Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA171432 Havana International Service in Spanish 0300 GMT 17 Apr 81

[Speech by Fidel Castro Ruz, president of the Cuban Councils of State and
Ministers, at a ceremony on 16 April at La Cabana firing range, Havana, to
mark the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of
the Cuban revolution---recorded]

[Text] Invited guests, fighters of our glorious revolutionary armed forces,
fighters of the territorial troop militias;

Today we commemorate a very important date, 16 April 1961. It was an
afternoon like this one, sunny and clear. In a solemn, revolutionary,
people's ceremony, we buried the fighters who fell during the cowardly,
criminal and traitorous surprise air attack launched against the airports
of Ciudad Libertad, San Antonio de Los Banos and Santiago, Cuba. An
enormous crowd of armed militiamen and people gathered there that
afternoon. It was the prelude of the mercenary attack at the Bay of Pigs.

All of this had been organized over many months. Everything was ready: the
mercenary troops, the air attacks, the publicity, the propaganda, the
coverage, all organized by the Government of the United States, the CIA and
the Pentagon.

However, this was not publicly admitted. Recently, on recalling that date,
on recalling the events, on recalling what was published in the United
States and internationally, we were still struck numb by the lies, the
hypocrisy, the barefacedness that surrounded that attack. For this reason,
we have brought a book which contains words and incidents of the time. When
the attack took place in the dawn of the 15th, a surprise attack on three
airports, what did the U.S. press say? What did their agencies say? It is
worthwhile to recall it. ( Miami, 15 Apr, UPI--Cuban pilots who escaped
from the Fidel Castro air force landed in Florida today in World War II
bombers after bombing Cuban military installations to avenge the betrayal
of a coward among them. One of the B-26 bombers of the Cuban Air Force
landed at Miami International Airport riddled with holes from anti-aircraft
and machinegun fire and with only one engine functioning.

Another bomber landed at the Key West Naval Air Station. A third bomber
landed in another foreign country to which the three bombers had originally
planned to go after the attack.

According to reliable local Cuban sources, there are unconfirmed reports
that another airplane landed in the sea close to Tortuga Island. In any
case, the U.S. Navy is investigating the case. The pilots who asked not to
be identified, descended from the plane wearing flight uniforms and
immediately requested asylum in the United States. Edward Allen, director
of the Miami immigration services, said that the requests are under

Miami, UPI--The pilot of the bomber who landed in Miami explained that he
was one of 12 B-26 pilots who remained in the Cuban Air Force after the
desertion of Diaz Lanz and the purges that followed.

Diaz Lanz was the chief of Castro's Air Force who deserted in early 1959,
shortly after Castro took over the government.

The pilot said that today he had been assigned to carry out a routine
patrol in the area around his base and that the other two pilots, stationed
in Camp Libertad in the outlying area, had taken off on other pretexts. One
of them was scheduled to fly to Santiago, Cuba, and the other said that he
wanted to check his altimeter. The first pilot was in the air by 0605.

My comrades, he added, took off earlier to attack the airports that we had
decided to punish. Later, because I was running out of fuel, I had to go to
Miami because I was not able to reach the destination we had agreed upon.
It is possible that the others went to strafe another camp before leaving,
perhaps Playa Baracoa, where Fidel has his helicopter. The pilot did not
disclose what destination had been agreed upon.

Miami Beach, AP--Three Cuban bomber pilots, fearing betrayal of their plans
to escape from Fidel Castro's government, fled to the United States today
after strafing and bombing airports in Santiago and Havana.

One of the twin-engine planes of World War II vintage landed at Miami
International Airport with a lieutenant at the controls. He outlined the
manner in which he and three of the other 12 B-26 bomber pilots remaining
in the Cuban Air force, had planned for months to escape from Cuba. The
other plane, with two men on board, landed at the Key West Naval Air

The names of the pilots were withheld. Immigration authorities took the
Cubans into custody and confiscated the airplanes.

