Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1130 GMT 23 Nov 74 F

[Text] Our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the PCC
Central Committee and prime minister of the Cuban Revolutionary Government,
observed and delivered an address at the Ayacucho 150 military maneuvers,
whose final phase was held at the Maj Gen Ignacio Agramonte Revolutionary
Armed Forces [Far] national proving grounds in Camaguey by units of the
Eastern Army. The maneuvers were also observed by Div Cdr Raul Castro,
second secretary of the PCC and minister of the FAR, Lt Gen Cesar Yepez
Zapater, inspector general of the Peruvian Air Force, and the military
delegation accompanying him which is visiting our country at the invitation
of the FAR ministry. Other observing the maneuvers included several members
of the PCC Politburo, secretariat and central committee, vice prime
ministers, ministers, chief of organizations and party leaders from the
province and all parts of the country.

The Ayacucho 150 military maneuvers marked the conclusion of the FAR annual
political and combat readiness training and paid tribute to the 150th
anniversary of the historic battle waged in Ayacucho, Peru, in the 3d
decade of last century, which marked the end of Spanish colonialism in
South America. Beginning with air and sea actions with the participation of
naval units, supersonic fighter aircraft and units of rocket- carrying
troops that were held on 19 November on Isle of Pines, the maneuvers
continued in Camaguey with an impressing night defense that stalled the
enemy, forcing it to assume a defensive position. In the early morning
hours, aircraft and artillery fire struct the enemy lines and made possible
the attack by our tank units and motorized infantry, which annihilated the
frontline positions and continued their impetuous advance until reaching
the main body of the enemy forces. Enemy attacks launched by its chemical
and incendiary warfare units were expertly repelled by our combatants, who
demonstrated once more the high degree of combat readiness attained during
the period of training. The tactical objective, which was explained by Brig
CDR Raul Menendez Tomasevich, chief of the maneuvers and commanding officer
of the Eastern Army, was perfectly executed by the different land and air
units. The enemy's counterattacks were repelled and the offensive was
maintained at an irrepressible pace with the introduction into combat of
the Second Division echelon. Subsequently, an impressive combat encounter
took place in which the enemy was defeated and forced to hastily retreat.
During the pursuit our troops overcame a water obstacle with the support of
aircraft, which carried out an airborne landing behind enemy lines, cutting
off the retreat and bringing about the enemy's annihilation.

The Ayacucho 150 military maneuvers demonstrated the high level of combat
readiness of our pilots, artillery personnel, paratroopers, tank crewmen,
infantry and security troops. It also demonstrated the cohesion of the
command posts and units in the fulfillment of combat missions, the
execution and efficiency of the chiefs in directing actions, the perfect
condition of the equipment and arms and the high degree of effectiveness
attained by the troops in carrying out combat support fire.

In the closing event that was held to report on the results of the
maneuvers, Brig CDR Raul Menendez Tomasevich, commanding officer of the
eastern army, pointed out that 91 percent of the targets had been hit
which, in accordance with FAR regulations, means that the Ayacucho 150
military maneuvers were fulfilled with a mark of excellent. A detachment of
Camaguey pioneers presented the organization's neckerchief to the members
of the Peruvian military delegation and leaders of the PCC and Cuban
Government who were sitting on the dais. Immediately afterwards, Sub Lieut
Pedro Perez Labrada, a member of the reserves, delivered a speech on behalf
of the troops.

In his speech he said: In the magnificent and irreplaceable school that the
revolution has been for us, we have learned not only that the workers are
capable of struggling selflessly and heroically against the armed forces of
a superior enemy, but also that they can do it in a successful manner, thus
becoming invincible combatants. He added: We constantly undergo training
and we are always ready to fight and die if necessary, because at stake is
the bright future of the socialist fatherland--making it possible for our
children and future generations to grow without learning about the
humiliating exploitation of man by man, a nation without oppressors and
discrimination. In closing, Perez Labrada addressed our commander in chief,
Fidel Castro, directly and said: Before you, genuine representative of all
our people, we reaffirm our commitment and determination to continue
defending our worker-peasant state with the same hands with which day after
day we build and create the socialist society.

