Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Addresses Women's Rally

Santiago Chile Radio Corporacion in Spanish 2123 GMT 29 Nov 71 P

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Castro at up women's rally in Santa Laura

[Text] Dear Chilean comrades: [applause] With your cooperation we can talk
a few minutes. In the first place, I want to say something. We have had
many ceremonies in this country, we have had many meetings, but I tell you
frankly, that this is really one of the most important. This is one of the
most humane events. This is one of the most emotional events. If we are to
speak, after the effort you have made to meet here, we will try to speak of
points we believe are most essential.

First of all, Chile is experiencing a revolutionary process, and that has a
special significance. Chile is not living just any moment of its history.
Chile is going through a special chapter of its history. That was borne out
here in the words spoken by Mireya and Maria Elena [first names of the two
women deputies who preceded Castro]. They stated that they were ready to
defend this process. They stated that they were ready to resist any attempt
to crush that process. They stated that the momios [scornful term applied
to those opposing the revolution] shall not pass, [applause] which is like
saying that the reactionaries shall not pass. It is like saying that the
fascists shall not pass.

Now then, women have a decisive role in this struggle. We have to bear in
mind the efforts made by the reactionary forces in this country to deceive
women, to perplex women. We have to bear in mind the tricks, the lies, and
all the measures they have used to try to prevent women from joining the
revolutionary process. Why? Why? Because they know that women in a force, a
true force, and the revolution's potential force. But in addition, because
they know that in the revolutionary social transformation women are the
most prized, the most exalted, the most meaningful. [applause] And that has
been the story in our country, and that is why women are so sensitive to
revolutionary ideas. That is why women are so sensitive to the
revolutionary cause. That is why women are so passionate when they defend
the revolutionary case. [applause]

If women stand side by side with the revolution, the minios shall not pass.
The reactionaries shall not pass. The fascists shall not pass. What was
women's role in past societies? One of the comrades gave the answer: the
role of a mannequin. What regard and respect did women command in past
societies? What did women possess as a women in past societies? As a
citizen? As a worker? And as a mother? Nothing. [applause]

The revolution starts by placing woman in her rightful place in human
society, and we have said in our country that the revolution is firmly
supported by women. Women are a decisive force. Our explanation for this is
that we liberated women twice: as workers and as a sector of society that
was mistreated and discriminated against. What do exploiters do with women?
What future do they reserve for women? A role as worker in society? No. A
role in society as a mother? No. A role in society as a human being? No.
You have seen what the reactionaries are: hypocrites, sanctimonious in
regard to human rights. [applause] What place have they reserved for women
in society? To the reactionaries, the exploiters, to the fascists, a woman
is simply an instrument for pleasure, [applause] an ornament, an object to
be mistreated, to be humbled, to be offended, and often [word indistinct].

Let us not be fooled by their apparent esteem for women. It is in no way
human, social or revolutionary esteem. What role do they reserve for the
working mothers, peasant mothers, poor mothers? What role do they reserve
for their children? The role of poverty, ignorance, disease, misery and
corruption, which is even more pitiful.

Reactionary, capitalistic society, which has no use for human values, does
not care about children's morals or dignity. Capitalist society does not
care about women's morals and dignity. This whole system is based on
profit, on private interests, on exploitation. If they can make money on a
move that is corrupt and misleading to children, they do not care. They go
ahead and show it. They only care about making money. If they want to start
a business they do not care if they prostitute women. One of the saddest
aspects of capitalist society is that the jobless woman, the woman
discriminated against, the despised women, is often led onto the road to
prostitution. We recall in our country how tens of thousands of women had
to go through this painful situation.

If a mother had a child and she was abandoned and without work and she had
to feed her child, she had to take up the horrible profession of
prostitution. Social prejudices and discrimination led women along the
worst paths. She had to work in the worst jobs: in bordellos, in bars, in
casinos, as streetwalkers, simply with the worst vulgar commercial concept,
with the most inhuman concept. And yet they spoke of human rights. Women
were discriminated against in technical careers, in their jobs. And women,
as mothers, suffer the most when there is unemployment, when their children
are ill, when there is exploitation. Women suffer silently and are
resigned. Women suffer poverty the most, and in our societies women have
traditionally had a subordinated role, a degraded role, and that is why we
ask, what do reactionary forces offer women? What does fascism offer women?
What does capitalism offer women? Nothing, Nothing. [applause]

The revolution offers women a humane role. It offers them all the
opportunities according to their talent, energy, enthusiasm, spirit, and
their noblest sentiments. The revolution dignifies women. The revolution
gives women truly humane treatment. The revolution that works for the
future works for children, for the young, for a respectable future, for a
[word indistinct] future.

Reactionary, capitalist society corrupts not only women but also men,
children and youngsters. It does not have any moral principles. Do you know
what their moral, or rather immoral principle is? Do you know what that
society's principle is? Interest, selfishness, profit. You know that, do
you not? [shouts of "yes"] They do not mind selling. They do not mind
making money on anything. They do not mind corrupting. So we ask Chilean
women, as we asked Cuban women: what do reactionary forces have to offer
you? [shouts of "nothing"] What does fascism have to offer you? [shouts of
"nothing"] Oppression, contempts, discrimination.

