Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Addresses State Council on Drug Trial

PA1207050389 Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in Spanish 0030
GMT 12 Jul 89

[Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz, at the Council of State meeting in
Havana on 9 July--recorded]

[Text] Comrades of the State Council:

We are witnessing a unique situation and for this reason the State Council
has found it necessary to adopt a very important decision.

Realizing that this had to be done, I reached the conclusion over the
course of the process--and most particularly in its final stage--that it
was necessary that all State Council members be present during this
historic decision.  For this reason, we made special efforts to enable
Comrade Almeida [Juan Almeida Bosque] and Comrade Robaina [Roberto Robaina
Gonzalez], who were in Pyongyang, to urgently travel back to Cuba and be
ready to participate in the meeting of the State Council.

Comrade Fernandez [Education Minister Jose Ramon Fernandez] had been
designated to attend the inauguration of the Argentine president and we
decided to make a change and replace him with another comrade so that he
could attend this meeting.  Therefore, all the members of the State Council
are present.

I will need to speak somewhat at length to refer to certain background
data; to sort of recount what has happened; to give my points of view on
the way you have expressed yours; and also to perhaps contribute some
elements that may be helpful in adopting a final decision with regard to
this case.

I feel that this case has been characterized by its exceptional honesty.  I
do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that there has never been a
judicial process that involved such large participation, so much
information, so much clarity, and so much equitability.  I think that never
before have so many people been able to express their views in a process
like this.  Possibly, there has never been so honest a process.  I think it
is advisable to make a few remarks about this.

This has been an extremely brief trial, but the measures that were adopted
for this trial to be carried out with full objectivity and full justice
have also been exceptional.  I must say that even though the court was a
special military court--and military activities are characterized by
discipline--there was at all times absolute respect for the criterion of
the court and of the members of the court.

I was in close contact with the prosecutor.  I was also in contact with the
tribunal members throughout the process, but had no influence whatsoever on
the decision they eventually made.  Once the hearing had concluded I asked
the tribunal members about their views--first, out of respect for those
dignified, serious, and responsible comrades; and second, because we
believed that it was most important to hear what they thought about
everything they had ascertained and learned throughout the trial.

They came to a decision with absolute freedom.  Logically, we could exert
our influence on the prosecutor and his views because he is part of the
state, and he has to make sure that the law is enforced because that is his
mission.  However, the tribunal's mission was to judge and decide, and the
tribunal members took into consideration the prosecutor's request, but they
freely decided what sentence should be issued based on the gravity of the

They decided to reduce the number of death sentences.  They even decided to
increase the sentence, from 25 years to 30 years, for one of the
defendants, Miguel Ruiz [Poo].  They decided to reduce the sentence of one
of the convicted persons--from the 15 years that the prosecutor requested
to 10 years.  This viewpoint prevailed throughout the process.

We never tried to exert any influence on the investigators or their
viewpoints; and we did not try to exert any influence on the witnesses or
the defendants.  Therefore, this trial has been characterized by truly
exceptional cleanliness.  Also, and you know about this, during the
exchange of views we had at the Politburo, Central Committee, Executive
Committee, and Council of Ministers I said that the ultimate decision would
be made by the State Council--regardless of what the Politburo and Central
Committee members thought.

The State Council had to exert its constitutional rights and make the
ultimate decision if the final decision came under its jurisdiction,
meaning, if a death sentence might be issued or when a death sentence had
been issued against several of the accused.  Thus, it was clearly stated
that the ultimate decision of what should be done would not depend on the
Politburo, or the Central Committee, or the Council of Ministers; and that
the State Council would be absolutely free to carry out its duties.

You are the best witnesses to the fact that no one talked with any of the
State Council members; that I have not talked with any of them about their
views; that Comrade Raul nor any other vice president of the State Council
have even talked about the decision that must be made in today's meeting in
a truly free way.  Not all the State Council members are members of the
Politburo, but those who are, knew that they were completely free to
decide.  Not all are members of the central committee; we have here several
comrades who are members of the state council, but not members of the
central committee.  Not one of them was asked about his opinion; not one
was asked to state his views in advance, so we have respected--to the
smallest detail--the principles of equity and justice; and you have stated
your views accordingly.

It was also our idea that if all has been divulged--at the honor tribunal
and the trial sessions--then we also had to divulge what each one of us
said here.  Thus, the people would hear what each of us said and how the
state council meeting was carried out.  I believe that this will give the
people the opportunity to learn about all the views, arguments, and
criteria--although there is another issue that we have reasserted
throughout this process.  We said that the decision we adopted would not be
determined by public opinion or polls of people's opinion.

It could happen that most of the population had an opinion and we might
have to adopt another opinion.  Comrade Carlos Rafael [Rodriguez] talked
about that this evening, when referring to a leader's responsibility.  A
leader cannot think only about today or the near future; he must think in
the long term, meaning what is most convenient for our homeland, our
people, or the revolution--not today or tomorrow, but 10, 50, even 100
years from now.  If it were a matter of basing our decisions on simple
polls, then no meeting or state council decision would be necessary.

We know about other opinions and we know that the people think, but is is
my duty to say that this does not represent a determining factor in
circumstances like this.  It is best for us to coincide with what the
people think, but it does not necessarily mean that we have to do what the
people want or what the people think.  Our duty is to judge these events
with a lot of serenity, calm, reflection, and cold blood.

I think I am pretty well informed on the events that occurred.  As Raul
explained, I spent over 150 hours at the MINFAR [Ministry of Revolutionary
Armed Forces] alone since the main people responsible for these events were
arrested.  I have much information about what was discussed at the honor
tribunal and the oral hearing; about everything that was publicized, and
the publicity was very extensive.  Only a few things were not publicized
because they were too unpleasant.  These are things that have to do with
moral matters that could effect innocent people and turn out to be too
scandalous.  We decided that those things would not be publicized.

Errors were made, particularly in Ochoa's case.  There were violations of
certain revolutionary principles, and there were errors on an international
level that could have done our country a great deal of damage; these errors
involved very sensitive issues that were analyzed at the court of honor and
the oral proceedings, but were not published because they could have
created further problems and difficulties, even though they would have had
no impact on the decisions that had to be made.

There are certain quite important issues that must be raised, issues that
concern the revolution's history and struggles, its internationalist spirit
and missions, which were not mentioned because the comrades wanted to be
brief.  Brevity was necessary because there was not much time available.

One of these issues is what the Cuban people may think of our sending
thousands, tens of thousands of our soldiers on internationalist missions
under the leadership of an irresponsible, uncontrollable chief, under the
leadership of a chief capable of any adventure?  I believe it is very
important to explain this point, because a mistake in that direction could
make the Cuban people lose confidence in the party directorate, and in the
FAR [Revolutionary Armed Forces] directorate.  This is not, nor can it be
the case [with our chiefs].  All the military unit chiefs and the mission
chief are necessary elements, but it must be clear that, in fulfillment of
these internationalist tasks, it is impossible, it is inconceivable to
delegate to any military chief--regardless of how brilliant and capable he
may be--the power to make important strategic or tactical decisions in
fulfillment of those missions.  Not even if he were a Clausewitz [Prussian
general], the famous theoretician in military strategy, or a Bonaparte, the
famous warrior who is said to have been very capable in his time and his
era, our party and our revolution would not delegate such power to its
mission chief.  On each of these important internationalist missions, in
which the lives of thousands of men are at stake, these powers are and have
been exercised, I repeat, they are and have been exercised by the party's
directorate and the FAR High Command.  The lives of our people's sons, our
fighters, are so important that they cannot be placed in any hands but
those of members of the party directorate and the FAR High Command.

The world has witnessed brilliant generals, who have won wars at the cost
of many lives, of the sacrifices of many men.  One characteristic of our
revolution, since the days of Sierra Maestra, is its achievement of many
great victories, not the way those famous generals achieved victories, but
by making a minimum of sacrifices and experiencing a minimum of losses.  A
general might say:  I am going to win that battle at the cost of many
thousands of lives.  This has never been the revolution's philosophy or
doctrine.  The revolution did not take shape based on a military academy or
reading history books or books on strategy and tactics.  Our revolution
took shape alongside our men, during the days when we were just a handful.
We had this kind of experience for many years.

This is why I say that all the missions--those in Angola, Ethiopia,
everywhere--have been the responsibility of the party leadership and the
FAR High Command.  If anything went wrong, we would have been responsible
for that--absolutely responsible.  We were not going to blame any military
commander or leader for that.  It could not be any other way.  There is a
tendency throughout the world to credit individuals for achievements.
Often I am credited with all the revolution's achievements and people speak
about Castro's achievements and Castro's decisions when referring to the
achievements of the people and of the leadership as a whole.  I prefer
being made responsible for setbacks rather than for achievements.  During
wartime there is also a tendency to see the merits of the commander and to
forget the merits of the soldiers, the sergeants, the lieutenants, the
captains, and others.

The last phase of the Angolan War was truly heroic, extraordinarily heroic.
We know very well each person's merits during those heroic deeds.  We have
not forgotten for one second what our pilots did.  They carried out
thousands of missions and played a decisive role in Cuito Cuanavale.  We
have not forgotten our sappers, who laid thousands of mines and dismantled
enemy mines.  We have not forgotten our infantry men, our tank personnel,
our artillery men, the antiaircraft defense units, the explorers, and the
engineers, who also performed heroic deeds.  We are special witnesses of
their efforts and merits because at that time like today we have spent a
lot of time with the staff and have worked long hours for nearly 1 year
during which time the last phase of the Angolan War ended in victory.

This is why it is impossible not to consider this aspect when discussing a
case like this.  What were the circumstances under which those events took
place?  Amid a war, amid a war on which our country gambled--we might
say--everything.  It sent its best weapons and 50,000 men to that war.  If
you want to have an idea of what 50,000 men represent, let us multiply this
figure by 24.  That gives us 1,200,000.  It would be like the United States
sending 1,200,000 men to a theater of operations, or like the Soviet Union
sending 1,400,000 men.

The USSR is 28 times larger than Cuba, and this small country--which had a
military mission in Ethiopia and another military mission in the Congo,
with a relatively large number of men--was able to send 50,000 men to a
territory that is more distant from us than Moscow--and one must not be
guided by the map but by the flight time between Cuba and Angola.  Consider
the distance.  Our revolution, with its internationalist spirit, its combat
morale, its capacity for mobilization, was able--I repeat--to make a great
effort.  We sent this last reinforcement exclusively with our own means,
such as when the internationalist mission began in Angola.  Our ships were
the ones to carry the men and equipment.  On this occasion, we alone sent
reinforcements with our ships and our aircraft.  We sent the required
number of men and the means to solve the problem in that country.

It was precisely when this great deed was being accomplished--the biggest
internationalist feat Cuba has carried out--that these shameful and hateful
actions took place.  I asked the comrades on the General Staff to put
together a file of the messages we sent to Angola during that period--the
critical period.  Of course, they put together over 100 messages which I
had addressed to Ochoa.  I decided to go over all that material in order to
become familiar with what was happening there at every instant and to
compare it with everything that they were doing here, everything they were
doing here in connection with this problem.

Ochoa was named chief of the mission in Angola during early November 1987.
Everybody knows that Comrade Polo [Division General Leopoldo Cintra
Frias]--this is the nickname I gave him--had been in Angola for many
years.  When the situation became more complex, the High Command comrades
thought that it would be inconsiderate to send Comrade Polo back to Angola
and so they decided to send Ochoa.  The situation was not very critical; it
was getting worse but was not very critical.

I traveled to the USSR to attend the [celebration of] the 70th anniversary
[of the Soviet revolution] in those days.  The anniversary that year
occurred on the date 7 November.  I returned 2 to 3 days later, and between
the 7th and the 15th, the situation grew extraordinarily worse because of
the increasing South African onslaught and the danger that the
concentration of Angolan troops in Cuito Cuanavale would be destroyed or

At that moment, it was decided to send our best pilots as reinforcements.
We decided to reinforce the troops on 15 November 1987.  Everybody was
asking us to help overcome that situation, which was very critical.
Everybody was asking us to do something.  We ourselves understood that even
though we were in no way responsible for the errors that had led to that
situation, we could not sit still and allow a military and political
catastrophe to occur over there.  It was for this reason that on 15
November 1987 we decided to reinforce the troops in Angola and to take
adequate steps to resolve that crisis.

At that time, we already had Ochoa as chief.  However, we understood that
the most adequate man for that mission was not Ochoa.  He was not the most
adequate man for the mission because of his character, lack of sufficient
knowledge about the Angolans, and of relations with the Angolans.  We
looked for a solution which to my judgment, was quite correct.  Perhaps it
would have been humiliating for Ochoa to be replaced by Polo; perhaps it
would have looked like his qualities or capabilities were underestimated.
What we decided to do then was to send Polo as chief of the Southern Front.
The Southern Front is where the bulk of our forces were going to be
accumulated, where combat would be held, and where the main operations
would be carried out.  We left Ochoa as chief of the mission and assigned
Comrade Polo the task of heading the Southern Front because of its

We therefore established direct contact with the Southern Front to exchange
news and information and to send the High Command's instructions directly
to the Southern Front.  Nevertheless, we complied with the rules.  Cables
were sent to the chief of mission with instructions on what to do.  The
cables were later sent to the chief of mission and the chief of the
Southern Front.  The cables were initially sent to Ochoa, but were later
sent to Ochoa and Polo.  I believe it is very important for all the State
Council members to know about it, and you do, but--above--all it is
important for the people to know how all the missions have been carried

I carefully went through the messages because I wanted to assess Ochoa's
level of corruption--which we now know about--and his moral degeneration,
[not to mention] the fact that when we went there he already had drug
trafficking in mind; Jorge Martinez Valdez had already made a series of
contacts and was already trying to get his Columbian passport.  Ochoa knew
all about this.  How could this have exerted an influence on Ochoa's
behavior?  I sincerely believe that this had already exerted an influence
on Ochoa's behavior.

When I considered the material that I was looking over, I realized that he
deserved some criticism for the way he carried out his mission.  I am
obviously referring to the criticism that every chief must face.  That is
always necessary.  There will always be problems and it will always be
necessary to analyze everything and say:  This was not done correctly; this
should have been done this way instead.  Any General Staff will always
provide reasons for complaints.

I have been scrutinizing those messages, but I do not want to expand on
this too much because it is not a matter of telling a story; it is a matter
of reviewing what happened at the time and analyzing events to ascertain
the gravity of what was being done in other sectors.  It was known that
Ochoa did not like to write reports during his missions.  He was too lazy
to write reports--that is the truth.  There were complaints--and he was
always reproached for this--that he seldom sat down to dictate a report
during every mission that he carried out.

