Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0134 GMT 23 Dec 71

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro Ruz from Havana television

[Text] Staff announcer Ortega: As has been announced, our prime minister
and Cuban Communist Party first secretary, our commander in chief, Fidel
Castro, will appear before the cameras tonight. The national television and
radio services, as well as the international waves of Radio Havana, Cuba,
will carry this appearance by Maj Fidel Castro. Present at this event are
representatives of the national press and foreign correspondents.

As has been learned by our people, two vessels flying Panamanian flags have
been captured by units of our revolutionary navy, the Johnny Express and
the Layla Express, which together with others operated by an enterprise
owned by the Babun brothers, have carried out piratical actions against our
country. The last of these, which occurred on 12 October at Boca de Sama,
on the Northern coast of Oriente Province, was the direct cause for the
death of several persons. Others were seriously wounded, including a girl
whose leg was amputated.

Since the capture of the last ship on 15 December, the vessel Layla Express
[date and name of ship as heard], the U.S. State Department and the
Pentagon have issued hypocritical, false and threatening statements to
frighten our people. Major, could you tell us your opinion in connection
with this matter?

Castro: I want to fully explain the situation in connection with the
captured ships, and I also want to deal with some other aspects of the
present situation, U.S. policies towards Cuba and other schemes concerning
the ships.

First, I want to go back in history in connection with this problem. This
whole situation has its origin in a systematic practice used by the United
States against sour country. I do not believe it is necessary to
demonstrate the facts. These have been known by everybody since the very
beginning of the revolution's triumph. Every type of weapon has been used
against us. Imperialism has not been remiss in using all types of means of
aggression from its abundant arsenal. It has not been remiss in this matter
of attacking our country.

We have this long list of acts known by all the people and the whole world,
such as subversive activities against Cuba, the landing of arms, the
organization of groups of mercenaries, the infiltration of spies and
saboteurs, the dropping of all types of arms, the hiding of arms on our
shores by all means available. We have spent almost 12 years picking up
Yankee arms, 12 years capturing spies and mercenaries. Besides, another
method used has been a special invention--the piratical attacks against our

In reading the Pentagon papers published by the New York TIMES, we have
noticed some similarity in some of the operations that have been prepared
over there and those they have prepared against us, before and after Giron,
before and after the October crisis. After the October crisis, the
operations were more systematic. Since then they have proceeded to
organizing bases in Central America. They have prepared several ships,
which they have called mother ships, well armed, and with well-trained
personnel. They have operated directly under the orders of the CIA.

The CIA has operated in two ways: with ships operated by enterprises
possibly financed by them, and with ships operated directly by the CIA.
With the ships that were operated by the CIA, they have carried out dozens
of operations against Cuba.

They have had speedboats. The ships would remain about 60 or 70 miles from
the coast, and they would send their speedboats in. They would approach the
coast, would land some personnel, bazookas and mortars, and would attack
harbor installations, ware houses, oil refineries. They would hit them with
bazookas, mortar shells, and shells. Sometimes they would shoot from the
speedboat. They were the ones selecting the targets.

For quite a while we tried to capture those vessels. They would carry out
their operations at night. They would use the speedboats. They would remain
at a safe distance. They could pass as regular merchant ships. Sometimes
our aircraft went after them. Our ships went after them some 60 and 70
miles from our coasts. There was the danger of the rest of the merchant
ships. From the air it is hard to recognize things at night, even if you
use flares.

Sometimes we located some of the ships, and they are attacked. This we know
form information received. Sometimes there were some accidents. But,
according to the information we had received, we knew which ships they were
using and their location. We knew the Miami dock where they operated from,
when they departed. We had the means to follow the itinerary of these ships
when they were making runs a good distance from our coasts. But the truth
of the matter is that we had assumed a defensive position. We fought
against the ships when they came in a direct action against us, when they
were carrying our their acts.

In reality, the rest of this time they could just sail at their pleasure.
That was a period of time that lasted several years. When the situation
worsened in Vietnam, the imperialists reduced the number of activities of
this sort. They began to remove the ships under their direct supervision,
at least as a means for piratical attacks. They used them only for
infiltrating activities, the landing of agents and spies. But the number of
piratical attacks diminished.

Around 1966, during the month of May, we received the very first
information that this direct type of activity was going to diminish. Even
in the case of certain infiltrations, some steamship lines were going to be
used for that purpose. These were steamship lines operating between Florida
and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti. While they were waiting in
the Bahamas, they would pass very close to Cuba, be it north or south of

During May 1966, we received the first information. Here we have details.
Antonio Cuesta Valle was arrested. He was a CIA agent. He gave us lots of
information in connection with his activities. He was captured in Monte
Barreto, Miramar, after infiltrating into the country to carry out an
attempt on the life of President Dorticos. He himself told us that he had
learned through CIA agent Alberto Fernandez about the plan to eliminate the
mother ships from the infiltrations against Cuba. They would use merchant
ships flying the Panamanian flag, which were owned by the Babun brothers,
for this purpose. We learned that the ships followed routes close to the
Cuban coasts and that their bases were located in Miami and Puerto Rico. We
also learned that they would use these ships to drop arms on the keys close
to Cuba, as well as sealed tanks in locations that would be determined
prior to the drop. They would use special radios that would be supplied for
this purpose. This information was received in May 1966.

In July 1968, Alfredo (Icepalaya) Valera and Justo Fernando del Toro (Samo)
were arrested after infiltrating into our country to establish contacts and
locate a place where men and arms could be landed. later on, they were
going to stage an aggression against the Guantanamo Naval Base, and in this
manner provoke a confrontation between Cuba and the United States.

Both these men left from the Babun brothers' docks aboard the freighter
Johnny Express. To carry this mission out the counterrevolutionary agent
Nacin Elias of the RECE put them in contact with Teofilo Babun. The day
they left for Cuba he bid them farewell at the pier. He wished them luck in
the mission they were attempting. It looks as though they did not have much

The fiberglass speedboat they used to land in Oriente Province was
transported to the boat aboard a truck owned by the Babun brothers. The
master of the vessel in those days was Brooks, who stated that he had
participated in a sabotage carried out against a nationalized enterprise
formerly owned by the Babun brothers that was located in Oriente Province.
These two men entered the country aboard the Johnny Express.

During September 1968, agent Angel L. Castillo Cabrera was infiltrated
through the area of Cayo Lobo, on the northern coast of Cuba, 22 degrees
and 20 minutes north latitude and 77 degrees 20 minutes west longitude.
This operation was also carried out by the Johnny Express. In October 1968,
prisoner Amancio Mosqueda Fernandez, also known as Yarey, stated that he
had infiltrated into our territory through the area of Imias and his
mission was to deliver two haversacks loaded with explosives and an M-1 to
a resident of the area. He was unable to carry out this mission because he
was chased by the Cuban armed forces from the moment he landed. He said
that he had been transported to the waters outside Imias by the Layla
Express, owned by the Babun brothers; that Jorge (Mas Canoso) and Antonio
(Calatalluno) ringleaders of the RECE were the ones who made a deal with
the Babuns to bring them here; that in view of the impossibility of the
execution of the plan that he brought, he was able to enter the base
together with his brother Sixto and then returned to the United States.
There were cases in which some of these ships, the Layla Express and the
Johnny Express, brought some persons who infiltrated, and before the ship
returned to Miami, those who had infiltrated were already in Miami. They
made the penetration, they arrived at the base, they left for Miami in an
airplane from the base, and they got to Miami ahead of the ship that had
taken them.

In this infiltration, Yarey came with a person known as (Orsides) Vega, who
was drowned while trying to steal a ship to leave the country after the
infiltration was discovered. This man Yarey entered many, many times.

Thus, a great many infiltrations took place using these ships. I am just
mentioning a few.

In November 1968 Juan Pastor Diaz Vega was arrested. He stated that he had
infiltrated the country to mount an uprising in the Caujeri Hills of
Oriente Province and begin a fight against communism from there. He said
that for this purpose he was recruited by (Nacin Elias), a RECE ringleader.
He said that he came to Cuba in one of the Babun ships. It has been
established that the ship that brought this person to infiltrate Cuba was
the Layla Express. The other person who infiltrated with Diaz Vega was
named (Roel) Asencio Delgado. He was killed in the first confrontation with
the revolutionary armed forces as he was being pursued.

May 1969: Landing of mercenaries in south Oriente Province. Captured were
Amancio Mosqueda Fernandez, "Yarey", Carlos Ibarra Vazquez; Francisco (Sip)
Crespo; Jaime Pardo (Bosch), Angel Luis Castillo Cabrera, and Manuel
Pineda. These persons confessed that they had infiltrated the country after
having been recruited by RECE leaders in the United States for the purpose
of mounting an uprising in Oriente Province and to create
counterrevolutionary uprising trouble spots.

Some of them stated that they had been brought to Cuba aboard a Babun ship
named the Layla Express. Once on Cuban soil they were discovered and
pursued and none of them was able to escape, naturally. Our armed forces
suffered the loss of two men killed and six wounded.

These ships usually flew the Panamanian flag. Often when they were 15 or 20
miles away they would take down the flag and would enter without a flag.
Basically, their activities have taken place in the eastern Oriente
Province area and also on the northern coast.

Of course, these have not been the only ships used. Other types of ships
have been used. But it was the other ships that were always on the line,
systematically and always ready to provide their services against the

There were also other types of infiltrations and landings. For example, on
17 April 1970, using other means, the landing of mercenaries at (Yumili),
Baracoa, with arms and equipment of the United States. This was in April,
during the 1970 sugar harvest. You will recall it. It is quite recent. They
were pursued, surrounded and all of them were captured, but the price was
the loss of five combatants killed. Thus, five of our men were killed
because of the landing.

On 14 September 1970, just over a year ago, the landing of mercenaries at
Boca de Sama--nine mercenaries. They were also located, pursued,
intercepted, and all of them were captured. Results: three militiamen
killed and two wounded.

Thus, each one of these actions--"Yarey," (Yumuri), Boca de Sama--that
happened before have all cost us lives: 10 persons killed between 1969 and
1970 and a similar number of persons wounded.

Our sources of information told us what ships they had been using. We knew
the route they were taking. We had limited ourselves up to this time to the
simple capture of the bandits on land. In this situation, a grave incident
occurred from our point of view. These organizations operate under the
control of the CIA. The CIA invents the names of some organizations. RECE
is a CIA-controlled organization.

