Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Fidel Castro Speech

Havana Domestic Radio/Television Services in Spanish 0056 GMT 23 Aug 75 FL

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at the ceremony marking the
50th anniversary of the founding of the first Cuban Marxist-Leninist Part
at the Lazaro Pena Theater of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers
building in Havana--live]

[Text] Dear comrades of the party, of the government and of the people: Two
years ago we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the assault on the
Moncada Barracks. Today we are commemorating another date of great
historical significance: the 50th anniversary of the founding of the first
Cuban Communist Party.

We have said on other occasions that our revolution is part of a same
process that began in 1968 and continues into the present. Two basic
questions have been debated during the course of this historical struggle:
the struggle for independence and the struggle for social revolution.

In the last century the desires for independence clashed with the powerful
colonial interests and with the ideology of the reactionary classes. Those
who possessed the power and the wealth in our country opposed independence
in that proslavery society in which the privileged classes fear losing
their slaves. That is why the men who fought for the survival of the nation
and who sought independence had to combat the annexationist ideas of those
who because of their proslavery ideas wished to convert Cuba into one more
North American state.

Later on Marti had to fight very hard in defense of the ideas of
independence against the Spanish colonial power and against the autonomists
who thought that our country was incapable of independence or who rejected
the idea of independence.

In the same fashion the beautiful ideas and aspirations of the social
revolution that came later were to clash with extremely powerful interests;
they were to class with the emerging North American imperialism and the
interests of the capitalist society.

Both facts are linked throughout history. The fighters for social
revolution were indissolubly united with the fighters for the independence
of the country. By the end of the century Cuba had not attained her real
independence and finally the two desires joined: the desire for full
national independence and for social revolution.

Each desire reached a peak moment. If the desire for independence reached
it peak in 1868 and in 1895, of equal historical importance is 16 August
1925 when the first Communist Party of Cuba emerged as a result of the
desire for social revolution.

As Flavio Grobart explained in a brilliant historical analysis, this all
went back to the end of the last century. He was referring to 1898 when a
Cuban newspaper began to disseminate Marxist ideas. He was also referring
to the socialist concerns of some of the workers who assisted Marti's
revolutionary work in Tampa and in Key West, the founding in 1899 of a
party that was already based on Marxist ideas and headed by Diego Vicente
Tejera and which later, early this century--for the party had a very short
life--was to become the Cuban Worker Party, and then the Socialist Worker
Party, and finally, was to be known as the Cuban Socialist Party which was
headed by Valino, or of which Valino was one of the principal leaders.
Because of our country's objective and subjective conditions early this
century, that party was not able to unfold its action fully. However, in
1923 the socialist group in Havana broke with the Second International,
supported the Third International, and became the communist group in Havana
in which the revolutionary life of Julio Antonio Mella began.

By then the revolution of October 1917 had taken place. The first state of
workers and peasants was emerging and the revolutionary movement, whose
goal was the struggle against colonialism and for national independence, as
well as social liberation, had reached an extraordinary degree of
inspiration and an overwhelming amount of experience. Under these
conditions the first Communist Party of Cuba emerges, based on

At this point the doctrines of Marx and Engels had been enriched by the
Leninist interpretation, practice and development. But, under what
conditions emerges that Communist Party of Cuba? We were a puppet republic,
a neocolonial possession of the United States. There was an ignominious
Platt Amendment, that is, the constitutional provision permitting the
United States to intervene in Cuba.

Three months prior to that [founding of the PCC] Gerardo Machado had been
elected president of the republic, which marked the beginning of one of the
darkest eras of our history. The trade union movement, even though it has a
tradition of strikes and struggles since the first years of the
pseudorepublic and was expressing the combat awareness of our workers, had
not yet taken on a political orientation. The North American monopolies
owned 70 percent of the sugar mills, the wealth, the media, the university,
the schools, the army, the police, the parliament, the judicial power, the
corrupted political parties--they owned the republic.

Who else but men of great conviction and great faith in the future would
have been capable--under such difficult conditions--of founding the first
Communist Party of Cuba? Those men existed. They were not many--possibly
the number of communists at the time did not exceed 100 in the whole
country. The members who attended the congress as active delegates numbered
only 13, and the number of guests was 17. According to Fabio Grobart, there
were only nine communist cells in the whole country, but present there were
Carlos Valino and Julio Antonio Mella. [applause]

Carlos Valino represents the direct link between the revolutionary party of
Jose Marti and the first Communist Party of Cuba. He was a founder of both
parties. At the time of the war of independence Marti had already come up
with the bright idea, the idea which later in another country and under
other historic circumstances was to be developed by Lenin.

