Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speech by Castro

FL262353 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2306 GMT 26 Jul 79 FL

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at public rally marking the 26th
anniversary of assault on Moncada barracks held at Gen Calixto Garcia Plaza
del la revolucion in Holguin--live]

[Text]  Heroic Sandinista combatants, [applause] comrades of the party and
government leadership, [applause] citizens of Holguin [applause]
easterners, [applause] compatriots [applause]:

Two weeks ago we thought that different topics would be discussed at this
ceremony, among them the successes and merits of this province, its
enormous transformation which can be perceived throughout the province and
city, its unstoppable march and progress, its new buildings, its new
plants, its working spirit, its successes in production, the great merit in
having produced 764,000 tons of sugar in this sugarcane harvest [applause]
150,000 more tons than last year, contributing to our country's reaching in
this harvest a sugar production of 7,992,000 tons [applause], just 8,000
short of reaching 8 million [tons] at Base 96 [applause]; surpassing by
over one-half million [tons] production last year.  The country faced
adverse climatic conditions and worked in the sugar mills up to yesterday,
when the last mill stopped.

We thought about this.  But less than 48 hours ago we learned that our
people would be the subject of an extraordinary honor, that a large
contingent of combatants, of unselfish and heroic chiefs, of leaders of the
fraternal people of Nicaragua [applause] wanted to be with us on this 26 of
July.  [applause]  I understood that this ceremony today would inevitably
become a Sandinista ceremony [applause and chants of "Fidel" from the crowd
followed by rhythmic applause].  What should one speak about?  What other
thing could one speak about, what more extraordinary thing during these
times, what deed of greater historic importance or greater significance and
implication has occurred over these times, of greater relevance, of greater
importance than the Sandinista victory in Nicaragua, what more profoundly
permeated our feelings, what has interested us more over these weeks, what
could have touched us more and encouraged us more than this popular and
heroic victory?  And what greater honor could we have received?  What
greater reality on this, our revolutionary date?  What greater honor for
this city and this province than the fraternal, affectionate and solidary
visit by this constellation of heroic, brave, intelligence and capable
commanders and combatants of the Nicaraguan Sandinist National Liberation
Front [FSLN].  [applause]  I say solidary because we also need solidarity,
I say encouraging because we also need this encouragement, encouraging
solidarity because for so long it was almost a crime to visit Cuba.  For so
long imperialism tried to cut the ties with our fraternal peoples in Latin
America and the Caribbean.  For so long they blockaded us.

For a long time we were banned and prevented from the rapprochement and
development of the natural, historic and logical ties between the
Nicaraguan and Cuban peoples.  For many years we have recalled and we have
cried for those brothers of ours who died fighting in Giron in the wake of
that invasion which left precisely from Nicaraguan territory in one of the
most infamous services given by the tyrant to imperialism.  This same
Somoza, who no longer is a shadow of what he was, was the Nicaraguan army
chief of staff when the Giron [invasion] took place and when the B-26
bombers took off from there to bomb our homes, to kill peasant families,
women and children, to drop tons of bombs on our militiamen and soldiers.

How can we fail to see this gesture of the Sandinistas [of coming to Cuba],
this spontaneous gesture because the initiative was not ours since we are
aware of the tasks and work they now have and need for their presence in
Nicaragua, especially during these initial days.  We would not have been
capable of asking them for this honor, this immense and infinite honor
which entirely came from them.  [applause]

It is proof of the political courage of Sandinism.  It is proof of
revolutionary courage because we know this world and we know that not
always is there enough political courage and revolutionary courage.  They
had no prejudgments.  They had no fears.  They did not have to ask
permission from anyone to come to Cuba.  They did not have to render an
account to anyone or be concerned about what anyone thought.  [applause]

It is proof of political honesty because they do not go around with
pretenses.  They do not go around denying they are friends of Cuba, that
they feel a respect for Cuba, that they are in solidarity with Cuba.  They
are honest.  They hold no fears, and for this reason, I believe they will
inspire confidence not only among our people but also among among all
nations and world public opinion.

