Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Castro Speech
Havana Domestic Radio/Television Services in Spanish 0215 GMT 29 Sep 75 FL
[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at a mass rally held at the
Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana to mark the 15th anniversary of the
founding of the Committees for Defense of the Revolution [CDR]--live]

[Text] Comrades of the party and government, distinguished invited guests,
dear members of the CDR: I understand that some time before this
magnificent rally started, there was abundant rain on this plaza.
[applause] We truly very much regretted this because, among other things,
the inopportune rains were not on time. If it had rained now call of us
would have got wet. [applause] But the rains, which unfortunately do not
fall at the same time or opportunely throughout the national territory, got
a large number of the people at this rally wet. Some of us did not get wet.
For example, this time the outstanding CDR members did not get wet.
[laughter, applause] They had arrived a little bit later and they are dry.
Some of us arrived on time, but there was no rain. I think that even the
artificial fireworks also got wet. [laughter]

In any case, the rains did not detract from this event. We are not going to
say that a little rain is going to break up a CDR event. [applause] No rain
showers, storms, lightning, thunder, cyclones, or earthquates--if there
were any--are capable of dissolving the CDR's. [applause] Throughout these
past 15 years, except for 1969 because of the big 1970 sugar harvest, we
have gathered on each 28 September to commemorate this historic

We were recalling those days when the idea of the CDR's emerged. In a few
minutes, four terrorist bombs had exploded on that 28 September when the
idea arose. Those were difficult times. The victorious revolution, devoted
entirely to social changes and to the struggle against a powerful enemy,
did not at that time have the force and organization it has today.

The revolutionary organizations were moving toward definite integration.
But we still did not have a party, an organization that would include all
of us in the sense that we have today. The labor movement was barely being
organized. The peasants were organizing themselves. The women were
organizing themselves. The students were organizing themselves. The
committees, which today constitute a formidable force, did not exist.

Under those circumstances we were facing great difficulties, an open
struggle against imperialism and against the enemies of our peasants and
our workers. In that way the CDR's emerged. At first, we did not have
millions [of members], but just a few tens of thousands. And as Comrade
Lezcano recalled, during the mercenary invasion of Giron the CDR's had a
total of 100,000 members. Today, they have 4.7 million. In other words,
since 1961 CDR's--I am mistaken, I believe he said 4.8 million--the
committees have grown 48 times. [applause]

Since the beginning the CDR's have carried out an active and momentous task
during all the difficult times of the revolution. In those days we did not
have the clear political awareness we have today, or the level of political
culture we have today. The people did not have the training they have
today. We struggled against the ideological influence of the bourgeoisie
and imperialists.

We were struggling to create a new awareness that would match the
profoundly revolutionary process which was beginning in our fatherland. We
were struggling against divisionism. We were essentially struggling against
anticommunism in those days, when many persons were still frightened by the
word "socialism"' they were frightened even more by the word "communism,"
without giving any thought to the fact that those ideas were really more
profound, were really the only ones that could interpret and could guide a
true revolution in our fatherland [applause], for at that time there had
been no bloodshed in nearly 100 years and our people had not made great
sacrifices and large numbers of their sons had not been killed during that
long struggle for freedom and justice. Conditions that then prevailed in
our society would have continued, forcing our people to live under
ignominious exploitation of man by man [applause], making them victims of
oppression, plunder and injustice. Everything had to be changed in our
fatherland, and it could only change under the flag of Marxism-Leninism.
[applause] And everything was changed in our fatherland.

This change was accomplished in the same measure that the people accepted
the revolutionary ideas, in the same measure that our people gained a
profound revolutionary awareness, and that was not an easy task. We can see
that difficulty by observing the problems being encountered by other
political processes, the difficulties that they confront and the dangers
that threaten them. It is not easy to change a society's way of thinking.
It is not easy to destroy the power of the exploiters, above all, when the
exploiters rely on the powerful forces of the foreign enemies and, above
all, on the powerful forces of Yankee imperialism.

