Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Radio/Television Services in Spanish 2210 GMT 29 Jan 74 F/C

[Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro, first secretary of the PCC Central
Committee, at a mass rally held on 29 January at the Plaza de La Revolucion
in Havana to welcome CPSU General Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev--live]

[Text] Beloved Comrade Leonid Ilich Brezhnev, general secretary of the CPSU
Central Committee, [applause] Beloved leaders of the USSR party and
government accompanying Comrade Brezhnev, [applause] Beloved comrades of
the PCC Central Committee and the Revolutionary Government of Cuba,
[applause] Beloved compatriots: [applause]

Our people are assembling in gigantic and enthusiastic throngs to express
to you, Comrade Brezhnev, and the leaders of the USSR party and government
accompanying you, our feelings of friendship, love and affection for the
great Soviet nation and for the heroic party which under the leadership of
immortal Lenin [applause] carried out the first socialist revolution in the
history of humanity.

At the same time, it is a demonstration of the joy and honor that your
visit represents for our people. This event constitutes an historic and
unforgettable event in the life of our fatherland and for the excellent and
exemplary relations that are developing between our two nations. You arrive
in our land when the Cuban Revolution has just commemorated 15 years of
existence and, on the date of your arrival, the 121st anniversary of the
birthday of the apostle of our independence [applause]--whose marble statue
symbolizing his glorious life devoted to dignifying man presides over the
events in this plaza--is being commemorated.

This is the first opportunity for the general secretary of the glorious
CPSU to visit Cuba. It is also the first time in which a nation of the
Latin American community has had the opportunity to receive such an
illustrious revolutionary visitor. [applause] That this meeting is possible
is the result of the determined and tenacious action of our revolutionary
people and of the exemplary solidarity with which, during crucial moments
of our struggle, the great fatherland of Lenin offered its fraternal and
generous hand. [applause]

Men exist in the world who do not know or understand what solidarity means
when mortal dangers threaten the life of a whole nation, when the struggle
and sacrifices of whole generations are on the brink of being lost, when
the dark future of slavery and death are real alternatives to a legitimate
hope for freedom and peace. Others might exist who ignore--because they
have never struggled nor have known any other but theoretical and ideal
forms of revolution--what a people can do in its determination to create a
new world and what a feeling of gratitude is. But the Cubans who do know
about those realities will never be disloyal or ungrateful. [applause]

Our fatherland has a short history, but is rich in experience, heroism and
revolutionary struggles. It has been more than 100 years since our
forefathers took up arms to shake off the Spanish colonial yoke. For nearly
30 years, they fought without truce or rest with only the strength of a
small unarmed nation against one of the then most powerful European
colonial armies. Hundreds of thousands of the country's sons shed their
blood on the glorious path of freedom and left to future generations an
immortal legacy of integrity and patriotism. But the culmination of their
heroic struggles coincided with the arrival of the imperialist system into
the world, which Lenin described so accurately.

The powerful capitalist nation of North America, which by then was
beginning to look as an imperial power at the end of the last century,
intervened in the Cuban war of liberation, dispossessed Spain of many
possessions and militarily occupied our fatherland. Over the sea of blood
that was shed, from a Spanish colony we became Yankee property. The natural
resources, the lands of superior quality, the banks, public services,
foreign trade and the growing industries went to foreign hands. The
economic, political and cultural life of the country was totally dominated
by the United States. The right to intervene in Cuba--in accordance with
the law of the constitution--was humiliatingly imposed and a piece of our
territory in the magnificent Guantanamo Bay was transformed into a military
and naval base ever since then.

Unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, latifundium, prostitution, gambling,
medicancy, public corruption and cruel exploitation were the bitter fruits
of the neocolonial system. There were puppet regimes which many times were
blood thirsty and served as meek tools for the exploiters. A people had not
been sacrificed in epic strife for this.

