Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech

FL262340 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2215 GMT 26 Jul 83

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the main commemoration of the
30th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada Barracks, being held at Gen
Antonio Maceo y Grajales Square in Santiago de Cuba -- live]

[Text] Distinguished guests, people of Santiago de Cuba, fellow countrymen:

I wanted to write this speech to prevent the emotion stemming from this
occasion, the heat we are experiencing this afternoon, the significance of
this ceremony, and the effort required to make an impromptu speech from
making my concepts unclear and my remarks incoherent.

Our people have looked forward to this anniversary with love, enthusiasm,
joy, and fervor. For me and for those comrades who are still alive, it is a
very special experience to meet here with the people of Santiago de Cuba 30
years later to celebrate that action with which our generation opened the
path toward the final liberation of our fatherland.

None of the predecessors in our people's long struggle for independence,
freedom, and justice have had such a privilege. It is proper tliat we pay
respectful tribute to those who have shown us the way, to those who from
1868 to today have shown our people the paths of the revolution and who
made it possible at the cost of their sacrifice and heroism, often
experiencing only the bitterness of failure and feeling unable to overcome
the seemingly infinite, unattainable gap between their efforts and their

Those of us who are in your presence today are no doubt different from what
we were then. We needed to go through these 30 years of enriching,
unimaginable experiences to acquire the knowledge and maturity which only
the school of the revolution can teach. Everything was like a dream then.
We initiated our struggle harboring many dreams. Many of our
contemporaries, still completely unconvinced that the fate of our nation
could and must inevitably change, went as far as to call us dreamers.

Much earlier, Marti had already said that the true man does not look first
on which side he can live better but on which side his duties lie. And that
it is only the practical man whose dreams of today will shape the laws of
tomorrow because he who has set his eyes on historical events and has seen
peoples immersed in fire and bloodbath through the centuries knows that the
future lies, without exception, on the side of duty. [applause]

In only one thing are we still like those of 1953. We have the same faith
in the future of the fatherland, the same faith in the qualities of our
people, the same Confidence in victory, the same happiness at being able to
dream of all that which will become true tomorrow in addition to those
dreams of yesterday which have already been fulfilled. [applause]

In only one thing are we still like those of 1953. We have the same faith
in the future of the fatherland, the same faith in the qualities of our
people, the same confidence in victory, the same happiness at being able to
dream of all that which will become true tomorrow in addition to those
dreams of yesterday which have already been fulfilled. [applause] At that
time, we ourselves were unable to measure the historic era which was
starting at that very moment. Revolutionary fighters are used to fulfilling
their duties simply and naturally; they usually do not take history or
glory into account. Looking back now in perspective and light of the events
of the past 3 decades, the struggle which started in Santiago de Cuba that
morning would successfully complete a process which had lasted nearly a

The Yara pro-independence revolution which began in October 1868 concluded
with the Zanjon Peace Treaty after 10 years of extraordinarily heroic,
unequal battle. The Baire revolution which erupted in 1895 was tragically
interrupted as a result of U.S. military intervention and the establishment
of the shameful Yankee neocolonial domain which was legalized by the hated
Platt Amendment. The right to intervene in our country was shamefully
written into our own constitution.

During those wars of independence and although our country had only 1.5
million inhabitants then, our people fought more than 300,000 Spanish
soldiers for many years, which gives one an idea of the magnitude of their
heroism and effort.

The battles waged during the Republican era and the 1933 revolution
concluded once again with the frustration of the most cherished aspirations
of the Cuban people and the consolidation of imperialist domination of our
fatherland. Eighty five years after Yara, our struggle would resume again
at Moncada until ultimately achieving the country's liberation on 1 January
1959. The fortress did not fall during the first strike, but would fall 5
and 1/2 years later and with it the entire military establishment of the
hateful tyranny on which the imperialist regime of exploitation and
domination was based in Cuba.

With such a different emphasis we can now pronounce the names of Cespedes,
Agramonte, Gomez, Maceo, Marti, Lella [applause], Villenas [applause],
Guiteras [applause] Jesus Menendez [applause], and other beloved figures of
our history. Today, their names are linked to those of Abel, Fran, Camilo,
Che, and many others of the last generation of heroes. [applause].