But we also know about various forms of action. Imperialism at times uses
organizations that it has directly set up, and at other times it condones
and supports elements that appear to be operating on their own. We have
evaluated these various organizations, and the degree of complicity of the
U.S. Government in all of them.

But then an incident took place that made the country very indignant. It
was the pirate raid on the community of Boca de Sama. This took place a
little over 2 months ago, on 12 October. It is well known. The incident has
been recalled in the past few days. As a result of it a report, a note from
the revolutionary government was issued. It said textually: "Yesterday, the
12th, at 2200 hours, a group of mercenaries coming from a northerly
direction aboard a mother ship and a speedboat machinegunned the Boca de
Sama hamlet in Banes, Oriente Province. Taking advantage of the darkness of
night, the pirate boats approached land and immediately attacked the humble
fishing hamlet with heavy and medium-caliber guns. As a result of the
action, Livio Rivaflecha Galano, 32, a member of the Communist Party of
Cuba and officer of the Ministry of Interior, was killed. When he noted the
presence of mercenaries, he went to the place accompanied by the chief of
the boarder guard post, Carlos Escalante Gome, who was seriously wounded,
and also by militiaman Ramon Siam Porteles, 24, who was killed in action
when the three confronted the raiders. Also seriously wounded were Jesus
(Sigarzo) Osorio, 25, a worker who lives in the hamlet, and minors Angela
and Nancy Pavon Pavon, 13 and 15 years of age, respectively. It became
painfully necessary to amputate the foot of the latter minor.

"These three persons were sleeping when the treacherous attack took place.
The mercenaries immediately fled toward the open sea, in a northerly
direction. Once again the sons of our people have lost their lives as a
result of the cunning and criminal action of the mercenaries at the service
of Yankee imperialism.

"The responsibility for these cowardly and bloody incidents falls on the
U.S. Government and its confederates."

This note was issued on 13 October 1971.

But there was something else. On the 12th, [corrects himself], at dawn on
the 13th reconnaissance planes of the air force explored the area and
discovered--already more than a hundred miles from Cuba, heading toward a
channel to go through the Bahamas bound for Florida--a very suspicious
ship. It was exceedingly suspicious. Exploration was carried out and
photographs of the ship were taken. It was considered almost certain that
it was the ship that had taken part in it. Notwithstanding this, the air
force did not get orders to take action against the ship, in fact, trying
to avoid the slightest possibility of an accident due to an error.

You must also understand the degree of coolness displayed in view of the
fact that a cowardly incident that had cost a girl the loss of a leg [as
heard] had just taken place. Nevertheless, the act was significant. It was
a matter of concern. This was the type of act that had been carried out for
years by CIA mother ships. We asked ourselves if the planes of piratical
attacks against our country was going to be renewed. We were concerned
about the ease with which the suspicious ship had headed for Florida. We
were trying to gather information.

But our surprise was great when in the midst of national anger, on 18
October, this gentlemen called Jose Elia de la Torriente publicly assumed
the responsibility for the actions in New York City. This was of great
concern to us, because we know about the relations between Elias de la
Torriente and the U.S. Government, even of the friendly relations existing
with persons very close to Nixon and friends of Nixon. We know of the
support given by the Nixon administration to Elias de la Torriente in his
plans against Cuba. There are some things that are not very clear yet. For
example, that well-publicized contraband of arms originating in Europe,
including aircraft, which was found in Curacao. According to press reports
it was on the way to Honduras, but it was never again mentioned. We suspect
it was closely related to the Torriente plan--supposedly to begin a war in

We learned this information from several governments, and, besides, this
person had the official support of the U.S. Government, material support
from the United States. We learned that he had official relations with the
government. When the barefaced announcement was made in New York city on
the 18th, we learned all this. We looked at that action with serious
concern, not only the method used in the attack, but the method used in
making the barefaced statement by a gentlemen who was evidently tied to the
U.S. Government were matters of serious concern. We had the following
dilemma: the possibility of the renewal of the phase of piratical attacks,
a phase that is going to be a repetition of what happened over a period of
many years.

We were going to have to sit and wait for news that one day they have
attacked Boca de Sama, another day port so and so, another day another
port, and so on. They would begin making belligerent statements from the
United States trying to request nothing less than tributes, honors, medals,
for having carried out such crimes. This brought about the dilemma of
whether we would assume a simple passive attitude or not. The way we looked
at it was that we should not.

There was no reason for us to assume such a simple passive attitude, and,
if we had accurate and exact information about the ships that were carrying
out activities against Cuba, we should go after those ships wherever they
were. This was not the first time because in another instance we had chased
then some 60 or 80 miles at night under bad conditions at the time that the
action had taken place. But we decided that we did not have to wait for the
action to take place, when they were preparing it, when they were getting
ready, when they were threatening us, when they were near our coasts.

At the time this gentlemen made the statement in New York assuming
responsibility--without receiving punishment and without any type of demand
on the part of the U.S. Government, when we were here crying over the dead
and wounded persons--at that time we decided to issue the orders to go
ahead and take action against those ships that were carrying out
operations. We knew about them through the information we had on hand.
These were the Layla Express and the Johnny Express.

Instructions were issued to look for and intercept these ships, and capture
them. We could not continue to accept the fact that the criminals would go
unpunished. There use of any flags to carry out wrongdoings against Cuba
was not unacceptable. As a result of this decision, steps were taken to
capture the ships.

What was the statement made by this gentlemen in the United States. We are
going to read it. It is an AP dispatch dated 18 October. "Exiled Cuban
leader Jose de la Torriente made an announcement during a press conference
held at the Republican Women's National Club"--Republican women belong to
Nixon's party. Besides, this man has not been a Cuban citizen for many
years. They claim that the master of the Johnny Express is not a Cuban
citizen, and what is this one who claims to be U.S. citizen? This one is a
U.S. citizen. In spite of all this nothing is going to save this man if he
comes close to the revolution aboard a boat and gets within shooting range.

Since when has it been taken for granted that the adoption of U.S.
citizenship gives anyone a letter of marque, rights of piracy, rights to
murder men, women and children and go unpunished? Since when? "Right there
at the Republic women's club press conference, he gave a detailed report on
the commando action carried out by members of his organization, the Cuban
Liberation Front, on Oriente Province's coast last 12 October. Torriente
revealed that he commando group that attacked th town of Sama in Oriente
Province also destroyed a power plant and a radio station, besides causing
the death of 12 to 15 members of the Castro forces."

Two deaths was not enough for this guy, and the three wounded.
Historically, we have never exaggerated the number of casualties. We never
did it during the war. We never did it in the postwar period, or this
irregular type of war carried out by these people. Never, everybody knows
that. The mercenaries know this well. They have counted the dead persons we
listed and also the living. They did not settle with the number of dead
persons and the two mutilated girls, and the other one who was wounded. No,
they wanted more deaths, at least 15. They felt very unfortunate
because...[leaves thought unfinished] They announced 15 deaths, instead of
two persons killed and three wounded. He made this announcement at the
Republican Women's Club in New York. "He added that we have the required
men and equipment to triumphantly carry out future operations, which will
prove that the so-called Castro fortress is vulnerable. In another part of
the press conference, which was attended by several leaders of Cuban
organizations, Torriente reiterated that this was the beginning of a war."
Not only does he assume responsibility for the acts, but he talks about 15
persons killed and that is the beginning of a war. He declared war from New
York at a club of Republican women, Nixon's party.

"This is the beginning of a war and we have the backing of most Latin
America nations." This gentlemen has traveled to the Dominican Republic and
Brazil frequently. "He stressed that in the future we should not issue war
communiques on actions carried out by the Cuban Liberation Front." All this
was made public in New York on 18 October. Nixon did not say one word about
it. He did not talk about piracy, international trade. He did not say one
word about violations of international rights. And the ship involved in
this was almost next door to his house in Florida. We will talk about this
later. Simply, these are the facts and why we decided to go ahead and take
action against the vessels carrying out these activities, wherever they
might be, without waiting for them to carry out the action. We were not
going to sink it. We would have sunk it if it had put up any resistance to
the orders of the Cuban warships. If they do not put up any resistance then
they are intercepted and boarded, by virtue of the acts and wrongdoings
committed against the country, by virtue of the debt that they own the

What is more, everyone knows that there are no rights when it comes to
piracy. Everyone knows what the international precepts are in terms of

This is how the capture of the two ships occurred. The first, the Layla
Express, did not put up any resistance and it was stopped and captured. We
were not specifically looking for the ship that had or had not [as heard]
raided Sama. We had reports that the ship was in the United States. We were
simply looking for the system of ships and the ships that we knew and had
proof had been acting against Cuba.

When the ship Johnny Express was ordered to stop the captain resisted the
order. He tried to evade capture. Later we shall see why he tried to evade
capture, why he resisted the order. It can be explained quite perfectly. He
even attempted to use the weapons he had aboard, including an M-2. The
Layla Express [as heard] had some Garand rifles aboard.

Naturally, it tried to resist and tried to escape. Then the navy warship
forced it to stop. It fired warning shots and, getting no response, it had
to fire at the ship. Therefore, he [the captain] was wounded, only slightly
wounded. He could have been critically wounded since once it became
necessary to fire, the consequences were unpredictable. We will not try to
lessen responsibility, if and for slight or serious wounds [no vamos
intentar aminorar responsibilibad o no por las heridas leves o graves].

But the fact is that he is slightly wounded, and, besides, he is the only
one wounded, which goes to show the good marksmanship of the navy
combatants. [applause]

In the meantime he radios a report that he is being pursued. Then he
reports that he is being attacked. He fabricates a drama. He talks about a
blood-splattered deck, of persons killed and wounded. All of this goes to
Miami. Later he is stopped and boarded and then the ship is taken to Cuba.

A new chapter then begins: the reaction of the United States. Another
melodrama is staged in Miami. Mr. Nixon, who has so many dead persons and
so many crimes weighing on his conscience because he was, among others, the
organizer of the Giron invasion and we know that he has been systematically
bombing South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for 3 years and has sent puppet
troops to carry out operations on the territory of Indochina, the
representative of a country that has sowed millions of deaths, who has made
millions of orphans in his aggressive wars against small nations, now
resorts to melodrama. He receives the [captain's] wife, the children, there
as he was resting, apparently after a long talk with the president of
France--he was relaxing in a place that I think is called Biscayne in
Miami--and then begins a series of statements in a threatening tone,
aggressive statements against Cuba demanding the return of ships and the
captain of the ship.

