Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1650 GMT 14 Jan 75 FL

[Speech delivered by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at rally held in
Moa, Oriente Province, in honor of Polish United Workers' Party [PZPR]
First Secretary Edward Gierek and his delegation and in solidarity with the
Polish people--live]

[Text] Comrade Edward Gierek, first secretary of the PZPR Central Committee
[applause], comrade-members of the delegation of the party and government
of Poland [applause], comrades of the party and government of Cuba,
comrade-workers of Moa and Nicaro [passage indistinct].

When we were preparing the program of activities for the delegation of the
party and government of Poland, headed by Comrade Gierek, we asked
ourselves this question: Which Cuban locations are we going to suggest that
Comrade Gierek visit? Which places should he visit? It was of course
essential that he visited Oriente Province. [applause] But, which place in
Oriente should we go to this time? Where should we welcome Comrade Gierek
on his historic occasion? And we told ourselves, Poland is fundamentally a
mining country and, based on this, it builds its industry and economy.
Today it produces over 200 million tons of anthracite and bituminous coal.

Gierek is a miner. [applause] He comes from a family of miners, four
generations of miners. [applause] Gierek began to work in the coal mines
when he was 13 years of age. [applause] A large part of Gierek's work was
as a leader of the party in the mining region of Silesia, called the "red
basin" due to the revolutionary spirit of its workers. [applause] In the
development of that region, he achieved great victories. The Silesian
workers' sympathy and support were an important factor in the
responsibilities assigned to him later on by the Polish party.

We recall our visit to that fraternal country, our tour of Silesia and
Katowice, that enormous industrial region of hundreds and hundreds square
kilometers sown with mines and smokestacks. We recall the love with which
the Cuban delegation was received by the miners. [applause] Their
enthusiasm was marked by an impressive revolutionary spirit, human warmth
and internationalist awareness. And we said to ourselves: We must welcome
Gierek in our mining region of Oriente Province. [applause] We were sure
that he would feel good among you. [applause] And we were also sure that
you would be happy with Gierek's visit. [applause] As a miner, he would
understand you perfectly and you would understand him perfectly. But,
besides, this would be a historic visit for our mining region and an
unforgettable event for the workers, the families and youths and children
of this mining region. [applause]

The outstanding role played by Comrade Edward Gierek in strengthening
friendship between our two nations and the beautiful history of Poland make
him and his delegation worthy of the affection and love with which they
have been received in our fatherland. [applause] Poland has always been
known as one of the more heroic and combative nations of the world, which
undertook a long march toward freedom and independence. That vocation for
freedom is innate in the Polish people, and for that reason citizens of
that nation have struggled for the [Unreadable text] world causes over the
years. And even in our own fatherland, in the struggles for our
independence, we find Polish combatants [applause] and, among them, the
prominent figure of Carlos [Unreadable text], for whom Marti expressed
great affection and admiration.

The last world war began precisely as a result of the fascist invasion of
Poland. Fascism's ambitions to expand originated that war, originated that
aggression. Millions of Nazi troops, fully armed, were [Unreadable text]
against the Polish nation. Never before in history did that fraternal
country pay such a high price in grief and blood for its independence and
freedom. Suffice it to say that 6 million Poles, I repeat 6
million--practically 1 out of each 5 Polish citizens, died at a result of
that aggression.

It is easy to say 6 million, but one must have imagination in order to
understand the magnitude of the grief and pain that the Polish people had
to endure.

Our country knows about struggles for independence, knows about the
enormous sacrifices that had to be made in our wars for freedom last
century. Our workers, our peasants, our youths know the sacrifices made by
our people for their revolution. Let us multiply many times those efforts
and we will have an idea of the suffering endured by the Polish people.

