Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro Message

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1130 GMT 2 Dec 71 F

[Text] Maj Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
and prime minister of the Revolutionary Government, has sent a message to
the combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces whose text reads as

"Fifteen years ago today, 82 men disembarked from the yacht Granma near Las
Coloradas beach. Thus began a decisive phase of the revolution that was to
alter the course of our history. This event, and those following, marked an
important milestone in Cuba's destiny. In 25 months, from 2 December 1956
to 1 January 1959, our glorious rebel army was created, developed, and
obtained victory. Because of this, and quite justly, 2 December was later
proclaimed the day of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

"The rebel army developed its fighting concepts and techniques and fighting
arduously and intensively alongside the people, making a decisive
contribution to the victory. Our rebel forces had identical principles of
patriotic discipline as those that inspired our mambises. Similarly, our
army was manned and organized with the working and exploited populace as
its foundation, just as had been the case 60 years earlier with the
liberating army under the command of Maximo Gomez and Antonio Maceo. It is
because of all these reasons that our Revolutionary Armed Forces became the
historic heirs to the liberating army and its fighting traditions.

"After the victory against the tyranny, the Revolutionary Armed Forces,
nourished by the most selfless and capable persons of the people,
successfully confronted the aggression by Yankee imperialism on Playa Giron
in April 1961. There, for the first time in the history of Latin America,
they were able to beat the mercenary forces that had been organized, armed,
and led by Yankee imperialism.

"In the battle against the bandits who had been organized by imperialism in
the Escambray mountains and other regions in Cuba, and in the difficult
moments of the October crisis, our combatants, alongside the populace, rose
to the occasion of the Sierra Maestra and Giron.

"Our Revolutionary Armed Forces, made up of workers, peasants, and
students, whom the unforgettable Maj Camilo Cienfuegos quite aptly called
"the uniformed populace," achieved revolutionary victories of continental
meaningfulness over such a mighty enemy and also developed a spirit of
cultural, technical, and military self-improvement.

"Similarly, the combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces upgraded their
political knowledge, strengthened and enriched their ideological
preparation, and developed a spirit of sacrifice, a sense of organization,
discipline, and command.

"These great victories were possible because of the deep unity of all the
working people with their armed forces under the inspiration of the
revolutionary ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the Communist Party.

"Thousands of revolutionary patriots gave their lives in the struggle. The
memory of those who fell fighting for this cause compels all of us to
redouble our efforts to surmount difficulties, improve work and raise
revolutionary efficiency. Only in this way would we be worthy of the
sacrifice and the blood shed by those who fought for Cuba's freedom and
against imperialism.

"The triumphs achieved by the Cuban revolution have won international
respect for our people and have resulted in a profound breakthrough for the
anti-imperialist struggle on the continent.

"On this 15th anniversary of the Granma landing, we are in the beautiful
land of Chile, where its people have given us such deep-felt and wonderful
proof of friendship and revolutionary solidarity that it would be
impossible to describe its entire impact and warmth.

"Such circumstances memories, feelings and emotions on this 2 December are
so touching that is is difficult for me to express them. However, it is my
revolutionary duty to stress on this day, with the most intimate and
deep-felt pleasure, that our population are not alone in Latin America and
that the mud-slinging and intrigue-laden campaign against Cuba and its
revolution, far from isolating us from the rest of the peoples of the
continent, has, on the contrary, contributed to the strengthening of our
historical ties with the America that Marti called 'our America.'

"With deep revolutionary rejoicing, I can assure you that on seeing the
affection between the Chilean and Cuban peoples at first hand, I have once
again confirmed that we belong to the Latin American fatherland and that
the peoples of the continent, following difficult paths, are marching, as
the second Havana declaration pointed out, to their second and definite
independence. This final independence will lead us to the unity of the
peoples of Latin America, as Bolivar, San Martin, Sucre, O'Higgins, Juarez,
Marti and our heroic Comrade Ernesto 'Che' Guevara fought for.

"From this sister country, I send my revolutionary greetings to the
combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and all the Cuban people."
Signed, "Commander in Chief Fidel Castro."