously it was an outrage, a
cowardly act, a humiliating act. The only thing that could explain it--it
certainly was not the physical possibility that four young fishermen could
have done anything--what does explain it is the moral fear, the panic that
drives imperialists when they see conduct such as displayed by these
youths.

However,the fact is that courage cannot be put in chains. Dignity cannot be
placed in chains. Revolutionary-mindedness cannot be put in chains. Of
course all they got out of it was to step up our people's irritation and
indignation. But they did not succeed in getting the revolution to lose its
serenity. They did not succeed in getting the revolution to commit
villianies in kind.

The facts are here. Our fishermen are back--and they are free. Our people
won their freedom by their unity and by their determination to do whatever
was necessary. [applause]

Once again our people, on this occasion as during the kidnaping of the
fishermen by the mercenaries, have won the liberation of these unjustly
treated and unjustly jailed youths by their struggle and efforts. Once
again it has been shown that revolutionaries have a fatherland, that
revolutionaries have people behind them, that revolutionaries are not and
never will be alone.

Let me say welcome from the bottom of my heart to our comrade fishermen and
from the bottom of my heart I congratulate them for their conduct and we
urge the rest of the young fishermen to follow their example. Fatherland or
death! We shall win!
-END-


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