Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speech at ANPP Closing Session
Havana Radio and Television Networks
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA3112184591
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-001          Report Date:    02 Jan 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     7
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       19
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       29 Dec 91
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 001


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio and Television Networks

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speech at ANPP Closing Session

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at closing session of the National Assembly
of the People's Government, ANPP, at the Palace of Conventions in
Havana on 27 December-recorded]

Source Line:   PA3112184591 Havana Radio and Television Networks in Spanish
2300 GMT 29 Dec 91

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at closing session of the National
Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, at the Palace of
Conventions in Havana on 27 December-recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at closing session of the National
Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, at the Palace of Conventions in
Havana on 27 December-recorded]

2.  [Text] Comrades, worry not [laughter] because I plan to be brief.
[laughter] We have had many events (?starting) with the congress which took
place very recently, in October. October, November, and December, and in the
past two months we have had many activities of all kinds. We have had meetings
in which we had to speak at length to explain problems. We attended the
meetings of the Pioneers, FEEM [Federation of Intermediate Level Students],
steel and spare parts, and teachers. Days ago-although not covered by the
media-I had the opportunity to talk to a large group of labor leaders from the

3.  On each one of those occasions I talked at length, explaining the problems
and situations. I dislike repeating things but there are times when one must
because there are ideas that we must insist on and reaffirm to raise our
awareness of reality.

4.  This is why the need to say a few words at the closure of this assembly was
evident. Fortunately, I have said many things already, and said a few here. We
held sessions.  What do you call them, sessions? What do you call them? 
[unidentified speaker answers: sessions] Sessions. I would say that we have had
sessions of intense work and of serious work, of profound analysis.

5.  In general I believe all comrades have a very good impression of these two
days of work and the numerous speeches that were made. I feel the work was
fruitful. We analyzed important problems; all were important. All of them are
interrelated. We reached agreements and adopted measures with urgency and
expediency as warranted by the current circumstances. We are living in times
when problems can be left unsolved indefinitely.  We have received a lot of
information, various kinds of information.

6.  There were very good speeches: The Interior Ministry report and the
speeches by Comrade Colome, by the chief of the National Police Directorate,
and the brilliant speech by Aldana this morning. I believe we should be
satisfied with the work of the past two days.

7.  The problem pertaining to improving the People's Government is very
important. As I said, we could have discussed many other issues here because we
have a greater opportunity. I believe that we discussed here the People's
Councils, tenure of district delegates, the recommendation that people who are
not... [pauses] people who are not district delegates be allowed to join that
leadership council or whatever it is called. We discussed several other topics,
especially those pertaining to the People's Councils. We discussed that at

8.  I was particularly satisfied with that discussion, because we already see
the results of ideas that are pending implementation to achieve genuine
improvement. We had decided to put into practice all those things on which
there was evident consensus since the discussion and debate to call a party

9.  In the meantime we had to improve the People's Government. There were ideas
that we had to implement and that could not wait one more minute. That is what
we did with the People's Councils. It was very pleasant to realize here, thanks
to the speeches by the comrades, that these ideas also have excellent uses and
applications in the countryside, not only in the cities. It became very clear
to me that we must immediately bring the People's Council to the countryside
and all the country's other cities. It is a formidable instrument and of
special importance in this special period. I believe it will always be
important because it is the only way to manage with genuine efficiency the
resources and enterprises we have, the mechanisms we have, the mechanisms and
organizations we have.

10.  During the discussion of the People's Government, several deputies very
spontaneously said on three or four occasions that our country's democracy is
the world's best; that there is no country more democratic than ours; that
there is no system more democratic than ours.

11.  I was very pleased to hear that. I have that very deep conviction and
discussed this with certain visitors. Our political system and our democracy
have absolutely nothing to envy of any country on earth. I believe our
democracy is highly meritorious, because it is located 90 miles from the United
States and because the sword of Damocles has dangled over our heads for so

12.  The direct election of deputies was an important issue not discussed here;
there was no time. Of course, it is among the congress' recommendations. So is
the direct election of provincial delegates; they are the delegates of the

13.  We were lucky to have chosen a good formula. I remember, as if it were
yesterday, the very day more than 15 days ago when we discussed this issue. We
wondered: How are we going to conduct the elections? Through the sole candidate
system that we knew was being used in certain places? I truly disliked that
kind of formula. I wondered: Why do we not find another? Why do we not invent
our own?

14.  That is how our system of nominating district delegates was born. Who was
going to nominate the district delegates? Was the party going to nominate them?
I defended the thesis that the district delegates should be nominated by the
residents at an assembly. We later discussed how many candidates there would be
and decided eight. We also decided to hold new elections if no one garnered
more than 50 percent plus one of the votes. By the way, I often, I believe that
nearly always, had to go to vote twice; vote on two consecutive Sundays,
because no one ever garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.

15.  That idea was the basis for our establishing a procedure that really
exists nowhere else; in no other socialist or capitalist country. Who
nominates? The people nominate. Who elects?  The people elect. That placed us
at the forefront of the other countries, because in other countries the
political parties nominate; the party or parties nominate. They usually draft
the lists of candidates.

16.  They estimate how many votes each party will garner and know how many will
be elected. The parties virtually elect the deputies. These parties, if they
know that only one of their candidates will be elected, list their strongest
candidate first on their list to have him elected. Others, if they have 20
candidates and know that only six or seven will be elected, will list the six
or seven candidates they want elected first. As a rule, in nearly all countries
political parties decide who will be elected deputies, not the people. People
do not nominate; parties do.

