Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Radio/Television Services in Spanish 2305 GMT 26 July 76 FL

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro marking the 23d anniversary
of the assault on the Moncada Barracks in Pinar del Rio City--live]

[Text]  Dear Comrade Agostinho Neto and other members of the MPLA and of
the People's Republic of Angola [applause], comrades of the party and the
government, guests, people of Pinar del Rio, Cubans.  [applause;
unintelligible shouts and chanting]  The honor of being the principal site
of the commemoration of the 23d anniversary was accorded to the province
of Pinar del Rio.  During the capitalist era, no region of the country was
more forgotten and no Cuban town was the object of more indifference, and
it could even be said of scorn, despite the fact that during the last war
of independence this Cuban province had played an important part and this
land was the scene of many of the most brilliant battles of the liberating
army and of its glorious Lt Antinio Maceo.  [applause]  And many sons of
this province died in the struggle or died in the concentration camps or as
victims of colonialism.

On 23 July, as probably many of you remember, the situation became
insupportable.  This province was the locale of the worst, the most
reactionary and the most greedy landowners.  The great majority of the
peasants, working as sharecroppers, had to give up to 50 percent of their
crop and sometimes even more.  The struggles of the peasants of Pinar del
Rio against the abuses, the injustices, the crimes and the evictions
to which they were subjected are well known.  There were no schools in the
rural areas.  Of the children and youths between 6 and 24 years of age,
only 33 percent went to school.  Illiteracy exceeded 30 percent.
Unemployment, poverty, the slums in the cities as a result of rural
migration were plentiful in all the corners of this province.  It is
difficult to estimate infant mortality, because there were no statistics.
It could have been 60, or 70, or 80 or 100 per 1,000 infants born alive.
There was only one pre-university institute in the province, and one could
not even dream about a university.

Today, things are completely different.  Today, there are no longer any
reactionary landowners exploiting the peasants.  There are not longer any
evictions.  There is no more illiteracy.  And the infant mortality
statistics, not only of the entire country but also of this province, which
was one of the poorest and most backward of Cuba, are lower today than
those of any other country in Latin America.  [applause]  If before the
revolution, according to historical data, there were in Pinar del Rio 140
doctors, 35 dentists and 50 nurses, today we have in this province, working
in the cities and the rural areas, 3 times as many doctors, 3 times as many
dentists and 20 times as many nurses and public health aides.  [applause]
One hundred percent of the children of primary school age are in schools.
There is no part of the province, no matter how isolated, which does not
have its schoolrooms and does not have its teachers.  [applause]

If before the revolution only 4,000 Pinar del Rio students had graduated
from intermediate-level education, already for next term, just in this
province, there will be 41,000 students in intermediate-level education.
[applause]  Almost 250,000 persons of the total population of 600,000 Pinar
del Rio inhabitants are studying.  [applause]  This includes the students
of the schools for youngsters and those in adult education. Pinar del Rio
already has a university.  [applause]  By next term, it will have a
registration of over 4,000 students.  [applause]

Not only tobacco is being planted in the province.  Tobacco is still being
planed, lots of tobacco, which I should say is the best in the world.
[cheers and applause]  Important rice plans have been developed.  And if
before the revolution between 300,000 and 400,000 quintals of rice were
being produced, this province is already producing well over 2 million
quintals of rice.  [applause]

There were practically no citrus fruit plantations, and at the present time
the province has more than 1,300 caballerias of citrus fruit.  [applause]
By 1980 it will reach nearly 2,000.  [applause]  There was practically not
a single poultry production.  Based on modern techniques, an important
swine program has been developed.  Dairy production is increasing year
after year.  As for trees, 250 million have been planted since the triumph
of the revolution.  [applause]  This is equal to one-third of the total
amount planted throughout the country during this period.

