Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 0100 GMT 6 Oct 78 FL

[Excerpts of speeches made by Cuban State Council Chairman Fidel Castro at
the Addis Ababa Conference of Solidarity of the African-Arab Peoples
Against Imperialism and Reaction and at the Cuban-Ethiopian joint military
maneuvers held during his September 1978 visit to Ethiopia, presented in a
filmed report entitled "18 Months Later"; recorded]

[Text] [Castro addressing the Arab-African solidarity conference] It has
now been 18 months since we first visited Ethiopia.  At that time we came
to meet the leaders of this revolution in which, from a distance, we saw an
example of the most profound social changes on the African Continent.  The
solidarity among the African peoples, the solidarity between the African
peoples and the Arab countries of Africa and the Middle East, the
solidarity of all underdeveloped and developing peoples with their brothers
in this area of the world, and the solidarity of the progressive forces the
world over--socialist countries, the working classes and the forces of
progress in developed capitalism countries--with Africa's cause and with
the Arab countries are indispensable elements in this historic battle.

[Castro addressing Cuban and Ethiopian troops at the conclusion of military
maneuvers] I would like to tell you many things today, on a beautiful and
revolutionary afternoon such as this one, at a location such as this, but I
must be brief for obvious reasons--the language barrier.  We knew that a
profound revolution had taken place in Ethiopia.  At this time I can recall
many things.  I remember the circumstances which led to this struggle that
was recently waged--the cowardly, unjustified and treacherous aggression
against revolutionary Ethiopia.  Imperialism thought that the Ethiopian
revolution was going to be crushed and that the Ethiopian people were going
to be disintegrated Imperialism was sure that the history of 1935, when the
Italian fascists occupied Ethiopia, was going to be repeated.  But they
were wrong.  Ethiopia was not alone.

[Castro addressing the Arab-African solidarity conference] The imperialists
and their reactionary lackeys are challenging Cuba's presence in Africa,
which is no more than an expression of that necessary and courageous
solidarity you defend and practice. [applause] We could reply by citing the
words of several African heads of state that there is not a single Cuban in
Africa who has not been called there by an independent state exercising its
sovereignty to defend a just cause.

[Castro addressing Cuban and Ethiopian troops] Comrade Cubans, I can recall
those days of December 1977 and January 1978 when we said farewell to the
first Cuban internationalist combatants who were leaving for Ethiopia.  We
know that it is hard to be separated from the fatherland and from those we
love.  We know that and we know that this duty involves great sacrifices.
But without sacrifices our fatherland would not be what it is today.  The
world would not be advancing on the path of socialism without the
sacrifices of the revolutionaries.

[Castro addressing the Arab-African solidarity conference] For those who do
not know it, we must remind them that the Ethiopian soldier is one of the
most combative, courageous and heroic soldiers in the world. [applause]
Eighteen months later we have returned to a Ethiopia which is victorious be
cause of its combative sons' heroism and the support of international
solidarity, as Comrade Mengistu stated 2 days ago.  Moreover, it is also an
already powerful Ethiopia.  Tuesday's popular parade confirmed the enormous
popular support for this revolutionary change.  Yesterday's military parade
tells us of the degree of organization and discipline achieved by the
combative and courageous fraternal Ethiopian people.

[Castro addressing Cuban and Ethiopian troops] The rapid revolutionary
offensive of the Ethiopian and Cuban troops practically annihilated the
enemy.  The revolutionary forces could have continued the offensive and
could have reached the sea.  Nothing [applause] could have stopped the tank
and infantry brigades.  Talking about those who are sad because they were
not here, those who envy you, I am one of them. [applause] I would have
liked to have been here.  I tried to do something, at least something
morally, with the word.  I have acted with the word.  But I would have
liked to have been there physically, next to you in the battles.  I know
that my sad destiny is that it is very difficult for me to do that.
Because they will simply not accept me.  They do not let me leave Cuba, and
Mengistu does not allow me to come. [laughter] It was hard for me to
convince him yesterday to let me pass by land over the (Karamandas) narrow
pass.  Finally we passed over it and saw the narrow pass.  I thought it was
an insurmountable pass, judging from what I had heard.  If the 2BM21, the
130 artillery, the howitzers, the aircraft and the tanks had gone into
action, not even the (Karamandas) pass would have been left standing.  But
this was not what we needed to do, because it was not a matter of repulsing
the enemy but of surrounding them and annihilating them.  That is why the
maneuver to encircle them was doubtlessly the correct one.  Some escaped.
We are sorry they did, but it was the only correct maneuver.  If we had
mounted a frontal attack, it would have been impossible to surround them.
The problem was how to surround them with the least number of forces.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of passing it by land.

