Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

FL270020 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2308 GMT 26 Jul 80

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at mass rally commemorating the
27th anniversary of the assault on the Monoada Barracks held at the Abel
Santamaria Plaza in Ciego de Avila--live]

[Text] Distinguished guests, people of Ciego de Avila, fellow countrymen.
There are new things. Last year, our 26 July was celebrated a week after
the great Sandinist victory. A large number of Nicaraguan guerrilla
commanders attended our celebration. Thus, our celebration on 26 July 1979
turned into a Sandinist event. [applause] And once again this year, the
close ties between the Nicaraguan people and the Cuban people are
underscored. [applause] Because, the struggle of the peoples made it
possible for both dates to coincide within the same month. But there is
something else. Since there is a 7-day difference between the two dates,
not only do we have a 19th and a 26th in the same month of July, we also
have the fact that when the 19th is a Saturday, the 26th is a Saturday.
[laughter, applause] If the 19th is a Monday, the 26th will be a Monday.

We have just come back from Nicaragua. [applause] It is practically an
obligation that we say something about Nicaragua. We are interested; we are
all interested. Not only Cubans, but Latin Americans are interested. You
know the significance of this and also the impressiveness, happiness,
enthusiasm, optimism and thrill of visiting the second Latin American
country that has freed itself from imperialism. [applause] Now, we are not
just two in this hemisphere. We are three, since Grenada must be included.
[applause] Of course. Nicaragua, Grenada and Cuba are not the only
progressive countries. There are other progressive governments that are
friendly to Cuba. We can name, for example, the Government of Mexico.
[applause] Soon we will have the great honor of receiving the president of
the sister Republic of Mexico. [applause] There are governments such as
that of our dear friend Manley [applause] in Jamaica. There are governments
like that of Panama. [applause] But we three have shaken off the yoke in
the last 20 years in a radical and definitive manner. [applause]

And history requires that one day all of us be free. [applause] Because one
day the slogan of free the fatherland or die, fatherland or death, will
have to be the slogan of all the peoples of Latin America and the
Caribbean. [applause]

What we saw in Nicaragua is really stimulating and encouraging. We visited
almost the whole country in just a few days, visits that at tines lasted 16
and 1/2 consecutive hours. We visited Esteli, Leon, Matagalpa, Masaya,
Granada, Rivas, the southern front, and, of course, first of all, Managua.
We even visited Bluefields on the Atlantic coast. You may be wondering why
it is called Bluefields. Well, it happens that the English were around
there during the time when the English and the Yankees were fighting over
the territory and wanted to control the areas where a canal could be built.

The English even built an empire there with Indian Communities. And for a
time they had virtual control of the whole Atlantic coast of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is bigger than Cuba. The most developed areas are the central and
western areas, that is, the Pacific side. The Atlantic side is still to be
developed although the area takes up more than half of the country. We can
say that Nicaragua has more natural resources than Cuba. That is, it has
many hydraulic resources. And this means the potential to produce all the
electric energy it needs. It has geothermic energy which can be extracted
from volcanoes. It has large forests. It has plenty of level and fertile
land, very fertile land. It has big lakes capable of feeding the
population. It has a great maritime wealth along the coastlines, an
extensive platform, rich in all kinds of shellfish and fish for human
consumption. Therefore, its population, which is small--approximately a
fourth of the Cuban population-had the necessary resources for the future.
It has the necessary resources for large-scale development.

Of course, Nicaragua was administered by Somoza as a sort of private
hacienda. Somoza owned the biggest farms, many of the factories, many of
the centers of production. Therefore, the Sandinists, by simply
confiscating the property of Somoza and the Somozists, acquired control of
a large percentage of the country's industry and agriculture.

There is not a socialist regime there. It is a mixed economy regime. It is
a multiparty regime. There is the Sandinist Front, other leftwing parties
and--why not?- there are rightwing parties. So we cannot picture Nicaragua
in a situation exactly like Cuba's. There is a new revolutionary project in
Nicaragua in the sense that they are engaged at this stage in national
reconstruction with the cooperation of all parties. As they announced on
the 19th, they also intend to implement an agrarian reform on idle lands.
But they also try to encourage private industrialists remaining in the
country and the middle-level farmers, who were capitalist farmers; they
appeal to them so they will contribute to the utmost to the national
reconstruction. This is a new experience in Latin America. From our
viewpoint, in the light of international circumstances, and in the light of
Nicaragua's realities, that project planned by them is the best and wisest
that can be accomplished at the present time.

We met with the people in many places, everywhere. We observed that they
were a very radical people, a very revolutionary people, a people that in
spite of illiteracy are extremely courteous and well-behaved, a very
hospitable, warm people, a very enthusiastic, disciplined people, very
intelligent, aware and revolutionary people. [applause] It is admirable to
see what the Nicaraguan people are today only a year after victory.

Of course, you can see the traces of the struggle everywhere, especially of
the last battles for liberation--in all cities. The destruction, the impact
of the cannon, bombs, bullets. You have to see it to have a clear idea of
the intensity of the struggle there. It is also impressive to see the
destruction of Managua. Downtown Managua was completely destroyed by the
earthquake, completely. Managua is being rebuilt and developed around what
was destroyed by the earthquake. But there were two earthquakes in
Nicaragua: the earthquake that destroyed Managua and the Somozist
earthquake that destroyed the country. And if the Managua earthquake caused
10,000 deaths, the Somozist earthquake caused 50,000 deaths. It is hard to
find a family that has not lost a son, a brother, a loved one.