Edward Allen, district director of the U.S. Immigration Service, released
the following statement by the Cuban Air Force pilot:

I am 1 of the 12 B-26 bomber pilots who remained in Castro's Air Force
after the desertion of Diaz Lanz, and so forth. Three of my companions and
I had planned for months to escape from Castro's Cuba and so forth.

The entire prefabricated story is like this. At the same time, the news was
circulated around the world. These reports were published everywhere. All
over the world it was reported that the bombing on the 15th was the result
of an uprising within the Cuban Air Force.

Mexico City, 15 Apr, AP--The bombing of Cuban bases by renegade Cuban
planes was received with satisfaction here by most of the newspapers. They
and the groups of Cuban exiles said that the bombings were part of the
beginning of a movement of liberation against communism. The government
remained silent, while groups of leftist and communist students supported
the statements made by Cuban Ambassador Jose Antonio Portuondo, who said
that the bombings were cowardly and desperate attacks by imperialists.

There was great activity by Cuban exiles. A Cuban source said that the new
Cuban Government in exile would go to Cuba shortly after the first wave of
invasion against Fidel Castro's Cuban regime to establish a provisional
government which many anti-Castro Latin American governments would speedily

According to AP and UPI, the declaration issued by Dr. Miro Cardona said
that a heroic blow for Cuban freedom was struck this morning by some Cuban
Air Force officers. Before flying their planes to freedom these true
revolutionaries tried to destroy the greatest possible number of Castro
military planes. The Revolutionary Council is proud to announce that its
plans were successful and the council has made contact with the brave
pilots and has encouraged them.

Their actions are one more example of the desperation to which patriots of
all social levels can be driven under Castro's implacable tyranny. While
Castro and his followers try to convince the world that Cuba has been
threatened with invasion from abroad, this blow, like others before it in
the name of freedom, was dealt by Cubans living in Cuba who decided to
fight against tyranny and oppression or die trying.

We will not give their names for security reasons. This is what the press
said. But what did the U.S. representatives at the United Nations have to
say? According to AP and UPI, U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson rejected
Roa's statements and repeated President John Kennedy's statement that under
no circumstances, I repeat, under no circumstances, would there be an
intervention by U.S. Armed Forces in Cuba.

Stevenson showed the commission UPI photographs showing two planes which
landed today in Florida after bombing three Cuban cities. They have Castro
Air Force markings on their tails, Stevenson said, pointing to one of the
pictures. They have the Cuban star and letters. They are clearly visible. I
will gladly show this photograph. Stevenson said that the two planes were
piloted by Cuban Air Force officers and manned by crews who had deserted
from the Castro regime.

U.S. personnel did not participated in today's incident, and they were not
U.S. planes, he stressed. They were Castro's own planes. They took off from
his own air bases.

We said then: Here we have, as few people have ever had, the opportunity to
see from inside out, from top to bottom, from side to side, what
imperialism really is. Here we have the opportunity to see how
imperialism's financial, publicity, political, mercenary, and security
structures operate. We see officials who swindle the world so coldly, in
such a shameless way. Imperialism plans and directs crime, arms, trains and
pays criminals. Criminals who murder seven workers' children land freely in
the United States, though the entire world knew of their deeds, and state
that they are Cuban pilots. They prepare the fictitious and novelistic tale
and spread it throughout the world. They publish it in all newspapers, and
air it on reactionary radio and television stations to explain the

We also said then that the U.S. imperialist government would have no
alternative but to confess that they were their planes, their bombs, their
bullets, and that the mercenaries had been trained, organized and paid by
them. This was the information published regarding the incidents. It was a
secret that the U.S. agencies already knew. This was a secret known to many
U.S. newspapers, including such prestigious and liberal newspapers as the
New York TIMES, which was then aware of the whole plan and hid it from U.S.
public opinion and from the world at the request of the U.S. Government.
Many lies, many myths were destroyed then. That incident, however, taught
us much. It was not like today, after 20 years of revolution, that our
people are better prepared, have a greater political culture, a greater
understanding of the world's social and political problems.

