Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Anniversary of Granma Departure Noted in Mexico

FL151295088 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0130 GMT 9 Dec 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro in Tuxpan, Mexico on 4 December during
ceremony marking the 32d anniversary of the departure of the "Granma"
yacht--recorded; passages within slantlines represent indistinct portions
of this speech that were supplied from an identical recorded version
carried on Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish at 0300 GMT on 11

[Text] [Crowd chants:  Viva free Cuba; Cuba yes, Yankees no] Distinguished
figures presiding over this event.  Dear friends from Santiago de la
Pena--this is it, isn't it?  [crowd cheers and applauds]--from Tuxpan, from
Veracruz, and from Mexico.  [crowd cheers and applauds] They are all the
same thing, as it is to say that for us Mexico and Cuba are the same.

I listened very carefully to the generous words of our dear friend Fernando
Gutierrez Barrios.  [applause] There are so many coincidences that they may
seem incredible.  All this is so extraordinary that this event being held
here could appear unreal.  You may say:  Why did this historic event take
place in Tuxpan, in Santiago de la Pena?  It was not historic at the time.
It is historic now.  You may need some explanation to understand why we
ended up in Tuxpan.

We, a bunch of young Cubans, had arrived in Mexico--as Don Fernando
explained--with the purposes of defeating the tyranny in our country.  Why
did we come to Mexico?  Because Mexico was a common house for all Cubans.
Mexico was the common house for all Latin Americans.  [applause]

We all saw Mexico as our own.  Cubans have felt this way throughout
history.  The men who forged/our nation and independence felt this/ way
throughout history.  When Cuba struggled by itself against Spain--since all
other countries had been liberated, Spanish domination continued there for
almost over 80 years; we could say that Spanish domination lasted almost a
century in our country after other Latin American countries had become
independent.  We had to fight very hard.  When our forefathers could no
/longer stay in Cuba they traveled to/ other countries.  This is what
Marti--our national hero--did.  When he could not stay in Cuba any longer,
he came to Mexico.  He struggled and worked for the /independence of our
country from Mexico.  Many/ other Cubans came to Mexico, not only
politicians but also intellectuals, poets, and writers.  They always found
hospitality, affection, and solidarity here in Mexico.

Today I saw something in the museum that I did not know.  [Words
indistinct] the details of the museum.  But we have not found a decree of
the first Mexican president ordering a force to organize--I believe it was
more or less on 1824--to fight for Cuba's independence.  It is also known
that many Mexicans participated in our struggle for independence.  This is
how this tradition was created and throughout the mediated
Republic--because after fighting 30 years the U.S. intervention took place
and it practically snatched away our freedom.  It imposed a constitutional
amendment called the Platt Amendment which gave them the right to
intervene, turning us into a neocolony.  These kinds of interventions took
place more than once in our country.  During those struggles, Cuban
revolutionaries always followed the same tradition.  They came to Mexico
with the idea of returning to Cuba from Mexico.

So, what we did was nothing more than to follow a tradition of over a
century.  Don't think only Cubans did this.  Other Latin Americans have
done exactly the same thing.  When terrible situations were created in
Chile--when people began to disappear, when torture and crimes took
place--hundreds and thousands of Chileans came to Mexico because Mexico was
the common fatherland for Latin Americans.  [applause] When very sad events
took place in Argentina, hundreds, thousands of Argentines came to Mexico,
to the common fatherland.  The same thing happened when tragic events took
place in Uruguay.

We we were here in 1955 and 1956 there were people from all countries.
There were Peruvians because there was a tyrannical government there; there
were Dominicans because there was a tyrannical government in Santo Domingo;
there were Nicaraguans because the Somoza tyranny was already there; there
were Guatemalans because the CIA had just defeated the Arbenz government
with its intervention.  In sum, there were men and women from all of Latin
America here.  I belief this helps to understand why we felt we had a
certain right to come to Mexico, to get organized in Mexico, train in
Mexico, to fight for our country's freedom.  [applause]

Of course, there were international responsibilities and the Mexican
Government complied--as it complies today--with its international
responsibilities.  Our activities had to be conducted in a very discrete
way.  They had to be very quiet because we did not want to create problems
for the Mexican Government.  We were not getting organized to fight
against /the Mexican Government or against any Mexican interests, but to
fight against Spain, in the past, and then against the various
tyrannies--against the Batista tyranny in our case.  Indeed, we all
complied with out responsibilities.  According to its international
responsibilities, the Mexican Government could not allow it but we did not
do anything to place the Mexican Government in a bind.  We took all the
measures to avoid creating embarrassing situations for the government.
This is why we were very quiet and very silent.