Now, what the Sandinists have already achieved in the first year of
revolution in the task of reconstructing the country is admirable. They
even have things that we did not have in the first year. They, for
instance, have the masses organized, the trade unions, the Sandinist
Defense Committees, the women, the young, the Sandinist children--
something like the Pioneers--organized. And they have the Sandinist
National Liberation Front well organized throughout the country. It is
something like the revolutionary party and the vanguard of Nicaragua.

They have collective leadership made up of a group of guerrilla fighters
with a lot of history, prestige and experience behind them. In spite of the
long years of struggle, it is a group that is still very young yet
experienced and mature at the same time. They have a Government of National
Reconstruction made up of experienced and capable men. There are close ties
between the Sandinist Front and the Government of National Reconstruction.
There is great unity within Sandinism, in the ranks of Sandinism and in the
leadership of Sandinism. Hence, all conditions are met to go on
successfully with the revolutionary process. The Sandinist struggle won
great sympathy and solidarity worldwide, not only in Latin America but also
in the whole world. That broad form of government that they have
established is undoubtedly very beneficial in the sense that they can
continue to count on the widest support in the international sphere. Last
year, we challenged the Western world to see who helped the Nicaraguan
people the most. It was a sort of emulation in assistance. We offered our
services to cooperate to the utmost. We asked all the others--capitalist,
oil-producing and socialist countries--to give maximum support to the
revolution in Nicaragua because Nicaragua really needs it.

Now, is there a revolution in Nicaragua or not? [shouts of "Yes!"] There is
a true revolution in Nicaragua. [applause] And does the existence of a
bourgeoisie and private property mean that perhaps there is a bourgeois
revolution in Nicaragua? [shouts of "No!"] No, there is no bourgeois
revolution in Nicaragua. There is a people's revolution in Nicaragua. A
people's revolution whose fundamental strength is based on the workers, the
peasants, the students and the middle strata of the population. Now, that
people is revolution directs, plans the process so that what needs to be
done is done. What is basic in a revolution so that we can really call it a
revolution, a people is revolution, is to have the people and to have the
weapons. What happened in Chile cannot happen in Nicaragua in any way,
under any circumstances, because the people have the power. [applause] And
the people have the weapons. [applause] Therefore, the revolution is
guaranteed. And the revolution plans its development in keeping with the
country's actual and objective conditions.

I not only met with the people; I held a lengthy meeting with almost 400
Nicaraguan labor leaders. I explained to them our experiences in all
fields. I met with a large number of progressive priests and religious
leaders of Nicaragua. They are with the revolution and firmly support the
revolution. Nicaragua is a country [interrupted by applause] where
religious feeling is even more deep rooted than it was in Cuba. And the
support of those religious sectors is very important for the revolution.

We had once talked in Chile and Jamaica of the strategic alliance between
Christians and Marxist-Leninists. [applause] If the revolution were to
adopt an anti-religious character, it would lead to the division of the
people. In our country the church was generally the church of the
bourgeoisie, of the rich and of the landowners. In many Latin American
countries, this is not the case. Religion and the church have deep roots
among the people. The reactionary classes have tried to use religion
against progress, religion against the revolution. And for a long time,
they did achieve those objectives. But times changed. And it is
increasingly difficult now for imperialism, the oligarchy and reaction to
use the church against the revolution.

Many religious leaders no longer talk about or talk exclusively about life
after death and happiness in the other world. They are talking about the
necessities in this world and happiness in this world. [applause] They do
that because they see hunger in the people, poverty, unsanitary conditions,
ignorance, human suffering and pain. If one takes into consideration that
Christianity in the beginning was the religion of the poor, in the era of
the Roman Empire it was the religion of the slaves because it was based on
precepts profoundly human. Doubtlessly, the revolutionary movement will
gain a lot, the socialist movement, the communist movement, the
Marxist-Leninist movement will gain a lot [applause] to the same degree
that honest leaders of the Catholic Church and other churches return to the
Christian spirit of the era of the Roman slaves. [applause]

I say not only socialism and communism will gain a lot, but Christianity
would also gain a lot. [applause] There are some religious leaders in
Nicaragua who asked us: Why a strategic alliance? Why only a strategic
alliance? Why not talk about unity between Marxist-Leninists and
Christians? I do not know what the imperialists think about his, but I am
absolutely convinced that the recipe is highly explosive. [applause and
laughter in the crowd]

This is not the case in Nicaragua alone; there is El Salvador. There, the
revolutionary forces and the Christian forces are united. Observe how the
reactionary forces, fascism, constantly murder priests. It murdered the
archbishop of El Salvador in a brutal manner, because even though they go
to church every Sunday, the reactionaries and fascists set off bombs at the
churches and murder priests, bishops and would murder even the pope if they
could do it when their interests are affected or threatened. But this is
not going on in El Salvador alone. The same is the case in Gautemala, where
repression and murder constantly take place. There are priests who support
the revolution.

I am making these statements to convey to you an idea of how the situations
vary from country to country. We cannot think of a Cuban recipe--merely
Cuban--because our recipe is good for us. Of course, the other recipes have
many of the same ingredients as ours. [applause] But they will not be
absolutely equal recipes.

We also met with leaders of the Sandinist Front, some 100 cadres. They
asked us for the meeting. We explained our experience in great detail to
them. Let me say that in these meetings I was always very critical of our
own revolution.