They have no prejudgment despite all the idle talk and intrigues and that
now the campaign will come, that now the accusations will come after the
honeymoon of the victory passes.  They have no prejudgments because they
do not fear that the Nicaraguan revolution will be confused with the Cuban
revolution.  They are much beyond such prejudgments.  This does not mean
that they are going to indicate, or anything of the sort, that the two
revolutions are exactly the same.  [applause]  They are two revolutions
and, in many ways, the same and in many ways, different just as all true
revolutions must be.  [applause]

This is important for our people and important also for world public
opinion, each country has its path, its problems, its style, its methods
and its objectives.  We have ours and they have theirs, we did it in a
certain way--our way--and they will do it their way.

There are similarities.  They gained victory along a path similar to our
path.  They gained victory the only way they, as we did, could free
ourselves of the tyranny and imperialist domination--with arms in hand,
[applause] fighting hard, heroically.  And we must say and emphasize that
the Nicaraguan revolution was outstanding for its heroism, its
perseverance, the perseverance of its combatants because it is not the
victory of a single day, it is a victory after 20 years of struggle,
[applause] 20 years of planning.  [applause]

In the same year in which our revolution triumphed, there were already
groups of combatants directed by that extraordinary and marvelous
combatant, Carlos Fonseca A Amador, who was the continuator of Sandino,
[applause] the continuator of Sandino [applause] and founder of the FSLN,
guide of the people in those terrible days when victory was so far away,
chief who fell in the struggle as did so many in our land, as Marti fell,
as Maced fell, as Agramonte fell, as from our general Abel [Santamaria] and
Frank Pais fell without achieving victory, without being able to see
victory, without being able to see it, but certain of victory.

The banners of Fonseca were unfurled by young combatants.  Yes, the average
age has been spoken of--20 years old.  But what is the average age of the
leaders?  Thirty, thirty some, some of them, the oldest ones, who began to
struggle when they were just 15, 16 or 17 years old, and they faced the
difficulties and the obstacles for 20 years.  Twenty years to father the
first fruits of the seeds sown, cultivated and irrigated by blood over so
much time.  That victory is achieved amid a true popular epic.  Who of us
has not seen in movies, television, read in books and in magazines the
hundreds of images of the brutal and incredible repression, the merciless
genocide and unreconcilable war unleashed against the people of Nicaragua
by the Somoza tyranny?

Who has not seen the images of mothers crying for their sons, for their
dear ones?  images of sons crying for their parents, homes destroyed,
mounds of bodies, torture, killings, bombings of cities, when has there
been such a case of savagery, when has one seen an air force devoted to
unloading tons and tons of bombs on the cities of its own country, on
Managua, Masaya, Leon, Esteli, on that group of martyred cities?  They did
not stop giving orders to drop 500-pound bombs on populated neighborhoods,
deeds which filled the world with indignation and astonishment, and which
in a certain way contributed to creating all of these gigantic campaigns
and these solid feelings of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and the
Sandinista combatants.  These were the results of imperialist intervention
in Nicaragua.  These were the results of intervention.  These were the
bitter result of the imperialist policy in our hemisphere.  But they were
the ones who forged, encouraged and supported those bloody, repressive,
reactionary, tyrannical and fascist regimes in this hemisphere.

And it is said, it was said--and I believe that Somoza himself said
it--that it never occurred to the Somoza government not to vote along with
the United States at the United Nations.  The U.S. policy throughout the
world created this type of political regime, throughout the world, not only
in our America, [but] on all continents, without exception.

And bombings, we see similar ones.  The bombing by the South African
racists of Namibian camps and bombing by the Rhodesian racists of the
Zimbabwe people's refugee camps, using the most modern planes, the most
deadly weapons, sophisticated bombs which spray thousands of pieces of
shrapnel, which many times are not even made of steel but rather rubber so
that a surgeon cannot locate them with their x-ray equipment, by x-ray
charts.  We see this type of example in the genocidal acts commited against
the Palestinian people in the near, [corrects himself] in the Middle
East--the constant bombing of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon.  Lebanese
communities in Lebanon were bombed practically every day by the Israeli Air
Force, which is a symbol of the crime.  But it was not only Israeli bombs
falling on the Palestinians and Lebanese; the imperialist bombs falling on
the Namibians and Zimbabwians.  It was imperialist bombs, the Israeli bombs
that were falling on Nicaraguans.  Imperialism wanted to pretend that it
was not providing weapons, it was supplying them through its allies.