I remember that I sent him a cable on 2 December, when he had been there
only 3 weeks.  I will read paragraphs of the cables I have here, which
contain a lot of material.  There are more cables, but I will only read the
essential ones so that the problem will be better understood.  In one of
the paragraphs, I asked him if he had sent some information regarding the
instructions sent on the 30th; I was told that nothing had arrived, that he
generally sent little information.  I hope that such a custom will not
prevail in this situation.  That is what I told him on 12 December [date as

There is something else.  Even though Ochoa was not in charge of directing
the troops in southern Angola, where most of our men and our weapons were
located, he did play a key role because he was in Luanda.  The war was
being waged by two Armies, the Angolan and the Cuban Armies, and many
issues had to be coordinated with the Angolans, many problems had to be
solved.  A Center for the Direction of Operations [Centro de Direccion de
Operaciones, [CDO] was established at which Soviet advisers, Cubans, and
Angolans worked.

Obviously the Cubans, as can happen under any circumstances, did not always
agree with the CDO's decisions.  Ochoa was supposed to be there.  One day,
amid the crisis, it was reported that agreements had been reached at the
CDO when the situation at Cuito Cuanavale was critical.  The report
involved the movement of certain units, which were being taken from Cuito
and Menongue because a new situation had arisen in central Angola caused by
UNITA [National Union for the Total Independence of Angola] actions
supported by South African advisers.

In a cable dated 20 December, there is a paragraph where Ochoa is told:  I
am very angry over your unexpected, inexplicable ideas that clash with my
concept of the struggle in the south against South Africa, which is
fundamental in solving the problems created in Angola.  On 21 December I
sent another lengthy message.  I believe that the release of all this
material should be authorized when the history of this problem is written.
The time for that has not yet come.  However, in one paragraph I told
Ochoa:  I am unable to fully understand the reasons for your failure to
attend the CDO meeting, which I have inferred from your cable.  Important
decisions were made at that meeting and Ochoa, apparently, was not present.
This was on 21 December; complications in Cuito persisted, and our
airplanes flew missions every day.

At about this time, a certain theory emerged--the theory was Ochoa's--that
the South Africans had withdrawn, that there was no longer a crisis
situation in Cuito, and that certain troop movements could be made.  This
was on 2 January 1988.  I rejected this, Ochoa's first strategic proposal.
I must also add that during his entire tenure as chief of mission, he made
four strategic proposals, and they were all rejected.  I have maps and
plans with arrows pointing out directions; his four proposals were rejected
by the General Staff.  On four occasions he made strategic proposals, and
none was accepted.  One of these proposals involved Cuito, another involved
the central part of the country, another involved advancing through the
south, and yet another--made toward the end of his term as chief of
mission--involved the establishment of positions.  All four were rejected.

This one--and you can see the paragraph of a message sent on 12 January
1988--was his first proposal.  In the message I told him:  The situation in
Cuito Cuanavale has not been resolved as yet, despite the optimistic signs
you report.  If the 58th and 10th Brigades are transferred from Menongue to
Cuanza, only Cubans would be left in Menongue to make their way toward
Cuito if the 58th Brigade suffered serious problems with its logistical
mission.  As long as South Africa's intentions are not totally clarified,
there must be no thought of moving the 58th and 10th Brigades.

We could participate with the tactical group in the direction of Cuemba.
This would force us to place another tactical group at the bridge crossing
and to place the third group in Bie.  None would be left in Huambo and we
would be endangering the troops in two directions in the south.

Aside from the measures to be adopted in Luena, a difficult situation had
also arisen in Luena, which grew worse after the idea was adopted to remove
the two FAPLA [People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola] from
Menongue.  One has to be very careful about taking steps that may
destabilize what we have created in the south.  Of course, there are other
instructions here.

This was on the 12th.  And do you know what happened on the 13th?  A strong
attack.  It was the 13th or the 14th but this has to be precisely
determined.  It was an extremely heavy South African attack east of the
river, along a very extensive front defended by three Angolan brigades--the
21st, the 59th, and the 25th--with a 5-km distance between the brigades.  I
must make it clear that up to the moment of the attack we did not have a
single man in Cuito.  That was when the crisis arose and the first thing we
sent was advisers--experts in artillery, tanks, and other weapons--to help
the Angolans to use those combat means at that time.  We had not yet sent
any units.  The problem was very serious because there were 200 km of woods
between Menongue, where our troops were located, and Cuito Cuanavale.

In view of this situation--the enemy having attacked and dislodged the 21st
Brigade from its positions and threatening the two other brigades--we
decided on the 14th to send a tactical group with a tank battalion,
artillery, and the other weapons to cut directly across those two 200 km
and reach Cuito Cuanavale.  That was the day... [changes thought] The
telegram I mentioned was sent on the 12th.

The force advanced and we sent a telegram on the 17th, which read in some
paragraphs as follows:  Here are some ideas about the defense of Cuito.
You must analyze and try to either apply them the way we suggest or with
any changes you may want to suggest.  With the reinforcement from the
tactical group and the 10th Brigade, that brigade advanced with our
tactical group from Menongue to Cuito.  With the reinforcement from the
tactical group and the 10th Brigade we do not intend to cross the Cuito
River to the east.  The defense ring east of the river must be reduced, by
withdrawing the 59th and 25th Brigades to well fortified positions closer
to the river.  These two brigades must cover the east flank in order to
allow the 8th Brigade to resume its mission of carrying supplies.  The 8th
Brigade was Angolan.

Currently--we told them on 17 January--the positions of the 59th and 25th
Brigades are very unsafe.  They risk having their lines broken in the
direction of the position where the 21st Brigade was located.  We must stop
running these risks.  This was on 17 January, when what we might call our
battle to readjust the lines east of the river began.  Cuito Cuanavale...
[changes thought] The true Cuito Cuanavale lies west but there were a
number of brigades east of the river which depended on a bridge and we
began fighting on the 17th to readjust the lines.  I must point out that
when we sent the tactical group we asked the president, we asked the
Angolans... [begins again].  Actually, we asked the Angolans--this was
supposed to be handled through the Angolan General Staff--to allow us to
assume responsibility for defending Cuito.

Our Air Force was already playing a decisive role.  We had already sent a
tactical group by land.  We had already committed our forces in that
battle.  We asked the Angolans to give us the responsibility for that
battle.  Our mission received instructions and reported that we were
already responsible for the defense of Cuito.  On 26 January 1988, we sent
a cable.  We sent cables almost every day.  I have just selected some.  In
a portion of a cable we told him:  I do not understand what is being done
in Cuito.  Who has the highest authority in Cuito?  Often you do not bother
to explain to us what is being done, despite the fact that we are not
inflexible in our points of view and that we are always prepared to hear
your opinion.

Those instructions were sent on the 17th and by the 26th nothing had been
done.  It was exasperating.  It was decided that Ochoa should travel to
Cuba.  He arrived in Cuba on 31 January.  We called him specifically to
discuss the situation in Cuito and everything that had to be done there.
He left for Angola on 4 February, and he arrived there on the 5th.  He was
supposed to immediately exert efforts and overcome any resistance--if there
was any--from our Angolan allies or from other advisers in order to
readjust the frontlines.  Days went by and the frontlines were not

Meanwhile, we kept sending resources to Cuito Cuanavale.  Listen to this:
From here we were able to guess what was going to happen.  On 12 January, I
told him that the situation was not clear, that the danger was not over.
On the 14th, the enemy launched a big offensive.  In Angola, the theory was
that the enemy had already withdrawn.  Ochoa returned to Angola on the 5th.
He had instructions to readjust the line of battle east of the river, the
line that was 18 km east of the river, almost beyond the reach of our
artillery, with a 5 - km gap between brigades.  Almost 1 month went by and
the lines had not yet been readjusted.  He returned on the 5th with the
task of solving that problem.  On 14 February, Saint Valentine's Day, the
South Africans launched their big offensive.  It was carried out against
59th Brigade.  The attackers broke through the lines and marched along the
5-km gap between the 21st and 59th brigades.  The attackers began to
surround the 59th Brigade.  A very difficult situation emerged.  They could
have gone as far as the bridge and cut off three entire brigades.

This situation was prevented as a result of a violent counterattack by a
combined Cuban-Angolan tank company.  The enemy had to use more than 100
vehicles against this counterattack.  This counterattack stopped the enemy.
However, the company lost the seven tanks it had and 14 Cubans died as a
result of this action which, of course, was nevertheless not in vain
because it prevented a catastrophe and gave the 59th, the 25th, and the
21st brigades time to retreat.

On the 15th we sent Ochoa a message:  We are awaiting news and more
detailed information on what happened on the 14th east of Cuito.  We want a
report on Cuban casualties, and, if possible, on Angolan casualties, from
the three brigades that retreated.  We also want a report on the possible
loss of equipment, artillery, etcetera.  Further on I told him:  Following
the errors that have been committed and the time that has been wasted in
making adjustments for the defense of Cuito, it is now necessary to have a
cool head.  One consistent attitude of yours has been to underestimate
possible enemy actions.  We must be more alert and more aware to avoid
surprises and errors.  I will not hide from you the fact that here we are
bitter over what happened, because it had been foreseen and words of
caution were issued on several occasions.  We insisted on the readjustment
of the frontlines for almost 1 entire month.  What happened forced, of
course, a readjustment.

On the 20th I sent him another message informing him:  We have not received
on answer to two important questions:  How many tanks are in good enough
condition to move east of the river?  How many Angolan tanks are in good
enough condition to move to the west?  I am asking this because we are
considering the suitability of reinforcing the east side with some Angolan
tanks that have stayed west of the river so that the small force east of
the river will have at least 10 or 12 tanks.  You must be fully aware of
the dangerous situation that exists east of the river.  If the enemy breaks
through the lines of defense, the Angolan forces will find themselves with
their backs to the river and will face casualties from drowning, attacks,
and the prisoners could be countless.  This would be a catastrophe.  If
this happens, it will be very difficult to defend Cuito, and the political
and moral consequences for the Angolan Armed Forces and the Angolan
Government would be terrible.

The bridge that joined the east with the west had been destroyed.  The
enemy used unmanned aircraft [aviones automaticos] to destroy the bridge.
On 21 February, we sent him another message which, among other things
stated:  We cannot understand why things were going so slow in Cuito
Cuanavale.  A complete week has passed since the 14 February events, and,
with the exception of only two battalions from the 21st brigade, we still
have not gone to the west of the river.  According to our estimates,
approximately 3,500 Angolan soldiers remain on the other side of the river
and a large amount of equipment has to be transferred to the west.  The
worst part is that, according to news received today, the bridge has been
rendered totally useless because several sections have been destroyed,
making the bridge virtually impossible to cross.  We were also informed
that three rolls of rope are going to be sent to Cuito tomorrow, Monday.
What will happen if tomorrow the enemy breaks through the lines and uses
all its strength against the river area?

We have lost many days and cannot understand how our instructions or simply
our points of view are conveyed to our people in Cuito.  We do not know who
the person responsible for receiving and implementing our instructions is.
We do not even know if our instructions or points are view are known over
there.  Something is wrong with the line of communications for passing on
our orders.  I am basing my instructions on your information that whatever
happens there is our responsibility.

It also seems to us that adequate precautions are not being taken in the
area.  The area commanders are not aware of the political, military, and
moral consequences that a disastrous confrontation with the forces that are
to the east of the river could cause.  These forces would not even have a
few ships to do something comparable to what the British did with its fleet
in Dunkirk.  Under these conditions, I believe that Polo should remain in
Cuito until the most serious problems are resolved.  I sent him an urgent
message giving him these orders.

It is my belief that the formula proposed in the message I sent yesterday
should be adopted without any hesitance, that is, a heavily fortified
defensive position using an amount of soldiers not to exceed the size of a
brigade, which should be maintained at the eastern section of the river.
The lines of defense should be widespread and the available tanks should be
positioned at the rearguard.  I hope that tonight the artillery, the scant
transportation vehicles available, and the remaining personnel from the
21st and 8th Brigades will start to be passed to that side of the river.
We insisted and insisted that the equipment be passed to this side, that
all the artillery be sent to the east side of the river, that our lines be
reduced there, and, in short, that all the necessary measures that had to
taken under those circumstances were in fact taken.

Polo, in fact, went there and solved the problem.  He adjusted the lines,
and, from that moment on, all South African attacks came up against the
defensive position along the east side of the river.  As soon as they began
to get near, they would be hit by artillery--which was located to the west
and could be supplied with ammunition more easily--they would encounter
antiaircraft attacks, they would walk onto mined fields, and they several
times crashed headlong into the defensive position which they were never
able to conquer.  During this period we had almost no casualties.  The
casualties were minimal and the enemy crashed against our positions.  Cuito
Cuavanale became a trap for the enemy.

What was happening at that time?  Martinez was taking steps to put his
travel plans in order.  He was getting his passport.  He was making
contacts at that time.  Well, how long did this critical situation last [in

General Lorente was sent to Cuito Cuanavale on 6 March.  He was to take
command of the Southern Front in Lubango.  On 6 March, our forces were
ordered to advance south along the right flank.  The most important of all
strategical operations had begun while the enemy was launching attacks in
Cuito Cuanavale.  I must also note that all these actions carried out in
Cuito Cuanavale took place under constant bombing of South African
long--range artillery, which fired thousands of projectiles at that
location during the months Cuito Cuanavale was under siege.  All the
actions I mention were carried out amid the incessant bombing of South
African artillery.

However, we had already successfully prevented the enemy from occupying
Cuito Cuanavale, stopped them, wore them out, and had begun our advance
toward the right flank.  The order to advance was issued on the 6th
[corrects himself], rather on 10 March; the troops started to march south.
That was also a very important and critical period, because our scouting
parties began to fight against South African scouting parties.  There were
a number of clashes, and I recall that we waged another battle during that
period:  in Cuito Cuanavale it was to readjust the lines of battle; in the
south we were going against Ochoa's idea that infantry or scouting parties
should advance on foot.

After analyzing certain aspects of the terrain, including the lack of water
and the long distances involved, we advocated using vehicles in our
scouting operations--that is, that we should not send troops 50 or 60 km
from their bases without a vehicle being at least 8 or 10 km away from the
troops in the scouting parties, because traveling in vehicles offers
advantages and disadvantages.  I argued that we should seize both the
advantages of exploring on foot and in vehicles.  At any rate, that is
another long story.