I believe that honesty is worth more than anything else in the world, and
we cannot be domineering or conceited or believe that we are very wise. I
believe that we are wise; yes, we are wise because we admit our
deficiencies. And we are wise [applause] because we know how to learn from
our mistakes. [applause] We are wise because we are self-critical.
[applause] We are wise because we are modes. [applause] And we believe that
out of our revolution, extraordinary experiences can be gained.

If you ask us what we would do if we had to start all over, I would say
that we would do the same thing and would reach the same point at which we
find ourselves today, exactly the same. [applause] Ah, but doubtlessly we
would have done it much better. [applause] When I spoke at the Plaza of the
Revolution in Managua, I was not there to give advice. I said I was not
going to teach, that I was going to learn, that I was not going to exert
influence but, on the contrary, was going to be influenced. Anyone who has
studied history and is profoundly interested in political and revolutionary
processes has a lot to learn from the experience of each new revolution.

Some people out there were concerned that if Fidel went to Nicaragua it
could hurt the Nicaraguans. The Nicaraguans knew very well that I never
talked about visiting Nicaragua, that I never invited myself to go to
Nicaragua. They knew very well that I was willing to visit Nicaragua the
day and time it suited them, [applause] or during the 1st year, or the 2nd
year, or the 3rd, or 10 years from now, or 20, or never. We do not believe
in any type of nonsense. [applause] We do not believe in any type of
hegemonism. [applause]

Our revolution wants to be an example. It does not want to be hegemonic.
[applause] Our revolution is not interested in leading. It does not want to
lead peoples. We would gladly be at the rear, but at the very end of an
entirely revolutionized Latin America and Caribbean. [applause] What
interests us is the revolution, the liberation of our peoples. That is why
when we went to Nicaragua, it was not because the Sandinist invited us. The
Sandinists demanded that we visit Nicaragua. [applause] I give this warning
to those who believe that we have some sort of pretension and that we were
showing off.

Our friendship with the Sandinists did not begin yesterday or a year ago.
Our friendship with the Sandinists began 20 years ago. [applause]

Our relations are really very close, but based on mutual respect, on
confidence. The imperialists are frightened by what is going to happen in
Guatemala. El Salvador and other places. The same is the case with the
reactionaries. We are not frightened. The imperialists are frightened if
there are any Marxist-Leninists. They are terrified. If they see a
Marxist-Leninist, it is the same as if they had seen a sort of ghost, the
devil in person. They lose sleep. We are not frightened when we see a
member of the bourgeoisie. [applause] We laugh at them.

When the reactionaries see a socialist, a communist, a Marxist-Leninist,
they believe that it is the end of the bourgeoisie. When we see a member of
the bourgeoisie, we do not believe that it is the end of socialism, the end
of communism [applause] because the bourgeois society already belongs to
the past. The same happened with the slave society. The same happened with
the feudal society. The time will come when people will ask: What was that
madness called capitalism? What was it good for? It will be a phrase of the
past, here and in other places. I explain this so no one will make any
mistake. I explain this to express our confidence in the Sandinist
revolution and to express our opinion [applause] that what they are doing,
they are doing excellently, very correctly. [applause]

They are in power. They can program their future. There will be no little
coup d'etat to liquidate the Sandinist revolution. There will be none. It
will not come. There will be no coups d'etat because the people have the
power. The people have the arms. [applause] What happened in Chile cannot
happen there. It cannot happen. What happened in Bolivia will not happen
there. It cannot happen. That demonstrates what the reactionaries,
capitalists and imperialists do. They talk about parliament, constitution,
democracy. What kind of dirty democracy is that? [applause] A democracy in
which the people have no power. And when there are elections and the people
vote and elect a government, a fascist coup d'etat is carried out and
repression begins.

The same thing happened in El Salvador. When the strength of the
revolutionary movement grew, a coup d'etat was carried out. Now the fascist
military united with the Salvadoran Christian Democracy, which has nothing
to do with democracy or Christianity, have established a genocidal regime.
On an average 50 people are murdered daily in El Salvador, I would ask some
of those governments which raised so much Cain with the scum, why do they
not say at least a single word about the tens of crimes perpetrated daily
against the Salvadoran people? [applause] They were concerned about some
little lumpen, [Crowd starts chanting "Down with the Scum"] They were
concerned about some little lumpen, common criminals, bums, parasites,
whose hair was not touched, not a single strand of their hair. They had to
be protected so that their hair was not touched, [laughter in the crowd]

The people had to be urged not to liquidate the lumpen, but not a single
strand of their hair was touched. They wanted to go to the Yankee paradise,
the paradise of prostitution, of drugs, of gambling and so forth. That was
the scum. They were concerned about that kind of people. They conducted
campaigns on their behalf. Now we are witnessing a monstrous genocide,
monstrous. The fascist plans are to murder 200,000 Salvadorans to crush the

They murder men, women, children, innocent persons in order to sow terror.
Where are the democratic foundations? Where are those that do not rise to
defend the right to life, the most essential right of that heroic people?
What is being said? Possible intervention? I do not want to mention
governments even though I have them very vividly in my mind. I do not want
to mention them. There are times when it is better not to stir the ....
[laughter in the crowd] given the fact that a special situation is being
lived in the continent, given the fact that the coup in Bolivia has just
taken place and that it is being condemned very broadly. There are some
who, despite condemning the coup in Bolivia-- where a horrible repression
has been unleashed against workers, students and peasants--on the other
hand support the genocidal government of the Salvadoran Christian
Democratic Junta, [applause]

In the first place, the United States is sending instructors, arms and
offering economic support to the fascist Christian Democratic junta. They
talk about intervention. Let us see what happens if they intervene in El
Salvador. The Salvadoran people cannot be underestimated. The imperialists
cannot afford to underestimate the Salvadoran people or underestimate Latin
American feelings with respect to El Salvador. [applause]

We saw the feeling of the Nicaraguan people with respect to El Salvador. It
was unanimous, total solidarity with El Salvador. I am convinced that if
the imperialists are stupid enough to intervene in El Salvador, they are
going to create a Vietnam in Central America, [applause] But in addition,
the Yankee imperialists who supported Somosa--because they are Somoza's
parents [applause], the imperialists were Somoza's parents... [leaves
thought unfinished] I did not want to talk about these things there [in
Managua], because a U.S. delegation was there and I was only a visitor and
I did not feel I had the right to talk about that topic there.

