Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PM171648 Moscow PRAVDA in Russian 16 Nov 83 First Edition p 4

[TASS report: "Meeting in Havana; F. Castro's Speech"]

[Text] Fidel Castro, first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party Central
Committee and president of the Cuban Councils of State and Ministers, has
angrily denounced the criminal U.S. aggression against sovereign Grenada.
He was speaking in Havana at a funeral meeting in memory of the 24 Cubans
internationalists who died so heroically in Grenada.

Grenada, F. Castro said in particular, is one of the smallest independent
states in terms of both territory and population. If Cuba rendered Grenada
a great deal of aid, it did so because our efforts -- quantitatively quite
modest but qualitatively very important -- meant a lot to that country. Our
doctors, teachers, and other specialists took part in assisting Grenada.

Our people's friendship with Grenada and Prime Minister M. Biship was
cordial. Our respect for that country's sovereignty was so irreproachable
that we never allowed ourselves even to voice an opinion with regard to
what was done in Grenada and how it was done. In our relations with Grenada
we were guided by the same principle as in relations with other
revolutionary movements -- by absolute respect for its policy, its
viewpoint, and the decisions it took. We expressed our opinion on a
particular question only if the Grenadians asked us to do so. Imperialism
cannot understand that the secret of our excellent relations with the
international revolutionary movement consists in only this respect.

The U.S. Government despised Grenada and hated Bishop. It wanted to thwart
the process taking place in Grenada and to destroy its achievements, which
had served as an example to others. The United States developed plans for a
military invasion of the island -- they were exposed two years ago by M.
Bishop -- but did not find a suitable pretext for implementing its

In the years since the victory of the revolution, the speaker pointed out,
the economic and social situation on the island has improved markedly, the
people have received many benefits, and the GNP has risen -- despite the
consequences of the economic crisis. Grenada became a real symbol of
independence and progress in the Caribbean.

Today no one can yet say exactly whether dissent was sown in the Grenadian
leadership at its own initiative or on instructions from imperialism. It is
not out of the question that it was the CIA's doing. Who were the people
who prepared the plot against Bishop within the ranks of the party, army,
and state security service? Were they a group of extremists infected with
theoretical intrigue, or is it simply a case of a group of opportunists
with excessive ambitions, or even of enemy agents who wanted to put an end
to the revolution in Grenada? Only history will give a definitive answer.

As of 20 October Cuban Communist Party and Government statement pointed
out, no crime may be committed in the name of freedom and revolution. To
the honor of our own revolution it should be noted that, despite the
profound indignation with which we greeted M. Bishop's deposition, we
totally refrained from interfering in the Grenadians' internal affairs.

The report that U.S. naval forces were advancing toward Grenada put Cuba in
a difficult position. Under these conditions, the speaker noted, there was
no pretext on which we could leave Grenada. If imperialism really intended
to attack Grenada, our moral duty was to remain there. To leave at that
moment would have been dishonorable. It could have promoted the unleashing
of aggression -- against Grenada today and against Cuba tomorrow. In
addition events were developing with such unbelievable speed that even if
we had decided to undertake an evacuation, we would simply not have had the

The events within the country could not and cannot serve as a pretext to
justify U.S. aggression, F. Castro said. Since when has the United States
been the judge in another state's internal conflict? What right did Reagan
have to rend his garments in alleged grief at the death of Bishop, whom he
so hated and against whom he had struggled? What was the reason for
flouting the sovereignty of Grenada -- a small independent state which had
achieved recognition and respect throughout the world? It was as though
some other country had suddenly declared it had the "right" to invade the
United States because of the vile assassination of Martin Luther King or
the other numerous crimes against, for instance, the black and Hispanic
minorities in the United States, or because John Kennedy was assassinated.

The same can be said of the "argument" that the lives of the Americans in
Grenada were in danger. There are far more Americans in dozens of other
countries. Does that mean the United States has the right to attack those
countries when internal conflicts arise there? Having dismissed the phony
stories of the reasons for the U.S. invasion of Grenada, can we regard this
policy as the norm in international relations? Even a thousand lectures on
scientific communism could not have demonstrated the base, perfidious,
aggressive essence of imperialism more graphically than the aggression
against Grenada did.

The Reagan administration was flagrantly lying when it tried to justify its
invasion by stating that Cuba was responsible for the coup d'etat and
Bishop's death, that the U.S. students were in danger of being turned into
hostages, that the main aim of the invasion was to protect the lives of
U.S. citizens, that the invasion was a "multinational operation" undertaken
at the request of former Governor-General Scoon and several East Caribbean
countries, that Cuba was planning to invade Grenada and capture it, that
Grenada had become "an important Soviet-Cuban base," that the airport under
construction was not a civilian but a military one, that the weapons in
Grenada were intended for "the export of subversive activity and
terrorism," that the Cubans were the first to open f ire that there were
over 1,000 Cubans in Grenada, the majority of whom were not construction
workers but professional soldiers, that the invasion forces strived to
avoid devastation and casualties among the civilian population, that the
U.S. troops would stay in Grenada for just one week, that missile launching
silos were being installed in Grenada, that the ship the Vietnam Heroico
was transporting "special arms," that Cuba had been warned of the invasion,
that 500 Cubans were fighting in the mountains, that Cuba has given the
order for "reprisals" against the U.S. citizens, and that representatives
of the press had not been allowed on the island only for the sake of the
"journalists' safety."