We certainly cannot fault anyone for doing something to alleviate the
anguish, no matter what the cause of the anguish, of any person or any
family in a moment of harsh adversity. What we cannot accept is lying,
demagogy and melodrama for political purposes.

Thus begins a frenzied and violent attitude in statements and demands and
blackmail. The crux of the matter then passed from the ships to the captain
of the ship. He was declared a U.S. citizen and his return was demanded.
Perhaps he [Nixon] did not have the facts. First, the information in the
hands of the revolutionary government regarding the activities of the
captain of the ship against Cuba, as an agent recruited by the CIA, and at
the service of the CIA.

In other words, we had extensive information about the various activities
that he had carried out. You will understand that if we have captured
dozens of CIA agents here and have (?worked) on them, then we have an
extensive record of all the ships, the officials, the methods,
everything--an extensive record. It has been accumulated over 12 years. I
am baffled as to what may have happened to the records of the CIA itself.
Really, it is a little hard for me to understand Nixon's reaction and why.
Obviously he has taken a very weak position. I do not know if this man [the
captain] succeeded in deceiving others that he was dying and that they
based their thinking on messages that a situation, let us say, a dramatic
situation was going to be created--that the man was going to die, and
actually, on that basis build a political platform, a campaign. Or perhaps
Nixon was too busy on other matters and no one informed him about the
various incidents, quite recent ones, the Sama matter, the matter of the
ship that made the expedition to Sama that was in Florida, and the matter
of the ship's captain being an agent of the CIA. And it is also possible
that he rushed in, rushed in improperly, because it would be imprudent to
rush in when it comes to persons of this kind. It is possible, I do not say
it is fact.

It is possible that they may have received later reports--it is
possible--but in any case, something must have failed or otherwise there is
a very a deliberate policy of provocation afoot, or at least it is an
imprudent policy, or an intimidatory policy believing that by it they could
alarm or frighten someone and that they were going to force the revolution
to yield. Bad thinking.

It is imprudent and absurd to develop such a way of thinking. The fact is
that he rushed] in headlong in this demand for the return of the presumed
U.S. citizens, a presumed victim of a great injustice and an arbitrary
action. We also notice another circumstance besides the information in that
a relative, a brother of the master of the Johnny Express, lives in Cuba,
is member of the militia, and a revolutionary. [applause]

Naturally, the brother was authorized to visit him, to talk to him.
Immediately this captain of the Johnny Express began to talk and gladly
gave all the necessary information. In this manner, the information in our
possession was corroborated and additional details were added in connection
with his activities as a CIA agent. He has a long history. Here it is,
place of birth, education, member of wealthy family, which explains his
attitude with respect to the revolution, and gives great merit to the
attitude of the other relatives who in spite of that wealthy origin have
adopted a revolutionary position. We can state that, without repeating what
we have said, he has assumed positions which cannot be considered legal. We
have this case. In 1945, he began working aboard ships owned by the Babun
brothers, as well as aboard ships owned by the Garcia Lines, until the year
1953, when he began working for the Compania de Fomento Maritimos as
master, the Garcia Lines,owned by Grabiel Palma, and secretly participated
in the intentional sinking of the freighter Magdalena with the approval of
the owner in order to collect the insurance coverage during 1954 off the
Cuban coast.

In 1957, he again worked for the Babun brothers and engaged in the
smuggling of several types of items, which he was mainly unloading at the
Guantanamo Naval Base in order to evade the payment of customs dues. He
remained in this post until 1960. After a stop at the Guantanamo Naval
Base, he went to the United States where he requested political asylum.

This ship was purchased by the Babun brothers as surplus from the U.S.
Navy. This was the ship that was basically used for smuggling activities.
As everybody knows, these "honorable" businessmen, the Babun brothers and
many relatives, participated in the Giron beach invasion. All of them were
taken prisoner. All of them have returned to their businesses and their
piratical activities. You will notice that they cannot argue the fact that
the revolution has been generous, they cannot deny that.

Of course, when they left, they had to pay an indemnification. They paid
part of it but still owe some. The fact is that they were there. They have
very old ties with imperialism, with the CIA. These are the main facts
about Jose Villa Diaz as a CIA agent. He was recruited very early by the
CIA. He had very good knowledge of the Cuban coasts. He could be called
almost an expert in matters concerning the Cuban coasts. During the middle
of 1964, a CIA official known as Mr. Jones contacted him in the Port Tamps
docks, the home port of the ship drilling for oil aboard which Jose Villa
Diaz worked. He gave him instructions to sign up aboard the ship Rowena, a
ship directly operated by the CIA and which was commanded by Captain Gaspar
brooks. He has been one of the most active masters aboard CIA units. He was
a member of Batista's navy. He has served aboard CIA ships many years. As
an expert on Cuban coasts, he was assigned certain missions dealing with
infiltration of spies and counterrevolutionary agents into the country.

After he signed up aboard the Rowena..[leaves thought unfinished] this ship
Rowena...[leaves though unfinished] Captain Brooks stated that the mission
involved the landing of a group of agents on the coast of Pinar del Rio
Province. In effect, the mission was carried out by the CIA ship Rowena. In
the months that followed, the same ship and Jose Villa Diaz participated in
three other similar operations--infiltration of spies and enemy agents
through the northern coast of the western end of Cuba. He carried out four
missions against Cuba as a CIA agent in his capacity as expert on Cuban

During May 1966, the same Mr. Jones ordered him to sign aboard the CIA ship
Explorer under the command of Captain Jose Antonio Rodriquez Sosa. Several
other crew members of the Rowena were transferred with him to the Explorer.

Aboard this ship he participated in other missions during the following
months, somewhere along the Pinar del Rio Coasts, with the presence aboard
the ship of several CIA security agents, such as Villafana, Perez de Las
Mesa, Alfonso Gomez Mena, and others. The arms used aboard these
ships--these ships which he used to carry out seven missions against Cuba
were as follows: Ship Rowena had six or seven 50-caliber machineguns which
were kept aboard, 12 FAL rifles, Nicaraguan or Honduran flag depending on
the case, date, and circumstances; ship Sea Explorer had eight or 10
50-caliber machineguns--the ship was strengthened--24 FAL rifles, Honduran
flag. He worked aboard these ships several years.

During October of this year, he was asked to work aboard the ships being
operated by Jose Elias de la Torriente in his plan against Cuba. He was
supposed to leave several ships and he could work as master at a salary of
$50 per day.

Last November he accepted the offer to work as master of the Johnny
Express, which had carried out several missions against Cuba. During the
brief period on that post, he did not participate in any mission. Of
course, this information on his work aboard the Rowena and the Explorer is
important, missions infiltrating agents and spies. There were a total of
seven missions. But, there were more, he has continued to give information.
It was learned that while working aboard the Tejana, he participated in
transporting Hector Carreno, Matanzas Province's councilman, in his
infiltration through the area of Canasi, Matanzas Province. This occurred
in 1961. Tony Cuesta and Joaquin Cuesta took him ashore. These were two
famous CIA agents. One of them is being held prisoner here. Tony Cuesta and
and Joaquin Cuesta used a raft for the operation, and they both returned to
the ship. A week later they came back to the same area to make a pickup of
Hector Carreno. On the Tejana there was a North American by the name of
Larry. He also doubled as ship's machinist's mate. What is more, there were
two other North Americans who had security duties each time an operation
was mounted.

More data: The first time he took part in the movement of elements to
infiltrate Cuba was in March 1961. This was the eighth mission of all. One
Saturday, a man named Carreno who had been a (?councilor) in Matanzas
Province, entered the territory in Canasi, Matanzas. In this operation, the
prisoner came as the third officer of the Tejana and the rest of the crew
consisted of Alberto Rodriquez Alonso, captain; a man named Pedondo, first
officer; Manuel Rodriquez Alonso, second officer; and American named Larry,
machinist's mate; a name named (Bass), a second machinist's mate; Eduardo
Baez, electrician; the brother of a man named Guido, helmsman; a man named
(Borrego), radioman; and a man named Guido, seaman.

The Tejana left from Stock Island, near Key West. Carreno arrived in a
truck with Alberto Fernandez and his assistant. A week after the
infiltration, Carreno again returned to the Canasi area with a pickup
mission. Apparently, a "welcoming committee" was waiting for him because
natural light signals were made. Finally, he added, that a trip took place
almost every Sunday.

Thus, more data continues to appear. What is more, my (?job) is to
cooperate and supply all the necessary information.

We might ask Nixon whether or not it is true that Jose Diaz Villa is a CIA
agent? Whether it is true or not that Jose Diaz Villa worked on the Rowena?
Or that Jose Diaz Vilal worked on the Explorer? or that he carried out all
these missions against our country?

And if he does not have fresh data on hand, let him look through the files
of the CIA. We should not have to wait 5 or 6 years for the next book to be
published for the book where the memoirs are put down and everything is
uncovered; for the book with the next Pentagon documents.

Let him say whether or no the facts we have set forth here are true. We
challenge Nixon, the State Department, and the spokesmen to say whether
this is the truth or a lie.

[Castro pauses for about 30 seconds] Of course, it is almost a joke in poor
taste to try to make Cuba out to be the violator of the laws of the sea and
international laws. It is unbelievable. It is unprecedented cynicism. We
are not going to read the whole list. It took GRANMA four pages in small
print to list all the pirate attacks and all the violations committed
against our country during the past 12 years.

Now then, you will observe the subtle method used by the imperialists in
one of their many shady statements. On being questioned regarding Cuba's
accusations on the activities of the Layla and the Johnny Express, Mr.
McCloskey, spokesman of--let me see, what is he a spokesman of--of the
State Department, said--listen to what they say for you have to know these
men: "I can assure you that none of the ships has any connection with the
U.S. Government. I assure you that there is no connection with the U.S.
Government." He added that "in none of these cases were the ships carrying
arms or agents to Cuba." Do you see the "civil," pharisaical statement? He
does not say "before," he says that "I can assure you that in none of these
cases were the ships carrying men and arms to Cuba now." How does he know
that they were not carrying arms or men to Cuba in those trips?

Let me ask you a question, Mr. McCloskey, tell me whether it is true or not
that the Layla Express brought "Yarey" to Cuba and mounted the mercenary
landing that cost our country lives and blood, using the same ship? Tell me
whether it is true or not that the Layla Express has made other raids
against Cuba? And tell me whether it is true or not that the Johnny Express
has carried out infiltration operations of men and arms in Cuba? If you are
so well informed that you can make assurances that this is not the case
"now" why don't you tell us whether or not it is true that on many
occasions these ships of the Babun Company, deliberately and with the full
knowledge of U.S. authorities, have been carrying out these activities from
the United States. We call on Mr. McCloskey to state whether or not is is
the truth or a lie.