Regarding this period, I will refer to something that was happening in
June.  What was happening in June?  June was a critical month.  Our troops
were approaching the border.  Our closet airfields were in Lubango and
Matala, 250 km away.  They were hardly being used then; they could not be
used.  That is why on 22 March we began to build an airport in Cuito
Cuanavale [corrects himself], rather in Cahama.  That was on 22 March. We
sent Ochoa a very brief cable that read as follows:  What is needed and how
long would it take to make the Cahama runway operational for fighter planes
if we worked at full speed?  The battle then began.  Polo took control of
the undertaking and collected all the equipment he could.  We sent him new
equipment from Cuba, including trucks, bulldozers, and haulers, that is,
all the means necessary to build this airport rapidly and at full speed,
which was another great accomplishment.  We built it in a few weeks.  The
airport's first runway was ready and a second one was being built by June.
In June, it was already operational.  I will further elaborate on the
airports later because an important issue pertains to the airports.

What was the situation on 7 June 1988?  I have a cable that summarizes
everything.  I was hesitant as to whether I should read it because it
contains some plans we had at that time.  However, I believe that I will
read it because it demonstrates that the peace process had advanced
significantly and had become irreversible.  We had received word about a
possible massive South African surprise air attack against our advance
units.  I sent a cable to Ochoa and Polo:  News of a possible South African
surprise air attack against Cuban - Angolan troops should not be
underestimated.  It made some sense.  Our troops must heavily protect their
shelters.  Antiaircraft units must be in a state of maximum alert,
particularly at dawn, at dusk, and during the daytime.  Study possible
defensive actions by placing Air Force planes on guard duty in Cahama.  Be
ready to counterattack with as many aircraft as possible to completely
destroy Ruacana water reservoirs and transformers.  This must be
implemented as soon as possible after an attack.

Plans also should be prepared to hit (Ochicata) and nearby air bases as a
response to the attack and according to the size of the enemy action.  The
Cahama group and everything that is available will have to be used for
this.  Do not wait for orders--just look at the powers he had--to carry out
the action if there is a strong enemy attack against our troops.  Our
attack must be sudden and quick.  I reiterate the need for the troops to be
on maximum alert and protected; make maximum use of antiaircraft weapons.
The Pechora de Matala Regiment should get there as soon as possible,
preferably at night so that there can be groups in Humbe and Cahama.  Keep
the tactical group at this point.  The Tchipa personnel should be
particularly on the alert.  The planned movements should be carried out
bearing in mind these risks.  Decisive events may soon be taking place.  I
repeat:  Decisive events may soon be taking place.  This was on 7 June.

That same day, I wrote Jose Eduardo [Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos
Santos].  There was always--and this is something I must stress--there was
coordination, an exchange of letters, between Jose Eduardo and myself.
There was close coordination.  Every step taken by our troops was reported
to him.  Every strategic operation was coordinated with the Angolans.  I
had already sent him other letters on this issue.

I told him:  Dear Comrade Jose Eduardo:  As you know, our intelligence
services have received reports that the South Africans are planning a
massive surprise air attack against the Angolan--Cuban troops in southern
Angola.  There is a certain logic to this report, if we take into
consideration the despair of the South Africans in the face of the defeats
and failures they have sustained, both in the military as well as in the
diplomatic fields.  They might try their luck in changing the correlation
of forces by using their Air Force so they will sustain the least possible
number of white casualties.  Early this morning, we sent a message to Ochoa
and Polo warning them not to underestimate the reports.  We told them to
place all the forces on a state of maximum alert, to take all security
measures, and to have our aircraft ready to take off and repel the attack.

We notified the Soviets of the intelligence reports indicating that there
could be a quick and immediate response to any sudden, surprise, massive
air attack launched by the enemy.  We were warning everyone of the danger
of the possibility that we might have to launch a strong attack in northern
Namibia.  All possible measures were taken to protect the personnel and the
technical equipment; all air defensive measures were taken.  As the troops
advanced toward the south, more and more groups were being sent from Cuba,
full regiments with antiaircraft rockets.  Therefore, we became completely
superior in antiaircraft rockets and we became superior in air attacks.
What happened?  What happened [repeats himself]?  The South Africans began
to move forces.  At a certain time they tried--just like they were doing in
Cuito with their artillery--to begin shooting cannons.

One day--I believe it was on the 26th, yes, 26 June--they launched 200
missiles against Tchipa, where our forces were.  We then sent a cable to
Ochoa and Polo:  We must respond to today's artillery attack against
Tchipa.  We believe that the first step must be a strong air attack against
the camp, military installations, and South African personnel in Calueque
and its environs.  We must do the best we can to prevent the loss of
civilian lives.  If the enemy's artillery can be located, strike it
harshly.  Other kinds of attacks must also be prepared in the event that
circumstances dictate other types of responses.  As a possible future step,
we must decide whether to strike the military bases first and leave the
Ruacana hydroelectric complex for later, or vice versa.  Troops should also
be on the alert against any land attack against Tchipa.  Let us know what
you plan to do with the 85th Tactical Group, and under what conditions you
would send it to Tchipa.  You must accelerate the construction of shelters
in Cahama and the new landing strip.  This happened on the 26th.

The attack against Calueque took place on the 27th, and it was quite a
destructive attack.  We were waiting to see what would happen next.  I sent
Ochoa and Polo a cable on 27 June:  Within the next few hours or days, we
must be on a maximum state of alert, awaiting any possible response from
the enemy.  You must be ready to strike hard against the enemy bases in
northern Namibia.  In other words, you must have a response ready in the
event of a massive enemy air attack.  In this regard, you must analyze how,
with more forces, you could annihilate the enemy.  There must always be a
point at which you will simply use the most available means.  The Ruacana
hydroelectric complex will not change location.  Therefore, it will be
there when it is its turn, sooner or later, depending on the various
situations that might arise.  However, it is logical to believe that if the
enemy action is serious, we must first attack the military targets.

We have given them our initial response.  Now it is up to them to decide
what to do and if they should continue the escalation.

On the 27th the South Africans raised a big fuss over the attack, but they
restrained themselves militarily.  Our response had been quite strong.  We
felt that the hydroelectric complex was going to acquire strategic
importance.  They did not have water from Calueque, but they had water from
Ruacana.  We had drafted the plans according to the situation.  We would
hit them at one or the other point, depending on the enemy action.  This
was on 10 June.

In September or October, when it is said that we were engaging in all those
black market operations, what happened?  Had peace arrived?  Peace had not

Here we have a message dated 10 October 1988 in which I told Ochoa and
Polo:  The negotiations have reached an impasse.  The South African demands
are unacceptable.  Because great concessions had been made in Brazzaville,
we took an inflexible position in new York.  Although there is talk of new
meetings in Brazzaville, we must not lend too much importance to the
matter.  We must prepare for the impasse, although I do not think the South
Africans want to resume hostilities.  We must remain alert, especially to
guard against the risk of air attacks.  We must prepare for rainy season.
Just as we told Ochoa and Polo, the frontline units must remain in Calueque
and Ruacana.  The brigade in Donguena and the brigade located between
Tchipa and Ruacana must be withdrawn.  A joint Cuban--Angolan unit can
remain in Tchipa.  The remainder of the troops must retreat to the
Cahama-Xangongo line.  The antiaircraft units must be deployed along the
Cahama-Mucope-Humbe-Xangongo line.  We must not lose time.  Our aircraft
must be prepared to support the frontline units in Calueque, Ruacana, and
Tchipa.  The Calueque and Ruacana Dams must be blown up if the enemy
attacks our frontline units.  We did not leave many troops there, as
supplying them was difficult, and it was almost rainy season.  Frontline
units remained there, but they were instructed to blow up the dams if they
were attacked.  The political work must be directed at increasing the
troops' combat readiness and at preparing for the impasse.  According to
reports by Western diplomats, the South Africans have concentrated large
military forces in Namibia.  We must try to confirm this.  Our duty is to
be prepared for any outcome.  This struggle will be won by the side that
has the best ability to resist.

These messages will give you and the people an exact idea of what was
happening in Angola all those months, both in the initial phase of the
crisis and in the final phase.  All of those messages I am referring to
discussed the fighting in the south and the movements of Cuban
personnel--Cubans mixed with Angolan and SWAPO [South West African People's
Organization] fighters.  Sometimes they were Cuban-SWAPO units, and at
other times they were Cuban--Angolan units when we expected decisive, large

In fact these large battles did not occur because our troops were quite
strong.  The enemy realized that we were very powerful and had taken
security measures such as the construction of the airport and the
reinforcement of our available air strength and antiaircraft weapons.  I
believe that this was the key to success, the achievement of the
fundamental objectives without sacrificing thousands of lives.  If great
battles had to be waged, they were waged because there was no other
alternative.  The idea, however, was to achieve objectives with the minimum
number of casualties, which we were successful in doing.  The idea was to
always be in a state of readiness, always foreseeing all dangers, and
situations that might arise.

At that time, comrades, we must not forget that when these things were
happening, when thousands of projectiles struck Cuito Cuanavale--because
the siege of Cuito Cuanavale lasted many months--when the men were
preparing for decisive actions, when approximately 40,000 Cubans troops
were mobilizing in the south and preparing for that decisive battle,
Martinez was meeting here with some Colombian drug traffickers, later with
some Mexican drug traffickers, and finally with de la Guardia's people, and
the people in his group, organizing drug trafficking operations.  In April
and May he was meeting with Escobar in Colombia.  In June--which is the
time to which these cables refer, this was the time of the Calueque
events--they were waiting for a ship with 2 tons of drugs, a ship that was
supposed to arrive 2 months after the meeting.

It is impossible to forget this.  It is difficult for us to forget this
because we experienced this drama, these risks, this struggle; we lived it
day by day.  We received the news of every man that fell during a battle or
during a mission--people who died in battle, or in a mine field, or in an
accident.  We heard about this every day.  We felt responsible for each of
those men's lives.  We felt responsible for all of those men, for each one
of them, for the 50,000 men.

We were virtually in charge of the government [not further identified] in
1988.  We were in charge of the government from mid-November until the end
of that year.  We devoted all our time, all our time [repeats himself] to
that struggle, to the war.  It could not have been otherwise.  We had to
take responsibility for whatever happened there.  Even the revolution was
at stake there, because if this was a decisive battle against apartheid
representing a defeat of large proportions, it was also a battle for the
revolution, which could have meant a huge defeat for the revolution, which
could have meant just, or altruistic our cause.  I think that even the
revolution was at stake in that battle.  We did not even attend to
government affairs; at least I did not attend to them.  The central
government was also working on this.  I devoted at least 80 percent of my
time to this battle.  We set aside fundamental matters in view of the
graveness of the situation that had arisen there.

There is no doubt--and this will be historically documented for the glory
of our fatherland, our party, and our heroic combatants--that a situation
that had seemed hopeless was mastered and peace was attained.  This is
precisely why it happened: Because the efforts of the party and the Armed
Forces High Command were completely devoted to this task.  If it became
necessary to send a ship, to load a ship, the High Command took less than 2
hours to get that ship ready.  If it became necessary to deploy a group of
missile experts, they would do it.  We must point out that we had a
wonderful commodity: our people's enthusiasm, our people's heroic spirit,
our people's generosity.  These are the same people who today demand
justice.  All of them went there--workers, peasants, those who were part of
the Armed Forces reserves conscripts who volunteered.  Each combatant who
went to Angola went there as a volunteer.

At the same time that we were inscribing the most glorious page in our
history, the most shameful page in our history was being written precisely
by the chief of the military mission in that country.  There is a factor
that must be analyzed here, by which I mean the history of the black market
deals, allegedly made to help the troops.  Gentlemen:  Do you believe that
it is possible to help an army of 50,000, to build an airport in 6 or 7
weeks by collecting kwanzas at the candonga [black market]?  Who would
believe that story?  That is the most ridiculous thing one could ever hear.
Here is a message that was once sent:  What would be required and how long
would it take to convert the Cahama landing strip into a runway for fighter
planes if we worked at full speed?  That was just a question.  Just tell us
what is necessary and how long it will take and we will send all that we
have here, as we did so that the Cahama [landing strip] could be built.

If it is a matter of building the Catumbela and Cabo Ledi [landing strips],
we will also use every means and resource the country has available,
because the country gave top priority to the war in Angola.  We even sent
candy to the soldiers.  There was not a single day that I did not ask the
High Command how many tons of candies, cookies, or chocolate had been sent
to the soldiers, how were the soldiers doing, what kind of nylons [as
heard] they had, how were they sleeping, what kind of mattresses they had,
what kind of food they ate.  Everything the country had was available to
them.  How many bags of cement?  Sixty thousand.

I still remember when the High Command asked about the ship, how many bags
were on each ship, when the ship was leaving, and whether or not there was
enough paper for the bags that had to be sent to Angola.  We also asked how
many ships were leaving, as well as many questions pertaining to Angola.
We wondered:  Would it be better to send asphalt from Cuba or buy it in
Portugal, Europe, anywhere where we could get it faster, paying for it what
we could.

If everything we had was available for that front, for the battle, and if I
said:  We must set up an ice cream factory in southern Coppelia, then we
set up an ice cream factory in southern Coppelia so that the troops could
have everything they needed.  Right, that was our concern--Did they have
medicine, equipment, shoes, everything?  This was the High Command's main
concern.  We were worried about the material needs of the troops, and we
were willing to send the entire resources of the country to Angola, what we
had and what we did not have [as heard].

How can one fight a war by gathering kwanzas?  That was simply a pretext to
cover up the theft of money and resources.  This, unfortunately, is the
truth; it is very sad, but it is the truth--the front's needs were used as
an excuse.  In the zones of operation, they were authorized to barter, but
not to engage in black market activities.  The zones of operations were the
cattle areas.  Peasants had their herds there.  However, because of the
war, they had no resources.  Peasants were not interested in money; they
were interested in obtaining merchandise.

Consequently, the command was authorized to barter in that area.  It was
legal and the Angolans knew that; everyone knew that.  Bartering could be
carried out on the battlefront.  In the south, troops bartered sugar, salt
or any other foodstuff for other things that the peasants had.  We did not
steal a single lamb, goat, or cow from any peasant in the area.  We paid
for everything, but we paid in the only way we could--with merchandise.
What Ochoa did, in a subtle way, was to barter, using the excuse that he
had to solve problems or meet needs.  He did this based on the idea that he
was authorized to do it in the zones of operation.

This probably did not draw too much attention.  It is understandable that
some officers would be confused if he told them that his bartering was to
cover troops' needs or to build the airport.  Had he truly done that, he
still would have been wrong.  It was incorrect to have engaged in black
market activities.  It was incorrect to have sent an officer, or a captain
to carry sacks and sell them for kwanzas on the black market.  It would not
be so bad if this money was to be used in the war, but that was not
actually the case.  Saying that this was done to help troops was merely a
pretext.  It is possible that Ochoa turned in a few kwanzas, but in an
amount insufficient even to build a square meter of the airport.  We know
how an airport is built and how it is built during a war.  The airport was
used as a pretext to engage in more operations.  We saw how the money from
these operations wound up in Cuba, and from Cuba, in an account in Panama.