17.  Through this mechanism the parties not only nominate but decide who will
in fact be elected. They elect a parliament and those parliaments sometimes
elect a president; parliaments do that. They elect a head of state or head of
government. There are many countries where the head of state inherits that
position; kings and emperors. No one has absolutely any role in their election.
That was perhaps a decision made 300 years ago. It is a matter of genetics and
heads of state succeed each other. Our system rejects this. Those countries
have heads of state that were elected 300 years ago. The position is

18.  In response to some of the journalists' questions, a comrade commented on
the elections. I actually oppose the direct election of chiefs of state and of
leaders and presidents of the People's Governments. This is a strong belief of
mine. We do not need people with excessive power; we need people with limited

19.  If the party's first secretary were elected by the congress, he would
virtually only answer to congress and not to the Central Committee. There are
times when people have favored the direct election of congress; it makes the
congress stronger and more powerful than other bodies.  If the first secretary
were elected by the Central Committee and not directly by the congress, we
would have a first secretary or a general secretary-whatever he is called-with
less power than if he were elected by the congress. He would have to report to
the body that elected him, and that body could hold a meeting within 15 days or
one month. A congress would actually need to be convened to replace him or call
a secretary of the party to account. The same holds true for the head of state.
It is much more democratic and practical to elect him through a body or
assembly, because an individual elected in a direct election receives enormous
power that makes him feel superior to all others. This individual feels the
backing of an election and believes he needs to answer to no one. I find that
it is much more democratic and practical to elect the leadership of the state,
that is, the Council of State, through an assembly. This is the case in our
country. I think this a simpler and more democratic system of election.

20.  Do you know how this is done elsewhere? The United States elects its
president with 25 percent of the vote, because half of the people do not bother
to vote. It has two parties that are exactly the same. We could virtually say
that the United States has a one-party system because its two parties are
similar in every sense: in ideology, methodology, and everything else. They
take turns within the same system. They are elected in general elections that
are supposed to....[pauses] According to...[pauses] a person might not be
elected president in the United States even if he garnered a majority of the
vote, because he could lose elections in certain states that have a larger
number of delegates. A person could not be elected president there even if he
garnered a popular majority, because each state votes separately and each state
has a certain number of votes. That could happen very easily.

21.  I strongly believe that men do not need excessive power.  Men who have
great responsibilities within the government and the state require limited

22.  That power must be limited by the party first of all. It must be limited
by government institutions. This will prevent the election of an individual who
has power over everything around him and who answers to absolutely no one. This
is why the political campaigns become real contests. Such political campaigns
cost millions of dollars. There are even techniques that have been developed on
how to infiltrate these campaigns. They were developed by the capitalist
monopolies which learned how to advertise tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol, soft
drinks, and everything. These same techniques are even used in electoral
campaigns, where they use large amounts of money to try and influence the will
of the voters.

23.  In our political system, such campaigns do not exist. We found a
magnificent method: People could choose the delegates in their districts based
on each citizen's merit and qualifications. We broke free from those foul
political chicanery campaigns that existed here in the past; they no longer
exist. At none of the assemblies has this problem been discussed. Never. We
have discussed the issue of the president of the Peoples' Municipal Government,
but this problem was never presented.

24.  I have another strong conviction regarding our countries and Cuba in
particular, and that is my belief in the tremendous convenience of the single
party system. I have strong convictions about this. I have thought about all
these problems many times in my revolutionary life, because the multiparty
system is an instrument of imperialism to keep societies fragmented and divided
into 1,000 pieces. It turns societies into societies that are unable to solve
their problems. A country that is divided into 10 pieces is an ideal country to
dominate and subject. This is because there is no national will as the nation's
will is broken up into many pieces. The nation's work is divided into many
pieces. Intelligent minds are all divided; they are divided by the constant and
never ending struggle between the fragments of society. Third World countries
cannot endure this, but they must, because it is forced on them and they have
been subjected and dominated for a long time. I believe that unity is essential
in a society that must face the problems of underdevelopment and develop under
the difficult conditions of today' s world.

25.  Marti realized this over 100 years ago. I do not know why the anniversary
is not commemorated at the same time as the party's creation in 1992. He
probably realized it even before that and was clear about it. Marti saw how the
break-ups and divisions had undermined the first war of independence. He said
and repeated this many times. All his efforts were aimed at having the new war
of independence be based on other concepts.

26.  Marti did not agree with that roving chamber-roaming all over-that
consumed a large amount of resources and men in a never-ending debate in the
middle of the war.  He had other ideas about directing the war, organizing the
country during the war, and creating a party to direct the war and the

27.  However, these ideas came not only from Marti, but also from Bolivar.
Bolivar was for Latin American unity and a central government with much
authority. He knew there were many dividing factors in those Spanish colonies
and he strongly defended the idea of a single republic with a strong central
authority. Bolivar was not for a parliamentary government because during that
long war-that tremendous struggle to unify all those societies-he saw that
unity and strong authority were essential. We could say that Bolivar was also
in favor of single party government. He was a constant critic of factions and

28.  He was so right that, in the end, regionalism put an end to his great
dream of unity and his struggle for integration and unity. A good many
republics declared themselves independent. It was a process similar to that
which is going on in the Soviet Union now. They separated and, later on, each
country split into states, too. Federalism appeared, countering the criteria of
the central government. There was fighting between the central and local
governments in each of the republics.