As I said yesterday in news conference:  Technically, we were violating the
law.  This is technically.  Morally, we were not violating the law.
[applause] Politically, we were not violating the law.  Historically, we
were not violating the law.  We were complying with a historic law.  These
special circumstances forced us to work very carefully by applying strict
measures, security measures such as compartmentalization.  There is a
saying that goes:  Much ado about nothing.  Our slogan was the other way
around.  This is the way we worked.  [applause]

When we arrived in Mexico we had a watchword:  that in 1956 we would be
free or we would be martyrs.  This is what Fernando said when he explained
that we had no other choice than to win or die.  Why did we have to do
this?  Because there was very little faith in Cuba.  There had been so many
programs in our country, so many politicians who had not fulfilled their
promises, that people were disappointed.  They did not believe in anyone.
They really did not believe in anyone.  Our people were skeptical.  Many
people were trying to play Batista's game by saying that those who were
getting organized and struggling to overthrow the tyranny were wrong, that
we were using the wrong wary.

We had to be categorically committed to return to Cuba with the slogan that
in 1956--this is a little microphone for some tape recorder--we had to
launch the slogan to categorically commit ourselves to sustain and lift the
people's confidence.  People already had a high level of confidence in the
revolutionaries.  This high level of confidence had been visible from our
first attempts to overthrow Batista in the Moncada Barracks.  We had been
in prison.  People had demanded amnesty for the Moncada prisoners.  Faced
with the people's demands, Batista, in his political games, had no other
choice than to agree to the amnesty.

People already knew us and they trusted us, but many people tried to kill
that/ confidence.  They said:  Those people are not coming.  They even
were/counting how many days were left for 1980 [corrects himself] for 1956,
while we were getting organized.  Every day they counted the days.  They
said:  200 days are left, such and such days are left in their smear
campaign against us.  After so long I ask myself what would have happened
if, indeed, we would not have been able to arrive in Cuba in 1956.  I am
going to tell you:  Nothing would have happened.  If instead of arriving in
December we arrived in January or February, the results would have been the
same.  But at the time we viewed that promise with a very great /sense of
dignity and honor; we did not/ want to go through the bitterness of 1956
ending without us fulfilling our solemn promise we made to the people.

With this, I want to say that the course of history wouldn't have changed.
Perhaps we magnify the consequences it would have had not to arrive on that
same year.  Ultimately, people /were concerned about freedom.  Our people
were/ concerned about the revolution.  If we arrived a little later or a
little earlier, it would have not been important; but we felt very
committed.  I am telling you the truth.  If we had not been able to
organize our expedition with a /small group of 8, 10, or 12,/ we would have
returned to Cuba anyway, even if it had to be in a row boat.  [applause]

I tell you this so you can learn a little about the ideas we had.  When we
came to Mexico we planned to return to Cuba with a contingent of around 300
men.  We estimated that that was the minimum number of men needed to begin
fighting in the Sierra Maestra.  This was our plan.  As the saying goes--I
don't know if Mexicans know it--to say something and to do something are
two different stories [una cosa picnsa el borracho y otra cosa piensa el
bodeguero]. [laughter, applause] This is what we though we needed as a
minimum and we could not meet the minimum.  We could not collect the
economic resources.  It was very difficult to get weapons, much less
automatic weapons.

We knew the enemy had planes and if we had automatic weapons we could
launch an antiaircraft attack with a certain degree of effectiveness.  In
the end we returned to Cuba with a single automatic weapon.  This is what
we had.  we had bolt action rifles, telescopic rifles, and some
semi-automatic weapons.  We did not return with the supplies we thought
were the minimum required to fight.