There is no justification for this.  How could we get involved in black
market operations there, even if it were for the troops' sake?  How could
we get involved in the black market if we were receiving $20 million per
year for technical civilian cooperation?  This cooperation was being paid
for at a very high price.  We had thousands of men over there.  We received
$20 million for civilian, not military, cooperation.  Nothing was ever paid
for the military cooperation.  We had thousands of workers there, including
teachers and doctors.  The country received approximately $20,000, charging
a good price... [corrects himself] $20 billion... [corrects himself] $20
million.  That was a low price; foreign experts in Angola charged four or
five times more than our experts charged.

However, considering Angola's economic problems and the difficulties it
faced in 1983, in the wake of Cangamba and after Cangamba [not further
identified], when Jose Eduardo [Dos Santos] visited Cuba, we asked him not
to pay us anything for the technical cooperation.  We told him that we
would continue to offer technical cooperation.  In the past 6 years, we
have not received $120 million to which we were entitled.  [This shows] how
a country makes sacrifices in its internationalist efforts.  This shows how
sacrifices were made in the area of technical cooperation.  I am not
speaking of sacrificing a life; I am not speaking of the blood of our
nation's children, which cannot be repaid with any amount of money in the
world.  If we were even donating civilian cooperation, how can it make any
sense to have engaged in black market operations in Angola?  This cannot be
explained.  This has no justification whatsoever.

Well, later on, things were happening here.  There was this business
concerning the account in Panama--this is very important; this is very
serious.  How was the Panama account opened?  It was opened with ill-gotten
money.  The Panama account was opened with stolen money.  The $200,000
Martinez had was ill-gotten money.  Money was stolen from the Nicaraguans,
and money was kept there; that was how the account was opened.  Money was
stolen from the Angolans, for they handed over money to buy communications
equipment.  The communications equipment was obtained at a lower price and
they [the defendants] kept whatever was left and placed that money in the
account in Panama.  They stole from Angola on the black market, but they
also stole from Cuba.  If they were trading cement for anything there, that
cement still belonged to Cuba.

Moreover, when one is at war, a sack of cement cannot be sold, because one
does not know when cement might be needed to build fortifications, bridges,
and so on.  Cement is a strategical resource.  It should not be sold.
Sugar was sent from Cuba and exchanged for certain things.  Some sugar was
indeed delivered, because that was the way to cover up certain activities,
but proceeds from the rest were pocketed.  In other words, they robbed
Nicaragua and Angola in two ways: through communications equipment and the
black market.  They also robbed Cuba, because the products involved
belonged to Cuba.  Therefore, the bank account in Panama was the result of
four robberies.

There is something else:  We did not know why Ochoa sent arms from Angola
to Panama.  We asked ourselves:  That is strange.  Why did he send, among
other things, rifles to that country... [corrects himself].  Excuse me, I
meant to say from Angola to Nicaragua.  We asked ourselves:   What does
that mean?  We were unable to come up with an answer.  However, we recently
received a report from the Sandinist People's Army [EPS] explaining why
Ochoa sent those arms.  You will fully understand why.

I hope that I will cause no harm to the Nicaraguans by revealing certain
information contained in this report pertaining to arms operations.  The
confidential report reads as follows:  In early 1987, Ochoa told the EPS
chief of General Staff that he was fully capable of supplying any Western
military equipment--his deviousness is obvious here--that the EPS might
need to strengthen military operations against mercenary forces.  He
apparently managed to obtain certain pieces of small equipment.  When he
did so, Ochoa claimed that he was able to supply any Western weapon

The reports adds:  In this context, on 12 March 1986, Major General Joaquin
Cuadra Lacayo agreed with Division General Arnaldo Ochoa, who was Cuba's
FAR representative in Nicaragua at the time, to purchase 100 German-made
M-79 grenade launchers and 12,000 projectiles.  Ochoa accepted the order.
The report continues:  Maj Gen Joaquin Cuadra Lacayo, through the EPS
finance office, handed over $120,000 to Ochoa' assistant, Jorge Martinez
Valdes, who was a FAR captain at the time.  On 5 March 1987, Martinez
received another $41,000, that is, a total of $161,000.

The EPS report states:  Months later, following Ochoa's instructions,
Martinez told Maj Gen Joaquin Cuadra Lacayo that the transaction was
canceled, because prospective suppliers were facing problems delivering
that order in Nicaraguan territory.  This agreement never materialized, and
Maj Gen Joaquin Cuadra Lacayo understood that the deal had been temporarily
suspended when Martinez told him that is was impossible to honor the deal,
that the advance payment had been lost, and that he could not return that
payment due to problems inherent to this kind of transaction.

The report adds:  On 22 September 1988, Arnaldo Ochoa, in his new capacity
as head of the Cuban military mission in Angola, told the EPS through
Brigadier General Nestor Lopez Cuba--who replaced Ochoa as head of the
Cuban Military Mission in Nicaragua--that Ochoa would send the following
weapons from Angola to Nicaragua:  Fifty Yugoslav AK rifles, 200 rifle
magazines, 50 magazine clips, 50 bayonets, 50 belts, 50 accessory
containers, 50 oilers, 4 60-mm mortars, 2,664 50-mm mortar shells, 560
antipersonnel grenades, and 2,016 40-mm ammunition for M-79 grenade
launchers.  Nicaragua received all these armaments in 1988, which the EPS
believed Ochoa had sent them in partial compensation for having failed to
honor the aforementioned agreement.

We must add that 2,016 grenades must cost a lot on the arms market--on the
arms black market.  They can easily charge $100 each.  Thus, 2,016 grenades
can cost about $200,000.  Mortar shells are also expensive.  To tell the
truth, the value on the black market of the weapons he sent was equal to or
perhaps even more than the money Ochoa received for them.

This report ends with the following paragraph:  We were never informed by
Ochoa or Martinez that the money was safe and had been deposited in a bank
account in Panama.  We had already given it up as lost.  The report says:
We were never advised that money had been placed in a bank account.

Everything is very clear here.  What happened?  They were given $120,000
and then $41,000.  The initial $120,000 was given to the supplier, who, at
the end, told them he could not carry out the operation and returned
$75,000, leaving them with a $45,000 loss.  But, the would-be supplier did
return $75,000 which, when added to the $41,000, amounted to the $116,000
they had in the account. What did they think up then?  They got the idea of
obtaining in Angola--I do not know if they requested this materiel, if
somebody gave it to them, or if they stole it--mortar shells and M-79
grenades; they sent the arms to Nicaragua to partially fulfill the
commitments they had made; and they kept the money.  They kept $116,000
from this operation and they had about $400,000-$50,000 they had to return
to the Angolans.  They then had about $160,000 in the account, and they
increased the amount to $200,000 by adding money obtained from their black
stockmarket operations.

We can clearly see where the money came from.  They were stealing from
everybody to increase their bank account.  The money had not yet come from

It is not necessary for me to repeat information everybody knows, such as
the operations carried out by Martinez, his trip to Colombia, and the
meeting with Escobar.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that one of the most
serious actions--I would say even more serious than the story of the
account in Panama and the origins of the money deposited in that
account--was to have sent a Cuban Armed Forces officer to Colombia with a
false passport and placed him in enemy hands.  This occurred when we were
on the verge of decisive battles in Angola.  We were risking everything
over there; we were risking the revolution.  This action was extremely

What other action is so serious?  It was not precisely discussing and
organizing plans for the shipment, initially in commercial ships and later
in planes, of large amounts of drugs through Cuba.  He conspired to do all
this, but he never managed to carry out any of these operations.  This is
what is so serious:  Knowing that a mafia had been formed in the Interior
Ministry's [MININT] MC Department [department in charge of contravening
U.S. embargo] that was drug trafficking, he joined this mafia and asked for
its cooperation in everything:  to help Martinez travel to Colombia, to
help Martinez ignore all MINFAR regulations, and to help Martinez come and
go whenever he wanted and without anybody's knowledge.

He also asked his for cooperation to engage in large-scale drug operations.
He joined the group and, in the end, wound up receiving $50,000 from the
group from the last drug-trafficking operation.  He requested $100,000 and
was given $50,000.  It is very serious that a hero of the republic, a
member of the Central Committee, a division general, a chief of the most
glorious mission being carried out by the country abroad, should join
that mafia, that group of gangsters, without immediately reporting it, but
instead joining this group.

One asks why this group became so bold?  This group started out with
operations that were spaced out; they were cautious.  In 1988, the group
suddenly carried out 50 percent of the operations in 4 months.  In a single
month, it engaged in five or six operations.  Why?  Undoubtedly, when these
people saw Ochoa return from Angola--Ochoa, who was on his way to becoming
the commander of the Western Army; Ochoa, who demanded as a defense
necessity that the DAAFAR [Antiaircraft Defense and Revolutionary Air
Force] and the Western navy be assigned to him, as is the case in the
eastern region--these people must have felt they were the people with the
most impunity in the world.  It must have stimulated and encouraged them a
lot that a member of the Central Committee, a hero, a division general, and
a man with Ochoa's prestige was involved in this.  I believe this is
extremely serious.

Despite the difficulties, Ochoa did not let up, he did not let up in his
plans.  He had plans to carry out operations until April 1989.  We learned
this from all the evidence we have gathered.  He persisted in the idea of
large-scale operations.  He persisted in the idea of using a merchant ship
to go to the northern coast carrying 10 tons, which would later be picked
up by boats.  He talked a lot with Tony de la Guardia.  Tony de la Guardia,
who had been cautious, conducting spaced-out operations until 1988, told
him that it was impossible to carry out that large operation with the
boatmen--who are not very serious people, who come and go, who immediately
begin enjoying any money they collect--and that it was impossible to
transfer 10 tons of cocaine.  He argued a lot with Tony de la Guardia about
all these problems.  He insisted a lot on it; it was an idea, which if we
look at it, was totally crazy.

I tried to figure out how much was needed to obtain the sum he mentioned.
In his fantasy, he spoke of billions.  I tried to figure out how much was
needed for him to obtain $4 billion, which he said he was going to obtain
and then invest in Cuba from abroad.  This is what our prosecutor called a
big plan, a big money-laundering operation.  I figured he needed to have
400 ship voyages at $1,000 per kilo.  He needed 400 ship voyages and 8,000
boat voyages, supposing that each boat carried 500 kg--these figures
reminded me of the foreign debt figure--to amass $4 billion.  It was a
fantasy and there was a lack of reality.  But those were his ideas.  What
is serious is that he harbored these ideas while he knew he was going to
assume responsibility for the Western Army.

Naturally, when Ochoa returned from Angola, very few things about him were
known.  However, I must stress that if there is one institution that knows
what people are doing, it is MINFAR, because it has the means and the
necessary organization to control the men.  I already explained before how
the operations in Angola were disguised as war necessities and how he had
confused his closest collaborators.

When Ochoa came here, he began to discuss business.  Everytime he met with
Raul, he wanted to talk about business.  He was constantly given the same
advice:  Do not do it.  He kept talking about allegedly serious business
deals.  Sometimes he would say some foolish things.  Everyone took it as a
joke, because he had made a habit of talking seriously and of joking.
Whenever he said anything foolish, the people laughed.  MINFAR and Raul
would tell him:  Just go about your military tasks and forget about
business.  That is not your task or mission.  You must devote yourself to
your military tasks; that is what you must do.

However, when it came to the drug problem, Ochoa told one, only one, of
these officers.  He told only one officer about that grave and serious
activity that caused repulse, scandal, indignation, and concern.  It is
quite possible that if he had told four officers about this, it would have
been inevitably, known, because MINFAR has its organization--the military
counter intelligence.  I know for a fact how military counter intelligence
works.  Ochoa talked with only one officer.  Very little was known about
Ochoa, just some moral aspects and no criminal aspects.  At any rate, these
were not penal crimes but moral crimes.  Reports about Ochoa's behavior
were starting to come in from various sources.

The more serious thing is that he told only one officer about the drug
involvement.  He had corrupted this officer and won him over for this bad
cause.  The rest of his actions or his plans were supported by the Tony de
la Guardia group.  However, at one time he said this group was not capable,
they they were stupid, that he as going to act on his own, etc.  However,
he insisted on carrying out the big operations with drugs up until this
group practically disintegrated.  In other words, he insisted on this from
1986 through nearly the middle of 1989, and that is the truth of the matter
we have been able to detect.

As someone said here, the Tony de la Guardia group is a different case.
Tony de la Guardia is not a hero, a member of the Central Committee, a
division general, or someone who had Ochoa's responsibilities.  Tony de la
Guardia's case is extremely grave.  I do not mean to say it is not as grave
as Ochoa's case.  What I am saying is De la Guardia's case is different
from Ochoa's case; it has very grave connotations and is very treacherous
and dangerous.  If Ochoa was not able, did not have the time, was not
successful, or did not manage to carry out any of his drug operations,
these people had already carried out some of them.  When Martinez visited
Escobar, Tony de la Guardia and his group had been carrying out drug
operations for 1 and 1/2 years.

All of this has been publicly debated, and it has been proven.  They
claimed they had noble purposes.  All of them claimed noble purposes.
Ochoa said he wanted to solve the development problems--that has nothing to
do with what he did with the money--and the others said they wanted to help
the country.  To help the country in that way--as they have said--was to
stab a knife in the back of the country.  All of you have referred to that
topic here.  There is no reason for me to expand on this point.  Later I
will refer to this for other reasons.

Tony de la Guardia formed a totally repulsive gang with MININT.  How it was
formed is truly incredible, inconceivable, and very difficult to explain.
How was all this possible?  They were very secretive, of course.  They knew
what they were doing was very serious, but the way they carried out their
actions was also very treacherous.  The fact is that the cancer was
formed.  How was it discovered?  It was discovered through the Ochoa case.

Who could imagine Ochoa would be involved in this type of activity?  Who
could imagine a MININT department was involved in these activities?
However, it was already being investigated.  Why was it being investigated?

As has already been proven, these people apparently carried out very few
operations--only five in 1987.  These operations were spaced out and held
every 2 or 3 months.  In 1988, they carried out two successful and three
foiled operations.  In 1989, I believe they carried out nine operations,
one of which was a marijuana operation near the northern coast of Pinar del

Campaigns against Cuba had been ongoing, as Comrade Chomy [not further
identified] has recalled.  Naturally, our first reaction--accustomed as we
were to all the lies, defamations, and slanders we have heard in this
30-year span-was simply to reject them as another invention, another lie by
the United States, and not to pay any special attention to them.

