Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA271542Y Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0102 GMT 27 Dec 77 PA

[Closing speech by Commander in chief Fidel Castro at a second annual
ordinary session of the People's Government National Assembly at Havana's
Karl Marx Theater on 24 December--recorded; first part of this speech was
published on pages Q4-Q11 or the 27 December 1977 Latin American DAILY

They are harder in one sense, a material sense.  In a moral sense they are
more stimulating.  But this generation has a duty, that of creating better
circumstances and conditions for the coming generations.  What our
revolution has done is no small matter; far from it.  We believe that the
revolution has done extraordinary things, we have done extraordinary
things.  We have attained incredible advances.  The truth of the matter is
to know and be convinced at this time--not at this time in our revolution
but at this time of our world--which are the tasks of our revolution.

We are going to keep on growing.  On some fronts we have arrived at such
levels of investment that they do not have to be increased much more during
the coming years.  Let us look at the level of investments in roads,
railroads, dams and transportation.  These sectors do not require a
considerable increase.  The building of child centers, policy-clinics and
hospitals are also at this level.  Perhaps the hospitals require more
investments, but they will not require considerable investments for years
in the future.  What I mean is that if we build 87 child care centers and
increase them to 90, we could continue to build 90 for 10 years, and then
we will have 900.  They accumulate year after year.  But this is a high
level.  The number of schools we are building will be sufficiently ample so
that they will not require considerable expansion.  If we use the figure of
120, then we will not have to increase to 130.  No, if we build 120 schools
per year, the total number would be impressive.  We will have to build a
few more.  Perhaps for economic reasons we will have to build a few more,
but this will be for economic reasons.  That is to say, in many activities
in these past few years we have reached such a reasonably high level that
we will not need to expand them much more.  Perhaps we will have to build a
little more than 100, perhaps a theater [as heard] We must build that.
There is a level which is higher, let us say.  Which?  Housing is higher.
Then, where should we grow?  In economic activities, industrial
investments, we must grow in industrial investments.

It is not that much in agricultural investments.  It is true there is some
in agriculture--clearing fields, new plantings, irrigation plans and so
forth.  These are the levels we have achieved.  Building dams and
microdams, we have advanced so much that in 13 more years practically all
the country's rivers will be dammed.  If we continue the pace we are
following, by the year 1990 we can say that 100 percent of the country's
rivers will be dammed.  At our present rate we do not have to accelerate

So, in many activities we have reached such a level that they do not
require large increases; others do require them.  Housing had to be
sacrificed because of these plans.  The problems are clear because the
hours spent by this Assembly discussing housing demonstrates the magnitude
of the problems.  It demonstrates it, but it is clear that no matter how
much we do--measures, agreements, directives, that the police does not
permit this or that--we know that with them we will not solve the problem.
With that, we avoid some cases of misconduct, which are always bad, but the
solution of the problems is to build housing in adequate quantities, and I
sincerely believe that our country is now arriving at the possibility.  In
the past we were limited by cement.  We did not have enough, and the steel
rods were not enough.

We did not have enough tubing, tiles.  We did not have enough of anything.
Many industries of that type have been built.  So now we can say: Let us
solve the housing problem.  In schools, we should have more or less what we
now have.  If we keep going at this rate, who knows how many schools we
will have, that is, at the present rate.  If we cannot place all the
youngsters in the school in the countryside plan, we will keep them in the
city and, whenever we are able to build more schools in the future for
those intermediate level youngsters, those in the city will go to primary
level.  And when those of secondary level are sufficient, then we get
started on the primary level.  And when those of secondary level are
sufficient, then we get started on the primary level. [as heard] We will
have to increase the number of universities.  In those new housing areas,
we will have to build schools--primary schools and child care centers.  But
if we maintain the current levels in manual of the branches I referred to,
then we can increase industrial investments and increase the housing
investments, and commit ourselves to fulfill that objective.  That is not
an economic objective.  Housing does not increase national production, but
it is a tremendous need of our people.  We must build new housing and
provide maintenance for the existing ones.  We must expand our housing
construction rate until we reach the building rate per year that we need.

Let us maintain our levels and increase them during the coming years.  But
also, we know that within a short time we shall reach the highest point we
can reach.  The population cannot grow much more, and in a short while it
will decrease according to the demographic growth of previous years.  The
number of primary school students will decrease as the backlog of students
decreases, but the number of university students will continue to grow
considerably during the coming years.

The number of beds in the hospitals will continue to increase, the number
of health institutions will continue to increase, as well as the number of
polyclinics, dental clinics, homes for the aged and so forth.  The number
of health centers will continue to increase and year after year we will be
in a better situation.

How can we increase our improvements?  In the quality of the services, in
the quality.  By having reached the limit of students in grade and high
schools-practically all the population in that age range--and having
increased considerably in construction and so forth, we then have an
unlimited field to expand on concerning the quality of education.