But with the imperialist neocolonialist exploitation, our working class was
also born. That class, together with the peasantry and the students, held
on high the fighting spirit, and in most advanced nuclei, it became the
bearer of the proletariat's revolutionary ideas.

The echoes of the October Revolution also reached our fatherland like a ray
of hope for the humble and exploited. Shortly thereafter the first
Marxist-Leninist party of Cuba was born. The Soviet people [applause], the
Soviet people had just begun their glorious history. they had yet to shed
much blood and sweat to confront the foreign invasion and the fierce
imperialist blockade to develop, amid very trying circumstances of poverty
and isolation, the material-technical base of socialism. Finally, they had
to smash the criminal fascist aggression, before--thanks to their heroic
endeavor and the sacrificing of 20 million of their best sons--the
socialist camp could emerge and the extraordinary conditions could be
created that made possible the liquidation of the colonial system and the
liberation of tens of nations in the world scene. [applause]

In Cuba, despite the fact the imperialists had invested more capital in our
country than in other Latin American countries, dominating all fields more
than in any other country of this continent, the heroic fighting traditions
of our people were not dead. Nor, was Marti's decorous path forgotten. Nor
did the persecuted, slandered and proscribed revolutionary ideas of Marx,
Engels and Lenin [applause] cease to have their irresistible force of
attraction and extraordinary value, as ideological weapons, for
interpreting reality and inspiring the action of the revolutionaries.

Once again their sons were capable of taking the bitter path of freedom at
the opportune time. And when 4 decades of the victorious October had barely
transpired, the bourgeois and pro-imperialist state was wiped out in Cuba.
For the first time in history, our people became the genuine masters of
their destinies. [applause]

Nevertheless, when the Cuban Revolution emerged triumphant in 1959, very
few people in the world gave it a chance for survival. As occurred with the
October Revolution in its time, many predicted that the Cuban people could
not resist the overwhelming economic, political and, in the final instance,
the military power of imperialism. In the judgement of those who dominated
this continent, no Latin American state could have the right to eradicate
the hateful system of capitalist exploitation and establish socialism.

Of course, imperialism repeatedly underestimated our people. It
underestimated them when, during the armed struggle against the tyranny, it
believed it could hold back the revolution by means of a coup d'etat that
would replace Batista with another ruling clique. Imperialism
underestimated the people when, in the great ideological political struggle
waged after the triumph, it imagined that the masses, misguided and
confused by anticommunism, would turn against the revolutionary power. It
underestimated the people when it entertained the absolute certainty that
the Giron mercenary expedition--like in Guatemala--would crush the
revolution. And imperialism underestimated again when it scorned the
capacity, valor and dignity of our people to carry forth its just,
revolutionary struggle. [prolonged applause] Imperialism particularly
underestimated the historic period in which the Cuban revolutionary process
was taking place and the great changes that were transpiring in the world
correlation of forces.

The economic weapon is one of the most powerful weapons which imperialism
undoubtedly possessed vis-a-vis the small impoverished country that lacked
energy resources and essential raw materials, the country which it had kept
under exploitation and underdeveloped and whose foreign trade was entirely
dependent on the U.S. market and supplies. And imperialism did not hesitate
in using that weapon against our people. When they abruptly cut off fuel
supplies from our people, that was a harsh blow against the revolution. It
was then when the Soviet Union, from thousands and thousands of miles away
[applause] came to the assistance of our people. Making a notable effort,
the Soviet Union provided us with the petroleum we could not have obtained
from other sources in the world that were all controlled by the U.S.
monopolist enterprises at the time.

The second crushing blow thrust against our country's economy was the
cutting off of the U.S. market for Cuban sugar--a market that had been
formed over more than 100 years ago for the fundamental and sole production
that the Spanish colonialists and Yankee imperialists had developed in

That cruel, unjust, haughty measure, the purpose of which was to defeat our
people by starvation, gave rise to a new, unforgettable gesture from the
Soviet Union, [applause] the decision to acquire the sugar that was cut off
from the U.S. market. The cutting off of the Cuban sugar quota also put the
United States in a position to buy, by redistributing the quota among other
countries of this hemisphere, the shameful complicity of many Latin
American governments, employing that repugnant political crime.

