Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Tierra del Fuego Speech

Santiago Chile PRESNA LATINA in Spanish to PRESNA LATINA Havana 1816 GMT 26

[Text] Santiago, Chile, 26 Nov--Herewith is the text of the speech
delivered by Maj Fidel Castro to the oil workers in Tierra del Fuego,
Magallanes on 22 November:

Dear president, civilian and military officials, oil workers and your
families, children:

I should say something similar to what I told the Rio Verde peasants and
workers who invited me to a barbecue--they had prepared a lamb, calf, wine,
everything--that a banquet is no place for a speech.

The president, who is a doctor, understands this will and I have heard it
said, that when one is digesting, the flow of blood concentrates in the
intestine, causing less blood to course through the brain. This is why I
recommended that no speeches be made, no serious intellectual work
undertaken, or any heavy effort put forth at a banquet and even less at a
Chilean banquet with spider crabs, turnovers, wine, and everything to
conclude it.

In any event I want to make some comments on this meeting.

First, I am lucky that nature at least gave me a good heart. Do not think I
mean a noble heart, but a physically good one. Otherwise you Chileans, and
especially you of Magallanes, could kill any heart. (applause)

As for the nobleness of heart, I believe all men are born with something
noble and something ignoble. I believe it is life, struggle,
conscientiousness, ideas and reason that can make what is noble prevail
over what is ignoble in the human heart.

I believe nobleness kindless nobleness; as love engenders love, so too,
nobleness engenders nobleness. We have undergone the experience of a
revolutionary history, thus we can say that the noble feelings, the
sensitivity of our people, the magnanimity that people always possess, have
spurred on the revolutionaries.

We have found so much nobleness and magnanimity in our people, in all
people, and it is precisely the people, the masses, who kindle noble and
magnanimous feelings in revolutionaries. This is why we always appreciate
all kindness, all attention and honor bestowed on us. We would be
unpardonably vain and unpardonably egotistical and self-centered if we
thought this attention was meant as personal recognition.

At each popular rally we have taken every show of affection not as a
distinction intended for a man, no, always, at each stage of history and in
certain circumstances, at given times of man's evolution, man have needed
symbols. In this respect we foresee that individual symbols will vanish
some day.

We foresee a loftier phase in human society when not only reality but the
symbolism of reality will be reduced to its proper dimensions. Man usually
symbolize the worth of a people, the worth of a human community.

Thus we have witnessed the honoring of generals, statesmen, salient men of
history, because they won great battles or accomplished great works. In
truth, however, the ones who win the great battles and perform exploits are
the soldiers in combat, the people in a struggle. Such feats are the sum of
the sacrifices of those who perish, of those who work, the sum of the
efforts of those who have made man's history and of those who have written
great pages of man's progress and exploits.

Men have been symbols because humans need symbols to express an idea or a
feeling. That is why we perfectly understand, as we always have understood,
that every expression of affection does not honor a man but a people, the
work and sacrifice of a people.

As we feel intimately identified with the people and the cause of the
people, we are moved when we meet another community, the Chilean community.
This is not only their cause, but the cause of other people. Firstly, it is
the cause of the brother people of Latin America, but it is also the cause
of people in other parts of the world.

There are the Algerian people, for instance, who are represented here by
their ambassador. There are the other people, those of Asia, Africa, and
other people of the world. (applause)

This is also the case when we see part of the Chilean community, the
community of Magallanes, and even more so when we find ourselves here in
this land with part of the community of Magallanes. For this is the
community of the workers of Tierra del Fuego, and we are genuinely moved by
what we see, with the impressions we are receiving. (applause)

Here, now, what has this rally been like? It has been a fraternal rally, it
has been revolutionary in content, intensely emotional, but at the same
time happy, optimistic. That is the way this rally, this welcome has been.

To arrive here one must travel a road full of chuck holes, because the
light plane in which the president and I flew was hopping like a jeep in
the Sierra Maestra. (applause)

We also told him [Allende]: Those roads are badly paved. He answered: That
is nothing. I then said" Next time lend me a parachute, for if that is
nothing, [Castro changes thought] but I want to make this clear: without
pretense of bravery, I added: President, at least do not frighten me.
Fright is a philosophical problem, just as valor is a philosophical

We were overjoyed as we traveled. I had struggled tremendously to reach
Natales. There we had seen the people of Natales; their representative, the
workers, all the people clamor for us to go there. The president also was
highly interested in going, but the weather reports started coming in. They
indicated the presence of a cold front, a hot front, I am not sure what.
Due to the mountains and the (?rainy) peaks, it was impossible to go, so we
did not.

Anyway, as I was saying, it is quite an experience to fly in this region. I
asked: What goes on? Why does this jump so if the sky is clear? Our planes
get bumpy in Cuba when we enter clouds, in headwinds, but there is no wind
here, yet it seems to happen all the time.

The atmosphere, waters, and lands here are rugged, which indicates to me
that the men and women of this land likewise are rugged. (applause)

We were relating our trip, our arrival, the welcomes, the lined-up troops,
the rendering of honors, the workers, the officials, the sincerity, the
communications, spontaneity and generosity, and hand in hand, the warmth,
the affection and the miracle. The fact is this attitude, these feelings
which convey an idea, a cause could only be called a miracle.

We observe two things, two joys, two solidarities, two supports: first
there is the joy, the solidarity, the support so close to you--the Chilean
process. Second, is the solidarity,joy, the effusive feeling for something
far from here: Cuba, the Cuban revolution, the Cuban people.

