Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Decoration of Lopez Portillo

FL011030 Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 0000 GMT 1 Aug 80

[Statement read by Cuban President Fidel Castro awarding Jose Marti
national order to Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo at ceremony held in
Palace of Revolution, Havana--live]

[Text] Your excellency president of Mexico, Jose Lopez Portillo:

The Council of State, interpreting the will of our people, has decided to
award you the Jose Marti Order. No decoration could have been more
appropriate to honor a distinguished son of Mexico except this one which
carries the name of our national hero, Jose Marti, who--along with Hidalgo,
Morelos, Juarez, Bolivar, San Martin, O'Higgins and Sucre--was one of the
most illustrious men of our America.

Mexico played a significant role in the human and political development of
Marti. He not only found refuge there for his hard expatriation and met
illustrious friends, he also found for the first time two social sectors
which from then on were to become an essential element of his political
thinking--the Indian and the worker. Thus, in Mexico Marti's social ideas
matured and finally turned into what he called the confusing and brutal
north that despises us. [sentence as heard]

For several generations of Cubans, Mexico was a refuge and encouragement in
the struggle for democratic rights and independence of the homeland. When
in the years of Marti's centennial a group of young Cubans picked up his
flags and followed his footsteps, it was in Mexico that the group planned
what was to be the decisive battle and from there left to wage it.

In the difficult days when the force of a powerful enemy was launched
against our small island in revolution, a Mexican who had left his mark in
contemporary history with his presidency, Gen Lazaro Cardenas, who also
understood that group of young men who had initiated the revolution, again
rose with his intense personality as leader of our America to defend a
threatened Cuba.

Later, during the shameful times when cowardly and treacherous cliques that
could never represent the true feeling of the Latin American peoples backed
down and let themselves be used in the infamous plan initiated in
Washington to isolate the emerging Cuban revolution and try to cut off Cuba
from Latin America, Mexico alone maintained the worthy and courageous
position of not breaking its relations with Cuba. It set an example of
international conduct which we Cubans will never forget.

For this reason, Mr President and esteemed friend, when the Council of
State, in awarding you the Jose Marti order, emphasizes the friendship and
solidarity which you have shown toward our country, it recognizes that you
are continuing in an eminent manner what in your Mexican nation has been an
uninterrupted norm of solidarity conduct.

You have accumulated many additional merits in your fruitful political
life. Salient among these are the university professor and writer who
sought in pre-Columbian roots a symbol for the current historic work of his
country. But what makes you closer to us and is the reason for our
gratitude is, above all, that as president of Mexico, Cuba has not lacked
your friendship and firm support.

When we visited you in your country, you emphasized that it was a meeting
between friends, that we had our roots in the same common trunk. You
recalled that permanent friendship that came from Juarez to Cardenas and
you proclaimed that the friendship and brotherhood between Mexico and Cuba
were not being tested because they are constantly reiterated in our history
and will never be denied.

You, friend and president, have demonstrated this. When a short while ago
all the instruments of slander and political attacks again were raised
against Cuba and when ominous military deployments again threatened our
country for the useless intention of intimidating us, you announced--in a
gesture whose timeliness was noted by world public opinion--your
forthcoming visit to Cuba. You thereby set an unalterable position which
also represents a clear demonstration of solidarity.

It is therefore natural that during your administration economic,
intraindustrial and trade relations have developed with increasingly more
wide-ranging possibilities, that cooperation programs have unfolded that
might prove useful examples to other Latin American and developing
countries, inasmuch as joint and coordinated efforts among them are the
surest way to their definitive progress.

But it is not only your friendship and solidarity toward Cuba which
motivates the decoration that you have been awarded. Your conduct as
president is also a factor. It links the fate of Mexico to the developing
countries and the highest expectations of the human race.

Indeed, the discovery of huge oil resources in Mexico could have led you
along a mistaken course which would have contributed to tying your country
to yokes, which being subtle would be no less damaging. You, however, have
known how to utilize that wealth to consolidate Mexico's independence. You
made it forcefully clear that you did not believe that Mexico's oil
resources should be used to solve the energy problems of powerful
neighbors. Rather, it would become an instrument for the economic and
social transformation of the country.

Pressures have been evident. More than once these pressures have acquired
the semblance of threats. You and the members of your administration have
had to overcome them to maintain that policy of sensible and firm

Furthermore, Mexico's having resolved the problem of its energy sources has
not made you forget the dramatic problem that energy poses today for the
human race, especially the developing countries. You have worked
intensively and with laudable willingness in the search for just solutions
to the energy problems of the so-called Third World.

Lastly, esteemed President Lopez Portillo, on conferring the Jose Marti
order, we could not forget Mexico's stand--and your own personal one--in
the Latin American arena. The military tyrannies that expect to perpetuate
the past and serve our common enemy have been systematically repudiated by
your administration and your country.

Mexico has contributed with its continuing initiative and presence to the
organs best expressing the economic aspirations of Latin America and the
Caribbean such as the SELA [Latin American Economic System]. Jamaica and
others of our countries, economically strangled so as to destabilize them
and cut off their development and independence efforts, received the
encouragement and support of Mexico. And the new Nicaragua, which we all
admire for its heroism and the sagacity of its political course, has also
received with your visit the reaffirmation of Mexican solidarity.

All of this explains, esteemed President Lopez Portillo, why on receiving
you today as a brother, the people of Cuba, through the enthusiasm of the
residents of Havana, have communicated to you a warm sympathy which is a
reflection of our feelings.

On awarding you the Jose Marti order, I pray you accept it as the testimony
of the highest appreciation, gratitude and respect of our people.