Not one of these allegations has been proved, F. Castro stressed: they have
all been refuted by the facts. This cynical way of using lies to justify
aggression against the tiny country is reminiscent of the methods to which
Hitler resorted when he was preparing and unleashing World War II.

Even the U.S. students and employees at the medical college in Grenada
admitted that they had been given absolute guarantees of safety and the
opportunity to leave the country. Cuba offered the United States its
cooperation to reserve any situation which might arise without resorting to
violence and invasion.

Not a single U.S. citizen suffered before the invasion of Grenada, and if
there was something jeopardizing their lives then it was only the military
operation unleashed in Grenada by the Americans. Cuban personnel were
instructed not to impede operations to evacuate U.S. citizens from the
runway near the university in order to rule out any risk. Reagan's claims
that the same thing could happen to Americans in Grenada as happened in
Iran, the speaker stressed, were aimed at kindling the Americans' vanity,
wounded by these events. It was a demagogic, speculative dishonest
statement. Allegations that the airport under construction in Grenada was
"a military establishment" are an old lie to which the Reagan
administration has frequently resorted, and it has been categorically
denied by the British firm which has supplied and installed its electronic
equipment there. Specialists from the Plessey firm who worked with Cuban
construction workers assert that the latter were simply civilian workers.
Several EEC countries belonging to NATO were also taking part in the
airport's installation. Could anyone imagine they were cooperating with
Cuba and Grenada in installing a military airfield? The allegation that
Grenada had become a "Soviet-Cuba military base" is refuted by the fact
that not a single Soviet military specialist was to be found there. The
allegedly "secret documents" which fell into U.S. hands and were published
by the U.S. Government speak of agreement between the Cuban and Grenadian
Governments, under which our country sent 27 military advisers, whose
number may later have reached 40. These figures coincide fully with the
data published in Cuba. Not one of these documents hints at the existence
of military bases in Grenada. Nor is there anything to confirm the
allegation that the weapons received for the Grenadian Army and militia
were designed for export to third countries. This refutes the allegation
that Grenada had been turned into an "arsenal" for supplying subversive
organizations and terrorists -- as the present head of the U.S.
Administration likes to call all national liberation and revolutionary

The allegation that Cuba intended to seize Grenada is so unrealistic, so
absurd and insane, so alien to our principles and international policy,
that it does not merit any serious attention, F. Castro asserted.

What has actually been proved is Cuba's strictest noninterference in
Grenada's internal affairs. The instructions which were sent to our embassy
in Grenada and which have been published by the Cuban Government provide
incontrovertible proof of the clear-cut and principled position taken by
our party and government with regard to events in that tiny island. The
fact that our specialists were civilians has been confirmed by the hundreds
of foreign journalists who were present when they returned home and had an
opportunity to talk with every one of them.

When the U.S. representatives claimed that some 1,000 to 1,500 Cubans were
in Grenada at the time of the invasion and that hundreds of them continued
to fight in the mountains, Cuba published the exact number of citizens in
Grenada at the time of the aggression. There were 784 of them, including
diplomats and family members. The instructions they received were also
published -- to defend their workplaces and the settlements where they
lived in case of attack -- and the impossibility of the claim that hundreds
of Cubans were in the mountains was pointed out. The facts have confirmed
that the information given by the Cuban side has always corresponded with
the truth.

It is just as false and cynical to claim that the Cubans were the first to
start hostile actions. It has been incontrovertibly proved that the Cuban
workers were asleep at the time of the invasion. They were issued with
weapons when the landing on the runway was already at its height, and there
were not enough weapons to go around. It is absolutely accurate that
fighting began when-U.S. troops advanced on the Cubans in combat formation.
It is also true that a group of unarmed Cuban specialists was captured by
the Americans, who used them as hostages, driving them ahead of U.S.

Having cited specific facts in a well argued refutation of other false
claims by Reagan, F. Castro emphasized that the seizure of Grenada was
carried out suddenly and treacherously without any advance warning at all,
in the Pearl Harbor style, in the Nazi style. This invasion, he pointed
out, was presented to the American people as a major foreign policy victory
for Reagan in the struggle against the socialist camp and the revolutionary
movement. All this is linked with the death of 240 U.S. soldiers in Beirut,
with the memory of the hostages in Iran, and with the humiliating defeat in
Vietnam. The Reagan administration has ignobly and dishonorably played on
the patriotism of Americans, on such terms as the country's dignity and the
nation's greatness and glory. Hitler behaved in exactly the same way in
1938 when he occupied Austria and Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.