By having available, at a given moment, all the polyclinics and hospital
beds we may need, we then have an infinite percentage in the improvement of
the quality of medical services.  And so on:  In all services; in the
universities, the quality of superior education; in sports, the quality of
the athletes; in culture, the quality of public presentations of every
kind.  Growth is not only measured quantitatively, but it must be measured

Some services were not properly performed probably due to a little
negligence.  There are some factors that are negative, but there are many
positive factors.  That constant struggle so that a hotel guest is properly
treated cannot be lessened.  It must continue relentlessly.  In a
restaurant, in a cafeteria, in public transportation, it is a constant
effort because such services must be improved in quality.  [applause]

Therefore, we must grow economically and develop our economy every year,
not thinking about consumption but about giving solidity to our economy.
We must invest our available resources not in consuming but in development,
and grow not only in the percentage of material production but grow
constantly in the quality of the services to the nation.

We have a big problem.  We must struggle constantly, tirelessly against
negligence, against the bureaucratic tendency, against laziness, the same
way we struggled and are struggling against crime.  Measures have been
taken and other measures are going to be taken, and we are going to
continue fighting against crime.  [applause] You the people are going to
discuss the draft penal code.  But even before the final draft is brought
up for your consideration, a decree-law has been studied which provides
certain types of punishments to facilitate the fight against crime in our
institutions in the interior of the republic.  We said crime must be
defeated, and already the fight has started.

We considered the need to improve the medical services, to avoid certain
deficiencies, certain areas of negligence.  An important campaign is
already underway in that respect,and we must say that our answer for the
medical personnel is the answer of our revolutionary people in every way.
Since the 13th congress the matter of rest and days off for doctors has
been studied.  But what do we have?  We have many graduating doctors and we
also have a great demand for medical personnel in other countries, some
very poor countries to which, naturally, we offer our assistance free.  But
we also have great demand for medical personnel in other countries that ask
us for it and pay for it.

This is a new field opened to the country.  The possibility of exporting
public services in something very interesting.  This can be another source
of income for a country such as ours which does not have oil.  The demand
for doctors increases.  A total of 3,500 students enrolled this year in the
school of medicine and the number of these students will continue
increasing.  Besides, if a country which has the means suddenly places a
request for hundreds of doctors and is willing to pay the country the right
fees for their services, it is wonderful to have the doctors available to
meet that demand.

What would have happened if the [doctors] performed their duty and rested
before and after standing duty.  Then hundreds, thousands of doctors would
be needed for that.  The doctors were faced with the problem of deficiency
in their service, having to give up their day of rest after being on duty.
We knew that it was not just, but it could be no other way.  This situation
was considered at the 13th workers congress and we began implementing it.
Then new situations emerged.  It was necessary to ask the doctors to make
the effort, to bear with the situation, and the doctors' response was
excellent.  In many of the hospitals in the country they have given up
postduty rest, rest after duty.  Hundreds of doctors in the Calixto Garcia
Hospital recently gave up their days off. [applause] This is the attitude
we must have during these years.  Yes, this is the attitude.  Let us not
consider whether what we have is just or not.  The issue is that we need
the doctors here and abroad, here for our own services and abroad for
internationalist aid and also for economic cooperation.  We need them in
both aspects.  The country needs them.  Let us have thousands of students
enroll in the school of medicine: 3,500, 4,000, 4,500 for the present and
6,000 or 7,000 later on.  Comrades, let us keep up this work.  We have many
young comrades who want to study medicine.  Let us open as many schools of
medicine as needed.  Then we will have the necessary doctors so that others
can have their days off.  But not at present.  This generation has to make
the sacrifice.  This is precisely what we are talking about, about the
effort and sacrifice that we must make now.  We must deprive ourselves of
so many things we would like to give the people.  Who would not like to
have 40 square meters instead of 20.  Yes, there is scarcity of some
articles such as towels, sheets and similar articles.  When I talk about
making a sacrifice to maintain levels, I do not forget about those items.
But there are some critical levels which we must improve.

The critical level of some basic goods, of some products must be improved,
but, strategically, we must not think about developing consumer goods.  Our
doctors have set an excellent example, the same example as the students,
the members of the pedagogic detachment, the internationalist detachment
and the workers in the factories are setting.

I want to let you know about this situation because these are real economic
possibilities for the future.

We will be in an excellent situation to carry out a 5-year plan.  We shall
have the conditions to make magnificent yearly plans, if we attain all the
objectives assigned in the first congress.  And we shall attain a large
portion of these objectives, both economic and social.