Marti organized a party to guide the struggle for national independence.
Accompanying Valino was a brilliant young, and courageous man, one of the
more extraordinary individuals of the history of our country, Julio Antonio
Mella. Both, together with labor leaders and in the midst of clandestine
activities, started convoking the party's constituent congress in which
four communist groups participated--one from Havana, one from Guanabacoa,
one from San Antonio de Los Banos and one from Manzanillo.

That party emerged with a clear Marxist-Leninist direction in all
fundamental matters, and received the guidance and inheritance of the
international communist movement and, especially, of the October

There were already a handful of men who had very clear ideas about what a
Marxist-Leninist party with a Marxist-Leninist strategy, Marxist-Leninist
tactics, and an interpretation of the Marxist-Leninist social and political
problems should be.

It is moving to read the documents of that first congress in which the
basic lines of the policy to be followed are outlined, in which the first
statute is approved, and in which a struggle program is set forth. These
principles were adopted from the very beginning. Moreover, they [the party]
were prepared to work hard among the workers, among the peasants, among the
women, among the young people, and among the intellectuals to promote the
appropriate organizations that would guarantee the party's closest ties
with the masses.

However, under what difficult--not only objective but also
human--circumstances did they carry out that feat! They did so in secret,
when Valino was already 77 years of age and when the Machado dictatorship
was beginning to step up its persecution of the workers, particularly of
the communists. Valino died a few weeks later. The secretary general of the
party was expelled from the country, and the persecution of those
communists leaders began. Mella was one of the leaders prosecuted. He was
the chief figure in one of the most courageous and heroic episodes of our
revolutionary history: his famous 19-day hunger strike which forced the
Machado tyranny to release him.

From the very first moment Mella loomed as an extraordinary revolutionary
combatant. He began university reform in our old university. He joined the
students and the workers. He organized the first student congress. He
founded the Jose Marti University. He organized the anti-imperialist
league. And, together with Valino and other revolutionaries, he founded the
first Communist Party of Cuba.

The history of this so very short, so dynamic, so combative, and so
profound life is moving. At a young age, not only was he a student leader,
but also a leader of the Cuban working class, and he soon acquired the
status of Latin American leader. If we analyze Mella's though, the
internationalist ideas of that Mella, who swam to the first Soviet ship to
visit our country, of that Mella, a tireless fighter against imperialism,
we can appreciate the similarity between his though and the deeds of the
Cuban revolution, the similarity between his though and the thought of the
Cuban revolution, we can appreciate what Mella sought to do and what the
Cuban revolution has done. [applause]

Mella was forced to leave the country months after his historic hunger
strike, but his extraordinary personality, his ideas, and his combativity
intimidated Yankee imperialism, the oligarchy at the service of that
imperialism, and the Machado tyranny too much. They did not stop until they
had orchestrated the conspiracy which culminated in the cowardly
assassination of 10 January 1929. They cut short that extraordinary talent,
that fruitful life in the flower of its existence.

However, the party remained. That party was facing an extremely difficult
period which lasted 8 years. The scores of communists became hundreds of
communists, and from the beginning those communists had an extraordinary
influence on the labor movement. A consistent implementation of the
Marxist-Leninist principles led the party to establish close ties with the

That first Communist Party was a fundamental factor in the general strike
of August 1933 which led to the overthrow of the Machado tyranny. That
party, under the leadership of another extraordinary young man, Ruben
Martinez Villena [applause], participated in the struggle against Machado.
Numerous communist militants were murdered or disappeared. They had to face
very difficult situations. From then on, efforts were made to bring about a
confrontation between the socialist and patriotic ideas. From then on, the
government tried to accuse the communists of being enemies of the
fatherland, and even Machado, in trying to justify the murder of Mella,
falsely accused him of having offended the flag. These lies were made
public just a few days prior to his death.

