Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Havana Domestic Radio/Television Services in Spanish 2334 GMT 1 May 73 F

[Speech by Maj Fidel Castro, prime minister of the Cuban Revolutionary
Government, at the mass rally marking the International Labor Day held at
the Jose Marti Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana--live]

[Text] Distinguished quests, comrades of the PCC Central Committee and of
the revolutionary government, workers, students: In the first place, we
wish to congratulate you for this wonderful demonstration on this date, for
the organization of the parade and for this great rally.  We wish to
congratulate the comrades of the party, the workers, the mass organizations
and the students for this victory.  This rally is of such magnitude that is
Comrade German Titov were in orbit now he would have been able to see it
perfectly. [applause] We wish to thank you in the name of the party
comrades and in the name of the Moncada combatants, because with this
special May Day demonstration you wanted to commemorate the year of the
20th anniversary. [applause] And actually, on this May Day we commemorate
the year of the 20th anniversary.  We are forced to recall what was
happening 20 years ago, how May Day used to be commemorated or how the 1953
May Day was commemorated.  Do you remember?  Maybe some of you do remember.
The students who paraded ahead of our workers surely do not remember,
because they were not born.  But, we have looked over some old newspapers
and we have brought three newspapers from that time.  An edition of the
daily HOY which used to defend the interests of the workers, [applause]
dated 29 April 1953-- because the newspaper was neither published on 30
April nor on 1 May, but was published on 29 April and 2 May--carried the
following news items: [Fidel begins to read from newspaper] Rafael Avila
urges the workers of the Cooperative of Allied Buses [COA] to a unified
struggle; our essential rights and our best accomplishments-- the product
of many years of struggle and sacrifice, frustration, blood and sweat-- are
being threatened by the signing of a decree-law, conceived and prepared for
the sole purpose of benefiting the wealthy owners of the COA, and for the
benefit of the Yankee corporation General Motors, the backbone of the
transportation monopoly, which for many years has been attempting to
establish itself in our capital.

Another news item: The restriction of the sugar harvest; hunger and poverty
for the workers; during the month of April some 20 sugar mills have
concluded grinding for the harvest, after having started in February.  A
brief comparison of the statistics of some of these mills indicate the
following results: Isabel "B" sugar mill--42 fewer days of work, Elia Sugar
mill--69 fewer days of work, Limones sugar mill--34 fewer days of work,
Cespedes sugar mill--56 fewer days of work, Borgita sugar mill--57.5 fewer
days of work.  This represents a 39.7 percent reduction of income, 31.8
percent, 47.8 percent and 49.5 percent respectively.  In other words, from
1/3 to 1/2 less income for the workers.  This is the victory of the sugar
policies of the government and of the wealthy owners for which a social
ceremony is announced in honor of President Batista, organized by the
directors of the Association of Sugar Mill Owners, of the Association of
Landowners and of the official National Federation of Sugar Workers.

Another news item: Attention!  Amnesty of Aracelio Iglesias' murderer being
planned.  Here is a headline: Workers rally at the university stadium being
convoked.  May Day rally organized.  Important meeting of leaders of labor
sections.  The event will definitely take place, announces the Federation
of University Students.  On that day two events were organized, one at the
Central Organization of Cuban Workers [CTC] where the leaders who had sold
out and surrendered to the government and the representatives of the
government met, and an event organized by the students at the university

The news dealing with May Day in the daily HOY published on 2 May 1953 read
as follows: [Fidel reads from newspaper; sentences not completed] Despite
the sabotage and official repression, the stadium event was held.
Energetic and combative attitude of the masses in the face of threats and
misleading campaigns.  Extraordinary display of police forces.  The masses
gave ovations to the anti-imperialist and prounity statements of the
student speakers. [Fidel momentarily stops reading from newspaper]

How was that May Day commemorated?  If the wind allows me [the wind is
blowing the newspaper from Fidel's hands] because the newspaper is very
old, I will read you a report on the event, of the atmosphere of the event.
This is a headline: [Fidel begins to read] Havana, a city under siege.

International Labor Day found Havana with the entire aspect of a city under
siege.  To make good the threats that no other celebration should take
place except those of the clique organized by Mujal by government order and
with government money, the government repressive forces were deployed on
all the streets of the city, even far beyond the places authorized for the

Pairs of police and military intelligence agents could be found at every
corner, along with agents of the investigations service and common soldiers
in civilian clothes; they cruised around more often than the urban transit
buses.  Infanta Street--especially from Carlos III to San Lazaro, and from
there to the university, was virtually covered with police.  Two policemen
were at every corner; another pair was in the middle of every block, and
four patrol cars cruised from one end of the street to the other.

But that was only the uniformed men, for we saw "street vendors" lottery
sellers, and so forth, who never moved from their sports at the
intersections leading to the university stadium all morning.  The workers
moved relentlessly toward the university individually, in pairs, or in
small groups.  Men and women from all the city's districts, shops and
factories converged continually toward the university stadium, despite the
transportation problem and the police barricades.  Several thousand persons
filled the stadium.