29.  Latin America will soon have spent 200 years struggling for independence
and what does it have? What does it have? [repeats] Latin America, the America
born from Spain, the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, could have been much more
powerful than the United States is today. If Latin America had united, the
United States would have been unable to snatch away more than half of Mexico.
If Latin America had united, Puerto Rico would be part of that Latin America
today. There would be no Panama Canal owned by the Yankees or that Republic
would not have been colonized for so long. Central America would not have been
subjected to tyrannic and bloodthirsty governments for dozens of years,
governments that have written the history for almost a century-and-a-half in
our America. Had Latin America become united like the forefathers
wanted-particularly Jose de Miranda, the forerunner of this idea-or like
Bolivar wanted, today, possibly, Latin America would be the most powerful
nation on earth, without a doubt, because of its territory, population, and
natural resources. What are we? Some do not like it. Someone became disgusted
because I said: We could have been everything, but we are nothing. He did not
like it. Well, then, one of the gentlemen who was there who, by the way, is not
a model friend of Cuba, began arguing. Not everything has been published, this
prompted several arguments.

30.  Someone reacted when reference was made to that brief eight-minute speech
in which I said we could have been everything, but we are nothing. But I only
said a very clear truth. What are we today?

31.  The United States invades one country today, then another tomorrow, and
yet another one the day after tomorrow. It does as it pleases in each country.
When coups d'etat were fashionable, it promoted coups d'etat.  No one knows if
they will become fashionable again. The United States promoted all the coups
d'etat of recent times, beginning with Pinochet's in Chile. There were coups in
many countries [words indistinct].

32.  The CIA became the master. The CIA became the highest level professor of
all torturers. The CIA made torture a science. It implemented all tactics as to
how to make people disappear and do horrible things. It taught all governments
how to torture. What is Latin America today?

33.  These ideas have been discussed since the beginning of our history, not
only Cuban but Latin American history.  Many years ago, almost 200 centuries
[as heard], these ideas were discussed. One hundred years ago, Jose Marti, the
greatest thinker of this continent, the greatest political thinker, without any
doubt whatsoever, clearly saw that there was a need to lead the war in a set
way, based on history. He saw that there was a need for solid unity.  He saw
that a party was needed to lead the revolution.

34.  I do not recall seeing anything else by Marti, any reference to the
multiparty system. He said the multiparty system caused the country's

35.  In Latin America we have the fragmentation of Latin Americans and, within
each country, we have the fragmentation of each country. These are ideal
conditions for imperialist domination in these countries.

36.  If you divide all Third World countries into 20 pieces, the path to world
hegemony becomes extraordinarily easy for imperialism. Who is going to convince
the Chinese, for example, that the country must be divided into 1,000 pieces?
They have explained their stand very clearly. They have explained the role of
the party. I do not know if any parties do formally exist there. However, the
leading role of the Chinese Communist Party is very clear.

37.  The principles of that party, the principles of the revolutionary process,
and the objectives of socialism are very clear. Imagine that country divided
into 10 parts.  Do you think it would have had any possibility of taking the
historic leap it took? The party put an end to hunger and the country's

38.  Therefore, I am firmly convinced that one party is and must be-for a long
historical period, no one can predict how long-the form of political
organization in our society. Two convictions....[as heard]

39.  On the recommendation of our congress and in the quest to improve our
system, we proposed the direct election of our deputies to the National
Assembly, the branch from which other state powers stem. This does not mean
that our system was not democratic. I already compared what happened in the
capitalist countries and the role of the parties that choose the national
assembly deputies and how the national assembly subsequently chooses the

40.  Our system of indirect election is very democratic because its basis, the
district delegate, is democratic.  These delegates directly choose-it is a
second-degree election-the provincial delegates and they elect the National
Assembly deputies.

41.  When we put this principle into practice our historical responsibility
becomes very big. This is when we cannot react as district delegates.

42.  When the National Assembly was created, we followed a principle-not by law
but by tradition-that the majority of the deputies would become delegates
to....[pauses] District delegates would become district delegates of principle.

43.  So when you are going to cast your vote, honestly, on whether the term in
office will be two-and one-half or five years, you will have to examine your
conscience very thoroughly so that you do not act on your opinion as district
delegate. Instead, you will have to think of what is best. You must put your
conscience to work in the purest manner. This assembly must make that decision. 
I know the responsibility is great. No one had any complaints about the
election. We went through the entire discussion of the People's Government and
not a single deputy referred to the direct election. I think it is a step in
our effort for improvement. It is a step to make our system more democratic.

44.  It is a step to make this system more irreproachable from the
international standpoint. The direct election has had a great impact. However,
the imperialists did not want that. We know very well what imperialism wants in
the world.

45.  Imperialists want a multiparty system, politicking, market economy, return
to capitalism, and all that. This is why we do what we do, based on our
principles and to improve our system. I believe that to have taken this step is
to improve our system, which establishes the direct participation of the
population in the election of deputies. But we have to do this without
politicking. We have to think carefully and use our intelligence so our
mechanism will not lead us to politicking or competition; some of the
candidates waging war on the others. This is very important. Fortunately, we
have the basic principle.  Who nominates the candidates? It should be the
people, not the party. In the eyes of the honest people of the world and true
political, progressive, and revolutionary thinkers, this method makes it easier
to understand the party's role in society.

46.  The party does not nominate. The party can nominate, but I do not think it
should nominate candidates for deputies. We should seek a mechanism so the
people can nominate. Who are the people's representatives? The circumscription
delegates. We must stick to the same mechanism. The people elect their
delegates. First, the people nominate the deputy circumscription delegates. 
The people elect them. The delegates, not the party, nominate the deputies,
those men and women elected directed by the people in the circumscriptions. I
am advancing some ideas. These ideas were also discussed at other times. We
must keep thinking of all this. It is the people who should nominate and list
the names of the candidates.