A vast network of roads has been built.  There is practically no place in
the province lacking means of communication.  A modern freeway is under
construction between Pinar del Rio and Havana.  [applause]  The province's
central railroad will be rebuilt in the future.  In coming months, the
construction of Pinar del Rio's new and modern airport is scheduled to
begin.  [applause]

As you can see, the appearance of the province is changing.  There was not
a single dam in this province, and in recent years tens of dams have been
built.  The volume of water being dammed is growing increasingly.  We are
sure that you will not stop until you have fulfilled the slogan that says:
Not a single drop of water allowed to go to the sea.  [applause]

The province's appearance continues to change.  There are tens of rural
secondary schools, preuniversity institutes and polytechnics.  This
province already was a modern forestry technological institute with a
capacity for more than 1,000 students.  [applause]  In Pinar del Rio
itself, we can observe the changes that have taken place, tall buildings
under construction [applause], tens of apartments buildings, the teacher
training school with a capacity for 2,000 students, the vocational school
scheduled for completion this year with a capacity for 2,500 students.
[applause]  You already have a superb stadium and, next to the stadium, a
physical education training school [applause], which finished in first
place in the emulation for that type of center.  [applause]

You also have a new health technological institute.  [applause]  The youths
of Pinar del Rio, with their dedication to studies, are giving adequate
response to this effort of the revolution.  [applause]

In four emulations, the schools of Pinar del Rio were in first place
nationally this year [applause], among them the rural preuniversity Antonio
Guiteras Institute [applause] which is in first place nationally for the
third year in a row [applause], the Camilitos school which is in first
place nationally [applause], a rural secondary school [applause] and a
vocational school; with us today also, and they are worthy of our
gratitude, are the students of the basic secondary farming-type school of
Las Villas who were in first place.  [applause]

This year, the province of Pinar del Rio has achieved the largest tobacco
crop in all time [applause], amounting to 750,000 quintals [applause],
which is twice what was reached in 1971.  This is a growing effort that has
been undertaken for several years.

In the past 5-year period the total social product of Pinar del Rio grew by
64 percent.  In this time, the people, or better to say the
livestock-agricultural sector, its production, grew by 61 percent.  The
industrial sector grew by 66 percent, and construction tripled.  [applause]
As a result of this, the per capita income of the province grew from 404
pesos to 530.  [applause]  The incorporation of women into productive
activities increased to 30 percent.  [applause] and the province has now
217,000 workers.  [applause]  This year, not only was the tobacco crop the
largest in history, the sugarcane crop was also the highest in the history
of Pinar del Rio.  [applause]  The cattle herd of the province exceeds half
a million now.  Rice production has also been the highest in history.  And
in practice there is not one plan that has not been fulfilled in the
province in this first half of the year of 1976.  [applause]  And this
value of production in the first half of 1976.  [applause]

These successes are due to the excellent work of leadership undertaken by
our party [prolonged applause], to its magnificent provincial leadership
team, and especially to its first secretary, Comrade Camacho Aguilera.
[prolonged applause, shouts]

We are grateful for the demonstrations of friendship and trust which you
express to Comrade Camacho, [applause] because we recall his revolutionary
past, we recall that when the "Granma" landed, he, at the head of a small
group of combatants, attacked and seized a barracks of the tyranny in the
area of Guantanamo.  [applause]  We recall his extraordinary work and his
political work among military officers who sympathized with our cause which
ended in the historic rebellion of Cienfuegos on 5 September of 1957

We can recall the arduous task and enormous risks confronted by Comrade
Camacho in the clandestine struggle.  It is a history which has not yet
been written, but in which there are many interesting anecdotes, such as
the one about the movement's penetration of enemy ranks becoming so big
that more than once in the midst of war Comrade Camacho entered into
Columbia Camp, the main camp of the tyranny [applause], to conduct his
political work with the military.  Those days are gone and others came that
demanded a still more arduous effort, more constant--we could call them
harder.  The task of rebuilding our country, the work of economically and
socially developing our fatherland, the work of building socialism, and
with the same enthusiasm that Comrade Camacho had dedicated himself to the
struggle against tyranny, with that same enthusiasm--we could even say that
with still greater enthusiasm--he devoted his efforts to this work.
[applause]  One of the characteristics of Comrade Camacho, besides his
sense of responsibility, his seriousness, in his undying enthusiasm.