Those bloody, shameless deeds taught us much. It was then that the
socialist nature of the revolution was proclaimed. [applause]

There could not have been a better opportunity, because there was another
lie, that our people were being deceived, that our people had been betrayed
by its leaders. Until then we could say that the Moncada program had
already been fulfilled, all the laws [applause] all the laws passed during
the first years of the revolution were laws and measures that were, in
essence, proclaimed in the Moncada program. The Moncada program already had
the seeds; it created the conditions for a socialist revolution. [applause]

No other revolution, except a socialist one, could exist in our country
then [applause], or none of us would have been truly revolutionary. Our
enemies said that we had struggled against the Batista tyranny for another
type of revolution. In the very moment, however, when we were facing our
strongest enemy, Yankee imperialism, when we were determinedly fighting
against its plans and its forces on the eve of the fighting, when our
people were determined again to fight to shed their blood and to die. The
socialist nature of our revolution was proclaimed. No one knew how much
that struggle would cost, because-- if the mercenaries had not been
defeated right away, in less than 72 hours, preventing them from
establishing a beachhead, a solid piece of land under their control, and a
so-called provisional government that the press dispatches said would be
recognized immediately by many governments--that struggle could have cost
our country hundreds of lives. However, our people did not waver. They
prepared themselves, as was proved. They fought with all their might. They
fought and shed their blood in those epic days for the Cuban socialist
revolution. [applause]

All those who have fallen since the past century for the freedom of our
fatherland have fought one way or the other for the socialist revolution,
for the revolution that suited our people in those historic days, for the
only true revolution. Those who fought for our independence fought for a
just revolution, which in those days was an independent revolution that
could not yet be socialist. Those who fought throughout the so-called
republic, those who fought in the Moncada, in the Granma and in the
mountains, those who fought in clandestinity had already fought for the
only just revolution, the socialist revolution. But those who fought in
Giron fought directly for the socialist revolution.

On that occasion we said: What the imperialists cannot forgive us for is
the dignity, the integrity, the courage, the ideological firmness, the
spirit of sacrifice and the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people--also,
the fact that we made a socialist revolution under the very nose of the
United States [applause], the fact that we are defending that socialist
revolution with our rifles, and the fact that we are defending this
socialist revolution with the same courage that our antiaircraft artillery
yesterday riddled the attacking planes with bullets. But we are not
defending this revolution with mercenaries. We are defending it with men
and women from among our people. Who has the weapons? We asked at the time.
Does the mercenary have the weapons, perhaps? Does the millionaire have the
weapons, perhaps? [shout of "no!"] Do the farm managers have the weapons,
perhaps? [shout of "no!"] Who has the weapons? [shout of "the people!"]
Whose hands are lifting those weapons? [indistinct shout] Are they the
hands of a young gentleman? [shout of "no!"] Are they the hands of
exploiters? [shout of no!"] Whose hands are lifting those weapons?
[indistinct shouts, applause]

Are they not the hands of the workers? Are they not the hands of the
peasants? Are they not hands hardened by work? Are they not creative hands?
Are they not the humble hands of the people? [indistinct shout] And who are
the majority of the people? The millionaires or the workers? The
exploiters? The privileged or the humble? Do the humble have them?
[indistinct shout] Are the privileged a minority? Are the humble a
majority? [shout of (?"yes!")] Is a revolution in which the humble have the
weapons democratic? [shout of "yes!"]

Then we added: Companeros, workers and peasants, this is the socialist and
democratic revolution of the humble, with the humble and for the humble we
are willing to give our lives. [applause]

Companeros, workers and peasants of the fatherland, yesterday's attack was
the prelude to the mercenaries' attack. Yesterday's attack, which cost
seven heroic lives, sought to destroy our planes on the ground, but it
failed, for they only destroyed two planes, while most of the enemy planes
were either damaged or shot down.

