Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech at Quang Binh Rally

Hanoi in Vietnamese to Vietnam 1115 GMT 16 Sep 73 S

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro delivered at a meeting in
Quang Binh to welcome the Cuban delegation during its 14-16 September
visit--recorded in Spanish and translated sentence by sentence into

[Text] Dear Comrade Pham Van Dong; dear comrades representing the Quang
Binh party organization and administration; and dear comrades representing
the Quang Binh Armed Forces and people:

We originally planned to stay longer in Vietnam and had looked forward to
having a relatively long time to visit many places in Vietnam. While en
route to Hanoi, however, we learned of the events which took place in
Chile, that is, the fascist coup staged in Chile against the Popular Unity
Coalition Government. The coup stirred indignation among the world public,
particularly among the Cuban people. For the sake of solidarity with the
Chilean people, because of the present difficulties that have arisen, and
because the coup-instigators have attacked the Cuban Embassy and a Cuban
merchant vessel, we have decided to cut short our visit to Vietnam.
Therefore, our current visit is going to be very short.

It is impossible for us to visit Vietnam without visiting Quang Binh
Province, Vietnam. Quang Binh, Vietnam--both the north and the south--it is
impossible to talk about Vietnam without referring to Quang Binh because
this province itself links the two parts of Vietnam. We encountered many
difficulties when making plans to visit your province. We received reports
about a typhoon approaching the North Vietnam coast. At that time we did
not know if we could come here. Nevertheless, Comrade Pham Van Dong and I
agreed that we must come here, for we were determined to visit Quang Binh
even if a typhoon hit. Comrade Pham Van Dong and I then agreed to visit
Quang Binh prior to the typhoon, so we have arrived here before the typhoon
hit. Therefore, our plan has been completely unchanged, and thanks to this,
we have arrived in this province and fulfilled our objective.

For us, this has been a most valuable trip which has allowed us to meet
you, comrades and friends, and to visit the very site of the Vietnamese
people's heroic struggle. The people in our country profoundly admire and
love the Vietnamese people and have daily and hourly followed the
Vietnamese people's heroic struggle. Nothing is more precious, loving and
intimate to us than the Vietnamese people's heroic (?struggle). We have
also learned that if Vietnam symbolizes the banner of the liberation
struggle and if the Vietnamese people have set for the world a
(?miraculous) example of revolutionary spirit and fighting will and example
of unsurmountable courage and heroism, the people of Quang Binh in Vietnam
serve (?as a model).

You comrades are in a vanguard position of the north, which is also the
rear of the south, as you have just said here. During our trip here, when
we were approaching Dong Hoi, we could see the vestiges of the war by the
bomb craters made by U.S. aircraft. While enroute to Vinh Linh, we could
see the magnitude of the damage and destruction inflicted by the U.S.
imperialists on the people here. The U.S. imperialists have committed
countless crimes, and we could see how cruelly they attacked and destroyed
everything--roads, bridges, the entire communications systems, villages,
cities and towns--and how they destroyed houses, schools and hospitals. We
can visualize the manner in which the U.S. imperialists waged their war of
destruction against the people in Quang Binh Province.

We know that more than 1 million tons of bombs were dropped on this
province. We know that in recent years you had to live underground. No one
could imagine that, with such a large quantity of bombs and shells from
U.S. aircraft and warships, the people in this province could still live
and men could remain in this province. You comrades and friends, scored a
wonderful historic victory. In fact, despite the largest number of bombs
and shells ever used by the imperialists against any nation and despite the
fact that the number of bombs dropped in Quang Binh Province has never
before been used against any other nation in the world, you comrades and
friends have not only continued to live and exist but have also fought,
inflicting serious losses on the aggressor's aircraft and warships and
capturing many pirate pilots. You have fought to protect not only Quang
Binh Province and all of Vietnam but you also defeated the aggressor. You
safeguarded your fatherland and insured production not only in the
ricefields but also in other labor centers.

This was a wonderful exploit, and for this reason you deserve to be
respected and admired by the world public. I have expressed these views not
just to please you, because you do not need to seek praise. I have
expressed these views because our people have witnessed your actions and
have expressed appreciation.

We are living in an atmosphere which you describe as one of victory. The
Vietnamese people won a historic and great victory after fighting for
nearly 30 years. They first struggled against French colonialism. After the
French colonialists' withdrawal, you, comrades and friends, struggled
against U.S. imperialism. The French imperialists and colonialists had to
withdraw from Vietnam nearly 20 years ago. As for the U.S. imperialists,
they had to withdraw from Vietnam a few months ago. In 1954 your country
was artificially divided without a good reason. But the present situation
is quite different, because a large part of South Vietnam has been
liberated. The revolutionary forces are powerful and have a very high
morale in the struggle against a rotten and demoralized puppet regime.
[passage indistinct] They must respect the South Vietnamese people's
democratic freedoms and the liberated areas. If the puppets do not release
the political prisoners and implement the people's democratic freedoms,
they will surely be completely and irretrievably defeated. For this reason,
the puppets and imperialists have sought by every means to sabotage the
implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The world public is obligated to support to its utmost the Vietnamese
people's struggle for the implementation of the Paris agreement. Thus, it
is necessary to make preparations in the political, economic and military
spheres. It is necessary to make preparations and remain vigilant. As long
as the Vietnamese people remain strong in all spheres, the imperialists and
puppets will not dare to invade Vietnam. The imperialists are still present
in South Vietnam, seeking to achieve their neocolonialist goals in this
country. However, one day the imperialists must admit that [words
indistinct] and the puppets cannot hope for a future. Although they are
stubborn, they must realize that they have been defeated.