47.  There must be commissions. We must think of ways to give the broadest
participation in the proposals to be made. For instance, we have mass
organizations. No country possesses mass organizations such as ours, which are
stronger. We can prepare and create unobjectionable instruments to fulfill
consistently the principle that the people are the ones who nominate. The
people are the ones who elect. I think that in the future, therefore, it will
not be the delegates who elect the deputies to the National Assembly. The
delegates will nominate the deputies so the people can elect them. Through
these mechanisms, we will create formulas to avoid politicking or division and
fragmentation among the names of men proposed. We have to think carefully on
the nature of the mechanism whereby the people will participate in a direct
election of the deputies. In some places, it is necessary to elect five, in
others, one, in still others, seven, according to the municipality and the
province, so the representation can be more or less proportional to the
population. We have discussed this. The commission, however, must work hard for
the time when the proposals will be presented to the assembly.

48.  Our system presupposes the participation of the people's majority. Should
the revolution lose the people's majority, it would lose power because it is
the people who nominate and elect. The revolutionary spirit would not be lost
because the revolution is a principle, an ideal, a program for which we must
fight at all times and under any circumstances. We have to be consistent with
what we do. What we created more than 15 years ago presupposes the people' s
majority. In what sense is this an improvement? The revolutionaries are
expected to make an even greater effort and do better work based on the premise
that it is necessary to keep the support of the people. This is the great
challenge that we met more than 15 years ago. This is nothing new was done
thanks precisely to the adequate and democratic formula we used to elect the
People's Government organs.

49.  Now we take one step further. We must deal with the direct election of the
deputies. One step that signifies greater demand from the revolutionaries in
their political work and their duty to preserve the unity of the people's
majority. This is nothing new. With what we have today, exactly the same would
have happened. Our system presupposes the people's majority to maintain the
present power. The new one will be more or less the same. It presupposes the
majority of the population.  This should be precisely the task of the

50.  In this context, there are many ideas I do not want to mention, if we want
to do things right. We should try to deal with all things that might lead to
injustice, politicking, demagoguery. The other day I proposed to the teachers
to make some changes in the election of their unions. There was one with a 'Y'
and a lot of canceled ballots. I made a proposal to them because the congress
could make arrangements so they can vote for as many candidates that were
nominated. We have to study the mechanism very carefully. We have to (?decide)
which is the best mechanism. We cannot fall in politicking. We cannot let our
comrades seek votes and make politics.  We must prevent this from happening to
the men who are nominated as candidates for National Assembly deputies. In
addition, we have to do it in such a way that there will not be the slightest
doubt about the democratic nature of the procedure. This is one of the things
that the revolution does in its effort for perfection. Even more authority will
be given to the National Assembly. We must make every effort, however, so this
procedure can adhere to quality.

51.  It would be useless for us to do things very democratically but to neglect
quality. Our mechanisms should seek to secure quality in the women and men
elected. Apparently, the future belongs to women. All 10 of the participants in
this meeting were women. The men were more quiet. The women were more active.
But we must go after quality and bar politicking. This is why we must think
carefully about the formulas we will suggest to the National Assembly in the
search for these objectives: democracy, improvement of the system, and quality. 
Each candidate will have to face the masses with his own authority and
prestige. We are seeking ways to harmonize the existence of a party with the
most genuine democratic form and nature possible.

52.  Apart from this, we should not care about what others say or do. We should
pass judgment on ourselves before any other people do. We should stand before
ourselves and our own consciences. We will not wait for the tremendous,
enormous, gigantic monopoly of imperialism over the world mass media to cease
to exist. It will be necessary to write and print books, make statements, and
deliver them to parliaments. It will be necessary to come up with many things,
a large number of cassettes, to do what we want. Maybe we will have to
revolutionize the way we spread our ideas and reality in the world. The
examples given in this meeting show, however, that the battle is very uneven in
the face of the media and the resources at the disposal of imperialism. Take a
look at all the wars that were aired on television. If there is fighting in
Tiblisi, there goes U.S. television. How many millions of dollars are required
for that? If anything happens in Moscow, there you will find U.S. television. 
If anything happens in Iraq, if there is war there, it is televised. What
chance does a Third World country, a small, developing country, stand of having
those information media?

53.  This is why we.... [changes thought] Many wonder: Why are you people not
known? We cannot be blamed for this. Very little is known of our system, our
life. This is why many people arrive here and say: Gosh, I like this idea. And
they say very honestly: I believed, read, or saw this or that. Many change
their views when they are confronted with our viewpoints. The authority,
prestige, and moral of the revolution is not negligible. These are the weapons
it has to persuade others. How do the masses react? I have seen this throughout
Latin America.  I remember my trip to Venezuela. Despite the flood of
propaganda against Cuba and the revolution, and me personally, the population's
reaction was incredible, particularly when we had our first contacts and the
first interviews were held for television and for the press. It was impossible
to walk. Of what use have been 30 years of campaign and slander?

54.  The masses have their instincts, become aware. The masses see a flag
raised aloft at a time when many flags have been lowered and disappeared. This
is the lone star flag. [applause] This is the flag of the Cuban Revolution. 
But it is our duty to be revolutionaries, to follow principles, to be
consistent with these principles, to be our own judges first. Let us never
become demoralized, discouraged, or embittered, although lies and slander go
round and round the world. We Cubans know how things are.  People instinctively
see things right. An entire world is beginning to react against this monstrous
hegemony the United States wants to impose on us. Let us work for our system.

