Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 1900 GMT 24 Nov 74 F

[Text of Speech by Premier Fidel Castro at the Closing Ceremony of the
Ayacucho 150 Military Maneuvers Held on 22 November 1974 at the Proving
Grounds of the Cuban revolutionary Armed Forces //FAR// in Camaguey

[Text] Dear guests, dear comrades of the party and the FAR forces: in the
first place, it has been our desire to pay a deserving tribute to the
historic Latin American victory of Ayacucho with these maneuvers. Very soon
now, on 9 December, the 150th anniversary of that epic event, which brought
about the first independence among the Latin American nations, will be

On that memorable occasion combatants from all parts of South America along
with the Peruvian people accomplished the proclamation of independent from
the Spanish dominion and consolidated that independence. Present here with
us today is a large delegation of high officers of the Peruvian armed
forces. This 150th anniversary of the Ayacucho battle is of special
significance, precisely because of the fact that on the same location where
the battle was fought a town exists today which, under the leadership of
the Peruvian Armed Forces Revolutionary Government, moves forward toward
the second and definitive independence of the fatherland. [applause] This
is because, after the Spanish colonialists departed, other empires, and
most recently Yankee imperialism, came to attempt to subjugate our

In Peru today, as in Cuba, Yankee imperialism no longer dominates.
[applause] In the early days of the revolution we used to say "Cuba, free
territory of America," and today we may also say "we salute you, fraternal
Peru, free territory of America." [applause] We know that someday the lands
of all our nations will also be proclaimed free territories of America.

Also here today, honoring us with their fraternal presence, is a delegation
of the armed forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization [applause],
which is currently struggling heroically to recover the national
territories of their people. Their cause, like that of all the nations
struggling for independence and justice, is also our cause.

These maneuvers have also served the purpose of developing the efficiency
and combat readiness of our FAR forces. There is a special fact that
deserves to be pointed out on this occasion, and that is that the majority
of the forces of the Eastern Army's division, supported by a regiment of
the Western Army, consists of 70 percent members of the 1st reserve of our
armed forces [applause] that is, workers of the city and countryside who
lend their services to production.

Our region, just a single region of Oriente Province, contributed 4,000
worker-reservists. That was the Palma Soriano region. [applause] How was it
possible to organize this extraordinary maneuver by taking 4,000 works from
that region without affecting production? It was possible thanks to the
experience and the leadership ability of the party in Oriente Province, the
party in the Palma Soriano region, the party in the rest of the regions
that gave their support, the collaboration of the mass organization and the
state administrative structure. But undoubtedly this constitutes a most
valuable experience for our people.

We find it necessary to make public some of the details in connection with
the preparation of the maneuvers.

The most important agencies that were affected in terms of manpower were
the following: Ministry of Sugar Industry with 306 men,
agricultural-livestock sector with 1.886 men, construction sector with 169
men, consumer services with 285 men, education with 82 men, transportation
and communications with 198 men, public health with 73 men and political
organizations with 146 men. Many workers cancelled their vacations, or
while already taking them decided to return to work. Commitments to work 10
or 20 hours, or to work Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday, were made
by many male and female comrades of the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution [CDR] and the Federation of Cuban Women [FMC], who were closest
to the centers that were affected most seriously and which could not
maintain production by their own means. The work and enthusiasm of the
workers and the support given by the members of the CDR and FMC made it
possible for the region to win first place in the province for the 3d
consecutive time in the assessment of repairs that was recently conducted,
despite the mobilization.

In the agricultural-livestock activities, the cane branch, which was the
most seriously affected, fulfilled its main activities, and the
mobilization and effort made by the workers was decisive in accomplishing

The fulfillment of their plans had the following results: they fulfilled
the preparation of land by 109 percent; the planting of cane, by 112
percent; the weeding in general, by 100 percent; the fertilizing, by 202
percent, the cultivating, by 136 percent; the fumigating of fields, by 223
percent. The production of milk was fulfilled by 104 percent in the cattle
industry and the planting of grazing land by 228 percent. In the
construction sector, all the resulting drawbacks were overcome by the
efforts of the workers. In this, the outstanding ones are the regional
sector of the National Livestock-Agriculture Development Agency, which
fulfilled the October plan by 132 percent and the annual plan 2 months
ahead of time, and the prefabricated material industry, which fulfilled it
by 103 percent.

In the consumer services sector, all factories of the sector fulfilled
their plans by 100 percent, as well as the distribution and services units.
In this sector, the effort made by the workers together with the CDR and
FMC members was a determining factor. In the education, science and culture
sector, none of the classrooms ceased operations, and in the tests carried
out for the first 2 months the rural secondary schools won the second
provincial place. In this aspect, the results obtained were 99 percent in
technological education, 99 percent in polytechnic education and 94 percent
in the basic secondary schools.

The national institute of sports, physical education and recreation
fulfilled its plan by 100 percent, and was declared the best in the
province at the last assessment meeting of the organization. The National
Council of Culture, despite being affected [words indistinct] through the
efforts of the professional groups and the participation of the amateur
groups fulfilled its activities by 155 percent. In the transportation and
communications sector, which due to the nature of its activities cannot
benefit much from the support of CDR members, the effort of the workers of
the sector itself was even more decisive in fulfilling the main activities
and eliminating the resulting drawbacks.

The results obtained are as follows: in communications, fulfillment of mail
delivery by 113 percent [words indistinct] issued by 105 percent, telegrams
by 118 percent. In transportation the main production activities were
fulfilled--transportation of passengers by 101.6 percent, state automobiles
by 151.3 percent.