At the end, we gathered some dozens of men.  We had around 100 men.  We had
to solve the problem of the ship.  We had to find a ship to get to Cuba.
This was always the headache of the fighters.  How to get there?  Through
what means?  We had to find a place where to leave from.  Of course, a
place close to Cuba was preferable.  It would have been better to leave
from Merida, Yucatan, Cozumel.  Those places are closer to Cuba.  But at
that time, 32 years ago, there were no roads between Mexico and that part
of the country.  The road ended in the Coatzacoalcos [stutters] River, if I
remember correctly.  It did not have a bridge and it was very difficult to
go from Mexico to Ycatan, between Mexico and Cozumel.  This is one of the
problems we had.  The second problem was that Batista's spies would
concentrate more on those areas closer to Cuba.

We had to look for the ship first and the place from where to leave.
Coincidentally, we found the ship in Tuxpan.  We thought Tuxpan was a
little further but it was a more discrete place.  The vessel was there.  It
was not easy to find a vessel.  We did not have a lot of money.  We had to
act very carefully.  Another coincidence was that not only did we find the
ship, but the owner of the ship also owned the house that was there.  It
was a little house on the bank of the river.  The two things we needed:  a
ship and the house on the bank of the river.  We didn't have enough money
to buy the ship.  Everything cost around $35,000.  We had around $10,000 or
$12,000.  We had other expenses.  We had to support the men and buy
weapons.  Do you know how we brought the ship?  On credit. [applause] All
of us at one time or another, I am sure, have done it.  I am almost certain
that there is nobody here who has not bought something on credit at one
time or another.  [laughter] Either a radio, a stove, refrigerator,
television, or anything.  Perhaps those who are taking pictures have bought
their cameras on /credit.  [laughter]

We got a Mexican friend/ so our names wouldn't appear as buyers of the
ship.  That friend bought the ship.  He paid $10,000--which was what we
had--and a mortgage was done made on the house and the ship.  That is, the
mortgage guaranteed the remaining amount we had to pay, which was about
$20,000.  We solved the problem.  Our intention was not to fool anyone.  We
intended to pay the full amount.  We were confident on the success of our
cause.  We said:  We don't have the money now but we are going to pay it
later and we did.  We paid what we owed later when the revolution had more
resources.  We didn't want to do the same/thing as the eternal debt--I mean
the foreign debt. [laughter and applause] It was a debt of honor--among
others--with the Mexican who helped us/.  Had we not paid for the ship, the
Mexican who helped us would have been the one left with the debt and with
problems.  We later did pay and in that sense our prediction was fulfilled.
This is how we bought the ship.

That ship--that is an exact replica of the ship--was not there, it was next
to the town where various ships were placed.  The house was here and the
ship was there.  The ship had to be repaired.  It had two engines.  The
clutch of one of the engines did not work.  The clutch skidded.  [laughter]
Then, we had to find mechanics to repair the ship's engine.  They worked on
it almost until the day we left.  I believe the clutch was finally repaired
24 hours before the time we left.  In the meantime, only one engine worked.
The location of the house next to the river was convenient.  There was a
little dock and when we were about to leave we brought the ship here.

I am going to tell you how inexperienced we were.  One day we decided to
test the ship to see how fast it would go.  A few of us sailed /the Tuxpan
River aboard the ship.  In the river/ with just a few people the ship
sailed some 10 or 12 knots, in the calm waters of the river downstream.
After we made /the test and almost arrived--sailors must be/ laughing a lot
of what happened to us, of our ignorance in sailing matters.  We almost got
to the mouth of the river, we measured more or less the speed and we said
this ship reaches such and such speed.  We started to calculate considering
the speed the ship reached in the river.  This is why we estimated that we
would arrive in 5 days.

The ship's clutch was finally repaired.  We thought it was repaired and
luckily it was.  When the clutch began to skid the engine accelerated and I
assure you that I spent the 7 days the trip lasted hearing noises.
Sometimes big waves made the screw go almost overboard and the engine
accelerated.  Everytime I felt one of those accelerations I thought the
clutch jammed up again.  Luckily, it behaved fantastically well and the
clutch /did not skid.  However, we had very great difficulties.