How he works, how he struggles for the province's progress.  [applause]  In
our judgement, it is one of the factors of the success.  But the
fundamental factor belongs to you, the residents of Pinar del Rio.
[applause]  It is you, the masses of Pinar del Rio.  [applause]  It is you,
selfless militants of the Pinar del Rio party.  [applause]  It is you, the
nearly 30,000 militants of the Communist Youth of Pinar del Rio.
[applause]  It is you, the hundreds of thousands of members of the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, of workers, of peasants
[applause], of members of the Federation of Cuban Women [applause], of
students and Pioneers [applause], who also work in our mass organization.
Without your spirit of work, without your enthusiasm, without your
confidence, without your selflessness, without you discipline, without the
revolutionary awareness of the Pinar del Rio residents, it would have been
impossible to achieve these successes.  [applause]

We are gratified to be able to proclaim it here in this province on 26
July, in this province which gave one of the best contingents for the
revolutionary armed struggle [applause]--youths from Artemisa, Guanajay and
Pinar del Rio City, which used to be part of Pinar del Rio Province.
[applause]  That is why we have always in our mind the contributions made
by this region of Cuba to the revolutionary struggle, prior to 26 July,
after 26 July [applause], prior to January 1, after 1 January [applause],
yesterday, today and tomorrow!  [applause]

We think that the best tribute that can be paid to the 17 Pinar del Rio
combatants who died in the assault on the Moncada Barracks [applause] or in
the struggles that took place after that--because some of those who
participated in the "Granma" landing also participated in the struggle
later; some who participated in the Moncada, participated in the "Granma"
and participated in the Sierra, we will always have them in our minds.  Of
all of them, Julito Diaz and Ciro Redondo were symbols.  [prolonged

They fought for this future of freedom and progress, for all the fatherland
and within the fatherland for its province of Pinar del Rio.  [applause]
Our revolution has begun new tasks after the party's congress.  On 24
February the great majority of the people already approved our socialist
constitution.  [applause]  In the month of October the elections for the
establishment of the people's government will be held.  [applause]  We are
certain that in the many tasks that we have ahead, you people of Pinar del
Rio will occupy a vanguard place.  [applause]  We all have a lot of work
ahead of us, and in this province, there are many things, but many things
that have to be done.  The battle to be fought with nature is a great one.
The effort to replant the forests exhausted by the capitalists, to control
and dam the waters, to drain the swamps, to irrigate as many areas as
possible, to continue to develop tobacco production, improving it not only
in quantity but also in quality, is a great one.  It is possible to build
new sugar mills in this province.  It will be necessary to build them in
the future.  There are mining possibilities in this province which are
being studied and which are promising.  There are many natural resources,
among them geography and the beauty of this province which in the future
will allow a greater development of tourism.  [applause]

In the social area, there are still many schools which have to be built,
there are hospitals that have to be finished, child-care centers to
establish.  And above all we cannot forget the great need for housing which
the whole country has, and which, as part of the country, the province of
Pinar del Rio has.  [applause]

In the new political-administrative division, the provinces are more or
less equal. Now there are not longer any large provinces or small
provinces.  Now, the provinces have more of less the same population and
are the same size.  Now, in the future, in the 14 provinces of the country,
there will be the optimum conditions for the emulation. [applause]

We believe that the people of Pinar del Rio will not be prepared to remain
behind.  [people shout "No!" and applaud] They will not have less
enthusiasm than any other province [people shout "No"] and this spirit,
this extraordinary spirit, this enthusiasm which you have shown in face of
the date 26 July and which you have shown in this ceremony will always be
demonstrated.  [people shout:  "Yes" and applaud]

Besides the honor of being the site of the principal ceremony of 26 July,
our country, our patriotic date and the people of Pinar del Rio have
received the immense honor of having present the revolutionary leader and
the president of the People's Republic of Angola, Agostinho Neto.
[applause]  [people shout something unintelligible and clap rhythmically]

We are not being polite, we are not praising anyone, and we are not paying
any compliments, but instead we are analyzing the facts and understanding
their significance and we are expressing our most sincere feelings.
Agostinho Neto is a man whose name will go down in history among the
revolutionary leaders who have proven themselves to the people and to the
revolutionary movement.

