Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Santiago Municipality Speech

Santiago Chile PRENSA LATINA in Spanish to PRENSA LATINA Havana 2155 GMT 26

[Text] Santiago, Chile, 26 Nov--Herewith is the text of the speech given by
Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro in a municipality in this city yesterday,
25 November 1971:

Once upon a time there was the miracle of the fishes and the bread--a
miracle which we revolutionaries way we want to repeat, but this time there
has also been the miracle of time. At this time yesterday we were in
Rancagua dedicating a labor union hall, then there was the rally, then we
had to go to Coya, and later we had to tour Colchagua Province. We had to
visit an agrarian reform center--there are various designations and I do
not want to make a mistake--(laughter) and then we had to tour the streets
of the provincial capital. Later we had to attend a ceremony with the
peasants in Santa Cruz.

By yesterday the program planners were saying: "At what time will the
municipality ceremony be?" I believe that they had decided to propose a
change of date to the mayor and the councilmen. When everyone thought the
change had been made, a message from the mayor and councilmen was received
at 1530--at the agrarian reform center called El Palmar or something like
that, during a luncheon, and among a great number of people. They said that
the ceremony was scheduled for 1830, that there were 2,000 people waiting,
and that it could not be postponed under any circumstance.

Faced with this, we said: Ah, if the mayor and the councilmen order it, we
will leave immediately. The luncheon was interrupted, everything was
interrupted, and we began our return trip with all haste (applause). We
have returned here alive. (applause)

Of course, an event such as this--emotion, solemn--would deserve not only
expressive words, but profound words as well. In what situation has the
mayor placed us? He begins by saying that Chileans are men of few words, of
a brief but profound style. Not only does he say it, he is like that.

He delivers one of the most beautiful speeches I have ever heard in this or
other countries (applause) supported by the entire arsenal of Chilean
literature (laughter) of Chilean poetry (applause) and including the words
of the Chilean Nobel Prize winner (applause).

Not only this, but also with the arsenal of Cuban poetry (applause). He
expresses ideas and concepts that are truly beautiful and truly profound,
and above all, truly meaningful.

Of course, I cannot try to be profound, but, I can try to be brief.

I do not know if the mayor, in the midst of all his poetic beauty, began by
criticizing me. It is known that among the many accusations made against me
there is one which is true, and that is that occasionally we make long
speeches, but that is in Cuba.

Someone was saying yesterday, on the occasion of the ceremony at the labor
union office, that I had delivered the shortest of all my speeches in
Chile. In Cuba we can at least expect patience from the listeners. In
Chile, we do not want or can we abuse that patience under any circumstance.
Moreover, the subjects which we talk about in Chile are those which a
visitor can talk about.

The habit of speaking for long periods of time in Cuba stems from the
necessity which revolutionary leaders have of holding lengthy conversations
with the people, of explaining the problems fully, because we sincerely
believe in one principle: if one believes in the people, if one trusts the
people, if one believes in the truth, if one trusts the truth; it is
because the masses understand, the masses have a great capacity of bravery
and dignity in defending their interests, in defending their cause, in
defending their flag.

We have seen here a people who are extraordinarily interesting to us. The
mayor said that flattering is not a custom here; it is not in Cuba either.
We never resort to flattery to make people happy and to get applause. We
say very sincerely that the Chilean people have made an extraordinary
impression on us. This impression is not based on personal gratitude: There
can be no personal gratitude. One could speak of personal gratitude if we
considered ourselves as having personal merits, if we imagined for one
second that the task of our country was the task of one of us, if we were
to accept the concept the history is made by men and not by countries. Our
gratitude is a human gratitude--not as individuals, but as part of mankind.

Our gratitude is a Latin American gratitude. Our gratitude is in the name
of the principles and dignity of man, of the moral and just cause which we
represent. It is a gratitude on behalf of ideas, because this country of
Chile has shown the strength of our cause, the strength of our ideas, and
the dignity of our poverty, and we say the dignity of our poverty because
we were poor in everything: technical, economic and even natural resources.