We cannot remember the struggle we began on 26 July 1953 without blushing.
The task was still unfinished. It was almost a daily offense to hear
traitorous and corrupt politicians invoking our heroes. False history was
taught in our schools. Those who took our freedom away from us in 1898 were
presented as liberators of the fatherland. Even our beautiful history of
struggle had to be vindicated. In spite of this, in the unsurpassable
example of our glorious ancestors, in their intelligent and heroic battles
and in the shining thought of Marti, we found the source and inspiration of
our struggles. To that example, fortunately, were joined the knowledge and
the wise interpretation, under those conditions, of the ideas of Marx,
Engels, and Lenin, without which we would not have been able to accurately
understand the world in which we lived or find the proper strategy to carry
on in the Cuba of 1953, even though it was almost forbidden to mention
their names at that time.

What gave more wealth and content to this latest stage of our liberating
struggles is that, in it, national liberation joined with social
revolution. Since Moncada, we could not conceive of any form of true
revolution that was not socialist. Hatred for bloody pro-imperialist
tyranny became the unifier that carried all of our people to combat. Some
believed, however, that the process was halted on 1 January 1959 and that
we would return to the sickening political and socioeconomic system of
1952. But the revolution did not halt nor can it be halted.

Today, 30 years after the attack on Moncada, I can state with the same
conviction as then that it would have been a crime against the fatherland
[to have stopped it]. Therefore, we can proclaim with legitimate pride that
the bloodshed that day and in the 5 and 1/2 subsequent years, and that
which has been shed during almost 25 years of revolution, has not been shed
in vain. It did not serve to pave the way for bourgeois exploitation or to
maintain under pseudodemocratic formulas a society in which the great
majority works for a minority of exploiters and parasites with the
resulting abuse of privileges, injustice, inequality, and vice which such a
system, inexorably condemned by history, brings with it.

We have surpassed by many years the rest of the Latin American countries.
This will one day be considered an enormous historical success for our
country. [applause] What we bave achieved in 25 years -- and we have
achieved more than any other brother country on this continent -- we would
never have achieved under capitalism. Already, in the first years of this
brief historical period, we have managed to eradicate unemployment,
illiteracy, begging, racial discrimination, gambling, prostitution, and
drugs. Tell us, what other country in the hemisphere has achieved this?

A broad system of social security -- honorable and fair -- currently covers
all the workers in the country. Our health-care system and our health
indices put us in first place among all the nations of the Third World;
they even put us ahead of some of the developed countries. Within the next
20 years, the indices will be among the best in the world.

We have trained more than 200,000 professors and teachers, and our
education system, our levels of instruction, and our study programs are
also in the forefront of all underdeveloped countries; in the course of the
next two decades, they too will be among the best in the world.

The number of persons engaged in university studies surpasses 200,000 -- 18
times more than the maximum before the revolution. Each one of the 14
provinces has centers of higher education.

Thousands of new projects, including primary schools, child care centers,
intermediate and polytechnical training centers, university faculties,
hospitals, polyclinics, homes for the aged, and other social projects have
been built in our country.

All the land, all the mines, all the industries, that is, all the wealth
and natural resources of the country, were recovered. Our agriculture has
been mechanized and modernized. Electricity has been provided to almost all
the rural areas of the country. The island has been filled with highways
and roads. Hundreds of new rural communities have sprung up. Thousands of
agricultural installations including dams, irrigation systems, dairies,
poultry and swine production centers, warehouses, workshops, and other
similar installations have been created in these years.

Hundreds of new manufacturing installations have been built. Today, we are
building industries like the first nuclear power plant, the Cienfuegos
petroleum refinery, the thermoelectric power bouse, East Havana, and the
nickel factories in Moa and Punta Gorda which, because of their complex
construction, their importance, and their technological level, constitute
an extraordinary achievement for the builders and a source of pride for our
country. Before the revolution, factories of a certain degree of complexity
were constructed by foreign companies. [applause]

The new sugar refinery projects and more than 60 percent of their
components are produced in the country. Tens of projects have been
developed and more than 100 research centers have been created. In those
installations of a high scientific and technical level, thousands of Cuban
professionals such as engineers, architects, biologists, biochemists, and
other technicians and scientists are working.

