Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

FL022317 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2138 GMT 2 Aug 80

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at friendship rally at Havana
City's Plaza of the Revolution in honor of visiting Mexican President Jose
Lopez Portillo--live]

[Text] [shouts of "Fidel, for sure, hit the Yankees hard"] Let's leave the
Yankees alone today. We are receiving the president of Mexico. We have to
dedicate this day to Mexico, to friendship. [shouts of "Long live Fidel,"
"Long live Mexico," "Cuba, Mexico, united shall win"] Illustrious friend,
Lic Jose Lopez Portillo, president of Mexico [applause] guests, fellow

In the first place, I want to thank you all for devoting this beautiful
Saturday afternoon to the solidarity and friendship between Mexico and
Cuba. [applause] President Jose Lopez Portillo and the Mexican delegation
mere the object of what we would call an enthusiastic, joyful, glorious
welcome in our capital. [appluase] Why? As someone has said, because they
deserve it. [applause] The people of Mexico deserve it and their president
deserves it. [applause] As regards Mexico, there is a tradition of history
and friendship unparalleled in Latin America. [applause]

Our struggles have been closely linked to the struggles and the history of
Mexico. During the independence wars, Cuban patriots had a friend in the
Mexican people and a home in the neighbor country. Our national hero, Jose
Marti, lived there for a time. [applause] His revolutionary and American
vision was enriched there. Marti dearly loved Mexico, a love that he took
with him to the grave.

After the establishment of the mediatized republic, Cuban revolutionary
generations also had close ties with Mexico. We can recall, among others,
Mella, who, when he could not remain in our fatherland, went to Mexico.
[applause] Let us recall our own generation which also found hospitality
and asylun there. Mexican policy and the sympathies of Latin American
nations toward Mexico became such a tradition that from early times to the
present there has hardly been any Latin American revolutionary who has not
felt it practically his right to receive Mexican hospitality, [applause]
because they see it as the common heritage of the progressive and
revolutionary movement. They see it practically as a right.

Where could we have been able to organize if Mexico had not existed? We
organized there. We set out from there.

But our strong feelings of friendship and affection for Mexico are not only
based on past history but also on present history. [applause] Following the
triumph of the revolution, in those difficult years, in those first days of
happiness, who could forget that one of our first illustrious visitors was
Gen Lazaro Cardenas? [applause] We also recall that right during the
mercenary invasion of Giron in 1961, Lazaro Cardenas volunteered to come
and fight alongside our people. [applause]

In the difficult early days when the whole imperialist conspiracy against
Cuba came into being, the attempt to isolate Cuba--and not only to isolate
it but to destroy the revolution--Mexico was the only state that did not
break relations with Cuba [applause] and it strongly opposed all aggressive
accords against Cuba. And for many years, the only country in this
hemisphere--or at least the only country in Latin America and the
Caribbean, since we have to include Canada among the countries that did not
break relations with us--I repeat, the only country in our area that we
Cubans could visit was Mexico [applause] in the most difficult days of
isolation and blockade. Things change and they will keep changing, but we
can never forget Mexico's attitude. [applause]

But we have also had more recent examples such as occurred at the time of
the events at the Peruvian Embassy when the imperialists carried out a
ferocious campaign of lies against our country. During those same days,
when along with publicity campaigns they rapidly organized threatening
military maneuvers against Cuba, including landings on the Guantanamo Naval
Base; in those very days, three months before the actual visit, s an
unquestionable gesture of friendship and solidarity with our fatherland,
President Lopez Portillo announced his visit to our country. [applause] And
from that moment on, we were convinced that any welcome for a president of
Mexico would be great and enthusiastic, but this time it would be a
glorious one.

Mexico has a long historical experience as regards aggressions, injustices.
One of the most advanced cultures of pre-Columbian America lived in Mexico.
The Europeans conquered the country by blood and fire and subjected the
people to a colonial and almost enslaving regime for centuries until one
day the Mexicans, led by Hidalgo and Morelos, once again won their
country's full independence. Not too long afterwards, the powerful neighbor
to the north, in a phase of expansionism against the nations of America,
launched an invasion on the Mexican territory, seizing most of it,
including what are now the U.S. states with the largest natural resources.
It was then that the Mexican people wrote glorious pages of heroism
symbolized in history by the immortal action of the child heroes of
Chapultepec Castle. [applause]

But shortly after this aggression in the mid-19th century, in the latter
half of the century, expansionist Europe tried to seize Mexico and
establish there nothing less than an empire, known as the empire of
Maximilian. But in the face of this new aggression, the Mexican people rose
as a single man behind the eminent leader, Juarez, so admired by Marti.