We were poor in news agencies, poor in mass communications means. Those
resources-- in fabulous and indestructible quantities--were employed
against our cause. They were employed against our ideas, against our truth,
and all this crashed against something. That mysterious something, that
powerful thing that unites countries, that indestructible thing called
awareness of the people which is capable of expanding in the middle of a
mountain range of mud. The mud spewed by the enemies of our countries
against the Cuban revolution reached higher than the Andes. When the Cuban
revolution as being attacked, Cuba was not being attacked, the Cuban people
were not being attacked, but it was the Chilean people who were being

Why so much importance to that island in the Caribbean? Why so many tons of
paper? Why so many hours of radio, television, and news agency time? Why is
it that that island was not spoken of yesterday, when that island did not
appear in its own color on the maps of American, and it appeared with the
U.S. colors--and no one mentioned that island and no one spoke about it?

When the revolution emerged victorious in Cuba, all of that campaign was
directed basically against the other peoples of Latin America. It was aimed
at discouraging the other peoples' desire for liberation. In other words,
the fight began immediately against revolutionary ideas in America and
throughout the world.

You Chileans have demonstrated the strength of those ideas, but in addition
to that you have demonstrated the quality of this people. The quality of
this people is demonstrated not only in their solidarity with the Cuban
revolution, it is objectively demonstrated, in our judgement, in the
people's own desire for improvement, change, progress, struggle, and
victory. It is demonstrated in the sense of responsibility, in the concern,
in the attention you devote to this process through which you are living.

This Chilean process is truly singular. When the expression commune of
Chile was mentioned, when we arrived here, we recalled the commune of
Paris, which [figure indistinct] years ago, in the words of Marx, was an
attempt to win heaven by assault. That attempt to win heaven by assault was
crushed. It was crushed by the French troops who were prisoners of the
Germans and it was crushed by the German troops. Everyone knows how much
bloodshed that noble effort by the French people cost.

Then came the Bolshevik Revolution, the victorious October Revolution,
which moved the world and was the first victorious revolution of the
workers and the peasants.

History has recorded the interventions, the aggressions, the blockades, the
isolations, and history has recorded that critical moment when that immense
country was being reduced little by little by foreign intervention and
there remained practically only a small bit of territory harassed by
foreign forces and counterrevolutionary forces from all directions. That
country resisted. It repelled and defeated its enemies. It consolidated its
power and it worked for many years until one day the fascist forces,
encouraged by the western imperialists as an instrument in the struggle
against communism, rose again and began World War II and, at a given
moment, launched their underhanded attack on that country. They killed 18
million, they destroyed two-thirds of its industry, and despite everything,
that united, valiant nation resisted. It resisted firmly and destroyed
Hitler's armies. (applause)

Sometimes we know one version of history, history falsified as usual. Those
who have read the documents of that period, the documents of the invaders
themselves, can perceive the facts. As when we read the famous memoirs of
Count Ciano, who was foreign minister of the fascist government of Italy.
We can see clearly that the Nazi war machinery began to crack when it began
the invasion of the Soviet Union and it was finally shattered. The battles
which one day, by surprise, were waged in the vicinity of Moscow and on the
banks of the Volga ended by being waged in the heart of Berlin. (applause)

Numerous nations, on being freed of the fascist yoke, turned to socialism.
Since then there has been the Chinese revolution, which also expelled the
reactionaries and the imperialists from its territory. On this continent,
there came the Cuban revolution. This time it is a revolution 90 miles from
the United States.

Of course, the measures of isolation, blockade, and aggression which all
the revolutionary processes had suffered were applied to our country. We
make this reference, starting from the commune of Paris, to make clear the
extraordinary importance of this Chilean process, in which for the first
time in the history of revolutionary processes, they way to social change
is opened through elections (applause). That is to say, by peaceful means.
This is a real, unique event in history. It is the first episode of this
kind in history.

We believe that the Chileans should be aware of the enormous importance of
these events.

Some people have tried to present the Chilean process as in conflict with
the Cuban process, and some have tried to present the Chilean process as in
conflict with the ideology of the Cuban revolution. Countless capitalist
news dispatches, countless imperialist news agency dispatches have
repeatedly insisted on this idea.