And where is the glory, the greatness, and the victory -- laurels from the
conquest of one of the tiniest countries in the world, a country that lacks
the slightest economic or strategic significance? How can it be "heroism"
to fight against handfuls of workers and civilian specialists who offered
courageous resistance despite the surprise attack and the shortage of
ammunition, despite the difference in armaments and numbers? The United
States has not scored any victory at all, from either the political, the
military, or the moral points of view. From the military point of view,
this has been a pyrrhic victory and a profound moral defeat. By flouting
all internatinal norms, thus incurring the whole world's hatred and
condemnation, the United States has manifested the extent to which it holds
the rest of the world in contempt.

This contempt is so great that, as President Reagan has himself declared,
events in Grenada have in no way affected his appetite. This is why we must
evaluate with all responsibility the real situation and the dangers facing
the world. Bearing in mind that the United States possesses the latest
means of waging war, both conventional and nuclear, and that the president
of such a country can launch a war without consulting anyone: This can be
extremely dangerous and tragic for all mankind. The echo in the last shots
in Grenada is still reverberating, yet there is already talk about
intervention in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Imperialism is continuing its interference and armed aggression in the Near
East and South Africa against progressive countries and national liberation

Deployment is beginning of the first Pershing and cruise missiles out of
the 572 which are to be installed in Europe, surrounding the USSR and the
other socialist countries with a deadly ring of nuclear facilities capable
of reaching their territories in a matter of minutes. It is not just small
countries, but all mankind that is in danger. The bell that now tolls for
Grenada could toll for all mankind tomorrow. The most prestigious
scientists and doctors confirm that man would be unable to survive a
nuclear conflict. The destructive power of the stockpiled weapons of this
type is a million times greater than the bombs which destroyed Hiroshima
and Nagasaki in a flash. This is what the Reagan administration's
militarist and aggressive policy could bring.

The arms race is already a reality at a time when the world is in the grips
of its deepest economic crisis since the thirties and it is more imperative
than ever to resolve the vital problems of the development of most peoples
of the world. No one can trust a government which acts as precipitately,
recklessly, and cynically as the incumbent U.S. Administration has done in
Grenada. Reagan does not even wish to hear the advice of governments
closely linked with him in the political, ideological, and military spheres
-- for example, the British Government. It is not surprising that during a
public opinion poll, over 90 percent of British people categorically spoke
out against the unilateral U.S. prerogative to use the cruise missiles
currently being deployed in Britain.

Less than 18 months ago, one of the NATO countries used in our Western
Hemisphere modern means of warfare against the Argentinians. The Reagan
administration supported these actions, paying no attention at all at the
time to the OAS and the treaties and mutual defense pacts, which it
discarded with scorn. But now, justifying itself by an invented "request"
from some imaginary organization of East Caribbean states, the United
States invades Grenada, as a result of which the blood of Grenadians and
Cubans is shed.

In Nicaragua, in addition to the 40,000 victims who were the price at which
the country's freedom was gained, about 1,000 more have died in battles
against the Somozista gangs, which are openly organized and armed by the
United States. In El Salvador more than 50,000 people have been
exterminated by the inhuman regime, whose army is armed and trained by the
United States.

In Guatemala more than 100,000 people have already perished as a result of
repressions by the bloody regime which was put in power by the CIA in 1954,
when the progressive Arbenz government was overthrown. And how many people
have perished in Chile since imperialism plotted the overthrow of the
popular unity government and Salvador Allende' s assassination! And how
many have perished in Uruguay, Paraguay, and other countries over the last
15 years! What a high price in blood, privations, sufferings, and sorrow
has been paid by our peoples for imperialism's domination and the existence
of the unjust systems imposed by it. The imperialists are trying to destroy
the symbols because they know the value of symbols, examples, and ideas,
they wanted to destroy them in Grenada, they want to put an end to them in
El Salvador, in Nicaragua, and in Cuba. But symbols, examples, and ideas
cannot be destroyed, they can only multiply. Grenada has already augmented
the patriotic confidence and combat spirit of Salvadoran revolutionaries,
Nicaraguans, and Cubans. Grenada has proved that it is possible to fight
the elite imperialist troops without fearing them. The imperialists must
know that they will encounter resolute resistance each time they attempt to
carry out aggression against any revolutionary people. Let the pyrrhic
victory in Grenada not intoxicate them nor lead to new and irretrievable

In Nicaragua the United States will run up against a highly patriotic and
revolutionary people -- united, organized, militant, and armed -- whom it
will never be possible to subjugate. As for Cuba, if in Grenada the United
States had to use an elite division to fight against handfuls of people
surrounded in unfortified positions thousands of kilometers away from home,
how many divisions will it need against millions of fighters defending
their homeland and their people! Our country, as we have repeatedly said,
may be wiped off the face of the earth, but it will never be conquered and
subdued! -- F. Castro declared in conclusion.

After the end of the meeting, to the sound of the funeral march, the
cortege of gun carriages bearing the remains of the Cubans who fell in
Grenada, covered by Cuban national flags, made its way to the capital's
Colon Cemetery, where they were buried in the pantheon of Cuba's
Revolutionary Armed Forces. Over 1 million residents of the capital and of
Havana Province paid their last respects to the internationalist heroes.