But there is something else. He says that "the U.S. Government has no
connection with any of these ships." We all remember the Giron expedition.
Merchant ships made up the expedition. The Houston, the Lake Charles, the
Caribe, the Rio Escondido and the Atlantic. It was hard to find out the
registry of some of these ships because they are at the bottom of the sea.
They perished in the first few hours and the sea is deep in the area.
Flags, not the U.S. flag but the Liberian, Liberian, Liberian, Liberian,
and Liberian. Five Liberian flags. They left from Puerto Cabezas. They were
on "merchant activities." They were fully observant of international law.
The expedition was preceded by aircraft with Cuban flags. This was not
piracy. This expedition organized by Mr. Nixon, who was Eisenhower's
principal adviser, was not a piractical expedition.

It was apparently a completely legal and normal act. Now these ships were
not CIA property and they belonged to a company that had nothing to do with
the U.S. Government. They belonged to the Garcia (?Nimes) Corporation,
owned by a Cuban counterrevolutionary named Alfredo Garcia. The CIA had
nothing to do with these ships, they belonged to this corporation, those
that came to Giron.

Now very well, we will refresh Mr. McCloskey's and Mr. Nixon's memory. CIA
ships, confirmed exhaustively by the revolutionary government, took part in
th pirate attack and infiltration campaign against Cuba, well armed with
their speedy launches; Explorer or Explorer II-type ships, where this
captain worked. Flag: Panamanian, or Nicaraguan or Honduran depending on
the circumstances. They were changed from one to another, depending;
Panamanian, Nicaraguan or Honduran. (?Yuango) ships, pronounced in Spanish,
with Liberian flags, which are CIA boats. The Nida, with a Nicaraguan,
Panamanian or U.S. flag. The Reina, which we tried to capture one morning
because it was a guerrilla boat carrying pirate launches, returned with
some scars to the U.S.; Nicaraguan, or Panamanian flag. Or U.S. Troina,
previously the Leda, where Jose Villa also worked and which also undertook
several missions against Cuba; Nicaraguan or Honduran flag; and Santa Lucia
with a Nicaraguan flag.

It is incredible that now the U.S. Government talks about violation of
merchant ships when it has tired of using the flags of all these countries,
and flew them as it saw fit on ships directly operated by the
CIA--completely armed ships operated with very well-trained personnel. We
would like Mr. McCloskey to give us news about these ships, more recent
news: The Explorer, Johnny, Nida, Rex, Troina and Santa Lucia and to tell
us whether it is true that these ships belonged to the CIA; if is true that
these ships were used in several pirate attacks and hostile missions
against our country.

We would appreciate news to that effect from Mr. McCloskey. We are not
going to lie, which is a very common thing. We have, for example, a cable
dated Santo Domingo, 17 December: An official Dominican Government
spokesman denied today that any aggression against Cuba had been prepared
on this territory. Radio Havana had read an editorial in GRAMNA, organ of
the Cuban Communist Party, implying that the aggression had been prepared
in the Dominican Republic.

Government press secretary Cesar Herrera declared that it was totally
untrue that any aggression against Cuba had been prepared on Dominican
soil. He added: The accusation against the Dominican Republic is a way to
cover up attacks, crimes, against the ship Johnny Express, a ship devoted
to the peaceful transportation of merchandise.

Simply as a reminder, we will tell this gentlemen that, for instance, Punta
Presidente had a training camp, a base, and that Gutierrez Menoyo, who is
in jail here, trained there and trained his group Q there in cahoots with
the Santo Domingo authorities. From these he departed--first from Miami, of
course, early in May 1964 accompanied by several of his men, on a BB-20
launch--left Miami for Punta Presidente in Santo Domingo.

When he arrived in Santo Domingo, he was greeted by several members of the
organization [in charge of the base] and by Dominican Air Force Col Juan
(Hoch). After meeting in a house that had previously been prepared, they
conclude details for the Punta Presidente camp. They started bringing to
Santo Domingo men and equipment which were in Puerto Rico at Playa Joyuda,
where more than 25 men were in training.

The training was extended for several months with the support of the
Dominican Air Force and Army. With favorable conditions, and having
received authorization from the Dominican Government, they left on 27
December 1964 to infiltrate Cuba. They were captured, and they confessed
the whole story, as everyone knows. I have mentioned this only to say that
GRANMA does not lie, and that the revolution does not lie.

Of course, the tone of the imperialist statement has been violent,
virulent--acts of aggression, attacks, reprisals and everything. On the
16th, for instance, a Miami radio station stated: The United States has
placed naval units and fighter planes on alert to aid all merchant ships
that Red Cuba might attack in the Caribbean. These precautionary measures
have been ordered by the Defense Department, and the State Department will
warn Havana that it will not tolerate more attacks against U.S. citizens on
the high seas.

The Castro-communist regime captured two Panamanian cargo ships on 5
December. The second ship was captured Wednesday. The ship was attacked
with machineguns, and its captain-U.S. citizen Jose Villa--was captured.
The White House has announced that President Nixon has demanded Villa's
immediate release and that of the crew--13 men. The Pentagon said that it
was adopting defensive measures and it was reported to have alerted air
force and navy pilots.

U.S. sailors on leave have reportedly been called back to action. It is
believed that by tomorrow night the navy will have destroyers and other
warships in the Caribbean sea, brought in from the Atlantic. These ships
could be sent--listen carefully to this--these ships could be sent from
Guantanamo Naval Base and bases on the Gulf of Mexico.

We understand this insinuation to be very serious. It is insinuated that
Cuban navy boats and Cuba itself could be attacked from the Guantanamo
Naval Base. We believe this is a serious insinuation, and we believe the
U.S. imperialist government should clarify this. To suppose that such
action could be taken without reprisal is crazy. To believe that naval and
air force operations can be used freely against Cuba is an irresponsible
statement. But they even insinuate this.

A problem has been created. Who has created this problem? Cuba? What moral
or legal precept establishes that a country has to stand with folded arms
and watch pirate ships sail around the island to commit their illegal acts
and attacks whenever they please? The Cuban revolution is no threat to
international trade. The Cuban revolution is no threat to free navigation.
The Cuban revolution offers guarantees to any ship or any country which
navigates peacefully near Cuban coasts. Not only will it continue to offer
these guarantees, but it will also continue to help such ships any time
they need it. Our country maintains a system of lighthouses and buoys to
help all ships that navigate in the area.

The revolution does not, cannot guarantee, not offer any kind of guarantee
to pirate ships which attack our country to which are on any sort of
hostile mission against Cuba. We do not give, we cannot give, such
guarantees. And no one has the right or the morale basis to demand such
guarantees. And it is known that when our country maintains a position,
when it is defending a legal principle, it is intransigent; it has not yet
learned the meaning of backing down.

Our country acts with equity and justice. It never tells a lie. It never
makes a charge without being certain of the charge. This is history for us;
everybody recognizes this. Our country never says anything that it cannot
prove. We understand that the position taken by the U.S. Government is
illegal, false, insincere, demographic and immoral. But our spirit of
justice is a guarantee for any innocent person, even from one of these
pirate ships.

Many crew members of the Layla Express and the Johnny Express are innocent.
These ships have been operating for years, systematically protecting
infiltrators. They have committed many acts. But they always change their
crew, so few members of the crew are aboard long. Some serve only weeks or
months. The crew is made up of citizens of several Latin American
countries. These are men who live off the sea. Very few Miami Cubans aboard
these boats do, so they do not ship aboard them. When it is time for an
operation, they usually change their crew.

As a camouflage, these ships carry regular cargo between the United States,
Haiti, Santo Domingo, or Puerto Rico. They hire Haitians, Dominicans, and
Central Americans. On the sips there are three Spaniards, two Guatemalans,
two Colombians, a Honduran, nine Dominicans and eight Haitians. Of the
Spaniards only one is involved. He is Pablo (Garic Carmany) He admits
having served in the crew during two infiltration trips, when Cubans were
brought from the United States. There have been no charges against the
other two Spaniards, the two Guatemalans, the two Colombians, the Honduran,
and nine Dominicans or the eight Haitians. No charges against them.

In cases like these we follow our principles, even if they were U.S.
citizens. We give full guarantees to innocent U.S. citizens. We would not
discriminate against U.S. citizens. They would not need Nixon to defend
them then. Neither would they need the Pentagon with its maneuvers or its
alert of forces. The principles of the Cuban revolution would protect them
with equity and justice, which has always characterized our revolution. We
would not take into consideration the meanness of their governments.

We are aware of all the evils the Guatemalan Government has done to us. One
isolated example is the fact that the Giron invasion was planned there.

Honduras recently pirated and held one of our ships for 45 days and
mistreated our fishermen--45 days.

We are aware of the fact that Balaguer's government is Cuba's enemy, but we
have very good relations with the Dominican people, and we admire the feat
of those people in connection with the Yankee intervention. We feel deeply
the pain of the Yankee invasion of Santo Domingo, and we are aware of the
admiration Dominicans have for the Cuban revolution. This is a powerful
reason for our treating these Dominicans correctly, for our protecting them
against any injustice. They are not responsible for the illegalities of the
CIA and the owners of these ships, and they are protected by our
principles, despite the position of their governments. With regard to the
position of those Dominicans, about 1 and 1/2 or 2 hours before I came
here, former Dominican President Juan Bosch telephoned us from Santo
Domingo and asked about them. We explained that there were no charged
against them, that he could report this to their families and to the
Dominican public.

No charges have been brought against the eight Haitians. We do not plan to
wait for the trial. As soon as the innocence of these men has been fully
established we shall release them and give them facilities to return to
their countries. We will explain later how this may be done. These innocent
persons, therefore, will enjoy all the guarantees and respect of the
revolution, despite the positions of their governments.

Of course, the ships will be dealt with by the Cuban authorities. No ship
will be returned under pressure or blackmail. [applause] Capt Jose Villa
Diaz will be placed at the disposal of Cuban authorities. The threatening
demands to return him to the United States will not help. He will be placed
in the hands of the Cuban authorities to answer for the very many illegal
acts committed against our country as a CIA agent. Any act of generosity
which might be shown him will result form other factors, such as the
attitude of his relatives who live here. This is our clear and firm
position. We will not commit any act of injustice against anyone. We will
not invent charges against anyone.