At times history develops right before our eyes and we are unable to
understand its full significance.  We Cubans are able to understand it by
referring to our own experiences above all.  What was Cuba in the last
century, if not a Spanish colony?  What has Angola been until very
recently, if not a Portuguese colony?  Two nations of the same peninsula
and two colonial systems, equally exploiting and cruel.

How did Cuba's independence emerge?  Which obstacles did our compatriots
not find in that era in their effort to gain independence?  Against how
many hundreds of thousands of soldiers did they have to fight?

It can also be said that the Cuban nation did not exist.  The feeling for a
nation was forged little by little throughout the struggle.  We infinitely
admire Marti for his gigantic task of forming a revolutionary awareness in
the midst of our people.  We admire Marti because he was a brilliant
intellectual, a man of extraordinary struggle, who devoted his life and pen
to that struggle, who was a man of work and action.  We are and will
eternally be grateful to him for what he signified and symbolized.  But
that same history of our fatherland at the end of last century has been the
present history of Angola.  [applause]  This was a colonized country over a
period of almost 400 years, a country where the colonialists exploited,
developed and exacerbated all the possible divisions, where the
colonialists--as Neto explained--relied on racism, on tribalism, on
regionalism and made use of all weapons to obstruct the birth of an Angolan
nation for the purpose of indefinitely maintaining their dominion.

We have here a man who also devoted all his life to the effort of
liberating his fatherland, who was forced to face up to enormous
difficulties, because in order to make the two situations more similar,
Neto is also a man having an extraordinary culture, of great intellectual
capacity and an extraordinary poet [applause], who devoted his life and pen
to his people, to his brothers who were being discriminated against and
enslaved, to forge the political consciousness of the Angolans.  And just
as Marti wrote many of his best works and his best poems in suffering, in
that unextinguishable suffering of one who has an awareness of freedom and
does not accept man's slavery, Neto also wrote many of his best poems under
such conditions in the suffering of the prisons, of exile and of his
brothers' slavery. [applause]

Not only did he forge a consciousness, he also forged the instrument of the
struggle and outlined a line, a cameo, the only path in Angola--as it was
yesterday in Cuba--to achieve independence, which was the heroic struggle
of the people, the armed struggle of the people.  [applause]  And over a
period of many years he has guided that struggle.  He was imprisoned many
times, the first time in 1951, the second in 1955--from February 1955 to
June 1957.

Thus, when we, the Moncado Barracks combatants, were in prison on the Isle
of Pines in February 1955, Neto and his comrades were also imprisoned in
the colonialist jails of Angola. [applause] When in June 1957 he was set
free as a result of the extraordinary pressure exerted by world public
opinion and the world progressive movement--in the midst of which Agostinho
Neto had already attained a great prestige as intellectual and as
revolutionary--those of us, who had participated in the Moncada struggle
and who had already been set free as a result of the enormous pressure
exerted by our people, were by then fighting in the Sierra Maestra.
[applause] At the time we had no relations with Comrade Neto and his

At that time, in February 1957, we were thinking of the future and were
getting ready for the future struggle in our cells.  Time has passed since
then.  More than 19 years.  More.  More than 21 years [Castro appears to be
counting]...76...more than 21 years.  And who could have said--only the men
who had faith in the future could have said--that some day here, on a 26
July in Pinar del Rio, the prisoners and combatants of 26 July and the MPLA
would meet [applause] in a socialist Cuba, and Angola would be sovereign
and free, from Cabinda to Cunene, [applause] marching toward the
construction of socialism.  [applause]  But the way would be long and hard.
We had already triumphed in 1959, but Neto continued to be a victim of
persecution and repression.  Imprisoned in 1960 for the third time, he was
imprisoned once more in 1961, around the time of the Bay of Pigs.  A few
weeks after the Bay of Pigs Agostinho Neto was being imprisoned for the
fourth and last time.