Therefore we have, on occasion, pointed out that people should remember the
first and second declarations of Havana, which expressed the basic ideas of
the Cuban revolution in the revolutionary process in Latin America. Then it
will be seen that we advocated the form of revolutionary armed struggle
where all other ways were closed to the people, and that our revolution
never was in conflict with the Chilean process.

We spoke of this at the meeting of the Chilean Trade Union Confederation
[CUTCh] in answer to a question from the workers. We said: We did not have
great confidence, we did not have great assurance. We asked how was it
going to be possible for the Chilean people, the Chilean popular movement,
to win out against the enormous resources held by the oligarchs and the
reactionaries, supported by imperialism-- resources which were mobilized
whenever elections came up: all of the resources and all of the weapons,
and some of them, of course, very dirty one, which are not worth mentioning

And we used to ask ourselves: How can the movement overcome this flood of
calumnies and propaganda? Because it is true that in this struggle, one
fights with the weapons of the words, arguments, ideas, and the
communications media. But the vast majority of these means were in the
hands of our adversaries.

However, in 1970, when we saw a relatively strong union of forces, we
realized that there was a very real possibility for the left to win in the
elections; therefore, our position was to publicly support this possibility
by expressing our optimism and our belief in such a possibility.

We were closely following events in Chile, just as you were, and the ballot
count on election day, just like you, hour by hour, and we can say that we
were sure of victory even before you, through simple mathematical
calculation. (applause)

In other words, there was never any contradiction between our concepts and
the Chilean process. We greeted with great joy the news of victory. We were
truly present at a unique historical event, for the world watched this
event and saw what was happening. Many countries, even in Europe, are
thinking of how forces can be joined, a unity forged, which will allow
them, too, to reach power through elections. Of course, one must also view
this phenomenon within the framework of a world in which the correlation of
forces has completely changed; that is, a world in which a correlation of
forces completely favorable to the imperialists has been changing into a
situation in which the correlation of forces favors the peoples' liberation
movements--one in which the correlation of forces is already against the

The Cuban revolution occurred at a movement in history when the
imperialists were on one side and the world revolutionary movement on the
other--in other words, the situation was hardly equal. We think that, at
the moment when the revolution occurred, the correlation was still in favor
of the imperialists to a great degree. This is why it was so difficult;
that is why we say that had the Cuban revolution occurred 1 year, 1 month,
1 day, 1 minute, 1 second before, perhaps it could not have survived. In
other word, we reached the hour of the revolution so precisely (laughter
and applause) as to make the world's most punctilious chiefs of protocol
green with envy. (laughter)

Our people's daring, the great support from the socialist camp, especially
from the Soviet Union (applause), allowed us to overcome this most
difficult and critical moment. Today, the situation after more than a dozen
years, after the adventures of police forces and the aggression of the
imperialists throughout the world--especially after the unbelievable war in
Vietnam, where twice as many bombs as in World War II have been dropped,
and the continuing struggle of the Vietnamese people, who have defeated the
invaders (applause)... (thought apparently interrupted)

Who was to know better than we, who were constantly threatened, who stymied
the combat units and the strategic and tactical units? Strategic in the
enemy's conventional warfare sense, that is--we knew that the enemy's best
units, its most powerful combat units were in Vietnam. We kept a tally, of
course, because we too were threatened there. But those very units were
defeated by the Vietnamese people.

All these policies had other results: An enormous waste of resources, the
printing of billions upon billions of dollars which were then spread
throughout the world without any gold backing. This led the imperialists
into a crisis with their foreign policy-- already very deteriorated--and to
a military crisis, because it was shown that neither all the modern
technology nor massive arms could defeat a small country which put up a
resistance; and to an economic crisis, especially on the home front as a
result of their won peoples' growing awareness. All of this has led to a
situation in which the correlation of forces is no longer the same. It has
changed, and it now favors the people; it has changed and is now in favor
of the revolutionary movements. Under these circumstances--and even more so
in the years to come--the people will reap the benefits which will make it
possible for them to march on toward progress on many different roads.