Chomy recalled that some time in February 1988, there was a big campaign
against us with charges and statements that even mentioned Raul.  They made
charges against him, which really angered us.

At that time, we were already in the phase of making contacts for these
Angolan negotiations, and Cuba was actively participating in the Angolan
peace negotiations.  Therefore, a few comrades had made contacts with U.S.
representatives during these events.  I recall that I instructed Vice
Foreign Minister Comrade Alarcon to strongly protest to one of the U.S.
officials about the anti-Cuban campaign being implemented.  I have the
report here.  If you want, I will read a small part of it:  the part that
says what Alarcon told the U.S. high official when he protested the charges
against Cuba and the charges and attempts made to mix Raul in this rubbish.
I am only going to read a paragraph and will say a very harsh word, because
I have no other choice but to say it.  I did not say these words, but I
told Alarcon to say them.

The paragraph in Alarcon's report says:  Following instructions from the
commander in chief, I told this official--I am not going to give his
name--that those who promoted and implemented these charges against us were
sons of bitches.  This was the diplomatic word used in the conversation
between Alarcon and the U.S. official.  It reflected our anger over this
campaign which we believed to be totally slanderous. They were partially
slanderous because they used names of persons who are government leaders.
In this case, since were were involved in the Angolan negotiations, we
believed this was an ill-intentioned campaign.

The U.S. State Department officials stated that these campaigns were not
being carried out by the State Department but that the reports had come
from the Justice Department.  They stated they really had nothing to do
with this campaign and did not want us to believe it was an ill-intentioned
campaign carried out by the State Department or the U.S. Government.

Today we know these gentlemen had been carrying out operations since early
1987; they had been operating for more than a year.  Although everything
seems to point to the fact that the first air shipment was made in April
1987, they had begun preparatory trips to coordinate these operations since

I thought the reason for the charges against Raul was the presence of an
Armed Forces officer during a meeting with Escobar.  Whoever Martinez
represented during the meeting with Escobar was left up in the air.
However, from what he said, it would be surmised--without his clearly
specifying that he represented this or that person--that he acted in such a
way that he was a representative of the Cuban Government.  We have evidence
that at the meeting there, they believed Martinez was a Cuban Government
envoy, although they were not sure.  They were not certain of this.
However, Martinez attended the meeting, thus leaving that up in the air.  I
thought the presence of an officer was the cause for those charges.
Afterwards, when we were studying the trial, and when we later were
studying the documents, I realized that these charges were being leveled
even before Martinez visited Columbia.

This is perfectly logical and clear.  Why?  If these peopled met the plane
together with the so-called Ruiz--a relative of Miguel Ruiz Poo--in Santa
Clara, which is a military base; if the first cocaine shipment was unloaded
at the Varadero airport, and they went to the small military area at that
airport; and if the landing of a plane had to be authorized by the
antiaircraft defense, one sees all these things are possible, perfectly

If these people arrived there and reported they were going to receive
someone, perhaps a prominent businessman, or if they said someone very
important for their activities at the ministry is arriving and requested
the FAR's cooperation, it is logical for the FAR to immediately provide
such cooperation.

The plane could have landed in Holguin, Guantanamo, or any other place.
Flight permits are automatically granted; in fact, we do not know how many
planes fly over our country.  Procedures must be followed and authorities
must be notified.  When these people notified others that they had to
welcome someone, perhaps a prominent businessman, and that a plane was
going to land, they were automatically given the permit.  Who was going to
think these bandits were actually requesting landing permission for a plane
trafficking or bringing drugs?

However, if they came, they did not come through the Rancho Boyeros
airport; they came through Santa Clara on the first trip and landed in the
military area on the second trip.  Thus, it is logical for the Yankees to
think that the Armed Forces had to know something about that operation and,
with evil intentions of course, had to involve Raul's name in this problem.
Those charges were made long ago, based on the activities by Tony de la
Guardia's group.

Before we continue, it is also necessary to reflect on this.  What was the
U.S. attitude?  Today, we already know the United States had the names of
at least two people, which is something these two people have already
admitted in their own testimony.  One of them was Tony de la Guardia and
the second was Miguel Ruiz Poo. They themselves said they had recordings of
the talks held in Panama between one of their agents and Mr Ruiz Poo.  It
is possible they may have had more names of officers involved in this
activity.  If they saw the coastguard and the various movements, perhaps
they thought this activity was authorized by the government.

More than the accusation itself, what is irritating is the idea that this
country could sell itself for the few miserable dollars Tony de la Guardia
and his group collected.  For a group of people it could be enough, but for
a country it is something insignificant.  It is tiny.  It is complete
filth.  The U.S. Government's opinion on the Cuban revolution does not
matter.  It is not possible that they believe Cuba could solve any problem
with that filth.  How much did they collect the 1st year?  A million and
something dollars.  The 2d year they collected another million and
something. The 3d year they had a higher rate, perhaps 3 million.

It is estimated that these gentlemen collected approximately $3.5 million.
They still owed them money, which I suppose always happens in this kind of

What does $2 million represent for a country that exports billions of
dollars in sugar, nickel, farm and  industrial products, etcetera?  We are
talking about billions of dollars per year.  Consequently, regardless of
what the Americans think of the revolution, it is not possible for them to
have believed that this country could be sold for 4 [figure as heard]
miserable dollars.

I know that the country cannot be sold for any amount of money.  It is
unfeasible and unacceptable to have a revolution that is dependent on drug
trafficking.  Even it if were thousands of million of dollars, it would be
unacceptable for a revolution in this hemisphere, 90 miles away from the
United States, that maintains itself on its principles, morals, and
seriousness to do this.  If they want to, let them accuse us of being
revolutionaries, of helping revolutionary movements, and of carrying out
internationalist missions.  Let them accuse us of whatever they want to in
the revolutionary area.  But to think that this country is a country of
such little ambition that it would try to solve its problems with that
miserable money is almost an insult to the common sense and intelligence of
the leaders of our country and revolution.

What the Americans did was not right.  They could have somehow sent a
message to us. They could have said:  We have the names of two people
who are involved in drug trafficking.  But they kept quiet.  If it was a
charge made at a trial, we would not have paid much attention to it,
because those are charges made by criminals who are going to be convicted.
These criminals are offered anything, and they will make any statement,
so that is not serious.

Since we have talks, the Americans could have perfectly well and discreetly
told us:  Listen, this was not a charge in any court, this is no
propaganda:  We have proof that two Cuban officers are involved in these
operations, and this is how they are doing it.  The truth is that they
could have tested us had they acted this way.  I do not think they would
have burned any agent.  Perhaps they will claim we were going to ask how
they knew.  Well, they did not have to burn any agent.  All they had to say
was:  We have reliable reports that these two people are involved in this
and are carrying out their operations this way.  This would have been
discovered a long time ago.  I do not know how long they had the names of
those involved.  However, they had Ruiz Poo's name very early in the game.
They had known for a long time that the planes carrying drugs were landing
in Varadero and that the drugs would then be shipped by boat.

We are not trying to blame the United States now. That is not our
intention.  However, I can cite an example that occurred not long ago.
Through intelligence information, Cuba got word that a group of
reactionaries in a U.S. state--I do not recall the exact details right
now--were considering an attempt on Reagan's life.  They were considering
an attempt on Reagan's life, and we got the information.  However,
the information we had was not too clear.  To make it clearer, we would
have had to conduct an investigation in the United States.  However, not 48
hours had passed, not even 24 hours had passed, when I had already ordered
the Interior Ministry to report to U.S. authorities that there were certain
people in a southern state who were considering an attempt on Reagan's life
during an upcoming visit he had planned to that state.  We reported this
to them immediately.  We did not waste a minute investigating or confirming
this.  We did not care that Reagan was a sworn enemy of our revolution and
that he had a very aggressive policy against Cuba.  We believed that it was
a basic duty to report such a serious matter.

I think the only two times we made a kind gesture toward Reagan was when he
was wounded, and we expressed our concern and rejection over what happened
to the U.S. Government, and on this occasion, when we learned that people
were plotting against the U.S. President's life.  We did not hesitate.  We
did not disclose this.  We are mentioning this now.  This must have
happened 2 or 3 years ago.  It is being mentioned now because we have no
other choice than to recall this precedent.

In the same way that we conveyed that information to them, they could have
conveyed the information that they had available on this drug trafficking
in a confidential manner, as we did with them.  That is what really hurts
us.  In spite of everything and all the secrecy, we began to investigate
this drug trafficking.  What prompted the investigation? It was prompted by
this campaign, by rumors that reached us through our friends and through
what was mentioned in these drug-trafficking circles that there were Cuban
officials cooperating with them.  In fact, they even said that some Cuban
officials had stolen certain amounts of drugs, certain shipments, from the
drug traffickers.

On the one hand, we saw the campaigns by the United States.  On the other
hand, we heard rumors on what drug-trafficking leaders had said, rumors
that reached us by diverse means, without mentioning names, of course.

To this situation is added a 6 March 1989 cable.  What did the cable say?
It said:  Two drug traffickers declared themselves guilty of transporting
over 1 ton of cocaine through Cuba, with the alleged assistance of
officials and military men of that country, the Miami office of the Federal
District Attorney reported today.

Reinaldo and Ruben Ruiz admitted their guilt on the 17 counts presented
against them and they could face a life sentence, a spokesperson for the
District Attorney's Office stated.

The two men who were indicted in February 1988 transported the cocaine in
an aircraft from Colombia, which made stopovers in Panama, Cuba, and Haiti,
the charges read.  The band was infiltrated by secret agents who posed as
buyers and who made audio and video recordings of their meetings with the
drug leaders, the District Attorney's Office explained.

In dozens of recorded hours of meetings that the court admitted as firm
evidence, Reinaldo and Ruben Ruiz declared they had broad, high-level
contacts in Cuba and boasted of smoking Cuban cigars that, according to
them, were from Fidel's drawer.

The dossier gives details of the cases in which Ruben Ruiz had flown from
Cuba to Colombia...[corrects himself] had flown from Colombia to the
military airport in Varadero, Cuba, carrying 1,000 pounds, 500 kg, on each
flight.  On the next occasion, in April 1987, the drug was unloaded by
military personnel, taken to a dock, and loaded on a ship named "Florida,"
which was escorted by Cuban coastguard vessels until it left Cuban
territorial waters, the dossier read.

Of course, when I saw this, especially the part about the drawer, I had the
slight impression it was another lie--especially, gentlemen, because I have
not smoked for 4 years.  Therefore, there cannot be any cigars in my
drawer.  I no longer smoked by 1987.  The way the report was phrased, it
appeared to be what I was talking about earlier:  A prisoner who is
condemned is lost and will say what they want him to say.

In any event, this was a little bit like what happened to me when I
realized Eutimio Guerra was betraying us in the Sierra Maestra.  What they
said, the rumors that reached us, the news concerning what mafia leaders
had said, and the previous campaigns with all the details appeared a little
strange.  Then I spoke to Interior Minister Comrade Abrantes and told him
an investigation had to be carried out.

I confess I was far from imagining there could be an entire gang inside
the ministry doing this.  But I said there is someone involved in this;
someone is doing something; there is even someone who actually might be
swindling these drug traffickers.  I reached the conclusion that this had
to be investigated; it could not be dismissed as a simple rumor, as mere
slander; it had to be investigated.  This happened in mid-March.  It must
have been a few days after this cable arrived.

This does not mean press agency reports are serious ones, as a rule.
Sometimes--this was an exception--they tell the truth.

I was just reading a UPI report that states that a small aircraft was being
chased by Coast Guards and that it entered Cuban territory, that MiG planes
had taken off to prevent the Coast Guard planes from entering our waters.
This is what a wire report said.  That is a big lie, and the Americans
themselves should know the truth, because they were told about this.  Three
small aircraft almost crashed.  Their flights are not very easy, because
they fly by night with their lights switched off and at low altitudes.

However, the truth is that 2 nights ago, a small plane was being chased by
Coast Guard planes that entered our national territory.  Two MiG-23
aircraft immediately took off to intercept the small plane and to chase it;
it was flying from north to south.  Two more planes took off because the
first two had run out of fuel; it was nighttime and the planes were given
the order to open fire on the small airplane.  Three orders had been given
to open fire on small aircrafts that were taking very irregular flight

That is what happened.  The planes took off and chased the small aircraft.
Then two more planes took off and the small aircraft flew across and got
away.  I do not know at what altitude it was flying; it was approximately
2200 [not further identified].  The Border Guards were instructed to report
what had happened at that hour of the night.  Now look at how evil these
people are.  Just look at how evil they are and how they wage their
campaign:  The wire report says that the planes took off to intercept the
Coast Guard planes and that the small aircraft flew into our national
territory because it felt protected while flying over Cuba.

These are things we must discuss with the Americans, and we have exchanged
some notes on this.  Actually, we have exchanged more than notes; there
are reports and something has been said.  We must have discussions to see
how we will handle this kind of situation.  We were serious when we said
what we did about the planes violating our airspace.  That statement was
very serious. Of course, we want to take all measures because we do not
want any innocent person or the wrong person to suffer the consequences.
This requires very precise pilot training to prevent any such accidents
from taking place.

Therefore, this will have to be regulated in some way.  Some means of
communications between the United States [and Cuba] will have to be found
in this common battle.  We say common, because actually many times--the
Americans know this, and I have explained this in some interviews--these
planes were overflying [our territory] and were ordered to land; and they
scoffed at the order to land. they were not shot at, but the decision on
whether to shoot into the air at one of those planes that was not obeying
was a very difficult decision.  The pilot might be a drug trafficker, a
journalist, a U.S. senator--lost somewhere over there-or a private citizen
who, when ordered to land, does not want to land in this hell the U.S.
propaganda has portrayed.

In other words, we have always thought about this, but we have told them on
more than one occasion:  We cannot tolerate this situation, which now, of
course, it is completely intolerable.  We cannot allow our airspace to be
mocked.  For many years, the United States has been mocking our airspace.
While the drug traffickers mocked our airspace to do their business, the
United States sent their planes to spy on Cuba and to violate our airspace.
So there have been two violations--one by the drug traffickers and the
other by the United States.  It has been a long time since airspace
violations have occurred involving the use of this special U.S. plane.
However, violations by groups of drug traffickers are frequent.  Often,
these are not technical violations because they fly along the flight paths
and fulfill all requirements.  It is very difficult to search a small
aircraft using a flight path to determine its cargo.  However, when planes
stray from the flight path or deviate from the required altitudes, it is
possible to detect any irregularity, and of course, that must end.