We have given the background to this whole matter. It is not necessary to
say that no one can by pressure or blackmail make the revolution back down
in the legitimate defense of its rights. You must take into account how
illogical and absurd imperialism's position is, when 20,000 kms from here
they murder millions of people in the name of the so-called national
security. What is sought here is that we issue letters of marque to the
pirate ships and offer full guarantees so that they carry out their attacks
against Cuba.

There is no solution to the problem and it does not depend on Cuba. It
depends on the United States. The only guarantee there can be for pirate
ships is for there to be no pirate ships; that the United States publicly
declare it is renouncing this method of punishing the Cuban revolution;
that is renounce its activities in promoting piracy; renounce its policy of
pirate attacks against Cuba; renounce its policy of introducing saboteurs
and infiltrating spies along the coasts of our country, or from the air or
anywhere else; that the United States declare it will not support piracy;
that it will firmly oppose all acts of armed aggression against our country
from U.S. territory.

For this is clear: All the events touched upon, all the mercenary groups,
the one from Bellabe, Yumuri, the one at Boca de Sama, all these actions
have been carried out from U.S. territory, organized on U.S. territory and
launched from the United States. If the United States is not capable of
guaranteeing others that these attacks, expeditions and mercenary landings
will not be organized on its territory, then what right does it have to now
demand guarantees for those pirate ships? The actions carried out from its
territory are the responsibility of the U.S. Government. Let the United
States clearly declare that there will be no pirate ships and there will be
no more problems.

We declare our respect for ships not involved in any activities against
Cuba. If something was to happen it would be incidental, accidental, and
imperialism would be at fault if it does not actually adopt strong measures
to put a definite end to these activities, and if it does not so declare.

Let us not forget the October crisis. Let us not forget what formed part of
those demands, the five Cuban points: discontinuance of the pirate attacks.
This was a demand made 10 years ago after the October crisis. The
discontinuance of infiltration of agents and spies into Cuba territory was
a demand made 10 years ago, not today--a demand still in force. The United
States must discontinue and publicly declare the discontinuance of these
activities and policies as international practice against our country, and
then there will be no problems in the Caribbean. Then there will be no need
to place units on alert, there or here.

Of course this will not succeed based on a position of strength, by
imposing an arbitrary system, by intimidating us. It will not succeed. Mr.
Nixon must be absolutely convinced of this; that it will not succeed. You
know how our country always reacts under these situations; serenely,
imperturbably. It is absurd to suppose that we want to promote problems. We
are devoted to the tasks of developing our country, starting the harvest.
How can Cuba be placed in such a position? They have obliged us to spend
fabulous amounts of human and economic resources through all these attacks.
We cannot be interested in creating problems. This is illogical, false,

That is what Mr. Nixon must do and that is what the State Department must
do, clearly and lucidly, without ambiguities of any type. Then there will
be no problems, because all the ships sailing these waters will be secure.
[words indistinct]

Again today we have some questions for the United States. What ship was it
that had attacked Boca de Sama? Where was the ship that attacked Boca de
Sama? And was not the ship that attacked Boca de Dama off the Florida
coast? Apparently those demands [as heard] included guarantees for that
ship--for those who perpetrated the maiming of the little girl and the
slaying of our comrades, which caused indignation throughout the
country--to again approach Cuba.

The philosophy of the revolution is well known: This country will fight for
any of its sons, be they one fisherman, or two or three; be they young or
old, man or woman. It is a principle of the revolution. It fights for any
of its sons. [pounding on lecturn] [applause]

What was sought by the U.S. Government's statements of the 16th, 17th, and
18th? Immunity for the ship that attacked Boca de Sama? The right for that
ship to again come within a few dozen miles off the Cuban coast to launch
its pirate boats, its speed boats, with impunity? These threats, along with
naval and air units, were launched against Cuba to defend that ship? And
against our naval units? To obtain the ship's immunity and its right to
attack us in pirate fashion? is that the reason for the statements of the
16th, 17th,and 18th we ask? What that tone? Why these threats? For
immunity? And is it right that we who have had to withstand the pain of
seeing that mutilated child and the dead now have to stand idly by? It
would be an unforgivable cowardliness for this country.

This is the substance of the matter. What did they seek with these
statements? Impunity for that ship on Florida's coast until its new mission
was decided? Now then, we thought of asking some questions in that respect.
But one minute before departing for this appearance, a cable arrives. A
minute which produce a change in questions. [shuffling of paper heard in
background] This cable is from Miami, Florida, the United States, 22

"The U.S. Government"--This is 22 December, after one of the threatening
statements of the 16th and 17th,--"the U.S. Government today began court
action against the owners of a ship allegedly used for an anti-Castro
landing in Cuba. In what was described by U.S. sources as a gesture to
prevent new raids by exiled Cubans, federal attorneys are preparing to
fight for cancellation of the license of the owners of the ship Aquarius
under the Panamanian flag.

"Cuban exile sources in Miami have asserted that that ship, confiscated by
the Coast Guard service and police last Friday, at Fort Pierce, Florida,
was the launch used in an attack against the Cuban village of Boca de Sama
on 12 October. A spokesman of the federal district attorney in Miami stated
that it had not been officially determined who owned the Aquarius, though
he added there were strong suspicions as to the identity--very strong
suspicions about this.

"Other official sources indicated that there was no longer any doubt that
the ship belonged to the group of exiles directed by anti-Castro leader
Jose Elias de la Torriente, a U.S. citizen. This group took credit for the
attack against Boca de Sama. However, upon being questioned about the
ownership of the ship, De la Torriente answered: 'I do not know one way or
another. I do not deny nor confirm it.'" [Castro interrupts his reading]
Observe the cynicisms of the man who was very irked because only two
persons were killed and three injured--because only a girl was maimed.
[Castro resumes reading] "The aforementioned spokesman admitted that there
was a lot of speculation about the possibility that the court action
undertaken could be designed to prevent further general attacks against
Fidel Castro's regime." [Castro ends reading of cable]

Truthfully, though coming late, we are pleased over this action which was
ordered to be taken on the 22nd, because there is no longer any intent for
war mobilization to provide immunity and guarantees for the Aquarius.
Nevertheless, we now ask a question: When did the U.S. Government learn
that the Aquarius belonged to that group. And when did the U.S.
Government--Mr. McCloskey, who is so well informed--learn about what the
Johnny Express and the Layla Express were transporting?

When did the U.S. Government learn that that was the ship used in the
attack? I mean the criminal attack on Boca de Sama, which cost the lives of
two comrades, the maiming of a girl, and the injury of several peasants?
Was it not a despicable crime of unspeakable cowardice to arrive at this
place and machinegun a poor village of humble fishermen without warning?
Was that not a crime--an act of piracy? Did that not justify Cuba's action.

Moreover, we ask: Why, if the attack was made on the 12th and on the 18th,
Mr. Elias de La Torriente assumed responsibility for it, is it only now
that after the capture of the Layla Express and the Johnny Express and
after an international incident was created that the U.S. Government
decides to take action against these vessels? Why did it not do so before?
Is it perhaps that it knew nothing about the case? Did U.S. officials
perhaps know nothing either? Or did the CIA know nothing about it also? And
how is it that it is precisely today that they are discovering this? And
this is 40 days after the attack, when the vessel is virtually Nixon's
neighbor where he vacations in Florida.

How could it be said that such a thing was not known? Well and good. Do
they perhaps believe that this crime will go unpunished? Do they perhaps
not contemplate demanding punishment for those who publicly took credit,
not only for the actual deaths but also for the 15 casualties they claimed?
Do they perhaps think of not demanding that these individuals be charged
with responsibility? Or are they simply think of saving face? Let the
United States name not only those who own the ship but also those who
disembarked and killed these Cubans, those who maimed the girl. Let them
declare that and hand down the corresponding punishment.

There must be deeds, not words--deeds, not promises. It is up to the U.S.
Government to act on this issue. And it must now demonstrate the truth, it
must determine it. Because all the acts that I have mentioned emanate from
the United States, and the culprits reside there with impunity.

Now then, an attempt has been amde to link all these issues with the
situation of Latin America. It is worthwhile to examine a few things. And
there are some things that must be categorically denied.

We have exposed the whole background. Now then, what has been sought aside
from depicting Cuba's attitude as illegal and aggressive? There has been an
attempt to depict a lack of consideration by the Cuban Government toward
the Panamanian people and their government. News reports are received in
our country concerning the historic struggle of the Panamanian people in
demanding sovereignty over their canal--of their territory and the canal.
The world knows that a strip of territory divides this sister republic into
two ports. The entire world knows of the strong statements by leaders of
that country demanding sovereignty of that strip of Panamanian territory.
Our country has high esteem for the Panamanian people and has profound
sympathy for their demands for sovereignty over the canal. We support the
Panamanian people in their struggle. We support the Panamanian peoples
demands, and we view with sympathy their struggle. We sympathize with the
attitude of the Panamanian Government in demanding sovereignty over the

There could be nothing more absurd than attempting to place Cuba in a
position of lacking consideration for the government and people of Panama.

We are prepared to furnish the Panamanian Government all that explanations
it requests and to provide proof of our highest consideration toward that
government and country that those who have truly abused the sovereignty of
Panama are not the Cubans; they are Yankees who have maintained their flags
in that country for more than half a century, who have reduced the
country's sovereignty, who have shot and massacred Panamanian students and
workers demanding their right to the canal. It is the United States which
has used the Panamanian flag--the same as it has used the flags of Liberia,
Nicaragua, Honduras and other countries in committing pirate actions and
attacks against our country. Therefore, it is the United States which has
insulted and shown an extraordinary lack of consideration for the people
and Government of Panama.

Therefore, this accounts for the attitude of the Cuban Government in
furnishing all the information requested by the Panamanian Government and
all the necessary explanations. furthermore, we understand that the return
of the crew members who are not responsible for these events and are found
not guilty can be made through Panama. Let the Government of Panama--as
soon as we advise them--send a plane to Havana and we shall turn over to
the Panamanian Government those foreign citizens found not responsible for
the attacks of the Layla Express and the Johnny Express when we conclude
the investigation and they are found not guilty. We are not going to wait
for a trial as we previously stated. We have no airlines to some of the
other countries, and we understand that the easiest way for them to return
to their respective countries is through Panama.

