Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech on Anniversary of Palace Assault
Havana Radio Rebelde Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000004661
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA1403023390
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-050          Report Date:    14 Mar 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       8
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       13 Mar 90
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 050


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio Rebelde Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speech on Anniversary of Palace Assault

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro Ruz at Jose Marti Revolution Square in

Source Line:   PA1403023390 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 2336 GMT 13
Mar 90

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at Jose Marti Revolution
Square in Havana--live]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz at Jose Marti Revolution Square in

2.  [Text] Dear and admired relatives of the combatants who fell on 13 March;
dear student comrades.  I felt I had to explain something when I saw you
jumping and chanting: He who does not jump is a Yankee. I thought to myself, I
hope this does not get me into any trouble.  [crowd laughs] I began looking
over here at my Executive Committee comrades and ministers who are with us
while I asked myelf if I could jump like you people.  [crowd laughs] I shrugged
it off thinking, hopefully, you had forgotten, but I see you are back again and
in full force.  I was remembering a few weeks ago when I was inaugurating a
behavioral disorder school near Samaria or some other municipality around
there.  The boys were playing basketball, so I approached them to play too.  In
my days, I was quite good with the ball, shooting from an angle.  It was a
little rubber ball, not a regulation basketball.  No, I am not going to blame
the ball, as it was I who was out of shape.  I tried to take a shot but it fell
short.  I tried again until I managed to reach the rim.  The boys suggested I
shoot closer, but I said: I am not leaving until I get it in. What could have
made me say such a thing? I had to be on my way to inaugurate other schools.  I
tried 10 to 12 times when I heard something snap. [crowd laughs] I could only
think of all the schools I still had to inaugurate. I said: I think I shall
take your advise; I am going to throw it from here.  I finally made the shot. 
[applause] One tends to forget that one is no longer the university student of
the 1940's. One is told one should not try this without first warming up; one
should not try sudden jumps without warming up first because one may tear a
ligament or who knows what.  I was told too late; I had already jumped 10, 12,
or 14 times!  I had forgotten all my commitments; I was scheduled to inaugurate
other schools.  If I had known you were here waiting with the watchword: Those
who do not jump are Yankees, I would have spent half an hour warming up befome
coming here. [applause] By then I had no choice, but I still managed to jump,
although it may have not been much. [crowd chants: ``Those who do not jump are
Yankees!''] I already jumped three times; the jumps may not have been like
Sotomayor's, but I still jumped and proved I am not a Yankee.  Can you imagine
my being termed a Yankee, here?  I do not know who jumped over here. [applause]
I do not know if there is a Yankee reporter here and whether he might have
jumped as well; maybe he caught on from you.

3.  Comrades, after this anecdote, allow me to refer to what has brought us
together here at this square.  This is the first time in many years because we
generally meet on the other side.  Comrade Felix said there were 30,000 or
40,000 students here.  I do not know if many more joined in along the way, but
it seems there are more than 40,000 citizens at this rally. [crowds cheer]
Today we commemorate a historic date that is deep within the hearts of all the
people and of our students, too.  It is the anniversary of the attack on the
palace and the death of Jose Antonio Echeverria.

4.  It was on a day like this, but somewhat earlier.  We remember it well
because we had embarked on a long journey toward the eastern part of the Sierra
Maestra and we--a small group of fighters--were returning to meet with Che and
other comrades.  Che had to remain in a given zone because of health problems
and a group of fighters was coming from the old Oriente Province as
reinforcements for our troops.  We were at that moment 12 men who had embarked
on a campaign.  We were going toward the west and we were at the base of the
mountain that was several times our capital, meaning Caracas Mountain.  It is
not a big mountain.  It measures 1,200 or 1,250 meters at the most, but it was
very well known by us in difficult times.  We were at the base of the mountain
where we would make a stop.

5.  We had a small radio and when we stopped we turned on the radio and tried
to catch the national news.  It was a small battery radio. The moment we turned
on the radio we heard the Radio Reloj signal--but without the announcer's
voice.  That was very strange.  No one was talking.  We immediately realized
that something serious was happening--or had happened.  We later found out what
had happened, of course.  We did not hear the first part, when the news was
interrupted by Jose Antonio's statement.  The radio was on the air but there
were no news reports.  We waited and waited, but we immediately realized that
something important had happened.

6.  The news segment continued and there was a report on the events. That is
when we really learned what had happened.  It was a brief news report.  Later
we learned about Jose Antonio's death and the events that had occurred, the
loss of revolutionaries' lives that had occurred, and the cases of political
opposition leaders who had been assassinated that same day.  It was a
tremendous moment for us.  It affected us greatly.  We were then 12 men.  That
was the size of our operational forces--12 men.  We sadly continued our march
to the west afterwards.  We were going to meet with our comrades, which we did
several days later.