Some have asked me if we had spent many days here.  I told them we had not.
There was only one person who took care of the house, and the sailors and
all of us arrived at the same time on the night of the 24th.  They had
stayed in different Tuxpan hotels.  The various registers of the people who
stayed in several places must be somewhere around here.  Our people stayed
in various hotels located in various cities, including Tuxpan.  Everything
arrived at the same time on the night of the 24th.  Weapons arrived;
everything arrived.  We only used a few hours, but we had problems; at the
dock, the ship/ was brought here the day before.  It was already repaired.
In this way we were able to leave in the morning of the 25th.  In the
predawn hours of the 25th, 82 men left.  You wouldn't be able to guess how
we selected the last men.  We had too many people and had to leave some
behind.  We considered who had more experience, more knowledge, and finally
we ended up with a group of good comrades.  But we had to decide who to
leave and who to take because it was impossible to take more.  We did it by
the weight and size of the people.  The last ones we selected were the
smallest and skinniest.  We thought two of them would take the place of a
tall and heavy one.  This is why we could not take some of the comrades.

The terrible thing was that we put 82 men in a little ship that was
supposed to be for 10 or 12 people.  I remember as if it was yesterday.
There was a barge.  This was another coincidence.  A wood enterprise placed
a barge about 50 meters from where the ship was.  It was an enormous barge.
We thought it was unfortunate that they put the /barge there because we had
to make complicated maneuvers.  But it was not only the barge;/ they had
two soldier guarding the barge.  I thought that was the only thing we
needed, that they put two soldiers there.  We had to act in total silence.
We had to be careful how we loaded, how we got in, to leave without being
noticed by anyone.

There was another problem.  The sailors banned ships from leaving because
of bad weather in the gulf.  Notice that at the time, not only did we have
the barge and the two soldiers guarding the barge, but a storm was coming.
There was bad weather and the departure was forbidden.  We had to begin the
trip under those conditions.  We were able to carry out the whole
operation.  We loaded medicines and weapons and then the men.  We started
only one engine so we didn't make much noise.  We started the right engine
so we could maneuver.  We didn't make much noise.  There was no problem
with the guards in the ship.  And we began our trip.

That bridge wasn't there before.  There was a barge which was pulled by a
cable.  That big bridge /was built later.  It was another headache for us,
because the screws could/ hit the cable.  The engine had to be stopped, we
crossed, and started it again.  When we got near the cable we stopped the
engines and kept on going.  We didn't have problems with the cable.  We got
to the mouth of the river and got into the ocean.  You can imagine how
happy we were.  We had been dreaming, working, and struggling for this for
so long and we were on our way to Cuba.  Logically, the river was calm but
the ocean waves were terrible.  That nut shell began to sway with the
waves.  It was terrible.  The waves were big.

The first thing we did was to sing the Cuban national anthem when we
reached the ocean.  We were so happy.  Few times in our lives have we been
so happy as the time in which we saw we were beginning our trip to Cuba.
But what happened?  The waves made the ship sway and everyone started to
get dizzy.  [laughter] There was universal dizziness.  Look for the pills
against dizziness.  We had some pills.  Do you know where they were?  In
the bottom.  All the weapons were on top of the pills for dizziness.
Eighty percent of the people got sick.  Imagine how it was in such a little
ship with 82 men.  I don't even want to talk about that.  What we had there
was Dante's inferno.  [laughter] People were leaving their lives there.
They were leaving their lives there.  [applause] People were bathed there
with the fruits of the dizziness.  I was lucky because I was one of the few
who did not get sick.  [applause]

Dawn came and heavy waves continued.  The worst thing that happened to us
was that the ship started to draw water 1100 or 1200.  Wasn't that enough?
A lot of things happened to us.  Apparently what happened was that when
the cargo was loaded and so many people boarded, the ship drew more and the
water reached the boards, at a higher level /it usually had--reached the
dry boards, I mean--and water began entering the ship.  When we got/ the
water pumps, they did not work.