We can commemorate 30 December, the date of the taking of the Santa Clara
armored train, with the fact that the central railroad from Havana to Santa
Clara has been rebuilt.  [applause] Next May we shall be able to travel
along one half of the six-lane turnpike, half of which--three lanes--will
be covered with asphalt, from Havana to Santa Clara.  Our sugar production
is improving.  We are building large and secure houses.  The level of our
housing increases considerably and the area under irrigation increases
considerably.  New varieties of plants are being introduced.  We are
experimenting with new strains.  All this is being done on very solid
bases.  Our sugar production will grow, a growth without retreat.  This is
very important.  We shall have good harvest next year, but we shall need a
better one in 1979 and a yet better one in 1980 and so on until the year
1990.  This is being attained on very solid bases.  We are making constant

We are beginning the first stages of the nuclear power plant.  Soon we
shall begin the first stages of the steel industry.  We have important
industrial objectives.  These are already being attained.  We are beginning
them in this 5-year period in order to conclude them in the next.  All the
tasks assigned by congress in the economic field are advancing according to
schedule.  We are therefore creating very good conditions in spite of all
these world difficulties.  Our integration in the socialist camp grows, and
our trade with it grows.  It will continue to grow from 1980 to 1985, from
1985 to 1990.  So, it is worthwhile that we make this effort, that we
continue on this path, because this path offers very good possibilities.

For all the sectors--administration, mass organizations and others--the
year 1978 opens very good prospects.  We already have good possibilities,
but an effort will be needed to fulfill the plan agreed upon here.
Therefore it will be very interesting on this date in the coming year when
we shall be able to discuss how we carried out the 1978 plan and the plan
we will have prepared for 1979.  We are already working on this plan and we
want all party members and deputies to the National Assembly to have the
maximum amount of information and the maximum amount of participation
concerning these activities, the maximum amount of understanding and
consultation.  I want all of you to be fully aware of the effort we must
make and the policies we must follow [applause] on the firm and scientific
bases.  This is our duty as members of this revolutionary generation.  It
is our duty as deputies.

The same thing happens with the budget.  The first budget had been already
made but the budget for the coming year, which we have estimated to the
last cent, must be studied much more and made much more efficient, keeping
austerity in our minds.  Austerity means many things.  It means to save, to
resist the temptation to spend.  The idea of a new type of candy, samples
of which were taken to the Assembly, was proposed to us.

We did not distribute them.  [applause] We would have liked nothing better
than to distribute the bags of candy, but we must save up to the last cent.
Everyone should be careful of what he spends and on what he spends it.

Let me give you our experiences in transportation.  In the interprovincial
service we are incorporating hundreds of men and 300 very modern buses.  We
now no longer have to ride standing up.  From Santa Clara we need to build
many stretches of road.  Others will be built at the same time.  Thus, we
will have improved railroad and bus services in the country.  We must
improve our transportation.  We must overcome this crisis in our capital
city, but not with spectacular changes.  We need thousands of men to make
repairs and improve services.  In spite of economic problems we have made
several investments and will buy chassis in order to build these buses

Returning to the budget, you have already seen the estimated amount of
9,159,000,000 pesos.  Of this amount over 4 billion are dedicated to the
production sector.  Among the most interesting things of our budget are
certain figures.  For example, the budget for public health and education
is 1,532,000,000 pesos.  We also have other social and cultural activities
such as social security, which has almost reached 600,000,000 pesos.
Something which received attention was our expenses for defense and
domestic order:  784,000,000 pesos.  This means that we spend almost twice
as much on education as we spend on defense and domestic order.

This is very interesting and received attention because, in fact, there
were so many sacrifices needed by our country to defend ourselves that many
were surprised.  If we consider that we have an as formidable defense as we
must have, here we can measure the efforts our country makes in education
and public health.  These figures are exact and not a cent has been

This is what has been allocated to the sphere of education, health and what
has been allocated to the area of defense and internal order, without fear.
It is equivalent to almost 8 percent.  But no, we are not afraid to say it:
The imperialists forced us to develop powerful forces.  And, of course, the
effort we make in the area of defense is not measured in pesos or hundreds
of millions.  There is another kind of effort that is hard to measure; it
is not capable of measurement--the human effort we sometimes make, the
human effort. [applause] The tens of thousands, tens of thousands of youths
who dedicate a part of their lives to the service; the thousands, tens of
thousands of officers dedicated to the tense effort of being in the
service.  Then there are the minor specialists of our armed forces, our
reservists, the hours and time they dedicate to combat training.  That is
worth more than 2 million, more than all the millions put together, but we
do it gladly because imperialism has forced all of us to become soldiers.

We have already spent more than 700 million in the area of defense and
internal order.  This includes all the defense activities carried out by
the Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry.
In spite of everything, we will have the satisfaction of being able to say:
Today we allocate almost twice as much to health and education.  We have
no doubts of any kind.  If in order for the fatherland and the revolution
to survive it had been necessary to spend twice as much on defense as on
anything else, we would have spent twice as much on the country's defense
as on anything else.  [applause] We do not want concessions of any kind in
connection with these issues.

