Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1130 GMT 17 Jan 72 F

[Passages in quotation marks are recorded voice of Castro]

[Text] Maneuvers honoring the 15th anniversary of the founding of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces [FAR] were held last Saturday in Pinar del Rio
Province. Tank units of the armored division, infantry, field and
rocket-firing artillery, airborne troops carried by airplanes and
helicopters and our revolutionary air force participated in the maneuvers.
Observing the maneuvers were our commander in chief, Fidel Castro; Cuban
Communist Party Politburo members Maj Raul Castro, FAR Minister Maj Sergio
del Valle, Interior Minister, Maj Ramiro Valdes, and Maj Guillermo Garcia;
party Central Committee members; commanding officers of the main FAR units
and directorates of the general staff; and leaders of the party, mass
organizations and institutions. Also present at the maneuvers as guests of
the FAR were members of the Chilean military delegation, which is paying a
technical and professional visit to our country.

Brig Gen Carlos Araya Castro, who leads the Chilean military delegation,
offered his congratulations in the name of his delegation to the
participants in the maneuvers, praising their combative skill and

Our commander in chief made the closing speech at the maneuvers. In the
first part of his speech, he said: "The time consumed in the maneuvers
might have gone fast, but we know how much effort, how must time, how must
self-sacrifice have been required in order to fulfill today's task in an
efficient manner. How many days? How many weeks? How many months? How many
years of training and studying?"

Fidel contrasted these maneuvers and the long span of hard work during the
past years with the very small army of 15 years ago, the lack of experience
at the time, the lack of resources and equipment, the inability to respond
to attacks by aircraft, tanks, artillery, mortars. "Who would have imagined
then today's FAR? This display in from of us? This large mass of combat
resources? These forces? These men? These technicians? These officers?
These combatants? Who would have imagined the display we say during the
morning and noon hours? The artillery training, the air raids, the
rocket-firing artillery, [word indistinct] artillery, the tank units, the
armored infantry, the antiaircraft guns--this aggregate of resources and
men who fulfilled their tasks precisely, promptly and exactly."

Our commander in chief pointed out that noon of the combatants who founded
that small army had ever operated a tank, a propellar-driven aircraft, a
mortar, a cannon, that only 15 years had elapsed of which part was devoted
to the war, part to organization and training and another part to combat
against landings, as in the case of Giron, as well as against gangs,
sabotage, and infiltration. "It was always done under constant danger,
under a constant threat. At times, mortal danger hung over all of us, but
nobody hesitated--such was the case during the days of the October crisis."

Fidel also recalled economic difficulties,the blockade, conditions of
isolation, but noted that, nevertheless, the combatants took good advantage
of the past years. "Our combatants have worked and studied with modesty,
with tenacity, with firmness so that our fatherland can now have these
forces, these unit, these combat means.

"Our struggles for independence have been long. They have been heroic. The
path followed by the generations which preceded us as well as our won has
been hard. We were forced to fight under difficult conditions when we got
in the way of the mighty. It was not easy. Even today, when we look at this
mass of tanks and all types of arms; even today, when it appears to be
infinitely more and is truly more than we ever had before, these efforts,
these resources are destined to continue because the same problem and the
same destiny must be faced up to, to prepare ourselves for any type of
aggressions against the enemy [words indistinct]."

Our commander in chief stated that never before had our fatherland had more
complete, better armed, more efficient, and better prepared combat units.
"Never before have our people and our fatherland had such a mass of
combatants as the mass of well-trained cadres and officers they now have."
Fidel added that this pride and satisfaction is possible because our people
and our combatants have fulfilled their duties. The generations that fought
the war of independence fulfilled their duty to the fatherland. Those who
fought during the difficult day so the false republic fulfilled their
duties in order to carry on high our traditions, our dignity and our flag.
The combatants of every era fulfilled their duties, as have those of the
current generation. All generations have accomplished their tasks under
difficult circumstances without ever losing hope."

