Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 9 Feb 75 p 5

[Text] On 27 January, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of
the Central Committee and prime minister of the Revolutionary Government,
held an affectionate and enthusiastic meeting in the Palace of the
Revolution with the vanguard chiefs and officers of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces for 1974.

Fidel's appearance in the room where the meeting took place was met with
prolonged applause in a demonstration of the affection, admiration and
respect of the members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces for the commander
in chief. Fidel immediately engaged in a chat with those present, which
went on for about 1 hour.

Fidel spoke of the history of struggle of our people and the role played by
the Revolutionary Armed Forces in the years of revolution. "There armed
forces were born closely linked with the people, united with the people and
composed of the people," he said.

He also pointed out the magnificent participation of the reserve troops in
the mission given to the Revolutionary Armed Forces and he recalled that
most of the men involved in the Ayacucho 150 Military Exercises, held in
late 1974, were members of the reserve forces, who did an excellent job in
the handing of the various weapons and carried out the maneuvers with a
brilliant success.

Speaking of the activities of the vanguard chiefs and officers during the
week in their honors, he said that he hoped it would serve to spur them in
their future tasks and he urged them to maintain their vanguard attitude
and thus continue to serve as an example to their comrades. He said, "We
can say that today our armed forces are worthy of the glorious history of
our country, worthy of the Revolution and this is why being selected as
vanguard of these forces is indeed an extraordinary merit and a great
honor. And this is the reason why wherever you went these days you were
welcomed with such affection and love."

Fidel went on to say, "Great historic events have always been started by
vanguards: the comrades who attacked the Moncada were the vanguards in the
forces we had at that time, because we had over 1,000 men and what we
selected were practically the vanguard elements. The comrades who came on
the `Granma' were, most of them, vanguards, too, because they were selected
from the mass of our fighters. And I can tell you one thing, and that is
that those who are vanguards in combat training are also vanguards in the
war. After all, who were our best soldiers? Those who showed the highest
discipline, the greatest dedication, the greatest modesty, and the greatest
awareness in the training period. Those who were the first in training were
also the first in battle. And every society and every armed forces needs
its vanguard members, who play a decisive role in peace and in times of
war. This is why we think so highly of the distinction which has been
conferred on you and we hold every one of you in high regard."

Fidel then gave each of the vanguard chiefs and officers a gift and
afterward he posed for pictures with the various groups of representatives
of the commands of the armed forces.

The meeting with the commander in chief marked the end of the week-long
program of activities in honor of these men and women of the people,
worth representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Present at the meeting were Brigade Commanders (Major Generals) Senen Casas
Regueiro, first deputy minister and chief of the General Staff, Fernando
Vecino Alegret, Abelardo Colome Ibarra, Rigoberto Garcia Fernandez,
Francisco Cabrera Gonzalez, Julio Casas Regueiro, and Roeglio Acevedo
Gonzalez, and Corvette Commander (Rear Admiral) Aldo Santamaria Cuadrado,
all deputy ministers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.