We had recently emerged from that difficult trial, after the Bay of Pigs
victory, which became Yankee imperialism's first defeat in America.
[applause]  If in April of 1961 we had not defeated imperialism, then, at
the end of 1975, we would not have been able to lend our collaboration to
an invaded Angola.  [applause]

That is why when a people struggle for their rights and their just cause
they are also struggling for the just causes of others.  In their struggle
against imperialism the Vietnamese also fought for us.  In their struggle
against imperialism the Angolans also fought for us.  [applause]  And, in
our struggle against imperialism at the Bay of Pigs, Cubans were also
creating the conditions so that some day Angolans and Cubans together could
inflict on the imperialists an African Bay of Pigs.  [rhythmic applause and

Because of this we can appreciate the profound significance and the
extraordinary symbolism that Neto's presence at this event today
represents.  To us, it is a living page in history that recalls the history
of our own fatherland.  Because, who make up our nation, who made up our
people, but--in a very high proportion--Africans, and who struggled in our
wars of independence of 1868 and in 1895, in a very high proportion, if not
the African slaves of the past or their descendents [applause] and, among
them, who knows--how many descendents of Angolans?

I spoke with Comrade Neto about sports, showing an interest in the ideas
they had in this regard.  Our conversation was prompted by the great
expectation aroused by these Olympics at Munich--rather, at Montreal.  He
said:  It will still be a long time before we attend an Olympics.  But I
said:  Think, Comrade Neto, that Angolans are also well represented at the
Montreal Olympics, [applause] in many of the athletes.  [applause]  Who
know how many of them are descendants of Angolans?  [applause]

Many are the things that units us to Angola:  our cause, our common
interests, politics, ideology.  But we are also united by blood [applause],
and blood in the two senses of the word, blood of our ancestors and blood
we shed together on the battlefields.  [applause]

Comrade Neto's remarks--that is not geography that unites or separates
people--are very wise and profound, as are his remarks that the
revolutionary struggle should increasingly unite our peoples.  We have
fulfilled our basic internationalist duty with Angola.  By fulfilling our
duty we are not only  doing a favor.  We are simply fulfilling a duty.

We have always believed that a man who is not ready to sacrifice himself
for others will not sacrifice himself for anything. [applause] A people who
are not ready to sacrifice themselves for another people will not make
sacrifices even for themselves. [applause] A people who are not ready to
fight for others' freedom will never be ready to fight for their own
freedom. [applause] We have fulfilled our internationalist duty with our
brothers of Angola and we are proud of it, [applause] proud of our
revolutionary people who were ready to enlist hundreds of thousands of
fighters [applause], proud of our reserve troops and revolutionary soldiers
who fought alongside Angolans with the same heroism and bravery that they
would fight in our own country. [applause]

We are proud of those soldiers who, 10,000 kms away, bearing aloft the
slogan "The Fight Continues, Victory Is Certain" were able to proclaim
their slogan "Fatherland or Death, We will Win."  [applause]  They
were completely justified, because when they fought beside their Angolan
brothers, it was as if they were fighting for their own country.

Much has been said since then in diverse international circles about this
aid to the Republic of Angola and about Cuban military personnel in Angola.
it is very clear and simple.

As we know our country has been withdrawing [from Angola] military
personnel were not needed under present conditions.  However, by agreement
between the government of the People's Republic of Angola and the Cuban
Government, Cuban military units and the necessary weapons have remained in
Angola to support the People's Republic of Angola in case of foreign
aggression.  [applause]  This will be as long as is necessary.  And what is
the necessary time, according to the Angolan and Cuban governments, the
MPLA and the PCC?  Well, we repeat, the necessary time is until the armed
forces of the People's Republic of Angola are organized, equipped and
trained; [applause] when we are no longer needed to repulse any aggression
like the one recently carried out.  And the time will come when the
presence of this military support will no longer be needed, like us now who
have been able to organize the powerful means of defense.

One of the most shameful crimes committed by imperialism in recent times
was precisely this invasion of Angola, employing, in a silent war, regular
troops of the South African fascists.  [applause]  In Angola, however, the
South African fascists met their match, [applause]  So let no one be
deceived, let no one be mistaken.  There is enough military aid for Angola.

And if there should be another invasion, Cuban soldiers will fight shoulder
to shoulder with the Angolan people again.  [prolonged applause]

Some circles are speculating about the content of the talks between Comrade
Neto and us.  They are wondering if the talks involve military aspects.  In
reality military aspects are what we have discussed the least.  The
military topics were discussed long ago. [applause] And each thing has its
proper time.