And who is going to believe that the Israeli state would have sent those
weapons, those Galils, those bombs and those aircraft to Somoza without the
consent and approval of the U.S. Government.  And with those bombs and
those rifles, tens of thousands of persons were assassinated in that
country--40,000 persons, it was reported--in other words, twice as many
people as are present at this ceremony this afternoon.  These are the
results of conspiracies which led to the cowardly assassination of Sandino,
to the implantation of that shameful regime which ruled the country for
almost 50 years.  And this is what has disappeared thanks to the heroic
struggle of the Nicaraguan people and Sandinista combatants.

The people of Nicaragua from now on will be able to gather there just as we
have gathered after our revolution.  I also believe that some day on plazas
like this one, the stories, the portraits and images of the heroes
mentioned here by Comdr Humberto Ortega will appear with the people,
glorifying and dignifying the atmosphere of revolutionary ceremonies in
which undoubtedly there will be the images of Sandino, Fonseca and all the
patriots who over 150 years--as it was said here--fought for the
independence of Nicaragua.  [applause]

The Sandinista triumph is not only a victory over 45 years of Somozism.  It
is the victory after 150 years of foreign domination over that country.  It
is the victory gained after centuries upon centuries of foreign conquests,
exploitation and domination.  If something can be asserted, it is that for
the first time, for the first time in all their history, the people of
Nicaragua became totally free and independent on 19 July when the hardened
columns of Sandinista combatants entered Manugua.  [applause]  Our nations,
especially Central America which became the preserve of interventionists
and pirates and even buccaneers, passed from Spanish domination to Yankee
domination.  Therefore, we celebrate not only the day of the triumph of the
revolution but also the day of the triumph of Nicaragua's independence.
[applause]  These are two great and momentous historical objectives in the
same battle.  For us, this is the importance and significance of the
victorious outcome of the FSLN.

However, this Sandinista victory and this struggle means more than this.  A
great international solidarity was created around the Sandinista struggle,
a great unity of all the Central American and Latin American left--what
tacitly could be called a great democratic, pro-independence,
anti-interventionist front in Latin America was created around the
Sandinista struggle.  This is something of historical significance and
enormous importance.

On the Latin American and Caribbean field and with this hemisphere,
Sandinism stimulated the pro-independence feeling of Latin American
peoples and also an anti-interventionist feeling.  This had its prominent
and culminating moment at the last meeting of the Organization of American
States.  Let us mention it [the OAS] for the first time without epithets.
[laughter]  For the first time, for the first time there was real
insubordination from the Latin American states.  And this is quite
symptomatic since the most reactionary and aggressive sectors of the United
States advised the current North American administration to follow in
interventionist path in Nicaragua.

The United States proposed at that meeting the creation of an
inter-American peace force.  It said it was to take peace to Nicaragua,
when Nicaragua's peace, the peace implanted by Imperialism from the time it
intervened there numerous times and installed that reactionary regime, was
the peace of the grave.  And it wanted to continue maintaining that type of
peace there to prevent revolutionary peace, to prevent the Sandinista
victory, to seize triumph from the people.  We already know what these
inter-American peace forces are, who arms them.  We know who arms them, who
leads them, who supplies them, who makes them up, who its members are.  We
have seen these so-called inter-American peace forces more than once.  And
the imperialist intention was truly shady--to intervene in Nicaragua.
Accustomed as the imperialists were to having all Latin American
governments saying yes, this time they found out that there was a
sufficient number of Latin American governments saying no.  [applause]

And the pretexts were very noble, as always--to take peace to the suffering
people of Nicaragua, so that this moment would not arrive, so that 19 July
would not arrive.  One month later, the Sandinistas took the true peace,
the peace of a happy, victorious people, full of suffering, yes, but also
full of hope and optimism for the future.  We, our people can but
appreciate, in all of its magnitude, the significance of this historic
deed--the defeat of the U.S. interventionist maneuver in the heart of the
Latin American states.  A majority was produced which resolutely opposed
intervention and defended as something sacred the principle of
nonintervention, the principle of sovereignty, of absolute respect for the
sovereignty of our peoples.  And one has to say that the U.S. proposal was
isolated.  In the end they adopted an intelligent position.

