Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Dervin Hotel Speech

Prague PRELA in Spanish to PRELA Havana 1400 GMT 25 Jun 72 C--FOR OFFICIAL

[Text] Speech by Maj Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central
Committee of the Party and Prime Minister of the Cuban Revolutionary
Government, at the official luncheon held in the presence of the Central
Committee of the Slovak Communist Party at the Dervin Hotel, Slovakia, 23
June 1972. (Transcript by the Stenographic Department of the Cuban
Revolutionary Government)

Dear Comrade Lenart, dear Comrade Colotka, dear comrades of the Presidium,
dear Cuban comrades:

It was hot in Prague last night. No one slept well in Prague, The next
morning everyone was sleepy. That is how we began our visit here to
Slovakia. Perhaps it was the heat, the change of climate, a heavy workday
yesterday, a day filled with emotions--no one knows why we could not sleep.
We must say one thing: We arrived in Slovakia and they told us it was
raining. We were sorry because we thought perhaps the comrades from
Bratislava were worried. But we arrived here. There were a few showers but
that is all. We found a misty day. There was no sun. It was a nostalgic
day. Put we began to feel good after we arrived at the airport.

At first the citizens of Bratislava were quieter, less noisy, and that is
how we began the drive. As we went along we noticed that the warmth was
increasing, that the citizens of Bratislava were less and less quiet. They
were becoming more and more enthusiastic. They were talking more and more.
So we found that when we arrived we were two friends who were meeting for
the first time, and after a few hours we all seemed old friends. There is
something which has really moved us. It is certain human aspects of this
visit, a certain sense of hospitality, of fraternity, which has made our
delegation feel happier and happier, more and more interested, more and
more curious to see it all. That is how it was until we came to the castle.

When they took us to the castle they told us that Queen Marie Therese used
to stay in that castle, and I was thinking: I wonder what the queen did
here? I wonder what the queen thought; What kind of image did she have of
the world? In what spirit did she contemplate this city? How did she look
on the inhabitants of this city? To what use did she put her time? I even
wondered how Queen Marie Therese amused herself in this castle. In
conclusion, what I was thinking way deep down is how much times have
changed since the time of the feudal monarchs the absolute monarchs, the
feudal lords, the capitalists, the bourgeois republic until the present
proletarian republic, the government and the state of the workers and the
peasants and how differently we see everything,

When we stood on the balcony of the castle, they told us: During the Roman
period there was a fort here, I said: You mean there was a fort here in the
Roman period too? Then I thought about the long history of this country,
the long history of Bratislava--how it had lived through the times of the
Roman Empire, feudalism, the Turkish Empire or the wars against the Turkish
Empire, the absolute monarchies, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the
capitalists--and we said: What a long road has had to be travelled in order
to arrive at the present. All that long history was of masters and slaves,
of feudal lords and serfs, of absolute monarchs and vassals, of capitalists
and proletarians.

Here, today, we are now living in a period when there are no masters or
slaves, or feudal lords or servants, or kings or vassals, or capitalists or
proletarians. We have, rather, a revolutionary society, the power of the
workers and the peasants, and the disappearance of the exploitation of man
by man, and for the first time in the history of these lands and of these
peoples, a humane system, a humane philosophy which is seeking justice for
men. The disappearance of privilege, the disappearance of exploitation and
of oppression prevails.

Who cares what the capitalists may still have? The capitalists and the
imperialists exploited the world, plundered the wealth of all nations,
exploited dozens of millions of men, accumulated all the world's gold, and
they had great wealth.

On the other hand, socialism, the socialist camp, was destroyed by the war,
was poor, many of the countries were backward because they were
agricultural, without the wealth and without the gold of the capitalists;
yet we see how things have changed in in these 25 years--how Slovakia
produces in 12 days what it used to produce in 1 year, how industrial
production is growing.

In what other time in history was there so much progress made? In what
other time in history were there so many advances, so much social justice?
We do not see a single unemployed person. We do not see a single beggar. We
do not see a single hungry child. We do not see a single family without
shelter. All of this has taken place in 25 years.

In imperialism, in the capitalist countries, despite all the accumulated
gold, despite all the wealth, there is a good deal of injustice. There are
unemployed people or they employ men from poor countries. There is no
equality, There is no justice. There are some who have millions and
millions and other have a miserable wage.

They will not be able to deceive us. They will not be able to confuse us
with their luxuries, with their squandering. It does not matter if they
have more luxury articles than we do. In the course of time, with the
development of technology, the day will come when we will have a higher
production, a higher industrial production, more wealth than they.

That is not the most important thing. The important thing is the other
goods we have brought man: the important thing is for man to feel like a
man, for a human being to feel human, to feel equal to the rest, to feel
considered, to feel dignity. This has occurred for the first time in the
history of these peoples.

It is enough to arrive in this country to understand your lives, your past,
sacrifices, wars, invasions. When they were showing us the Danube River
from the castle, we were thinking of the time when Hitler's followers
occupied Austria, and we were thinking about those bitter moments when the
fascists were on the other side and we were thinking of the following
years when the fascists crossed the border, when the (?bourgeois)
governments were incapable of heroism, when they surrendered.

From that moment on, there emerged the struggle of the people, the struggle
of the workers, the struggle of the communists, the struggle of Fucik, the
struggle of scores of thousands of men who sacrificed their lives and died
in dignity for the independence of their country: the struggle of the
Slovaks, the uprising of the slovaks, their battles against fascism, their
struggle alongisde the Red Army.

What a different age this is. We see that border and we know that the
Czechoslovak fatherland is secure and we know that the imperialists will
not have the strength to attack this country, that the strength of the
socialist camp defends that border and that under communism, there will be
no surrender, there will be no halting, there will be no yielding of any
kind. Because communism is the expression of the highest, most just, most
worthy and most heroic ideals of human society.

This is the difference between the past and the present. The past was hard
and sad in all aspects; the future is promising.

That is why: Down with the fascists! Down with revisionists! Long live
socialism! Long live communism! Long live the socialist community! Long
live proletarian internationalism!

Let us toast the people who have achieved these conquests. (applause) Let
us drink to the communist party that leads them. Let us drink to its
Marxist-Leninist-internationalist leadership. Let us drink to Slovakia, to
its history, to its heroic struggles. Let us drink to Comrade Lenart, Let
us drink to the health of my colleague. Let us drink to the Presidium. Let
us drink to everyone's health. Thank you. (applause)