Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 0324 GMT 18 Feb 77 FL

[Speech by Revolutionary Armed Forces [FAR] Minister Army Gen Raul Castro
at military ceremony held at Mangos de Baragua, Santiago de Cuba Province,
on 16 February 1977--recorded]

[Text] Dear friend Dobri Dzhurov, alternate member of the Bulgarian
Communist Party Central Committee Politburo and minister of defense of the
Bulgarian People's Army comrade officers and generals of the delegation
accompanying him, comrade leaders of the PCC, provinces of Santiago de Cuba
and Holguin, dear comrades of the 1st Regiment of the FAR motorized
infantry:  Today this regiment, the division of which it is a part and the
Cuban FAR have been greatly honored by the fraternal Bulgarian People's
Army.  [applause] Starting today and forever more, this Cuban-Bulgarian
friendship combat flag will always accompany this military unit's combat
flag and the flag of the Republic of Cuba.  [applause]

The motorized infantry regiment, through which all of us are being highly
honored, is part of the 1st Division that was created in our country
following the revolution's triumph.  Earlier the division was called
"Number 50," when it was formed during the days of the Playa Giron battles
in 1961.  In its 16 years of existence, the units making up this division
and, very especially, the regiment which is here today have accumulated
many accomplishments in combat training and readiness and in the
fulfillment of all tasks assigned to them by the superior command.  In
addition, this regiment itself recently participated in the
internationalist aid given by Cuba to the sister People's Republic of
Angola.  [applause]

This honor is being conferred upon this unit, and through it, upon the
entire FAR--as we have said--first of all, for the results achieved in
combat training and readiness and for its outstanding participation in the
Angolan war.  We are certain they will always bear with pride this flag
which, starting today, will be one more reason for keeping in mind the
firm, effective ties uniting us to Bulgaria, to the Soviet Union and to the
rest of the socialist community.  This motorized infantry division and,
within it, this regiment have been struggling for several years to earn the
combat glory name "protest of Baragua."  [applause]

In our armed forces only two units--an antiaircraft missile unit of the
Antiaircraft Defense and Revolutionary Air Force and a flotilla of navy
missile patrol boats--have received the high honor that a combat glory name
represents.  We hope this division, which was the first one to be founded
in the country, will also be the first one of the ground troops to receive
such high distinction.  [applause]  You know perfectly well the superior
command of the armed forces and therefore know that such honors are not
given away.  It would neither be a tribute to you and all your efforts nor
would we be fulfilling our duty if we gave the honors to those who have not
made great efforts.  On 15 March 1978 we will commemorate the 100th
anniversary of that immortal action by Gen Antonio Maceo, the protest of
Baragua, which took place practically right here.  [applause]  And from
this place of Mangos de Baragua, many years later during the final phase of
our war of independence, Gen Antonio Maceo himself initiated the invasion
toward the west.  To bear the name of Protesta de Baragua, as you can well
understand, will require great efforts.  We hope that next year, more
exactly on the date of the 100th anniversary, you will be able to receive
that combat glory name.  Whether it is given to you or not will depend on
you.  And if it does not happen in the centennial year, it could be in the
101st, 102d, 103rd, 104th or 105th anniversary, that is in the years 1982,
1983 or 1984.  But not because it will coincide with such an important
anniversary will we award it if all the parameters within which you are
struggling and emulating individually and collectively are not achieved.  I
do not think it is necessary to ask you, but nevertheless I will ask.  Do
you agree with those conditions?  [the audience answers "Yes!"]

Besides the beauty of the ceremony we are observing today, an event of
friendship with the great people of Georgi Dimitrov, their armed forces and
the representatives of their communist party, is the fact that this
ceremony takes place precisely here, the scene of two great events of our
history--the protest of Baragua and the starting point of the invasion; a
scenario which in all phases of our struggles for independence and social
liberation has been drenched with blood and its soil holds the remains of
all the patriots of past and present eras.  We receive that glorious
Cuban-Bulgarian friendship combat flag precisely from the fatherland of
Georgi Dimitrov who, in different times and struggling against different
systems, built a monument to the history of all of mankind's communists.
When, before a Nazi-fascist court in Germany in the famous Leipzig trial,
he rose from the defendant's seat and became a giant in that historic
moment, Dimitrov spoke on behalf of all the planet's communists and, more
important still, spoke on behalf of hundreds and hundreds of millions of
exploited persons on the planet.  That action has a great similarity with
Antonio Maceo's protest of Baragua and, more recently, with our commander
in chief's action when he also rose from the defendant's seat and explained
the famous program "history will absolve me."  [applause]

Due to those reasons, this simple ceremony we are conducting here is very
important for us.  We congratulate you for having been selected to receive
such a high distinction and, at the same time, from the bottom of our
hearts we wish you greater successes so that you may receive with daily,
patient and continued work the new distinction of a combat glory name, a
name that is so closely tied to the history of the fatherland and to such
an historic place.