If they voted in favor of the U.S. proposition--that is, in favor of the
interventionist proposition--they would have been on the side of Paraguay
and Somoza, because they only ones that wanted intervention, less the one
that voted openly for intervention, was Somoza, and I believe, I believe
Paraguay.  Of course, intervention suited Somoza, for a while, for a while
but no longer.  They were preserving the National Guard, they were
preserving their interests, along with the interests of the monopolies.

If they abstained, they would be on the side of Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador
and Honduras.  No, El Salvador and Guatemala.  I also believe Honduras.
They did not think it very honorable to be in the company of some of those.
And therefore they also voted along with the majority.  An interesting
phenomenon.  But one has to say that, in our judgment, the decision and the
result of this meeting was a great victory for the peoples of our America
by the creation of this spirit of solidarity with Nicaragua.

In the positions maintained at the OAS, one has to point out the role of
Panama, Costa Rica, Venezuela and the other countries of the Andean Pact
[applause], Mexico, Jamaica, Grenada and others.  [applause]  It was in the
creation of this democratic and anti-interventionist front that one has to
mention not only names of countries but also of people.  The names of
Torrijos, Carazo, Lopez Portillo, Manley, and Bishop [all names given
during applause] And it is also just to recall the name of who, although he
is not still president in his country, greatly helped in the development of
this solidarity with the Sandinista struggle--former Venezuelan President
Carlos Andres Perez.  [applause]  And I repeat, there was not a single
party, a single leftist organization in Latin America which did not express
its willingness to struggle.  There was not a single one which did not
express its solidarity with the struggle of the Sandinista people.
[applause]  To maintain this atmosphere, to maintain this front, to
maintain this spirit is very important for all peoples still suffering
under fascism and under the most bloody tyrannies.  This is also a duty, in
our judgment, of the Sandinistas.  What will be their contribution, the
contribution of the victorious people of Nicaragua, in maintaining this
spirit, this broad front?

There are many questions now.  There are many people who want to establish
similarities between what occurred in Cuba and what has occurred in
Nicaragua.  The objective of this is inspired by bad faith to, let us say,
create and seek justification and pretexts to apply aggressive measures
against the people of Nicaragua, blockades against the Nicaraguan people,
acts of aggression against the Nicaraguan people, and all those filthy
measures, all those crimes they committed against us.  One must be alert to
this.  For this reason, to the assertions or fears expressed by some people
with such intentions to the effect that Nicaragua would become another
Cuba, the Nicaraguans have given them a magnificent reply:  No.  Nicaragua
is going to become a new Nicaragua, [prolonged applause] which is something
quite different.  They do not look on us as if looking at themselves in the
mirror.  More so, we are the ones who look on them as if looking in a
mirror because nothing else reminds us more of our own struggles, our own
sacrifices, our own image of those initial times of the revolution.

There are no two revolutions that are the same.  There cannot be.  As I
said earlier, there are many similarities in the spirit, heroism and
combat; but our problems are not exactly their problems.  And the
conditions in which our revolution was made are not exactly the same
conditions in which their revolution was made.  In fact, in our case there
was not the front of which I spoke earlier.  Imperialism immediately began
with its campaigns and acts of aggression.  Imperialism knew less then,
because imperialism has learned something, not much, but something.
[laughter]  Conditions are different--the characteristics in which their
struggle took place, the unity of all the people which was an indispensable
condition for the triumph, the unity of all the people, the expansion and
participation of all social sectors, the organization of different popular
movements that united, which established certain commitments and certain
circumstances different from ours.

