Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1130 GMT 14 Jan 74 F

[Text] Our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro yesterday met and held talks
with outstanding commanders and officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces
[FAR] at the Ambassadors Hall of the Havana Libre Hotel. During the talks
the commander in chief gave a broad account of the history of our FAR
forces and the outstanding attitude of its members throughout the
revolutionary process.

The 167 FAR commanders and officers have enjoyed an extensive program of
activities in this capital after having been officially received in a
ceremony chaired by Brig Cdr Zenen Casas Regueiro, vice minister-chief of
the general staff. The program of activities consisted of visits to centers
of military training, education, production, historical interest and
recreation and also included meetings with political and mass organization.
Likewise, the outstanding commanders and officers of the FAR forces for
1973 received the corresponding medals in a ceremony chaired by Div Cdr
Raul Castro Ruz, minister of the FAR. The 167 1973 FAR outstanding
commanders and officers--161 men and 6 women--today will return to their
respective units, where they will report on their experiences during visits
paid to the different centers where they learned firsthand of the work
being developed and the gains made.

"It is of great satisfaction to me to recall the history of the FAR forces
and meet with a group of the most outstanding, the best and most
self-denying members of the armed forces," stated out Commander in Chief
Fidel Castro during the emotional meeting with the 1973 FAR outstanding
commanders and offices, which was held at the Ambassadors Hall of the
Havana Libre Hotel. During the dialog, which lasted almost 3 hours,
Commander in chief Fidel Castro pointed out: [recorded voice of Premier
Castro] "All the comrades of the FAR Ministry, the general staff, the
minister and the Political Directorate are really happy, gratified in being
able to make this selection of outstanding commanders and officers of the
FAR forces. They are really proud of being able to present a group such as
this. I also know that they have made all kinds of efforts in preparing the
program of activities for you in order to express what they fell, their
recognition, their high opinion and their high rating of you."

Fidel said that we began to learn what being an outstanding man means a
long time ago. He also referred to the conditions in which the combatants
were trained during the clandestine struggle. He said: [recorded voice of
Premier Castro] "Those were difficult conditions, but there were men that
began to stand out due to their responsible attitude, their determination,
their discipline. Those were the outstanding comrades." He recalled the
training process that was undergone prior to the assault on the Moncada
Barracks, the difficulties confronted by the Granma expeditionaries until
becoming excellent marksmen.

Later on, he recounted anecdotes of the revolutionary war against the
tyranny. He said that in all actions, under all circumstances, wherever
there is a human society, some men always stand out over the rest. And he
added: [recorded voice of Premier Castro] "They stand out because they work
the hardest and most persistently. They are the most active, the most
determined, the most disciplined, the most responsible and the best
comrades. And superb and extraordinary men emerge. [words indistinct] Those
men in any circumstances, no matter how difficult they were, always stood
out. That appears to be a human law. Some men are forged of a given
personality, with a given awareness. Logically, a very politicized army
could be said to be an outstanding army in general. This can be
demonstrated by our armed forces due to the great number of party and union
of young communist militants in it. But, even within that vanguard, there
are always those who stand out. And that is why, as the comrades were
telling us, you were considered the vanguard of vanguard."

Our commander in chief referred to such actions as the Jigue Battle, the
defeat of the tyranny's offensive, the counteroffensive launched by the
rebel army, the victories attained and the resulting demoralization of
Batista's forces. He pointed out the boldness, the courage and the audacity
of the rebel combatants and the significance that such actions as the
occupation of Guisa, Palma Soriano and the preparations for the capture of
Santiago de Cuba had. All these together with the fighting at the rest of
the fronts resulted in the end of the war, which concluded with the flight
of the tyrant. Fidel stressed that throughout the history there were always
outstanding men. He pointed out that the self-denial, discipline, courage
and determination of the men who assaulted the Moncada Barracks and of
those who came aboard the Granma and fought in the insurrection, make up
the tradition of the FAR forces and that this is what has given great
strength to our revolution.

During his meeting with outstanding commanders and officers of the FAR, our
commander in chief said: [recorded voice of Premier Castro] "We wish to
really express our congratulations from the bottom of our hearts. I hope
that this recognition, the honors that have been conferred upon you, may be
an encouragement, an inducement, and that they may give you strength to
continue being as you have been so far, and that you may continue to be
even better than you have been so far. May you continue to be an example
for the rest of the comrades. They will follow your example. May all the
members of the FAR forces try to imitate your example. May you be as our
initial nucleus. May that nucleus of which you are part force the rest to
have a superior conduct, a superior behavior. May you be as seed so that
there may be tens of thousands similar to you in the future. May all the
armed forces be like you."

Later on, in addressing our commander in chief, 1st Lt Lazaro Cruz of the
Western Army emotionally said: [recorded voice of Lieutenant Cruz] "I would
like to say that you have given us your personal example, and this is what
has made possible for us to become outstanding members, that is, your
example in all tasks, in all matters of the revolution." [applause]

In response to the moving statement of the FAR vanguard member, Fidel said:
[recorded voice of Premier Castro] "Our desire is that each and every
revolutionary generation always be better than the previous one, and that
you, even though the revolution inspired you and you emerged during the
revolution, be better than all of us. May those who come after you be
better than you. That is all."