However, every economic aggression measure of imperialism was followed by a
solidarity action of the sister Soviet people--to the stopping of
foodstuffs, raw materials, machinery and lastly by supplying foodstuffs,
raw materials, machinery and economic support for Cuba. [applause] In this
manner, with great firmness, Lenin's Communist Party, the state and the
people, [applause] forged in the heat of the glorious October Revolution,
[applause] helped the first socialist revolution in this continent to
survive in the face of the mortal blows dealt against its economy by

In the arsenal of imperialist measures, military aggression was still in
store. At the time our people lacked adequate arms to resist. The
capitalist markets were unanimously closed under North American pressure.

We all recall that the freighter La Couvre, which was loaded with the very
few arms we were able to purchase in Belgium, was sabotaged at the point of
embarkation and exploded in the port of Havana killing more than 100
workers and soldiers. It was then that the military supplies of the
socialist camp--and mainly of the USSR--were the only ones that our
fatherland were able to obtain in those critical moments of life or death
for the revolution. [applause] With them came also the first technicians
who taught us how to use those arms.

When the North American manufactured aircraft, tanks and cannons began the
attack in Giron, the tanks, cannons and antiaircraft artillery of
Czechoslovak and Soviet origin [applause] entered the action against them,
together with the old arms that we had. They were held in the vigorous arms
of our workers, peasants and soldiers and crushed the mercenary invasion in
less than 72 hours. After Giron, the persistent imperialist empire, in
trying to resolve the Cuban issue with arms, originated the October crisis,
in which the U.S. Government, after bringing the world to the edge of a
nuclear catastrophe, was forced to accept the commitment of not invading
Cuba, which, joined with the firm attitude and the determined support of
the USSR, constituted an important guarantee for the security of the
country. [applause]

Today our fatherland also possesses armed forces magnificently equipped
with arms from the USSR, which that great country, taking into
consideration the high cost involved and the peculiar economic
circumstances of Cuba, has supplied to us totally gratuitously. [applause]
Together with the arms, Soviet specialists, who gained their unsurpassable
experience in the heroic battles of the great fatherland war, have given us
the military know-how which makes our revolutionary armed forces, made up
of the people, an invincible bulwark of socialism in this continent.

The fraternal collaboration of the Soviet Union continued to develop later
on all fronts. Thousands of technicians specializing in the most diverse
branches of the economy have selflessly worked together with us for nearly
15 years. Today, with the collaboration of the USSR, development programs
are being carried out in areas as important as electricity, nickel,
petroleum and its byproducts, automotive repair shops, textile industry,
can mechanization, renovation and expansion of the sugar industry, port
installations, reconstruction and modernization of the railroads,
construction of roads and dams, irrigation and drainage systems, geological
prospecting, communications in general, education supplies, electronic
computer systems, mechanical and steel industries, fishing ports, airports
and so forth. [applause]

The USSR has granted trade stipulations and long-term credits to our people
which constitute a true standard of relations between a great industrial
country and a small nation which is struggling for its development without
essential natural resources under conditions of the rigid nearly
15-year-old imperialist blockade. The Soviet Union, a socialist and
profoundly internationalist country, [applause] does not own a single mine,
a hectare of land, a factory, a public service, a transportation line, a
bank or a business firm in our country. It has not invested a single penny
in Cuba in order to seek dividends. [applause]

There is not one single Cuban working for a Soviet-owned enterprise.
[applause] Thus, there is the indisputable fact of the profound and abysmal
difference between the internationalist relations of socialist Cuba with
the Soviet Union and the historic relations known by our people as a
Spanish colony first and as a Yankee neocolony later, against which they
fought so tenaciously and selflessly over a period of nearly a century.