We are willing to talk with Panamanian officials about all the measures we
are going to adopt in connection with the ships. This then is the position
of the Cuban revolution concerning the government and the people of Panama.
We respect these people and their government. These people and their
government have our greatest consideration. [applause]

We indignantly reject the aggressive acts against our country, the acts of
force and the threats. We would not think of ever using force against the
brother peoples of Latin America; never an act of force against a
government such as Panama's and a government such as Panama's [as heard].
Any action that the Panamanian people and government may expect from Cuba
is of solidarity, and not aggression, hostility or force.

Of course, a chain of events can be detected in all of this which might
help determine what the United States is seeking with all this drama, with
all these incidents, with all this "show." [said in English] The series of
events is highly suspicious: Sama attack on 12 October; ship returns calmly
to Miami, ah, and this is discovered on the 18th Friday, according to them.
The 22nd is Tuesday, no? Wednesday. Then on what day was that ship
discovered? It must have been on the 18th. After about almost 40 [as heard]

Very well, another event, so you may notice some strange coincidences: on
18 November 1971 the Foreign Ministry receives a cable reporting that the
second secretary of the Cuban Embassy in London, who was in charge of
consular affairs, Gerardo Peraza (Amechazurra) [pause]--that is the name of
the gentleman. I am looking it up here. This individual is not very well
known. Now the Americans want to make him famous. That is, the
imperialists, not the Americans. [his name is- Gerardo Peraza
(Amechazurra). For those who did not understand very well, it is "oh" then
a "z."

According to a dispatch received on 18 November, this official had
defected. A typical CIA recruiting job. We had been in Chile for 8 days
when this took place. This constant (?support) and attempts at bribery in
the recruiting of Cuban officials in the foreign service is nothing new.
Imperialism has worked on the Cuban foreign service since the triumph of
the revolution. It has also worked on merchant seamen, fishermen, etc.
Every single individual who goes out of the country they pounce on.
Sometimes, they offer fabulous sums of money.

Some miserable individuals, softened up in the capitalist environment, have
sold themselves to the enemy. There have indeed been cases of miserable
individuals in that vitiated capitalist atmosphere who have softened up and
sold themselves. Of course, that takes a series of transactions. It is an
old imperialist technique. They recruit these individuals, they buy them
and then they set up a "show." And this might have seemed strange because
it coincided with our visit to Chile.

And you asked yourself: What are they up to? But the Chilean visit ends and
nothing. Not a word. Now, notice the coincidence: Something similar to this
ship which showed up now--the Chilean trips ends, the days pass. Then,
finally, some signs of life on the 18th. The CIA has had a whole month
since the defection to prepare the maneuver. Some events were taking place
that the imperialists were possibly very concerned about. Two things: 1)
The visit to Chile and other countries; 2) The position of the Peruvian
Government at the OAS that the Peruvian Government believed the OAS should
authorize any government that so wished to establish diplomatic and
commercial relations with Cuba.

Now, see how all of this is used and how it is linked to the "show" which
they have wanted to orchestrate in connection with the Johnny Express.
Then, immediately--what was the fable? What was the big novel that the CIA
was preparing? We know it too well by now. It is so famous. We know how it
goes. It is an old technique. On the 18th in a newspaper linked to the CIA,
the first report appears--not in the United States--in London.

The CIA controls the individual. It has him in the United States already.
The CIA tells him what to say. The news report does not appear in the
United States. Subtle. In London, a high-ranking Cuban intelligence
official has defected to the United States with details of a new conspiracy
for insurrection in Latin America, the DAILY TELEGRAPH says today. This
morning newspaper, without citing any other source, says that the defector
is now in the United States. He is in the United States but the report is
from London. He is in the United States, after contacting the U.S. Embassy
in London.

Then how did the DAILY EXPRESS [as heard] know about what it discussed? The
Embassy made no comment. How did the DAILY EXPRESS do it? The Cuban
informed U.S. officials, according to the newspaper, that Prime Minister
Fidel Castro had made Cuban support available to the liberation movements
in Latin American countries through a new central office in Chile.
Santiago, the defector said, has replaced Paris as the main center for
Cuban support of insurgency. Since when has Paris been th center of support
of any insurgency? Ten officials of the Cuban embassy in Santiago led by
Juan Carretero Ibanez are involved in these activities, the newspaper says.

Carretero had been liaison man in Havana for Che Guevara during his
unsuccessful campaign to revolutionize Bolivia in 1967. Cuba has formed an
anti-imperialist front of revolutionary groups, the defector said,
according to the DAILY TELEGRAPH. But there is not much difference between
their masters and bosses. [applause]

The defector said, according to the DAILY TELEGRAPH, that President
Salvador Allende in Chile has approved the use of his country as a base for
the front. According to the report, Allende and Castro discussed everything
on this matter during the recent visit of the Cuban prime minister to
Chile. How well informed they are! They even know what Comrade Allende and
I discussed. The leaders of the new front are supposedly meeting secretly
in Santiago to organize a plenary congress of the front to be held at the
end of 1972. Cuba will provide weapons and training and some money, but it
is expected that the groups will finance their actions by holding up banks
and kidnappings.

This is what they have the little traitor saying. But notice the change: Up
to now this little traitor had been used for propaganda purposes, to
denounce the red terror, the betrayal of the revolution, millions of
things. We are accustomed to this by now. But how curious now: An
individual is bought, he is taken to the United States on the 18th, they
control him from the 18th on, and a month later--now, when the OAS is
discussing the Peruvian motion, at the very moment when the right and
fascists are crying to create problems for popular unity--they use this
individual directly against Peru, that is, against the Peruvian proposal,
and against the Chilean Government.

We are particularly hurt by this. With regard to the Chilean Government, we
are hurt by this act of unheard-of cynicism, this shameless calumny, this
incredible intrigue against the Government of Chile, not against us. We are
cured by now. Concerning the fact that they are using a Cuban, a traitor,
simply to orchestrate a maneuver in connivance with the right and the
fascists with subversive purposes vis-a-vis the Government of Chile, we can
only indignantly protest about these miserable calumnies against President
Allende. We consider it our duty to strongly condemn them and not only
condemn but explain them, unmask imperialism.

But notice the coincidence: When the Panama issue is being discussed, when
a seditious escapade is being carried out in Chile, on the 18th, when the
DAILY EXPRESS "show" has been orchestrated--everything is done together.
The defector affair with a doubt purpose,Chile, Peru; the Johnny Express
affair, that big scandal, the great melodrama--are all clearly aimed
against Peru's proposal, are an attempt to sow discord between the
Panamanian people and the Cuban people. Everything together what a
coincidence! A good many coincidences.

On the other hand, all of this is very funny. There are reports about
meetings in Chile. This is very strange. We would have to go deeper into
this. Because Cuba does not have any information about meetings of leftist
movements in Chile. It is very strange that meetings of leftist movements
would be held without Cuba's participation. Very strange. True
revolutionary movements. But we have tried to learn, through the leadership
of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left of Chile, whether they are
participating in any meeting of revolutionary movements in Chile. And this
prestigious organization has informed us that it is not participating in
any meeting and that it does not know who might be organizing one.

But in addition, although we have not been able to contact the national
liberation movement of Uruguay, the Tupamaros--we have tried to learn, we
have tried to learn--[but] we have not been able to make direct contact--we
have learned that the Tupamaros do not know, have no information on, and
have not participated in any meeting of leftist movements in Chile.

By the same token we have tried to obtain the opinion of prominent
revolutionary-type movements which we are aware of in other countries, and
the most prominent, the strongest movements are not participating in any
supposed meeting of leftist movements in Santiago, Chile.

This is highly significant. For what is behind all this? We do not think
imperialism is going to pass up playing any card gratuitously. What is
behind all this? What provocation are they hatching against the Popular
Unity government by imputing to it supposed meetings of leftist movements,
revolutionary movements in Santiago, Chile?

It would be worthwhile to go deeper into this, to see if any meeting could
possibly be held in a country such as Chile without the government, the
parties of the Popular Unity, or the leftist organizations' knowing about
it. How could that be possible, logically? Better said that is illogical,
absurd. The answer: Only persons bent upon and interested in creating an
international-type conflict for the Chilean Government.

Only imperialism only the CIA could do that. This is why we duly call
attention to any imperialist provocation against Chile's Popular Unity

Naturally this has a double effect against both Chile and Peru, at a time
when Peru's motion in the Organization of American States is being

But there is still more: The DAILY EXPRESS [as heard], the drama, and the
show, when Peru's motion is under discussion; the rumor set in motion that
the incident of the DAILY EXPRESS, better said the DAILY, the Johnny
Express, the Johnny Express is what I mean to say; that the incident
involving the Johnny Express was deliberately created by Cuba to sabotage
the Peruvian motion in the OAS.

This undoubtedly requires a clarification. We respect the Government of
Peru. We publicly have supported the patriotic, nationalistic measures
taken in Peru. The Cuban Revolutionary Government's position is known. Our
stance vis-a-vis the OAS is also known--our position, and our unalterable
posture toward the OAS.

But so too we have expressed our understanding of the situation of other
countries. For instance, the fact that Chile belongs to the OAS does not
limit the friendship and solidarity between our two countries in the
slightest. Our situation differs. We were expelled. The OAS has been used
to attack us, to blockade us. In our opinion the OAS has been a took of
imperialism, but this does not mean that countries which can wage certain
battles there are tools of imperialism.

Furthermore, when the Peruvians proposed their ideas it was their own
initiative, and proper. We personally expressed our opinion to President
Velasco Alvarado and Foreign Minister Mercado Jarrin. We told them we
understood their position, that we respected it.

The whole world knows that the revolution acts uprightly and succinctly;
that it tells no lies; that there is no deceit nor falsehood. If we had had
a different view we could have so informed President Velasco Alvarado.

We never would have acted to sabotage Peru's action, to prevent it, and
this is even more so because we knew that imperialism was in a dire,
worrisome plight. Moreover, when many countries--and it was now a large
number of countries that supported Peru's stand. [sentence as heard]

The United States was going all out, agitating and issuing harsh statements
in the OAS. We have explained how and when we made the decision to take
action against the vessels carrying out hostile acts and missions against
Cuba. This occurred in October, when no one had had any idea that the
Peruvians were going to take certain action in the OAS. Our action was
legitimate, unquestionable. Only the United States, in bad faith and
pursuing its purpose of putting on an international show, could question

Navy units for weeks, almost 2 months, had been patrolling and trying to
find those ships near Cuba.

Nothing is more ridiculous than to try to connect the issues stemming from
Cuba's defensive measures regarding the aggressive acts--something we have
been doing for 13 years--I repeat, to connect Giron, or any of the many
times our country has had to defend itself, with events elsewhere and in a
different field.