On an occasion such as today's many topics can be discussed.  In our
opinion these are the most important ones from the domestic standpoint.  We
should now refer to foreign policy; it is necessary and it would be
advisable to point out certain things.

How are relations with the United States doing?  Well, they are doing a bit
better.  Of course, in the first place, imperialism has received many blows
of all kinds.  The economic blockade and its attacks against us are very
unpopular and indefensible.  They have no moral way of defending that
policy against us. To tell the truth, in this struggle we have emerged as
the victors.

Soon the revolution will commemorate its 19th anniversary and we might very
well say that it is still in its infancy.  [applause] Or better yet, that
it is still of kindergarten age.  Their efforts to destroy the revolution
crashed disgracefully against our people's firmness, our people's
revolutionary spirit, our people's dignity and our people's heroism.  They
underestimated the Cuban people.  They though it would be easy to play
games with them, intimidate them, destroy them, demoralize them.  But all
of Yankee power--to use those words--was not enough to reach those

Five Administrations came up against us--Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,
Nixon and ford--five former Presidents, but the revolution prevailed.

There is new Administration now.  As we have already said, it has made a
few positive gestures.  It has not been characterized by a policy of
hostility toward our fatherland.  In its electoral campaign it did not
commit itself to an aggressive policy toward Cuba.  It has made a few
gestures and we in turn have made a few small gestures.  Small gestures.
But what big gesture could we make?  None.  But there have been a few
marijuana smokers, U.S. citizens who were imprisoned here, and we
facilitated their return to the United States.  [We have also facilitated
the return] of several of those who were imprisoned for
counterrevolutionary activities.

They set a 200-mile limit and we had no choice but to set a 200-mile limit.
Then we had to discuss those 200 miles because we had traditionally fished
in the waters that fell within the 200 miles they claimed.  It became
necessary to discuss this and certain agreements were reached.

They authorized Americans to visit Cuba.  Very well, we  celebrated the
reestablishment of the Americans' right to travel.  That is a right and a
law.  They reestablished it and as a gesture we did not oppose it.  Those
who want to come, visit Cuba, may do so.

They proposed the opening of an Interests Office.  We analyzed this and
agreed.  They opened an Interests Office here and we opened one in
Washington.  These are some of the advances made.

But what is the essential thing?  The essential thing is the blockade.  The
immoral thing about this U.S. policy is that in its negotiations with us
the United States is trying to use the blockade as a weapon.  Speaking
about gestures, we have not decreed any blockade against the United States,
so we cannot make the gesture of lifting the blockade because we have not
decreed any blockade against the United States.  And we hope that this
national Assembly does not decree any economic blockade against the United
States.  They are the ones who have to make the gesture of lifting the
blockade.  We cannot make the gesture of restoring a portion of the
territory of Florida because we are not occupying any portion of Florida,
but their troops are occupying a portion of our national territory.

What gesture could we make?  We still have a few old CIA agents in prison.
Well, they will remain there for as long as necessary.  We have made the
gestures which were possible.

I was saying that the immoral aspect of the U.S. policy is that it wants to
use the blockade as a means of negotiations.

I keep holding you there in a stranglehold and let us discuss, you in a
stranglehold, and we can discuss.  This is profoundly immoral on the part
of the U.S. Government.

This blockade involves even medicines.  Not a single type of medicine or
medical equipment can be purchased in the United States .  They talk of
paying compensation to the companies which were exploiting this country.
They say that their properties were worth $2 billion.  With interest this
amounts to $4 billion.  We have told them that all of the misdeeds, crimes,
have represented $4 billion which, plus interest, add up to $6 billion and
that we are prepared [applause] to admit the harm done to their enterprises
if they admit the damage caused to Cuba.  Let them pay to us an
indemnification and we will pay indemnity to the U.S. companies which were
affected by the revolutionary laws.

Now than, there could be many other things about which one could talk.
But, what happens, what happens?  Previously, they talked about subversion
in Latin America.  They do not talk about this may longer.  Now they say
that we allegedly [Castro leaves though unfinished]... the problem of
Puerto Rico's independence.  They use as argument their theories, we use
ours.  But above all, I think this is a matter of principle.  We do not
promote violence in Puerto Rico, but when the Cuban revolutionary party was
founded, it was founded to achieve independence in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

We have sacred historical, moral and spiritual ties with Puerto Rico.  We
have said that as long as there is a single Puerto Rican who defends the
idea of independence, as long as there is a single one, we have the moral
and political duty of supporting the idea of Puerto Rico's independence.