A few moments ago I showed my friend Dobri Dzhurov the hall where [words
indistinct] combat glory of the unit.  I stopped to show him the
photographs of the first camps we had here.  The first houses were made
with leaves from palm trees in the midst of a gigantic muddy area.  Later
on there were small frame houses which after a few days of use were leaning
and had to be tied down with wire.  And now we have these modern
installations.  And something more important with respect to combat
training of the unit, this is the only FAR division which can fire all its
weapons from the wonderful proving grounds which can be seen from here.
Thus, we feel the conditions have been created and it will not be long
before we will have to return here to present the new distinction, the new
combat glory name "Protest of Baragua."  [applause]

I do not want to end my speech without conveying greetings to those who
founded this unit during the difficult days of 1961 and under such
inhospitable conditions, to all soldiers who are members of the reserve and
work in area factories and fields, to the officers who founded the unit
which was a great school for some of our better officers and to those
forged here and today who hold different posts in the armed forces
throughout the country and, very especially, I would like to congratulate,
since he is among us today, the one who was the first chief of this
division and who at the present time is first vice minister-chief of
General Staff of our armed forces, Div Gen Senen Casas Regueiro.
[applause]  As you can see, he is healthy.  His head is full of gray hair.
The first gray hairs sprouted right here.  He has matured a lot.  He does
not criticize as much as he did 16 years ago--as the soldiers used to
say--although I would not say that; that is, that he no longer criticizes a
lot.  In closing, I would like to say he is doing a good job.  [applause]
We would like to say that we appreciate this action of the Bulgarian
Communist Party Central Committee, its Secretary General and State Council
Chairman Todor Zhivkov and the Armed Forces of the Bulgarian People's
Republic.  We appreciate this gesture not only for its political
significance and the proof of friendship it represents but also because
Army Gen Dobri Dzhurov is personally giving it to us.  Army General
Dzhurov's life is a magnificent symbol of the recent history of the heroic
Bulgarian people.  He has been a communist militant since 1938.  He was an
antifascist fighter during all of World War II and even before then.  He
was a commanding commissar of the legendary (Chapdar) guerrilla detachment
and has been defense minister since 1972.  Besides being an outstanding
military commander, Army General Dzhurov is a hero of the People's Republic
of Bulgaria and alternate member of the Bulgarian Communist Party
Politburo.  [applause]  His presence here today is a high honor for all of
us, a really significant event.  The (Chapdar) guerrilla detachment headed
by Comrade Dzhurov was formed by a very small number of communists and had
very few weapons.  It conducted its combat actions near the capital of the
republic, Sofia.  Many years later, 20 years ago, a small number of the
members of the Granma Expeditionary Force also formed under the leadership
of our beloved Commander in Chief Fidel Castro what later became our
glorious FAR.  [applause]

In Bulgaria, a country which I had the honor of visiting recently,
socialism is being built.  That is possible, in the first place, because of
the triumph of the Great October Revolution under the leadership of the
great Lenin [applause]; because the defeat of Nazi-German fascism during
the Great Fatherland War, because of the defeat of Japanese fascism which
was a member of that reactionary coalition.  In World War II the great
fatherland of Lenin played the most outstanding role at the terrible price
of the lives of 20 million Soviets.  [applause]  This marked the beginning
of the world socialist system.  These two events--the October Revolution
and fascism's defeat in World War II, the struggle waged by all people,
mainly in Europe and Asia and, among them, the outstanding struggle of the
Bulgarian people--made it possible for Comrade Fidel to proclaim the
socialist nature of our revolution before the armed workers and soldiers a
few years later on 16 April 1961, in the midst of the Giron aggression or
on the eve of the Giron aggression, in the days when this division was
founded.  [applause]  Today Bulgaria and Cuba are building socialism
because of those factors we have mentioned.  They are building it under the
proven leadership of our glorious communist parties.  [applause]  Comrade
Dobri Dzhurov and members of the delegation accompanying him, please convey
to the glorious and fraternal Bulgarian people, their Bulgarian Communist
Party Central Committee, our friend Todor Zhivkov and the glorious
Bulgarian People's Army our eternal gratitude for this beautiful gesture,
and please also convey the firm conviction of all Cubans, not only of their
armed forces, but also of all their working class and even the Pioneer
children with whom you have chatted in different places of our country,
that this Bulgarian flag, together with the flags of socialist fraternity
of the Soviet Armed Forces--which we have also received--and the combat
flags of the Cuban Armed Forces and our national emblem will maintain on
the Caribbean Sea the victorious ideas of Marxism-Leninism.  [applause]

We equally ask you to convey to them that today's socialist Cuba is an
invincible bastion of the indestructible friendship between our people and
the people of Georgi Dimitrov and Vladimir I. Lenin. [applause]  Long live
the indestructible friendship of Bulgaria and Cuba!  Long live the
indestructible Bulgaria-Cuba friendship with the Soviet Union!  Long live
the People's Army of Bulgaria!  Long live Comrade Todor Zhivkov!  Long live
Comrade Fidel Castro!  Long live our communist parties!  Fatherland, or
death, we shall win!  [applause]

Besides our grateful hearts, on behalf of this unit, we wish to present
Comrade Dobri Dzhurov with a picture depicting Gen Antonio Maceo in his
immortal gesture of the protest of Baragua.  Do you agree?  [soldiers
answer affirmatively]  [applause]

Besides, on behalf of the eastern provinces' communists, PCC Politburo
member and Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida will present pictures
depicting the Moncada barracks and the Siboney farm, from where we departed
25 years ago to attack the Moncada.