Angola is living a phase now which is not essentially military.  It faces a
struggle, as we did after the triumph of the revolution, against the
counterrevolutionary groups.  Naturally imperialism, as it did in Cuba for
years, is also trying there to harass, sabotage and disrupt peaceful work
in Angola.  But in reality, the counterrevolutionary organizations--the
National front for the Liberation of Angola and the National Union for the
Total Independence of Angola--are totally demoralized and will never rise
up again.  They are now engaged in developing a type of war, two types of
war--a war of various parts carried out in some capitals in which they talk
about offensives, battles, victories and so forth which exist only on
paper.  The big truth is that these groups of bandits--we all know them too
well because, as you will recall, they dedicated themselves here to killing
teachers, doctors, workers, peasants, which is what they do - reach a
village, try to sow terror, kill women, opening up their bellies, kill and
burn children.  This is the type of deeds they commit; of course, this
increases the hatred of the people toward them.  These groups of bandits do
not have the slightest chance of recovering and they do not confront the
FALPA because in reality they cannot combat the FALPA.

Angola faces tasks which are basically of a civilian type.  When the time
has come for them to reconstruct and develop the country and to go forward
with the revolution they have an immense task in difficult conditions.
What did colonialism leave in Angola?  The Angolans were not even taught to
drive trucks or tractors.  They were not taught anything; they were not
even trained as skilled workers.  In Angola colonialism left an illiteracy
rate of 90 percent.  Furthermore, the colonialist proprietors left their
farms, factories, everything and took all their technicians.

The assistance which Angola needs most at this time is of a civilian
nature, of a technical nature.  And it is regarding cooperation in this
phase that talks between the Angolan and Cuban delegations have evolved.

We will cooperate with Angola in all fields, in the political, military
fields, helping to organize and train their armed forces, helping to form
cadres for the struggle against sabotage and counterrevolution.  We will
cooperate with Angolans in many other fields within our scope.  Naturally,
the assistance to Angola can be carried out only through the cooperation of
all socialist countries.  And the socialist countries have expressed their
willingness to cooperate with Angola, some in one field and others in other

We have analyzed cooperation between Cuba and Angola in the field of public
health.  We have a group of doctors, medical aides, working in Angola and
we intend to increase this cooperation even more.  This is a field in
which we have experience and in Angola the struggle against disease is a
very big one, because colonialism did absolutely nothing in matter of
public health.  Therefore, we will offer it important cooperation in the
field of public health.  We will offer it our experience and cooperation in
the field of construction.  As you know, we have also achieved great
progress in this field and we can cooperate with them in that field.  We
will also cooperate with them in the fields of education, fishing,
agriculture and sugar industry--they have four sugar centrals and as a
matter of fact they have begun harvest--in coffee, without setting a limit
to other cooperation which can arise in other fields.

It will be necessary to work along this line.  Before it was the heroic
stage, the war stage.  Now it is the peace stage, and the heroes of peace
are needed.  [applause]  Now there are several hundred Cubans working at
camps.  But, in our judgement, the time will come when it may be necessary
to have 2,000 or 3,000 Cubans working on these fronts.  [applause]

As I was saying, among the problems Angolans have now is that the
colonialists did not even teach them to drive trucks.  They need
transportation for their crops.  They acquire the trucks, but they have no
drivers, to cite an example.  That is to say that sometimes they need a
driver to drive the truck and at the same time teach the Angolan.  Or they
need a bricklayer who will work and teach the Angolan at the same time.  Or
they need a construction forman who will help the Angolan while he is

Naturally, they need doctors and health specialists.  And they need many
kinds of technicians.  And in this field our country can offer cooperation.
It will not be very costly aid from the economic point of view, because it
does not involve tons of sugar or tons of merchandise.  Angola is a country
with vast natural resources; they have magnificent economic potential.  The
help they need now is the help that can be offered, manpower.  It is the
help of men and women trained for their tasks.  That is why we expect from
our people, our workers, and, especially, our youth, that in the same way
in which hundreds of thousands were willing to go and fight in Angola
there will now be tens of thousands willing to give Angola this civilian
cooperation.  [applause]