Are we anxious to fire at those planes?  No, we are not anxious to do so.
Our pilots have been very cautious.  However, if we want the country's
sovereignty to be respected, if we do not want them to mock our laws, we
will have no other alternative but to fire at aircraft that violate our
airspace in strange and very irregular ways.  Of course, we would take
measures to ensure that under no circumstances will a plane which is
obviously carrying civilians be involved in an accident of this kind.

I have already commented on how propaganda works in the United States.
They were already accusing us or trying to suggest that we had offered
protection and that our fighter planes had been deployed to keep U.S. Coast
Guard planes away.  This has created a very irregular situation that must
be regulated in one way or another.

I said this reminds me of when we discovered a traitor.  I said:  We must
investigate this and, sure enough, an investigation was begun in mid-March.
I have an important report here.

They gave the first task to radio--how do they call it?--radio
counterintelligence to monitor all communications from Miami and Colombia
and to monitor planes and ships.  What did counterintelligence discover?
It is contained in this report.

It states:  Beginning on 16 March 1989, radio direction-findings
[ubicaciones radiogoniometricas] indicated that the callsign The Fat One
[gordo], which is frequently used by a network out of Miami and by vessels,
was detected northwest of Havana, near the coast; therefore, that became
the target of priority attention.

On 27 March, during his radio conversations with Miami, The Fat One said he
could not carry out any activities until after the 5th [month not given].
On 27 March 1989, The Fat One changed his call sign to 13.I am only reading
the paragraph that give you an idea of what was going on.

The reports says:  The first results indicated that the O was in Havana--O
means objective.  It say the O was in Havana, northwest of El Morro [an
area in Havana].  The Intelligence Department discovered someone was
transmitting from that area.

After that discovery, there was a change in the behavior of the objective.
AT that time, call signs 35 and 20 came into the picture.  There were
constant changes in frequencies, and the radio transmissions were very
brief, thus making our investigations more difficult.  Despite that, we
succeeded in determining the transmissions originated in various points in
the western end of Havana, especifically within the area between the
Almendares River and Barlovento.  Barlovento is the area between 5th and
7th Streets and 62 - 66 Miramar...[corrects himself] the area from 5th to
7th Streets--these are two areas--to 210 Miramar, the Triton Hotel.
[sentence as heard]

The report continues:  During that period, we noticed an increase in their
methods to disguise their transmissions.  On 23 April 1989, call signs R-1
northern Matanzas Province and R-2 in Florida State established radio
contact.  During their conversations, they hinted that an operation would
take place in which drugs would be dropped from a plane.  We decided to
send our units to Hicacos Peninsula.

The report adds:  The drug operations began at 2200 on 23 April 1989.  The
drugs were dropped from a plane named Tocayo.  According to the radio
conversations, the plane dropped 25 packages in an area near Key Cruz del
Padre.  The drop took place at about 0500.  One of our units located R-1 no
farther than 20 km northeast of Punta Hicacos.  At 1245 on 24 April 1989,
another drug operation began in the same area.  This time, the operation
was coordinated by callsign 130 in Florida State, callsign 57 on board the
plane, and call sign 125 between Varadero each and Key Cruz del Padre.

The radio counterintelligence reached the following conclusion in their
report:  In light of the information obtained through the radio
transmissions and the radio direction-findings, it is clear the activities
carried out by The Fat One and the other call signs are linked to drug
trafficking.  In addition, the radio transmissions reveal that the drops
take place in Cuban territory and jurisdictional waters.

This is the conclusion reached by counterintelligence in a report sent to
the ministry on 25 April, to which we must add two reports from 24 April,
describing each of these events.  Moreover, through radio
counterintelligence and by intercepting communications, they were able to
have an idea of what was going on.  A meeting was held on 27
March...[correct himself] April, at the MININT high command--with all this
information in hand--to investigate what was going on.  In other words, to
proceed to seize some of the boats.  However, what happened?  Tony de la
Guardia attended this 27 April meeting.  His group was already aware of
radio-counterintelligence operations in Varadero and the 27 April meeting,
which gave instructions to various directorates on this matter.  Tony de la
Guardia attended this meeting.  He was asked some questions regarding the
radio, about the messages being sent.  Of course, he responded negatively
to the questions.

The radio-counterintelligence operation was working some accurately that
the radio was located precisely in the zone mentioned in the report.  The
radio was located precisely in this area, although they moved around and
sometimes went out in a boat off the coast.  They they did not remain in a
fixed point, but Amado Padron's offices were located precisely in this
zone.  Therefore, an investigation was under way, and the culprits
immediately realized the investigation was being conducted, so they
suspended all operations.  They suspended all operations.  My question is:
Would we have discovered through this investigation what was happening and
who involved if the Ochoa problem had not happened? The fact of the matter
is May passed calmly, June was passing by, and no results had been obtained
from the investigation we had ordered.  We discovered [Fidel pounds on the
table] the problem of Tony de la Guardia's activities precisely while we
were conducting an investigation on Ochoa's activities.  We were far from
supposing these two activities could be linked.

We acted very carefully regarding Ochoa, with all the necessary
cautiousness, starting from reports on moral matters, linking them to other
report that had been received at various times.  We added all that and were
clearly able to see that various irregular activities were going on.  We
had already decided to appoint him chief of the Western Army after he had
returned from Angola.

These reports and analyses led to the postponement of Ochoa's designation
to the post.  He could not be designated unless some of these issues were
cleared up and explained.  We had to be very careful.  When MINFAR informed
me of these activities, particularly the moral ones, they were indicative
of such deterioration that they precluded Ochoa's designation as chief of
the Western Army.

Nevertheless, there was still hope that an in-depth discussion could be
held with Ochoa with a view to correcting the irregularities.  At the
time, I considered all of his achievements, his rank, and his position as a
hero of the Republic of Cuba.  I thought of the speculation that would be
unleased worldwide, the scandal that would ensue if, because of these
problems.  Ochoa had to be stripped of his medals, degraded, fired,
expelled from the Armed Forces, or incarcerated.

At that time, there was nothing as serious as what was learned later.
Investigations had to be carried out very carefully, because some people
had to be interrogated.  How could we interrogate some of his
collaborators, some of those who worked with him, like Martinez, the
others?  It could become evident an investigation was being carried out.
If any of those moral issues were serious, anything could happen, because
when there is moral deterioration, all ethics are lost, and when all ethics
are lost, one cannot trust anyone, because all principles have been lost.
A revolutionary is a revolutionary by virtue of principles, by virtue of

We were not going to arrest Ochoa just so he would not escape and then
conduct an investigation.  That cannot be done, and it is generally not
done with anyone.  We must admit that counterintelligence worked very hard
and very carefully to obtain information without Ochoa suspecting that he
was being investigated.  That type of investigation normally requires
authorization, as he was a member of the Central Committee.  In other
words, in our country there are principles and norms that are complied with
in dealing with people.  One cannot humiliate a person and imprison him
because there are rumors about him.  That is not and cannot be the style of
the revolution.

However, that became a headache for us, because of the precedent set by
people who were corrupt and later fled, and became heroes of the other
side; then they became parrots and repeated everything the imperialists put
in their mouths.  That was the main problem we had that week and to which
Comrade Raul has referred.

We continued to gather information, then we decided to have the first
conversation--which I believe was on 29 May [year not specified]--with
him.  Raul had a very serious 3-hour conversation with him.  Raul had notes
with him, he had everything, and he talked about a number of things that
had been confirmed up to that moment and other things that had not been
confirmed.  He was warned, he was told why he was not going to be
appointed.  We waited for him to react, to cooperate, to show concern, to
tell the truth.  Actually, he was very evasive in that conversation.

A few days went by, and we knew he felt very depressed over the
conversation, that he was ashamed.  They he reacted, and there is a second
conversation.  That was on 2 June.  I thought that inasmuch as he had
requested a private meeting with the minister, he was going to speak and be
frank.  The previous meeting was with three comrades:  Raul, Furry, and
Ulises.  He wanted a private meeting, and we thought he was probably
ashamed to speak, but he was going to speak out.

While this was going on--and although we had evidence--it was decided not
to speak about those serious moral charges, because two things could happen
when you speak to a man about that.  He might shoot himself, and we thought
that would be so unfortunate that we decided not to include the topic in
his conversation with Raul.  So we decided to set that aside, and we were
going to speak about everything else.  Why?  It is almost impossible to
make an arrangement with an individual when you tell him:  Look, we know
this.  We decided to cope with that problem only in an indirect manner,
with an attitude of rectifying what he was doing.

I must admit that at that moment--although we were aware of a number of
irregularities--we were unaware of others.  For example:  The money in
Panama, the account, nothing of that was know at that time.  Elements of
judgment are gathered in a very careful and shrewd manner.  We were always
wondering what to do with him:  Leave him in the Armed Forces?  What task
could be assigned to him?  What would his reaction be?  At the time of the
first meeting, we were still considering leaving him in the Armed Forces,
giving him treatment [as heard], giving him an opportunity.

I remember that on the eve of the second meeting, I told Raul--a group of
comrades used to meet to analyze the problem; very few problems have been
so carefully analyzed--ask him if he has any accounts abroad.  Judging
from all the other elements, I started to think that he must have an
account abroad.  Raul asked him:  Do you have any?  Ah, yes, but a very
small amount.  But how much do you have?  Just a little something [una
boberia], he said.  That was the answer he gave.  I cannot even remember,
he said, a little something.  All of this happened between the 29th and the
2d, between 29 May and 2 June.

We got together on 11 June.  No, the 10th was a Saturday.  We got together
on Friday.  On Friday I knew that the comrades from the MINFAR, the
MINFAR's High Command, who were studying this situation had reached the
conclusion that Ochoa's activities were grave and that there was no other
alternative but to arrest him.

We asked Polo to return from Angola.  We wanted him to give us some
information about all this.  We wanted to know whether he knew anything
about it.  That same day, 11 June, was the day of the 14 hours--I am not
sure if it was 14 hours.  We met for 14 hours.  11 June was a very
important day.  On that day, we examined some of the operations in which
Comrade Diocles Torralba was involved.  Torralba was closely linked--not
with those operations we were examining--but closely linked to other
activities, especially through the De la Guardia brothers.

While investigating those operations, we came across some of the activities
in which Mr Diocles Torralba was involved.  The people we questioned said
various things, such as:  This and that was done; they often said vague
things.  During the search at Hidalberto's [not further identified] house,
we discovered Diocles was living there and discovered some of the
activities in which he was involved.

On 11 June, we examined a series of documents proving Torralba's
involvement in some of those activities.  Those documents were irrefutable
and unquestionable evidence of the immoralities in which Ochoa and one of
the De la Guardia brothers were involved.

We found out that one girl who had attended one of the parties was
disguised as an internationalist combatant, as a MININT member.  We found
out they sent her to Luanda, were she stayed almost 1 month before
returning to Cuba.  This happened in September 1988.  In February 1989, the
girl began talking about certain things.  That was one of the clues leading
to our discovery of important activities.

The decisive day, however, was 11 June.  On that day, I met with some
comrades of the MINFAR at my office.  They had already decided what had to
be done.  I requested more facts to formulate an opinion.  We learned
important facts from our conversation with Polo.  We were unaware of those
facts.  On that same day, we received several intelligence reports about
deals involving money.  On that same day, we received information about the
bank account in Panama.

I then asked each comrade to give me their opinion, as we did here today.
Each of the chiefs gave their opinions and views.  They said that
regardless of the consequences, we had to do something then.  I agreed with
them, and we unanimously decided to arrest Ochoa immediately.  We had been
watching him closely 24 hours a day, but that was very difficult.
Sometimes he disappeared for 2 hours around the area of Santa Fe.  We
thought perhaps he could get on a boat or something, because nobody knew
what he could do.  The activities in which Ochoa was involved were already
very serious.  It was necessary to arrest him.  There was no possible

It was absolutely necessary to arrest him and try him for involvement in
those activities.  We knew the situation was not easy.  We know what
happens when such a high-ranking official is arrested.  We knew the kind of
campaign this action would spark.  However, we decided to face all those

What we could not imagine is what we later discovered.  Our subsequent
discoveries surprised everybody.  The new discoveries began with a letter,
which did not specifically address the topic, but did hint toward Jorge
Martinez' involvement in drug trafficking.  That letter discussed a book on
the mafia.  There was also a very small card related to a hotel in
Columbia, in Medellin.  That is how we began investigating the drug link.

We arrested Patricio and Tony de la Guardia for the operations carried out
in Angola and for their link with Ochoa.  We arrested the De la Guardia's
for their participation in ivory and diamond smuggling.  That is why we
arrested them.  We realized they were not only involved in hosting big
parties or things like that but also in illegal activities such as
smuggling.  That is why we arrested the two of them.  We arrested each of
the De la Guardia brothers at the same time but in different ways.  We
arrested one brother at a certain hour and the other brother at another
hour.  We adopted all the necessary measures so none of them would take

We proceeded to arrest them, and the investigation began.  This occurred
on...[unidentified speaker prompts him:  "12 June"] On 12 June, we arrested
them, and on the following night, we already had the main information about
the drug case.  That is what I can report about these events; I have
provided it so you can have a broader perspective--not only you but, if we
are going to broadcast this event, all the people--of the case.

Now, we have to get to conclusions.  We have to broach the subject for
which we are meeting.  All I have said about the subject up to now has been
to provide more facts on which to make a judgement.  It is true our
decision is important; it is true our decision has to do with human lives
and is a decision that cannot be taken rashly.  I do not believe any one of
us will take it rashly.  We are all very conscious of the importance of
this decision, because it is a function attributed to the State Council in
the Constitution.

The perspective that lie ahead of us have to be taken into account, which I
believe has already been stated here.  We have to be aware of the impact
the decision made here will have on our future.

Did Ochoa have a chance to save himself?  I mention Ochoa because he is the
most important person in this case.  Did Ochoa have a chance to save
himself?  Yes, Ochoa really had the opportunity to save himself.  I have
given this a great deal of thought.  He was given many opportunities, at
least several opportunities.  Ochoa could have saved himself in the first
conversation he held with Raul if he had been frank, open, sincere,
responsible, and truthful.

Just imagine if on 29 May, Ochoa had told Raul everything--what he did, the
activities, the money, the account there, what these individuals we doing.
This would have been so important and worth taking into account!  Of
course, Ochoa could not have remained in the Armed Forces, but had he
rendered this service, we could have even discussed whether to take him to
court or not.  Just imagine!  We could have discussed it.  If this man had
come and opened his heart, told everything, and rendered the country the
service of saying this gang existed, he could have spared us the surprise.
This could have been discussed if the man had been truly repentant.  It
would not have come to the point of discussing whether or not to execute
him.  That was one opportunity.