Even early in this century, Mexico experienced U.S. intervention arid
aggressions. But the Mexican revolution came about and put an end to the 10
years of the Porfirio Diaz' tryanny, And it forged the first great social
revolution in our hemisphere [applause] and the first great agrarian
reform. [applause] A stage of heroic arid bloddy struggle began to save and
consolidate the revolution. I remember when I was a student people said,
with reason, that the constitution that emerged from the Mexican revolution
was one of the most advanced and progressive in the world. [applause] The
Mexican revolution was a source of deep inspiration for the Latin American
revolutionary movement.

But Mexico was also the first country among the current petroleum-producing
countries--the first petroleum country which, I repeat, under difficult
conditions, when the present correlation of forces did not exist in the
world, when Mexico was still, shall we say, a weak country--it was the
first to nationalize petroleum in the face of the big imperialist powers.
[applause] And me remember how irritated the imperialist powers. [applause]
and we remember how irritated the imperialists were and how hard Mexico's
struggle was during that brave and determined action which made Lazaro
Cardenas' name immortal. [applause]

After the revolution, Mexico also became the country with the greatest
political stability in the hemisphere. It has had 50 years of political
stability, [applause] something unusual in our America. In addition, it
practices a foreign policy based on principles. [applause]

But these are not the only reasons why Mexico's friendship honors us.
Mexico has been one of the most determined standard-bearers in the struggle
for a new international economic order. [applause] Mexico has been and is a
determined standard-bearer in the struggle for the interests of the
so-called Third World. [applause] Mexico and its leaders are fully aware of
the serious difficulties today's world is experiencing with energy, food,
financial, economic problems; of the serious problems of the underdeveloped
world and the great danger that certain policies pose for peace.

In the world arena, Mexico is a determined defender of peace and
cooperation among nations, [applause] the only possible way to find
solutions to our difficult problems.

In the Latin American and Caribbean arena, Mexico is a sincere friend of
all our peoples, [applause] a zealous defender of their interests. And it
occupies a trench thousands of kilometers long on the very border with the
United States. [applause] Hence, not only with its foreign policy but also
geographically, Mexico occupies a frontline trench in the defense of the
sovereignty and interests of our peoples. [applause]

And let us also recall Mexico's noble stance at the time of the fascist
coup in Chile, as an example of a policy of principles. [applause]

That is why it is just that, in the same plaza and on this same dais where
one day we received with immeasurable love that exemplary and extraordinary
friend Salvador Allende [applause] we today receive and honor the Madean
president. [applause] Mexico arduously struggles for a necessary and just
principle, which is to guarantee under satisfactory and generous conditions
the supply of oil to the Central American and Caribbean countries.
[applause] That is the way, with actions, that President Lopez Portillo is
carrying out his postulates and his international policy. Precisely
tomorrow, he will sign in Costa Rica an agreement with the Venezuelan
Government aimed at guaranteeing--since they are the two most important
oil-producing countries in the area--these supplies. [applause]

Mexico supported the heroic struggle of the Nicaraguan people [applause]
and following the victory, it has become one of their most generous
friends. [applause] Despite the fact that Mexico is a country with
infinitely fewer financial and economic resources than the United States,
the aid it has offered the Nicaraguan people, which includes numerous
fields, is much more, considerably greater than the aid offered by the
United States to Nicaragua. [applause] Mexico supports the just struggle of
the Belizean people for independence [applause] and does not have, like
others, ridiculous territorial ambitions.

No one will ever be able to assert that Mexico meddles in the internal
affairs of Central American nations, and much less than it supports
genocidal governments such as the one in El Salvador. [applause]
Fortunately for its people and for the joy of the rest of the peoples of
Latin America, Mexico has enormous natural resources. In recent years, with
its own efforts, with its own technology and with its own techniques,
Mexico has conducted geological explorations of its territory and
discovered great oilfields whose proved reserves are higher than 50 billion
barrels and could possibly quadruple. [applause] I repeat, Mexico has
accomplished this feat with its own techniques and technology. It did not
need the multinational corporations to find and exploit its oil-and
gasfields, both on land at sea.

