Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

More on Dialogue at Congress

FL1308144388 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1330 GMT 13 Aug 88

[Report by special correspondent Pedro Martinez Pirez from Quito, Ecuador]

[Excerpt] The information services of Cuban television are here in Quito,
capital of Ecuador, in the Hall of Presidents at the National Congress of
Ecuador.  The president of Cuba has been speaking extensively here with the
71 parliamentarians who make up the unicameral Congress of Ecuador.  It has
been an extensive and very cordial dialogue, almost a legislative news
conference, here in this palace where the transfer of power to the new
president of Ecuador, Dr. Rodrigo Borja, occurred on 10 August.

[Begin Castro recording] The nations have shown that they are capable of
resisting, even small nations.  History shows this.  No power, no matter
how strong it is, is capable of crushing the resistance of a nation.  We
have had recent historical examples illustrating this.

Now, what did the United States feel for the Central Americans?  Contempt.
What did they think we were?  Some kind of inferior human group, a mixture
of black, Indian, and Spanish, not capable of anything.  Maybe, they even
thought we were cowards.

Well, the first lesson they were taught was by Cuba.  This is the country
they say is the country of music, guaracha [Cuban music and ballroom
dance], disorder.  They did not know about the potential heroism that was
hidden in that nation.  They did not know about the potential heroism shown
by the Nicaraguans; it's amazing.  The heroism shown by the Salvadorans is
amazing.  I am also certain that if the Panamanians are put to the test of
combat, they are going to impress them with their heroism.  Those who read
the history of this hemisphere know that we don't have an ounce of
cowardice; they also know the feats that the liberators of this hemisphere
were able to accomplish.  Therefore, they cannot consider us cowards, or
contemptible people because I think it's difficult to find a better
combatant than one who is motivated like the Latin American combatant.  So,
the small countries have shown them that they cannot despise us.  We have
shown them that we are a nation capable of resisting and capable of
performing any feat.  I think that they have to start learning these
truths.  They also have to learn the lessons of modern history.

I add, why do I speak with such conviction about this?  We come from a
small country with a relatively small population.  We have had to rack our
brains thinking about how to solve the problem of confronting a military
aggression from the United States.  This is a threat which has existed for
30 years.  It is a threat which became strong during this Reagan
administration, in particular.  It forced us to prepare ourselves for 8
years for an aggression action.  The United States had the tendency to
blame us for those problems.  And Haig would say: You must go to the
source, and the source is Cuba.  The United States would threaten us with
their battleships, aircraft carriers, and all that.  So we had to develop
defensive measures--a small country before a collossus, a giant.  We have
had to rack our brains a lot.  However, we have been able to create a
defense mechanism which guarantees that the country is unconquerable,
invincible, and even if it was totally occupied it would continue its
struggle. [applause] Our country is even prepared for fighting under
conditions of total occupation.  We are organized from one end to the
other.  These people are organized in any corner of the mountains, swamps,
and everywhere.  Men, women, and children know what to do.  This is not a
matter of 10 other divisions against 10 other divisions.  It is a matter of
the divisions that a struggling nation can mobilize, the whole nation,
everywhere, and armed.

We have millions of arms.  Our people are organized, we know who works in
production, who does what, what each doctor does, where they go, and what
everyones place is.  We have acquired that security with the knowledge that
the enemy will suffer a great defeat, no matter how big he is.  It is not a
matter of us taking Washington, or us going to sink the U.S. fleet,
battleships, or aircraft carriers.  It is a matter of so many Americans
dying in that struggle.  And so many of them will die everyday that they
will finally have to leave.  Of course, we don't want to go through that
experience because we know the hundreds of lives it would cost, Cuban
lives, in a venture such as that.  But we do know that in the end they
would have to leave.  That gives our people a lot of security, and they
know it.  They know it and understand it; and those who understand it,
respect us more.

They have forced us to undertake colossal efforts.  But we have lived
through the experience, we are not talking about a theory.  We are talking
about what we have lived through, and have had to do.  You have no idea how
many hours, how much time, energy, and resources our people have had to
use.  We have (?divisions) (he says: "divisio...", does not complete word
and says: units) complete units underground; they have 20 meters of rocks
above.  We have fortification systems, we have everything, but that costs.
[audience is heard mumbling] The United States has forced us to spend.
Peace is also convenient for us.  Hopefully, that hour of peace and
distension will come so that we can dedicate ourselves more fully to the
development of our country, the building of the new life for our people.
And I know very well how many houses could be built with the cost of a
hangar.  I know how many child care centers or schools could be built.  I
especially know the cost of the material that has to be used in
fortifications, and in defense.

But I think that all the great powers, sooner or later, will learn this
lesson.  Not even their possession of nuclear arms makes them omnipotent so
as to impose their will on any nation.  We all have the right to be
respected, and the right to our independence, and our freedom.  I think
that sooner or later we will be able to have that respect.  I am sorry if I
have spoken too much on this [applause interrupts him]. [end recording]
[passage omitted]