Culture and sports have been massively practiced and have become a
patrimony of the entire people. There is not a single sphere of social and
economic activity in which the advances made in recent years cannot be
termed considerable despite the criminal imperialist blockade and the fact
that the starting point was a country with an underdeveloped and dependent

What is very important is that the triumphant revolution, since the very
first moment of its existence, was capable of uniting all revolutionary,
democratic, patriotic, and progressive forces in the country under its flag
and of forging -- based on merit, ability, and a spirit of sacrifice -- a
solid and indestructible vanguard party, which is our people's educator and
guide and guardian of its strongest unity and of the purity and principles
of our revolutionary process. [applause]

In like manner, the youths created their powerful vanguard organization in
which the replacements for the party's membership are being trained. The
workers, peasants, residents of every street and block, women, students,
and even the children have formed powerful mass organizations to which
practically the entire people belong and constitute an insurmountable
bulwark against the revolution's enemies. [applause]

The panorama we observe throughout America and in a large part of the world
is quite different, where workers, peasants, students and fighters for
civil rights and peace are being continuously beaten by the authorities and
repressed with dogs, tear gas, fire trucks, and so forth. [applause]

Does the capitalist world not constantly show us proof of what is going on
there? The revolution has institutionalized the country, has proclaimed the
socialist constitution, has created the National Assembly and the People's
Government, an overflowing experience of political affluence and social
possibilities, and a school of self-government in which the entire people
participated. State functions have been broadly decentralized to such a
degree they are unrecognizable to any type of bourgeois regime. Our people
already have a high degree of political culture, a profound knowledge of
national and international problems, and a spirit of solidarity and
internationalism which makes us all proud because it has been one of the
most beautiful fruits of the revolution. [applause]

Our revolution has proved the falseness of the myth that, with time, the
revolutionary processes loss strength and enthusiasm. The revolutionary
strength and enthusiasm today are greater than ever. [applause] There is a
difference from the first years, in that the process today is more solid,
more conscious, and deeper. [applause] The 25th year of the revolution,
which is 1983, is one during which the greatest efficiency has been

In a recent study conducted by the Executive Committee of the Council of
Ministers, we were able to note the impressive manner with which the
workers have responded to the resolution of the Sixth Central Committee
Plenum aimed at facing up to the difficulties, conserving energy and raw
materials, and raising the degree of efficiency in production and services.
This is why, at a time of serious international economic crisis and despite
the severe natural disasters endured by the country during the first part
of the year, notable results have been attained in all activities. One can
appreciate today in our people a spirit of work and struggle much more
determined than that noted before in our revolutionary process, a worthy
tribute to the 30th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and the 25th
anniversary of the revolution's triumph, which we will commemorate next 1
January. [applause]

But, have these gains been attained without struggle? Can we rest on our
laurels and, convinced of the justice and legitimacy of our cause, forget
the dangers that surround us? Has imperialist arrogance resigned itself to
the successes of our revolution and to the example it provides? [audience
shouts: "No"] We well know it has not.

Rarely before has there been more threatening language. Few times before
have imperialist arrogance and insolence attained such absurd levels.
Rarely before has a U.S. ruler expressed himself in such brutal,
aggressive, and sinister terms with respect to Cuba. We are being
threatened with military blockade. We are being threatened with reprisals
and punishment. We are being threatened with invasions. should we be
frightened because of that? [audience shouts: "No"] [applause] No, we must
prepare ourselves. The effort devoted to the defense in recent years has
been great. It has required the investment of considerable human energy and
material resources. We would have been pleased to expend each and every
cent of those costs on the building of factories, housing, hospitals,
schools, roads, cultural, recreational and sports facilities. No one should
forget that, during the first months of the revolution, we turned almost
all of the country's garrisons into schools. [applause] But it would have
been an unforgivable and mortal illusion to disregard our defense. Almost
from the very beginning, imperialism, with its aggressive plans, its
criminal plots, its infiltration of weapons, its acts of sabotage, its
counterrevolutionary bands, its cynical plots to behead the revolution, and
its mercenary invasion plans forced us to accelerate the acquisition of
arms, to form militias, and to efficiently organize and train our FAR.

If we had not been adequately prepared, the April 1961 mercenary invasion
-- which marked the foreign forces' intervention in our homeland -- could
have cost our nation hundreds of thousands of lives, thus, can there be any
doubt? The country resisted at all costs and any price. Thanks to our
opportune actions, the enemy defeat was a staggering and crushing one.