Here, in front of the tomb of our fallen comrades, here alongside the
remains of the heroic youths, the sons of workers, or the sons of the poor,
let us reaffirm our decision that, just as they bared their chests to
bullets, just as they gave their lives, no matter when the mercenaries
come, all of us, proud of our revolution, proud to defend this revolution
of the poor, by the poor, and for the poor, will not hesitate to defend it
from anyone, with up to our last drop of blood. [applause]

Here, on that day, the socialist nature of our revolution was proclaimed.
Exactly 20 years have gone by and in response to the same questions we have
the same answers. Facing the same threats are the same people with the
determination to struggle and triumph.

It has been 20 years of socialist revolution. Socialism has brought many
things to our fatherland, that not even our most bitter enemies would dare
to deny.

Socialism worked the miracle of ending illiteracy. In that very same year,
100,000 brigadists taught reading and writing all over the country.
Socialism took us into the struggle for a sixth-grade education, which
today is the minimum level of education of any of our workers. Socialism
involved us in the struggle to which we are committed today, the struggle
for ninth-grade education. Socialism established schools, technological
institutes and universities throughout our country. Socialism put us in
first place in Latin America in the area of education. No other Latin
American country can make the claims that Cuba can make today. [applause]
Not even the United States can say that it has no illiterates. There are
illiterates in the United States and there are many semi-illiterates in the
United States, people who have a third- and fourth-grade education.

Therefore, we can say that socialism, in the field of education, put us in
first place in this hemisphere. [applause] Socialism worked the miracle of
wiping out many diseases and reducing the number of children who died in
the first year of life to less than 20 in every 1,000, something that no
other country in Latin America can claim. In this, we are at the same level
as the world's developed countries.

Socialism built hospitals, polyclinics, and health institutions in our
country that, through preventive measures and effective therapeutic
measures, have put our country in first place among the so-called
underdeveloped countries, not just of Latin America, but of the world.
Socialism worked the miracle of putting our people, in the area of culture
in general, in first place in Latin America. Socialism took us into mass
sports, it won us first places, it won us championship titles among all the
peoples of Latin America.

Socialism worked the miracle of eradicating unemployment in our country, of
wiping out idle time and placing us in the position of being the country
with the highest employment levels of all Latin America. [applause]

Socialism worked the miracle of ending the practice of begging in our
fatherland. This was an evil of many centuries. It worked the miracle of
eradicating drugs, prostitution and gambling. What other nation can affirm
this in our entire hemisphere? Can this, perhaps, be claimed by the United
States, a country where crime increases year after year, as do drugs,
gambling and prostitution? No, it could not claim this. This was brought to
our country by socialism.

Socialism worked the miracle of initiating, under difficult circumstances
and in the midst of a criminal and brutal total economic blockade by the
United States, the sustained economic and social development of our
fatherland for over 20 years. Socialism has changed and is continually
changing the face of our country. In 20 years, along the width and breadth
of the island, cities have changed. Today it is difficult to recognize
Holguin, or Granma or Camaguey or Villa Clar, or Cienfuegos or Pinar del
Rio or other cities.

Socialism has planted factories in our country. It has crisscrossed the
country in all directions with communications, with highways, with roads.

The socialist plan has generated great hydraulic resources for our
agriculture. It is transforming our rural areas and it is creating a new
country with the stubborn and dedicated effort of our people.

Socialism has brought a truly new conscience to our people. Socialism has
trained hundreds of thousands of technicians at different levels: tens of
thousands at the university level, hundreds of thousands at the level of
middle-level technicians and skilled workers. It is enough to say, for
example, that over 15,000 doctors are serving in our hospitals and
polyclinics and that in 5 years, this figure will surpass 20,000 by an
ample margin and will be close to 25,000. Suffice it to say that over
200,000 professors and teachers, the great majority of whom graduated and
received their degrees under socialism, are teaching in our universities,
our polyteclinical centers, vocational schools, technological institutes
and elementary schools, including the child centers.

Socialism has created a different man in our fatherland. It has created a
new man. Socialism has opened up our relations with the world and today,
along with the USSR and other countries of the socialist community, we
occupy a place in the vanguard among the progressive peoples of the world
[applause], among the peoples who are struggling to establish more just,
more humane societies. Is or is not our socialist society a thousand times
more just, a thousand times more humane than capitalist society? Could
anyone deny it? Socialism gave that to us. Along with justice and
conscience, it brought a great social development to our people. It also
brought the development of great forces, such as our mass organizations, or
labor organizations, our committees for the defense of the revolution, our
peasant and women's organizations, our youth and student organizations and
even our pioneer organizations, extraordinary forces which today help to
consolidate and promote our revolution.