When the throng of workers who filled the stadium departed, there were
tense moments.  The bulk of the workers emerged through San Rafael Street,
covering several blocks.  And, with the same stolid serenity with which
they entered the stadium, they again penetrated through the wall of
policemen, caring little about the edginess of some of the repressive
agents nor the threatening machinegun barrels poking out from the patrol
cars at the intersection.

One May is celebrated in Santiago de Cuba.  The police attacked the
rallies.  There were arrests and detentions.  But 1 May, Labor Day, was
commemorated while the official event failed. [Fidel picks up another

A rightist paper reports on 1 May: [Fidel begins to read] Under Batista the
working class has a great champion of its hopes, Dr.  Carlos Saladrigas.
Labor Day is commemorated at the Palace of the CTC.  Speeches of the
minister and the labor leaders. [he stops reading] and on the same page; on
that same day, a report on education which states: [Fidel begins to read]
The formula of the table of organizations that is under study is not
whimsical.  The education minister added that a cut in the education budget
of more than 10 million pesos places the department in an inexorable
plight.  This is constantly worrying Education Minister Dr Andres Rivero
Aguero, because he is against a single layoff being ordered and against a
reduction of the wages of teachers who are earnestly performing an
extraordinary, fully scholastic service. [Castro ends reading]

In other words, near 1 May 20 years ago a 10 million-peso budget cut was
being announced, and they [not further explained] were trying to explain
how they would face that cut without a cut in wages or layoffs.

These brief reports give us an idea of how 1 May 1953 was, when we were
preparing for the assault on Moncada Barracks. [applause] And it shows us
the difference, in spite of the economic blockade, the vast difference
between that 1 May and this one.

At that time the workers were divided by tyranny.  The stanchest workers
were celebrating 1 May at the university stadium with the police ringing
the university and the workers.  Today we were able to see our workers
parade with their characteristic enthusiasm--180,000 [as heard] of
them--through this Plaza de la Revolucion.

Today we were able to see how the workers, university students, and the
militiamen march unitedly.  And, above all, we witnessed how this parade of
our people united was headed by the students of the basic secondary rural
schools and the Lenin Vocational School. [applause]

We are not rich, but in the years of this revolution, the education budget
has not been reduced once.  The public health budget has never been cut.
Outlays for education have increased every year, as have the outlays for
public health, pensions and public services in general.  And this has been
the case in good years as well as bad; in years when the sugar prices has
been high or low.

We see how the new generation is being molded year after year.  We have
seen more and more new schools rise up--by the dozens, and at the present
time by the hundreds, each year.

And that is why in commemorating this anniversary of Moncada Barracks, our
party, our combatants, our people are proud to see two generations of
workers parading today: The workers of today made up of the masses, which
under the banners of their unions parade before this stand, and the workers
of tomorrow, who already are part of the workers of today, [applause] our
students who at an early age are at the same time workers and students.

The men who best represent the nation are here at this event today, in
which our people meet to commemorate the International Labor Day.  Present
on this stand are the more outstanding workers of the nation, the more
advanced workers, presided over by the national work heroes. [applause] The
more outstanding "million" brigades of canecutters are present on this
stand.  A "million" brigade of women, canecutters, the members of the
Miriana Grajales Brigade, are present on this stand. [applause] Comrade
Victoria Miranda, among other work heroes, is present on the stand.
[applause] She is the first woman in the history of our fatherland to ever
cut 100,000 arrobas of cane in one harvest. [applause] Present on this
stand also, among many other outstanding citizens, are the comrades who
made up the medical brigade that was in Vietnam during the more difficult
days of the war, [applause] and the crew members of our freighters Imias
and Yique which remained in Haiphong during the more difficult weeks of the
Yankee bombings. [applause]

It is in this manner that we commemorate this May Day, with the masses
impelled by honesty, by work, by the achievements of our workers.  It is in
this manner the new youth commemorates May Day--the youth of those schools
which attained the vanguard status in each of the provinces: the May Day
School of Las Villas Province which won first place nationally [applause],
and gave credit to its name, May Day; the Batalla de Maltiempo School of
Oriente Province [applause]; the Ignacio Agramonte School of Camaguey
Province [applause]; the Mariscal Sucre School of Matanzas Province
[applause]; The Republic of Bulgaria School of Havana Province [applause];
the Comandante Pinares School of Pinardel Rio Province [applause]; the
Havana Vanguard School of Isle of Pines [applause]; the Carlos (Gliegnesch)
School, which was invited because of its study and work achievements
[applause]; and the vocational school of outstanding students with the
glorious name of Lenin [applause].