"There have been permanent characteristics in the history of our struggle,
namely tenacity, determination, heroism, conviction, right, faith in the
people, faith in ideas, [applause], faith in man. Man is the one who has
made possible this miracle. Man is the one who has made possible this

Our commander in chief stressed the courage and daring which characterized
our combatants in the war of independence, and noted that we must not
forget those 10 years of struggle We must not forget the attitude of
Antonio Maceo, who issued the document of protest at Mangos de Baragua when
fear gripped the ranks of combatants, when the desire to lay down arms was
voiced and when the treaty of El Zanjon was signed. "He determined to
continue to fight. [applause] And it was Maceo himself who one day said
that he would not agree to that kind of peace and kept his word. He
returned to the fight, and later on shocked the world with his great
feat--an advance from the eastern end of the island to the western end. He
passed through this same area where you now stand and went all the way to
Mantua. He fought in this province until he died and was unable to see the
triumph of the goals for which he fought all his life."

Fidel said that the same tenacity impelled the combatants to persist in the
war of independence. Most of them died without witnessing the triumph of
their work. He added that over a period of 70 years many Cubans fell. "Many
of our comrades fell while fighting courageously in clandestine activities,
or at the Moncada barracks, or on shore after the landing of the Granma, or
in the Seirra Maestra mountains, or they fell later while fulfilling their
duties at Grion, or in the Escambray mountains, but the fighting spirit was
never lost. Never before [words indistinct], never did patriotism fails,
never was dignity forgotten. These same comrades knew very difficult
moments, moments when some failed to have faith, excepting the very small
group who kept the flag flying high. With the determination, with the
tenacity, with that will to defeat the enemy, they continued on. Many died,
but victory was attained."

Fidel told the participants in the maneuver: "In looking over this compact
mass of men and steel, we can see in you the followers of this struggle.

In you we have the men who will carry on the work of our "mambises" [war of
independence soldiers], the followers of those who raised the flag of
protest at Baragua, of those who went back to war inspired by Marti and led
by Gomez and Maceo in 1895, of those who fell defending the rights of our
people, of the band of young men who, the morning of 26 July, assaulted the
Moncada Barracks, of those who cam aboard the Granma, of those who fought
in the Sierra Maestra mountains, of those who resolutely faced up to
harassment, aggression, mercenaries, of those who fought at Giron. We see
in you the followers of those combatants who without rest did not allow the
enemy a moment of peace for 70 hours.

Fidel pointed out that they were the followers of th Giron tank crew
members who just a few days before the battle had learned how to operate
the equipment. They annihilated the enemy. On the night of 19 April, they
placed their tanks on the Giron Coast facing ships of the U.S. fleet
without feat, without hesitation, determined to make it an all-out battle.
"This is what you represent: The best triumph of our fatherland, the best
tradition of our fatherland. You have acquired this knowledge, and you have
devoted long hours to patrols in order to guard the nation, the people,
their flag, their cause. You have learned how to use these weapons in order
to defend in Cuba one Latin American trench, on bastion of Latin America,
[applause], in order to make this island, which one day they tried to
change into a fortress to repress and subdue the fraternal countries of
Latin America, a bulwark of dignity of our peoples, a bulwark of our
peoples' rights. These far forces have been devoted to those very valid
efforts and deserve the respect of even our enemies in making it known that
in this country, even though small, there are enough men and women to keep
the fatherland's flag raised on high for as long as it is necessary; in
telling our enemies of the conviction of our people, a people who have not
sold out or surrendered; in telling them of the conviction held that any
aggression against our fatherland will find an immediate response. Our
order to fight is always right at hand to insure the fulfillment of these
convictions. The determination to fight in the face of aggression will
remain unchanged as long as there is one Cuban who can carry a weapons."

Fidel stressed his conviction that the conduct of the participants in
maneuvers will be even more combative, more determined, more stanch, and
more aggressive during a state of war. :"And in the even any enemy invades
this land, you will march against him with greater enthusiasm and greater
determination than you showed today in a simple maneuver. Officers and
members of tank crews, men of the artillery, paratroopers, we know that you
will know how to keep high the honorable traditions of our people. We know
that none of these arms will ever surrender. We know that none of these men
will ever surrender. We know that none of these units will ever surrender.
We know that with your rests the motto which covers it all, which made
possible yesterday's glory, today's glory, which made possible today's
fatherland, and which makes possible the future of our people. All this is
summed up in this motto: Fatherland or death! We will Win!"