Thus, we want to take this occasion to reject categorically the spiteful
attempt to attribute to the Cuban Government the slightest aim of hampering
or hindering the Peruvian Government's action.

Our upright attitude, our policy of abiding by principles, prevents us from
resorting to such action. We understand Peru's overture and realize its
motivation. Nothing could be further from our minds than such aims.

Nevertheless, imperialism is frantically inventing things. Not too many
days ago Mr. Garratazi Medici, or Garrastazu--if anyone here remembers,
please help me--was invited to Washington. He arrived there--he of the most
rightist, most reactionary, most repressive government on the continent,
and Nixon, performing his diplomatic pirouettes, deliberately took it upon
himself to offend and insult the rest of the Latin American governments.

He invited this man from Brazil, from a presume new great power, to
discuss--at the level of Pompidou and the prime minister of England--his
consultations and his diplomatic demarches, before his leap over the

At the same time Nixon declared that the rest of Latin America will lead
the way Brazil leans. This has deeply wounded the rest of Latin Americans'
dignity and patriotic feelings. For the fact is that the suggestion of a
neighboring big stick has been amde to Nixon. The possibility of using
Brazil as the leader imposed by the United States has been suggested to
Nixon, inasmuch as Brazil borders on almost all the South American

We have our own opinion about this matter of Brazil as a new gendarme. We
outlined this in the Economic Commission for Latin America. It is a
repressive regime maintaining itself by slaughter and the most violent
repression, the most wicked tortures. But it is too poor to be a gendarme.

And, inasmuch as imperialism has been defeated in Vietnam, it can hardly
make the Latin Americans believe that beyond this the Latin Americans will
have a new gendarme. Inasmuch as not even the Yankee imperialists, with all
their economic and technological resources can perform the role of
gendarme--for they are actually ruined and powerless to continue playing
the role--it is too late for them to make anyone believe that new gendarmes
are emerging in Latin America, in our opinion.

And it is our conviction that the Brazilians, the Brazilian
revolutionaries, will see to it that the United States never will be able
to make Brazil a gendarme country [applause].

Yet the uneasy, nervous imperialists are developing that theory, offensive
to everyone. They have just taken economic reprisals against Ecuador,
because of the fishing waters--it is not a dispute, but the imperialists'
piracy in Ecuador's fishing waters. And that piracy has driven Ecuador,
exercising its sovereign prerogatives, to capture more than 50 ships.

Defiantly, that some imperialism which says it is going to move units in
here to defend the pirates, is engaging in piracy over their poaching in
Ecuadorean waters. So, while it does nothing but offend and attack the
Latin American countries, in addition it threatens them with a new gendarme
in South America.

This too gives an idea of the new times we are experiencing, of the new
revolutionary times we are experiencing. For people are awakening and
acquiring awareness, and all these events relative to Cuba have now
occurred--the incident of the Johnny Express, the deserter,and all this
policy, relates to international political action.

This is clear. We are dutifully clarifying these issues to point up our
policy regarding Peru, Chile and Panama to preclude any change of intrigue.
This is the revolution's position of principle.

This revolution has problems with Yankee imperialism due to its
steadfastness, its nonsurrendering posture. These then are the declarations
and reports we wanted to present.

This having been accomplished, we are at your disposal for any question the
journalists may desire to ask. [moderator asks journalists to identify
themselves; a female voice says; "No, not I," and another female voice is

[Marta Soilis, of the (?administration press)] Major, actually you have
left us only a little work. For you have answered everything beforehand,
and, as the saying goes, (?there is little left) to eat.

[Castro] I do not know whether to be sad or happy about that.

[Marta Solis] You have answered almost all the questions we were going to
ask. I believe you covered everything.

[Castro] But I have noticed that you took down a great deal.

[Marta Solis] Naturally, you said virtually everything. But I would like to
ask: The year before last, toward the end of the year before last, this Mr.
Torriente, to whom you constantly referred tonight, and who also constantly
appears in dispatches, did he make any trips to Central America?

[Castro] Yes.

[Marta Solis] Did he meet with any Central American leaders--government
level, not revolutionaries?

[Castro] Yes.

[Marta Solis] Did he make any statements that some governments had offered
him help? Certain governments such as Costa Rican one immediately had to
retrench and the Costa Rican Government declared there was no material, but
rather moral support, etc. In any event, did he obtain certain aid in
Central American for his notorious "Torrientes plan" with a view to
liberating Cuba from Castroite terrorism, as he calls it?

Also, Torrientes appears deeply involved in all the conspiracy you spoke
of. Do you believe that Torrientes at this time has the support of some
Central American countries? Inasmuch as you said there are Central American
countries' flags being used by the CIA, do you believe those governments
are still pressing that plan regarding Cuba?

[Castro] I cannot say for sure. I do believe that we generally suppose that
he met with the leaders of the most reactionary countries of Central
America; we think he obtained support--of course, you all know Joe-the-Hat
[Costa Rican President Jose Figueres]. He is a very unstable individual.
But rather he got frightened, despite his being such a bully--according to
his latest adventures, as related in the tales reported by the news
agencies. In any event that gentleman got frightened later when he realized
one cannot play with fire forever. And he declared that his support was
moral. But we also know that Mr. Torrientes met with Balaguer, and we also
know he met the fascist Brazilian Government, all those places. And we know
of his splendid relations with the U.S. Government. The question that needs
explaining is why that individual convinced himself that 1970 was the year
of his war.

Furthermore, he probably believed--because dreams and reality are two
different things, with respect to Cuba--the U.S. promises, and everyone
began to prepare himself. It looked very suspect, too, when he tried to
unite a lot of organizations. And we know about all the squabbles of those
organizations and how divided they are. He knew that he could unite a few
people, a few organizations that had the official backing of the United
States and Nixon's official backing.

Our analysis concluded that they were moving in that direction. But Nixon's
commitments and movements vanished. For the fact is that there are other
problems--the Vietnam war, and international complications--and apparently
Mr. Nixon kept putting things, his final approval, off.

They ran into obstacles, so in 1970 there was no war. And, apparently there
was not going to be a war in 1971 either. So on 12 October they decided
that the "mountain should labor and give birth to a mouse"--to commit the
crime of maiming a girl and slay the Cubans in Sama, and return to the
dolce vita in Miami.

However, this is why we ask ourselves: What is behind all this? Nothing
more than Mr. Torrientes, who claimed the credit for all that.

He announced a war, and now they were not just words. We would not like it
to be a war of nerves, because here people do not really have nerves. There
can be no war of nerves. The supply of nerves for the war of nerves is
exhausted. There are no serves here. No one is going to (?believe) that he
is scaring anyone [word indistinct]. There are no nerves. Then, what degree
of responsibility do they have?

All of those governments, those small republics, are in the hands of the
banana companies and the state department and do what the United States
tells them to do. No one offers help to a De La Torrientes if the United
States does not offer it first and if the United States does not support
him. That is why we have no doubt about those governments' commitments and
that of Santo Domingo and Brazil in Torrientes' plans. We have no doubt.

Now our attitude toward the Guatemalans, with the Hondurans, with the
Dominicans, is and has to be independent from their governments'
wrongdoings. We are not going to blame someone who is not to blame.

[(Tourgay), AFP] Major, you are planning on holding a public trial for Capt
Villar Diaz and will representatives or defense lawyers sent by the U.S.
Government be able to attend this trial?

[Castro] But who have U.S. Government lawyers a say in this trial?
[prolonged applause] We do not have to grant special concessions to the
United States. If we did such a thing we would be encouraging piracy and
also encouraging all pirates of the world to become U.S. citizens. The U.S.
people would not be happy about this. If we give special treatment to this
worm who left clandestinely for the United States--we already said from the
first that we are not going to give him any pirate permit, no prerogative,
no privilege to this individual--this would encourage all real or potential
criminals to become U.S. citizens, with the idea of coming here to act.

We are therefore going to follow normal procedures, which have always been
followed--the normal procedures which have always been followed in our
courts, which everyone knows act in accordance with the laws. And I believe
that our courts have sufficient reputation and have always proceeded with
great objectivity. No one can say here that he was framed, that he was
unjustly sentenced. There may be human errors, but never a deliberate
policy of injustice or arbitrariness. That is why we cannot accept such a

And you can see that no one needs a lawyer here, because we are the first
defenders of any innocent person. We are the guarantee of all those
persons, not their governments, lawyers, anybody. Our guarantee here is
more than any lawyer in the world, the best lawyer in the world, depending
on what people understand by a lawyer. [Words indistinct] cannot do more in
administering justice than what the revolution itself does. This is why
there will be no concession. Such a concession to the U.S. Government would
have no justification. We do guarantee justice.

[Martinez Pirez, PRENSA LATINA] Major, a counterrevolutionary organization
with headquarters in Miami has criticized the governments of the United
States, Panama, and England for their attitude concerning Cuba's capture of
two ships. It criticized Panama because the ships were flying Panamanian
flags, Great Britain because the capture was carried out in waters under
the British jurisdiction, and the United States because it did not defend
strongly enough, it said, what it called the rights of a company with
headquarters in Miami, nor those of the ship's captain, who is a U.S.
citizen. What is you opinion, major, about the charges by the
counterrevolutionary organization? Do they perhaps indicate the existence
of real contradictions between the counterrevolutionaries who operate from
the U.S. soil and the governments of those three countries?

[Castro] Why did you include England in this? The truth is that England was
indeed included in this, and, besides, it seems that England is included to
get involved in these problems. But what was first said was that the
incident had taken place 2 miles off the English coast. But this happened
more than 20 miles off the coast of the English colonies, and not England,
because England is a good distance away.

England has a few colonies. It still practices the anachronism of having
some colonies in this hemisphere, and the English protested because, of
course, they paid attention to the intrigues of the United States. And
because they heard that it had taken place 2 miles off. And we replied in a
manner we thought fitting to such a presumption, such a protest, such
mistrust, and such suspicion, the Panamanian Government is a victim of all
that intrigue. And what did they want the imperialists to do to us? Kill
the 8 million Cubans? Because that would have been the only way to subject
us--to kill us.

Now, the existence of those contradictions: There are always contradictions
among the worms, and between the worms and their Yankee masters.
Contradictions are inherent in everything, in every association. In the
imperialist association with the worms there are secondary contradictions.
Besides, there is some blackmail, some virulence, and the worms sometimes
collect from the imperialists by barking loudly. For the services they have
rendered the imperialists, they think they have the right to bark loudly at
imperialism, and this is what some organizations do, and possibly some of
them have used Panamanian flags.