7.  We knew Jose Antonio very well because he was a happy young man who was
very affectionate with everyone.  He was modest, very humble.  We
affectionately called him Little Apple.  His skin was pink and the students
affectionately gave him that name.  We knew him from way back, before the 10
March coup d'etat.  We had befriended him because, as a matter of fact, he was
everyone's friend.  He was nice and honest.  He was a student like all of you,
but he still was not a student leader.  He became a great and important leader
of the FEU [Federation of University Students] after 10 March and as a result
of his combative, active, and courageous attitude.  This made him stand out
among the other comrades.

8.  Those were the relations we had with and those are the memories we have of
Jose Antonio.  He certainly stood out, and the FEU stood out in those early
struggles against Batista in an university that still was not a revolutionary
university.  It was possibly not as revolutionary as it had been in the 1930's:
the years of struggle against Machado and the early years of the struggle
against Batista.  It was not an imperialist...[corrects himself]
anti-imperialist university.  Anti-imperialist feelings had greatly declined at
the university in those years.  The number of communists was very small.  The
group of truly progressive and conscious people with ideas about socialism was
very small too.

9.  However, our students were characterized by their rebellious and struggling
spirit, and they defended many causes.  Even though they could not be called
socialist causes, they were just causes like solidarity with Panamanian
students when they were struggling for the return of their canal territory. 
They were always in solidarity with the Puerto Rican people's struggle, or in
solidarity with democracy in Santo Domingo during Trujillo's time.

10.  The students generally supported all those causes, and they rejected
political schemes and corruption even though they had not acquired the
awareness that the students had concerning their struggle in Julio Antonio
Mella's time and the years when the struggle against the Machado dictatorship
began.  However, this marked a new chapter in our country's history.  Generally
speaking, the workers' and the peasants' children could not go to university. 
The number of students was very small.  Junior colleges were usually found in
the provincial capitals.  Can you imagine what chance the son of a sugar-mill
worker or a farm worker or a peasant had of going to high school or junior
college, not to mention university?  They had no resources for the trip, books,
or registration fees.  They barely managed to complete sixth grade.  Very few
completed sixth grade, particularly in the countryside.  Very few completed
third or fourth grade.  The vast majority of the children had to drop out of
school after first, second, or third grade--if they ever went to school. 
Elementary education barely included 50 percent of our population, so access to
universities was achieved by youths who generally came from the middle class or
the lower middle class.  There was no social status for the workers or

11.  There was also much anticommunism and McCarthyism at the time.  An
incessant campaign was launched in all the media--press, television, radio, all
the magazines, all the newspapers, all the books.  That was the daily dose of
venom.  The period I am talking about is the one which corresponds to the end
of World War II and the beginning of the cold war. [Unidentified man shouts:
``That is why we want socialism!''; crowd chants: ``Socialism, socialism,
socialism!''] Given that situation, the revolutionaries who were aware of the
concept of society and life were very few.  Traditionally, the students from
colonial times...[changes thought] You may recall the traumatic episode about
the execution of the medical students, probably with false charges.

12.  According to history, the sad part of that story is that they had not even
carried out the action, which was called the pro... [unidentified speaker
interrupts, saying: ``Profanation''] the profanation of a reactionary and
colonialist journalist's tomb.  However, the charges were made and their
execution was carried out.  This was back in the first years.  I believe it was
in 1961.  The first war of independence in our country had barely begun three
years before.  That tradition always remained, but the 10 March military coup
created the conditions that would lead to a deep social revolution for the
first time in our country's history.

13.  University students were put to a difficult test and this exerted a
tremendous influence on them.  The struggle began like our struggle began,
except it began a few years earlier, simply as a result of the students'
rebellion and protests against injustices, corruption, privileges, etc.  We did
not have a political theory when we began.  Perhaps the most extraordinary
thing about those masses of students which fought courageously against the
Batista tyranny was their extraordinary merits.  They began the struggle for
the reasons we have explained even though they had yet to develop a conscience.
They continued onward for approximately seven years and led great clashes on
the streets against the police and against firemen.  They carried out heroic
feats like the one on 13 March.  They organized guerrilla struggle activities
in the mountains.  And they participated in the struggle according to the
measure of their strength and possibilities, until 1 January.  The most
admirable thing about that generation of students is that a vast majority of
them came from middle class and lower middle class families, yet they continued
with the revolution and they continued with socialism.