Socialism and its conscience brought us a vanguard party, a party of
organized, disciplined, conscientious communists. The figure of over
400,000 members in our party and over 400,000 in our socialist youth tells
us what socialism brought us and what has been achieved by the ideas of
socialism and Marxism-Leninism in our country. [applause]

We did not always know how to take advantage of all the benefits and
opportunities of socialism. We could say that perhaps our achievements
would have been even greater, or higher or more complete if we had known
how to take advantage, in the course of 20 years, of all the potential and
advantages of socialism.

As he said to congress, we were not always wise. We did not always make the
best decisions, but we were always capable, with all the honesty in the
world, of admitting and of noting in time any error, any erroneous
decision, and of rectifying it, in order to move forward because even when
one marches through the mountains with a compass--our compass is socialism;
our compass is Marxism-Leninism-at one moment or another there may be small
deviations from the route. Even ships which are sailing in the oceans at
times make small detours.

To us, the path of socialism was something absolutely new that was being
tried for the first time not only in our fatherland, but also in the entire
hemisphere. However, above all, we can say that we have made good use of
time, that we have corrected errors and today our revolution is stronger
and more solid than ever.

It is not just a matter of words. You workers, peasants, students, men and
women, you fighters know how we work today in our country. It is
demonstrated by the harvest itself. Despite the blights, against which we
have waged a battle and won, the harvest is being carried out with more
organization and efficiency than ever. Now, on 16 April, the harvest is
practically complete and 89 percent has already been milled, something that
the capitalists never did. The most they ever achieved is 85 percent.
Although our harvest is not being completed manually or by animals but
rather by tractors, trucks, combines and machines, which are even more
sensitive to and affected by any rainfall and which are even more sensitive
to and affected by the dampness of the soil. Despite all those factors, we
have surpassed our own goal of milling 85 percent and we are up to 89

We have faced up to the tobacco blight and this year our country has a
record, a historic potato harvest [applause], a record historic crop of
vegetables, potatoes and other tubers, a record crop of citrus fruits and
so on. In many agricultural areas, we are having a historic, record crop.

Our construction is being carried out with more organization and more
efficiency. We are engaged in building industries that require thousands of
construction workers, like the (MOA), for example, or the textile factory
in Santiago or the Balance spinning mill in Havana, or the thermoelectric
project in the eastern part of the city, or the first electro-nuclear plant
that we have already begun to build in Cienfuegos despite the imperialist
blockade. [applause]

Despite the huge economic crisis currently affecting a large part of the
world, with the friendly, fraternal and generous cooperation of the USSR,
the socialist community and the progressive countries, our fatherland is
unquestionably advancing, and that is something not even our fiercest
enemies can deny.

We have learned to manage our economy, our factories, our agricultural
centers. We have learned to manage better our schools, our hospitals, our
service centers. But most important, we will learn more every day because,
among other things, socialism has enabled us to become the owners of our
factories, of our mines, of our railroads, of our ports, of our merchant
marine, of our land, of our wealth. Everything in the fatherland's soil is
ours! It belongs to our workers, to our peasants, to our students, to our
men and to our women! [applause] We are owners of that which is ours, and
we can do the best with what is ours.