But here, I consider I have some right to talk about it. [applause] The
imperialists were Somoza's parents. They were the ones who intervened in
Nicaragua over a period of many years. They were the ones who created
Somoza's National Guard which gave power to Somoza, the first in the Somoza
dynasty. At least three monarchs have been in power there. They were
responsible for Sandino's death. They were responsible for 50 years of
tyranny which cost the lives of more than 100,000 Nicaraguans.

They supported him to the last minute. They also fabricated the idea of an
inter-American peace force. The objective was to intervene to take victory
away from the Sandinists. They failed, because even the Organization of
American States [OAS], the famous OAS, revolted against them when they
tried to carry out that plan. On the contrary, they would have tried to do
what they did in the Dominican Republic, well, the victory happened. They
declared themselves willing to cooperate. They tried to appear friendly. We
were happy because we believe it is wiser to practice a policy of
cooperation than one of hostility, a policy of cooperation and not a policy
of aggression.

Of course, the imperialists have learned a bit from the Cuban revolution
and what resulted from their aggressive plans, their blockade and their
hostility toward Cuba. Apparently, they do not want to drink two similar
laxatives. [laughter in the crowd] But we were happy that they do not
blockade Nicaragua, that there are no economic aggressions or of any other
type. We were happy that there are no subversive plans against Nicaragua.
That is what we demand from imperialism. If imperialism wants to cooperate
economically, it is its most essential moral obligation because they
exploited that nation and because it was subjected to 50 years of tyranny.
We are not opposed in any sense. On the contrary, we are happy that they
cooperate economically with Nicaragua.

But they have wasted 1 year debating over one $75 million credit. Finally,
after many discussions--which sometimes humiliate the country receiving the
credit--they approved it. The largest portion of this credit, of course,
will go to private enterprise. It is not at the free disposal of the
Government of National Reconstruction. That is, following the Sandinist
triumph, the imperialists want to build, support and stimulate capitalism
in Nicaragua. The intentions are very clear, but we are happy, very happy
that they are granting a credit, economic cooperation to Nicaragua.

We have a very clear proof of the ties between Somozism and imperialism and
that was the mercenary Giron invasion, because the mercenaries who were
trained in Guatemala were taken to Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, and from
Puerto Cabezas, as if it were the CIAs property. They shipped the
mercenaries to Cuba.

The C-26 bombers took off from Puerto Cabezas to attack our airbases, our
population. All the vessels and the entire mercenary expedition left from
Puerto Cabesas. That was the type of connection that existed between Somoza
and imperialism.

Not only in El Salvador is there genocide underway, but also in Guatemala.
Not a single day passes without the discovery of bodies of workers,
students, professionals, even priests. That is a repressive, genocidal
regime. Here with us today is our friend Toriello, who was foreign minister
during the Arbenz administration, who knew of the Yankee intervention, an
expedition like that of Giron, which overthrew the democratic regime of
Guatemala over 20 years ago to establish a mercenary government that has
cost Guatemala over 60,000 dead. I ask myself if the peoples can continue
to endure such a situation.

The experiences of Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile and Bolivia teach us that
there is no other way than the revolution; [applause] that there is no
formula other than the revolutionary armed struggle, which is the thesis
Cuba has defended.

The oligarchy, the reactionaries and imperialism deceive the people by
using the so-called constitutional mechanisms, the so-called representative
democracy. When the people, even through the democratic or so-called
democratic mechanism, vote overwhelmingly against a reactionary government
and for a progressive or even democratic government, then a coup d'etat
occurs. Consider the bases of Chile and Bolivia, for instance, the people
then begin to learn their lesson and see that there is only one way to
their liberation, such as the cases of Cuba, Grenada and Nicaragua. There
is no other formula.

Now the imperialists threaten intervention. Must we lose sleep over this?
Have we not been constantly threatened during these 21 years?

The people will not stop struggling. The example of Nicaragua most
eloquently shows what the people can do. Practically unarmed, the people
destroyed the Somozist army. The people already know there are
possibilities of fighting not only in the mountains and the rural sectors,
but also in the cities. [applause] They have learned to dig tunnels, break
through walls, join one house with another within the same block and turn
the cities into fortresses. And when one sees the image of what happened in
Nicaragua, one realizes that no army could have countered that action.

The people have already learned the deceit of that old myth of the times of
Mussolini which claimed that the revolution can be carried out with or
without the army, but never against the army. Here in America, however, we
already have seen three revolutions against three armies.

We are going through a truly dangerous international moment which affects
our region and the entire world. The analysts, statesmen, and those who
make calm appraisals are aware of the somber prospects that loom over the
coming years, such as the energy problems affecting the world, mainly the
underdeveloped sector; food problems; problems stemming from the
indiscriminate growth of the population; educational and sanitary problems;
and ecological problems, not only with regard to the destruction of nature,
but also the progressive contamination of the water and the air.