But the revolution relied on the people and also relied on the growing
forces of the international revolutionary movement [applause], and,
especially, on the forces of the glorious party and the glorious people of
the USSR. [applause]

That is why we have been able to move forward and fulfill this very
important historic phase of the first years. And that is why, today, you
proudly raise those flowers and raise those red flags [applause] that at
the same time that they remind us of the blood that has been spilled for
the revolution over a period of more than 100 years, also expressed our
just and invincible ideas of socialism and communism. [applause]

Comrade Lezcano gave a brief summary of the work that has been done during
the past 15 years, and they are millions. More than one million blood
donations. How mush suffering have we alleviated with that generous effort?
How many lives have the blood donations of the CDR saved? [applause] How
many lives have the millions of cancer smear tests conducted by the CDR
saved with that effort? hundreds of millions of cans were collected by
them. More than a million ounces of [word indistinct] were collected. More
than 150,000 tons of raw material for the manufacture of paper were
collected. And if to this we add the millions and millions and tens of
millions of hours of volunteer work contributed by the CDR, we will have an
idea of what this organization has meant during these years in the fields
of social work and the economy. We are not including the many other
activities in all fields--in the field of education, in the field of
health, in the field or organization, in the field of international
relations, the many times that you have mobilized to welcome illustrious
visitors, the times that you have mobilized to participate in our mass
rallies held in public plazas.

And this goes together with the essential task which originated this
organization--the task of defending the revolution, of maintaining the
enemies at bay, of having the people give heart and soul in facing the
counterrevolution to help crush the reactionaries, the
counterrevolutionaries and the enemies of socialism and of the fatherland.
To this one can add the extraordinary contribution of the CDR's to the
development of a revolutionary awareness among our people. [applause]

This has been the significance of having you, an organization which
includes men and women, workers, students, youths, the elderly, and in sum,
all the people. This organization, under the direction of the party,
constitutes, along with the other mass organizations, a solid and
indestructible bulwark of our historic and glorious revolution. [applause]

This organization is gaining in quality year by year. Lezcano spoke in
general terms of the results of these past 15 years, and partially on the
success achieved in the past year. It is good to recall this so that the
significance of the effort in the past 12 months can be present in the
minds of all of you and all the people. In the first place, there has been
improvement in the stability of cadres. In response to the exhortation by
our party Politburo to optimize the sugar harvest, there was, as a result,
a better and broader participation of the [CDR] members in the collection
of sugarcane, cleaning of obstacles from more than 12,000 cacallerias in
support of mechanization, and the mobilizations carried out and meetings
held with mechanized cutting and hoisting brigades.

The organization has given priority to the tasks involving youths who
display improper conduct, coordinating with state organizations, the UJC
[Union of Young Communists], and other mass organizations joint plans which
make it possible to bring to the youths the standards, habits and conduct
that are in accord with communist morality.

Revolutionary propaganda--through different activities, especially through
direct propaganda--has been intensified and fulfilled during the year,
using as fundamental means the commissions for agitation and propaganda
formed in the zones and the murals which the organization has in each CDR
to disseminate the ideas and tasks of the revolution. There have been
138,349 blood donations, and 72,882 CDR's are working systematically to
reduce infant mortality. The polio immunization campaign was carried out
successfully, with 1,138,918 children immunized. A total of 69,553,170
glass receptacles and 94,477 ounces of used postage stamps were recovered.

The national amateur festival was held with 800 CDR members participating.
This was the conclusion of an entire movement which began in the zones with
the mobilization of more than 12,500 CDR members and amateurs in the
different manifestations of the arts. Also outstanding is the
organization's participation in national and international events such as
the Conference on Human Settlements, the meeting of experts on the
diagnosis of cervical and uterine cancer convoked by CEMA, during which the
CDR support was presented, the world conference of the International
Women's Year held in Mexico, and the international conference of solidarity
with the independence of Puerto Rico.

For the first time the organization participated in the conference of the
national fronts of socialist countries held in Budapest. This conference is
held every 2 years with different countries hosting it. The organization's
international relations have been expanded. This has been manifested in the
number of delegations which were received and were interested in the work
experience of the CDR's. The CDR's participated actively this year in the
distribution of more than 5 million Mother's Day cards in coordination with
the Communications Ministry. There was also their support of activities
scheduled by domestic trade [ministry] in the distribution of toys.

The CDR contribution in support of the people's government organs in
Matanzas has materialized in the mobilization of the masses for the
different education, repairs, construction, and beautification tasks which
are being developed systematically. Moreover, the people are mobilized for
the quarterly meetings of each CDR with the delegate during which he
obtains opinions, suggestions, and so forth; and also the mobilization for
the quarterly assessment meeting of the delegate with the electorate in his
district. There has been a gain in quality in the mobilization and in the
participation of the CDR's and people in the meetings.