Not far from that mining region of Silesia was located the concentration
camp and the crematorium of Oswiecim, where 4 million persons perished of
hunger, cold, diseases and, especially, as victims of the incredible
fascist ferocity and cruelty. Men, women, children, youngsters and old
people were taken there to be assassinated in gas chambers and be
destroyed. In that place which we visited, there are still some vestiges of
those cruel and unbelievable days--vases full of human hair, because the
fascists believed that they had the right to use the remains of human
beings, the hair, sometimes the skin, even the fat, as industrial raw

If any nation knew the horrors of fascism in its totality, it was precisely
the Polish nation. Most of their cities were destroyed. All that was left
of Warsaw were heaps of rock. But the Polish people never gave up. On
practically all battlefronts of the world, there were Polish combatants
distinguishing themselves with their courage and patriotism. [applause] And
the Polish people, the Polish combatants together with the heroic troops of
the Soviet Union's Red Army [applause] crushed the fascists who were
occupying the Poland at the end of the war, and at an extraordinary cost in
lives they attained definitive victory and the independence of their

Our people admire heroism and pay tribute to the patriots and
revolutionaries, and that is why we bow our heads full of respect and
admiration before that great people. They are not only patriotic
[applause], combative and heroic people but also extraordinarily friendly,
intelligent, courteous and, above all, internationalist people. [applause]
It was for us a great privilege to have the opportunity of meeting the
Polish people.

After centuries of struggle, after enduring feudal governments and
bourgeois societies, the people of Poland finally found their definitive
liberation in socialism and internationalism. [applause] It was precisely
because of the reactionary spirit of the Polish bourgeoisie and landowners,
who were blind and oblivious to the realities and full of prejudice, that
Poland had to suffer so much in the last war. They were not capable of
seeking support of the forces that could have strengthened the
possibilities for Poland to maintain its independence. With the socialist
regime Poland has taken a very high historic leap. Soon the 30th
anniversary of the liberation of Poland will be commemorated. [applause]

The gigantic effort made by the people, first, to rebuild Poland, to
rebuild their demolished cities, their historic buildings, their
architecture and, above all, the effort of the Polish people to develop
their economy are unbelievable. Today Poland finds itself among the 10 main
industrial nations of the world. [applause] Today Poland marches rapidly on
the road of science and technology. The cultural level of its people has
been raised extraordinarily. Today Poland is an important bastion of the
socialist community and, closely linked to the other progressive peoples of
the world, especially to the socialist peoples and the USSR [applause], has
before it a brilliant future.

There are none now nor will there ever be forces strong enough to subjugate
Poland, now will there be fascism capable of perpetrating the aggressions
that were carried out in the past.

The independence of Poland today is defended, in the first place, by its
people, by its heroic and efficiently trained army [applause], and by the
solidarity of the socialist camp and, very especially, of the Soviet Union.
[applause] The Polish people can devote themselves to building their
future, planning it many years ahead of time. They can prepare their plans
for development of the economy and the exploitation of their abundant and
valuable natural resources. This is the country and people whose friendship
we pay tribute to today. This is the leader of the party and the people
[applause] who we receive and pay tribute to in this mining region.
[applause] We know that this visit will strengthen even more the already
firm and close ties existing between the Polish and Cuban peoples.
[applause] They are countries which belong to the same community, countries
which struggle for the same human and social objectives, countries which
move forward under the glorious and immortal slogans of Marxism-Leninism.

You know perfectly well the possibilities that the revolution entail. Were
are we gathered today? Is it not true that on these lands the Yankee
imperialists were the masters years ago? Is it not true that this Moa
[mine] was the property of a Yankee enterprise? Is is not true that in this
area of rich mines from which they were taking our wealth, they were
leaving us nothing but trash--a desolated landscape and poverty? And today
we are the legitimate owners of these resources [applause] that are being
exploited for the benefit of our people, [applause] managed by Cuban
workers and, speaking plainly, being planned for the future. Today all this
wealth, which can hardly be seen with the naked eye, is ours and we must
develop it. [applause] And we are determined to develop it.