Even avoiding a war, the effort required to face those problems is truly
impressive, and there would be no solution without international
cooperation; and not only a climate of peace, but also of cooperation. The
world is again on the threshold of cold war, of an arms race, at a time
when the world's developing nations have a debt of $300 billion. And it is
estimated this figure will reach $700 billion by 1985. The world is on the
verge of an unprecedented economic and financial catastrophe.

Under these circumstances, which from any angle demands a supreme effort
for peace and coexistence among all the countries of the world, we see the
present U.S. attitude, its hostile policies, its plans to install over 500
medium-range missiles in Europe, its plan to rearm NATO, its plans to build
bases in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and others. These are
responsibilities of the Present U.S. administration.

Now, in recent days, the US, Republican Party national convention was held.
Its candidate has drafted and approved a political platform of the most
dangerous and reactionary nature. Sometimes one gets the feeling that we
are living days similar to the ones preceding Hitler's election as
chancellor of Germany.

I do not want to say that the situation is exactly the same. Even a madman
like Hitler could start a war with the hope of winning it and without
risking the extermination of mankind. I believe that today's madmen must
have other straitjackets such as the changes which have occurred in the
world, the existing world correlation of forces and we do still hope that
madmen will control themselves. But at this time the possibility exists
that this party which approved this platform will win the elections in the
United States. Naturally its views on Latin America cannot be more somber.
It speaks of depriving Nicaragua of any aid, preventing any progressive
change in Central America, helping fascist regimes, going back on the
Panama Canal agreements, annexing Puerto Rico and there was even talk of a
naval blockade of Cuba. It has spoken of aggressive policies in Southeast
Asia and in the Middle East in the most reactionary terms. It speaks of a
rearmament policy and of a policy of military superiority over the
socialist bloc.

I know that some North Americans would be glad if we, the Cubans, do not
attack this platform. They say that because of certain right is trends in
U.S. public opinion, any criticism of this program may serve to help the
authors of the program, since we are seen as enemies, and the fact that
Cuba attacks the program may give it more merit.

I can understand this point of view very well. But what is at stake is not
a presidential election in the United States; we may be gambling with the
fate of humanity, the world and peace and war. [applause]

World opinion must become aware of this. World opinion must react to such a
political program. We do not care about names, or about who is the
president of the United States. We have no intention of interfering in this
matter. But we are interested in a situation caused by the program of a
U.S. party which is threatening the world with war. [applause]

It is not merely a national matter, but a matter of international concern.
It is not merely our country's concern, but a concern for humanity. As a
country, we know the risks we have run since we decided to start a
revolution. We have lived for 21 years running these risks. We have had to
suffer everything--economic blockade, subversion, sabotage,
counterrevolutionary gangs, assassination plans for all of us. The fact
that we are alive merely proves the deficiencies of imperialism. [applause]
They made their plans, and in all justice, that we are alive proves the
efficiency of our state security organizations. [applause]

Mercenary invasions, pirate attacks, plans of direct attacks on us--wasn't
this what caused the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba? Why did we
agree to do it? Simply as a reply to the U.S. direct attack plans on Cuba.

Many of us lived through this experience, perhaps not the boys still at
school, but there was a time when nuclear missiles were installed here and
other missiles were pointed at us. Everyone will recall that during those
days no one was scared or intimidated. No one lost sleep over it. A time
came when we were even ready to wiped off the map before giving in an inch
to the imperialist demands. [applause]

In a letter in the first party congress, we gave an explanation of our
current opinion of the solution to that problem and we say with all
frankness, that after almost 20 years have passed, that that solution
seemed correct. But if I remember today when we race new threats that are
hinted at, those dark clouds appearing on the horizon, we must clearly warn
the Republican clique, Mr. Reagan and his advisers that their threats
against Cuba will be to no avail. [applause]

We must clearly warn imperialists that we are not going to lose sleep over
this. Our people are hardened and experienced and have enough courage to
stand up to anyone.

We do not know what may happen. It often happens that the political or
campaign platform is one thing and what the alleged madmen do when they are
in power is another.

Perhaps all this demagogy will not be fulfilled. But in our opinion it is
dangerous because we believe that they are saying what they feel. We must
analyze these problems and our people must be forewarned about it. We
believe it is still another reason why we should complete all our tasks,
develop our strength and develop our defense and above all develop our own

If the platform is fulfilled, there will be war between the United States
and the Latin American peoples. [applause] Because on this continent we
cannot return to the big stick policy.

Our people, who have already reached a high cultural level and a high
political awareness, must know reality and be aware of these facts. We are
not pessimistic. We have never been. On the contrary, we have been and are
now optimistic. That is why we place so much importance on international
public opinion and on peoples' opinions also.

There is no longer any way, other than by extermination, to again impose
the yokes of fascism, colonialism, neocolonialism and oppression on the
world. We do not believe there is anyone or anything in the world which
would make such a backward historical step possible. We would be naive and
unrealistic if we were not aware of these threats.