They started to bail the water out with buckets.  It was very difficult to
see if the water level was raising or getting lower because there were so
many waves.  I remember that there was a time when I sat there where they
were using the buckets and we formed a chain to attempt to figure out if
more water entered than was thrown out.  That lasted quite a awhile.  We
thought that if the water level continued to rise--we were already about 80
miles away--we would have to head to the coast and see if we could make it.
When they go the lifeboats... [corrects himself] not the /lifeboats but the
life jackets, they were very old/ and rotten.

I realized that the water started to go down little by little after a
frantic struggle which lasted hours.  I wondered if the people could
withstand this effort for so many days.  Apparently the humidity expanded
the wood and the gaps closed.  Water stopped seeping in.  What happened
with the ship?  We had tested it without the cargo and in the river.  It
lost about a third of its speed with those waves and the cargo.  We had
estimated we would reach Cuba in 5 days and the trip lasted 7.  The
comrades there were alarmed because they were estimating 5 days.  When we
arrived there there was no surprise.  We were expected.  We had to sail
away from the coast.

In sum, friends from Tuxpan, Veracruz, Mexico, Santiago de la Pena, the
fact of the matter is that it was a very difficult trip.  I believe that
had we known a little bit about sailing we wouldn't have put so many people
in the ship and would have had less problems.

We sailed 1,500 miles.  We suffered from hunger and thirst.  Due to the
last minute circumstances in which he had to make the trip, we had little
food and water.  The trip lasted 2 more days.  I am going to tell you more.
We arrived with an inch of fuel in the tanks.  We had installed many tanks,
cans of fuel.  /Then the landing was very difficult.  We/ had a sailor.  We
had a professional sailor among us.  He had been in the navy in Cuba and
had been expelled by Batista.  He joined us.  We told him we were are going
to a certain specific point.  When we got there, there was terrible
confusion with the buoys in the landing spot.  He turned around.  He did it
again so he could orient himself.  It was already daytime.  He did it three
times.  I only asked him once:  Are you sure that this is the island of
Cuba and we haven't landed on Jamaica or somewhere else?  [laughter] I
said:  Is this Cuba?

I asked the question formally.  That is land, don't turn around again and
head toward the coast at full speed.  This is how we arrived.  We arrived
in a swampy area, the ship stopped, we got off.  Men got stuck in the mud.
It was very hard to land.  We had our problems.  This was what we could
call our adventures in that ship.  We later had our problems.  I am not
going to tell you the story.  I don't want to take advantage of your

We landed on 2 December.  Today it's been exactly 32 years and 2 days since
we landed.  What a coincidence.  I have been speaking of coincidences.
What a coincidence that at the time we come here 32 years have just gone
by.  On the 5th, we were being hounded a lot.  We had the air force flying
constantly over us.  Since we were so concerned over sailing matters we
didn't notice the troops that were approaching by land.  Also, we lacked
experience.  We had very little experience at that time.  A guard post was
very close and as a result the Batista army attacked us by surprise and our
forces were scattered.  It was a very hard and difficult time.  Just a /few
of us met again, put together seven rifles again, and under very difficult
circumstances resumed the fighting to obtain the victory after 25 months.

Perhaps/ it would have been better to take a smaller group since we had to
start again with seven.  We could have gone with 30 or 40 men in that ship
and arrived much more safely.  Life taught us.  We had the idea of taking
300 men with automatic weapons; we ended up with 1 automatic weapon, 82 men
instead of 300, and at the end we had to resume fighting with 7.  It was
truly a very difficult struggle.

I tell you this so you know this part of history, the importance the
"Granma" had, the reasons why this place was chosen, and the reasons why we
are such good friends.  We are very good friends with the people from
Veracruz, Tuxpan, of this small town here [applause] precisely, because of
all these events which are historic today, precisely when we are about to
mark almost 30 years of the triumph of the revolution, a revolution which
brought true independence to our country, freedom to our people, social
justice to our people.  Thirty years are about to be marked.

I was saying that it seems unreal.  Who was going to tell us the night of
25 November when we left that one day we would hold this ceremony here,
that one day we would meet during a trip to Mexico with the residents of
this place, people from Veracruz, with you?  Who could imagine this?