It is in this spirit so different to that 20 years ago that our workers
celebrate their international day.  But, at the same time, what is the
current status of our labor movement? [Fidel shuffles papers] We now have
40,847 trade union sections with 2,024,000 workers, of which 79 percent are
men and 21 percent women; they are supervised by the 164,000 members of
their executive committees.  National conferences have been held to
establish the trade unions and we now have 21 national trade unions
organized in accordance with the various labor sectors of the country.  It
would be impossible to enumerate the number of factories and work centers
that have fulfilled and overfulfilled their production goals in all sectors
of the economy in commemoration of this May Day, [applause] There are so
many that it is impossible to name them in this event.

How our workers study.  In 1972 there were 166,021 workers registered in
schools.  Today we have 517,803 workers studying at all levels of adult
education, professional and technical training, centers of higher learning
and courses of technical training.  The 13th congress registration was
mainly responsible for this accomplishment.  These statistics demonstrate
that 27.3 percent of the total number of Cuban workers are presently
registered in cultural and technical training.

At the present there are 15,000 workers enrolled in the specially
supervised introductory and regular courses in our universities.  Another
factor that should be noted is the technical and professional educational
work, through the enrollment of 11,154 workers in the industrial
technological institutes and the economy administration schools and

Across the country there are 18,327 classes at working centers with 24,218
working and vocational teachers.  There are 12,656 schools and child-care
centers that are being sponsored.  The labor movement includes 68,259
school-going and nonschool-going Pioneer guides.

Last year there were 963 cultural groups made up of 8,357 workers who were
amateur artists.  Yet this year we have 3,105 groups made up of 21,604
workers.  We have 5,776 sports advisory councils made up of 22,173

We have made similar gains in protecting the workers' health in work and
social conditions.

Pursuant to the principle of selling products in accordance with workers'
merit, the union section shave distributed a total of 2,057,962 electrical
home appliances worth 237 million pesos.

During 1972, 47,394 family groups have enjoyed vacations at Varadero,
Guanabo, El Salado, Santa Maria del Mar and Santa Lucia; this is a total of
178,126 workers and their families.  A total of 66,296 have benefitted from
Resolution No 88--free meals based on the level of family income.  And
6,862 have been exempted from the urban reform, in keeping with Resolution
No. 30.

Volunteer work: Plus-work brigades.  There are 1,058 plus-work construction
brigades made up of 27,619 workers distributed throughout the provinces.
These microbrigades currently are building 23,312 housing units, of which
almost 10,000 have been completed. [applause]

Harvest: Voluntary canecutters.  In this 1973 harvest, there are 1,467
brigades made up of 49,230 voluntary canecutters who were organized by the
respective union sand the CTC battalions.  Up to 15 April the brigades had
cut 1,007 million arrobas of all types of cane--the highest amount of cane
cut up to this date [applause] and the average amount cut per man daily was
236 arrobas.

The competitive drive "four steps of the million [million arrobas of cane]:
Up to 28 April net the following results: Pledged brigades, 773 number of
brigade members, 26,500.  The outstanding brigades were: Evelio Rodriguez
Curbelo of the National Domestic Trade Union, which cut 6 million arrobas;
[applause] Ho Chi Minh brigade of regular canecutters, 5 million;
[applause].  Of one, two, and three-tenths of a million-arroba cutters,
there is a total of 316.  The outstanding three-tenths-of- million cutters
are: Raul Gutierrez Alonzo, of the National Transportation Union;
[applause] and Roberto Tamayo, of the National Construction Union.

It is with that spirit that our working class is commemorating this 1 May.
And this year is also significant because the 13th CTC congress will be
held. [applause] This will be an all-important congress in those matters of
interest to the workers and the revolution will be taken up by the workers
with the experience and conscientiousness they have gained over these
years.  There is an on-going movement in support of that congress.  Many
working centers are busy drawing up their goals and plans for that event.
And our workers are working to make it a success right down the line.

At the same time, this 20th anniversary of the assault on Moncada Barracks
and this 1 May are being observed at a special moment in international

On the one hand, this present time is marked by the achievement of the
Vietnamese people, who [applause] succeeded in imposing the peace
settlement agreements on the United States. [applause]

It is true that peace in Indochina has not been fully attained.  It is true
that imperialist agents are committing and have committed thousands of
cease-fire violations.  And it is true that cruel bombings are still being
carried out against the Cambodian revolutionaries.  But, without doubt,
despite these realities, despite the need to continue giving the Vietnamese
people and the rest of the nations of Indochina all the support of the
international labor movement, it is a fact that the imperialists were
forced to sign those peace agreements.

Together with those world events, we have events taking place in this
continent, trends that are developing in Latin America.  We are no longer
living as we did in 1959.  We no longer live as we did during the year of
the mercenary invasion at Giron.  We no longer live as we did during the
year of the October crisis.  During those days, imperialist control in
Latin America was extremely powerful.

During those days, the breaking of relations with Cuba was the customary
thing to do, the blockades, the accords of the OAS, and this institution
was at the peak of its influence as the ministry of Yankee colonies.