14.  A foreign visitor may find it strange to see this type of relationship
between the revolution and the students.  The visitor most probably knows
nothing about the seed of our student masses of today.  It was planted many
years ago, during the early years of the revolution when there was a close
relationship between the revolution and the students.  It was as close as the
one that existed between the revolution and the working class, as close as the
relationship between the revolution and the peasants, the revolution and women,
the revolution and the people.

15.  The fact is we have done the work of the revolution together.  It is the
common work of all.  What the universities are today--we cannot talk about the
university but about many universities--is largely the fruit of the work of
that generation, of the struggle that Jose Antonio Echeverria began together
with other comrades.

16.  We can refer today to hundreds of thousands of students.  Regular students
total well over 100,000.  They are approximately 120,000 - 130,000.  Together
with those in other areas of higher studies, they reach the huge total of
300,000.  There are approximately 300,000 students at the higher level.  All
this is the fruit of a great struggle, of much work, of a great effort of many
years that began with the revolution.

17.  It began with social justice.  It began with the creation of opportunities
for all children and all young people of this country.  It began with the
campaign against illiteracy, for which tens of thousands of adolescents and
youths at the preuniversity level mobilized.  From the very beginning there was
always a strong and immediate response from the students.  This happened for
the first time in our country's history, too.  Maybe only a few countries in
the world have throughout their history given such responses to the noble
aspirations, lofty feelings, energy, and wishes of the youthful, student

18.  The student masses it are themselves a work of the revolution because, out
of 15,000 students, only a few attended classes regularly.  The revolution
produced a mass of 30,000, a mass of 60,000, a mass of 100,000, a mass of
200,000, a mass of 300,000 students.  These huge masses were created with the
revolution and with socialism.  Just as huge are the masses of midlevel
students.  Just as huge are the masses of secondary school students, of
technological school students, of trade school students, etc.  Such are the
masses of children who make up the primary education system.

19.  The students joined the people's militia the first year.  The militias
were not called Territorial Troops Militia then.  Thousands upon thousands
joined the militias.  They were not numerous at the beginning because even
those graduating from the preuniversity level were insufficient to fill our
universities. They enrolled in the militias and the Armed Forces by the
thousands.  Many times, whole contingents of university graduates were used to
form the units of antiaircraft rocketry and other weapons requiring qualified

20.  During that era, each time a (?batch) of preuniversity students graduated,
they entered the university headlong, even though some of them would have liked
to study something else, or to be a teacher, or a member of the Armed Forces,
as I said.  However, all of them participated from the very beginning in the
country's defense.

21.  This history, the fruits pointed out in the words repeated here, and that
past effort involve a whole tradition.  A very close relationship has always
existed between the students and the revolution and the leadership of the
revolution, and also between the students and the party, without a single crack
throughout these more than 30 years. Things are different now.  There are now
huge masses that are the fruit of all of these years of struggle.

22.  There is a very profound awareness today.  The aim is not to become a
revolutionary simply out of youthful enthusiasm, out of love of liberty, or out
of a rebellious spirit.  It is much more significant, deep, and strong to
become a revolutionary out of a profound conviction, out of a fully developed
conscience that allows us to see and distinguish and analyze and evaluate
society and world problems.

23.  In this struggle we have been the vanguard and the standard-bearers.  Our
laborers, peasants, and students, who are aware of the great historic task of
having to defend this first trench of socialism in the Western Hemisphere,
which is 90 miles from the United States, have fulfilled this honorable role
for more than 30 years.  They have built socialism and harvested its fruits for
30 years.  You cannot deny that we have fulfilled our revolutionary duty for 30
years, that we have fulfilled our internationalist duties for 30 years, that we
have defended socialism for 30 years.  The slogan--fatherland or death--was
already applicable on the second year of the revolution because we had to shout
it from the very beginning.  From the very beginning we were threatened, from
the very beginning rebels were promoted in the Cuban mountains and such groups
existed in all provinces, from the very beginning there were plans of
aggression, and from the very beginning there were threats of invasion, which
at a given moment nearly provoked a nuclear war.

24.  This gives us an idea of how long the struggle of the peoples can
last--the struggle of our people to achieve their independence and liberty
against mighty foreign powers.  This struggle for liberty was first waged
against the might of one of the great military powers of the time; namely,
Spain, and then against the might of the United States, whose ambition has
always been to seize Cuba.