Such an enormous wealth of hydrocarbons had to awaken cravings and
ambitions on the part of others. It constituted a very special
responsibility for the Mexican leaders to confront the situation created by
this new wealth and the dangers it could bring upon Mexico. We can say that
they have done it and continue to do it in an exemplary manner for other
oil-producing countries, with a policy based on the one hand on the defense
of its legitimate interests and, on the other, international cooperation,
especially with underdeveloped countries. [applause]

President Lopez Portillo was responsible for that historic task that he has
translated into the policy of exploiting Mexico's oil resources in
accordance with Mexico's interests and the interests of other peoples, but
never in accordance with the energy needs of powerful industrialized
countries, headed of course by the United States. [applause]

Besides oil, Mexico has other valuable natural resources. In addition,
Mexico has hydraulic energy which has been affected by suspicious droughts
coinciding with certain U.S. experiments related to hurricanes, and which
in Mexico, as in Cuba, constitute irreplaceable sources of water for the
rivers and for the phreatic mantle. We know of some of these experiences
and know that the imperialists on certain occasions have tried to divert
hurricanes. I suspect that under certain circumstances they have diverted
them toward areas of interest to them including against us if they so

We know, and it has been published, that the Pentagon has conducted
experiments aimed at trying to cause clouds to drop the rains over the sea
so that they may never reach Cuba. As we all know, they conducted
biological experiments aimed at affecting our crops and our cattle
industry. We know all that. Due to this, none of these mysterious
experiments would be a rare thing for us. I said that Mexico, in addition
to its enormous hydraulic resources, also possesses important thermal,
geothermal resources. It already has in production some installations with
capacities of several hundreds of thousands of kilowatts which use
geothermal energy.

Apparently Mexico also has important uranium deposits, copper and other
minerals. President Lopez Portillo explained to me that Mexico can produce
great quantities of the three fundamental elements needed in agriculture,
that is for fertilizing in agriculture. It has nitrogen from its abundant
gasfields and, through petrochemistry using its own technology, it is
converting a large part of that into nitrogen. Mexico has abundant
quantities of phosphorus as well as potassium. These are three elements
very necessary to solve the problems of food supplies in today's world.
Mexico has a great marine wealth which could serve to feed its people.

The Latin American peoples are interested in the accelerated development of
the Mexican economy. The Latin American peoples are interested that such a
friend of all of us, that a friend who has never failed us may become a
nation with a powerful economy and industry and that it may become a
prosperous nation. [applause]

The economic and cooperation relations between Cuba and Mexico are
developing. It is the aim of the two countries to develop to the maximum
those economic relations and those relations of cooperation. We cannot
forget that in Mexico's economy with a powerful oil industry and other
industrial branches, the nation's property, that is the nationalized
industries, are the mainstay of the country's economy.

Cooperation between our two countries is instrumental. Of course, when
there is trust and that trust is based on facts, and it has been forged
over a period of time, with which other country in our area could we be
happy to develop our economic relations and the relations of cooperation as
we can with Mexico? [applause] When in recent months there was a need in
Mexico for additional quantities of sugar, which amounted to nearly half a
million tons, the first country Mexico asked for the sugar was precisely
Cuba. [applause] We said that, despite the difficulties we were having with
the sugarcane rust [disease], despite the limitation of our reserves, we
said that over any other interested party, we were ready to supply Mexico's
sugar needs. [applause]

Mexico is an important buyer of other commodities produced by Cuba and, at
the same time, supplies us with goods we need. But also on certain
occasions, when we have had difficulties with some raw materials, when we
have encountered difficulties with the lubricants in the midst of the
harvest due to delays in deliveries, there has not been a single instance
when we have asked Mexico that the problems have not been solved
immediately and speedily. [applause]

It is truly pleasant and encouraging to have neighbors such as this, who
more than neighbors are brothers. [applause] I know that President Lopez
Portillo does not like to be praised, but it is not a matter of praise, it
is merely justice. [applause] Our visitor has gained in just a matter of
hours the sympathy and love of our citizens. [applause]

A modest and plain man he also has a great intelligence and an
extraordinary culture. In addition, he has something very important, a
great human sensibility, even artistic. [applause] I am sure that President
Lopez Portillo will be recorded in history as one of the great Mexican
statesmen. [applause]

When we observed on the day of his arrival that he did not miss greeting a
single person, no matter how remotely located he was--even though there
were no isolated cases because it was a human mass--when we mentioned to
him how pleasantly impressed we were with his concern with respect to our
citizens, he said: One man is a crowd. [applause] We will never forget that
beautiful statement and we will never forget what he said in the beautiful
and eloquent speech at the time of receiving the medal: We will not
countenance anything to be done against Cuba. [prolonged applause and
chanting] I repeat exactly what he said: We will not countenance anything
against Cuba. We would feel it as if it were done to ourselves.

Today we respond to the fraternal Mexican people and their illustrious
leader. We will not countenance anything against Mexico. [prolonged
applause and chanting] We would feel it as if it were done to ourselves. We
will know how to be loyal to the friendship forged by centuries of history
and beautiful principles. [prolonged applause] Long live Mexico! Long live
the friendship between the peoples of Cuba and Mexico! Long live President
Jose Lopez Portillo! Fatherland or death! [crowd yells back "We shall win,"
prolonged applause]