During those days, very few years of existence were forecast for the Cuban
revolution.  The imperialists thought they could step on us as if we were a
cockroach, that our country would not be able to endure the blockade, that
it would not be able to get ahead.  The failure of the revolution was being
thought of as a sure thing.  However, these times of 1972 and 1973 are
different times.  What is being discussed today is not whether Cuba should
or should not be in the OAS, whether Cuba should or should not be
readmitted to the OAS.  What is being discussed today is whether the OAS
should or should not continue to exist. [applause]

We were sure that it was a matter of waiting patiently and firmly.  What is
or what should be the position of our country on this problem?  And why?
Some countries proposed different initiatives in connection with the OAS
and Cuba.  These initiatives had one positive objective and constituted an
affront to the influence of the United States within the OAS.  They
constituted a rebellious gesture in the face of the impositions of the
United States, first, by declaring that any Latin American country has the
right to establish relations with Cuba independent of the OAS.  This path
has been followed by several countries.

Now, should Cuba return to the present OAS? [The crowd responds "No] Is
there any citizen in this country who believes that Cuba should return to
the present OAS? [the crows responds No] This is eminently the reasoning of
our people and of our party leadership. [applause] We wish to thank the
different countries which, with a positive spirit, proclaimed the right of
our country to be a member of that regional organization, but we cannot nor
should we ever return to the OAS. [applause] Is it a case wherein we are
opposed to the existence of a regional organization?  No, we are not
opposed to the existence of a regional organization made up of Latin
American countries and English-speaking Caribbean countries, and excluding
the United States. [applause]

We are ready to become a member of a regional organization that, in the
first place does not have its headquarters in Washington but in a Latin
American location, [applause] a regional organization that would defend the
interests of Latin American nations and English-speaking Caribbean nations
in the face of imperialist aggression, in other words, in the face of U.S.
aggression, [applause] a regional organization that fights for the unity of
our peoples, [applause] and there is no reason for the United States to be
a member of that regional organization. [applause] With the United States,
we must discuss matters on an equal level, [applause] namely, as an
organization representing Latin American nations and English-speaking
Caribbean nations having the strength that such a representation of nations
must have in order to discuss with one that has exploited us, has attacked
us and has been our enemy over a period of 15 years. [applause]

We repeat that the time we spend waiting until the Latin American
countries--be they revolutionary, progressive, or nationalist governments
and not socialist--reach the same conclusion as ours is of no importance.
[applause] Our country has the right and the moral authority to speak in
this manner. [applause] If there is a land on this continent, if there is a
nation that escaped the clutches of the United States, a nation that, under
very difficult circumstances, escaped becoming one more state or a colony
of the United States, that land is Cuba and those people are the Cuban
people. [applause]

There are some facts that cannot be denied, that are too objective and too
eloquent.  The United States has a history of expansionism, a history of
expanding its power and its resources at the expense of the Latin American
nations. [applause] To a greater or lesser degree, all Latin American
nations have suffered the consequences of U.S. aggression.  One of those
which suffered the most was Mexico, from which they stole the Texas region
in 1836 and New Mexico and California in 1848.  Thus, Mexico's territory
was reduced by more than half and, at her expense, the United States
enlarged its territory.

Regarding Cuba, the United States had intentions of seizing it since the
beginning of the century.  Since 1808, there was talk in the United States
in connection with seizing Cuba.  Those intentions prevailed practically
over a period of a century.  In other words, until they almost accomplished
it.  There were some during those days who said that Cuba-- just as an
apple blown off the tree by the wind would have to fall on the ground
although it might not want to--would inevitably fall in the hands of the
United States, once separated from Spain.  During the middle of the
century, there was a strong proannexation movement in Cuba, that is,
favoring annexation to the United States.

During those days, and as proof once more that the method of production
determines the policy, it was precisely the institution of slavery and the
demands of the landowners to maintain slavery in our country that most
encouraged the proannexation movement and the campaign to unite Cuba and
the United States.

Then can the War of Secession between the North and South of the United
States, between the proslave states and the industrial states.  As a
consequence of this, the annexation movement fails and is followed by the
beginning of the 10-year war, which was the first major struggle for our
independence.  But the United States had to for a moment abandoned the
intention of taking possession of Cuba.  Some 15 years--17 years to be
exact--after the 10-year war failed, the struggle for independence begins
once again, organized by Marti.

What were the fundamental objectives of that struggle?  These objectives
were expressed most clearly by Marti.  It was necessary to make Cuba
independent before the United States, in possession of Cuba, hurled itself
with this additional strength on the peoples of Latin America.  Those who
fought for our independence always live with this sword hanging over their
heads--the sword of U.S. intervention and the possibility that Cuba might
be seized by the United States.