In other words, things in Nicaragua are not going to be exactly the same or
anything like what they are in Cuba.  Some of the characteristics we have
observed in the Nicaraguan revolutionary comrades should be highlighted.
In the first place, the fighting spirit of the people should be stressed.
It is extraordinary--their heroism and courage.  They have been outstanding
as great combatants.  But they also have been outstanding as great
tacticians and great political strategists.  They have demonstrated great
wisdom, a great capacity to unite and great capacity to take action amid
difficult and complex circumstances.

They fought heroically, but they also have learned to be flexible.  When it
was necessary to negotiate in a certain way to prevent the risk of
intervention, they did not fear to negotiate.  And in military strategy as
well as in political strategy, they showed great ability, great talent.  Of
course, otherwise the victory could not be explained.  In that final phase
when the Somozist regime was dying, they discussed some ways on how the
final transition would take place, in other words, how the eulogy or burial
of Somoza would be.

Different countries participated in those negotiations.  The Government of
National Reconstruction, the Sandinista direcorate, and even the United
States participated, and, as the newspaper GRANMA explained in summary, it
was expected that Somoza would die at 4 in the morning.  And someone named
Urcuyo--I found it difficult at first to familiarize myself with the name
and still I am not too familiar with it, and I think that in 15 days I will
have forgotten it--[laughter, applause] someone named Urcuyo would assume
power at 8 in the morning.  And this Urcuyo would deliver the government to
the junta of the Government of National Reconstruction.  In the interim,
they named a chief of the National Guard or something like that.  The
Sandinistas made some concessions and it was wise to make those they
considered should be made.  They remained firm and did not make those they
should not make.

Of course, it was assumed there would be a new army.  That country could
not continue in the hands of those genocidal assassins.  The new army will
essentially consist of the Sandinist combatants and reportedly will also
include a number of national guardsmen who did not participate in
corruption, repression and crime.  Well, in principle, in theory, this can
be accepted.  The hard part is imagining that anyone responsible for
repression, corruption and crime is to remain free, but the Sandinist
spirit has been broad, as we were in our struggle.  How many times did we
appeal to the army!  At the end we even held a talk with them.  They told
us:  We have lost the war, what should we do now?  We gave them our opinion
on how they should end the war.  We told them to lift [levanten] the
Santiago Plaza, and to neither (?dispute) or discuss with the U.S. Embassy,
or stage a coup in the capital, or help Batista escape, and we reached an
agreement.  We were awaiting the 31st and we did not attack the Santiago
Garrison waiting for the agreement to be fulfilled.

But they did the very opposite.  They staged a coup in Havana, made
agreements with the U.S. Embassy and saw Batista off at the airport.  Well,
the agreement was through and we had no other alternative but to disarm the
army in 48 or 72 hours.  You are perfectly familiar with this so there is
no need to repeat that now.  Well, something similar happened there.  Once
appointed president, this Urcuyo said that no, he would stay there until
1981.  [laughter]  So the Sandinists ordered an offensive and in less than
72 hours they disarmed the National guard.  There is no longer a National
Guard.  [applause]

The U.S. Government could not fulfill even its part of the commitments.
Nonetheless, the Government of National Reconstruction and the Sandinist
directorate have very wisely--in our opinion--maintained the broad spirit
with which they participated in that dialog.  Ah, the U.S. Government was
not concerned over the dozens of thousands of deaths that resulted from the
bombings.  No.  They were deeply concerned over the lives of [words

The Sandinists have given evidence of their magnanimity and extraordinary
and exemplary generosity.  Exemplary!  Of course, all this was nothing but
the preparation of conditions aimed at beginning a campaign within the
Sandinist movement, which has so much solidarity and following all over the
world.  So the Sandinists were not only heroic and efficient in the war and
flexible in politics, but also extraordinarily magnanimous in victory.  I
am sure that will elicit the broadest sympathy and will strengthen the
feeling of solidarity throughout the world.  This will detract from
reaction's arguments and weapons; it will remove logs from the fire of
defamation and slander.  This also shows the huge influence that the
Sandinist commanders and the Government of National Reconstruction have
over the masses, because the latter have neither forgotten nor will they
ever forget the crimes, the torture and the bombing.  they will not forget.
But, in holding back when necessary, they have also proved they have great
confidence in the directorate.