So many dangers were ahead of us then, death was waiting for us.  To return
here after 30 years of struggle and meet with you... [leaves sentence
unfinished] This small town did not exist at the time.  There were some
isolated houses.  This place was very isolated.  It would have been
difficult to use this house for what we did then.  [laughter] No matter how
little movement, you would have noticed that strange things were taking
place.  This house was pretty isolated.  There /was practically no
population on this side of the river.  People lived on/ the other side of
the river.

So you can see other coincidences, at that time, we had the honor of
meeting Fernando.  They were the authority, immigration authorities, and we
were revolutionaries trying to get back to Cuba.  Each one was trying to
fulfill his duty.  Fernando was trying to fulfill his duty and we were
trying to fulfill our duty.  We became friends, each one doing his own
thing.  Since we had had some difficulties.... [leaves sentence
unfinished] We had been in prison.  We were in prison in (Miguel Sul).
Interior Secretariat officials had to supervise us.  We met Fernando under
those exceptional circumstances.  What is this story's merit and the most
beautiful thing about it?

When we were arrested--a group of us--they thought we were part of the
mafia or something, or that we were smugglers.  When they found out that
we were revolutionaries, that we were people driven by ideals, honest
people, they began to feel sympathy toward us.  He spoke today with such a
great admiration toward the comrades that I believe a whole book could be
written based on that.  He met those comrades because of their seriousness,
their firmness, their serenity while faced with adversity.  He felt
sympathy toward those comrades.  That sympathy turned into friendship.  It
was a type of friendship that everyone continued to fulfill with their
duties.  His duty was not to allow us to carry out activities which were in
conflict with Mexico's international responsibilities.  Our duty was to go
forward with our cause.  This kind of contradiction took place.  We had the
opportunity of seeing not only Fernando's humane nature, but also that he
was a gentleman.  He treated us as a true gentleman.  [applause] He treated
us with great respect, with great respect.  [repeats] This is unforgettable
for us.

Friendship came from there.  It has become closer and stronger through the
years.  Don't you think it is also truly extraordinary that this friend is
also from Veracruz?  [applause] Don't you think so?  Don't you think it is
unreal and incredible that this friend would become governor of Veracruze?
[applause] Don't you think it is unreal and incredible that this /friend is
today interior secretary of/ the Mexican Government?  [applause] Those who
met under those circumstances over 32 years ago spoke here today.  One
comes representing that country he wanted to liberate and the other
representing the Mexican Government, the president /of the Republic.
[applause] Do not you think all these coincidences are unusual and truly
extraordinary, that we are/ all here, that the two of us are alive
[laughter] and each one of us has a tremendous responsibility.  It seems it
was done through magic.  It appears as through someone invented all this
and that we are telling you a lie.

See what a thing, how many coincidences there are?  I was thinking about
this when Fernando was delivering his eloquent speech today at noon.  I
thought I had to tell the truth regarding this story so that my Tuxpan
neighbors know what happened.  [applause]

What vindicates this cause?  What makes it appealing?  It was a just cause.
The story is beautiful because our cause was just.  Beautiful stories can
come from just causes.  I believe this is a beautiful story which came from
a just cause, from men with principles, men with honor, gentlemen.  They
created this almost magical legend.  It is a legend.

The inauguration of this friendship museum is very exciting for me.  We
are terribly grateful.  In this return visit--well, I have been in Mexico
twice but in the area of Yucatan.  This is the first time I have returned
here.  This is the first time I returned to the capital.  It coincided
exactly with the anniversary.

The trip to Mexico has been very exciting; to come back and see the changes
in Mexico, its advances, its progress.  I truly appreciated the invitation
extended to me to participate in the change of government.  It was not an
easy trip because there were some internal differences, views, and
opinions.  I actually came to Mexico to fulfill an international duty in
our struggle trying to unite wills, trying to achieve a greater unity among
our countries in the search for solutions to the dramatic problems Latin
American people are suffering today.  Nothing is farther from my purpose or
wishe than to get involved in Mexico's internal affairs.  [applause] We
will never do that because, as I said, Mexico is like a second fatherland
to us.