They [the communists] opposed the prejudices of the society. They opposed
all the imperialist propaganda. They opposed the reactionary ideas of the
latifundists and the bourgeoisie. They had to struggle under very difficult
conditions and, in spite of that, that party played a very important role
in the struggle against Machado and in the overthrow of the Machado

After 1933, the ranks of the party continued to grow, and that party,
inspired in the firmest internationalist principles, is the one which
organized and sent 1,000 Cuban combatants to defend the Spanish republic
when the civil ware began. [applause] They wrote one of the more beautiful
pages of proletarian internationalism in the history of our fatherland.

That party made an extraordinary effort in making our working class and
people aware of the situation prevailing in our country, stepped up the
establishment of trade unions, of organizations of peasants, women and
youths, struggled untiringly for the rights of the workers and peasants,
struggled against starvation wages, struggled against the eviction of
peasants from their homes, struggled against racial discrimination,
struggled against discrimination against women, struggled against that
society of hunger and poverty, struggled untiringly against imperialist
domination in our country, struggled for the unification of the Cuban
revolutionary movement with the revolutionary movement in the rest of the
world, struggled for the defense of the Soviet Union [applause], and
consistently implemented the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

That party underwent numerous vicissitudes and faced up to very difficult
historic moments: most of its existence took place clandestinely or
semiclandestinely. There is no progressive law, there is no law benefiting
workers, peasants or the people in general which was not sponsored by that
Communist Party and its great untiring efforts. [applause] The working
class saw in it its most consistent defender, and that was never forgotten.
Proof of that was when hundreds of thousands of workers participated in the
funeral procession of Comrade Lazaro Pena, [applause] the founder of the
Central Organization of Cuban Workers.

Never will we be able to forget the role which that Communist Party played
in the dissemination of Marxist-Leninist ideas, in the formation of a
revolutionary consciousness among our workers and our people. Hundreds of
thousands of Marxist-Leninist books were published and distributed; and
millions of pamphlets; and it [the party] contributed to the spreading of
revolutionary ideas among our people through the legal or outlawed press,
the radio and all possible dissemination media.

During the course of its 36 years of struggle, during the Machado period,
during the Batista period, during the period of the corrupt governments of
Grau and Prio, and during the final phase of Batista's gory tyranny, the
party left countless martyrs in its path.

We cannot forget those unfortunate days that followed the "Granma" landing
in 1956 when that bloody Christmastide took place, when numerous
revolutionaries were assassinated in the province of Oriente, including a
large number of communists. We cannot forget those impressions when crime
was unleashed against our people, when crime was unleashed against our
comrades who were in prison, against the revolutionary fighters, and
against the communist in those days when we were only a small handful of

The Batista tyranny thought that the "Granma" expeditionaries had been
completely liquidated, and it unleashed a wave of terror and bloodshed.
Since then numerous selfless fighters, fighters for the rights of the
workers in the sugarmills were assassinated. That was the party of Mella,
of Ruben Martinez Villena, of Jesus Menendez [applause]. of Jose Maria
Perez, of Paquito Rosales [applause] and of other countless martyrs.

That was the party that had to confront the difficult conditions which in
our country followed the outbreak of the cold war: the anticommunist
campaigns, the isolation and persecution of the communist by employing
every imaginable means; depriving them of work, depriving them of
passports, preventing them from traveling, creating intolerable conditions
for them everywhere.

The conspiracy between imperialism and the national reactionaries turned
with fury against the communist militants because they were communists.
However, that party exercise a strong influence on our working class, and
it exerted a strong influence among our young people. We had our first
contacts with the communists as university students. And that attitude,
that conduct, that discipline, that selflessness, that example which the
communists set everyone created a profound impression upon us, and created
an atmosphere of prestige and influence for the Communist Party. There were
few communists those days: there were only a few score at the University of
Havana although 15,000 students attended that university. However, the
action of the communists made itself felt.

We studied Marxism-Leninism at the university. The university provided a
bourgeois education, and a bourgeois economic policy was explained. The
political atmosphere of the nation was asphyxiating because of the corrupt
and reactionary spirit existing throughout the country. There were
communist universities, but there was a Marxist-Leninist Party that taught
communism. [applause]

We bought our first Marxist-Leninist books at the Communist Party bookstore
on Carlos III Street. [applause] Thanks to that bookstore and to the
admiration aroused by the conduct of the communists we came into contact
with that literature and, to tell the truth, we sometimes even bought books
on credit.