The closing remarks were made by our commander in chief Fidel Castro who
pointed out that, with these military maneuvers, we wish to pay deserving
tribute to the historic Latin American victory which made possible the
first independence of the Latin American nations. After recalling that
combatants of all parts of South America fought side by side with the
Peruvian people in the memorable Ayacucho battle, Fidel said that the
maneuvers had been observed by high officers who are members of a
delegation of the Peruvian Armed Forces. Immediately following, Fidel
stated that the Ayacucho battle had a special significance due to the fact
that in the same location where the battle took place there is today a town
which, under the leadership of the Peruvian Armed Forces Revolutionary
Government, moves forward toward the 2nd and definitive independence of the

Fidel said that today in Peru, like in Cuba, Yankee imperialism is not
dominating, and added: [begin recording] In the first days of the
revolution, we used to say--Cuba, the first free territory of America--and
today we may also say: We salute you, fraternal Peru, free territory of
America. [applause] [end recording.] Fidel also said that these maneuvers
had at the same time served the purpose of developing the efficiency and
combat readiness of our FAR forces. He pointed out the participation in the
maneuvers of a high percentage of members of the first reserves of our FAR
forces, that is workers on the city and countryside who lend their services
to production.

Fidel cited the example of the Palma Soriano region of Oriente Province
which, even though it contributed thousands of reserve members to the
maneuvers, rather than maintaining the same level of production had
overfulfilled it. He said that this experience had demonstrated the high
degree of organization attained by our party, our people and our FAR
forces. After indicating that our FAR forces have reduced the number of
regular troops without affecting its might, and that it has instead been
reinforced with thousands of cadres, Fidel stated: [begin recording] In
other words, the cadres continue to increase more and more. Then we must
ask, on what depends the strength of our defense? On whom will the strength
of our defense increasingly depend? On the members of the reserve and their
combat readiness. [applause] As times goes by, our armed forces will have
fewer regular troops and more reserve troops. [end recording]

Our commander in chief proclaimed that the degree [of training] of the FAR
forces is genuinely encouraging, and added that notwithstanding this we
ought not to be satisfied with that.

[begin recording] Our people have the duty of becoming increasingly
stronger. The need to have a powerful defense is not a pleasure or a whim
of the revolution. It is a need imposed upon us by the imperialist enemy;
and the imperialist enemy is mighty. We are a very small country which has
a powerful enemy. How long will the imperialist be our enemy? As long as
imperialism lasts. Our relations with the U.S. imperialist government are
not at all good. But even if someday economic relations exist, or even
diplomatic relations, we do not have the right because of that to weaken
our defense. This is because our defense will never depend on the good
faith of the imperialist. [applause]

Elsewhere in his speech he said that, as long as imperialism exists, our
defense will have to depend on our strength, on our combat readiness, on
the combat readiness of all the socialist camp and all the revolutionary
nations. He also said that we are not only at the service of our national
cause but we are also at the service of the cause of the fraternal Latin
American nations in their struggle against imperialism; and we are on the
side of the peoples who are confronting imperialism anywhere in the world.
He stressed that for a long time to come, our fatherland will need to have
an increasingly greater defensive capability, an increasingly greater
combat readiness. And he said that such a capability will have to depend on
the training of our people; in simple words, it will have to depend on the
number of cadres that the FAR forces have and the number of reserves
perfectly trained for combat duty.

[Begin recording] That is why our party, our government and our people's
ought to pay special attention to the training of their reserves--that is,
to their worker-soldiers. Because as we said sometime ago, we all have the
duty of being workers, soldiers and students. [end recording] Our commander
in chief pointed out the efforts, love, self- dedication and the spirit of
sacrifice with which the combatants devoted themselves to the preparation
of the Ayacucho 150 military maneuvers and expressed his admiration,
gratitude, recognition, congratulations and love to all those who
participated in it in one way or another. Fidel congratulated all officers,
noncommissioned officers and troops who participated in the maneuvers and,
in a special manner, the general staff of the Eastern Army and its
commanding officer Brig CDR Raul Menendez Tomasevich.

After pointing out that the mark of firing at targets had been excellent,
Fidel asked: Who could again oppress the fatherland? Who could once more
enslave and exploit our people? Who could once more establish here a regime
of injustice? He said that our people have never felt more secure and
better defended, and addressing the combatants he stated: In war, it is
necessary to have military equipment. It is necessary to have combat
readiness and, above all, it is necessary to have awareness. And the
combatants must be courageous. And, you abundantly possess all three

[Begin recording] Comrade combatants, our party and our people are proud of
their gallant and invincible combatants. We feel sure that, if those men
who initiated this last phase of the struggle for our independence, those
who carried out the assault on the Moncada barracks, or landed on our
coasts aboard the Granma, or fought in the Sierra Maestra mountain range,
or fought in the Escambray mountains, or at Giron beach, or any other front
of the fatherland or the world, openly or clandestinely, and died in the
struggle--if they would have been able to observe these maneuvers, if they
would have been able to witness this display that our eyes have had the
privilege of observing today, they would have also been proud of you.
Fatherland or death, we shall win: [end recording]