They say that revolutionaries preach violence, that is a lie! They are the
ones who preach violence. They have oppressed the workers and the peasants.
They have murdered students and youths. To defend their miserable interests
they have not hesitated to shed the people's workers', students' and
peasants' generous blood. [applause]

They are now threatening. They do not accept the people's change, a legal,
peaceful change. They are trying to halt the process. They are seeking
violence. They are attempting to halt the people's progress. They resort to
all tactics and lies. We can never forget what they did at the beginning of
the revolution. How unscrupulously, how cynically, they spread one of the
most dastardly, base and infamous lies. They thought up the most devilish
things, because you can expect the most incredible, the most devilish
things from reactionaries. They spread the stupid, absurd, ridiculous,
inconceivable idea that the revolution was going to take women's
citizenship from them. [applause]

How unscrupulously they harped on that charge. Some peasants even deceived
some women. In our country we had cases of women who sent their children to
the United States. Because of that dastardly propaganda thousands of women
sent their children to the United States. What future did they plan for
their children? While in Cuba youngsters study, work, grow up with a sense
of duty and morals. What happened to those other children? What happened
when they went to that monstrously selfish society? Many of them were led
into vices, others were transformed into gangsters, real gangsters. Many
girls were put into prostitution while still in their teens. It is
deplorable that the reactionaries did not have the least consideration with
those girls. In our country, the revolution has decided all its attention
to young girls, and what the revolution regrets is that it does not have
enough resources yet, that it does not have good enough schools for all.

It will take us about 10 years [word indistinct] more to have enough
schools for all elementary and high school students. Today, in our country
there is a teacher for every student, but often classes are given in huts,
or in an inferior building which does not meet all the standards, in
laboratories, in all the teaching facilities, and in all the sports
facilities. In our country there were 800,000 children without schools. In
our country today, there are more than one and one-half million children in
elementary schools. In my country we are simultaneously building more than
40 high schools with a capacity of 500 students each, with modern
laboratories, sports facilities, cultural activities and scientific
experimentation. [words indistinct] studies and work.

We are impressed by the qualities that our youngsters and acquiring. A
revolution is not made merely for immediate results. Our immediate results
are struggle and effort. A revolution is made for the future. Our
revolution had child welfare programs, it gives assistance to women who
work. The situation in our country now is such that women are constantly
asking for more schools and more nurseries to be built so that they can be
given opportunities to work. In our country there is no longer any vice,
there is no more gambling. In our country prostitution was stamped out
years ago. In our country all those sad, horrible things found in a society
that exploits, no longer exist. [applause]

In our country, mothers and children are protected. The revolution has
wiped out many diseases. For example, in our country every year thousands
of children died or were crippled by polio. For years there has not been
one case of polio in Cuba. Hundreds of children died of tetanus because
there was no preventive medicine. An anti-tetanus vaccination campaign was
launched and the disease has been reduced to a minimum. In our country
thousands of children died of gastroenteritis every year. The revolution
has brought this figure to a minimum. Typhus and malaria have been wiped
out. In our country, when the revolution won, there were [figure
indistinct] of tuberculosis hospitals, tens of thousands of men, women and
children were suffering from tuberculosis. Now we can tell you that in our
country tuberculosis has been practically wiped out. It is disappearing and
we will eliminate it completely. [applause] Many hospitals formerly used
for tuberculosis patients are now being used for clinics and other uses. In
our country, most women used to give birth at home, without any help. Many
of them or their children died, or suffered all kinds of infections and
problems. Now almost 100 percent of the women give birth in hospitals, with
a maximum of safety for them and their children. [applause]

Women's opportunities in employment formerly were limited. Their
possibilities of higher learning were also limited. Now we can say that in
our school of medicine there are almost as many women as men. In medicine,
in engineering and in the study of many careers this is so.

Who suffered hunger, repression and crime? Who mourned and wept? Mothers,
women. [applause] In our country women are organized and they participate
actively in social problems, in revolutionary problems. They take interest
in everything pertaining to the family, children, education, welfare,
health and fighting diseases. That is why women in our country are a
powerful force in the revolution. And we believe that it is fitting and
proper, apart from all sectarianism, for Chilean leftist women to unite
into an organization and for them to organize Chilean revolutionary women's
committees. It is an ever-developing organization, an organization which
has an ever-increasing membership [words indistinct].

We have found in this people a great virtue. You have undertaken the path
of change. This path is not easy. It is hard and difficult path. You must
organize, you must become aware, you must call on the Chilean women, you
must win the Chilean women to the cause of the revolution. [applause] You
must wage an ideological battle, a political battle. You must stop the
demagogs, the liars, the impostors, those who have tried to (?confuse) the
women, trying to attract them with little tricks, little lies, little
favors. You must say: We do not need little favors. What we need is the
liberation of women. We need womens' rights. We do not need charity. We do
not beg for alms. You must tell them: What we need is dignity, human
consideration. What we need is a place of our own in society. What we need
is a future for our children; the future our our children. We must stop the
tricks and the lies of the fascists and of the reactionaries. We must fight
as Mireya, as Maria Elena said, we must organize.