And we will fulfill this moral and political duty.  We do not need that
there be 3 or 4 million Puerto Ricans who defend independence.  For us, one
is enough.  And we have said many times before that this is a problem of
principle, and we do not negotiate principles.  [applause]

Now a new issue has come up:  That of the Cuban soldiers in Angola and in
Africa, and Cuba's solidarity with the African peoples, and we have said
very clearly:  Cuba's solidarity with the African peoples in
non-negotiable.  [applause]

In no way does this mean that we reject the possibility of better relations
between Cuba and the United States.  We do this as a matter of principle.
We sincerely believe that everybody's effort is necessary for international
detente, for peace, because we do not believe that the world's only
recourse is war, which means virtual extermination for humanity.

We have talked about this at the congress.  At the congress, this thesis
was approved.  It is a conviction which takes deeper root everyday, the
conviction that the struggle for international detente and peace is a duty
of all peoples and of all conscientious men in the world.  So, the first,
the fundamental, reason why we are willing to work for an improvement in
relations in this principle.

We know the world, we know its problems, we know the problems of the
underdeveloped world.  We foresee the terrible problems mankind will face,
the mankind which is made up of our high school students, of the children
in our childrens circles.  We know the problems they will face in the
future, the problems to be faced by the world of these children:
nourishment, uncontrolled population growth, pollution, energy problems,
scarcity of natural resources, the problems of development.

We believe that without a true climate of peace these problems would not
even begin to be solved.

Therefore, we simply follow a principle, when we can, if there is a
possibility of improvement.  We must move and work in that direction, but
apparently the U.S. Government does not understand this.

Perhaps they imagine that we are impatient or anguished.  Maybe they will
develop the illusion that we cannot live without these relations.  Perhaps
they think that we want to improve relations because of economic or
material interests.  Naturally, in the economic aspect, that would be to
our country's advantage.  Materially, it would also be to its advantage,
but in a relative rather than decisive way.  Let this be understood
clearly:  It would not be decisive.  It is our relations with the socialist
community and with the USSR which are decisive.  Those are decisive
relations.  [applause] And the United States will never be able to replace
those relations despite its imperialist nature.

What are they doing now with sugar?  They impose enormous tariffs on sugar
that is grossly devalued.  The United States has imposed 3-or-4-cent
tariffs on sugar--which in the world market is currently selling at 7 or 8
cents--in order to protect its own sugar production, thus affecting more
than 60 countries, several of which very well deserve it.

In truth we are watching from the sideline how these events are developing.
Many of those who rushed like voracious beasts after Cuba's sugar quotas in
the U.S. market, who sold their souls to imperialism to obtain a part of
our quotas, who lent themselves to the maneuvers and crimes against Cuba in
order to obtain a part of our quota, who flung themselves like wild beasts
upon our quotas, are not getting their just deserts:  The United States no
longer has any quotas and the tariffs are extremely high.  But such is the
selfishness of capitalism and their protectionist laws.  They protect
themselves even if the world sinks.

This is what they are doing with sugar.  Would they do what the USSR
does--which pays us magnificent prices for our sugar, which raises the
price of our sugar every time the prices of the products it exports to us
increase, which buys from us practically all the sugar we can produce, thus
creating magnificent exchange relations.

The most important thing in life, particularly in the revolutionary life,
is to speak clearly.  And the U.S. Government must know with absolute
clarity that no improvement in the relations between Cuba and the United
States will in the least alter the close ties between our people and
revolution and the Soviet Union.  [applause]

The U.S. Government cannot deceive itself regarding this.   No strategy
based on such an idea will succeed.  This is not one of those governments
that can be bought or that sells itself.  You know [who they are].  I do
notwant to mention any names but I could mention half a dozen.  Imperialism
has played with several of those governments.  Imperialism has played with
several pseudorevolutions and has controlled several governments.  It has
dragged them away from the socialist bloc and into treason.  It has bought
them.  But there is one government in this underdeveloped world, in this
hemisphere, that the imperialists will never be able to buy or control, and
that is the Cuban Government.  [applause]

The United States speaks of Cuban soldiers in Angola and of Cuba's
solidarity with Africa.  What does this have to do with the relations
between Cuba and the United States?  The United States speaks of soldiers
in other countries, turning the presence of our soldiers in Angola or in
any other African nation into an obstacle for relations.  That is why I say
that the U.S. Government apparently does not understand our policy or
principles.  It does not understand it.