I hope this will remain fresh in mind.  It has been very relaxing for me.
It was one thing to come here and talk to you and another when we had to
send you here, send you to this mission.  We are more relaxed now, both you
and I, both of us.  I want to tell you today, here in the family, that
never in your lives will you find anything more beautiful than this
mission.  Nothing will ever give you more satisfaction.  Time passes, and
we will meet again in Cuba.  You could possibly be assigned to another
internationalist mission. [applause] The Ethiopian Government has expressed
its readiness to live in peace with its neighbors. [applause] But at the
same time it has expressed its determination that the revolution be
sufficiently powerful so that no one will ever dare attack it again.
[applause] If the enemy attacks again, we will fight shoulder to shoulder
with the heroic Ethiopian soldiers until the enemy is crushed. [applause]

That is why these sacrifices are necessary now, To be here, far away from
the fatherland and the family, we know that it is a great sacrifice, but it
is necessary, indispensable Ethiopia needs time.  You will be proud and
satisfied all your lives that you have fulfilled this mission in Ethiopia.
Your sons and your loved ones and our people will have the same feeling.

[Castro addressing the Arab-African solidarity conference] To those who
accuse us of fanning the armed struggles of the African peoples against
their oppressors, we say: Cuba does not oppose a peaceful solution to the
struggles of the African peoples--especially [the struggles] of Zimbabwe
and Namibia for their independence--if it is just and accepted by the
legitimate representatives of the peoples--the Patriotic Front, SWAPO and
the African states which have supported them. [applause]

[Castro addressing Cuban and Ethiopian troops] You will be an example for
future generations of youths.  Life teaches us how to act.  Sometimes the
sacrifice is difficult, but it will produce happiness, an awareness of
satisfaction througout your lives.  That is what is worthwhile in life.  It
is more so than anything else.  To have the respect and love of your
compatriots, the admiration of our people.  Comrades, now we have the
satisfaction of being here and being able to look at you as sons who are
victoriously returning from combat. [applause]

When I return, if our compatriots ask me, what should I tell them about
you?  What message do you want me to take back?  What do you want me to
tell the residents of Holguin, Villa Clara, Sagua? [applause] I will be
very proud and pleased to tell our compatriots about the behavior and
extraordinary spirit you have shown.  We knew that a profound revolution
had taken place in Ethiopia, and we knew that leading the Ethiopian people
was a great patriot, a great revolutionary and a great leader, Comrade
Haile-Mariam Mengistu.

[Castro addressing the Arab-African solidarity conference] If there is one
thing I would like to stress in this short speech, it is that unity should
be the watchword of all of us who are opposed to the system of domination
which imperialism is attempting to preserve.  It is here that the role of
the Chinese leaders appears in all its infamy, For if they already support
the executioners of the Chilean people, their aggression against heroic
Vietnam, their encouragement of the fratricidal war in Indochina and their
attacks against Angola and Ethiopia, they deserve rejection from those
fighting for democracy and the national independence of the peoples, and
they also de serve it much more for their indecent and secretive divisive

[Castro addressing Cuban and Ethiopian troops] Ethiopian brothers, together
with you we have fought and we have won.  Together with you we are ready to
fight again and to win again.  Together with you we pledge: Fatherland or
death, we shall win!