Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Banquet Speech

Hanoi VNA in English 1916 GMT 13 Sep 73 B

[Text] Hanoi VNA September 13--Follows full version of Premier Fidel
Castro's offhand speech at the grand banquet offered here last night by the
Central Committee of the Vietnam Workers Party and the DRV Government in
honour of the Cuban party and government delegation on an official
friendship visit to Vietnam:

Dear Comrades Ton Duc Thang, Le Duan, Truong Chinh and Pham Van Dong,
Dear comrades of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Workers Party,
Dear Vietnamese and Cuban comrades,
Esteemed representatives of the diplomatic corps:

After a very long and very tiring trip, I didn't even have time to write a
short speech. I wish to say a few words to reciprocate the fine words of
Comrade Le Duan.

We have come to your land with our hearts full of affection, admiration,
and solidarity, which [is] hard to describe by words.

Vietnam is a name very dear and very close to the heart of every Cuban.
Vietnam has become an example and an inspiration to us in our struggle. The
Cuban people are deeply conscious of the extraordinary role which the
Vietnamese people have been playing in the world revolutionary movement. In
the struggle for the liberation of the nations, Vietnam has provided for
all the oppressed peoples in the world an unforgettable lesson.

No liberation movement, no nation fighting for independence, has had to
wage such a long and heroic struggle as the Vietnamese people. We should
recall here the difficult and complex circumstances in which the people of
this country began their struggle. In this connection, it is indispensable
to mention the venerable name of President Ho Chi Minh. He has known the
tremendous historic importance and the influence of the glorious October
Revolution. He has assimilated the illuminous thought of Lenin and has
clearly found in Marxism-Leninism the teachings and the path which should
be followed in the search for a solution to all peoples oppressed and
exploited by colonialism. Comrade Ho Chi Minh has combined in a genial way
the struggle for national independence with the struggle for the rights of
the masses oppressed by the feudalists and the other exploiter classes.

He has also found the way of combining the patriotic feelings of the
nations with the necessity to liberate them from social exploitation. The
liberation of the nations and social emancipation are the pillars of his
doctrine. Comrade Ho Chi Minh has also realized that the countries kept in
backwardness by colonialism can make leaps forward in history and build
their economy along the socialist path, thereby avoiding sacrifices and the
horrors of colonialism. He had not only a clear strategic outlook but also
realized the necessity to organize a vanguard party to lead the Vietnamese
people in this struggle. He has given his all for the organization of the
former Communist Party of Indochina, now the Vietnam Workers Party. He has
organized, educated and trained the party in this struggle.

Thanks to this, the Vietnamese people have built their vanguard brigade, a
clear-sighted party which has known how to rally all the progressive forces
among the masses into a broad front and led them to victory. We believe the
the oppressed peoples can find in Comrade Ho Chi Minh's life, his political
thought and his clear strategic and tactical outlook a very abundant source
of knowledge to solve their own problems. Comrade Ho Chi Minh has applied
in a genial way to the specific conditions of Vietnam the immortal
principles of Marxism-Leninism. History has proved that he is right,
because in no other way can a people write such glorious pages of history
as the Vietnamese people have done, by first defeating the French
colonialism and then the U.S. imperialism.

Vietnam is a small and poor country which, however, has defeated [the] two
mightiest reactionary forces in the modern world. This is a great example
set by the Vietnamese nation for the world's peoples. Comrade Ho Chi Minh
also had a very clear vision of the forces of the international
revolutionary movement. Right from the outset he understood that the
Vietnamese revolution is an integral part of these forces. He himself
relied on these forces, and on the solidarity of the international
revolutionary forces, without which no single nation can triumph over the
mighty forces of imperialism in the world today.

That is also one of the wonderful lessons and teachings which the party and
people of Vietnam have provided for the revolutionaries throughout the
world. Comrade Ho Chi Minh was also a very steady defender of the
solidarity and unity of the progressive and revolutionary forces throughout
the world. Comrade Ho Chi Minh understood that all the necessary strength
to defeat the imperialist enemy lies in this unity.

Dear Vietnamese comrades, today we have bee living very moving moments. To
us this meeting with the Vietnamese people is a very great honour. To us,
the manifestations of the affection and friendship shown to our delegation
will be unforgettable memories. In every Vietnamese citizen man and woman,
old and young, and in every child we have met, we have found a hero of the
patriotic resistance, a hero of the struggle for national salvation, who
has created the victory against the imperialist war.

We remember that only several months ago, the Vietnamese people still were
subjected to the most barbarous and most cruel raids by U.S. aircraft. We
are deeply moved at and deeply grateful for this struggle. We feel
boundless admiration for the struggle of the Vietnamese people.

We remember the thousands and thousands of Vietnamese who have laid [down]
their lives for their homeland. We believe that the Vietnamese people have
fought not for Vietnam alone but also for the other nations. They have shed
their blood for us Cuban people. We are deeply grateful to the Vietnamese
who have fallen on the field of honour. The heroic Vietnamese people have
had to face one of the most terrible wares of repression in modern times,
to face the most ferocious neo-colonialists. The U.S. imperialists have
used all their forces, economic, military, political and ideological, in an
attempt to crush the heroic South Vietnamese people. But they have failed
to defeat the heroism of the South Vietnamese people. Neither could they
crush the firm patriotism of the South Vietnamese people, nor achieve their
objectives. Instead, the South Vietnamese people now have their Provisional
Revolutionary Government and a very big part of their national territory
has been liberated.