Together with the imperialist chains, our people eradicated all
exploitation of man by man. [applause] Today, each Cuban worker toils and
produces for his own benefit and that of the community. A new collectivist,
fraternal and solidarity soul has been forged in the sons of the
revolutionary fatherland and, with that, something consubstantial to all
communist awareness, a profound internationalist spirit. [applause] These
new human values give the Cuban nation a superior moral dimension. The fact
that this has been possible in a nation of this continent reflects a hope
in the future that man can conquer on the roads that were opened by the
shining October Revolution. [applause]

Our country is also moving forward in the material order without excessive
ambitions, which would neither be consistent with our natural and technical
resources, nor with the realities of a world which to a large part
confronts and will continue to confront difficult problems of subsistence.
Our consumer standards do not have to be similar to those of developed
capitalist societies built on exploitation, anarchy and economic
squandering with total disregard for moral and human values. If the
material needs of the human being ought to should have a rational limit
adjusted to the natural and technical resources and to the elementary
conservation of the biological environment, there remains, in exchange, the
unlimited field of his spiritual enrichment and the quality of his life,
which was never taken into account in the maddening, selfish, mercantile,
and ravishing vertigo of the capitalist societies. [applause]

Together with the material progress that we are gaining little by little,
we feel proud of the gigantic social progress made by our people during the
past few years of revolution. Not one nation in this continent has attained
the results gained already by our people in such vital matters as public
health. [applause] The child mortality rate has been reduced to 28 per
1,000, the lowest of all Latin American countries. [applause] Life
expectancy, which prior to the revolution did not reach 54 years of age, is
now nearing 70. [applause]

Not one nation of Latin America enjoys the levels of public education
attained by our people. All our children attend school. Promotions increase
year after year and wave after waves of youths on a massive scale enter
intermediate level education, where in growing numbers of splendid schools
the communist principle of combining study and work constitutes the main
pillar in the education of our youths. [applause]

Our adult population studies and improves itself constantly.

Our adult population studies and improves itself in ever-increasing
numbers. New generations, possessing a higher culture, advance with a firm
step amid Cuban society. [applause] A new dignity born of social justice
and true equality among all human beings within a climate where the best
abilities and sentiments have really possibilities is being breathed in
Cuba's revolutionary atmosphere. In Latin America, other nations besides
Cuba, notably including the sister republic of Peru, [applause] are making
efforts to recover their natural resources, to develop their economies on
firm bases and to achieve full independence. A national awareness and a
progressive policy are making headway in this continent.

The criminal overthrow of Salvador Allende's Government in Chile [applause]
and the reactionary coup in Uruguay--two countries which were formerly
characterized and cited as examples of bourgeois political
institutionalism--are proof that the reactionary classes cannot halt the
popular movement and remain in power unless it is with the most brutal use
of force. Brazil, Chile and Uruguay are ruled by typical Nazi methods in
which torture and crime are used in a refined and systematic manner.

But no social regime can depend on torture and crime to remain indefinitely
in power. Historically these government methods are anachronisms which
sooner or later will be swept out by the people. [applause]

In spite of the strong imperialist pressures and of the efforts of the
discredited Organization of American States, Cuba already has diplomatic
and friendly relations with eight countries in this hemisphere--Canada,
Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad-Tobago and Guyana.

The economic blockade did not bring us to our knees, but it will on the
other hand remain as an indelible and shameful stain on the history of the
United States. [applause]

On the international scene, the capitalist societies developed with their
wasteful economies and irrational use of luxuries. Their wealth has grown
in relation to the unfair trade with the underdeveloped countries, and they
have created the conditions for the acute economic problems which confront
the world today. Added to the great injuries wrought on humanity by
capitalism in the past--the direct exploitation of colonies and dependent
countries, the imperialist wars for the partitioning of the world and their
sequel of mass murder, destruction and the underdevelopment and poverty
affecting a number of countries--there is now the irrational and unlimited
squandering of man's natural resources. Until recently we were greatly
concerned because the air and water were being contaminated. The world now
has the critical energy problem and the possible scarcity of many other
natural resources before man has developed substitutes for them.