Yankee hysteria and its aims of getting even led to the political and
military measures which led 18 months later, to the October crisis of 1962,
which drove the world to the edge of nuclear war and concluded with the
U.S. agreement to give up its invasion plans against Cuba. However,
imperialism did not give up its goal of destroying the revolution in one
way or another. The economic blockade was intensified and the various forms
of sabotage even went as far as the use of biological warfare against
plants, animal herds, and the population itself. Nevertheless, during the
long years of the Vietnam War, imperialism -- deeply involved in that
filthy aggression where it endured defeat and the subsequent trauma -- gave
us a chance to breathe in the military field.

At the beginning of 1981, the arrival in power in the United States of a
reactionary clique of the extreme right with an openly warmongering and
fascist foreign policy again brought to the forefront the subject of
military aggression against our homeland. The new administration's
political philosophy had become known a few days before the elections in
the United States.

A group of haggard, ignorant, delirious, and irresponsible Reagan advisers,
who met in the so-called Santa Fe Committee, worked out in minute detail
the future imperial policy of the United States toward Cuba, Central
America, the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuba would be given the option of either submitting to the United States or
being destabilized, militarily blockaded, or even invaded if necessary. Our
submission was to be encouraged with economic promises. In clear terms, we
were to be miles from the socialist camp, could not receive any military
assistance, and that the October 1962 commitment between the United States
and the USSR as a result of the withdrawal of the nuclear missiles from our
territory had expired after 20 years. This policy angers us with the
cynicism with which it tries to question the right of a nation to live in
freedom and sovereignty, independently of whether or not that nation can
receive military assistance from abroad in case of attack, or whether or
not a commitment that was made is still valid. The commitment exists and is
fully valid, but imperialism underestimates our people and overestimates
itself much too much.

Our revolution was not exported from abroad. We made it ourselves.
[applause] The weapons we used to fight and defeat the tyranny were not
received from outside. They were U.S. weapons and we took them from the
enemy. [applause] Socialism was not exported to Cuba from any other
country. We developed it ourselves. [applause] We made the revolution with
our blood and we have defended it with our blood. [applause]

We have never before made, nor will we now or in the future make -
sovereign decisions to the detriment of others or hoping that others would
fight for us. [applause] Our philosophy since 26 July 1953, and we could
even say since 10 October 1858, has been one which has made us Cubans feel
capable of fighting for our freedom and of defending it. [applause] Freedom
is not a gift which can be given away or bought. No people is entitled to
have freedom if it is unable to defend it by itself. [applause]

We could not have the privilege of regarding ourselves as revolutionaries
or as a free people if we do not have the conviction that we ourselves can
defend our fatherland and our revolution against any enemy, no matter how
powerful it might be. A truly revolutionary and patriotic people can be
physically wiped off the face of earth but it can never be subdued.

When the risks and threats of Yankee military aggression against Cuba
become apparent we did not waste one minute in adopting the appropriate
measures. Our party decided to create the Territorial Militia Troops [MTT]
even before Reagan's inaguration, when he was the U.S. president-elect.
[applause] More than 500,000 men and women and tens of thousands of
officers were organized, trained, and armed in less than a year. The
combative ability of our armed forces was considerably strengthened by
these reinforcements and by the receipt of, and our simultaneous
familiarization with, new weapons.

The FAR has really excelled in rapidly organizing and training the MTT.
[applause] We have also made plans to resist any naval blockade, no matter
how long it may last, and we are prepared to face any other form of
aggression the imperialists may think up. [applause]

The strategic exercises "Bastion 83" were carried out recently with the
participation of more than 100,000 persons from the main cadres of our
party, of the state, and of the FAR in preparation for possible unexpected,
massive aggression. These exercises were proof of the seriousness with
which our people are training to repel the aggressor.