I realize there are many people in the world who are aware of these
threats. These people are not just socialists and Marxist-Leninists, but
also democrats, liberals, bourgeoisie, bourgeois intellectuals, people from
religious sectors, statesmen, and even people from the capitalist world and
the industrialized capitalist world. We know there are many persons who are
warning about this. We admit that there are many sensible persons who are
realistic; therefore, our duty is to struggle for peace and at the same
time be prepared against anything. [applause]

It was scheduled that we should celebrate 26 July this year in the new
province of Ciego de Avila. [applause] This was our party's recognition of
the enthusiastic, efficient and brilliant work carried out in Ciego de
Avila Province. [applause] How happy they were with this decision. How hard
have they worked for the past 54 days since the decision was announced.
[applause] Look how much has been accomplished in a few weeks. This square,
these avenues, the works that have been completed, including a movie
theater in almost 45 days, which was supposed to have been finished in
December. [applause] How they have rejuvenated the city, painted it and
done everything to transform Ciego de Avila into the place hosting the
celebrations of 26 July and all the delegations that have come. [applause]
We are commemorating 26 July precisely in the smallest capital in our
country. [applause] This work is impressive in its organization and
coordination. We also know how long it has taken you to come here and the
hours you have been standing in this square. [applause]

We know of the great efforts being made in agriculture, in planting and
harvesting sugarcane fields. In relation to sugar, this province is one of
the most important in the country. [applause] A few years ago, this
province needed tens of thousands of people from Havana, Oriente and other
provinces for the sugarcane harvest. I do not mean this particular province
because it did not exist; I am referring to the region. Your greatest merit
is that with a population of 315,000 persons, probably the smallest
province in Cuba, with enormous sugarcane fields, you have actually been
capable, with your own manpower, to carry out the province's productive
tasks, [applause] and to plant and harvest the sugarcane, to carry out the
constructions and to attend to the services. This is a province with one of
the highest rates of productivity. I am going to mention some instances of
how much progress has been made during the revolution in the sugarcane

In 1952 the average amount harvested by a sugarcane cutter was 159 arrobas.
In 1979 they are cutting 320 arrobas. In 1952 they needed 30,836 sugarcane
cutters during the harvest; in 1979 we needed only 6,949 sugarcane cutters.
This will give you an idea how much we have advanced in the use of
machinery. In other words, now we have 23,887 fewer sugarcane cutters than
in 1952, which was the year of the biggest harvest the capitalists had.
Cutting, loading and transporting required 35,315 workers in 1952. Today
these tasks are carried out by 11,341 workers. Sugar production per worker
in 1952 was 26.5 tons; in 1979 it is 77.4 tons, almost three times as much.
Sugar production per capita in 1979 is 2.74 tons, the highest ever in Cuba.
[applause] This means that the production of Ciego de Avila is equivalent
to 2.74 tons per capita. The total production of sugar is approximately
900,000 tons. This means that, according to current prices, based on the
average prices in Western and socialist markets, we can say that for each
person in Ciego de Avila we have produced approximately 1,000 pesos in
sugar. [applause]

There are other figures which are not so favorable. Although the output per
load of sugarcane is greater, it should still be higher, if we take
irrigation and the quantity of fertilizers we are using into consideration.
There is still great potential for growth in sugarcane productivity per
caballeria. Industrial yield was below par. In other words, the rate has
not been favorable. There is much room for progress for the people of Ciego
de Avila, despite of what you have accomplished.

The sugarcane harvest will be mechanized. Currently the loading is 100
percent mechanized. Of the previous harvest about 56 percent was
mechanized. The amount of machinery will increase in the future and the
number of cutters will decrease. In the future, the rate of yield can

A number of engineers and technicians were sent to the sugar mills, because
in some there were none or only a few. It is necessary to have all
qualified technicians and workers available for sugarcane production.

I know that you are capable of obtaining higher rates of sugar production.
I know that you are capable of substantially increasing production per lot,
just as you have done with bananas. Inasmuch as in this province there are
areas which are producing up to 10,000 quintals of bananas per lot. There
are areas in which the production of potatoes has been considerable. In
order to increase productivity it is necessary to develop this type of
spirit which recently has developed in Ciego de Avila. Provinces with small
populations but with large farming areas, important industrial areas and
important service areas must make special efforts to apply all methods
which can increase productivity. An extra ordinary nationwide effort has
been made this spring in relation to the sugarcane harvest.

As you all know, we had a plague which seriously affected us: blue rust
which almost destroyed the tobacco plantations. Nevertheless, we are
already thinking of the next crop to totally restore tobacco production by
using tested chemical products, which are highly efficient against blue

We had to contend with the hog fever. For the second time we have
successfully controlled the disease. We are also facing the sugarcane rust
disease, which basically affected the 4362 variety, and we are controlling
it. This year, almost half this variety has been destroyed and new
varieties of sugarcane are being used. We hope that next year the remaining
15,000 caballerias of this variety of sugarcane will be destroyed. But
still, in the next harvest, we will be affected in 15,000 caballerias which
instead of producing 60,000 or 70,000 arrobas, according to estimates,
yield some 20,000 arrobas per caballeria.

This means hundreds of thousands of tons of sugar. This is why the
attention given to sugarcane plantations was so important. We made an
appeal to the people and they responded, as always.

During the past months our people have waged a veritable crusade in
production. [applause]

This spring we planted 20,424 caballerias of sugarcane and fertilized
64,047 caballerias of land, using a balanced formula. [applause] We
fertilized 15,203 caballerias using a balanced formula for sugar. The total
nitrogenated fertilization is 97,321 caballerias; these are the highest
figures in the past 5 years. [applause]

We weeded 132,742 caballerias of second growth and 28,333 caballerias of
new sugarcane fields. We planted 13,853 caballerias, also the highest
figures during the past 5 years. We irrigated 57,254 caballerias and
applied weedkillers to 102,544 caballerias, again the highest figures
during this same period. We hand-weeded 128,210 caballerias by 24 July. We
had planned to weed 112,590 caballerias by 31 July [applause]. We have
hand-weeded almost twice the area we did last year by this date. This is
much more than twice the area we did last year by this date. As of 20 July,
52,031 caballerias had been weeded by hand. This is much more than twice
the area hand-weeded last year by this date. There were days when there
were over 400,000 workers in the cane fields. Now, we must rely on the
unpredictable weather conditions the amount of rainfall in July and August.
But from the human point of view we have done everything in our power and
shall continue to do so. Now we have before us the program for the planting
of cold weather sugarcane. It involves over 13,000 caballerias. This is
very important because cold-weather sugarcane should have a greater yield
during the 1982 sugarcane harvest.