You are living in a special period. You are devoting all efforts to
rebuilding your communications and transportation network. You are
supporting the liberated areas in South Vietnam which is difficult and
requires great effort. But we are convinced that you will be able to
fulfill your tasks in this new period.

Comrades and friends, you have fulfilled your task during the 8 years of
resistance against the destructive war. During the war, the people of this
province not only firmly maintained their combat and production activities
but also operated the regional schools. We were told that during these
years more than 100,000 children were educated (?well).

The Vietnamese people are now excellent in combat. They are determined to
achieve their objectives and will not retreat in the face of difficulty and
danger. The Vietnamese people know how to overcome all difficulties and
obstacles. Our people offer you, comrades, our complete cooperation to help
you fulfill your task.

Cuba is a small and poor country. However, we are ready to cooperate with
you, comrades, in rebuilding Vietnam. We know that all revolutionary and
progressive peoples in the world have exerted great efforts to help

We all have greatly helped and cooperated with Vietnam. In addition to
developing many projects in many places in Vietnam, we have also [words
indistinct]. This is our cooperation with you, comrades, in (?restoring)
Dong Hoi city. We must truthfully tell you comrades that we do not have a
great deal of experience in accomplishing (?this). We have a number of
talented and qualified engineers and architects and although they are still
in Cuba, they have prepared to (?restore) the cities in the DRV [words
indistinct]. Moreover, the Cuban people have contributed, together with you
comrades, to building (?a hospital in Dong Hoi). We would like to start
this project as soon as possible. We will construct and (?have) provided
all the equipment necessary for a new hospital in Dong Hoi. We will study
the construction of this hospital and cooperate with Quang Binh Province
and Dong Hoi city. A number of Cuban comrades will participate in the
construction of this hospital. We are convinced that you, comrades, will
put forth your greatest efforts.

Comrades and friends, we greatly admire your armed feats and revolutionary
heroism. Therefore, we offer our great cooperation to you, comrades and
friends--the heroic Vietnamese people. Comrades, we feel that we are not
worthy of your thanks [words indistinct]. This is a sacred obligation of
our entire people and all other friendly nations to the Vietnamese people,
and we hope that we will be able to fulfill it. The Vietnamese people have
shed a great deal of their blood [words indistinct]. The Vietnamese people
have had to struggle (?with) their blood [words indistinct]. The Vietnamese
people have had to struggle for their independence.

Dear comrades, the Vietnamese people have defeated the U.S.
imperialists--the most dangerous imperialists in the world and the
ringleader of the imperialists. Comrades, you have had to cope with the
most modern weapons and war tactics and strategies [words indistinct].
Comrades, you have not only served the Vietnamese people's struggle for
independence [words indistinct], but you have also contributed to the
national liberation struggle throughout the world. [words indistinct] The
world must also thank Vietnam and cooperate in rebuilding Vietnam. We
raised this problem at the recent nonalined conference. All revolutionary
and progressive countries are dutybound to cooperate in rebuilding Vietnam.
Therefore, it is natural that we hold special sentiments for Vietnam.

Our people are ready to cooperate with the Vietnamese people and will
cooperate with you comrades as far as our capabilities permit. In doing so,
we will accomplish (?the objective of our undertaking) in the most
elementary international spirit. This is the policy of (?our communist
party) and our people. We are extremely happy to express these feelings of
our people here in Quang Binh Province (?of heroic Vietnam). The world will
have to thank you, comrades, because you have set a great example, because
you have advanced a great lesson, and because you have proved that a brave
and heroic nation, though (?militarily weak), can never (?be defeated in
its revolutionary undertaking).

The U.S. imperialists came to Vietnam with their faces held arrogantly
high, with presumptuous conceit, and with utmost self-confidence. They
thought they could not possibly be defeated.

(?However, they were unprepared for the fact that) they came to Vietnam
from a country (?tens of thousands of miles) away with aggressive intent
only to be driven away with their self-conceit defeated and their
self-confidence shattered. They had to flee from Vietnam (?in shame) and
heavy defeat. They can never forget that a poor people like the
Vietnamese--a people consisting of workers and peasants who have to
struggle strenuously for a living with the sweat of their brows--could
resist their aggression. This proves to the entire world that (?your
people)--young or old, men or women, children or adults, and [words
indistinct]--are capable of fighting against aggression and resisting (?the
United States) in order to defend your beloved fatherland and defend your
just undertaking.

You, comrades, are not the ones who must thank the world, for you have won
the world's admiration. We and the people in other countries are the ones
who must thank you, comrades, for your contributions to mankind. For us,
[words indistinct] is our great pride and we must thank you, comrades, for
this pride.

Our visit is about to end. We are going to return to Hanoi while the
typhoon is still creating its (?destructive) effects, and our plane will
have to leave at an appropriate time. We will have to leave here in a few
minutes. But (?the comrade members) of our delegation leave their hearts
with you, comrades. On leaving Quang Binh, we are deeply (?moved) and take
with us the deepest sentiments and impressions of your struggle and
heroism. We will remember Vietnam forever because of our perpetual
remembrance of Quang Binh. We will forever think of you, comrades, and
forever unite with you.

Some of you here have called on us and expressed the hope that you the sons
of this province, might have an opportunity to visit and become more
closely acquainted with our nation so as to (?constantly strengthen and
solidarity between the two peoples).

Thank you, comrades, for the nice gifts you have presented to us. We thank
you, comrades, for the very beautiful flag and these gifts, and we
especially thank you, comrades, for this lump of soil--the soil of Quang
Binh--which you presented to us. This is a handful of peaceful
soil--saturated with the sweat and blood of a heroic nation. We will take
this handful of soil home and mix it with our Cuban soil so as to make it
resemble our revolutionary thinking and ideals, as well as our hearts,
which always beat in unison and (?are one)