And the main cell of those of us who organized the 26 July movement
purchased our books in that library. And even in the midst of the
organization and preparation of the combatants, we always tried to find
time to study and learn from those books. [applause]

It is a well-known fact that during the trial of the Moncada Barracks, the
prosecutors brought into the case a book written by Lenin which had been
found among the belongings of the revolutionaries. They showed it to the
court. The tribunals began questioning us and we, with more wrath than
prudence, responded: we read Lenin's books and those who do not read them
are ignorant. [applause] Reading Lenin's books was a crime in that
capitalist society. It was crime in th eyes of those judges, of those
authorities, of that army. A deluge of lies, a deluge of reactionary
propaganda was attempting to crush the revolutionary ideas.

They were trying to eliminate the communists and, something else still more
difficult, eliminate the communist ideas. And they were right in fearing
the communist ideas. Who would have told those henchmen, those judges,
those spokesmen of the reaction, who would have told those who were using
Lenin's book as evidence of a crime, that someday a whole people would make
the ideas of Marx and Lenin their own? [applause] That those ideas would
unite the people, and that armed with those ideas, our revolution and our
people would become invincible?

One day the people rose against the tyranny. One day the people united and
one day the people won. All the people, but essentially the working people,
the peasant people, the student people won. The different forces united as
currents that begin in different sources or springs, but come together in
one great river, the great river of revolution.

In this manner all of our revolutionary organizations united, and together
waged the final battle.

And if in the past the party of independence struggle against colonial
power and confronted the reactionary ideas of the era--in Mella's time the
revolutionaries confronted the powerful empire, the bourgeoisie and the
Cuban landlords allied with it, all that infernal machinery of lies and
propaganda, and the henchmen of Machado--the Cuban revolutionaries later
confronted the Batista tyranny. There still remained another big battle to
wage in the wake of 1 January 1959, the battle against the Yankee
imperialism intent on destroying the Cuban revolution. This was another
battle of no less difficulty. The battle against prejudices, the battle
against the anticommunism sowed for dozens of years by all possible means.
And this final joint battle against imperialism, against anticommunism
against reactionary ideas, against the mercenaries of Giron, against the
bandits of Escambray, against the saboteurs of the CIA is being waged by
revolutionaries of various origins united together. First coordinated and
later united, but united in the principles of Marxism-Leninism. [applause]

Because the ideas of Valino and Mella are the most just and revolutionary
ideas of our time, if a true and definite revolution was to take place in
our fatherland, it had to be with the banners of Marxism-Leninism.
[applause] This is why one day, the 26th of July Movement, the Popular
Socialist Party and the 13 March Revolutionary Directorate ended their
separate existence in order to constitute the basis of our Great Communist
Party of today under the revolutionary banner. [applause]

One single party, and not three or four. One single party with the only
true and scientific ideology. One single party, like the independence party
of Jose Marti. The history of these two parties, their most outstanding
episodes, are closely related. Between the Revolutionary Party of Jose
Marti and the first Communist Party there was a close tie, and when the
phonies, the traitors and the agents of imperialism invoked the name of
Marti, there was no one who admired and respected Jose Marti and were more
devoted to Jose Marti than Carlos Valino and Julio Antonio Mella.

Mella planned to write a book about Jose Marti to show how the essence of
Marti's thoughts represented the roots of the social revolution. The Marti
ideology and his heroic struggle and that of the patriots of 1895 were
closely related to the history of the heroic struggle of 1868. Likewise,
our party is indissolubly linked to that history. The history of Maceo
Agramonte, Maximo Gomez, Jose Marti, Valino, Mella, (Villena) Lenin, Abel
Santamaria, Frank Paiz, [applause] Camilo Cienfuegos, [applause] Che
Guevara, [applause] Lazaro Pena, and of so many glorious martyrs.

I have told you the history of this party. I have mentioned the names of
Valino and of Mella and of Ruben Martinez (Villena). But it is only fair
that today, as a legitimate homage and recognition to his extraordinary
revolutionary life, we mention the man who for 26 years led this party:
Comrade Blas Roca. [prolonged applause]

We are fortunate to have him present. He led the party through very
difficult circumstances and times. But he knew how to bring it forward, how
to overcome all obstacles. He was the teacher of revolutionary generations.