25.  The United States had hoped to seize Cuba as it had seized Puerto Rico. 
It had hoped to seize Cuba as one picks a ripe fruit and as it did through the
neocolonial republic--by exploiting natural resources, because all large
industries and services were owned by Yankee concerns.  And although we had
this beautiful flag, a coat of arms, and our national anthem, we were never
really independent until 1 January 1959. [applause]

26.  As I recall listening to Jose Antonio speaking 33 years ago, I think that
today we are involved in the same struggle, but this struggle is even more
difficult.  I think that the greatest struggle in our country's history--which
began with our struggle against Spain, continued with our attempts to prevent
our annexation by the United States, continued with our struggle against
pro-Yankee neocolonialist governments, and continued with our struggle against
Batista--is today, when we are facing the empire, the earth's most powerful
country in economic and military terms.  We are facing an arrogant and
overconfident imperialism that is more arrogant and overconfident than ever, an
imperialism that has threatened us and is threatening us today with special
boldness out of the belief that the collapse of socialism, which has worried
them so much for decades, has arrived.

27.  They believe that the time to get back at the revolution has arrived. 
They are euphoric.  Perhaps they imagine [20-second break in reception] ...the
student leadership's plenary meeting and the people's activities and struggle. 
If they saw that--and with as many satellites as they have, I cannot understand
why they cannot see or understand anything--they would realize that things are
simply different over here. [applause]

28.  They should realize--and they do realize this in general terms--that an
aggression against our country would exact an enormous price from them.  They
realize it and have admitted it.  They have even said that the cost would be
high.  They are hoping that the process will weaken to make their plan easier
to fulfill.  They are hoping to divide the people to make their task easier.

29.  They are hoping to isolate us.  They have said that the empire has only
one enemy today.  Against whom are they aiming all their attacks and efforts? 
Against Cuba.  They are aiming all their arsenal of resources and propapaganda
against nothing else but Cuba.  They believe that they will demoralize us or
weaken our combative spirit with that.  They believe that the developments, on
which we have commented on other occasions, will create an unbearable economic

30.  They realize that the revolution is strong and enjoys popular support. 
However, they are underestimating our people and our nation.  They have no
reason to do that, because when our nation was nonexistent, when our nation was
being born during the heroic struggle that lasted 10 years, it wrote an
unprecedented page in our history and struggled amid the most difficult
conditions.  Even when the nation was a small part of society; when the
officials, soldiers, foreigners and their relatives, and many still-confused
people were a majority over that segment of Cuban society during the second
half of the past century; the nation was built by that handful of patriots who
were able to fight for 10 years under an absolute blockade.

31.  It was very difficult to receive a ship with weapons and ammunition under
such conditions.  Cubans virtually fought with the weapons and ammunition
seized from the enemy in combat or with machetes, those simple work tools. 
Armed with courage, the Cubans and those teams of fighters composed of slaves,
former slaves, descendents of slaves, very humble peasants, and mestizos,
showed an unequaled capacity for fighting.

32.  Therefore, they have no historical reason to underestimate us because this
was repeated throughout the past during the second war of independence,
throughout our history, and throughout our own struggles that repeated our
history.  This has been demostrated these 30 years because we have faced 30
years of hostilities, blockades, and threats.  We have been threatened for a
long time now.  One president after another has threatened us.  We were
threatened during both Reagan administrations.  We organized and prepared
ourselves to defend the revolution with our own effort, blood, and skin.

33.  Imperialism has no reason based on our past history to underestimate our
people.  During a recent women's congress I said that this is a special time,
the most special time in our history.

34.  If Jose Antonio and his fellow students, the weaponless students of that
era, had to confront their pursuers, the police, the forces that served
imperialism which repressed our people and that generation of students, the
future of our current population--which has almost doubled since that era--is
truly unparalleled and unprecedented.  An honor that none of us ever imagined
has befallen our current population--we are confronting the empire, fiercely
defending our independence, the flag of the revolution, and the flag of
socialism. [applause]

35.  This is an exceptional hour of struggle and pledges for all of us, and a
time of heavy work for all of us.

36.  Tomorrow I must make a trip.  I know the general public does not like me
to travel, but it is my duty to do so.  We have to go to Brazil to attend the
change of government and we have to go tomorrow.  Sometimes I make trips more
or less discreetly to not facilitate the enemy's work.  We must not facilitate
the empire's efforts to isolate us.