55.  We must implement our principles and must first learn to judge ourselves.
We must not be afraid to ask for other people's opinions, or to listen to
criticism, advice, or whatever you want. You must not be afraid of discussing
whatever you want. However, we must trust ourselves.  As we recently said, the
lack of 100 percent trust in ourselves led us to make mistakes and errors. Many
people thought everything that came from the USSR was perfect. If it came from
the USSR, it was perfect; there could be no defects. Many people underestimated
a revolution that has been as creative as the Cuban Revolution; it has
experienced and contributed so much. The Cuban Revolution has made its
contributions. I am not going to list the contributions, but the Cuban
Revolution has made many contributions. I say this because I believe this is a
necessary complement of what was discussed regarding the People's Government.

56.  I am not going to expand on the other topics we discussed although they
were very interesting, especially the topic of crime. A serious and in-depth
analysis was made during the discussion and conclusions were reached. We talked
about the political and moral damage caused by crime in our society. We talked
about the need to take a series of measures and to create an entire program
through which we will keep working urgently so that all the people can wage
their war against crime.

57.  An in-depth and serious analysis was done of the report submitted by
Comrade Aldana, who talked about counterrevolutionary groups,
counterrevolutionary activities, the tactics and strategy of the enemy, the way
the enemy works, and the objectives of the enemy.

58.  All of us who are here and who are members of this National Assembly must
now examine our own consciences. Normally, we would already have a new
assembly. The circumstances in which our country was involved in as a result of
the disaster in Europe, and the awareness we already had of the need to improve
our system since the call was made, did not give us enough time to implement
all of these ideas; we could not apply them in a matter of months. We had no
other choice but to extend the sessions at the assembly. We needed time to
study the Constitution, the changes in the Constitution, and the new laws. It
was not right for us to hold full speed elections for the restoration of a
mandate for one or one-and-a-half years. We waited and I believe we did the
right thing. The fact we did it this way gives this assembly great
responsibility. It gives each one of the men and women in this assembly great
responsibility as you are the National Assembly for the special period. 

59.  This is the most difficult period in Cuba's history. It is not just the
most difficult period of the revolution, but the most difficult in Cuba's
history. I call on each one of you to first think about this fact. I hope this
is a great honor for each one of you, not a disgrace or a tragedy. I hope none
of you feel burdened by life or by history because it gave you this
responsibility. I hope each one of us will be thankful for life and history and
for receiving this responsibility, which we have to fulfill.

60.  The most difficult year-I would not dare say the only one-is the one that
begins now in 1992. I could not call it the year of the special period because
the special period will last more than a year.

61.  The special period developed progressively. The most difficult phase will
take place in 1992. Because it cannot get any worse than at its most critical
point, the special period will begin to subside little by little.

62.  I am always warning the comrades. I tell them: Be prepared for the worst
circumstances. If 6 and-a-half or 7 million tons of fuel are needed, I say let
us plan on four.  Let us plan on four. Let us consider the worst possible
circumstances. I always warn the comrades. Let us plan for the worst
circumstances. There is a point: The enemy is busy trying to make 1992 a
difficult year for us, as difficult as possible. It will try to prevent us from
having any market for our products. It will try to prevent us from getting
fuel, not even for cash. The enemy is busy, busy everywhere. The enemy is busy
in Moscow. Now, the enemy moves around in Moscow. There are many people of the
worm pit in Moscow. They are trying to influence the authorities there, making
offers, and doing things. They are trying to hurt our economic ties with
whatever is left of the USSR. They are trying to block, in every way possible,
our effort to get at least one third of the fuel we need to make ends meet.

63.  This means we know how the enemy works to make the blockade more effective
and to make our lives more difficult. This is why we must always calculate
based on the worst circumstances. Things are a little bit better.  They are
better. It must be said that the worst is about to come in 1992.

64.  To give you an idea, I just have to say that at the beginning of 1991,
commercial agreements already experienced a big drop in the sugar price. It
dropped by $300 in 1991.

65.  In spite of all this, there were a series of agreements and industrial
objectives under construction and some credits.

66.  According to this year's agreements, we should have received $3.763
billion in merchandise. As of 21 December, we have received $1.673 billion.
Traditional imports from the USSR dropped by more than $1 billion and what was
left dropped by $2.1 billion. So, if Soviet imports were once $5 billion, now
they amount to $l.673 billion. Can you think of a more drastic reduction? Can
you think of something more drastic?

67.  To all this we must add the disappearance of trade with the socialist
sphere-what we lost when the socialist area ceased to exist, without
considering the USSR. We have been suffering since 1990. To all this we must
add the Yankees, who are more daring and influential than ever.  They are
tightening the screws as much as they can. The imperialists and their agents
are busy everywhere. This is why I said yesterday: Do you know the USSR
disappeared? All those things seemed completely inconceivable. As I have told
you on other occasions, it seemed strange when I mentioned that possibility,
almost two-and- a-half years ago. It is a very sad reality, but it is a
reality. The USSR does not exist.

68.  Imperialism and its agents are there, working to do as much damage to us
in this new situation. If they had sugar, they would go to the extreme of
giving it away, although imperialists never give away anything. If they had
sugar, they would go to the extreme of giving it away so that no one would buy
a ton from us. If they could reduce the price of sugar, they would to make our
path more difficult. There is little left that can be done to harm us. In 1991,
we received $2.1 billion less than we needed. The situation with the fuel
shipments was already critical in December.