We hope the imperialist interventionist adventures and those who encourage
counterrevolution will not go into action again against Nicaragua.  Of
course, we cannot foster illusions.  We cannot think reaction will leave
the Nicaraguan revolution in peace despite its magnanimity, its broad
spirit and its democratic objectives.  For the Sandinists have said:  If an
election is needed, we do not mind if one is held.  Regardless of the many
resources that may be given to the reactionary groups and all that, any
election held in Nicaragua would be won by the Sandinists by a very wide
margin.  This is what would happen the day an election is held, any type of
election [applause], under whichever constitutional form in which the
citizens might vote.  The Sandinists would win.  [applause]

This is why--and this is why I am explaining to our people the
circumstances under which the Nicaraguan people's victory has taken
place--the forms they may adopt may be different from ours.  Besides, the
truth is that today the country is in ruins, the country is totally
destroyed.  It requires a national reconstruction program with the
participation of all sectors of Nicaraguan society.

The Sandinists are revolutionaries.  We are not going to conceal this fact.
Neither is anybody else nor are they themselves going to conceal it.  But
they are not extremists, they are realists, and realists make the best
revolutions [applause], the best and most profound revolutions.  I predict
they will go far because they are not in a hurry, because they are not
extremists, because they are going slowly and they know which objectives
correspond to each stage of a political and revolutionary process as well
as the forms which correspond to those objectives.  I am sure of that.

The Sandinists were also wise in uniting closely at the decisive moment.
They united solidly.  Victory is there now as a result of their wise
actions.  It is our sincerest hope that that unity will be increasingly
solid and tightly-knit as an essential requirement of victory.  The people,
the weapons, and unity--nothing more is needed to march as far as one might
wish to go for as long as one might wish.

The task that lies ahead now is tremendous, tremendous, much worse than
ours at the hour to victory.  Our war was different, as was the development
of the columns and of the various guerrilla fronts.  They combined the
development of the columns and the guerrilla fronts with insurrection in
the various cities.  that was an infallible remedy from which neither
Somoza nor the National guard could escape.  And without scruples of any
kind, the enemy bombed the rebel cities with all available weapons and
without mercy of any kind, destroying entire cities, installations of all
kinds and leaving an aftermath of enormous destruction, a ruined financial
situation and not a single reserve.

Alfonso Robelo was telling me that there was (?at least) about 3 billion
[cordobas] there, I think.  The immediate debt amounted to 250 million and
1.2 billion more.  In all, and after the foreign debt, there was not a
single cent left--to the point that as one of their first measures they had
to nationalize the banks, among other things, in order to protect
depositors from being ruined because the banks were bankrupt and nobody
could speak for the savings of those who had deposited money there.  So
that was one of the first measures they had to adopt.

There is much hunger in that county.  I believe that Nicaragua needs help
from the entire world.  In the past weeks, a great many leaders of
countries expressed their willingness to help Guatemala [corrects himself],
Nicaragua.  Please do not believe that the mistake was intentional, to help
Nicaragua.  That seems very just.  Governments of all hues, of diverse
ideologies, of diverse political systems have expressed willingness to give
great assistance to the people of Nicaragua.  Nicaragua really needs it.
Even the United States has expressed its willingness to send food and to
provide aid of different kinds.  And we are glad.  We are glad.  They said
they would establish an air bridge, send 300 tons of good daily.  We think
that is very good.