Marti, who was one of the men who most clearly and most intelligently
delved into all these problems, said it, so there was no doubt.  The danger
that the United States might take possession of Cuba had to be avoided.
And our history is well known.  It is well known how the principal
organizers of that struggle died; how Marti died; how Maceo died; how other
numerous revolutionary leaders died.  And how, at the end of that war, when
Spain was already virtually exhausted, the United States intervenes in that
war, takes possession of Puerto Rico, takes possessions of the Philippines
and takes possession of Cuba.  In Cuba, they were not able to take over in
a definitive manner because in Cuba there had been a very hard struggle and
because in Cuba a very strong national awareness and a very strong
revolutionary awareness had been created.  But, before leaving Cuba, the
United States took possession of a price of our territory in the Quantanamo
area and also imposed the Platt Amendment on us, which gave it the right to
intervene in our country.  In addition, the United States imposed a trade
agreement on us to make itself the owner of and controller of our trade.
The United States took advantage of that intervention to establish absolute
control over our economy, taking possession not only of the major financial
sources, the major banks, the public services, the railroads, the mines,
the major industries and the best lands of our country. [sentence as heard]
In other words, at the end of our war of independence the United States had
imposed Guantanamo base on us and had imposed the Platt Amendment on us and
had taken possession of our economy.  This situation continued to worsen
until 1959.

During this century, what country has not experienced aggression by the
United States?  In Mexico, the United States intervened again and landed
calmly in Veracruz as a result of the revolutionary events in that brother
country.  It has intervened more than once in Santo Domingo.  It intervened
in Haiti.  It intervened in Nicaragua.  The United States attacked Colombia
and took possession of the Isthmus of Panama.  During this same period of
history, its capital gradually penetrated all Latin America and it
gradually seized our peoples' natural resources.  That is how the United
States took possession of Chilean copper, of Peruvian silver and copper.
That is how it seized Venezuelan petroleum.  That is how it took possession
of the resources of our economy.  That is how the United States gained
control of strategic points in our development and imposed this policy on
us during these years.

The United States was able to establish on this continent a kind of
sovereignty--a complete hegemony--complete control.  And this process was
carried out over a period of 150 years, which was the period during which
the United States gradually developed its influence and its power at the
expense of the Latin American peoples.

There is a point--a moment in history--in which this process which lasted
150 years began to change.  And that point in history, that moment in
history, was 1 January 1959. [applause]

Cuba not only succeeded--as a result of many factors, among them the
heroism of its revolutionary militants throughout more than 100
years--succeeded in preventing its being absorbed by the United States,
thanks to the struggles of Cespedes, Agramonte, Maceo, Maximo Gomex, and
thanks to the struggle of Jose Marti. [applause]

Cuba liberated itself from the extremely sad destiny of being absorbed by
the United States.  But not only that.  Cuba--which was in the greatest
danger of that happening --is precisely the place, the point where all that
process of 150 years of history of U.S. expansion and development of
hegemony in Latin America found a limit, found a historic change.  Because
this very Cuba became the first country to shake itself from that yoke, to
liberate itself from that influence, to liberate itself from that hegemony.

Cuba was the first Latin American country where the United States could not
continue imposing its laws, its will nor its whims.  Cuba was the first
Latin American country to recover its natural resources which were in the
hands of Yankee imperialists, [applause] the first to recover its lands, to
recover its banks and to recover the strategic centers of the
economy--which at a given moment ceased to be the property of U.S.
monopolies to become the property of the Cuban people. [Applause]

It was logical for the imperialists not to resign themselves to that
situation, to organize blockades and acts of aggression against our
country.  It was logical for them to try to make that act of rebellion,
that contempt against the empire's power, fail.  It is logical for them to
resort to their diplomatic, financial and political influence.  It is
logical that they resorted to their ministry of colonies--the OAS--and
forced it to declare that Marxism-Leninism was incompatible with
participation in the OAS.

That was one of the most absurd, most capricious and most arbitrary
measures the United States ever imposed on a group of nations.  And as a
proof of its power, there is the fact that it was able to impose that
accord on almost all Latin American countries, except Mexico.

The United States was unable to impose on Mexico a break in relations with
Cuba.  With the exception of Mexico [applause] which at least, even if it
did not develop many of its ties with us, if it did not make special
efforts to develop its economic and fraternal bonds with revolutionary
Cuba, it must be said that it at least firmly resisted the U.S. imposition
and refused to break relations with Cuba. [applause]

Of course this doe snot mean that Mexico is not a country where the
influence of Yankee monopolies is powerful.  The Mexican people and that
country's leader, judging by their statements and public actions, are
noting with increasing concern the dangers and consequences of the enormous
economic penetration of that country by the imperialist interests.

But the fact is that the United States imposed that shameful decision and
the declaration that Marxism-Leninism was incompatible with the OAS on
other countries.  We call this because during a recent OAS meeting, a
majority of countries adopted an agreement that virtually annuls that
principle, admitting the possibility that there could be in the OAS
countries that have different social systems.  In other words, now in the
fact of the failure of the imperialist policy, in the face of the OAS
failure, it has been admitted that in fact in Latin America there can be
governments with different social systems.  That is a refutation of the
imposition put on them by the United States several years ago and
demonstrates the crisis affecting that organization.