Mexico was the country that always respected Cuba.  Mexico was the only
Latin American country that refused to obey U.S. orders.  [applause] Mexico
was the only country that did not sever relations with Cuba.  Mexico was
the only country that did not betray the cause of solidarity among the
people of Latin America and Cuba.  Cuba and Mexico have waged many battles
together in the international sphere, in the United Nations and other
fields.  For us and all democratic, progressive, revolutionary men in Latin
America, Mexico has an enormous importance.  We need Mexico.  Mexico is one
of the countries with the most prestige in the world.  We know it and we
need Mexico's prestige.  It is a force in the common struggle the Third
World countries have to wage.  If there is a vote at the United Nations and
if Mexico has been suggested for a position, the great majority of the
countries always vote in favor of Mexico.  Mexico is a common treasure for
Latin Americans.  [applause]

I know that my visit was not completely understood.  Some were hurt.  My
greatest wish would be that, upon my return to Cuba from this place which
revives so many emotions, nobody felt hurt by our visit.  I wish that the
higher goals, to which we have devoted our lives, were understood.  I wish
that the absolute respect, in addition to the admiration, sympathy, and
affection /we feel toward Mexico in this hemisphere/ was understood.  Our
relations are exemplary.  They are model relations in this hemisphere which
go beyond ideological matters.  As Fernando said, one took one road and the
other took another one.  They were two great historical revolutions on this
hemisphere.  The Mexican revolution was a result of the time in which that
revolution took place and the Cuban revolution was a third revolution which
is the Nicaraguan revolution.  [applause]

They are also /suffering from blockades and aggressions and have also
counted on Mexico's solidarity/.  We are proud of the relations we have
with Mexico.  They are a model for the world.  Mexico always respected us.
It was always loyal, always solidary.  We have always respected Mexico. We
have always been, are, and will be loyal and show solidarity with Mexico.

Those who are here and have seen this museum and participated in these
events know that what I am saying are not merely words.  It is impossible
for us to forget the /hospitality or respect we received in Mexico/.  It is
impossible for us to forget that this was the cradle of our last struggle
for independence.  That we left from this beautiful and dear land, through
this river, through this gulf which is near here.  We will never forget
this and it will never be forgotten.  [applause]

This is why we are so glad to see the ones gathered here; peasants,
laborers, workers, intellectuals, artists, military men, /soldiers,
sailors, officers, people, and everything that Mexico/ is today, at this
time of remembrance, at this time for us to show our gratitude.

I already said very frankly that the task we had to carry out forced us to
technically violate the law not morally or politically.  Even so, if an
apology is needed I apologize for technically violating the law.
[applause] I ask you to pardon us for having to technically violated the
law.  We were driven by noble goals.  Today these goals are expressed in
the close friendly ties.  I can tell you Veracruz residents and all
Mexicans, that Mexico will always count with Cuba, [applause] that Mexico
will always count unconditionally with Cuba.  [applause] This is the fruit
of the "Granma," Tuxpan, and the things that happened 32 years ago.

We have so many things in common.  We have so many similarities.  When I
was on the Poza /Rica road heading here, I felt I was in Cuba--Cuba's
mountains, Cuba's countryside, Cuba's vegetation--the similarity is/
incredible.  It is pleasant to arrive and find a group of people that
reminds us so much of our own people.  I was asking Fernando.  Fernando:
How do they behave?  Do they behave well during ceremonies?  [laughter] Do
they listen or do they talk a lot?  He said:  No, they behave well, they
pay attention, [words indistinct] I have been able to confirm here that you
truly behave well.  [applause] You remind us so much of our own people that
I could not tell the difference in the same way I can't tell the difference
between the landscape.  If I can't tell the difference between our
landscape and the landscape of this region in Mexico, I can't tell the
difference between the landscape of its people.  Our people are so similar
to you.  I see how you react, in exactly the same way.  I see that you have
such discipline, pay so much attention, are so happy, so receptive, that I
would be lying if I said I feel as though I am in a foreign country.  I
would be lying if I said I felt as though I am meeting with other people
who are not my own.  [applause]

