Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 14 Nov 76 p 1

[Text] Santiago de Cuba (AIN)--Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first
secretary of the party and prime minister of the Revolutionary Government,
who headed the list of deputies elected to the Nation,q.1 Assembly of
People's Power by this municipality, said on the subject: "Our first duty
is to convey to you our deepest thanks for the sincere confidence you have
placed in us."

The leader of the Cuban Revolution, addressing the delegates present at the
special session of the Municipal Assembly--which was held in the House of
Culture (the old City Hall) in this historic city--shortly after his having
been elected as deputy, went on to say, "The comrade who gave the opening
speech and the president of the assembly said here that it was a
privilege--that was the word used--and an honor for them and for you that
these comrades from the Political Bureau were candidates in this assembly.
I would like to rectify those concepts.  It is not you but we who are
honored and privileged, and I say this sincerely, from the bottom of my

"We fighters have had the rare fortune of....Of the fighters throughout our
history, not many had the opportunity to see a whole stage of their
revolutionary work come to such a brilliant apex.

"In these long years we have lived from dawn to noon, from dawn to high
noon of the revolution.  We could say that the revolution has reached high
noon, and we could add that revolutions have their dawn but no twilight;
may our revolution always remain as it is today, at high noon.

"But the greatest privilege, the greatest honor, is to know that it was
you, the men and women that make up this assembly, who elected us and to
know that you constitute the best of our people of Santiago de Cuba--and
Santiago de Cuba is dearly loved and admired by all Cubans.

This Was the Most Democratic Election in the History of the American

"Heroic Santiago de Cuba of the days of 1868; the revolutionary Santiago;
the always rebellious Santiago; the Santiago that was the cradle of
families such as the Maceos; the Santiago where the remains of Jose Marti
lie; the Santiago of 26 July, 30 November and 1 January....  You must
forgive me for choking up when I remember these things.  It is because
Santiago means a great deal deal to us.

"Personally speaking, the first city I ever saw was Santiago.  I still
remember--I was 4 or 5 years old.

"Santiago de Cuba is closely linked to our revolutionary life.  First, by a
sort of political intuition: it always seemed to me that it was a city
imbued with a highly civic, fighting and heroic spirit.  Later, when I
studied the history of Cuba, I realized fully the significance of both this
region and this city.  This is why, in the bitter and sad days that
followed the 1952 coup d'etat, we had the conviction that, if there was any
place where the revolutionary struggle could be started, that place was
Santiago de Cuba.

"This conviction was confirmed with the support given by this city to the
revolutionary movement even in those days when victory seemed so distant.

"And when, in future years, no matter what the circumstances may be, we
reminisce over the historic events, the unforgettable experiences we have
lived through, we will also remember this evening."

Fidel reiterated that the Provincial Assemblies would be set up on 7
November and the National Assembly a month from now.  These would be
occasions "on which we can approach" from a number of angles "those issues
related to the institutionalization of the country and the organs of
People's Power which are being set up."

He said that he didn't want to go into detail and that he would only like
to point out that those elected as delegates to People's Power would be
facing a task involving great responsibility, a task that would be anything
but easy.  He went on to cite the problems that existed in the municipality
of Santiago de Cuba, such as the water shortage, pointing out that such
problems were not easy to solve, considering the present conditions of
intense drought.

Fidel said that he was sure that the electors would never ask the delegates
to perform miracles to solve a whole gamut of problems that would come
up, but he said that it was imperative that a frank, open, well-founded
explanation and an adequate answer should [be] given every grievance and
every situation.

"The most important thing for every one of our citizens is to know that
every day, every hour, every minute arid every second you are concerned
over their well-being; that you devote your lives to struggle for them;
that you devote all your energy and your intelligence to the well-being of
the people.., and I can assure you, regardless of what skeptics may say,
that nothing is more noble, more disinterested, more pure, than the people

Santiago de Cuba Is Closely Linked to Our Revolutionary Life

Speaking of the process that preceded the setting up of the Assemblies,
Fidel said, "It has been said and it can be repeated with full
justification, that this was the most democratic election in the history of
the American hemisphere, and, judging by what we have seen here tonight
and by what is surely happening throughout the country, we will have more
than enough reason to feel proud of what our country's National Assembly of
People's Power will be like."

Fidel recalled the 23 years that had passed since the attack on the Moncada
Carrison, adding that what he and his comrades in arms were most pleased
with was to see how the ranks of the revolutionary column had been
constantly swelling with workers, peasants and young people, to see how the
revolution became stronger and how its strength was multiplied and what
this meant in terms of securing the future.

"A new generation is emerging," he said, "and the country can count on
increasing numbers of people with cultivated intelligence, because, in the
past, there were many people with native intelligence, but it was not
cultivated.  The revolution has been helping people to cultivate their
intelligence, and the educational level is rising."

He said that any foreigner who happened to be visiting Cuba at this time
would have surely thought that "we had been holding elections for a hundred
years and that we'd had People's Power for a hundred years.  This is the
first time, yet, considering the organization and the way it was carried
out, with very few errors and with high quality, we can say that everything
went without a hitch.

"What can be gained from a evening such as this is experience,
unforgettable experience; enthusiasm; strength; energy; the will to go on
struggling; optimism; and confidence in the future, no matter what the

"Work, effort, sacrifice and struggle are in store for us, but a party
that can count on a people such as this, that can count on men and women
like you, will always be sure of victory.  If there is a prize for those of
us who have lived through these experiences, the best prize is you."

[Originally] Published: 11/4/76