Imbued with a patriotism which becomes greater when danger is in sight, 1.8
million Cuban women have made the moving, energetic decision to volunteer
to join the MTT. [applause]

The number of potential fighters among our people, men and women included,
totals nearly 6 million. In the next 12 months, 500,000 other men and women
and 30,000 new officers will join the MTT; they will be organized, trained,
and armed. [applause]

In this case, since all men eligible for military service have already
joined either the regular troops, the FAR reserves, or the MTT or are
performing essential services for production and for times of war, the new
units will be basically made up of three women to one man. [applause]

Thus 1 million additional combatants will join the armed forces and the
reserves. Our people will be prepared not only to ferociously resist each
naval or air landing and to defend our cities and positions to the last
stone and to the last man, but to fight even if our country should be
invaded or occupied. [applause]

Each cadre of the party, of the state, of the armed forces; each officer,
each combatant, each citizen, and each youth will be able to do what he is
supposed to do in every circumstance. The enemy will face our combatants in
each square meter of our valleys and mountains, on each street, in each
block, in each house of our cities. [applause]

Our armed forces study the field and, in coordination with the party, the
people's government and mass organizations, are conducting a detailed,
methodical preparation for this type of struggle. Let us never forget how
we started, how with only seven rifles we launched a war against an enemy
which had 80,000 men under arms. [applause] Even if we, the main leaders of
the revolution, die in the struggle, our resistance will never cease.

In a territory which is barely comparable in size to the territories of the
Provinces of Havana and Matanzas, a few thousand Salvadoran patriots have
forced more than 60,000 armed men -- including policemen, guardsmen, and
paramilitary forces of the genocidal regime -- to the brink of collapse.
This regime could not survive without the U.S. Governmnent's logistical and
political support and military advice.

In Western Sahara, Saharan patriots have been fighting tens of thousands of
Moroccan soldiers -- also supported by the United States -- in the middle
of the desert and have already gained control of 80 percent of the
territory. In Lebanon, the Zionist aggressors are already shuddering in the
face of the daily casualties the increasingly strong Palestinian and
Lebanese resistance groups are inflicting upon them. [applause]

How many men would imperialism need to occupy Cuba? Five million soldiers
would not be enough to overpower hundreds of thousands, millions of
combatants, tens of thousands of bfficers and noncommissioned officers who
are determined and well trained and who are fighting on their own soil,
under one banner, against a hateful foreign aggressor who would attempt to
destroy our revolution and our fatherland. [applause]

Their nuclear weapons, dozens of divisions, thousands of aircraft and
tanks, and the hundreds of warships which imperialism may have at its
disposal would be of no avail if their soldiers were here among us. Our
people, their patriotism, fighting spirit, and combat morale are our
invincible force, superior to any weapon or military technology which might
exist. [applause] As we have told many companeros, we would apply Maceo's
formidable slogan: He who attempts to take control of Cuba will gather up
the dust of its territory bathed in blood if he does not die in the
struggle. [applause]

In this case, the enemy would not gather up the dust of our people bathed
in blood; he would perish in the battle. [prolonged applause] This is our
reply to the insolent Yankee threats. However, our fatherland is not the
only one faced with threats and risks in this area. Nicaragua and Central
America are seriously threatened by the same demented aggressive policy.
[shouts from the audiencel In fact, the United States is already
intervening in Nicaragua through thousands of former Somozist guardsmen
based, trained, and supplied in Honduran territory. Imperialism openly
proclaims support for the counterrevolution, which it has not been able to
conceal even though, according to CIA jargon, it is a secret war.

Hundreds of humble Nicaraguan patriots have already lost their lives as a
result of these crimes by the U.S. Government. It is the history of
Escambray and Giron repeated with unheard-of cynicism against the fraternal
people of Nicaragua.

The United States is also intervening in El Salvador, supplying, training,
and giving advice to the Army of a genocidal regime that has murdered over
40,000 Salvadorans. The United States is intervening in Honduras by
installing land and air bases, undermining the authority of the civilian
government, and openly converting the country into an instrument of
aggression against Nicaragua. The historical causes of the Central American
problems are well knovn. They originate from lengthy and brutal internal
oppression and exploitation and the chain of interventions by the United
States in those countries. The struggles of the Sandinists in Nicaragua
against U.S. oppression, the peasant uprisings in El Salvador which took
place in the 1930's, and the Guatemalan revolution crushed by the U.S.
Goverranent in 1954 were events that preceded by many years the Cuban
Revolution, the Sandinist victory in Nicaragua, and the present
revolutionary process in El Salvador.

The situation in the strife-torn Central American region has generated the
deepest concern throughout the world, even among European governments
allied with the United States. In our region, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia,
and Panama launched an initiative some months ago to seek a negotiated
political solution to the serious situation in the area. This group of
states, called the Contadora Group, beld a summit meeting in Cancun on 17
July and issued a broad appeal to the Central American countries, which it
also extended to the United States and Cuba, to obtain support and
cooperation in the search for a political solution.