69.  It might get a little worse, but it is impossible to expect more harm. Now
it is our time, because we are not like those common roosters that fly away,
speaking in a country style, such as in Pepe's times, we are fighting cocks and
fighting cocks do not jump the fence. They do not flee a fight. They fight
until the end. We are not a lineage that surrenders, we are another type of
people.  What could be said of the descendants of Maceo, Maximo Gomez,
Agramonte, Cespedes, and Marti. We are their moral and spiritual descendants.
We are descendants of Mella and all those who fell in this long struggle, at
the Moncada Barracks, in the Granma, in the Sierra Maestra, and in
international missions. What could be said about us, spiritual and moral heirs
of entire generations that have fallen in the long struggle to have a
fatherland, a fatherland with dignity, a fatherland with pride; not that trash,
that type of a fatherland we had for more than 50 years because of the Yankees.

70.  What can be expected of us? That we will capitulate, run down our flags,
surrender, abandon the struggle? [unidentified speaker shouts: ``Never!''] So
what can be expected of us is combat. Yes, combat, on any terrain, whether the
military terrain, if they succeed in getting together, working out, some kind
of provocation or pretext that will ...[rephrase] to intervene, now that the
USSR does not even exist. If they were able to work out something, we would
have a battle in the military sphere.  Their efforts are directed at weakening
the revolution, in the first place, wearing it down, causing a split or
conflicts, in order for them to then have the ideal conditions for carrying out
their plans.

71.  So we have to be prepared for all struggles and carry them out
intelligently, very intelligently. The situation we are facing forces us to be
very intelligent. We cannot talk about tactics or alternatives here. We have to
study an alternative for everything, and know very well what we must do in each
situation, each thing, and how to do it. But it is decisive and fundamental to
keep up a high morale among revolutionaries, and among the fighting people. The
people's fighting spirit, the people's combativeness, is an extremely
fundamental factor in the revolution's strategy against the imperialist

72.  So we must know very well what we must do at all times and in all
circumstances. So we must be mentally prepared for the struggle. We belong to a
long line of fighters. That is our responsibility. Not only do we belong to a
lineage of fighters; we belong to a lineage of winners. [applause] We cannot
conceive of anything other than victory. I think life has shown us and has
given us examples, many examples, that victory is possible even under very
difficult conditions. Because really, in the first stages of the revolution,
the first moments of this latest stage after Moncada and Granma, we have passed
through some very, very, very difficult moments.

73.  It is a perennial, constant lesson, and one of the most useful ones, that
in no circumstances, however difficult they may be, however extremely difficult
they may be, should a fighter's morale, a revolutionary's morale drop.  I see
here some comrades who remind me of feats performed by our comrades in many
places at various times, not only at times of very harsh setbacks, such as
Moncada or the Granma, but even at times when we were advancing. At a certain
time, they sent 10,000 men against us, and we did not even have 300 men to
defend our territory. But we defended it, and we defeated that army, which
seemed invincible.

74.  When we were walking around in the cane fields there with a few guns, when
Raul and I were in Cinco Palmas, really we had gotten together only seven guns.
Nothing more-seven guns. We cannot count the bullets and guns we had against
that whole army, which had tanks and planes, and millions, and everything. That
could have discouraged us. But we must remember the columns led by Camilo
[Cienfuegos] and Che [Guevara] that invaded Las Villas. You need courage and
daring to cross the whole southern part of that long, former province of
Camaguey, full of swamps, marshes, mosquitoes, and in the rainy season a
hurricane even caught them along the way. They passed entire days without

75.  But they never declared themselves defeated. They never considered that
they would not reach the goal they had set. They set it and they reached it.
When we told them to take Havana, they were as sure as I was that they would
take it. They were as sure as I was that they would not fire another shot, but
they had to be prepared. They had to be prepared. We did not lose a minute;
they started off quickly.

76.  We also had times like the famous Bay of Pigs. All the best, most
intelligent calculations by the Pentagon, about air total superiority, the OAS
prepared, the government prepared, and even so we did not give them a single
minute to carry out their plans. We did not stop fighting them. We fought for
68 straight hours, and they were liquidated.

77.  Then there was the October missile crisis, and no one here vacillated when
the crisis occurred. I do not remember seeing a single comrade vacillate or
become demoralized. We could have disappeared from the map, because at any time
something could have exploded. We did not know what might happen, if they might
bomb our bases, if someone might fire a rocket. There was a real danger of an
atomic, nuclear war. I did not see a single citizen of this country become
demoralized or intimidated. We were very indignant when our allies did us the
favor of negotiating over there without saying a word to us, and they pledged
to withdraw the missiles.  We were very indignant, but we did not vacillate.
The Yankees were sharpening their teeth, and they said, like now: They are
leaving. They are taking away their army and their missiles, and those people
will not stand up under the blow to their morale.

78.  But no one became demoralized. We immediately set forth our five points,
our demands, and we insisted.  When we reached the conviction a few years ago,
especially from the time Reagan became U.S. President ....[changes thought] His
aggressive plans against Cuba were already known, and we knew that no one was
going to help us, and that if one day the Yankees decreed an embargo on us, not
a single bullet would enter this country, and no one was ever going to fire a
rocket for us.  We reached the conviction that the defense of this country
depended on our own skin and heart, and no one became demoralized.