These things are truly moving, truly admirable. They point up a man's
ability to rise above himself to lofty, higher, altrusitic, unselfish noble
sentiments. This is why man deserves to call himself a man. The more man
moves from that position--the more egotistical, hostile, lustful,
self-centered and inimical he becomes--the further he gets from the concept
of being a man.

We have arrived here in the land of Tierra del Fuego, this land we knew
from books, from historical texts, this famed land of Magallanes, the
famous land of fire, the famous land of great discoveries, the famous
region navigated by daring men centuries past, the land where scientists
found the keystone of their revolutionary theories.

Books also tell us of the geography, the seas, the winds, the windstorm,
the pre- historic remains, archeological ruins of primitive cultures.

No book, however, talks of present-day Magallenes. No book relates the high
merit of everything that has been written or done here. No book tells of
this flesh and bones community which in this remote, solidarity region has
built factories, built entire villages over entire decades braving the
inhospitable climate and harsh nature.

The books do not tell of how this community has developed wealth for the
fatherland, drawn energy resources from the bowels of the earth and
produced no less than 2 billion cubic meters of petroleum, not counting the
potential development of gas.

Books, which usually tell of outstanding or sensational past events, only
occasionally point up the present--the works man builds today with his
hands, his sweat, his abnegation, his sentiments and his patriotism.

We were highly moved by this rally, this program. At times we told the
comrade president, the dear president--for to you he is both comrade and
dear and to us he is an old friend, an old comrade, a dear friend, a dear
comrade, an admired and dear president. (applause) We told him: President,
not even Versailles puts on a more splendid show, a more pleasing, human
show. When the Cullen Folklore Troupe appeared singing its songs, and the
other folklore groups of men, women, children and professors appeared, what
were we seeing here? [What were we seeing] in that joy, that jubilation,
that interpretation of man's best feelings that human capacity for
enjoyment, that capacity to instantly captivate?

Man's eternal struggle in search of [word indistinct] in search of
happiness. The noble good, the noble happiness, which are obtained through
one's effort, which creation--not with repression, not with crime, not with
exploitation. (applause)

We saw here precisely the symbol of all those things for which we fought,
we saw those things for which we fought in our country, those things in
which we believe, because we believe precisely in this: in the capacity of
the countries, in the abilities of the workers to develop education, to
develop culture, to attain better human coexistence norms.

When we saw the children here learning at such an early age, receiving a
cultural and artistic education, when we saw these examples in this
land--the southernmost in the world, when we saw those things, we were
necessarily moved. (applause)

We are struggling so that man can have a decent place in this world, so
that each man can have the right to the most complete education, so that
man can have the right to the greatest development of his spirit, so that
man can acquire the maximum ability to accomplish [words indistinct].

We must first attain the well-being of others, not our own individuality,
so that each man can reach the maximum ability--not for himself, but for
others--so that each man can be capable of feeling that he is the brother
of everyone. It is not only that feeling of brotherhood which comes from
being born of the same mother and from growing under the same roof, it is
also that feeling of rational brotherhood which is born from knowing that
one is part of the same community, from knowing that one is part of the
same species.

It is that general feeling of brotherhood which exceeds biological
brotherhood and family brotherhood. It is the brotherhood of the peoples,
the brotherhood of humanity. That brotherhood of the peoples can only exist
with generosity, with justice. There can be no brotherhood between men and
between countries under exploitation, with crime, with abuse and
repression, with exemptions and injustice. (applause)

This sums up our ideas and our cause. We are very happy to see the children
here participating in this act because there is a conflict in life's
reality, especially in the reality of the lives of the revolutionaries.

It is up to us to fight for a tomorrow. It is up to us to fight for a
future. The conflict is precisely that--we cannot fight for a future and
live in that future at the same time.

There is a contradition between the present and the future. We will not
live in the world in which they will live, but we have the privilege of
fighting for the world in which they will live. (applause) Other
generations struggled for a world while suffering the limitations of the
world in which they lived, the injustices of that world. They did not even
have the pleasure of knowing that they were struggling for something and
for the future.

That generation of revolutionaries which intends to build a world, is
building a world for others. We will not live in that better world. We have
the privilege of fighting for that world, of fighting for tomorrow. We have
the privilege of hoping. That is the generation which has a great
motivation to live and to struggle. That is why we are moved by the worlds
spoken here--by the governor, by the workers representative-- the clarity
with which they saw the problem, the optimism they have for the future, the
determination with which they say that they are ready to develop the
country. (applause)

We are certain that with that criteria, with that attitude, with that
purpose, the country will go forward. To advance the country means more
than a national egoism, means more than being concerned with our own
exclusive interests. It means advancing the country for the benefit of
other countries, to advance the experience of the Chilean process for the
benefit of the other Latin American countries--our brothers today and our
brothers tomorrow.

The future of each and every one of the children of this America--which was
looted, repressed, and exploited for 50 years--rests in a united force of
all our countries. (applause)

We Cubans and Chileans are not struggling solely for Cuba and for Chile. We
are struggling for what Marti called "our America," for what Bolivar,
O'Higgins, San Martin, Sucre, Morelos and our other ancestral heroes called
our America. (applause)

Of this America of ours, oil workers, workers of Magallanes, workers of
"Tierra del Fuegl," you the people of Magallanes and we the people of Cuba
are the two poles. Allow us here, therefore, in this land of fire, to say
to you that if you are the land of fire of the south, let our country be
considered the land of fire of the north. (applause)

These lands of fire, these two poles, mark the limits where a new spirit,
where a spirit which has taken centuries to form and whose hour is
approaching is being formed, is being developed, and it will succeed in
forming the great community of our peoples, who will have the right to a
place in the world and a brilliant future tomorrow. Many thanks (applause)