A conscience must be formed. We must gather forces, because if the
reactionaries believe the people are not united, or if they believe they
are weak, or that the people are ignorant, they become bold, they become
daring, they [word indistinct], they organize and try to use all
difficulties, any difficulty. The women must stand firm; they must not
allow themselves to be confused, deceived, by arguments, lies, insolence,
insults. Why? Because [words indistinct] they have forgotten when there was
no money to buy anything, they have forgotten the past, the fate of the
workers yesterday, of the peasants, of the children, and they invent
tricks, any kind of pretext [words indistinct]. This is why they have that
freedom of the press they talk about, which they talk so much about--to
deceive, to lie. [applause]

In this same place we have suffered similar insults--incredible lies. We
went to the mountains, to the mountain training school to watch the
maneuvers of mountain troops and as we passed through a little village in
the Andes [words indistinct] a visit, there were thousands of persons. We
all thought we would arrive late. [words indistinct] Finally, when we
arrived, we stopped for a few minutes to talk with the people. [words
indistinct] fascist (?newspaper) said: Women of (?Andes) boo Castro. Liars,
Hypocrites, Pharisees.

I have the full right to defend myself from their insolence and their
[words indistinct] the exploiters, those who sacked this country, the
guilty are those who took billions of pesos, billions of dollars from this
country. They are the ones who stole everything, who pillaged everything,
exploiting this people. Now they come to offer this insolence, these
insults, this discourtesy to a visitor. Those who robbed this country were
the monopolies. From copper along they tool out billions of dollars. The
colonialists and the imperialists took out of this country much more than
they left here. They took the sweat and the blood of the Chilean people.
They took the nitrate, [words indistinct], the copper and [words
indistinct] and its resources and they never wrote a little word against
this, no. Against those who spent the money of the Chilean people in New
York, against those who shared the dividends, those who spent millions of
pesos which came from where?

From where did all thee dividends come? From the workers, from the men and
women of this country. About this they said not a word. Now when the
process is beginning, when copper is recovered, when nitrate is recovered,
when the banks are recovered, when coal is recovered, when the basic
resources are recovered, they have lost their [words indistinct], they have
lost control, they are desperate. Because of this, all Chileans must be
aware of these truths.

At first they presented themselves as being very generous, but they are
like Pharisees. They are lying cowards who have lost control. They began to
insult and insult and insult--all the time they have no reason for this.
They are morally and ideologically unarmed. They cannot point to anything
but lies, infamy, and this fort of things.

[question indistinct] [audience responds to question]

Who for so long exploited and controlled the land, and what did they leave
when they left? Nothing. Did they leave you rich? [audience responds "No"]
They left you poor. Now the people have to suffer the consequences,and when
they come with other ideas, send them to the devil for they are to blame
for the problems. [applause] They can go to the devil. Now we are going to
control our future. They can go to the devil. Now we shall develop our
[word indistinct] iron, nitrate, our basic industries, and the basic
industries which we lack. You must say: Do not come to this humble people
with your siren songs. Do not come telling stories to the workers, to the
exploited, because the workers and others are united and are not ever going
to be deceived again. [applause]

This is the way it is. With truth, with truth, with truth, with justice,
with justice, with justice, with morality, with morality, with morality.
[cheers, applause] Lift up your spirits in good conscience, because this
way we will gain control of our fatherland. A small country against the
powerful colossus of the north. The powerful colossus of the north has used
all the tricks, all the lies, all the blockades, all the aggressions, but
it could not beat us despite its power because the revolution is stronger.
We have a [word indistinct] people, we have an aware people. We have a
people who have acquired a great political culture, who want to lift up
their banner and their cause and to defend their ideas to the last drop of
blood. [applause] Our country is strong and our revolution will maintain
the firmness of our people, the heroism of our [word indistinct] counting
on the international solidarity, counting on our revolutionary friends of
other countries in the world. We have been able to resist the effects of
the blockade, the aggression, the fruit of the lies, and have continued
along the road of the revolution, and at least, thanks to the victory of
the Popular Unity, we have been able to survive [word indistinct] with the
Chileans, [applause]

Other people will follow the example. Other people will follow our road.
One day we will form a part of a great community of Latin American people.
We will become brothers and we will have achieved our final independence
for which our forefathers--Bolivar, San Martin, Sucre, O'Higgins, Hidalgo,
Morelos, Marti, Maceo--fought. Independence which [words indistinct] our
riches, our natural resources. Requiring the people to work for the
interests of the monopolies. We are in the phase of final independence from
the monopolies, in the phase of achieving a just society, a humane society.
We lift up our banner. We continue forward and we will be finally free. On
this road we are sure--in Chile as in Cuba--the women will fulfill their
role. [applause] The women will know how to use their energy, their
strength, and their dedication in the revolutionary cause. In Chile and in
Cuba the united women will be in the forefront of the revolutionary