The organization has commemorated massively the historic dates of the 16th
anniversary of the triumph of the revolution, the Playa Giron victory
against fascism, and 26 July. And of these one must emphasize the popular
fiestas celebrated in the city blocks, primarily for 26 July.

On this year of the first congress, the CDR commemorations of the 50th
anniversary of the first Marxist-Leninist party and of the Cuban Communist
Party [applause] have been events of profound revolutionary significance.

We can now see the results of the effort aimed at a broader and more
diversified participation of the CDR in sports and recreation, as in the
case of plan "LFB" [the CDR family], which provided for the participation
of the masses at the local level of the CDR, classified in groups by age,
in track and field, calisthenics, jumping and so forth, as well as the
recreational pentathlon which includes chess, checkers, dominoes, fishing
and target shooting.

In order to hold these activities, 53,600 tournaments were held in which
1,269,340 CDR members from all parts of the country participated. These
were held up to the provincial level. These programs of physical efficiency
were coordinated by the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education
and Recreation and soon will be held at the national level.

This is just a small part of all the activities of the CDR this year. Its
participation and contribution to the creation of an atmosphere of
enthusiasm, joy and solidarity in connection with the first congress has
been extraordinary. Its contribution in the field of education has been
equally extraordinary. More than 1 million exemplary fathers of education
have been selected, which has has a great impact in the extraordinary
educational success achieved by our country during this year.

The CDR members have massively participated in the discussion of important
documents of the congress, such as the one on the new draft constitution
and the thesis of the equality of women. The CDR's have not only been
active in vigilance, in overcoming the problems created by social ills, but
have also cooperated with our armed forces when it has become necessary to
mobilize the reserves. When it has become necessary to carry out an
important military maneuver, they have contributed to the maintenance of
the level of production and services. When in a particular region of the
country thousands of workers have been called to carry out those maneuvers,
the CDR members have been mobilized to replace them.

In all fields one can observe the growing activities, the discipline and
the enthusiasm of the CDR members. And during this year this has been so
than ever before, because it was the last of the first 15 years, and
because it coincided with the holding of the first congress of our party.
[applause] This event has an enormous historic importance.

Beginning with the first congress, we will be living a new phase of the
revolution, which will have a level never before attained by our mass
organizations and our party. It will have a very superior awareness, with
more profound studies of all activities. The first congress will establish
the guidelines that the people, the state, the mass organizations and the
country will follow in undertaking the tasks of the next 5 years.

Our revolution will follow superior structures of organization. Our state
will also acquire superior structures of organization. During the current
year the preparatory committee of the congress and the numerous commissions
that have been organized have worked arduously, perseveringly, studying and
elaborating the different topics, part of which have been discussed and
will continue to be discussed with the people, and they will be the center
and objective of our first congress.

Our party will be extraordinarily strengthened by the congress. And what
could be more extraordinary than that our people, our fatherland, at the
end of that long period of struggle which began in 1868, not only will have
a fully free fatherland, a state that fully responds to the interests of
the people, but also will have the soul of that process, of that state, of
that authority--their party, responsible for guaranteeing definitively the
work of the revolution--to guarantee the uninterrupted path of progress of
our fatherland and our society, to guarantee above all the continuity of
the historic process.

Those are great gains for our people and our fatherland, which will give us
an enormous security in the future, the security that Marti wanted to
achieve when he founded the Cuba Revolutionary Party [applause], the
security and future that Valino and Mella wanted to achieve when they
founded the first Marxist-Leninist party of our history [applause], the
security and future that, as a summary of all previous efforts, we are
insuring today.

The future policy will be characterized by its depth, will be characterized
by its security, will be characterized by its greater efficiency, by a
superior scientific and ideological depth. Those are the fruits of the
efforts of these past years.

The prestige of our revolution will increase. Let us not forget that our
duties are not related to ourselves but also to the international
revolutionary process, and that, to the extent that our revolution is
intensified, our revolution advances, and our revolution can consider
itself an example, we will be having more influence in the international
revolutionary movement and we will be helping in the path toward the
liberation of other peoples. [applause]

Let us not forget that our duties not only are related to the workers in
our country, but also to the workers in the entire world; that we have
received assistance from the international movement and that we will
contribute, to the extent of our capability, to its development; that our
slogan is that beautiful and handsome theme of Marx and Engels in the first
communist manifesto: Proletarians of all countries, unite! [prolonged