79.  We began to develop all the ideas of the all people's war, which were our
old ideas, our ideas from the Sierra Maestra, our ideas from the early years of
the revolution.  We began to rectify, because some doctrines in the military
sphere had also done us harm. They made us depart a little from the ideas we
had had at the beginning of the revolution, the concepts of the all people's
war.  Who was going to argue with the Soviets, who had destroyed the Nazi army
and waged so many glorious battles? From Volgograd-which at that time was
called Stalingrad, I do not know what it is called now; I think that the Volga
River is still called the Volga-from Volgograd to Berlin.

80.  Who was going to argue with them? But the truth is that one day we found
ourselves facing the fact that if there was a hostile war by the United States
against us, we would have a number of divisions, eight or 10 divisions, in this
sector or that one, at the such-and-such offices, and of course we would have
the regular army and the reserves, but the people were simply bystanders in
that war. It is not that we thought that the people were simply going to be
bystanders. We always believed in the people and counted on the people, but we
did not have them organized. The truth is that we did not have them organized
for the all people's war.

81.  I remember that the prevailing doctrine was the kind of conventional war,
Saddam Husayn-style, and who was going to argue with the Soviets? Who knew more
than them about military matters? They knew a lot more than us, and they might
have known about strategic war, although I am not very sure about that now,
after seeing the mistakes they have made. We saw the mistakes they made at the
time of the October missile crisis. These were very serious mistakes,
gentlemen. I visited some missile bases which could fire starting at 1,000
meters and up, and the Yankee planes could begin to fly below 1,000 meters.
There was no way for one of those missiles to hit a Yankee plane. When I saw
the air defenses they had, they had a little thing which was one rocket with
two launchers, 22-caliber, 25-caliber, with two launchers defending each
....[changes thought] Those disappeared [words indistinct] if the planes flew
very close only. They could annihilate the defense and disarm all those
missiles. They did not have anything to fire against them.

82.  I saw them make very serious mistakes during the October missile crisis. I
saw them make very serious military mistakes. But, well, they have mastered the
cosmos, you know how many missiles they have, what accuracy, what range. Who
could argue with them? But one day we realized, and we have to thank Reagan
especially for this, when he came with his increased threats, when we reached
the conviction that in the event of a war or Yankee attack, we were the only
ones who would defend ourselves.

83.  There was a brigade here, which as you know, magically became a study
center in a matter of hours. I am saying this with all due respect for the
Soviet military, and with all due respect for the men of that brigade who have
served here. When we go by on the highway to San Antonio, I always look with a
lot of respect at that cemetery that holds the remains of the Soviet soldiers
who have died serving in Cuba. [applause] I always remember and look at them
with great respect. But their leadership has made mistakes. Their leadership
has made very serious mistakes.

84.  One day we realized, I repeat, that no one would fire a single-what is it
called? The thing the kids set off?  [answer indistinct] No, no, not a
catapult, [Jorge] Risquet, no, no.  It is something that is thrown against the
ground and explodes. It is wrapped in ....[answers indistinct] Not caps,
firecrackers or something like that, firecrackers. No one would set off even a
firecracker for us. We returned with all the necessary force to our old ideas,
our concepts of the all people's war. You are witnesses to how the Armed Forces
have worked during almost the last 12 years, how the General Staff has worked,
how Comrade Raul [Castro] has worked [applause] in preparing the country for
war, preparing all the units, preparing the entire people.

85.  What work has been done in these 12 years! It is impressive. It is
unlikely that any country could have done what we have done in 12 years and are
still doing in the special period. Because even without enough fuel to run a
taxi, we are preparing the theater of operations.  Even without cement to build
some things, we are building fortifications, opening defenses, preparing
defenses of all kinds. We are fortifying more than ever, more than we have
fortified in any other year of the revolution. What an effort has been made in
the defense zones, in the creation of defense zones up to now, with the
Territorial Troops Militias! How many tens and hundreds of millions of hours
have millions of people devoted to preparing for war!

86.  When we reached the conclusion that the USSR, the former USSR, when it was
in the fullness of its power, and had who knows how many missiles and other
things, when we reached the conclusion that we could not count on the USSR to
defend this country if there was a Yankee invasion, other than with laments and
declarations of solidarity and protests ....[changes thought] Of course, the
Yankees have more divisions than we do. If you have 10 divisions and put them
there ....[rephrases] Let us suppose that you destroy 10 Yankee divisions and
they destroy five of yours. Then you destroy another 10, and they destroy your
other five. Then they can send 10 more and you do not have any divisions left.
It is an arithmetic calculation; everything would be finished.

87.  It is not the same with the people. It is different with the all people's
war. That war would never end. (?In those conditions) one or two divisions can
be destroyed, and there are dozens and dozens of divisions left. They can
occupy one or two cities. They can occupy the whole country, and the day they
occupy the whole country they will be worse off than the day they disembarked.
Because that day they would have to fight against millions of people, even
against adolescents, all mixed up together.  The time they mix together with us
is when they will be worst off. A division can be annihilated, but you cannot
annihilate a people that fights. This has been shown in all wars throughout
history. [applause]

88.  The Western Saharans live in a pure desert where there is not even a grass
plant. They have been fighting for years and years against 200,000 Moroccan
soldiers aided by the United States. The Saharans are stronger than ever. Now
there is a plebiscite process to ...[rephrases] and they are trying to make it
so that they will not be deceived, so that other people will not be brought to
vote there, disguised as Saharans. They are fighting so that their heroic war
will lead them to liberation. The Algerians fought against the whole French Air
Force and Army, which was very powerful. The Vietnamese fought against all the
military might of the United States.