We consider it an act of bad faith into which the President of the United
States has been dragged by some of his advisers--the recent press scandal
and campaign in the U.S. press concerning the presence of Cuban advisers in
the various African countries.  Much of this information is false because
they mentioned the presence of advisers in some countries where there are
none.  They did mention some in which there are Cuban advisers, but also
exaggerated the number in some cases.  This was done, in our opinion, in an
obvious attempt to blackmail Cuba.  What moral authority has the United
States to speak of Cuban soldiers in Africa?  What moral authority can a
nation have whose soldiers are on all continents, which as 20 military
bases in the Philippines, dozens of bases in Okinawa, Japan, Asia, Turkey,
Greece, the FRG, Europe, Spain, Italy, and everywhere?  What moral
authority has the United States to use the argument of our soldiers in
Africa when their soldiers are on Panamanian territory by force, occupying
a portion of that country?  What moral authority has the United States to
speak of our soldiers in Africa when their soldiers are in our own national
territory, at the  Guantanamo Naval Base?  [applause]

If we are going to talk about soldiers who are stationed where they should
not be in connection with Cuba and the United States, the only soldiers who
can be mentioned are the ones stationed at the Guantanamo Naval Base.

On the subject of soldiers in other countries, this is the only point we
can discuss.  It would be ridiculous for us to tell the U.S. Government now
that in order to establish or improve relations between Cuba and the United
States it would have to withdraw its soldiers from the Philippines, or
Turkey, or Greece, or Okinawa, or South Korea.  If it wants to withdraw
them from South Korea, let it do it whenever it wants.  But it would be
ridiculous for us to tell the United States that it has to withdraw its
soldiers from the FRG, otherwise there can be no relations; or to tell it
that we are very unhappy over the soldiers it has over there in the FRG,
that there can be no relations [because of it].  They would then say:  This
guy is crazy.  Then, why do they not say it?  Because they cannot say it,
because they cannot base themselves on equity or equality of any sort.

It is the imperial preeminence, imperial preeminence.  The imperialists can
have soldiers and advisors everywhere in the world and we cannot have them
anywhere.  This is the United States' concept of equity and equality.

In Africa we support governments that have requested our cooperation.  They
are constituted governments, revolutionary and progressive governments.
Our military advisers are not with any fascist government anywhere in the
world.  Our advisers are not with any reactionary government anywhere in
the world.  Our military advisors are with governments which help the
people and support the people.  They are revolutionary or progressive
[governments].  [applause] We do not have military advisers in countries
like Chile, to cite one example, has military instructors and advisers in
scores of countries and, in some places, by the thousands, like in Iran,
Saudi Arabia and places like that.  The United States has military advisers
in almost all Latin American countries.  The United States sent military
advisers to and formed the armies of the most repressive, most bloody and
most reactionary governments of this hemisphere.

The fundamental difference between U.S. advice [and Cuba's] is that the
United States will never provide advice to a revolutionary and progressive
people and in general will always advise reactionary and fascist
governments, while revolutionary Cuba provided advisers to revolutionary an
progressive governments.

What right does the United States have to impugn that advice of our people?
Why do they complain?  They tried to isolate and destroy the revolution.
The revolution developed its ties with the Third World and these ties are
solid and we will be firm and loyal with those ties.  We will not exchange
those ties for a smile from the United States.  We will not exchange those
ties for any concession which the United States might make.  Those ties are
not negotiable.

We have soldiers, many soldiers and very good soldiers, and we have tens of
thousands of officers, comprising regular and reserve officers, and we have
hundreds of thousands of combatants, comprising regular and reserve
soldiers.  They of Yankee imperialism are to be blamed for this because
their acts of aggression and blockade forced us to take these measures.

And we do not deny it.  We support and we have sent military advisers to
numerous countries in Africa.  That is clear, very clear, and we do not
negotiate concerning that.  [applause] This has nothing to do with the new
U.S. Administration.  It is the traditional policy of our revolution.

We are helping and will help Angola.  [applause]  We are helping and will
help Mozsambique.  [applause] We are helping and will help the Ethiopian
revolution.  [prolonged applause] If because of this the United States
blockades us, let it blockade us.  Why does not the United States blockade
South Africa, a racist, fascist country whose soldiers commit crimes in
Africa, whose minority oppresses 20 million blacks?  Why does it not
blockade Rhodeisa, where 300,000 white fascists oppress 6 million Africans,
a country whose soldiers perpetrate indescribable massacres of men, women
and children in Nozambique?  The photographs of the graves of the children,
women and the elderly assassinated like Hitler's fascists used to do
appeared over there.  Why does it [Unreadable text] blockade it?  Why do
not the Yankee imperialists blockade Pinochet?  They blockade Cuba, and
that is what the people understand.  That is what the African peoples
understand, because while the Yankee imperialists are on the side of South
Africa, Rhodesia and African repressive and reactionary governments, we are
on the side of the revolutionary and progressive people of Africa.  We
struggle against fascism in Africa, we struggle against racism in Africa.