The popular government, then, appears at a moment when the correlation of
forces completely favors the revolutionary camp, but one cannot, of course,
jump to the conclusion from this that everything has been done, that
everything has been solved, that there will be no difficulties. That would
be a serious mistake; a big mistake. The Chileans, who are the first to
take over their government through elections, will have to continue to
develop their intelligence, their civic and patriotic virtues, and their
political capabilities, to defend this experiment and to forge ahead with
this example. Because there is no doubt whatsoever that when one speaks of
the correlation of favorable forces, this does not mean that the
imperialists can be underestimated; this does not imply that international
reaction can be underestimated, or that the vested interests, the
oligarchs, and the internal allies of the imperialists can be
underestimated. And, of course, they will use all their means, or any
grounds, to make sure that the Chilean way is a failure; to make sure that
this success is a failure; to impede the success of the Chilean movement.
They will use all means and all their weapons. Make no mistake about it,
they will use them. That much is clear. It can be seen from within and
without; From the unbelievable amount of venom they spread, pour out, day
after day and hour after hour, and from their concentrated policy, one
could also say from an intelligently concentrated policy, aimed at making
the Chilean way a failure.

So, logically, this increases the Chilean revolutionary movement's
responsibilities, forces it to defend its historical example, this historic
victory, from all traps. In other words, besides pointing out the historic
meaning of this example, we must cite history for the need to defend this
example. (applause)

And what do we see? Everywhere an enthusiastic people, and energetic
people, an impassioned people, a brave people, an intelligent people, a
patriotic people--men, women, and youth. And we also see that these people
have all the qualities, all the ingredients, all the raw material to go
forward. But while this historic struggle will be fought according to
revolutionary rules, the imperialists undoubtedly will invent all kinds of

Of course, the imperialists are weaker, but are more adroit, skillful,
astute and subtle, with equally skillful, adroit, and subtle allies who
will resort to all maneuvers and all weapons.

That is why we, speaking in broad terms and as revolutionaries, have
expounded a revolutionary concept; a concept of revolutionary strategy
which is valid for our people and for any people--that is, the need to
close ranks, the need to unite, the need to coordinate, the need for all
revolutionaries to use the same strategies in this struggle. (applause)

We have spoken with many Chileans, and we have been impressed by the human
quality of the Chileans, the patriotic attitude of the Chileans. Unite, and
unite all honest men? Unite, and unite all those who feel the Chilean cause
at the bottom of their hearts! All those who know that this is the hour of
decision in the history of Chile, of the fatherland, for Chile's dignity
and sovereignty!

How many men we have seen far and wide; so proud! Men in parties and out of
parties; proud to see Chilean copper and nitrate and iron; proud to see the
Chilean people owners of their own basic resources; to see the Chilean
people forging forward; to see the Chilean people full of hope for the

But, of course, it irks the reactionaries; it irks them very much; it irks
the oligarchs terribly. It not only irks them, it makes them desperate. It
follows, therefore, that the more you progress, the more you unite, the
more the movement is intelligent, the more it is capable of advancing a
common strategy, the more the irritation will increase.

We, however, are sure that these people whom we have learned to know, with
their extraordinary patriotic values and morals, with their extraordinary
human qualities-- that united no force on earth is capable of vanquishing
them. (applause) no matter what the imperialists do, or invent, or say,
these people with such a fantastic heart, such a fine intelligence... we
have seen this even when we spoke to the peasants, and after we had asked
scores of questions and listened to the answers. We asked if there were any
illiterates, and they answered. Yes, about half of us are illiterate. The
answers were unbelievable; such human quality, the intellectual quality of
those men.

That is why, if the movement is able to lay down its necessary
foundation... For Chile has been characterized precisely by a tradition of
unity, more so than any other country. We know of no other example such as
in Chile of such progressive forces, where these forces, so eager for
change, have been capable of uniting. That is why you have been the first
to reach such a victory. Now comes another task: To unite even further to
broaden this unity of revolutionary forces and patriotic and honest men who
either belong or don't belong to a party.

The only ones excluded from this unity are the reactionaries and the
imperialists' allies. So, if Chile, with its capacity for coordination and
united forces, was victorious, now it must--in another difficult and more
complex phase--give a new example of its lofty virtues in this, of its
great capacity for uniting and bringing together forces. We shall all--the
revolutionary world, Cuba, and all of Latin America--have the infinite
satisfaction of seeing this new bulwark of our people's liberation march
forward. Thank you very much. (applause)