Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Castro Speech

Hanoi VNA in English 1747 GMT 17 Sep 73 B

[Text] Hanoi VNA September 17--Follows the full text of the speech
delivered by Premier Fidel Castro at the grant banquet offered here
yesterday evening by the Cuban party and government delegation in honor of
the Vietnam Workers Party Central Committee and the DRV Government:

Dear President Ton Duc Thang, dear Comrades Le Duan, Truong Chinh, Pham Van
Dong, dear comrades of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the
Vietnam Worker Party, dear Vietnamese and Cuban comrades, distinguished
representatives of the diplomatic corps:

Our delegation has been deeply moved by the impressions we received in
Vietnam. In Vietnam we have seen what we had wished to see from her people
and even more than that. Our talks with the leaders of the party and the
government have clearly manifested the great friendship and great
understanding, mutual confidence and identity of views between our two
parties and governments.

We have met from the people and profound sympathy, which does not come from
courtesy but a sentiment that springs from the solidarity, fraternity and
community of goal [as received] of the struggle of our two peoples. Here,
from very close quarters, we have seen the very brutal war against the
Vietnamese people. On the ground and in the air we could see the effects of
the destruction and just to see them we can realize the full magnitude of
the crimes perpetrated against a heroic people. Just to see them one can
see how, to oppose a small nation which only defends its national rights,
the imperialists have used such an amount of bombs. We have seen
innumerable bomb craters. It is impossible to count al these millions of
craters left in Vietnam by the bombings. They are seen everywhere, on the
rice paddies, in the villages, in the towns, in the plains, the mountain
areas, beside the roads and along the rivers. From the air one could see
that the majority of these combs had been dropped indiscriminately to sow
terror anywhere, in any place, on the Vietnamese territory. In fact, some
places actually looked like moonscapes.

We have the heroic Quang Binh Province where no house, no building, no
construction, no school, no hospital was left standing [sentence as
received]. For long years, the people there had practically to live
underground, and the aftermaths of the war are still visible. Almost every
day people in Vietnam have been killed and have shed blood due to the
bombings. Even yesterday afternoon when our delegation was on its way to
Vinh Linh area we could see on the roadside the Vietnamese, four Vietnamese
laboring people, seriously injured while working on the field. Two of them,
very young girls who appeared to be still in their young teens. were
injured by the explosion of a mine. Millions of such mines still lay
scattered on Vietnamese ricefields and the people have to work and earn
their living and carry out their tasks under the threat of the millions of
bombs still strewing Vietnamese fields. Our doctors yesterday had to give
first aid to these friendly laboring people.

How can those crimes be justified? How can they justify such a dropping of
lethal mines on the fields of Vietnam, at places which, from whatever angle
and in whatever aspect, could not be militant targets? This can be
justified by no military pretext and this we could see during out short
stay in Vietnam.

But we have also seen admirable and marvelous things as we did in Quang
Binh Province. It the Vietnamese territory has received more bombs than any
other part of the world, then Quang Binh has for 8 consecutive years
received more bombs than any other part of Vietnam. For all this, its
morale has never collapsed. The youth and old people and even children,
have taken to arms to defend their native land. They worked on the rice
fields and carried on production.

The people of Quang Binh have presented our delegation with one of the most
valuable gifts. They have given us a clod of earth of Quang Binh earth that
has been soaked with so much sweat and blood from a very heroic people. We
are impressed by their indestructible solidarity, their valour, their
heroism, their revolutionary consciousness, their internationalism, their
fortitude and their ardent patriotism, their combat ardour and labor zeal.
Comrade Ho Chi Minh has said: "The root makes the tree stand firm, and the
root of victory lies in the people."

Only my making acquaintance with the Vietnamese people can one understand
their victory over imperialism, understand why such a small and poor people
has been able to resist then defeat the imperialist aggression with all its
military, technological and economic potential. Only a nation which defends
its very just cause, its freedom and its most sacred rights, a nation
endowed with ardent patriotism and extraordinary revolutionary spirit, can
achieve such marvelous historic exploits.

In the Vietnamese people, we have seen the education of a revolutionary
party and the deep impressions left in the heart and mind of the Vietnamese
people by the teachings of Comrade Ho Chi Minh.

Dear comrades, you are making great endeavors to fulfill difficult tasks of
reconstruction. Here we reiterate to you that our people will cooperate
with Vietnam within the limit of our capacity in this work. [You] won't
have to thank us for this cooperation. We instead must for every thank you
for the contributions you have made to the whole world, for the
extraordinary contributions you have made to the revolutionary movement by
resisting and defeating the U.S. imperialist aggression. Today, U.S.
imperialism no longer behaves as arrogantly as a few years ago. Not it have
come to realize that it cannot crush the will of a revolutionary people.
The U. S. imperialists have come to Vietnam with head erect and
self-conceit. They had to quite demoralized and with heads bent. The world,
and the Cuban people as part of the world, will forever be grateful for
these contributions and deem it an honor to join in the reconstruction of
the life and economy of his heroic people.