I have asked myself many times:  Had he done this, what could have been an
appropriate action to take regarding a man who did something like that?  We
would have had to take this very much into account.  It would have been
possible to release him from prison, to recover the money, to learn
everything.  There was a real opportunity at that moment.  We would have
had to take his attitude into account.

He had another opportunity the second time he talked with Raul.  He himself
said he came close to confessing everything but did not dare or did not
have the moral fortitude to confess, and he did not.  This was a second

He had a third opportunity on the day he was arrested.  He could have said:
Let me talk; I will explain everything.  He could have done so a few hours
after his arrest, or the next morning.  He could have said:  I am going to
cooperate; I am going to explain everything I have done, all of the
terrible things I have done.  If he had confessed before anybody, if we had
not had to discover what they had done, we could have had the option of
sparing his life and giving him the harshest possible sentence save for
capital punishment.

He did not have this attitude.  He did not cooperate in any way.  We had to
inquire, investigate, and work hard to discover everything without Ochoa's

All of this was discovered.  His involvement in drugs and his complicity
with this de la Guardia gang was discovered.  All the operations they had
been carrying out were discovered.  And all, or almost all--I think we
learned the major part--of the facts were discovered.  However, I believe
that by then it was certainly too late to have avoided the most severe

We were all impressed at the honor court.  This does not mean we have
changed our viewpoints.  However, we believe he was honest and courageous.
We were even satisfied he had acted in that manner.  Although I felt a
point of no return had been reached, it could serve to leave something to
the closet relatives.  It could serve to leave some sort of positive image
amid that drama, amid that painful incident.  But at that point, in those
circumstances, and at that moment, we had no alternative.  We faced a
situation with no alternative.  However, at least we saw his testimony was
positive, that it contained a vestige of the qualities that had earned him
the honors of a hero, why he received his stripes, why he became a member
of the party's Central Committee, why he was a division general of our
Armed Forces.  I think that day he was sincere.  I think that day he
sincerely repented.  I think he was, of course, courageous.  Our people
admire courage.

Above all, our people appreciated the contrast between the attitude
assumed by Ochoa at the honor court and the attitude of the others, the
ones who had organized the mafia inside MININT.  They appreciated it.  Our
people suffered.  We all suffered a lot with the testimonies of other
MINFAR officers.  I particularly was indignant, irritated, hurt to see how
those men had destroyed their careers--men who had studied in the academies
and received their ranks for their service.  I told myself:  If they had
had other superiors, these men would not have been corrupted as they were.
This is not an excuse for whoever commits a certain wrongdoing, but at
least it helps to explain perhaps even mitigate it.

But it hurt us to see that situation.  The honor tribunal had 2 days, 1 of
them very sad, this was the day when many people testified, and 1 day of
glory.  This latter day was when the members of the honor tribunal spoke
with great eloquence and force, as well as with great pain, but firmness.
However, Comrade Ochoa's attitude, as was said here by Comrade Carlos I
believe, influenced the honor tribunal's opinion.  Of course, that could
complicate the solution to the problem, not change it.  It could produce a
contradiction between what the tribunal did, what the Council of State
said, and the people's opinion.

I have already mentioned the firm opinion that this matter could not be
decided by public inquiry nor anything like that.  Thus, the difficulties a
determined situation can have, is something that must be analyzed from
another angle, politically.  Ochoa was sincere in front of the honor
tribunal, but he was not sincere with the judicial tribunal, he was not.
He was different.  He wan another man.  He was empty.  He did not want to
assume the responsibility, he lied.  He said he ignored Tony de la
Guardia's activities.  Tony de la Guardia and Ochoa spoke frequently in
Angola.  In 1988 Tony de la Guardia made six trips to Angola and on all the
trips he spoke with Ochoa about this matter.  Martinez was a frequent
contact for this group, and Ochoa denied that he knew about Tony de la
Guardina's activities.

He said that he was leaving that, he said he was looking for a foreign
friend to give him all the contacts and forget about this.  He said that
since he just wanted to help the country, all he wanted was his friend to
carry out the big operations and then invest the money as if it were
capital from a foreigner, a foreigner's property to be invested in tourism;
as if the country needed that type of money.  What the nation needs is arms
to build all it can build with the capital offered, capital that has
nothing to do with drug trafficking.

Martinez' argument, as much as Ochoa's, was that they had the account in
the name of the friend and later changed it because the friend could die.
If you consider that a foreign friend can die, that a foreign friend can
die [repeats himself], and you have to take measures with an account that
has $200,000, I ask myself:  Why can the friend not die if the account had
$500 million, $1 billion, $20 million, or $50 million!  Here we have been
talking about the foreign friend and we have not mentioned him.  We know
that the foreign friend... [changes thought] We have the opinion...
[changes thought] We have tried not to involve people who we believe were
tricked into these activities.  It was not the foreign friend who led Ochoa
to these activities, it was Ochoa who insisted to the foreign friend that
these activities had to be carried out.  This is why we have been careful
with some names and why they have not been released to the press.  There is
no other reason for this.

Anyway, there are strange statements saying they did not want anything more
to do with that.  It has been proven that during the first 3 months of
1989, Martinez travelled to Panama to make contact with his associaties,
with his friends, to carry out drug trafficking plans.  Something else,
until April of this month, Ochoa had been insisting on a big operation, or
big operations, of a ship with 10 tons of drugs.  He wanted the ship to
stop on the north part of the island and then load the drugs onto launches.
Actually, he did not have the same seriousness, the same honesty, during
the oral hearing.

I believe a series of serious arguments have been discussed here.  They
have been serious and solid arguments to explain why we do not have an
alternative in this case.  Who would be able to believe in the revolution?
Who would be able to believe in the seriousness of the revolution if, for
such serious faults, the most severe penalties established by the nation's
laws are not applied?  As has already been stated, all of these events have
the elements of treason.  What is treason?  Treason is to sell your
country, and they sold the country.  Treason is to put the nation in
jeopardy, and they placed the nation in serious jeopardy.  Treason is to
undermine the nation's morals and the revolution's prestige.  They have
been doing things that undermine the revolution morals and prestige.  They
weaken it in every sense.

Here, the revolution and the laws dictate capital punishment for spies.  A
CIA agent can be shot.  I ask myself:  Could a CIA agent cause the damage
that these gentlemen were causing?  A CIA agent can get information on the
economy, something military, or something.  I ask myself:  Could 10 CIA
agents cause the damage these people were causing?  Could 50 CIA agents
cause this damage?  Could they expose the country the way these people were
exposing the nation?  CIA agents are judged and shot.  If an exemplary
punishment is not imposed in this case...[changes thought] Someone said:
Who else could deserve this punishment?

I ask myself:  How can we guarantee discipline in our armed forces and in
the Ministry of the Interior if the chief of an army, the chief of tens of
thousands of men in battle, in war, takes the luxury of devoting a single
second of the time dedicated to his duties to these activities?  What can
we demand from a military chief?  What can we expect from future heroes and
future chiefs?  What can we expect from bosses, men who put themselves
above the law and morals?  What can we expect from men who put themselves
above the nation?  I think that one of the things that give use the most
pride is our officers' and military chiefs' modesty; the honesty of our
officers and military chiefs.  We are proud of their conduct, of which we
had proof during the honor tribunal.  What could we say to the future
chiefs, the future heroes if an action of such great severity is not
punished with the most severe penalty our laws establish?

Our army is characterized by its discipline, by its unconditional loyalty
to the revolution, to the principles of the revolution, and to the
Communist Party of Cuba [PPC].  This is one of the things that most
satisfies us about our army and our chiefs.  We can say that with his
insolence, Ochoa put himself above the laws because he was a hero, a
general, and a member of the PCC Central Committee.  It would be an
ill-fated and demoralizing precedent if we do not apply the most severe
penalties.  For others like Martinez, who consciously did what he did, we
would not be showing that there are actions that cannot be approved, such
as doing these things under the pretext of carrying out orders.  If we do
not punish the two main people from the Ministry of the Interior, how could
we rebuild the Ministry of the Interior?  How could we regain that
institution's prestige, a prestige which has been seriously damaged by
these events.  How could we someday hope to have discipline in an
institution which is so fundamental for the nation, a nation in revolution,
for a nation that is 90 miles away from the United States?  How could we
have discipline in that institution?  How could we speak of rectification?
Who would speak of rectification again if the most incredible joke played
on the principles of the process of rectification are not punished?  Like
someone here said, when we were in the middle of that battle, the battle of
rectification, the most atrocious things are done.  They laughed, they made
fun of the principles.  Remember what was said on 19 April 1986?  Then all
of this happens from 1987 to 1989.  What future could the process of
rectification have if a simple prison sentence is issued?  Would it be
enough to constitute an example?  Would it be enough to save and preserve
the values we are protecting?

In every sense, we must examine the great damage suffered by the nation.
We have to examine the political damage.  We have to review many cables and
declarations.  We have to see how they impute the whole government without
excluding anyone.  We have to examine more than just what they placed in
danger, the revolution's prestige and credibility.  However, this has
already been stated.  We are going to recuperate the prestige and
credibility and it will be stronger than before.  We are going to
recuperate it and make it stronger, not by virtue of the actions committed
by those sanctioned, we are going to recuperate and make it stronger
despite their actions.  This is based on how the nation gave face to what
they did.

Many people in the world are astonished.  Some people say we have given
this too much importance.  The problem is that in many parts of the world
this does not have much importance.  Embezzling, robbery, indiscipline,
impunity, and dirty dealings do not have any importance in some places.
However, to us it has great importance and we have given it the importance
it deserves.  Of course, as has been said, we will turn this setback into a
victory.  This will depend on the attitude that nation takes, as well as on
the measures taken.  It will not just depend on the sanctions, it will also
depend on what happens after the sanctions.  Here I am referring to all of
those who may be potential followers of this conduct.

No, I do not believe that the process of rectification is going to lose, it
is going to win.  As Raul said; he said a peasant said that the
rectification process can now advance 10 years.  I think rectification will
now be understood more.  The PCC is now going to have more force to demand
and impose rules.  It will also have more force to sweep away with
everything that smells rotten.  So then, basing ourselves on the
revolution's credibility and prestige, I think that the punishment should
be exemplary and the sanctions should be the most severe.

Among the damages done, they were weakening our defenses considerably.
They were morally disarming us, as we have already said.  They were
handling the enemy on a silver platter the opportunity to gather proof to
discredit Cuba.  What would revolutionary Cuba be like without
international credibility?

What would revolutionary Cuba be like without prestige?  What would
revolutionary Cuba be like facing the imperialist enemy that hounds us so
much, that enemy that wanted to place us on the bench of the accused with
regards to human rights.  They were not able to get a sanction against the
nation because of our morals, prestige, and Cuba's credibility.  These men
attacked all of this.  They said they were going to help the nation
collecting $2 million, which they in fact pocketed, squandered, and used to
corrupt everyone.  They used $2 million to corrupt many people with their
genial way of helping the revolution.  They themselves did not believe they
were helping the revolution for a single minute.

The nations spends no less than $1 billion in defense.  It spends over $1
billion on the Revolutionary Armed Forces alone.  Calculate how much all
the steel, wood, iron rods, and material resources we invest to prepare the
operations sector and defense sector are worth.  They are worth over $1
billion.  The nation spends 500 times more than what these miserable people
were collecting.  The nation spends this amount of money with great
sacrifice, and these people, for $2 million, were weakening the nation's
defenses, selling the nation.  I have not included in this figure the
hundreds of millions the nation spends on the Ministry of the Interior.
This money is used for internal order, as well as for state security.  The
nation spends hundreds of millions on security and these miserable people
were corrupting and scorning us with a few miserable dollars.  The damage
they have done to the national economy... [changes thought] Who knows how
much damage they have done to the national economy.  The prosecutor spoke
about this in his concluding statements.  Varadero, what reputation would
Varadero have in the world as a result of this mafia's activities?

The nation which has some of the best possibilities with regards to
tourism, the nation that has the most immediate possibility to obtain the
needed resources, especially in convertible currency, has tourist
possibilities that could yield $500 million, $800 million, $1 billion every
year, and this mafia, with their filth in drugs, was placing the country in
danger.  They were throwing everything to the ground.  One of the things
tourism likes is the security that tranquility they can find in our
fatherland.  What damage have they done to legitimate activities,
legitimate and clean commerce carried out by the nation?  They have made a
mess, they have compromised things.  They have involved activities that
have nothing to do with them, activities that are legitimate and clean.
Someday, we will have to see the level of damage done to the nation's
legitimate activities.  We will have to see the damage done to honest
activities of a commercial nature.  There are activities that are morally
unobjectionable. How much damage have they caused our enterprises abroad?

They have caused terrible damage to the Ministry of the Interior.  You
could almost say that they have morally destroyed the Ministry of the
Interior.  It has to be rebuilt.  Let us say that the accused alone are not
responsible, this is the truth.  Let us say that the leadership of the
Ministry of the Interior has some culpability, and this has to be said now,
because of its insensibility with regards to the conduct of these men whom
everyone knew were potentates.  Everyone knew they spent and fluanted money
and that they lived differently than everyone else.  It is incredible!  In
the trial, it was stated that one of the men had 10 cars.  That man, Amado
Padron, almost certainly had been mentioned to everyone here:  He was
mentioned here; they talked about him there.  They probably heard the same
thing of the de la Guardia brothers.  People heard about their lives and
their conduct.  The ministry was insensitive, despite the efforts we have
made in the ministry, despite the efforts we have made [repeats himself]
and despite the guidelines the ministry has, it was insensitive.

The ministry, among other things, was told--and it was stated in the report
to the Third Congress--that they had to be unblemished because they are the
ones who have to demand respect for the law and adequate conduct from the
others, from the ones who have to clash in the streets with others.  It was
proposed that there not be clinics for the combatants of the Ministry of
the Interior because this would separate them from the people.  they were
to go to the clinics the people go to.  There were already Ministry of the
Interior clinics in Pinar del Rio and other provinces, we said to return
them.  It was proposed that they not have restaurants nor recreation areas.
In some places, these installations were already being built.  We said:
Return them, turn them over to the people.  there was also military
commerce.  We listened to the complaints and said:  Cease military
commerce.  One of the serious problems in the Ministry of the Interior was
that they tried to equate themselves with the armed forces.  The armed
forces have different tasks, different missions, and different functions.
do not believe that the measures adopted were little things.