This does not mean that we are going to send everyone who is willing to go.
No.  We will only be able to send a small number of those willing to go.
What we are interested in is the spirit of solidarity, the spirit of
cooperation.  Let no one believe that a people loses anything when it helps
another.  When a people helps another it does not lose, it gains.  A
doctor, like the ones we have had practicing medicine in Algeria, Yemen,
Somalia, or Angola, does not lose anything for our country.  Our country
gains.  It gains a professional who becomes more conscientious, who becomes
more revolutionary.  [applause]

Our country did not lose anything with the 900 construction workers that
went to Vietnam.  We gained with them.  Today those workers make up
magnificent and enthusiastic work cells in our construction sector.  When
they returned they were sent to the most important construction projects,
the ones with the highest priority.

The country does not lose anything when one of its technicians goes off to
fulfill an internationalist mission.  The country gains a lot.  Our
conscience, our political development gains.  And it is a source of pride
to any revolutionary party, it is a source of pride for any country.  And
this attitude of our country, willing to fight, to help, on one terrain or
another, is a good way to measure its maturity and its revolutionary

That is why the imperialists always make mistakes with Cuba; because they
have no equipment to measure these moral attitudes.  [applause]  They have
no way of measuring the spirit and moral of a people.  [applause]  They
made a mistake at the Bay of Pigs.  And now, when they planned the invasion
of Angola, they again made a mistake.  [applause]  They could not conceive
that, at a distance of 10,000 km, Cuba would be able to give Angola the
cooperation that it did.  At a distance of 10,000 km.  [applause]  Because
they thought that the blockaded people, the people they have tried to sink
and ruin, were not able to give this type of aid.  And they made a mistake.
Our combatants were there on the front line.  Our sailors, the crews of our
merchant marine were there.  Our merchant marine ships were there.  Our
plans were there.  [applause]  And our aviation workers were there.  And,
between them, in a quick and efficient manner, they responded to the call
of the MPLA and the People's Republic of Angola.  [applause]

The imperialists did not count on this.  The most important thing about a
country is not its wealth.  The imperialists have a lot of wealth, but they
do not have moral or spirit.  The most important thing about a country, a
society, is its moral and its spirit.  [applause]  [rhythmic applause and

The attack on the Moncada Barracks was 23 years ago.

If this struggle has been able to make progress it was precisely because of
this, because of the importance of the moral and spirit of the fighters.
Really, when that struggle started there was neither money, nor arms, nor
military training; there was absolutely nothing.  Despite the immense
difficulties no one thought that it would be impossible--and it was
possible.  When I see the spirit of our people today, I recall that such
was the spirit of our comrades in those days.  [applause]  Only that today
it is not the spirit of a handful of men.  It is the spirit of the entire
country.  [applause]  And if the spirit of a handful of men could not be
beaten, the spirit of a country--much less--will never be beaten.

Let us proclaim on this 23d [as heard] of July that our party, made up of
our revolutionary vanguard, of men and women of different ages, from those
who have been struggling for the revolution for years, to youths who are
joining daily, feel proud of our people's attitude, strength and
conscience.  That is why, Comrade Neto, on behalf of our people, I and the
Cuban people would like to tell you that Angola--which is the heroic and
difficult days counted on our held--in this difficult and trying stage of
reconstruction in its development and march toward socialism can equally
count on our maximum cooperation.  [applause]

We take this opportunity to send our fighters, civilian workers, and
technicians in Angola our recognition, our greetings and the admiration of
the entire country. [applause] Cubans are also struggling and working in
another field, in sports, taking part in the Olympics.  Today they sent us
a beautiful message.  We tell them also that we are proud of their
achievements.  We congratulate them, and wish them new victories.
[applause] Let me tell you people of Pinar del Rio of the extraordinary
impression that we have received today. [applause] We want to thank you for
the memory that we will always keep of the enthusiasm, seriousness,
discipline and warmth with which you have celebrated this 26th of July.
[applause] People of Pinar del Rio, let us make this our slogan for the
years of work that lie ahead: "The struggle continues, victory is certain;
fatherland or death, we will win." [applause]