However, the problem now is not whether a country has the right to belong
to that organization.  It must be seen if a revolutionary country such as
Cuba--after its long historic experience--can consider that such an
organization is worthy of having it as a member. [applause]

Cuba was the historic change, and the place where the flat of a Latin
American country was raised to put an end to U.S. hegemony and to an
uninterrupted 150 years process of expansion and imposition on Latin
American countries.

Today other countries are already facing the United States.  We have the
case of the Chilean Government, [applause] the result of the Popular Unity
triumph, which has declared its objective of developing socialism in that
country.  It is no longer one country, but two which speaks of socialism.

We have the case of the fraternal country of Peru [applause] which is
recovering its sovereignty over the country's essential resources, which
expelled IPC, which is recovering its sovereignty over the petroleum
resources.  And Peru declared itself determined to carry out a sovereign
and independent policy.  Moreover, it is implementing a series of
fundamental economic and social measures.

We have the case of the fraternal people of Panama. [applause] They are
strongly demanding their rights to sovereignty over the Panama Canal
Zone--that zone which Yankee imperialists seized by their acts of
aggression and through their haughtiness toward our peoples.  The demands
of the Panamanian people for sovereignty over the canal have never had so
much moral strength and greater support from international opinion.

And we have seen how in recent days, as a result of the almost unanimous
vote of the other members of the UN Security Council, the United States
found itself in the situation of having to resort to the right of veto
against the recommendations of the Security Council. [applause] Therefore,
more and more countries are adopting a strong and a firm attitude against
the imperialist haughtiness.

And that is why we say that following 1 January 1959 a decisive new path
was taken in this continent's history.  We do not believe that Chile, Peru
and Panama will be the only countries to do so.  Others to a greater or
lesser extent are working out ore independent policies.  They are working
out policies different from the ones they had been following until a few
years ago.

What does this mean?  In the first place it is a matter of principle.  We
strongly believe that socialism is the only way to solve the problems of
our backward and exploited countries. [applause] We believe that socialism
is the only way to implement the necessary changes and the necessary unity
of all of our peoples.  But that does not mean that socialism will suddenly
arrive in Latin America.  This does not imply that overnight the Latin
American countries will suddenly change all of their current political
systems to follow socialism.  There will be various processes, and each one
of them will have its own characteristics.  Some countries may be more
advanced on the revolutionary path and other countries may be more
backward.  Some will become aware more quickly than others, but one way or
another all of the Latin American countries and their governments will
become aware of these facts. and for a time there will be different kinds
of government.  There will be socialist governments such as Cuba's; there
will be governments planning to carry ahead a socialist process such as
Chile; there will be governments which will not immediately propose a
socialist program; but structural changes will be proposed and the defense
of certain interests will be proposed vis-a-vis the United States.

What does this mean?  Does it mean that there can be ways of cooperation
between Cuba and other Latin American countries, although those countries
have not yet reached socialism?  We believe so.  We believe many ways of
cooperation can be developed between the Cuban revolution and other Latin
American governments if those governments assume an attitude of
independence, of sovereignty and defense of their national interests
vis-a-vis the United States of America. [applause]

We do not demand socialism as a condition.  We know that socialism will
come sooner or later, because this is an inevitable law of history.  And we
are calm, because we know that it will not be capitalism that will come on
in the future.  We know that it will not be colonialism, we know that it
will not be imperialism.  The future belongs entirely to socialism.  We are
absolutely positive of that and we are calm. [applause]

We are sure that ways of cooperation can be developed with countries
following an independent foreign policy and defending their national
interests vis-a-vis Yankee imperialism.  And within that framework of
relation there can be many points of cooperation among the different Latin
American countries.  The self-respecting governments, the governments
following an independent policy, the governments defending their national
interests vis-a-vis imperialism will enjoy our total respect and with those
countries we are prepared to coordinate ways to act vis-a-vis the United
States. [applause]

This naturally does not exclude the sympathy and the support of the Cuban
revolution toward the Latin American revolutionaries fighting against
oligarchic or reactionary governments at the service of the imperialist
policies on this continent. [applause]

We clearly state this policy of our revolution.  We do not think that the
Latin American revolution is just around the corner.  We do not think that
our peoples have an easy job ahead.  There are changes and important
events.  We have, for example, the situation in Argentina where undoubtedly
a popular type of victory has taken place.  That is to say, the national
majorities have spoken out at the polls in favor of important political
changes in that country.