We shall continue developing our program for building sugar mills and
expanding sugar production. Now we are already working on the coming
sugarcane harvest. We are much more advanced than last year in the
preparation of supplies and in the repair of the sugar mills. We are
repairing the machinery and the sugarcane combines. We have analyzed all
the details which affected past harvests and we are taking steps to have an
optimum harvest.

Not only are we making a great effort in the sugar industry, but we are
also advancing in construction, transportation and unloading at ports,
where last month we set an unloading record at our ports. A large number of
ships arrived and the transportation and port workers rose to the occasion.
In July also they have surpassed the unloading plan, in spite of problems,
which were caused in certain parts of Havana where the carnivals were being

The transportation and the passenger service workers in Havana have made a
great effort. They have improved transportation considerably and they
intend to attain the 29,000 daily trips which are considered to be a
transportation necessity incur capital.

I also know of the efforts made by doctors and personnel workers to raise
the quality of the service, and the effort made by teachers and professors
to improve education. The revolutionary demand for discipline and
efficiency is bearing its first fruits.

It is our most sacred duty on this 26 July to advance firmly along the path
of the struggle against everything that is wrong: [applause] against
weaknesses and against deficiencies and for perfectionism and discipline.

When we speak of the effort of our workers in these months, we must
remember and greet, on a day like today, those thousands of our countrymen
who work as laborers, technicians, teachers, doctors and fighters in
various parts of the world. [applause]

Already there are Cuban medical and expert personnel in over 30 nations.
Therefore, we should not be ashamed to still have some scum in our midst
left over, which we are, in fact, sweeping up and sending to the most
perfect trash can there is: [applause] not when over 50,000 dedicated and
excellent fellow countryment raise high the name of our fatherland and
offer their exemplary services in scores of sister nations. [applause]

What our country is, and what our revolution has forged, is shown in many
ways. When experienced teachers were needed for Nicaragua, 29,500
volunteered. [applause] During internationalist missions in Angola and
Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of fighters from our armed forces and our
reserves volunteered. [applause]

When there is need for a group of builders anywhere in the world there are
always more than enough Cuban volunteers ready to help. [applause] I had to
opportunity to witness the work of the Cuban doctors, nurses and experts in
Nicaragua. In less than 1 year, they have performed thousands of surgical
operations and have offered over 1 million medical opinions. [applause] All
of this gives an idea of the work being carried out by a handful of
patriots and revolutionary experts.

I was also able to confirm the work of the teachers through information
supplied to me. They have taught tens of thousands of children and adults
in Nicaragua to read and write. [applause] I have not mentioned the fact
that in Nicaragua the literacy campaign is turning out to be a great
success and in 1 year they may be able to eradicate the illiteracy which
affected 60 percent of the population. I met with many literacy teachers in
remote parts of the country--teachers who were working with a spirit that
reminded us of our literacy teachers in 1961. [applause] These teachers
have gone into the deepest parts of the jungle and the mountains.

That contingent returns in December, but this time instead of 1,200 we will
need 2,000 Cubans teachers to Nicaragua. [applause] But we will not be
short of teachers. This afternoon when I entered this place. I observed the
large Teachers College Ciego de Avila building. We already have elementary
schools in all provinces, and over 30,000 students. We already have
students in the various stages: for teachers or professors. In fact, we
already have 152,000 school workers, studying in the various levels.
Therefore, we will not be short of teachers. [applause]

Do you remember those times when 70 percent of the grade school teachers
had no diplomas? Today, 100 percent of those teachers have diplomas,

We asked the Sandinist leadership comrades: Are there still children
without schools? And they said: We estimate about 25 percent. Well, we are
willing to send them even more teachers. [applause]

Do you remember when out of 6,000 doctors, they took away 3,000? [as heard]
Now we have over 15,000 doctors, and good doctors at that. Over 4,000
students are entering the universities and medical schools are being built
in all provinces. [We] have the highest health level among all
underdeveloped nations of the world, or of the so-called Third World. We
also have the highest educational level. [applause]

We have already reaped the fruits of the efforts of these years. It is
satisfying to know that we have one doctor for every 750 inhabitants. We
attend not only to our own medical needs.