Nicaragua responded on 19 July, agreeing to begin multilateral negotiations
immediately, in the presence of the Contadora Group, with a six-point
program which included its willingness to sign a nonaggression pact with
Honduras and its willingness to reach an agreement on the issue of El
Salvador based on an end to all provision of weapons to both contending

Nicaragua's serious and dignified position excludes any kind of unilateral
concession, capitulation, or surrender in the face of pressures, threats,
and aggressions from the United States. However, it clearly expresses its
willingness to discuss and solve, on honorable bases and principles, the
points mentioned or any other points included in the declaration of the
Contadora Group presidents. Cuba's response to the presidents of this group
was equally rapid and clear. We support, without hesitation, the efforts in
the search for a negotiated, dignified, and just solution to the problems
of Central America. We support the Nicaraguan proposals of 19 July and we
voice our willingness to help Nicaragua in its effort to obtain a
negotiated political solution to the problems of the area.

The U.S. reply, aside from any formal declarations, included a very
aggressive speech by President Reagan against Nicaragua on 18 July [as
heard] in which he practically demanded the resignation of the Sandinist
government; the hasty decision to send an aircraft carrier and several
warships to the Nicaraguan coasts in the Pacific; the announcement that
another aircraft carrier from the Mediterranean Sea, also escorted by
warships, would be sent to the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua; and the
decision to carry out military maneuvers with the participation of
thousands of U.S. soldiers in Honduran territory in early August.

It is said that the maneuvers will include blockade exercises and will last
for 6 months. Such lengthy maneuvers are truly unusual. It is actually a
veritable display of U.S. troops in Central America. Nicaragua, in
practice, is already surrounded by U.S. warships and soldiers. The threat
and pressure could not be more gross and contemptible. Nevertheless it is
necessary to remain calm. We do not have the slightest doubt that the U.S.
Government has been desperately trying to create a climate of terror and
insecurity around Nicaragua in the past few weeks, increasing the pressure
to the maximum imaginable level. However, these measures are dangerous
because the distance between this type of psychological warfare and action
is minimal. The irresponsible persons who advise Reagan might be tempted to
take new steps that could make the situation irreversible.

Nicaragua does not have abundant armored equipment or artillery to confront
a large-scale U.S. aggression, but it has the means to arm its people and
tens of thousands of combatants with a patriotic tradition and fighting
experience capable of making impossible the life of any aggressor, no
matter how powerful. [applause]

Imperialism'also underestimates the Central American peoples. We are
convinced that the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran revolutionaries will never be
subdued by force. [applause] An attempt to crush the revolutions of
Nicaragua and El Salvador through armed intervention would be like
inflaming a tumor that would quickly spread throughout the body of Central
America. [applause]

When only 1 year has passed since the war waged by a NATO member, with the
support of the United States, against a Latin Arfterican nation -- which
was an affront and humiliation for all the peoples of our America -- the
United States, ready for action, threateningly advances its fleets and
soldiers toward another Latin American country. A new Vietnam in the heart
of Latin America? Let us hope it will never occur and that there is still
time to prevent it.

The peoples of America and the world would not witness such a crime calmly.
The same aggressive policy of the new U.S. Administration is being
expressed everywhere on earth: In the Middle East, in southern Africa, in
the Indian Ocean, and even in Europe, where the United States is planning
to deploy 527 medium-range strategic nuclear missiles. This is an
unbelievable and unprecedented provocation against the socialist community.

Amid a horrifying economic crisis, an unusually vigorous arms buildup is
underway. We are living in risky and difficult times. The danger of a
confrontation is not only local, but worldwide. Nerves of steel are needed.
We need extreme firmness, the people's maximum mobilization, and a complete
willingness to resist blackmail if we want to stop the aggressor, if we
want to save peace, and if we want to survive.

Two days ago we commemorated the bicentennial of Simon Bolivar's birth. To
him, father of our America's freedom, we want to pay special homage on this
day. [applause] Our America is still far from fulfilling Bolivar's dream.
It is not the group of tightly knit nations he wanted to create. The
northern empire, unruly and brutal, has kept us balkanized and divided.
Many of our peoples are living under brutal, fascist systems or are
subjected to harsh repressions. Illiteracy, poor health, misery, poverty,
and merciless exploitation by transnationals and reactionary oligarchies,
to a greater or lesser degree, are affecting most of them. Even those of us
who have carried out profound revolutions are forced to fight against the
inheritance of a foreign domination that lasted for centuries. But the
Latin American conscience is beginning to stir. The Malvinas war made all
of us face the opportunist cynicism of the U.S. Government, its naked
immorality, and the mean way in which imperialism ignores its commitments,
thus contributing to this Latin American awakening.