We are aware of the crisis underway in Uruguay and the confrontation that
took place between the oligarchic government and that country's armed
forces and which still has not resulted in clear and unobjectionable
formulas.  But important events are taking place which can be translated
into a powerful current of changes.  But no, under no circumstances do
these changes constitute an easy way, an easy task.  There may be some
progress and there may be some setbacks.  History will relentlessly follow
its course, and it will not be a smooth or easy one.  Our country will
observe these events and advance its international policies in accordance
with them, encouraging every manifestation of independence, encouraging a
combative spirit in Latin America against imperialism, and encouraging the
countries as they become aware--to a greater or lesser degree--of their
realities and of their struggles vis-a-vis imperialist interests.  This
means that in the future forms of cooperation may arise between the Cuban
revolution and other Latin American governments, although they are not

I have just mentioned several examples of the cooperation which we have
already offered: our support of the Peruvian Armed Forces Revolutionary
Government; our support of the Panamanian Government. [applause] We also
were pleased to note how the Venezuelan Government canceled the commercial
agreement which had subjected that country's economy to U.S. interests.
[applause] In other words, it subjected Venezuela's commercial interests.
And in the same way, if tomorrow a serious conflict should arise between
the Venezuelan Government [and the United States] regarding its attitude
concerning its natural resources--basically its oil--if tomorrow a serious
conflict should arise between the Venezuelan Government and the imperialist
monopolies over the oil, our country would support the Venezuelan
Government, regardless of the economic system current in that country.

Our revolution has supported the basic claims of the Latin American
peoples, as for example, in defense of their sea resources and in defense
of their natural resources.  In international economic organizations
representatives of the Cuban revolution have supported the basic claims of
Latin American countries in relation to problems such as the unequal trade
with the United States and the industrialized countries, the lack of any
tariffs taking into account the problems of Latin American countries and
the underdeveloped world.  We have backed the Latin American people
vis-a-vis the U.S. intention of getting rid of its excess strategic
minerals which will result in serious damages to the economies of the Latin
American countries.  We have backed those countries protesting the U.S.
intention of placing the burden of its financial and monetary crises on
them.  There are many points in common where our country can join its
efforts to those of other Latin American countries, because this is a
process of struggle against imperialism regardless of the economic system
ruling in those countries.

We also know that road is a long one, and we also know that we must have
enough determination to know how to wait.  And we also know that the
history of the United States is not a history in common with the Latin
American people, but one which is contradictory to our people and
antagonistic to our people.

The interests of Latin America and of the English-speaking Caribbean
countries demand that they join their efforts and their voices in a
regional organization that can look out for their interests.  And we will
be ready to support any initiative that will take the OAS out of the United
States, that will create a regional organization that is different.  I
repeat, an organization that can defend the interests of our people and
that will struggle for the unity of our people.  We will be willing to join
such an organization. [applause]

This is the clear and final position of our party and our people.  We
realize that the struggle is still long, that the struggle is hard.  The
imperialists, despite their crisis, do not cease to dream up ways and more
ways to retard our process.  At this moment it is being said that the
secretary of state will visit eight or 10 Latin American countries. we
would like to know what Mr. Nixon is able to offer the Latin American
people, and what magic words will he use to try to change the present

We know quite well that Nixon is a reactionary man with backward ideas; a
strong defender of private capital and of monopolistic interests.  We know
that Nixon will have no systems in Latin America other than those that are
based on private investment.  Nixon is no less than a defender of
monopolies and capitalists.  He represents these interests and this
ideology.  We know that the difference between U.S. imperialism and Latin
American interests is impossible to overcome.

We are certain that all imperialist maneuvers in the diplomatic field are
bound to fail.  But, at the same time, we know that the United States is
trying other schemes.  For instance, it is seeking three objectives in its
relations with Brazil.  First, it is dumping its surplus capital in a large
Latin American area where there is an abundance of cheap labor, where it
can make more profit.

In the second place, it is developing a capitalist model based on the
penetration of monopolistic capital and on the inhumane exploitation of the
people.  Figures are shown to provide how Brazilian economy is growing.
This economy is increasingly controlled by Yankee monopolies.  But no
figure is shown on unemployment, illiteracy or death from sickness and
hunger.  These figures are not important to the monopolies.  This is not
their concern.

The third objective of the United States in Brazil is the creation of
military power that can serve the United States as an instrument in
relation to other Latin American people.  This is a very clear objective of
the U.S. policy regarding Brazil--the creation of what has been called a
subempire that will constitute an imperialist enclave in South America,
that will serve to halt the liberation movement among other countries of
the continent.  Of course, the imperialists have not had the support of the
Brazilian workers or people, who will defeat this plan in the long run.  We
are fully convinced that the people of Brazil will have the last word,
although the reactionary Brazilian Government is now the No. 1 ally of the
imperialist U.S.  Government.

The United States tries to scare our peoples, but history teaches that a
people who are determined to defend their rights, a people who have charted
their path, cannot be diverted from their path by any force or anyone.  And
the Cuban revolution is an example of this. [applause]

We have wanted to take advantage of this 20th anniversary, or this 1 May,
to present our party's and revolutionary government's position regarding
Latin America and the OAS.  It is necessary to insist on these points in
order to clarify them.  We say this because some have always tried to
distort the Cuban revolution's position.  There are always limitless
interpretations for each statement made by the revolution.