37.  Many Latin American leaders have requested meetings and interviews with
me.  There is even a great deal of concern over Cuba among political leaders of
good faith because they are aware of the imperialists' aggressiveness, because
of the recent experience in Panama, because they know about the Yankees'
triumphalist spirit, and because they are aware of the possible economic
difficulties we may have to face.  I must talk to them, and not only talk, but
develop Cuba's economic and political relations with different Latin American

38.  Many leaders will be gathering in Brazil, the largest country in Latin
America, with a population of almost 150 million inhabitants, an area of almost
8 million square km, and huge resources.  It is a country that has developed
diplomatic relations with Cuba which have gone extremely well, and our economic
relations are developing and broadening.  The volume of products we purchase
from Brazil is increasingly greater, and the value of the Cuban products Brazil
purchases is constantly increasing.  Cuba is making rapid progress in new areas
and, of course, its economic importance is considerable.  Even more important
at this time, however, is the development of Cuba's economic relations with
Brazil.  More important than ever before is the Latin American people's
struggle against common problems such as the debt, unequal exchange--the
sacking of which we are victims--the flight of capital, and the draining of
financial resources which this impoverished hemisphere must send to the
developed countries.  Tens of thousands of millions of dollars yearly.  Our
countries need these resources to develop, but they are victims of systematic

39.  Of course, these countries have widely differing political ideologies. 
The Latin American countries are not socialist countries, but they are our
neighbors and we share the same culture and language, similar histories, and
similar suffering as exploited nations.  Within these countries, of course,
there are huge social differences and the burden of suffering is not equally

40.  But, beginning with these common interests, there is a broad field with
which to work, independent of political ideologies.  I believe this trip has
political importance.  This trip also has moral importance.  We must show the
imperialists we have no fear.  We have to show the imperialist we fear no
risks.  It has been proven that people have great admiration for Cuba.  It has
been shown that the masses have affection toward Cuba as a rule and as a
principle.  This was shown not long ago during the trip to Venezuela--a place
where imperialist propaganda struck hard for a very, very long time through the
use of reporters, intellectuals, and students.  But the people were very much
above it all.  There was a downpour of propaganda that lasted entire decades. 
Direct contact with the people is necessary, and if not directly with the
masses, through the press, radio, and television.  We must clearly show the
empire everyone's attitude, especially everyone's combative attitude. 

41.  There is much confusion in the world today.  Some even express their
condolences to us.  They want to accompany us during these hard times, and some
say so in good faith.  I already know in my heart that advice is something we
shall be receiving plenty of.  The people I speak to are people who know how to
be respectful, leaders who act in good faith.  Of course, it is one thing to
have a normal situation in a country and something else to have to go through a
revolutionary period.  There is a difference between the men who receive their
education normally and those of us who have received our education through a
revolutionary process.  We know very well what a revolution is.  It is not just
anything that may be termed a revolution. [applause] We know what a revolution
is and what the revolution's laws are like; we know what counterrevolutions are
like and the laws that govern counterrevolutions, when in fact there have been
revolutions and counterrevolutions.

42.  Because of the mistakes committed years after the French Revolution, a
counterrevolutionary wave came.  The Bolshevik Revolution was much the same,
and others in other countries where counterrevolutions did not get under way
but rather, a great counterrevolutionary wave began.  After fascism, after the
war that fascism began, when at last victory was attained and the people hoped
to live in peace, then came the cold war.  Right now we are witnessing a great
counterrevolutionary wave.  This wave worries many people a great deal.  The
main worry of many Latin American leaders is what would happen to Latin America
if this trench was to fall. There has not been a better business deal in all of
Latin America's history than the Cuban revolution.  The rest of the Latin
American people won the lottery--once a popular saying, because we no longer
have a lottery-- without even buying a ticket.  They did not even have to buy a
ticket and still managed to win the first prize.  What was the first prize? 
Our U.S. sugar quota of several million tons--a market that had grown over many
years--was distributed among the Latin American countries.  After the Cuban
revolution and following the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion that was defeated
by our people, the Alliance for Progress emerged, which meant billions. 
Beginning with the Cuban revolution, the imperialists who had looked down on
the Latin American people started to take them more into account, regarding
them with a little more consideration and respect.

43.  The independence of the Latin American people and of politicians grew
after the Cuban revolution.  Those people know and the politicians--except for
the most recalcitrant reactionaries--know from instinct that if this trench
fell, that if this trench fell, the independence of the remaining Latin
American nations would be reduced practically to nil.  The United States would
be issuing orders in Washington.  Even second-level officials would be issuing
orders and nothing but orders.  Anyone who is familiar with imperialist
arrogance, anyone familiar with the U.S. scorn for our people, knows what it
would mean for the rest of the Latin American people if the United States was
able to crush the Cuban revolution.