Fascism is in crisis, and progressive and democratic ideas are advancing in
the hearts and minds of the peoples. In the struggle for the awakening of
our consciences, the Central American people have this time placed
themselves in the vanguard.

We can rightfully repeat the words Marti said about the liberator on 28
October 1893: Bolivar is here, in the sky of America, vigilant and worried,
still wearing his combat boots, because what he left undone is still undone
today. Bolivar still has a lot to do in America. [applause]

Greetings from this platform to the indomitable sons of Sandino who smashed
Somozism to pieces. [applause] They do not tremble in the face of the
brazen Yankee aggressions and their threats of blockading and invading the

[Greetings] to the admirable Salvadoran fighters who have been able to
checkmate imperialist control over their small nation and who are
astonishing the world with their war deeds. [applause]

[Greetings] to the self-sacrificing and tenacious Guatemalan patriots, who
have been fighting for more than 20 years the genocidal regime which the
United States imposed in 1954. [applause]

[Greetings] to the courageous and determined Grenadians who broke the
chains of oppression and are building a just society. [applause]

[Greetings] to the courageous Chilean people, who are unanimously rising up
against fascist tyranny; to the peoples in the southern cone of America,
who are struggling for democratic freedoms in the face of repression and
oppression. [applause]

Greetings to all peoples on other continents who are also fighting
imperialism; to the fierce Saharan fighters; [applause] to our dear
Palestinian friends; [applause] to the brave patriots of Namibia;
[applause] to the stoic and unbeatable fighters of South Africa; [applause]
to the fraternal peoples of Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and other
frontline countries who are valiantly resisting pressure, threats, and
attacks by racism and imperialism; [applause] to the Arab countries, which
are the continuous victims of aggression from imperialism and Zionism; to
all peoples of Asia and Africa, who are faced with the underdevelopment,
colonial exploitation, and abysmal poverty that were the legacy of
centuries of exploitation and which continues today.

I greet with particular affection the USSR and all of the fraternal
socialist countries, [prolonged applause] with deepest gratitude for the
solidarity that they extended to us in crucial and difficult moments and
for their constant support. I greet the workers throughout the world, the
strugglers for peace on all continents and in the heart of Europe, Japan,
and the United States itself, [applause] who are struggling intrepdily to
prevent the stupid arms race and a world holocaust that could put an end to
the human species.

Today I want to particularly remember the Cubans who fell at Moncada;
[applause] those who endured unjust persecution and punishment for their
revolutionary struggles; who accompanied us in the prisons of the tyrant;
who went with us into exile and organized the Granma expedition; the
unforgettable fighters of the mountains and the plains; the tenacious
defenders of the revolution at Escambray and Giron; those who faced up to
and defeated the conspiracies, U.S. terrorist plans, sabotage, and crimes
against our revolution; those who raised on high, with honor, the
internationalist flags in Angola, Ethiopia, and other places in the world;
[applause] those who with their blood and sweat expressed, to the best of
their abilities, our fatherland's solidarity with the just causes and the
economic, technical, and social needs of many other peoples; [applause] the
devoted relatives of those who died or suffered or cried for their loved
ones in these long and glorious years of struggle. [applause]

We express deep and eternally grateful recognition of our working people,
who with sacrifice, perseverance, and heroism made theirs the ideas and
programs of Moncada [applause] and carried these ideas forward to
culmination in the most radical revolution of our history and the
establishment in Cuba of the first socialist state of the Western
Hemisphere. [applause]

They not only knew how to carry it out, but how to defend it, and are ready
to defend it to the last drop of their blood. [applause]

Eternal glory to the Cuban people and their heroic children. [crowd shouts
"glory"] Eternal glory to those who have fallen for the fatherland and the
revolution. [crowd shouts "glory"] Eternal glory to the ideas that made us
revolutionaries, that brought us freedom, justice, honor, and victory.
Fatherland or death, we shall win!