We were briefed today on the conditions of this industry at the time of the
triumph of the revolution, which was not even completed, and how the
Yankees believed that the Cubans were incapable of starting operations in
this plant [applause] This plant has been in operation for over 10 years
producing wealth for our country. But we are not thinking of stopping at
this point. This plant must be rebuilt and modernized, and work has already
begun for its reconstruction and modernization. In the same manner that we
are working on the rebuilding and modernization of Nicaro [applause], work
is already in progress as concerns the project for the new
siderometallurgic plant of Punta Gorda [applause], which should produce
approximately 30,000 tons of nickel. The necessary exploration has already
been conducted and are continuing this in order to discover all the mining
wealth of this region. We already know that there are sufficient quantities
of mineral not only for the Punta Gorda plant, but also for another plant
in this region of Moa [applause] and another in Pinares de Mayari.

You of course know that the development of this region requires really
fabulous investments, and that the Punta Gorda plant with its equipment,
actual construction and projected investment amount to approximately 400
million pesos. The reconstruction of Moa and Nicaro also requires important
sums of money. The construction of all these projects--housing for the
region, schools, polytechnical schools, hospitals and other construction
work--require large investments. Fortunately, work has been going on for
quite some time in this region, and a good proof of this is in this Nico
Lopez polytechnic school, which we are dedicating today [applause]. We are
dedicating it together with the basic secondary school located between
Nicaro and Moa. [applause]

Buildings can be seen everywhere, as well as the work that will transform
this region. But the future years will only be years of investments. Who
knows how much we will have to invest through 1980? And despite that, we
will not receive one single ton of additional minerals until 1980. We will
begin producing more with the reconstruction of Moa and Nicaro, but the new
plant will not begin producing until after 1980. By then, we will be
working on the additional plants that we propose to build in this region.
This means that these will be years of great effort, a lot of work and
increased expenses before we obtain the fruit of the new construction. We
know that in this region we can extract at least 90,000 more tons of nickel
per year. And it must be our objective to struggle and work to attain this
production of nickel. Our objective must be the effort, the expenses and
the required investment--because that is the only way to develop a nation.

With the help of the Soviet Union [applause] we are going to rebuild the
two plants and build the new plant. [applause] We are certain that the
necessary resources for the future development of this area will be found
and we will be able to use them We are certain that this region will be
developed to the maximum of its possibilities, creating wealth for our
fatherland. We cannot forget that these plants have residual by-products of
millions of tons of iron, and some day in the future they could be used, in
one way or another, in the production of steel. [applause] We have no doubt
that as we thoroughly explore this region we will find new mineral
resources. [applause] We have no doubt of the extraordinary future of this
region, of our province and our country. We have no doubt that you will be
capable of moving forward that development. [applause]

You, the workers of the plant, the builders, the workers of the industrial
brigades, the students of the university [applause], the students of our
polytechnic schools, and even the children who we saw today lining the
streets and roads to welcome the visitor will participate in this
development and in that future. The important thing is that you have a
clear awareness of those possibilities and the will to move it ahead. Today
we recalled those days when the members of the rebel army of the second
front were fighting in this region. We recalled the heroic death of Pedrin
Soto Alba. [applause] We recalled the sacrifices that were made during
those days.

AT the time, today's events seemed to be far away. Today's possibility,
today's event, today's visit, today's school were only a dream to us then.
In the same manner, some things that we are planning for the future might
seem to be far removed today. But in the same manner that we have conquered
the present, we will be capable of conquering the future. [applause]

We wish to express to all of you our gratitude and our recognition for the
extraordinary welcome accorded comrade Gierek and the delegation of our
fraternal Poland. We wish to express our satisfaction for your excellent
spirit. We wish to express the trust of our party, our government and our
people in your work. [applause]

Long live Comrade Edward Gierek! Long live the friendship between Cuba and
Poland! Long live proletarian internationalism! Fatherland or death, we
shall win!