These measures were taken to make certain that the Ministry of the Interior
did not separate itself from the people.  The times I spoke about this were
not few.  If I heard about a party that cost several thousands, what were
we to do with the responsible person?  I said:  No, I do not want a
scapegoat.  What I want is for this never to be repeated again.
Unfortunately, it was not to be like so.  This gang corrupted people; they
made many gifts, and not just trashy gifts, to use the expression the
people use.  They have been doing it for some time.  Why was Tony de la
Guardia and the entire group of the CIMEX [State Enterprise for Import
Export] Corporation removed?  Because they had established a style.  they
imported all the imitation jewelry they could find.  They imported
white-walled tires, crystal of a certain type, little telephones, tape
recorders, video cassette records in the cars, all kinds of things.  They
were removed from there.

Those people should never have been in the MC with the prerogatives they
had at that point, much less organize multinationals under the pretext of
breaking the blockade.  That was prohibited.  [pounds podium 3 times] That
was conducted by not following precise and concrete instructions that were
given to the ministry.  All kinds of resources appeared in the hands of a
small group of discredited people.  Not only did they give away costume
jewelry, color television sets, video cassette recorders, but they even
gave away yachts that were valued at tens of thousands of dollars.  They
stole those yachts or lost them with the boatmen as their accomplices.  The
owners were delighted to collect from their insurance.  The yachts were
sold and resold here, or given away as gifts.  Who knows how many people
received gifts from this gang.

They created a system of relationships, of friendships that corrupted and,
in my opinion, created a neutralizing effect which has caused terrible
damage to the Ministry of the Interior.  The ministry has such large
functions to carry out.  There is now a climate of bitterness.  This is not
the moment to forget the extraordinary services that the men and women of
the ministry gave to the revolution during these 30 years; these are
services that the country has needed, needs, and continues to need until
who knows when.  It is not a time to forget the heroism, courage, and the
sacrifice made by some many men of the Ministry of the Interior.  They
rendered so many services to the country, especially the men of the state
security organs, not to mention the services of the firemen, or the
services the national police have given to the country.  Like it was said
during the oral trial:  How difficult is it going to be, and how much time
will it take to rebuild the trust and the abilities of some of the organs
of the Ministry of the Interior?  However, we will rebuild them, I do not
have the slightest doubt about that.

There are some who have compared the FAR to the Ministry of the Interior,
and I say that is very unjust.  We must reiterate it whenever necessary.
There is no possible comparison between the role of one institution and the
role of another, although they are both important.  The Ministry of the
Interior was created from the rebel army.  The Ministry of the Interior is
the son of the rebel army, and, first of all, we must put each institution
in its place.  Especially now, the FAR has to again help the Ministry of
the Interior.  I say that the comparison is unjust, because I am saying
this with my heart in my hand.  If there is an institution that has been
demanding in this country, if there is an institution in this country, it
has been the FAR.  If there is a comrade who has been a struggler and
demanding, that comrade is Raul.  [pounds on podium three times] That is
why we must indignantly deny the suggestion that comes from the enemy
[which is] that if there was change in the Ministry of the Interior, there
must also have been change in the FAR.  That is an intrigue of the enemy.
If we have discovered this cancer, it is precisely because of the FAR.
[pounds on podium three times] If today we have many cadres with which to
help the Ministry of the Interior, it is because of the cadres we have in
the FAR.

Our FAR is comprised of two essential, fundamental institutions that are
basic to our revolution and that have different problems, of a different
nature.  There was really no Mafia in the Armed Forces.  Two different
groups were involved in these activities.  When it came time to say things,
they had to be said clearly.

How much time have all of us had to dedicate these past few days to this
problem?  How much time has Raul had to spend on this?  How much time have
I had to spend on this problem.  What was I doing?  What did I devote
myself to?  I made an enormous effort in all areas through the Executive
Committee of the Council of Ministers.

I had begun to develop plans for transportation in the capital, which was
then at about 25,000 trips a day and is now at 30,000 trips a day.  I
didn't even want to hear about it.  I didn't want to hear about the result
of the work done on transportation in the capital until it was already
super-consolidated.  There was no need to talk.  What we needed to do was
to get it done.  We were committed to programs for constructing bus
terminals, central markets [mercados concentradores].  We were committed to
raising the productive and constructive ability of the Construction
Ministry.  We were committed to radically change and sweep away bad
habits, negative habits that were created in that institution.  We had
committed ourselves to the recovery of water resource management and to
promote the construction of dozens of dams.  We were committed to
fulfilling plans for the drainage of sugarcane plots, engineering systems
for the rice industry, construction programs for cattle processing
centers, construction programs for pig and poultry processing centers.  We
all dedicated ourselves to increasing the production of food in our
country, to resolve very important problems in every area, to inaugurate
hospitals, child care centers, polyclinics, to carry out a vast number of
programs in all areas of construction and agriculture.  We committed
ourselves to organizing contingents that now have the productivity that no
other construction group has in any other country.  They work longer hours
than workers do in any other country to confront our underdevelopment and
problems during the most difficult times, at a time when we have had less
resources in convertible currency.

We have even had problems in receiving supplies that were constant for
almost 30 years from the socialist area.  We have also begun to have
difficulties [pounds table] as a result of the changes and reforms they
have applied.  This makes it more difficult to obtain the supplies agreed
upon for each year.

Conditions have been more difficult.  We have all devoted ourselves to that
work.  We have been taken away from that work.  We have been forced to take
a month off from this work.  We suspended the meeting of the executive
committee, three meetings, to dedicate ourselves to this problem because we
feel it is important.

I thought that this year I would be able to devote much more time and be
more dedicated to all these tasks.  Last year, as I said, I had to devote
almost the entire period from mid-November 1987 to October 1988 to the war
in Angola until we achieved peace there, when our combatants returned
victorious and laden with laurels.  Just when we were trying to intensify
the ideological battle, when a great enthusiasm for work developed
throughout the country, a great exhilaration for work, just when we all
dedicated ourselves to preparing the people for the war; we had to put it
all aside to dedicate ourselves to these gentlemen, these rich little boys
[senoritos], who lived the sweet life.

I talked about the contingents.  How embarrassing it is that there are
people dedicated to that!  How embarrassing that there were people living
like they did while others worked 14, 15, and 16 hours daily!  The workers
are forming, developing our country.  They are creating a true miracle in
the difficult moments of socialism.  As it was said here, these are moments
of socialism.  As it was said here, these are moments when socialism is
being questioned, and in which they want to send it to the trash heap of
history.  Our country and process are a model not only of honesty,
seriousness, and truthfulness, but is also tries to follow its own path,
its own way of building socialism, while being aware that we are 90 miles
away from the empire [sentence as hear].  With more pride, trust, and
certainty than ever we fly the flag of socialism.  They were threatening us
with a terrible stain. they were threatening to drown us in mud and
discredit.  But the revolution is, was, and will be a serious matter.  The
revolution knows how to face all these problems like it should.  What does
the life of the gentlemen have to do with our working class?  The habits of
these gentlemen and the habits of our workers are two different worlds.  We
cannot rest until we have one single world--and not the world of the
bourgeois, and the small bourgeios, but the world of the working class, our
workers, our farmers. [pounds on podium twice] These...[rephrases] Our
workers do not go around thinking about shoddy goods, a few cents, and
luxuries.  I have not seen that in any of those men who I admire so much.
They wake up at dawn and work until 2200 and 2300 in the evening.

I recall a precedent that occurred in the Sierra Maestra.  We still had a
column, or two columns.  We had made a long trip toward the east.  While
being very far from La Plata area, we received news about an outbreak of
bandits among people in the 26 July movement, among some combatants who
were isolated.  They had robbed a store and committed several crimes; and
that concerned us terribly.  We said:  That is not possible.  If this is
tolerated, permitted, and continues, this could be the death of the
revolution.  We walked countless hours, whole days.  We carried out an
extraordinary march.  We sent Camilo [Cienfuegos] ahead of the soldiers so
he could try to arrest all those people.  So, we arrested the principal
culprits.  How painful it was to judge them!  Some of them had been our
guides.  They had helped us, they had brought us food.  However, the
distance of the troops, the poor judgement of some people there, and
irresponsibility, led them to commit actions which, under those
circumstances, were very serious--acts of assaults, robbery.  We had to
judge them, and we did.  We sentenced them to the highest punishment, and
we executed them!  I remember that, and it still hurts me.  Those humble
comrades of ours, some of them had several brothers in the troops, but they
continued with us in the column.  Tell me whether or not that was difficult
for us.  I remember that man who was called "the teacher" because he used
to pretend to be one.  He rendered some services.  We received the news
that had been [word indistinct] women, and saying he was Che.  He was
arrested.  The same tribunal judged him and executed him immediately.  We
were not trigger-happy people.  A whole story could be told about how many
people our victorious army executed throughout the war, and there were very
few.  I do not think that any other revolution in the world, under war, has
executed fewer people in that amount of time.

What kind of crimes had been committed by those, and I dare call them
comrades?  The revolution was not as developed yet as it is today.  It did
not have it norms and everything it has now.  They made a mistake which
under other circumstances would not have been so serious, but under those
circumstances, it was extremely serious.  No other alternative remained but
to apply the highest punishment.  What did those combatants do in
comparison to the things these gentlemen have done, in comparison to the
things done by Ochoa, de la Guardia, and his group?  What was the
seriousness of that action in comparison to this one?  Today, we find
ourselves in exactly the same (?situation).  Those are such serious
things--and things of this nature could threaten the future of the
revolution--that there is no other alternative but apply drastic
punishment, exemplary punishment.

Various international personalities have addressed us expressing their
concern, asking, urging that capital punishment not be applied to the
accused.  Naturally, we have also received messages from the relatives;
this is probably the most difficult of all.  Rural, spoke about that with
much sorrow--when the children, brothers, parents address us asking us to
not apply the maximum punishment, asking the Council of State to commute
the sentence.

It is difficult for them to understand what they are asking of all of us,
not just me.  Because there are many who think that I am the one who
decides whether or not one thing or another is done.  I am not avoiding
responsibility.  If I was the only one who had to decide on this, if the
Council of State president had that authority, I would adopt exactly the
same decision.  This is not a matter of avoiding responsibility.  this is a
collective decision.  The world does not even know that; they think that
the president of the country has the prerogative of pardoning.  Everyone
says:  Now Castro will have to decide one thing or another.  That is what
is said abroad.  Even in our country, many people think the decision is

In reality, it is logical for these relatives, beloved ones, children, and
closest relatives to ask what they are asking.  However, they are asking
for something which is beyond our prerogatives.  They are asking for
something which is beyond our duties.  We hear of some cases, precedents.
There was a time when the revolution could have been generous, and it was
generous, without causing great damage to itself.  Today, we cannot be
generous...[rephrases] Today the revolution cannot be generous without
causing great damage to itself.  The revolution, always noble and generous,
will never discriminate against the children of the responsible persons.
We also suffer for those children.  Like Raul said, that while thinking
about this, one day he caught himself crying.

In conclusion, comrades, I believe there has been a cleaner process in
history, in our country.  When I say history, I am talking about any
history; and when I talk about our country, I will say that there has never
been a process with more participation by everyone.  I have already
explained how the whole process took place, and how there was not the
slightest influence on the decision of the judges, tribunals, and
witnesses, or the accused, or anyone else.  Furthermore, although it was
our responsibility to make the final decision, here in this Council of
State, practically all the comrades who hold important leadership posts in
the country were consulted.  First of all, I asked the opinion, one by one,
of the Politburo members.  The answer of each one of the Politburo
members--it was not a one by one meeting, but in a meeting with all of
them--their answer, unanimously, was that the most severe punishment should
be applied to those who were principally responsible for these actions.
Afterward, I asked the opinion of the executive committee, and of the
Council of Ministers, one by one.  Only two of them thought that the most
severe punishment should not be applied--they used various arguments.  We
consulted the members of the Central Committee.  Of the 162 members
present,10 argued against the application of the most severe punishment.
They analyzed it, and for different reasons, arguments..[does not complete
sentence] Eleven of them said that they would support whatever decision the
Council of State would take; and 141 of them said that the most severe
punishment should be applied.  I must clarify that this was not done in 1
day.  It was done at different times while the process was going on.  I
have already explained and we were happy, that there were different
opinions.  Once the oral trial was finished, and the sentence handed down
by the special tribunal was published, we requested that all the delegates
of the National Assembly [of the People's Government] meet, because it is
our higher organization, since we are representatives of the National
Assembly.  Out of the 402 delegates present, which was the total sum of the
number that met in each one of the provinces, one person said he was in
favor of communting the death sentence, and 401 said they were in favor of
the ratification of the sentence by the Council of Sate.  Furthermore, many
said that more of the accused should have been given capital punishment.
There were many who thought that.  Many even complained that one 15-year
sentence proposed by the prosecutor was reduced to 10 years.

I believe that the military tribunal was generous.  I believe that almost
all the accused could have been sentenced to capital punishment.  However,
I also think that the tribunal was just in its decision.

We could add that it was a wise decision.  It is better that a lot of
people complain that the sentences were not drastic enough, than to have
them some day complain that they were too drastic.  However, I think
decision was very wise.  I think our tribunals have simply sent out a
warning; undoubtedly, if actions of this nature would ever be repeated, the
measures would be much more drastic.

It is difficult to think that some men are going to die as a result of all
this, and as a result of our very own decision.  Yes, it is difficult, it
is bitter.  This could not be pleasant for anyone.  However, I also think
about others who have died.  I think about those who fell in order to build
a decent country, and not those who fell today [pounds table twice], but
those who fell 120 years ago.  I think about those who fell at that time in
order to create a republic where justice and law would prevail--a decent
republic where there would not be corruption, impunity, dishonesty,
embezzlement.  They fell for an honorable, respectable country.  They fell
in two wars of independence, and they have fallen throughout this century.
They are the ones I think about, the man, and many valuables comrades who
fell.  I also think about the loved ones who lost them.  I think of those
who have died carrying out internationlist missions, honorable
internationalist missions.  It is on behalf of them, that we do not have
any other alternative but to do what we are doing.  It is on behalf of the
ideals and of the fatherland that they loved, that we feel obligated to be

Therefore, comrades, I believe that with the points of view having been
amply expressed, I add myself to the opinion that all of you have expressed
this afternoon.

In any case, although we have heard that opinion, I ask that we officially

Those in favor of the ratification of the sentence handed down by the
military tribunal raise your hands. [video shows Council of State members
as they vote]

Those opposed [raise your hands].

By unanimity of the Council of State, the sentence of the special military
tribunal is ratified.  The session has ended.