Blas Roca, a man with a very humble origin, was hardly able to finish his
primary school and yet later became a self-taught public school teacher.
But he was not able to work as a teacher with only a primary school
education, so following his family tradition, he earned his living as a
shoemaker. [applause]

We clearly recall those past decades, those times when we were barely able
to think for ourselves. When there was mention of the communists we heard
mention of Blas Roca. The revolutionaries spoke of Blas Roca with
admiration, the enemies with hatred, but the enemies were powerful and had
at their disposal many newspapers, many magazines, many radios, much money,
and many illustrious writers--brilliant men whose attacks, whose calumnies
were directed against Blas Roca.

They even attempted to ridicule him by calling him "the shoemaker" with
contempt, trying to portray him as a terrible man, a communist--no less
than the chief of the communists--and spilling mud and lies against him, a
man who in our opinion is one of the most virile, most noble, most human,
and most generous man we have ever met. [applause]

We will always recall with emotion the day, some time after the 1959
revolutionary triumph and after a unification process of the revolutionary
forces, when Blas Roca placed in our hands the glorious flag of the first
Communist Party of Cuba. [applause]

Our cause has triumphed. Today we are dedicated entirely to strengthening
the revolution, to preparing the first congress and to building socialism.
these are the new tasks, but the ideas of national independence, dreamed by
so many generations of heroic Cubans, the ideas of social revolution
dreamed by other generations of revolutionaries have been carried out in
our country which is now liberated from colonialism and neocolonialism--
from Spanish colonialism and from Yankee imperialism and capitalism. These
times have been left behind. Slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism,
imperialism and capitalism, these are words which reflect that miserable
and unjust existence of the past. Our people have been fortunate
historically. In modern times--at this transitional stage of the world--and
with international revolutionary support especially from our fraternal,
unchanging, unfailing friend the USSR. [lengthy applause] We have been
lucky and have crowned our historic hopes. The way was long and the
sacrifices were great and harsh. These pages were written by men who were
born in this land with their sweat, unyielding struggle and their blood.
Its better sons [words indistinct], some days ago we lived through a moving
moment standing guard over the ashes of Julio Antonio Mella. There, also
paying homage, was the ceremonial corps of the general staff.

Today a huge crowd accompanied the ashes of Mella that will be guarded
until they are finally buried in the grave which the revolution is building
for Julio Antonio Mella beside the university steps--the scene of his most
ardent struggles. Together with the people were members of the party,
leaders of mass organizations, and ministers of the revolutionary
government; and the people did not fear that an army would fire on them. No
soldier waited in ambush because along with the people and the ashes
marched the gallant soldiers of the new revolutionary army. [applause]

This revolutionary army attacked and destroyed the mercenary forces which
shot at the people who went to Mella's funeral, desecrated Mella's ashes
and destroyed the obelisk built for his tomb. Mella was relentlessly
persecuted by reactionary forces while he was alive and even after he was
dead. It is hard to believe that the Cuban people were unable to bury Mella
and his remains. They had to be kept hidden to protect them from the
persecution of the enemy. What a satisfaction and peace one feels to know
that Mella's remains--wrapped in the flag he loved so dearly and which he
was accused of having desecrated--will finally be put to rest with all the
people's love under the obelisk the revolution is building for him. We have
been witnesses to moving historic acts and to extraordinary events. These
are irrefutable proofs of our people's victories. Our most malevolent
enemies realize that the revolution is indestructible.

Today, next to the soldiers escorting Mella's ashes were the Pioneers--the
symbol of the future, of the revolution and of the victories ahead.
Generation after generation, the Cuban revolutionaries have done their duty
to their homeland and to the world. They have advanced the socialist
revolution in order to transform the Cuban society and also to express
their solidarity with all struggling countries. Consequently, they are
following internationalist principles which are the essence of

Julio Antonio Mella, once you said that we are useful even after death
because we can serve as a banner. So it has been. You always carried the
banner for our workers and youths in revolutionary struggles. Today you are
carrying the banner which encourages us. It is an invincible example of
Cuba's socialist revolution.

Fatherland or death, we will win! [applause]


In the item titled "Havana Ceremony Marks 50th Anniversary of PCC" and
subtitled "Fidel Castro Speech" published in the 26 August Latin America
DAILY REPORT, page Q 5, paragraph seven, line one should read:
"Marxism-Leninism was not taught in that university. The university...."

Same paragraph, line four should read: " There were no communist
universities, but...."