We must fulfill and will fulfill our duties to ourselves and to the rest of
the revolutionary world in theory and practice, because internationalism is
developed by the practice of internationalism. This is the internationalism
we have known when it has come close to us and when it has helped us to
survive. It will not serve to convert us into an egotistical people, but
into a generous people willing to do as our doctors when there is a
catastrophe anywhere in the world, or in the Vietnam war, or without a
catastrophe, when a people need the medical aid of our doctors, or as our
internationalist combatants always have done in their struggle, on
occasions dying heroically for other peoples. [prolonged applause] Or what
our construction workers have done when they went to Peru to build
hospitals, or to Guinea-Bissau to build airports and highways, or to
Tanzania to build schools, or to Vietnam to build hospitals, livestock or
poultry projects or highways or any other project of this type.

Lezcana spoke of the internationalist awareness of our CDR's and it is fair
that this be emphasized, because our internationalist awareness is one of
the things that makes proud our party, our revolution and our people
[applause] And in that field, in the political field, in the theoretical
and practical field, in the ideological field, with regard to international
relations, perfecting our revolution will have an important influence on
the rest of the Latin American countries and on other countries of other
continents. That is why it is our duty to strengthen and perfect our
socialism and our revolution. [applause]

Next year we will have the results of the first congress and the tasks
which the first congress will show for all of us, beginning with the new
constitution, organization of people's governments, the new
political-administrative division [applause], the management system for the
economy, and all the tasks which in every field the congress will direct
and which, undoubtedly, will demand from all of us and all the people a
great effort.

Also, something very important and decisive--the economic work in the next
5 years, a task of considerable importance in which the continuous
development of our economy will be guaranteed even under conditions in
which a large part of the world, the capitalist world and the undeveloped
world, is suffering a very serious world economic crisis.

And even under such conditions, we will advance, we will continue
developing ourselves and we will find solutions to the still unsolved
problems of our people by doubling our effort, perfecting our work and
raising our efficiency.

Future prospects are good and encouraging, to the extent that they are the
objectives of the entire people. The revolution--who can deny it--is now
more solid and stronger than ever. Our international relations are
developing well. Our ties with the socialist camp, especially the Soviet
Union, are closer than ever. [applause] Our relations with Latin America
are developing.

We are observing processes of change everywhere, and we can even understand
the setbacks suffered by the international revolutionary movement. In some
countries these are temporary. Fascism does not have a future anywhere in
the world. The future belongs to the peoples. The future belongs to
socialism. [applause] Imperialism still remains powerful, but it is
becoming increasingly less powerful. The omnipotent imperialism of some
decades ago--and it was still very powerful at the time of the triumph of
our revolution--has now become less omnipotent, less powerful. The peoples
have demonstrated that. The peoples, like the 1,000 times heroic Vietnamese
people [applause], the Cambodian people, the Lactian people, the African
peoples struggling against colonialism, the Peruvian people, the Panamanian
peoples who are raising the banners of the national interests and
independence, have demonstrated that.

If other nations of Latin America, like Mexico or Venezuela, which
nationalizes the steel and oil industries, have demonstrated that, then the
times have changed. [applause] The steel and oil industries are being
nationalized, which means that the times have changed.

To the extent of their strength, our own people have contributed to
demonstrating that imperialism is no longer omnipotent and all powerful.
Those times are gone, and we can now see a different treatment toward Cuba.
The Organization of American States [OAS] now says that we are no longer
under sanction. [laughter from the crowd] What we have not said is that the
OAS is exonerated of crimes, of guilt. [applause]

The Government of the United States itself has adopted some measures in
connection with the blockade, but measures that do not carry much weight.
Fundamentally, it maintains the economic blockade. Recently they made
strong statements against us, simply because we expressed our solidarity
with the Puerto Rican people. [applause] Cuban solidarity with Puerto Rico
dates back to the last century--since the time we were two Spanish
colonies, the last two colonies on this continent, since the time when we
fought together for our independence, since the time when Marti founded his
revolutionary party to fight for the independence of Cuba and contribute to
the independence of Puerto Rico. [applause] It comes from our history, from
Marti, and from our internationalist principles and the feeling that Puerto
Rico is a Latin American nation, a nation that has resisted for more than
75 years the attempts to dissolve it and absorb it, to destroy it. And for
more than three-quarters of a century, it has shown its power and its
capability of defending its culture, its language and its national

It is necessary that all us know, in the first place, our adversaries, and,
secondly, that independently of Cuban interests, economic interests,
independently of our foreign policy that is based on the principles of
Marxism-Leninism, on the principles of peaceful coexistence with the other
states and on mutually beneficial relations with the other states--and this
is something of interest to our state and our people--let it be known that
there can never be improved relations with Cuba if this is to be based on
the renunciation of a single one of our fundamental principles. [prolonged
applause, chanting of "Fidel, be sure to hit the Yankees hard!"]