And now that I have mentioned men and women--I often use the term man not
to discriminate against women but as a generic term that includes our
species, both man and woman--I remembered while mentioning the things that
socialism has brought us, that one of these was the end of the cruel
discrimination against women and blacks in this country [applause], the end
of discrimination for reasons of age or sex. Regarding this also we might
ask here today, has the United States managed to eradicate racial
discrimination? [shout of "no!"] The exploitation of women? [shout of
"no!"] And the prostitution of women? [shout of "no!"] No, no and 1,000
times no! [applause]

These are the truths and the facts which speak, explain, persuade and
convince us of what socialism has meant for our country. This is why the
day we commemorate is so important. But perhaps, regarding our national
security, is there any difference between today and yesterday? We are here
again. We are preparing again because we are being threatened again and
aggressive policies against Cuba are being implemented and imperialism
speaks again, not only of economic blockade but also of naval and military
blockade. Imperialism threatens us again, and speaks of aggression. This is
why the similarity between this 16 April and the former one makes us
undertake great efforts for our defense. This is why we are forced to
mobilize the people--the men and women of our people, all of the people. We
are organized in territorial troops militia. We have hastened the building
of fortifications and we have strengthened our defenses in all ways.

However, there is a difference between this April and that one. There have
been important changes in the world and we want to emphasize them. The
balance of force between imperialism and socialism is different. Important
changes have occurred. But very important changes have taken place in our
country. On that 16 April, it was only a few weeks since we had received
our first tanks, our first cannons and our first antiaircraft equipment
from the Soviet Union. They were the first ones and we were just learning
to use them. We had also bought some weapons in the West, the first bought
by the revolution, so the imperialists would not have reason to say that we
were receiving socialist weapons. You must also remember how that brutal
and savage incident occurred, the blowup of La Coubre [freighter blown up
in Havana harbor in March 1960], which cost the lives of about 100 workers
and soldiers. In those days we had some FAL rifles which were used at the
corner of 2d and 23d. We already had our first cannons and tanks and were
hastily learning to use them. But there were not enough instructors and
sometimes what the militiamen learned in the morning, they taught in the
afternoon to thousands of other militiamen. Seeing the approaching
aggression, hundreds of batteries of cannons, antiaircraft equipment and
other weapons were organized and prepared as well as possible in a matter
of weeks. Tens and tens of thousands of militiamen mobilized through the
country. The capital alone had about 50,000 militiamen at the time. And so
it was throughout the country.

Our army was beginning to develop in its knowledge and control of modern
techniques. So much has happened since then. We have advanced so much.
Today we have tens and tens of thousands of regular officers and reservists
in our Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Today we have knowledge and experience, organization and control of
techniques which we did not have at the time. We did not have hundred and
hundreds and hundreds of thousands of reservists who have gone through our
armed forces with tens and tens of thousands--and I am still short in
number--of internationalist combatants who have experienced the struggle,
war and sacrifice. [applause]

We did not have today's opportunities in which in practically only a few
weeks, we have mobilized and partially trained and formed cadres and
leaders, and we are training hundreds of thousands of fighters of the
territorial troop militias. [applause]

It can be said that never was such a force organized with such speed and,
we can add, efficiency. Proof of our progress in organization and our
experience is the record time in which the territorial militias are being
organized and training.

Therefore, we are not joking. The revolution does not joke. It works
seriously. It knows how to work seriously. The threats of the imperialists
do not make us tremble. The threats of the imperialists do not frighten us.
On the contrary, we convert the imperialist threats into strength. And to
the imperialists, who so well know the slogan "Remember Pearl Harbor [in
English]," remember other things, we could say: Remember Giron [in
English]. [applause]

Giron should have been a lesson not to be forgotten, to learn how to treat
Cuba differently. They believed that when the little planes arrived,
everyone would be terrified. The militiamen did not delay for a second. In
a matter of seconds, they responded to the enemy fire. This occurred with
our artillery militiamen, young men between 15 and 20 years of age. That
was their age. This occurred with our militiamen in Giron and everywhere
else, when the first enemy appeared.

And during those days, they declared that they were expecting the people to
rise up and so forth. They imagined defeated, frightened troops. But what
happened? They underestimated our people's ability, dignity, valor and
heroism. Their brigades, their planes and their tanks lasted, as the saying
go, as long as a merengue lasts at the door of a school.

