Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1130 GMT 5 Dec 73 F

[Summary of proceedings of 3 December ceremony to promote FAR officers to
new ranks]

[Text] Our commander in chief Fidel Castro chaired the ceremony held on 3
December at General Staff headquarters to promote the FAR minister, vice
ministers, army commanders and other high officers to the newly created
military ranks. The FAR minister was promoted to the rank of division
commander and other officers were promoted to the ranks of brigade
commanders and first commanders. This promotion was carried out in
accordance with Law No 1257 which was recently adopted by the Council of
Ministers. In one of its articles, the law states that due to the level of
efficiency in combat, political and organizational training attained by our
FAR, as well as the skill needed for the operation of the equipment that
they now have, it becomes necessary to have an adequate hierarchial
structure. Law No 1257 establishes 3 groups of officer ranks in the
FAR--subordinate officers, first officers and superior officers.

In a speech delivered by our commander in chief during the ceremony, he
pointed out that over the years that have elapsed since the triumph of the
revolution the unalterable, victorious progress of the revolution has been
clearly demonstrated. He said: The revolution is becoming more mature and
we are also. Elsewhere in his speech, Fidel stressed: Our FAR have always
been characterized by the simplicity of their uniforms and ranks, and
today's ceremony makes me recall the time when we were first confronted
with the task of creating and assigning military ranks. But, at the time,
we did not even have the education, the experience that we now have in
military affairs. Our small group of 82 men had only one major and three
captains then. But that notwithstanding, we had to assign ourselves ranks a
priori since we had to create a military structure in view of our
preparations for war.

Our commander in chief explained that at that time no one could imagine the
care and analysis required to give an adequate hierarchy and structure to
those developing armed forces. He recalled that throughout the war very few
promotions were given. They were made at the same rate that military needs
required it. After the triumph of the revolution, the armed forces
logically grew in size and they faced more complex tasks with a much more
powerful enemy. Our commander in chief said that our armed forces were
forced to develop consistently due to enemy activities--sabotage,
subversive and counter- revolutionary activities, piratical attacks,
mercenary invasions like the one at Giron, and threats of direct aggression
in several instances, including the October crisis.

He pointed out that in spite of it all our traditions were maintained, that
is, the same ranks were established when the rebel army was founded. He
added: Some efforts were made later on to reconcile the categories and
ranks with the size of our armed forces, and much later it became more
evident that we would be forced to adopt the insignia and categories
corresponding to the size of those forces. In addressing the promoted
officers, Fidel stressed: [recorded] "In making these promotions today, our
party, our government, our FAR have considered the personal efforts, merits
and skills of each of you."

After stressing that this simple ceremony constituted a characteristic of
the history of the past years, our commander in chief added: As you all
passed in front of me, each of you officers that received his insignia here
beginning with Comrade Raul, comrade in the Moncada assault and aboard the
yacht Granma, we recalled, one at a time, all the events of the
revolution's history beginning with the Granma, the Sierra Maestra
Mountains, the difficult days when Comrade Guillermo helped us gather the
weapons after the initial setbacks, and later on that long history with
each and every one of the new recruits, with each and every one of the
battles, with each and every one of the efforts, sacrifices and feats of
our small army.

[Recorded] "There is no single important battle in the Sierra Maestra
Mountains. In the second front, that has not been represented her today.
Practically speaking, there is no single event absent. Present here are the
campaigns of the mountains, of the valleys and the glorious invasions of
Camilo's and Che's columns. But, the actions of the first phase of our
revolutionary struggle are not the only ones present here. Each and every
one of the efforts of all these years have been present. The fights against
the mercenary outlaws in the Escambray region, in Pinar del Rio, in
Matanzas, in Camaguey, in Oriente and in all provinces have been present
here. The mobilizations in the first few years when the militias were
created at the time that our armed forces were expanding have also been
present here. The glorious battles at Giron have also been here. The fight
against the pirates, the struggle against threats and aggressions have been

Elsewhere he said: [recorded] "This demonstrates the honor, the
righteousness, the spirit of justice that has prevailed in the armed forces
of our revolution. After a long road, in which many gave their lives and
their blood, beginning with those who fell at the Moncada Barracks, during
the Granma landing or after, even those comrades who have fallen fulfilling
their duties inside the country or in other lands...[recording interrupted
by announcer]"

He said that those great comrades were similar to the seed of our army, of
today's accomplishments, and that their blood was the fertilizer that
nourished that long road. Those who have come so far, and those who have
received this recognition have attained it because they have fulfilled
their duties over a period of many years, because they have been tenacious,
because they have been steadfast, because they have been loyal, because
they have been capable.

In referring to the FAR, the commander in chief said: During the past few
years, our armed forces have become very strong, highly trained,
well-qualified, very proficient to the extent that they are the pride of
our party and our people, namely, of our revolution. This is due to the
manner in which they have worked, their efficiency, their modesty, that
modesty that we should never abandon no matter what the symbols, uniforms
and ranks are. Because, there is a symbol that has a greater value than the
rest and that is the respect, the love, the recognition that the people
have for us. I mean that recognition that is better gained by the degree of
simplicity and modesty that man has in his everyday life, in the
fulfillment of his duties. This is the more sacred part of our tradition
that we should zealously preserve. In assigning you these ranks in the name
of our party, our government, our FAR, we wish to congratulate you from the
bottom of our hearts and, at the same time, urge you to continue to improve
yourselves, to make greater efforts, to fulfill your duties every day and
in an increasingly better manner.

In closing, our commander in chief pointed out that future generations of
officers and troops must be educated in the traditions of struggle of our
FAR. He then concluded his speech by saying: Together with the task of
improving the operational, combat and political training and the efficiency
of our armed forces, your most important mission will be to mold those new
troops and officers in those moral principles.