From the viewpoint of economic development, it is convenient for our people
to have the broadest commercial and technological relations with all
countries, without excluding any. But our people are still more interested
in the purity of their principles and correctness of their international
conduct. [applause] That is why, if that is not understood or that is not
accepted, we will know how to be as patient as necessary. We will be
patient. [applause]

We will withstand a blockade with dignity for all the time that it is
necessary to be blockaded. [applause] We will advance at a greater or
lesser rate. We will make greater or lesser sacrifices, but our clean flags
and the dignity and principles of this country will never knuckle under.
[applause] I say this with the conviction that this is the feeling and
though of our people. To be a little bit richer is of no use to us,
especially if to be a little bit richer means to be a littler less worthy.

We prefer to be a littler poorer and always more worthy. We were taught it
from the time of Don Carlos Manuel de Cespedes in La Majagua, when he
renounced his lands and slaves, and we were taught by the people of Bayamo
along with national anthem, when they said that to live in chains is to
live in opprobriam [word indistinct], or when by their example, they burned
the city of Bayamo rather then deliver it to the Spaniards. It was taught
us by Agramonte, Maximo Gomez, extraordinary example of internationalism.
It was taught us by that man who emerged from the people, the bronze titan,
Antonio Maceo. [applause] It was taught us by that illustrious teacher and
guide, Jose Marti. [applause] We were taught by Mella, we were taught this
Viteras, Abel Santamaria, Noel Paris. We were shown by Jose Luis
Echeverria. We were taught by our martyrs, and we were taught by Marx,
Engels and Lenin. [applause]

These are the deep convictions of our people, and we can proclaim them
because we have a united, revolutionary people, and because we have a real

A great contribution to the shaping of these feelings and these convictions
has been made by you, the committees, which are made up of the immense
majority of our people, of our adult population, because we realize that
with 4.8 million, not counting students children, and persons who are
incapable of carrying out political activities, very few are left out of
the CDR's, and if there are no more, it is because we have wished the
committees to be made up of the best of our inhabitants. For since there
are millions--several millions--we do not care about the number, but the
quality. What our party appreciates is not the quantity, but the quality,
although we know that we have both quantity and quality. [applause]

Comrade Cederistas, the future of the country is clearer, more
unobstructed, more certain. However, these 15 years which have gone by have
an extraordinary value in every sense--the experience gained in these
years, the effort made in these difficult first years. History will have to
take note of your task in these 15 years when you were emerging,
practically from nothing, when everything was still to be done--in these
difficult years, when there was not yet today's awareness, but there always
existed confidence and faith in the revolution. [applause] It was
confidence in the revolution which freed the fatherland from tyranny and
exploitation, the revolution which raised on high the flag of justice. It
was that confidence which made you join the committees, close ranks and

Today we can even see adolescents or youths, who are already 15 years old,
born on that 28 September and who are today in the more advanced
grades--among our high school students. Some are joining the pedagogical
detachment or registering in the technological schools or the
preuniversities. Many of them are already in our beautiful high schools in
the country. It is a source of pride for all of us to see this youth, which
is growing in the warmth and influence of the deeds and ideas of the
revolution, as a safe guarantee of a people who are progressing, who
improve themselves day by day. You are the children of our revolutionary
people, the fruits of the revolution in the material, moral biological,
political and conscientious aspects. We can already see it everywhere.
Yesterday you were partying and in our streets and one could see that the
people were in a party mood, truly festive, genuine festivity. It seemed
like a new year's day; it seemed like a 1 January, since every 28 September
is like a new year's day or a 1 January.

Every family gathering is joyously commemorating the 15 years of the CDR's.
Therefore, it is with this gayety, with this joy, with this optimism that
we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the CDR's. We could say here that, in
the biological sense, the CDR's are emerging from their adolescence and are
entering the age of youth. We wish them a life of fruitful work, of
successes and victories. Very sincerely, in the name of the party and the
government, we congratulate them, and we thank them for the confidence and
the work that together, you and we, but principally you, have done in these
15 years. Fatherland or death, we shall win.