This is a magnificent experience for our party, for our people, for our FAR
forces. Despite mobilizing 4,000 workers of that region for a month and a
half, how was it possible not only to fulfill the goals but overfulfill
them? This is a lesson in what our fatherland would have to do in case of
aggression. If from just one region it has been possible to form a
division, it would then be possible for all regions of the country to form
all the divisions that might be needed, face up to any aggression and at
the same time fulfill the production plans. [applause] This gives an idea
of the degree of organization attained by our party, our people and our FAR

In addition to the production efforts, it must be pointed out that the
party and the mass organizations paid all due attention to the families of
the reservists, and maintained communications between the reservists and
their relatives and communication between the reservists and their
production centers. Our FAR forces in 1974 have in active service only 40
percent of the regular troops that they had in 1970. In doing this, they
have released more than 150,000 young men for production. And this has not
affected the might of our armed forces, has not weakened them but on the
contrary reinforced them more and more.

As you all know, thousands of cadres have continued to graduate and
thousands of youths are attending classes in FAR schools and academies. In
other words, the number of cadres continues to increase. Then we must ask,
on what does the strength of our defense depend? On whom will the strength
of our defense increasingly depend? On the reservists and their combat
readiness. [applause] As time goes by our armed forces will have fewer
regular troops and more reserve troops.

When we observe what we have today, when we observe these magnificent
troops and we think about their training and political caliber, when we
observe this colossal mass of arms, we recall how we started. We recall the
very little we had when we started. We have observed you in maneuvers. We
have seen you in action and we can truthfully say that with the forces
present here, which are only a small part of what our people have today, we
could have liquidated Batista's tyranny in a matter of days, in a matter of
hours, or even just in the time it would have taken us to find them.
[applause] And it is truly encouraging.

But, can we be satisfied with that? Can we be satisfied with our present
level of strength? No. Our nation has 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 powerful. We are a very small country which
has a powerful enemy. How long will imperialism be our enemy? As long as
imperialism lasts. And our relations with the U.S. imperialist government
are not at all good but, even if someday economic relations exist, or even
diplomatic relations, because of that we do not have the right to weaken
our defense. This is because our defense will never depend on the good
faith of the imperialists. [applause] As long as imperialism exists, our
defense will have to depend on our strength, as our combat capability, on
the combat capability of all the socialist camp and all revolutionary

We are not only at the service of our national cause, but we are also at
the service of the cause of our brother Latin American peoples in our
struggle against imperialism [applause] and we are on the side of the
peoples who are confronting imperialism anywhere in the world. Therefore
our fatherland will, for an indefinite time to come, need to have an
increasingly greater defense capability, increasingly greater training.
Such capability will have to depend on the number of cadres that the FAR
forces have and the number of reservists trained for combat duty.

When a nation attains what we are already accomplishing, this type of
miracle--in which the workers of the city and countryside have this
experience, have acquired this training that you have attained and in which
it can count on a people trained like this--it can then be truly said that
this is a strong nation, a nation and a revolution capable of defending
themselves. [applause] That is why our party, our government and our people
ought to pay special attention to the training of their reserves--that is,
to their worker-soldiers. Because as we said some time ago, we all have the
duty of being workers, soldiers and of being students. [applause]

We know, comrade combatants, about the efforts made by you, with how much
love, dedication and spirit of sacrifice you have devoted yourselves to the
preparation of these maneuvers, separated from your families, from your
work centers and from the places of residence. We know the efforts you have
made, how much you have worked, sweated and struggled. We also know the
efforts made by your comrades at the work centers in order to make possible
your mobilization. We also know and also understand the contributions made
by your families, of the separation for many weeks from your loved ones.

That is why we wish to express our profound recognition, our
congratulations, our admiration, our gratitude and our love. [applause] We
also wish to express this to those who remained in the work centers and to
all your families. They, with their attitude and spirit, have also
contributed to the success and the splendor of these maneuvers. We equally
wish to express our warmest congratulations to the officers,
noncommissioned officers and soldiers of the regular troops, to the
comrades of the navy, of the antiaircraft defense and air force who began
these maneuvers in the area of the Isle of Pines, to the tank crewmen, to
the members of the artillery units, to the communication troops, to the
transportation troops, to the supply troops, to the military medical teams
who have also participated in an outstanding manner. We wish to
congratulate the officers of our assault brigade, the paratroopers--that
new military unit which is participating for the first time in maneuvers of
this type. We wish to especially congratulate the command of the Eastern
Army and Comrade Raul Menendez Tomasevich [applause] who did such splendid
work in organizing and directing these maneuvers which, as in all
(?actions) of the revolution, are becoming increasingly better.

The firing qualification was excellent. [applause] Our regular troops and
our worker-reservists maneuver and fire excellently. Who could again oppose
the fatherland? Who could once again enslave and exploit our people? Who
could once again establish here a regime of injustice? Gen Antonio Maceo
once said that whoever attempted to conquer Cuba would get nothing but the
dust off the ground drenched in blood. [applause] The struggle for
independence, freedom and justice on our soil by several generations of
Cubans was long. But our people never before were as strong as today, their
independence never as secure as it is today, their justice never as firm as
it is today. Never before, as it is today, has Antonio Maceo's statement
been a more profound truth. Never before, as today, have our people felt as
secure and as well defended. This is because Cuba is a nation that is
capable of and well prepared to defend itself. [applause] In war it is
necessary to have military equipment. It is necessary to have training and,
above all, the combatants must have an awareness and courage. [applause]
And you abundantly possess all three requirements. [applause]

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 our the
assaults 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!