We have not only visited the DRV but also the Provisional Revolutionary
Government of The Republic of South Vietnam in the liberated zone of south
Vietnam. We have crossed the border of the free land at the 17th parallel,
where on either side of the Ben Hai River, we have observed that the
Vietnamese people are exactly the same in every aspect. Either north or
south of Ben Hai River, they are exactly the same people: Their land, their
life and their customs are completely the same. So are their language and
their mind. There we could see that partition of this country is an
absurdity and the division of this country is a criminal and unjust thing.
We remember that President Ho Chi Minh has said: "Rivers may dry up and
mountains wear out, but the truth that Vietnam is only one will never

Our delegation drove along Highway One in the free territory and we crossed
the famous McNamara "electronic barrier." We have visited the heavily
defended positions of the Doc Mieu stronghold which the armed forces of
Quang Tri had captured, and visited many other positions within this
defense perimeter. We proceeded to Dong Ha town along the well-known
Highway 9 now completely in the hand of the PRGRSV. Then, we went to the
cluster of fortifications west of Dong Ha, where we came to the famous Hill

There, on the terrain, we could realize the big victories of the People's
Liberation Armed Force. Within a few days this position was attacked and
captured, a real military exploit hard to imagine in view of the bombings
by the USAF. There we could appreciate the extraordinary fighting capacity
of the revolution, and right on Hill 241 we attended a mass meeting with
the representatives of the Liberation forces and the people of Quang Tri.
We could see the high spirit of the combatants of the liberation armed
forces and people. At Cam Lo, we met the representatives of the PRG and the
leaders of the National Front for Liberation. We saw the atmosphere of
peace and order reigning in this region. There people were working, the
fields were being cultivated and lands were being reclaimed even with

During this visit we could size up the marvelous victory of the Vietnamese
people which was the signing of the Paris agreement and we have also
clearly seen that the refusal to recognize the existence of two armies, two
zones and two government in South Vietnam is an absurdity. We did not see
the troops of the mercenary army, but we met an army of revolutionaries. It
is really a revolutionary army, real combatants and there were dozens and
dozens of wonderful heroes. We had extensive talks with these men and we
saw that such men could never be conquered.

This moral and honor of the revolutionary combatants has imparted to use
the absolute confidence that the just cause of defending the sacred
interests of the Vietnamese people will triumph. Never can the enemy, a
group of mercenaries and traitors, have such a morale. That is why this
agreement constitutes a victory of great significance which all the nations
and world public opinion must support with all their strength. We must
demand the implementation of the agreement, demand the respect for the
liberated zone, the return of political prisoners and the restoration of
the democratic freedoms of the South Vietnamese people. The scrupulous
implementation of the Paris agreement will meet the legitimate requirements
of the Vietnamese people.

Lastly, I want to speak of the events taking place in the past few days
that have deeply moved us. That is the fascist and criminal coup d'etat in
Chile. These events began when we were on our way to Vietnam. Later we
received abundant information and painfully heard confirmed reports of the
death of President Allende. The fascists have carrier out the coup and
President Allende is dead. The whole world knows the U.S. imperialism had
plotted against Chile, the world has known the measures of economic
blockade against this country and now U.S. imperialism tries to pretend
innocence in this coup. While the imperialists conducted economic blockade
against Chile, they continued to maintain close relations with the Chilean
armed forces. While refusing all loans to the Chilean Government, relying
on their influence in various international organizations, they sent
weapons to the Chilean armed forces. The activities of the CIA against
Chile are only too obvious. How can the U.S. imperialists pretend innocence
in the coup which they have themselves carrier out? The military fascist
coup against the government of the Popular Unity Coalition if first of all
an act of U.S. imperialism. The Chilean people are being repressed.
Hundreds of workers have been summarily executed as is customary with the
fascists, agents of imperialism in all parts of the world, They have
perpetuated all sorts of crimes against the people. Their attacks on the
Cuban Embassy and the completely unarmed Cuban freighter Playa Larga came
as no surprise. That the fascists attack Cuba and sever relations with Cuba
is logical because they know that Cuba is the symbol of the victorious
socialist revolution in Latin America.

However, we know that this defeat of the Chilean people is only temporary.
We understand very clearly the Chilean people, the workers, the peasants,
the youth of this country, and we are confident that the Chilean people
will never submit to the fascists. The Chilean people will square accounts
with the traitors. Here, from the heroic land of Vietnam, we wish to
express our profound respect for President Allende, for his loyalty to the
cause of his people, for the courage in materializing his words before his
death, "Rather die than give in to the fascists."

We wish to express our respect for the heroic death of President Allende.
He has devoted his life to the defense of his Chilean people. President
Allende has won a place of honor among the great martyrs of the
revolutionary cause in America and his name will for ever remain in the
memory of all the revolutionaries.

Dear Vietnamese brother, out two revolutions, the Vietnamese revolutionary
and the Cuban revolution, one in Southeast Asia and the other in America
are two evens of historic significance and a great contribution to the
cause of revolution in the world.

Relying on the strength of international revolution and especially on the
fraternal countries in the socialist camp, our two revolutions are
victoriously surging forward.

We are completely confidence that our two nations, are two parties will
unite closely and march forward together like comrades fighting against the
common enemy--U.S. imperialism. We are boundlessly confident in the total
victory of our two people.

Our party and people will always remain loyal and unite with the cause of
the people of Vietnam. We have come to this heroic land with great
admiration for the Vietnamese people and we are leaving with still greater

We feel greatly inspired by the victory and marvellous example of the
Vietnamese people. We are deeply thankful for the hospitality and the
affection that have been reserved for us. We are leaving with the sole
regret not to be able to come before September 3, 1969, and have the
opportunity and the great privilege to directly meet President Ho Chi Minh
whom we hold in great esteem. But we have seen and made acquaintance with
the Vietnamese people and seen his teachings, his work, his education, his
example, his revolutionary heroism, his modesty reflected in the Vietnamese
people. President Ho Chi Minh has been profoundly conscious of the moral
values of the Vietnamese people and has always been proud of his people.

Allow me to assure you that we Cuban revolutionaries also feel very proud
of the Vietnamese people. I ask you to join me in proposing a toast to the
Vietnamese people, to their extraordinary exploits, the the marvellous
party of the Vietnamese people, to the health of the Vietnamese leaders and
to the everlasting solidarity and friendship between our