The developing countries with more than 70 percent of th world's population
give the developed capitalist world: 60 percent of its petroleum, 50
percent of its copper, iron, lead, sulphur and zinc, 80 percent of its
bauxite, and 33 percent of its nickel, yet they consume only 10 percent of
the world's production of these products.

The population of the world grows at a rate that will reach 7 billion
inhabitants during the next 25 years. Today hundreds of millions of human
beings are underfed. Hunger already exists in many central African
countries as a result of drought. Almost 100,000 peasants have recently
died in Ethiopia where an agrarian reform has not even been attempted and
75 percent of the land taxes go unpaid.

At present many foodstuffs are hard to obtain, and now with the energy
crisis and the increased petroleum prices, the prices of industrial
products will grow a pace. The industrialized capitalist world, which today
is staggering and uncertain, is fully responsible for this situation. With
the unavoidable adjustments which will come, many underdeveloped countries,
which lack energy sources and which also must obtain raw materials,
manufactured goods, and industrial goods, will face truly critical

The prestige of the capitalist world and its bombastic theories on its
capacity for continued economic growth are suffering a stunning blow. Even
though all the countries will in one way or another suffer the results of
any world economic crisis--because of the commercial relations between all
of them--there is no doubt that the socialist community is better prepared
to resist the blows.

Our people are aware of this situation and whatever the difficulties which
may come, they will confront them, coordinating their efforts closely with
the sister socialist countries, so we will come out ahead. [applause]

In view of these realities, Dear Comrade Brezhnev, the peace program of the
24th Congress of the CPSU gains a special importance, [applause] as well as
the efforts which you are making personally in favor of international

The Soviet state, from the time of its great founder, Vladimir Lenin, has
always been noted for its tenacious effort sin the struggle for peace.
Never before has the Soviet power been in a better position to influence
world affairs in favor of peace, because the correlation of forces has
never before been so favorable to the international revolutionary and
progressive movement.

As we stated at the conference of nonalined countries in Algiers, the mere
existence of the Soviet Union is a deterrent against the militarist
adventures of the aggressive forces of the imperialist world without which
they would have already engaged in a new partitioning of the planet and
would not have hesitated in invading the countries which possess oil and
other basic raw materials.

This new correlations of forces has made it possible to harbor the hope
that mankind will make its right to a peaceful future prevail, a future
free of the impending threat of a world conflagration--so contrary to the
ideals of socialism--and so that its benefits may be reaped equally by all
countries. [applause]

In the face of the serious economic problems of the contemporary world, the
arms race is today more than ever a luxury, a squandering, nonsense and a
crime which conspire against the most pressing needs of nations. Is it not
absurd--in light of current and foreseeable world problems amid an
unsettling scarcity of natural resources, a scarcity of foodstuffs,
monetary chaos, a spiraling inflation and a multiplying population--to
invest billions [currency not specified] per year in ever-costlier and more
destructive armaments?

That is why, Comrade Brezhnev, all nations of the world and the most
conscientious leaders highly appreciate the Soviet peace policy [applause]
and your tenacious efforts to overcome world tension and to achieve an end
to the arms race. Our party and our people resolutely support you in this
struggle, [applause] congratulate you heartily for the successes you have
achieved and urge you to go ahead under the certainty that the present
generations and, even more, those to come will forever be grateful for this
extraordinary service which Lenin's state and party are rendering to all
mankind. [applause]

The USSR and socialism of course have revilers and detractors. Every since
the first socialist state in the history of mankind emerged in the world
and the class society crumbled in the old tsarist empire, swept by the
strong hands of the Russian proletariat, reactionaries throughout the
plant, filled with a rabid hatred, have undertaken the task of fighting
with every possible means against Soviet power and the ideology of the
proletariat. Since then, the dirty bourgeois propaganda has ceaselessly and
furiously attacked every success scored by the USSR and socialism.