Historically, while our role is a highly honorable one, the role of
imperialism is a shameful one, and the peoples of Africa trust us and
request our cooperation.  And we are not only helping the governments of
Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia and other African government, but also we are
helping the liberation movements of Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

We are helping them and we will help them, [applause] and imperialism has
lost the battle beforehand in southern Africa.  It does not matter what it

Our policy is diaphanous and clear.  We do not negotiate on principles.  We
do not allow ourselves to be intimidated by any type of campaign or by
pressure of any sort.

For the reasons outlined this afternoon, we are sincere supporters of peace
and we want a principle--the struggle for better relations among all
countries based on principles.  No material benefit, regardless of its type
or magnitude, would make us betray the trust of the peoples of Angola,
Mozambique and Ethiopia, or the heroic peoples who are struggling against
fascism and racism in Africa.  And those things must be very clear to the
United States.

We have responded with positive gestures within our capabilities to the
positive gestures of the current [United States] administration.

But if the U.S. Government were to insist on a policy of blackmail against
us and of pressure, a policy of immoral conduct toward our country,
maintaining its blockade as a dishonorable and criminal weapon against our
people; if the U.S. Government believes that in order to improve relations
our people must abandon their principles; then, in the same manner that we
have struggled against five U.S. Presidents, we will struggle against the
sixth U.S. President.  [prolonged applause]

If they insist on maintaining the blockade, it will be worse for them
because as long as we have more blockade we will also have more soldiers.
[applause] As long as they carry out more acts of aggression against our
homeland, our homeland will have more and more hardened soldiers.

The confidence which revolutionaries throughout the world have in our
people is an immense honor for Cuba.  That is why our country will host the
11th [World Youth and Student] Festival next year.  That is why our country
will host the nonalined countries conference in 1979.  [applause]
Revolutionary life has assigned our homeland these tasks and we will
fulfill our principles and our obligations.

If the blockade goes on, it does not matter.  If the U.S. Government casts
aside the possibilities for improving relations with us, that is their

Sometimes they even (?meddle) in in the domestic affairs of our country.
They speak of counterrevolutionary prisoners.  Of course, they were the
ones responsible for those prisoners because they encouraged the
counterrevolutionaries in the same way that they encouraged plane
hijackings, in the same way that they encouraged acts of terrorism, in the
same way that they encouraged the plans to assassinate leaders of the Cuban

The United States does not have any moral right to even look at this
country face-to-face because of the crime it has committed against our

And now privacy has turned against them, terrorism has turned against them.
And there you have it, the terrorists now want to rule the United States
and to bomb U.S. firms that have relations with Cuba, or the airlines that
want to fly to Cuba.  They raised ravens and the ravens are plucking out
their eyes.

In the same way they encouraged banditry and the counterrevolution in our
country and the counterrevolutionary worms.  The counterrevolutionary
criminals thought that someday they [the United States] were going to get
them out of jail.  They did not get them out of jail.  We were the ones who
freed thousands and thousands of counterrevolutionaries through
rehabilitation plans, work plans, remunerated work plans, and the truly
humane plans of the revolution.

Let us say that we still have in our prisons not even 20 percent of the
revolutionaries... [Castro corrects himself] of the counterrevolutionaries
that we had in prison.  Not even 20 percent.  And there were times when we
had more than 15,000.  And we say it because our revolution always was very
clear and very clean.  Torture was never allowed in the revolution.  A
crime was never committed in the revolution.  There have have been missing
persons in our country, there has never been a state of emergency, and so
forth and so forth.

There never has been a battalion moved to battle against workers, or
against peasants or against students.  The people were in the streets,
true, they have always been in the streets, but with the revolution.

The U.S. allies in this hemisphere make people disappear by the thousands.

They torture and murder.  This does not prevent the United States from
trading with them, facilitating credits to them, selling weapons to them,
sending them military advisers.

We had revolutionary laws and rigorous laws, but a man was never penalized
in this country without the action of a revolutionary court and without it
being under the provisions of revolutionary laws.  The conduct of our
revolution has been truly irreproachable in its methods and procedures.

From time to time, they [the United States] like to remember some known
counterrevolutionaries who are in jail; and some politicians in the United
States are concerned about the counterrevolutionary prisoners.  On the
other hand, they do not say a single word about the heroic Puerto Ricans
like Lolita Lebron and others who have spent more than 25 [years] in the
filthy jails of the United States.  [prolonged applause]

They speak of counterrevolutionary prisoners who, instigated by the
imperialists, committed crimes against our homeland, and they do not speak
of tens and tens of thousands of blacks who have ended up in the U.S.
jails, for unemployment and man are to be blamed.  They like to say that
we should free the counterrevolutionary prisoners.  We say to them: Yes.
You set free the thousands of North American blacks who, because of the
system of exploitation, hunger, poverty and unemployment in the United
States, had to go to jail, and we will then be willing to free all the
counterrevolutionary prisoners that remain in Cuba.  [applause]

What is this about their imposing conditions on anyone?  of telling a
country what it should or should not do to convert this country into one of
fakes?  And the curious thing is that many of those who are concerned about
these counterrevolutionaries were responsible for the war in Vietnam and
for the murder of millions of Vietnamese.  They were accomplices of scores
of repressive and reactionary governments in the world which have slain
hundreds of thousands of revolutionaries.  What moral right do they have to
speak about counterrevolutionary prisoners in Cuba and what moral right do
they have to speak of human rights?