Marti once said that heaven did not want tyrants to be wise more than once,
that tyrants were not be wise twice.  Twice is not the same as more than
once.  Of course, Somoza was not wise even once.  The U.S. Government has
at least been wise once.  It is much better in every way and more fruitful,
and it develops much better relations among peoples and promotes a climate
of peace to send food instead of bombers and marines as they did in Vietnam
and in so many other places:  I said Vietnam.  U.S. intervention in
Nicaragua would have been a really suicidal act for U.S. policy in this
hemisphere.  We have no doubt at all that the Sandinists would have
continued to fight even if there had been Yankee intervention.  There is no
doubt of it.  We are infinitely happy that it did not occur.

Who knows how many lives have been saved?  However, we are also sure that
had there been intervention, it would have encountered great resistance
from the Sandinist people.  And that is not all: A gigantic Vietnam could
have developed throughout Central America and in the rest of Latin America.
[applause] a gigantic Vietnam. [applause] It would have been an act of
infinite stupidity, one that would have been very costly and very bloody
for our peoples.  Therefore, intervention in Nicaragua would not have gone

However, we are happy that the firm struggle of the Nicaraguan people,
international solidarity, the support of the Latin American peoples, and
the realism and flexibility of the Sandinists have prevented the commission
of one of the most rash acts that could have been conceived but an act that
was a real threat.  We are happy that the United States is sending food.
We are happy that all countries are sending food and aid of all kinds to
the Nicaraguan people.  We are not (?rich).  We cannot compete with the
United States in number of planes or tons of food.  We will send something
because we are able to donate something from our poverty.  [applause]

We must say something important:  We do not have many financial resources
or natural resources; we have human resources.  [applause]  Engineer Robelo
said here that they needed doctors, that they need to wage anti-illiteracy
campaigns.  We know our doctors and our teachers.  [lengthy applause]  They
go wherever they are needed.  If it is necessary to go to the mountains,
they go to the mountains.  To the rural areas--in Cuba, Ethiopia, Vietnam,
Yemen, Angola, anywhere.  Nicaragua is closer; it is very close.  It is
practically the same distance between the Cape of San Antonio and Managua
as between the Cape of San Antonio and the Mexican border.  It is very

Well then, I believe that we would be interpreting the feeling of our party
and our people--the feeling of solidarity--if we tell our Nicaraguan
brothers that if they plan to carry out a great health program, a program
of medical assistance, and there are not enough Nicaraguan doctors, we are
prepared to send all the doctors necessary to support that health program.
[lengthy applause]

Of course, we have over 1,000 doctors working abroad, but we still have
other doctors.  We have commitments which we can meet.  How would we do
this?  By asking for cooperation from hospitals and from our doctors.  We
have asked for this cooperation on other occasions.  Matters relating to
meeting hospital quotas [coasa relativas a las guardias] will be solved in
the future.  The future will be splendid, because some 4,000 students a
year are registering in medical schools and we are establishing medical
schools in practically all provinces.  Cooperation would be needed from
hospitals, from the people's governments, from the health department.  The
first brigade has already been sent, quickly, in a matter of hours.  It has
a total of 60 members, 40 of them doctors.  [applause]

We did so at the time of the earthquake--we sent a large medical brigade,
even when Somoza was there--and we remember how he was waiting at the
airport.  The same one, that colonel we were talking about, who was not yet
a colonel, that son of Somoza whom they say was chief of the [word
indistinct].  That same one was there waiting for the shipments to steal
them.  [laughter] They stole the medicine we sent.  They could not steal
the doctors.  They worked and rendered many services to the people.  The
people were very affectionate to them.  We did that when Somoza was there.
How could we not do so now?  How could we not do so?

We have doctors and we are going to have more.  However, we are not going
to wait for the ones we are going to have.  We have to send some of the
ones we have now.  If our doctors cooperate--and I am certain that they are
going to cooperate--if the hospitals, the hospital directors, and regional
health [centers]; if we all cooperate, we can get our doctors to them.
that way, the will receive the doctors they need, [even] if they are not
enough.  I mean 100, 200.  However, if 500 are required, then 500.
[applause] [words indistinct]

It has also been said here that it is necessary to carry out a great
education campaign.  However, it seems that there are teachers there...
[Castro does not finish his sentence] A great education campaign.
[applause] Only a revolutionary government can carry out a great health and
education campaign.  Who knows how many lives they will save, particularly
how many children's lives they will save through campaigns against
poliomylelitis, tetanus and tuberculosis.  In a few years, they will be
saving many lives in a short time.  In a few weeks they will be saving
lives.  I know how much the people appreciate a health campaign.  I know
how much the people appreciate education.  Even amid destruction, a
revolutionary government can carry out a great campaign, and our country
has vast experience in this regard.