44.  Latin Americans would not be treated as political leaders, presidents, or
heads of government.  They would be treated like mayors, but with less respect
than the U.S.  Presidency shows toward a U.S. mayor.  It would treat the Latin
American political leaders with less respect than it shows for its own mayors
and would give them more orders from Washington than it gives to its own
mayors.  This is felt instinctively or consciously by many people in Latin
America. Of course, the advice they [the people in Latin America] will give us
is that we must behave well, that we must play the role of good children, that
we must make concessions.  They think--out of good faith--that revolutions are
saved by making concessions to the enemy.  No revolution that makes concessions
will ever be saved.  Anywhere! [applause] Just see how fast the parties that
make concessions to the imperialist enemy crumble. Whoever makes concessions to
the imperialists is not a revolutionary. [applause]

45.  That is the road to undoing because, I say this again, the revolution has
its laws and the counterrevolution has its own laws.  The history of this
country shows that the revolution was possible, that the revolution has
continued, and that the revolution will be capable of defending itself because
it has never made a single concession to the enemy. [applause]

46.  [Text] We know how to defend revolutions, and we know who defends them. We
know the psychology of the defenders of revolutions, and we know very well that
only the courage, firmness, and the most strict adhesion and loyalty to
principles make revolutions capable of defending themselves. [applause] Why do
we admire Maceo? Because of his extraordinary firmness, the honorable defense
of his principles, and his intransigence.  I cannot blame others for ignoring
the history of our country, but we know the history of our country and we had
the privilege of receiving that legacy from our founding fathers--Maceo and
Marti.  Marti was the man who most extolled that extraordinary gesture of
Baragua.  Examples like this have seldom been seen in our history.

47.  That is why I ask you, students, comrades in arms, dear and inseparable
comrades of our workers and peasants: What should we tell those who ask us to
make concessions? [crowd shouts: ``No!''] Never. [applause] Never.  [applause]
That is what we should tell them. Do not fear for us, because we are capable of
defending ourselves.  [applause] Fear not for us, because we are capable of
defending...[changes thought] of making the world tremble with our courage and
heroism. [applause; indistinct chanting] Fear not for us, because we are not
only capable of resisting and fighting against imperialism, but we are also
capable of forcing it, sooner or later, to abandon our sacred land. [applause;
[crowd chants: ``We are born to win and not to be defeated!''] Do not fear for
us, because we are not only capable of defending ourselves, we are also capable
of winning. [applause]

48.  That is how we are preparing ourselves.  Felipe asked reporters who
published what occurred here...[changes thought] I do not know if they will
even be able to.  First, to be frank, I do not know if they wish to.  I admit
that some may want to do it, or may want to be objective.  Second, I do not
know if they can be objective.  Third, I do not know what opportunity they will
have to be objective.  There are some who even come here to get some basic
information, to gather information so they will be able to write against the
revolution, but we can always harbor the hope that there will be honest people
in the world.

49.  Anyway, if they write about it, that is positive.  They will be doing
their fellow citizens a favor.  They can help save some of the
lives...[corrects himself] a sizable number of the lives that would be lost in
any adventure against Cuba. [applause] They will be rendering a service to
their own people. They should know about this. You are not a handful of
enthusiastic, impulsive youths.  They must know that you are all organized,
that you are all prepared, and that 100,000 students represent 100,000 soldiers
defending the revolution, weapons in hand-- 100,000 soldiers. [applause] I am
talking about regular students, men and women, healthy and strong, who are
healthier and stronger than they ever have been in our country's history.

50.  They must defend this...[corrects himself] They must know this, just as
they must know [Castro chuckles] that things are now different here, that
revolutions did not occur here by mere chance, and that no one waged them for
us, no one gave them to us, and no one exported them. [applause] We waged them
ourselves. Just like fathers create their children...[interrupted by indistinct
chanting and applause] one can take them away from us either. [applause]
It is a legitimate work of the revolution and the people will know how to
defend it, just as parents defend their children like fiends.  [applause]

51.  We know that this will not be carried out without a struggle.  We know the
enemy's plans, and we know its friends here--those whom they approach, those
whom they address, those whom they ask.  We even know about those who harbor
illusions.  There are some who harbor illusions. [laughter] They believe the
socialist constitution can be dismantled, that the revolution can be
dismantled, that everything can be dismantled in a matter of hours or days. 
There are some of those hiding around.  The time to unmask them will come.  The
time will come for those who think: Others--meaning others who did not have
what we have going on here--have fallen like a house of cards.  They believe
that this is also a house of cards, that it was built with cards, and that a
small wind will destroy it just like that. [crowd laughs and applauds]

52.  We are prepared for the entire struggle, inside and outside the country. 
They are working on our weak points.  There are sly individuals in certain
institutions, but not in the state institutions.  I do not want to advance any
information on this.  Let us wait.  They have their plans.  Once in a while
they show the hairy ear [laughter] of the counterrevolution.