How nice it is to come here and not have to say:  Good morning, good
afternoon, [preceding four words in English] [laughter] find me an
interpreter so I can speak.  It is nice to come here and be able to
converse in the same language.  See how many things in common we have.
Think that this doesn't happen here only.  The same thing happens if you go
to Nicaragua.  We can speak there in our same language.  If you go to
Panama, we can speak in the same language, or to Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru,
Argentina.  We can understand each other in the same language.  If we go to
Brazil, although they speak Portuguese the languages are so similar that,
we can understand each other.  I speak in Spanish and speak in Portuguese
and we understand each other.

What great cultural richness Latin American people have.  How many
fabulous resources Latin American countries have.  How much fabulous talent
Latin American people have.  How much strength, how much vigor, how much
culture, how many principles, how many human values our Latin American
brother countries have.  Why are we going to be separated from each other?
Why are we going to be divided?  This is how they want us, apart from each
other.  Those who want our richness, those who exploit us, want us apart
from each other.  They want us divided.  They want us to be pygmies.  They
want us to be dwarfs so they can play with the little dwarfs. [words
indistinct] but think what our united force means.  How much power.  How
much respect would it inspire.  What an extraordinary future.  This is why
we say that to struggle for the unity of our peoples, for the integration
of our peoples.  It is not a fast task, it is not an easy task, but perhaps
it is one of the most legitimate, most logical, and most just aspiration of
our countries.  We will achieve it some day.  Some day [applause] all
together will/ make up a great force as wished by the ones who founded
these countries, as Bolivar, Sucre, Hidalgo, Morelos, wanted, as the most
illustrious men of Mexico and Latin America have wanted.

This is why I believe this is an event of unity, not only of remembrance.
It is not a simple ceremony in which we inaugurated this friendship museum.
We are really inaugurating the museum of brotherhood.  We cannot speak of
friendship between Mexico and Cuba.  We have to speak of brotherhood.
[applause] I believe this is a ceremony of unity, of getting together, of
integration, and that you and all of us are contributing to unity and
integration of the Latin American brother countries.

We meet here today marking events that took place 32 years ago.  We see the
fruits of the seeds we planted then.  I believe that the time will also
come--in 20, 30 years or who knows how long because years will go by
again--and you will meet with people who have not /been born yet.  As we
are meeting/ today with people who had not been born 32 years ago.  I see
young ladies and young men who had not been born then.  This seems to be a
dream.  That we are meeting today with people who were born during the
course of these 32 years.  Time will go by and you will meet with new
generations here and in other places.  I also hope that in those meetings,
those ceremonies, you will be able to refer to how we have progressed, of
how much we have achieved in our unity.  Years will go by.  They go by, I
assure you.  I am telling this to the young ones.  Years go by, I assure
you.  This is such a simple thing.

Nevertheless, you have to capture it, you have to see it, you have to go
through the experience.  Years will go by and new progress will be made.
Years will go by and there will be new achievements, new successes, new
fruits.  Years will go by and there will be more hope.  Years will go by
and there will be more dignity.  Years will go by and there will be more
justice for all Latin American countries.

Many past times have /been difficult, sad, bitter.  On many occasions, our
progress has cost fighting, sweat, and blood.  The future is ours; it is
yours, Mexicans; ours, Cubans; and of all the rest of Latin American
brothers.  If one day 32 years ago we thought about certain objectives and
goals and today through time have seen many of those goals and objectives
fulfilled,/ as an optimistic man I am, as a man who life has taught to be
optimistic, as a man who life has taught to believe in man, in the ability
of man, in the quality of man, in the virtues of man, and the  miracles man
can make, allow me to dream to think, /and believe that those goals of
unity and integration among/ all our peoples, can become the giant we
should be.  Those dreams will also become a reality one day.

Dear brothers from Mexico, Veracruz, Tuxpan, and Santiago Pena, I thank you
for the warm reception, [applause] the attention you have paid to our
words, the unforgettable emotion, the happy day, the extraordinary moments
we have lived today.  Thank you very much.  Fatherland or death, we will
win!  [applause]