Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Address

FL191831 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1653 GMT 19 Jul 80

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at mass rally held in Managua,
Nicaragua, to commemorate the first anniversary of the triumph of the
Sandinist Revolution-live]

[Text] Comrade leaders of the Sandinist National Liberation Front [FSLN]
and of the Government of National Reconstruction, distinguished invited
delegations and personalities, courageous Sandinist soldiers and militamen,
dear Nicaraguan brothers: Some will perhaps think that I am going to make a
long speech. [applause] Others perhaps think that I will make here an
ardent and revolutionary harangue. [applause] But, I will neither be
extensive nor polemical nor deliver an ardent harangue. It would not be
proper for me not to take into consideration the fact already noted by
former President Carlos Andres Perez of the presence in this platform of
delegations and personalities from the most diverse countries, of the most
diverse systems and ideologies, of the most diverse political beliefs.

However, there is something that unites us all. I would even say North
Americans and we are united [applause] today and that is because of this
event, this tribute and this recognition to the heroic Nicaraguan people
and their historic victory of 19 July 1979. [applause] I would say that I
hold the hope that our presence here would represent the commitment of
solidarity with, support for and aid to Nicaragua. [applause] I will not
hide the fact that deep emotion overwhelmed me yesterday at noon when I
arrived in this country.

I admire the enthusiasm and warmth of its children, the beauty of its
landscape. Today I have felt the magnitude of this event, the martialism of
the troops, the organization, the discipline, the impressive silence in
this plaza where not even the buzzing of a mosquito is heard, [applause]
the attention with which the people are capable of paying to the speakers
during the very warm noon hour. We could not forget our sister republic
because it was precisely Nicaraguan territory, Puerto Cabezas, from which
the mercenary Giron invitation departed. It has been said that the tyrant
Somoza, when bidding farewell to the troops, asked them to at least bring
him a hair from Castro's beard. [applause] I have come here with a full
beard [applause] to offer it to the victorious Nicaraguan people, even if
only symbolically. [applause]

The embrace with which our delegation and the front and government leaders
greeted each other yesterday is only a symbol of these times, and of the
changes of these times. When I observe you here, I must confess, it reminds
us a lot of our people, our own people, our own events, our own masses.
Because you are a profoundly revolutionary peoples, we the Cuban visitors
feel as if we were in our own fatherland. [applause]

But this historic miracle was not something that happened by chance or a
lucky event. The days of the struggle are very fresh in our minds. Almost 1
year ago, the last shots were still being fired by the guns of that
protracted struggle, that protracted war. It is impossible to forget the
feelings of admiration with which we listened to the news of the people's
struggle, the people with almost no weapons; the people who carried out the
uprising in Leon and seized it with just a few weapons; and the people who
conducted the uprisings in Esteli, Masaya and many other cities and seized
them with just a few weapons. [applause]

With equal degree of admiration we also recall the heroic battles that took
place on the southern front, the anguish felt by all friends and
sympathizers of the FSLN when they thought about the fate of the
revolutionaries who conducted the uprising in Managua, the joy with which
we receive the news that after many days of heroic struggle the organized
great mass of combatants was able to withdraw to Masaya--from the military
viewpoint what was termed withdrawal was one of the greatest feats, one of
the greatest victories of the Nicaraguan people. [applause]

The page of heroism written by you will be recorded in history. But this
spirit, this heroism was not by chance. Over a period of many years Sandino
fought in defense of the fatherland's independence and showed the path to
be followed. The Sandinists fought for 20 years to overthrow the tyranny
and set free their people. this took 20 years. That is why on a day like
today the heroes cannot be forgotten, the leaders cannot be forgotten.
[applause] The extraordinary merits of that indefatigable fighter Fonseca
Amador [applause] will never be forgotten.

There were men who from very far away saw and prepared the path. For over
50 years this country was governed by the tyrannical Somoza dynasty. But
there were men who, when the hour of liberty appeared to be the farthest
away, thought, organized and prepared a strategy of struggle. Those men are
the Sandinists and the members of the Government of National
Reconstruction. [applause] They prepared the strategy. The prepared the
tactics of struggle and gradually improved them. They were able to lead all
the people. They are not vanguards because they want to call themselves
vanguard. [applause] They are vanguards because they knew how to gain the
place of vanguard in history and in the struggle of their people.
[applause] And they were wise. Here we have them. They were wise. They were
wise in the struggle and in the decisive moment of the struggle. They had
the supreme wisdom of unity. That unity, as you have seen, is greater today
than ever before.

They were wise in the struggle and they were wise in victory. They have
continued to be wise throughout this first year because, in our judgment,
the scheme prepared by the FSLN for the period of national reconstruction,
that call, that appeal to all the people, that appeal to the various social
sectors to rebuild the country, that scheme which includes pluralism and
opposition is one of the wisest things that could have been done by any
political movement under these circumstances. [applause] We are not saying
this only now. Almost a year ago on 26 July 1979 when, a few days after
victory, we received a large and prestigious Sandinist delegation on our
anniversary, we said that Nicaraguans had all our sympathy and all our
support for that project, that concept. There are many that harbored and
still harbor fears about the Sandinist revolution. There are some who
presume to tell the Sandinists what to do. We will never presume to tell
the Sandinists what they should do, giving and offering them uncalled-for