53.  The empire has increased its propaganda.  According to the news, they are
again ready to begin the transmission of a television station that, through
triple infamy we could say, they intend to call TV Marti.

54.  They cannot even imagine how much they offend the hearts and feelings of
our people.  They know it violates international law. They know it violates the
sovereignty of our country.  Rumors are circulating that perhaps on 18 March,
perhaps on 16 or 17 March, they will try to begin broadcasting.  They might
even try to take advantage of my absence to begin their transmissions. 
However, what we want to show [applause; crowd chants slogans] is that this is
not a matter of men.  This is not a matter of individuals.  This is a matter of
ideas.  This is a matter of convictions, values, and people.  No one here is so
crazy as to imagine, even for a second, that he is going to be eternal or that
he can be eternal.  There is someone here who is eternal and immortal--the
people.  [applause] The people are eternal. [applause] Only ideas, the ideals
of our fatherland are immortal and eternal.  If they change, it is to improve. 
If they change, it is to become more beautiful and profound.  If they change,
it is to shift toward greater and more noble human ambition.  No
one....[changes thought] We must be very clear about this idea. Men play their
role because they have experience. Men have a role because of that and nothing
else.  A leader is nothing without the people. [applause] And it is good for
the imperialists to know this. [crowd chants: ``Fidel, my friend, the people
are with you!'']

55.  The imperialists have blamed me many times for the people's fighting
spirit and their capacity to resist.

56.  I am sorry to disappoint them or tell them they are going to be very
disappointed, judging by the estimates they make considering age, health, and
years.  But we revolutionaries do not see the revolution's task as personal
business or as a personal chore.  We feel like soldiers of the revolution, like
any of you.  Perhaps they imagine that personal ambitions make us
revolutionaries stay in our trench.  Alas, if this were the only problem. 
However, there are other problems, because revolutionaries never give up
fighting, never give up our duty, never give up the revolution. [applause] No
one can say how long one may be useful; that is determined by nature and age. 
Tomorrow, I may not be able to jump with you while saying: He who does not jump
is a Yankee; then I better start thinking of something else to do, but never
stop being a revolutionary. [applause] As long as the heart beats, the brain is
able to think--not just in any way, but as a soldier of the revolution--we
shall be close to the revolution as long as we are able to move a finger. 
[applause; crowd chants]

57.  I feel like talking about these things among you students on how we see
them and what we think of them.  Someone said this revolution will not
collapse.  Not only will it not collapse, but it is rising. It is rising!
[applause] From every test, every test, we are stronger. From every test, we
are more revolutionary. From every combat we are better.  From these tests that
history wants us to pass, a stronger and more prestigious revolution will
emerge.  A stronger, more invincible people will emerge--an example even more
invincible than we, ourselves.

58.  I believe it has been a privilege for those of us who were in class with
you, next to you, to have received a credential to Congress, which Raul and I
received today.  Really a great honor. I do not have to repeat this very much
for you to believe me.  It is an honor greatly above any of our merits.  I
asked myself if there was any cause that could justify us receiving this
credential?  We, who left the university classrooms so many years ago to attend
the university of life; everyday, at all hours; the exceptional university a
revolutionary process can be, allowing us to study for so many years the
revolution's experiences, and to have been able to study for so many years in a

59.  If there is one thing one could use to try to justify this, it would be
the fact that we think today the same way we thought when we were like you,
when we were in the university classrooms like you. [applause] We are still the
same. We still feel the same way. One can say about our ideas that they are
more seasoned, and about our emotions that they bear the weight of many years
spent in the revolution.  We have not changed, however.

60.  For that reason, I can accept the decision and the honor you have bestowed
on me, of naming me a delegate.  It is a great honor to me.  I will be there,
as I have been in all congresses.  However, I will be in this one more
enthusiastically than I have been in others, in tune with the times, in tune
with the times, as befits your attitude at this difficult time.  You are giving
a tremendous lesson to the imperialists.  You are telling them: Forget about
attacking Cuba [desmayen eso]. [laughter in crowd; applause] [words indistinct]

61.  At a time when the imperialists are dreaming of opening cracks, and when
they are dreaming of dividing the people, how bitter, how hard, how sad, how
traumatic your attitude must be to them!  What an example!  What a lesson!  I
assure you that you are waging the first battles, that you are winning the
first battles, to the same degree that you are shattering the imperialists'
illusions and to the same degree that you are providing those shows of unity
and adherence to socialist ideas and to the objectives of the revolution.