Our delegation has just attended the Algiers Summit Conference. The the
Cuban delegation had to undertake an arduous struggle against the tendency
to play up non-aligned national against the socialist countries. [as
received] We are very gratified at the success of the conference. We are
glad to say that at this conference Vietnam enjoyed a great solidarity and
that the PRG received a great support. And this meeting of the leaders of
scores of countries has almost unanimously reserved their support for the
PRGRSV. This was an illustration of the great prestige which the people of
South Vietnam are enjoying in the world in their heroic struggle, and a
manifestation of the growing strength of the progressive movement in the
world and the isolation of imperialism. At this conference, many Latin
American countries took part as full members or observers. This is a
reflection of the changes that are taking place in this region of the

In this connection, we must mention here the painful news which Comrade Le
Duan has just broken on the latest events in Chile. We know that U.S.
imperialism has feverishly plotted to overthrow the Popular Unity Coalition
and yesterday's reports from Chile said that the U.S. imperialists had put
down the revolutionary movement of Chile, and that the government of
President Allende had been overthrown. No accurate reports on the fate of
President Allende are available yet. Nobody knows whether he is still alive
or dead. Besides those reports we can inform you that the Cuban Embassy in
Santiago de Chile was attacked yesterday by elements of the Chilean armed
forces. We can also inform you that a Cuban freighter transporting
sugar--the sugar which the Cuban people have voluntarily deducted from
their ration to offer the Chilean people--was attacked on international
waters by aircraft of the Chilean armed forces.

These are odious acts of fascist elements and provocateurs against the
Cuban revolution. The Cuban Embassy has been threatened by a high-ranking
officer of the Chilean armed forces. It must be pointed out that the Cuban
diplomatic representation, far from being scared, has let the enemy know
that they would defend the Cuban Embassy to their last drop of blood. And
the sailors aboard the Cuban freighter named Playa Larga to commemorate the
armed aggression by the mercenary army in 1961, in face of the provocation
by Chilean warships, have shouted "Fatherland or death," and they refused
to obey orders of the warships attacking the Cuban freighter on
international waters.

Our diplomats are ready to sacrifice their lives and our peace-loving
sailors are ready to go down to the bottom of the sea rather than submit to
threats and aggression by the agents of U.S. imperialism.

I have told you of these happenings just to give you an idea of the
reactionary and fascist character of the subversive movements that have
developed in Chile. To be sure the overthrow of the Popular Unity Coalition
government was a reverse for the revolutionary movement. However, with
these moves and these rabid acts of aggression, the imperialists definitely
cannot dam up the development of the revolutionary movement in Latin
America. This act of the U.S. imperialist government is not only directed
at the Chilean people but also at the Revolutionary Government of Peru and
the popular movement government in Argentina and is aimed at isolating
these governments, exerting pressure and realizing their aggressive
schemes. But U.S. imperialism can by no means prevent the insurgent
movements in Latin America.

Dear Comrades, we can assure you that the Cuban revolution has been
completely consolidated and like Vietnam Cuba is an invincible bastion of
the revolutionary movement. It is as invincible as Vietnam because our
revolution is based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, the principles
of proletarian internationalism and international solidarity. Our Cuban
people, relying on our vigorous struggle and international solidarity, have
succeeded in resisting all through the past 14 years the blockage and
aggression by the imperialists.

Even the imperialists have begun to realize that the Cuban revolution can
never by subdued. That is why we can assure the fraternal Vietnamese people
that there, right at the gate of the United States, barely 90 miles away
from the U.S. coast, you have your comrades-in-arms and your

There you have an awakened people, a revolutionary people always standing
by your side. We are a small country, a poor country. Nevertheless, we will
join in the reconstruction of Vietnam. The laboring people and labor
brigades of Cuba will come to Vietnam to take part in rebuilding hospitals,
agricultural and stock breeding centers and communication lines, and other
activities to do its modest share in this work. Our countries are a long
distance apart. But this doesn't matter. While it is daytime there, it is
night time here. That doesn't matter either, because in the domain of
revolutionary thinking, there is only daytime, and the sun always illumines
the revolutionary pursuit of Cuba as well as of Vietnam.

Beloved and unforgettable President Ho Chi Minh has said:

"Our mountains will always be, our rivers will always be, our people will
always be. "The American invaders defeated, we will rebuild our land ten
times more beautiful."

Loyal to the memory of President Ho Chi Minh, we wish to take part in the
reconstruction of Vietnam and make it "ten times more beautiful."

We will always support the heroic people of the Democratic Republic of
Vietnam, and always support the heroic South Vietnamese people. We support
the heroic Lao and Cambodian peoples and we will energetically support the
struggle of the Vietnamese people for the implementation of the Paris
agreement aimed at ending all intervention of U.S. imperialism in the
internal affairs of the Indochinese peoples. We believe that, as President
Ho Chi Minh used to say, "The Vietnamese people will win!"

I propose a toast to the victories of the heroic Vietnamese people, To the
health of Comrades Le Duan, Truong Chinh, Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap
and of all the other comrades in the Political Bureau and the Central
Committee of the glorious Vietnam Workers Party,
To the everlasting solidarity between the Vietnamese and Cuban peoples.