When Comrade Allende visited us, we explained that the Guantanamo issue was
not the main matter in our mind, but that the common problems of Latin
America were.  We said then that whenever we had to talk with the United
States it would be about Cuban- Latin American problems first of all, and
that Cuban relations with the United States could not improve as long as
the United States insisted on creating a gendarme power in Latin America.

Some international press agencies took advantage of this statement to say
that Cuba had softened its position.  The reverse was true: Cuba had
hardened its position. [applause] What we wanted to say was that to us the
Guantanamo base was not basic.  This does not mean that we have ceased to
demand its return. [applause] We will always demand the return of this
piece of Cuban territory that was taken from us by force.

What we meant then was that the policy of the Cuban revolution could not
support selfish, chauvinistic positions; that Guantanamo was not more
important to the Cuban revolution than is the rest of Latin America,
because the rest of Latin America is our greater fatherland, to which we
will belong tomorrow. [applause]

In this modern world, with modern techniques and modern weapons, Guantanamo
has no strategic value.  The United States is maintaining its base there
simply to show its force, as a means of humiliating our country.  But, of
course, the United States is more concerned over losing hegemony in Latin
America than keeping the Guantanamo base.  "At any moment the United States
could become willing to give up Guantanamo, and this would be all.  But
this is not our position.  We do not want anything to do with selfish
chauvinism.  WE cannot say that our problem has been resolved when we get
back the Guantanamo base if the United States continues to invade Santo
Domingo, to intervene in various ways in the affairs of Latin American
countries, to attack Chile and Peru, to maintain its control of the Panama

These moral matters, these matters of principle, are more important to us
than is the Guantanamo base. [applause] There cannot be an improvement of
relations between Cuba and the United States, therefore, as long as the
United States continues to exercise sovereignty over Latin America, while
it continues to police the rest of this continent.  This is the main
problem, in our opinion.

Our country has problems.  It is suffering an economic blockade.  We could
obtain partial advantages if the blockade ended; but we repeat that our
problems are not the basic ones.  The basic problems are the Latin American
problems.  We have said very clearly regarding the blockade that we do not
refuse dialog, but that we will not talk as long as the blockade continues.
This is clear. let no one beat out his brain to find out what Cuba thinks
of all of this.  We are not interested in receiving any U.S.
representative.  We say quite clearly that we will not discuss anything
with the United States while the blockade continues.  If they want a
dialog, they must unconditionally end the blockage first.

This is the position that we have always maintained, the position we now
defend, the position that we shall always hold fast to, because this is the
only honorable position that our people can maintain. [applause] Another
thing we have said is that whenever we get down to talking we will not be
talking about the problems of Cuba, but about the problems of Latin America
before anything else.  These are the two positions of the Cuban revolution.

The imperialists might be asking by what power will the Cuban revolution
maintain this position.  The Cuban revolution counts on its morale to
defend its position.  It counts on its dignity.  It counts on its ability
to struggle and to wait.  It counts on its ability to recognize the
interests of the future, the universal interests above our own particular
interest. [applause] We will firmly observe this policy and we will wait
all the time necessary.

Our country experienced very hard times which we do not forget: the early
times of the revolution, those of Giron, the October crisis, the past and
present difficulties.  Our people know them very well.  But they also know
they are defending a cause of great historical value, that we are not only
defending the interests of this generation but also of the future
generations of our fatherland. [applause] We are defending not only the
interests of the Cuban people, but also the interests of the other brother
peoples of Latin America. [applause]

In the Bible there was the famous example of the man who sold his
birthright for a plate of lentils.  The Cuban people will never sell their
cause for any plate of lentils. [applause]

Let us say, with full spirit of justice, that this is not a merit that
belongs only to our people.  We form part of the revolutionary world, of a
world that has fought and fights, a world of which Vietnam forms a part;
the Vietnam which waged such an heroic battle against imperialism
[applause] and which has rendered such great services to the human race.

We are the heirs of our own traditions, of course, of the patriotic and
nationalistic traditions of '68 and '95, but we are also heirs of the
international traditions of Marx and Engels, heirs of Lenin's glorious
October Revolution. [applause]

We are now part of these traditions and we find support in them.  We are
part of that force and we find support in it.  Our people deeply feel a
patriotic spirit and love for their own history, mingled with the purest
and most universal of the human race's revolutionary feelings, of the
internationalist feeling based on Marxism-Leninism. [applause]

One day, one day, the OAS said that Marxism-Leninism was incompatible with
the OAS and today, this 1 May, we say the OAS is incompatible with
Marxism-Leninism. [applause]

The OAS is incompatible with the dignity of our peoples.  It is
incompatible with the interests of our peoples.  It is incompatible with
the future of Latin America.

Cuban workers, young Cubans, students, in your hands is a very beautiful
flag.  The combatants of the Moncada--whose 20th anniversary is approaching
[applause]--on this 1 May we say to you, with satisfaction and pride: This
is the flat that the revolution has given to you.  This is the flag of the
Moncada. [applause] Keep it aloft and carry it victoriously. [applause]
Fatherland or death.  We shall win. [applause]