62.  I do not have much more to add, except for some news.  Many comrades would
have liked to accompany me on this trip.  However, I have told all of them to
stay at their posts.  That is what is important.  We have chosen a small
delegation.  There is always an official delegation, but we do not set the
number.  It is determined by the hosts.  Thus, the official delegation will
include Comrade Lazo, the new eastern titan, [applause] and Comrade Escalona,
president of the National Assembly of the People's Government. [applause]

63.  The delegation includes other comrades whose cooperation is necessary.  I
have said that I want to take some symbols of the revolution and of the work of
the revolution.  I especially invited nine comrades.  We will be spending the
same amount of fuel in the same plane, anyway. [laughter] In addition, we can
share the food.  There is so much work to do on such occasions that one does
not have time to eat or sleep.  That is the way it is.

64.  However, I wanted to invite a worker who has responsibilities and is a
symbol of our process of rectifications.  I invited Comrade Palmero, chief of
the Blas Roca Contingent.  [applause] I wanted to invite a young--a very
young-- man who did not have as many responsibilities as Robaina [head of Union
of Young Communists].  [shouts] No, Robaina will not be going. [shouts] How do
you know that? [applause, shouts] I invited Felipe [Felipe Perez Roque, vice
president of the University Student Federation National Council] to represent
you.  [applause]

65.  I invited Felipe to represent you. [applause] I wanted to take two
scientists, so I invited two comrades who headed the team that discovered the
antimeningococcus vaccine. [applause] It is a vaccine that is being used in
Brazil. These comrades are comrade Conchita and Comrade Sierra.  [applause]

66.  I also wanted to take two representatives of our intellectuals.  I invited
Comrade Abel Prieto, president of the National Union of Cuban Writers and
Artists. [applause] I invited the president of an institution with great
international prestige, that is, the House of the Americas.  [applause] He
is--I usually link him with Don Quixote de la Mancha because of his
looks--Comrade Retamar [Roberto Fernandez]. [applause] I am already taking six. 
I invited two athletes. One of them jumps higher than you do. [applause] He is
Comrade Sotomayor.  I am inviting a comrade who can get here from the stairs
very fast.  She is my namesake Ana Fidelia. [laughter, applause]

67.  However, I also said, this group is not complete yet.  Something is
lacking here.  I do not know if you will guess.  The group needed something
that would symbolize this moment, the spirit of our people at this moment, that
would symbolize our people's courage and heroism. [crowd shouts: ``The
international volunteers!'']

68.  No, I mean this moment, right now.  Something more exact, the
international volunteers have represented our people and will always represent
them. [crowd shouts]

69.  I can see you are guessing.  I mean the captain of the ship, the Hermann.
[applause] And thus, without saying anything, they are the symbols of the work
of the revolution.  They are not all of the symbols, but a few of them.  They
will be able to talk there.  Reporters can ask them questions.  These comrades
will be able to speak there.  The scientists can give lectures.  Palmero can
explain what the contingents are.  Felipe can explain why students are so
revolutionary in this country. [applause] In sum, I will feel very good
accompanied by these symbols.

70.  However, I can also tell you that the other day I said a word when I was
talking to some students.  I cannot remember what I was talking about and
Felipe said you are in our hearts.  I told him: It is very difficult to be in
your hearts. I did not mean to say that it was difficult to be in the hearts of
people so noble, patriotic, and revolutionary.  I meant to say that it is
difficult to be in your hearts because it is a great commitment.  One feels
obliged to give everything to the end.  Now, someone [words indistinct] I am
accompanied by your hearts.  I am accompanied by the hearts of our students,
[applause] workers, peasants, international fighters, soldiers, officers, and
party militants.  That which one always carries--a tremendous and
insurmountable force--that which one feels: that one is not the person
traveling, but he who represents something, he who represents you. That gives
us energy. It gives us strength, permanent enthusiasm, and encouragement.  It
makes us work days and nights without any rest when we have to fulfill a
mission of this type which, on this ocassion, better accompanied than ever, we
are sure we will fulfill better than ever.  We will reach the ears of friends
and foes to tell them: Socialism or death! Fatherland or death, we will win!

71.  I forgot to tell the newsmen something about what Felipe mentioned. 
Perhaps there will be some fools who will say: We saw the oppressed masses.
[laughter] You are the masses oppressed by the magnitude of this rally.