There are organizations [leaves thought unfinished]--maybe it is that one
that has repeatedly sailed from Florida. What is the name of the
organization. Alpha 66. That is the organization that brought about the
Menoyo affair, that is the organization that landed in Yumiri, which has
made several attempts from which no one has come out alive. Then they have
spent months and months speaking about fabulous battles in the Escambray
and Baracoa mountains for fund-collecting purposes. When everyone else
tired of speaking about it, they still went on talking about their phantom
front and phantom armies fighting.

They have used Miami as their base and they have used shrimpers for this.
They have made use of the impunity, of the tolerance, of the U.S.
authorities to carry out their deeds. They were the ones who kidnapped the
fishermen they took to the Bahamas; they were the ones who attacked the
ship, sank the fighting boats, then took refuge in the Bahamas, and then
imperturbably returned to the United States.

See what a sense of justice the United States has. There they are living
well. They are fat and apparently healthy, engaged in making that kind of
statement. Once in a while they bite the hand that feeds them. They are
ingrates. [He snorts]

[Alberto Perez, PRENSA LATINA] Major, does the fact that U.S. imperialism
has decided to seek a sort of policeman in South America mean that the U.S.
Government has grown aware of the revolutionary tide sweeping the

[Castro] It might be just that, to the growing awareness of that reality.

[Marta Solis] Excuse me, major, to go further into this and what you
previously stated, why do you consider that Brazil has been chosen at this
point by the United States to play the role of gendarme? What are the
conditions you believe prevail in Brazil for this situation to be possible?
In addition, you know that for Latin American revolutionaries Brazil is at
present considered subimperialistic in Latin America. My question is this:
What are the conditions that are producing this situation at present?

[Answer] Well, look, the Government of Brazil is the most fascist,
reactionary, repressive of the continent, the country has nearly 100
million inhabitants and that is the logic followed by imperialism in
Africa, Asia and all over the world. For example, Thailand. The attempt to
create points of support, the attempt to support very retrograde, very
reactionary, repressive governments so they will lend imperialism soldiers,
bases, support6 for their policy, this is very clear. It is an attempt to
utilize Brazil against the rest of the Latin American countries. Brazil,
supported by the United States, in the economic, military areas.

Our point is this: A small country, Vietnam, has defeated imperialism. What
can imperialism do in Latin America? What gendarme policy can prosper here?
We honestly think that it is imperialist stupidity, a case of imperialist
blindness, its incapacity to learn history's lessons.

What it has done is offend the rest of the countries, sow uncertainty,
unrest. Of course, this Brazilian fascist group is asking imperialism to
make it its bulldog. These are dogs looking for masters--the Brazilian
fascists. They are bulldogs aspiring to be noticed by imperialism so they
can collect a price from imperialism in economic and military aid.

Brazilian subimperialism acts aggressively against Uruguay, for example. It
even mobilized troops at the border for the elections, to employ the
psychology of fear and influence elections, pretending that a victory of
the Frente Amplio would mean Brazilian intervention and war. Brazilian
imperialism has acted in Bolivia and supported Bolivian fascism, now in
power. It supported Bolivian fascism with resources and is still trying to
support it.

The oligarchic, reactionary, fascist leadership of Brazil is anxious to
render those services to imperialism and to act the gendarme in South
America. The gang that governs that country through terror and force
suffers from a certain big-power chauvinism. But we must not forget the
Brazilian people. They are the people who suffer hunger, malnutrition,
illiteracy and a ferocious repression known throughout world. Then
imperialism, when it needs to resort to such a system and to such
gendarmes, again demonstrates the terrible crisis in which it is enveloped.
Because only in a desperate situation can such a policy on the part of the
United States be conceivable.

[Ferenz Kira, of Hungary] I still do not speak Spanish correctly and that
is why my friend is going to ask the question.

[Second male voice with accent] Major, you have just said that the United
States is to blame and is responsible for the situation created. Now,
major, what is your opinion about the military situation? Do you believe it
is dangerous or not?

[Answer] We do not trust the imperialists in principle. And we have always
practiced this. We trust them very little. They are treacherous and they
are sneaky. History shows it. Besides, we can see it in the case of Vietnam
and all those documents that have been published--the immoral, absolutely
immoral and unscrupulous behavior of the U.S. administration. And that is
why we are untrusting. But we will have to wait to see what lies at the
bottom of all this, whether the United States is pursuing partial
objectives such as the problem we were referring to a while ago: The OAS
situation arising from Peru's proposal; the seditious plans against Chile;
the attempts to divert Panama's attention from the canal to Cuba; whether
the objectives are of that kind, tactical, or if it has any greater plans
regarding Cuba.

At any rate, during the coming days and weeks we will have the opportunity
to see what U.S. intentions really are. At any rate, we maintain that the
moral position of the United States is very weak. Its legal ground is very
weak. There is no legal or moral position in all this. At times it seems to
us that Nixon's attitude has been unpremeditated and without reflection. We
have even wondered if he really had access to information. Why did he not
act more carefully? Because he cannot deny that this man [the ship's
captain] is a CIA agent. He cannot deny this. He cannot deny this man's
activities. He cannot deny anything that we have said here tonight. He
cannot deny them.

Because of this we must be on the alert regarding the military situation.
The country and the people are prepared for any event, without abandoning
their work, their daily tasks. There is great confidence, and there is no
kind of fear regarding the imperialists.

This is a very great advantage, because this allows us to face the problems
serenely without any kind of complex, without fear, without any such thing.
I could not say, therefore, that there is an impending military danger. I
could be called an alarmist if I said so. We have reasons not to trust
anyone, but we have no reason to have an alarmist view of the situation.

Nixon's motivations could be influenced by matters of internal politics, as
everyone knows. When election is drawing near in the United States
everything becomes subordinate to it--war, peace, economy, every step,
especially if Nixon has to do with it. This is Nixon's one specialty. i
believe that Nixon is trying to use melodrama to counter the people's
resistance to his policy toward Cuba. Imperialistic policy is in a crisis,
especially since he decided to make his pirouette in the Pacific and to
visit Peking, since he decided to take this demagogic electoral step. All
this, within the internal crisis, the moral crisis of the empire, when all
the Pentagon appears were published, which was a moment of great crisis in
the United States, a moral crisis, a loss of faith in all imperialist
positions in the world, a position which it tried at all cost to
justify--that of aggression and of world police.

Mr. Nixon's diplomatic pirouette has made it difficult for him to maintain
his criminal blockade against our country. All this has been undermining
his policy within the United States itself, and it has begun to be seen in
certain political circles. Senator Edward Kennedy recently made serene
statements regarding the Cuban blockade, rejecting U.S. policy against
Cuba. The fact that such an important opposition figure--who is a possible
rival for Nixon--has made such a statement, along with the discredit of the
whole imperialists policy, including the policy toward Cuba, could mean
that internal factors are influencing Nixon's motivations.

If he sees that he can serve several objectives at the same time--the
deserter there, the ship incident here, all these factors to be used in one
or another country or in the OAS for imperialistic ends--he will combine
all the factors. These are elements to be studied within this situation.
Then, Nixon may be irritated with the Chilean visit or with Cuba's firm
position, not making any concession in imperialism. This position has been
manifested here and in Chile. We have even indicated that we have no
interest in establishing relations of any sort with countries serving as
world police.

The United States has no right to threaten the rest of Latin America with
the establishment of a sort of Latin American Thailand, to take reprisals
against our countries. Our principles inhibit us from all selfishness. Our
duty is to not think of Cuba alone, but of others too. We must always take
into consideration the interests of other Latin American countries when we
think of ourselves. we will not make even one concession to imperialism
which may be harmful to the moral position of the Cuban revolution.
Regarding the U.S. role of world gendarme, its threats, domination and
exploitations of Latin America, U.S. policies are becoming increasingly

We have demanded an unconditional end to piracy, blockade, infiltrations
and airspace violations, and let them return the Guantanamo base.
[applause] We must say that Edward Kennedy was the first U.S. politician or
senator with sufficient courage to publicly present the Guantanamo problem
in the United States. During a press conference in Santiago, Chile, we said
that Guantanamo was more of an arbitrariness, an illegality, an injury to
our dignity, a sort of humiliation for our country, than a strategic
position from which to attack Cuba.

It is not an objective in our basic policy. We know that one day they will
have to leave Guantanamo. It is significant that an outstanding U.S.
politician was brave enough to bring up the issue. We must admit that it
was a good gesture, but we demand that they return Cuba's rights, that they
end their blockade and harassment. All we have done has been to win our
revolution and to fight for our future. It was they who broke international
law and unleashed this sort of war against us. We respect the valor and the
honor of other countries and of our own country. We will continue to
resist. Imperialism will not last another 100 years. We may be certain of
that. Neither will they be on that base 100 years more. This is not our
objective, however, another thing is that the base might be used militarily
against Cuba. This is another matter.

[Question by a female reporter] I should like to mention another thing. The
day before Peru withdrew its motion in the OAS, the State Department made a
statement saying that the United States would not end its blockade of Cuba.
Do you believe that this influenced Peru's decision? And in closing my
question, I should like to have your impressions of your visit to Chile.

[Castro] You have done this so that you will not have to ask for the floor
again, right?

[Reporter] Indeed, I am ashamed to be talking so much.

[Castro] You do not ask for much do you? Regarding Peru's withdrawal of its
motion in the OAS, I do not believe this has anything to do with the U.S.
position. One must suppose that Peru is aware of the U.S. position.
Moreover, Peru has always shown a firm foreign policy. Let us not forget
that they supported Cuba's reception at the Group 77. The imperialists had
blocked this. Peru was firm in this: The Peruvians are moving slowly
without doing spectacular things, but they are firm in their foreign
policy. When they made this step they had already pondered it carefully.
They were sure of their move.

Naturally, the United States countered with intrigue. The exaltations of
Cuba's action in its defense against piracy was simply an intrigue to
create a certain political effect in Panama. All this was done by
imperialism. However, I do not believe this will discourage Peru. We have
had the opportunity to observe Peruvian foreign policy in action during
recent years. It is a solid and firm policy. We do not believe they will
change their position.

Regarding the Chilean matter, in our press conference we gave a full report
of our visit. We believe that everyone is well informed on our impressions.
We do want to thank the Chilean people, the Popular Unity parties,the
leftist organizations, the government, and, especially, President Allende,
for the kind treatment given us.