There are nations in the world who have only one doctor for every 300,000
inhabitants. For example, in Ethiopia there are 125 doctors for 34 million
inhabitants. However, we have sent approximately 150 doctors to that
country. [applause]

Over 1,500 doctors specializing in stomach ailments are serving in other
countries. Therefore, we are not only capable of taking care of our own
health and having the highest health level among all the nations of the
Third World, but we also help other countries. We must think of the time
when the revolution will triumph in El Salvador, Guatemala and other
countries. [applause] Because sooner or later they will triumph and no one
or nothing can stop it. [applause] And we shall need more internationalist
doctors, teachers and technicians. [applause]

I think I express the feeling of our people when I say that this will be
our awareness and our conduct free from any chauvinism, free from any
national selfishness. [applause] We must work for our own welfare, have
better standards of living and solve many of our problems which still
persist, but we must share the fruit of our effort and revolution. As I
said once, to be an internationalist is to pay our own debt to humanity.
[applause ]

We were and are being helped by other countries and peoples. [applause] The
Soviet workers who sow wheat in the Ukraine or extract the oil in Siberia
and transport it to the ports and from the ports in the USSR to Cuba have
helped us a lot. [applause]

Experts from the Soviet Union and other socialist nations have helped us
considerably. They have supplied us with arms to defend ourselves and to
make us feel at ease here at home, and not fear anyone, neither Reagan nor
King Kong, should he be president of the United States. [applause]

The security of our country, the guarantee of a supply of fuels and other
raw materials, and a certain and just trade have been the expressions of
internationalism toward us. [applause] We lack great natural resources but
we do have great human resources. Our doctors are our human resources. Our
teachers are our human resources. Our experts and builders are our human
resources. We have them of extraordinary quality. [applause]

We have universities with more than 150,000 students. We have thousands of
workers attending high school. We have thousands of workers studying in
ninth grade. A sixth grade education is practically the minimum for All our
workers. We have made truly impressive progress. I believe that we will
still go further because the labor organizations have already decided to
make the ninth grade the minimum for all workers. [applause ]

The first two nations to eradicate illiteracy are Cuba and now Nicaragua.
[applause] This is what a revolution means. This is what a revolution can
do. Consequently, we must continue preparing ourselves and working to
develop ourselves and contribute as much as possible to the development and
advancement of other nations.

When we speak of this date, we speak of the men who fell on this day--the
martyrs of the revolution and those who shed their blood on this date --as
a symbol of the other dates, as a symbol of those who subsequently fell in
the clandestine struggle, as a symbol of those who fell in the Granma
landing, in the mountains of Oriente, in Escambray or fighting he saboteurs
and counterrevolutionaries on any front or fulfilling internationalist
missions. I say that this fatherland, dignity and people of today would
make these men very happy. Nothing would have made them prouder than
knowing what these people, who lived under the darkest and most infamous
oppression 27 years ago, are today [applause] and what this revolution is
today. [applause] For this reason. I said at the beginning that we are
wiser because we have learned a lot in these past 27 years. We have learned
from experience and mistakes. We have always had the honest attitude of
improving ourselves.

This means correcting our steps every time it has been necessary. Whoever
says that he was born wise is a liar. Whoever says that he knows everything
and is a self-sufficient person, knows nothing. There is no better teacher
than the revolution itself. The mistakes made [applause] are overcome as
soon as they are seen. Honestly, our revolutionary process is very strong
now. It is stronger than ever. [applause]

If we compare what we have today with what we had on that 26 July, 27 years
ago, we find in the first place that we have a great party [applause] with
hundreds of thousands of communist militants coming from our people. We
have powerful mass organizations which include most of our people, the
unions, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Women's
Federation, the peasant associations, the student groups and the Pioneers.
[applause] We have the powerful organization of our Union of Communist
Youths as the backup to our party.

fe have the socialist state [applause] and the people's powers. [applause]
We have our glorious Revolutionary Armed Forces [applause] and our fighters
in the Interior Ministry. [applause] We have tens of thousands of veteran
and experienced cadres everywhere; In the party, in the mass organizations
and in the state.

We should not fear the future, regardless of the prospects. We have firm
hopes for world peace, for cooperation among nations regardless of their
political system. We are prepared to assume the tasks of development. We
are prepared to work on long-range plans [applause] and to think about
1985, 1998 and the year 2000. [applause]

We are already drafting the next 5-year plan. Work is already being done on
projects up to the year 2000. We hope to substantially raise our economic
efficiency on the basis of the system of directed and planned economy; that
is, of applying the experience gathered by the socialist revolutions,
applying science to planning and economic management. We will not achieve
victory and success solely through the application of a system the
application of experience, the application of science to planning and
administration. Man must be behind it. The people must be behind it.
[applause] We will combine science, experience and conscience. [applause]
We will not abandon our volunteer work [applause] because although we are
at the stage of construction of socialism, and although it is essential to
apply the principle of distribution according to work, we are and want to
be communists. [applause]

Other generations will live under Communism. However, starting now, we must
forge men and women who are not only socialists but also communists.
[applause] When I ask myself what a communist is. I find the answer when I
find a doctor in Bluefields or a female doctor who is a wife and a mother
and yet is capable of leaving her family to go save lives thousands of
kilometers away from the fatherland. [applause] I find the answer when I
see a male or a female teacher in some remote corner of the world. I find
it when I see a Cuban fighter willing to sacrifice his life in other lands
to defend a just cause thousands of kilometers away from his fatherland.
[applause] And I think that this is the communist man and woman. [applause]
I find it when I see one of these heroes of work. [applause] I find it when
I see those machetemen who for months, working 10, 12 and even 14 hours a
day, are capable of carrying out our harvests. [applause] I find it in
hundreds of thousands, in millions of selfless compatriots, manual or
intellectual workers who devote their lives to toil and duty. Thanks to
them there is a fatherland and a revolution. [applause]

I think that our party has hundreds of thousands of militants but I also
think we have millions of communists among our people. [applause] I think
that we have more than enough reasons to feel optimistic. We have more than
enough reasons to celebrate this 26 July proudly, [applause] and to assert
that the blood spilled 27 years ago and the blood spilled during these 27
years has not been spilled in vain. [applause]

Fatherland or death! We Will overcome! [applause]