As the Leninist program achieves success in the USSR, carrying out in a few
dozen years what other communities under capitalism have taken centuries to
achieve and as the prestige and influence of revolutionary ideas grow in
the world, the helpless hatred of reactionaries and justiciologists
[justiciologos: perhaps self-styled lawyers] also grows. Also, there are
pseudoleftwingers and renegades of the revolutionary movement who, from
allegedly Marxist stands, revile the Soviet Union, wretchedly betray
proletarian internationalism and serve the interests of imperialism.

However, nobody reviled the Soviet Union more than Hitler did. Nobody
dreamed more than he did of discrediting and destroying the great state
founded by Lenin. Yet, truth overcame. History overcame. Heroism overcame.
And, stop the ashes of Nazi revilers and the ruins of slander, the first
German socialist state strongly stands today. [applause]

In Cuba, 90 miles from the United States, one could not mention the world
communism 20 years ago. The Soviet Union was ferociously reviled by the
reaction and its coryphaeus at the service of the exploiters. And today, in
this square, presided over by the red flags of proletarian
internationalism, [applause] the heroic and immortal flag of the USSR with
the hammer and sickle of the workers and our glorious flag with the single
star--which shines with more pride and dignity than ever before, [applause]
under the venerated likeness of Marti and before the loved images of Marx,
Engels, Lenin, Maceo, Gomez, Che and Camilo [applause]--1 million Cubans
express their indestructible friendship, their deep love and their eternal
gratitude to the Soviet people through you. [applause and chanting]

Neither the blood spilled nor the crimes committed nor raw force nor the
infamous lies nor the infinite sacrifices nor the overpowering colonialism
nor the arrogant imperialism prevented the idea of independence yesterday,
and they did not prevent the idea of socialism today. [Applause] Just ideas
grow and the truth acquires tangible form among the people, among the
masses, in the events. And when a noble idea, a legitimate aspiration,
becomes the staple of the people, no bloody tyranny, no reactionary
philosophy, no vile slander will prevent their victory. [applause]

That is what the fruitful history of the Soviet people shows up; that is
what our own beautiful history shows, and who has doubts that some day
Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and all the peoples who today suffer tyranny,
slavery, exploitation, lies or aberrations will have their awakening.

Who doubts that some day the bonds of all true revolutionaries and all the
liberated peoples will be as fraternal as those between Cuba and the USSR
are today. Who doubts that some day the red flags of internationalism will
preside over the friendship, fraternity and freedom of all the peoples of
the world. [applause]

More than 100 years ago, at the beginning of the last century, in the
darkest days of colonialist tyranny, an exiled Cuban poet, when he sailed
from the coast of his fatherland with deep and unshakable faith in the
future, wrote these prophetic lines: Cuba, at long last you will find
yourself free and pure as the luminous air you breathe, as the ardent,
beloved waves that caress the sand of your beaches. [applause]

Marx had not yet formulated his immortal call: Proletarians of every
country, unite. The torches of our freedom had not yet been lit in Yara and
Baire. The dawn had not yet given the sign to attack the Winter Palace.
Less than 150 years have passed since then and in the land as free as the
luminous air that surrounds it the people of proletarians forged by Lenin
and the revolutionary sons of Marti today embrace in close and eternal
freedom under the victorious slogan of Marx. [applause]

For this reason, with more strength and optimism than ever, we must today
exclaim: Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Long live proletarian internationalism! Long live the eternal friendship
between Cuba and the USSR! Long live the glorious Communist Party of the
USSR! Long live Comrade Leonid Ilich Brezhnev! Fatherland or death; we will