We are conscientious and well-educated revolutionaries.  We are not
deceived by slogans of any sort.  Carter speaks about human rights.  The
supreme test of the existence of the slightest sincerity of his words is
the question of the blockade of Cuba.  He can speak of human rights, but no
government which maintains a criminal blockade, an attempt at starving to
death millions of human beings... [can speak of human rights].  Let it
prove it with deeds because, I repeat, the question of the blockade of Cuba
is the test for the existence of a minimum of sincerity in his words.  And
this minimum of sincerity can exist subjectively, but not objectively.

How can anyone objectively raise the human rights banner in a country where
there is a capitalist society par excellence, an exploiting class par
excellence, a society where millions and millions of Mexican descendants
are discriminated against, where the Puerto Ricans--who number in the
millions in the United States--are discriminated against and despised,
where Latins are despised, where the Indians are exterminated, where tens
of millions of blacks are discriminated against.

How can anyone in that country objectively raise the banner of human
rights?  No one deceives us in the least with that slogan.  Imperialism has
nothing left.  It has no slogan to wield, it only has words left to see
which unwary people it can deceive in this world.

Let us stop this nonsense.  If we speak between ourselves we know that we
have two quite different systems, that we are very different.  If some day
relations are going to exist between our two countries, they will have to
be relations of respect and equality.

And we are willing to have them, knowing that we are and will be two very
different systems.  Moreover, we indeed know what humans rights are, since
in our fatherland we eradicated the crimes and injustices that were
committed every hour, every minute and every second; we eradicated
gambling, prostitution, discrimination, unemployment, when we created
people's government a real people's government, this government; when we
created the bases of this beautiful revolution in which there has existed
such a total identification between the people and the party and the

This is a real democracy.  This Assembly is democracy.  [applause] These
discussions indeed are democratic.  [applause]  (?On the other hand,) what
exists in the United States is a government of the oligarchy, by the
oligarchy and for the oligarchy; and in our country the government is of
the people, by the people and for the people about which Lincoln spoke.  In
the United States, the government is of the bourgeoisie, by the bourgeoisie
and for the bourgeoisie; and in our fatherland exists the government of the
workers, by the workers and for the workers.  [applause]

In political matters, the United States would have to learn much from us
and we, on the other hand, have nothing to learn politically from the
United States, because they belong to the prehistory of
human society and we belong to history since, as Marx said, when the real
history of human society begins the system of man's exploitation by man
disappears.  [applause]

We are politically and socially a century ahead of them.  That is the
reality.  They began to become independent when we were a Spanish colony,
back toward the end of the 18th century, they began before we did, but we
have advanced more rapidly then they have.  Not even the capitalist trash
can compare with the truly human and truly fraternal essence of socialism.

Imperialism is ideologically very weak and it is economtically undergoing
an insurmountable crisis.

I mentioned to you earlier what in our judgment was the policy which we
should follow in the next 7 or 8 years, the country's future development
policy based on our structures.  It is not a consumption policy.  That is
how we will be building a certain future.

If the blockade goes on for 10 more years, it does not matter.  If the
blockade goes on for another 50 years, it does not matter.  [applause] It
does not matter.  The Government of the United States should understand
this very clearly.  And when these things are sufficiently clear for the
Government of the United States and its advisers, the real and objective
criteria will then exist upon which we can discuss, we can negotiate, we
can trade and we, the United States and we, can have diplomatic relations.

From the international viewpoint, these were the essential issues I wanted
to explain to you today.

Our revolution will soon be 19 years old.  We have not been too prone to
hold celebrations or fiestas.  We have many celebrations.  The triumph of
the revolution was an extraordinary event, but we tend to celebrate it
solemnly and in a deeply-felt manner.  Actually, on the eve of this 19th
anniversary, we can feel proud of and satisfied with the work of our
revolution.  [prolonged applause]

I have never before seen so clearly and optimistically the future as I have
on this eve of the 19th anniversary.  I wanted to share with you today
these feelings of satisfaction, pride and optimism.  And I am certain that
we will continue ahead of these outlined paths, struggling with courage,
integrity, heroism, consolidating what we have done and enhancing the work
of the revolution so that the future generations can feel proud of us.
Fatherland or death!  We shall win! [prolonged applause]

[After Fidel Castro's speech at the National Assembly, National Assembly
President Blas Roca then declared the Assembly session closed.]