But on that occasion, we were not prepared to fight against 1 mercenary
division; we were prepared to fight against 10 mercenary invasions. When
our tanks arrived at Giron, they lined up in front of the Yankee
battleships, gunboats and aircraft carriers. Everyone was very clam, with a
bullet in their guns. In other words, we do not fear imperialism. We do not
fear its soldiers. We will not hesitate one instant to defend our soil, our
fatherland, our revolution, not for an instant. And they should know this.
They should be aware of it.

That is an experience they should not forget. If they think that they are
going to resolve the differences between Cuba and the United States by
means of aggression and threats, they are mistaken. If they think they are
going to intimidate us, that they are going to frighten us, that they will
defeat us with threats and aggression, they are mistaken. That is what we
have said to the imperialists and it is what we want to say to them
(?today). [applause]

We have very clear ideas, very profound (?actions), very resolute
decisions. We do not want war. We do not provoke conflicts. We do not want
to provoke conflicts, but beware of provoking us, beware of pulling us into
war, beware of involving us in a conflict. [applause]

If they impose a conflict, a war, upon us, they will see what a people
prepared for anything are like. They will see what a communist people are,
what a patriotic people, a Marxist-Leninist-internationalist people are
like [applause], because socialism also brought us more patriotism and
socialism brought us internationalism. We are an internationalist people,
but we are also a very patriotic people, a people who are very much aware
of our rights [applause], very certain of our ideas and of our cause, very
proud and very self-confident.

The imperialists must know that if those people of Giron were already
strong, the people of today are 100 times stronger [applause], and more
prepared in every sense: more prepared politically and more prepared

Therefore, again we find ourselves obliged to mobilize and to prepare.
However, we will not abandon our revolutionary tasks because of this. We
will not abandon our creative work because of this, We will not neglect our
factories, our fields, our constructions, our hospitals, our schools, our
services. No. It is precisely because of this that we must make a greater
effort. It is true that it takes time. It is true that it requires great
human energies to prepare for the defense of our country. It is true that
it takes resources. However, our people have the ability to multiply
themselves. In circumstances like these, one man becomes two or three; a
woman becomes two or three women, of 100. When circumstances demand, one
does in 2 hours what normally requires 1 hour. [as heard] When
circumstances demand, one works as long as is necessary.

We have the resources within ourselves, in our energy, in our will. That is
why we will simultaneously make this effort on behalf of defense and on
behalf of the country's development and production. We will teach that to
the imperialists, so they do not imagine that because we are organizing and
preparing we are going to neglect the country's development and production.
We are going to prove that under these difficult circumstances, our people
grow taller and are capable of developing both tasks at the same
time--strengthening the defense and strengthening the economy. [applause]

In the territorial troops militia, there are men of different ages. Some
are very young and have not yet gone into the service, others carry out
essential production tasks. Still others, because of their age, are past
the age limit for members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces' reserves. They
there are women of all ages, peasants, workers and students. They
constitute a tremendous and fearsome force which, together with the regular
troops of our Revolutionary Armed Forces, represent an entire people armed
and prepared to defend themselves.

The imperialists have imposed this effort on us, just like they have
imposed the blockade on us. But we have been making a revolution for more
than 22 years, and more than 20 years have elapsed since Giron, and here we
are, building socialism for more than 20 years. We will still be here in
another 20 years, and when still another 20 years go by and for as many 20
years as may be necessary. And if we work well, our people will be
increasingly patriotic, united, conscientious, and prepared to withstand
any trial. Others may be used to trembling in the face of the threats of
imperialism, but not our people! [applause]

We must meditate on this date, meditate on.this day, from the very bottom
of our hearts. We must plan to make whatever effort is necessary to fulfill
these sacred duties toward the fatherland and socialism.

Circumstances have willed that this day should closely resemble that of 20
years ago. But fortunate circumstances have made it possible to contemplate
this spectacle today, to contemplate these people who have the same or even
greater awareness, and the same or even greater determination that those of
yesterday. [applause]

Once again we can repeat the statements made on that 16 April. Let us vow
to defend this cause of the poor, with the poor and for the poor. Let us
vow to defend our socialist revolution to the very last drop of blood!
Fatherland or death, we shall overcome! [applause]