We are ready to give all our support, all the solidarity of our people
[applause] without any conditions--without any conditions--and without any
advance. And we are not here to teach or influence. We are here to humbly
learn and to be influenced. [applause] And we are certain that the
Sandinist revolution will teach us many things. That the Sandinist
revolution will influence us greatly, just as we are certain that its
example will greatly influence the rest of Latin America. [applause]

I have deliberately refrained from mentioning names that you and us Cubans
carry deep in our hearts, [applause] and we have not mentioned conflictive
matters because of the reasons I mentioned at the beginning, so that no one
would accuse us of coming to Nicaragua to try to set Central America on
fire or to try to set Latin America on fire. It is impossible to bring the
torch of the revolution. As one of you said recently, your best, most
fundamental and decisive aid to the revolutionary movement is your example.
Because peoples are like volcanoes. No one inflames them. They erupt by
themselves, [applause] and the mountain ranges of Central America and the
Andes are volcanic. [applause]

Dear Nicaraguan brothers, what you have done in a single year is
impressive. What you have done in all areas, including the very difficult
area of the economy is impressive. Yesterday we saw very well planted and
cultivated fields for miles and miles. We have seen the factories that you
have been restoring. We know that the literacy campaign is coming along
successfully, and that there are now 108,000 [applause] additional
Nicaraguans who know how to read and write. [applause] and that half a
million more Nicaraguans will be able to receive their literacy
certificates in the coming weeks. [applause] What other country has done so
much in so little time, in the first year? What other country has been able
to organize a disciplined, martial army as this one in just the first year?
We also know how many efforts the Nicaraguan revolution is making to bring
health and welfare to Nicaraguan families. These things, these miracles,
can only be the work of revolutions. Only people's revolutions are capable
of these feats.

You are a country of great natural resources. It is almost impossible to
envision how far you will go along this path despite international
difficulties, despite the difficulties of the world's economy. But of
course, do not believe anyone who tells you that results are around the
corner. The fruits of revolutionary work, the work of the people when they
have started our with so much poverty, so much underdevelopment and so much
exploitation, implies a very long road. Whoever tells you that you will see
material fruits tomorrow is lying. He is a demagogue. He who speaks the
truth, who tells you of the long road ahead, he is the honest leader.

But despite all these impressive things, the barbarous and brutal manner in
which the Nicaraguan cities were destroyed had a greater impact on us--the
gigantic human sacrifices that the Nicaraguan people had to pay for their
liberation. I recall that in the last days of the war, and the first days
of the triumph, the Nicaraguan revolution aroused enormous sympathy
worldwide, and there was much talk about the aid the Nicaraguan people
required. There was talk of billions of dollars--billions--not only to
reconstruct the country but also to face the huge debt that Somozism left
behind. To face up to all that in the midst of all the destruction required
a great deal of international aid. But it pains us to see that now, a year
later, the effective aid received to date by Nicaragua is only some tens of
millions of dollars. We proposed almost a year ago that an emulation among
all the countries was needed to see which helped Nicaragua the most. We
take advantage of this occasion, this anniversary, to reiterate this
challenge and to appeal for that emulation to assist Nicaragua. [applause]

These noble people need that aid, and they deserve that aid. We hail
cooperation with Nicaragua regardless of its source. We even hail the aid
the U.S. Government is reportedly to give. [applause] I only truly and
sincerely regret that it is too little considering the wealth of the United
States. [applause] It is a small amount for the richest country in the
world. It is a small amount for a country that spends $160 billion on
military expenditures, for a country [applause] that according to estimates
is going to spend $1 trillion in the next 5 years on military things.
[applause] How much more fruitful and beneficial it would be if those
useless expenditures, those expenditures for the arms race, were to be used
to help the underdeveloped countries of the world, were used to help
countries that need so much, such as Nicaragua. [applause]

The experts, statesmen, economists and analysts know what the real problem
in the world is at this time: the dangers that threaten the world, the
dangers of new arms races, the dangers of cold wars, the dangers, even, of
a universal hot war. Concern is very deep all over the world, among the
most serious and sensible people in the world, especially after hearing the
agreements and platform of the U.S. Republican Party--a terrible platform
that is a threat to peace. A terrible platform that threatens to apply once
more the big stick to Latin America. A terrible platform that speaks of
reversing as much as possible the Panama Canal accords; that speaks of
annexing the brother Puerto Rican people; that speaks of backing this
hemisphere's genocidal governments; and that speaks of withdrawing all aid
to Nicaragua. The concern is great all over the world, and that is why it
behooves all to do everything within our reach to confront those policies
and to fight to safeguard peace. We find ourselves in a situation such that
we have to practically fight to safeguard peace. This is the situation at
present in the world.

But we revolutionaries cannot be pessimists. We revolutionaries are and
will always be optimists. We will not let ourselves be intimidated either.
Our peoples have shown throughout history their capacity for struggle. Our
peoples cannot be underestimated. Our peoples cannot be looked down upon.
And if they want an example, here is the example: the Nicaraguan people.

We are the descendants of Indians, blacks, and Spaniards and we have
inherited the best from those three strains. And that is courage.

I must conclude, dear Nicaraguan brothers, excuse me if I have extended
myself. [applause, changes of "Fidel, Fidel] Long live Sandino! [shouts of
"Viva"] Long live the Sandinist revolution! [shouts of "Viva"] Long live
the heroic people of Nicaragua! [shouts of "Viva"] Fatherland or death, we
shall win! [shouts of "We Shall Win"] [Prolonged applause, chants of
"Fidel, Fidel"]