We can provide counseling, both in regard to the health and education
campaigns.  I repeat:  If the Nicaraguan teaches cannot carry out this
great education campaign alone, we are prepared to send them all the
teachers they need.  [applause]  We have over 30,000 students in the
[training] schools for grade school teachers and tens of thousands--I
believe 50,000--[as heard] studying to become professors in pedagogical
institutes.  We are all right.  We also know that our teachers will go
wherever they are sent, to the most remote corner, to the most distant
mountain, to the most forsaken place.  [applause]  They are not interested
in being in the capital.  [applause]  We know our doctors and our teachers,
and we know what they are capable of doing.

That is why, in this case, our country can provide valuable cooperation.
Needless to say, we are ready to cooperate in everything within the scope
of our modest capabilities.  It is not that we are going to engage in
politics there.  No doubt there will be some who will say... and, who is
going to engage in politics?  [Castro changes his train of thought]  Who is
going to influence the Sandinists?  On the contrary, our teaches and our
doctors will be influenced by the Sandinist spirit and we are very pleased
about that, very much at ease.  [applause]  They will be influenced by the
revolutionary spirit of the Sandinists.  Everyone knows how our technicians
devote themselves to their work.  And, I repeat, we are glad that the
United States and everyone will help.  Furthermore, we are prepared to keep
in step with the United States.  [applause]  We will keep in step.

We can do more for Nicaragua?  We invite the United States...[shouts and
applause] We invite the United States, Latin American countries, European
countries, Third World countries, our brothers in socialist countries,
everyone to help Nicaragua. [applause] That is our position, to carry out a
truly human and constructive effort there within that spirit.  Of course,
when I asked who can do more you stood up.  What do you think? [shouts]
What do you think...that we can do something [the crowd shouts "yes"].
What do you think?  That we can do something [shouts of "yes"], and that we
are ready to do so.  So, we ask that in the name of our people you raise
your hand to express that feeling of solidarity toward Nicaraguans.
[applause] that is to say... [Castro does not finish sentence]. [applause]
Our attitude, our response can be none other. [shouts, applause] The
Sandinists have given one more lesson about what the revolutionary spirit
can do.  Men of weak character never reach a goal.  Weak souls will never
get anywhere.

The revolutionary spirit is capable of achieving the most incredible goals.
We not only thank the Sandinists for the great gesture, the unforgettable
gesture, the great honor which they have done us by their presence here and
for their affectionate and fraternal expressions, we also thank them
because they encourage us in our own effort, in our own struggle, because
they help us to be better, to improve.  They stimulate us in our effort to
overcome our deficiencies, to perfect our work, to perfect our revolution
in the intransigent struggle against weakness, against errors, against
things which are badly done--a struggle which is not a campaign, which will
not last for 1 day or 1 week or 1 month or 1 year, but will be a struggle
which we will have to wage consistently for many years.

They now face the problems of those who are beginning a process based on
the ruins of the country.  We have already had 20 years of revolution.  We
face different conditions, different circumstances.  What better way to
commemorate this 26 July, or remembering our martyrs.  What better way to
honor our visitors, to get to know each other [than to] commit ourselves to
make a greater effort, to struggle more, to work harder, to become better.
Long live the Revolutionary Victory of Nicaragua!  [shouts or "Viva"] Long
Live Sandino!  [shouts of "Viva"]  Long Live the FSLN!  [shouts of "Viva"]
Long Live the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua!  [shouts
of "Viva"]  Long Live the Friendship and Solidarity Between the Peoples of
Nicaragua and Cuba!  [shouts of "Viva"]  Fatherland or Death, We Shall Win!