89.  No people that have fought on any terrain, and continued to fight, have
ever been conquered. They cannot be conquered. We must make the cost so high
that the imperialists will not be able to pay it. We already know this. When
everything is victory, when everything is easy, there is applause, jingoism,
parties. When the imperialist soldiers begin to die, everything changes. 
Everything changes. [repeats] The ideal thing for the empire in a war against
us is a conventional, classical war, of divisions against divisions. But we set
that concept aside a long time ago, and we have been working to prepare the
people for the struggle, in accordance with the doctrine of the all people's
war. I think we have developed it a lot.

90.  We did not become discouraged, but rather we set to work hard. We have
spent 12 years working hard. That is how a revolutionary people has to react.
That is how the revolution has to react. None of these problems are new for us.
These problems have become hard because under normal peacetime conditions we
have to meet the needs of 10.5 million inhabitants. That is our responsibility.
It is not a question of having to go up and down mountains, walk more or walk
less, fire more shots or fire less. That might even be easier. Rather, the
problem is that, as a revolution in power, we have to meet the needs and
interests of the entire population. We are facing a different kind of problems,
but no problem has ever discouraged or demoralized us.

91.  I said two-and-a-half years ago that if one day we woke up to the news
that the USSR no longer existed we would continue to defend the revolution and
socialism. They knew what I was saying, and they were not worried.  Everything
that has happened in that country with so much history and glory, so many
merits, so many services it has provided to humanity, is very bitter. We
clearly saw the consequences of everything that was happening, the consequences
it would have for us, and that the revolution and the country were going to be
left in a difficult, very difficult situation.

92.  But we had to do what we are doing, exactly what we are doing; enter the
special period in peacetime, implement the appropriate measures, prepare
ourselves for an even more difficult phase, conscious that we are reaching the
limit-as I said before-of the damage that can be done to us. But what the
comrades are doing everywhere, what the comrades are doing in Las Tunas,
Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Pinar del Rio, all the provinces, Cienfuegos,
Holguin, everywhere, Guantanamo, mobilizing thousands of horses and carts and
carriages for taxis and preparing, as has been shown here today when I asked
the comrades if they were ready and prepared to face the most complicated and
critical special period, if they can feed the population, and if they can solve
all these problems.

93.  This is what we must do, and this is what we are doing.  As I said before,
it is much easier in the provinces than in the capital. We have more
complicated problems in the capital because of the concentration of 2.1 million
inhabitants here. But we have to manage also. We have been working on this. So
almost 500,000 bicycles have been distributed. But in addition, there are
dozens and dozens of agricultural camps, thousands and thousands of people
mobilized, 32 contingents, an entire planting program, which as I said, is
going to free the provinces from the tribute they have had to pay to the
capital, by sending tubers here. We are still receiving some. We are still
receiving some. [repeats] These great, ambitious plans that are being carried
out in the capital require a minimum of time, but we have been working.

94.  As the situation becomes more difficult, we will work more. We will do
more and more things. Many comrades are working, doing the work that must be
done. We are not getting discouraged. We are not getting demoralized.  We
cannot become demoralized. We are doing what must be done. Among the things
that must be done is keeping up morale. We must not forget that. We must keep
up the morale of the party members and youth, in the first place. We must keep
up the morale of the masses. We must keep up the morale of the revolutionaries.
Nothing that may occur should harm us, because nothing worse can happen. No
difficulty should discourage us, because the difficulties cannot get much
greater. They inevitably originate from everything that has happened.

95.  That is the great responsibility of this National Assembly of the People's
Government [ANPP], and the great responsibility of each one of you. Each one of
you must examine your consciences about this. It is true that we do not all
have the same amount of responsibility. Some of us have more, and others have
less. It is true that not all of us have the same amount of energy. Some of us
have less and some more. Some of us are older and some are younger. It is true
we may all have had some lapse, or some problem or other, but we are linked
together in a single cause, a great cause. Fate, history, life, have given this
responsibility to each of us.

96.  The top cadres of the party, government, and ANPP are present here, and we
have very great tasks. We have well-analyzed and thought out programs, food
program in the first place. That is the number one program. There are the
scientific and technical programs, and all that.  There are programs aimed at
preventing our populace from going hungry. All our foreign trade is also
directed today to getting our country the minimum amount of fuel needed
...[corrects himself] or first, the necessary food, the the minimum amount of
fuel needed, medicines, and if possible soap and toothpaste and those essential
things for living. So our foreign trade is aiming its efforts in that

97.  Another effort such as those I have mentioned are efforts to increase our
income, to increase exports through new products that have potential, quite a
lot of potential, and through tourism, which has quite a lot of potential, and
also through other traditional products. Among other things, now we have the
sugar harvest. That is one of our most difficult challenges. It brings us all
together. Now there is the planting of what are called the winter season
products, the sugar harvest, the sugar harvest, [repeats] and other harvests.
It think it is very good that if we do not have cement or materials, there are
tens of thousands of people from the Ministry of Construction now working in
agriculture. I think what the Santiago residents have done is excellent. The
textile factory is a magnificent example. I said that a few days ago. Wherever
there is a chance, we must put a man or women to do something useful.

98.  Of course, our standards are the most just. We do not leave a single
citizen unprotected. We do not leave a single citizen, university graduate, or
middle-level technician who graduates, to his fate. We do not leave anyone to
their fate. No socialist country can do that.  This can be done only by a
....[rephrases] A capitalist country could not do that. Only a socialist system
could do what we are doing, with this principle of distributing what we have
among all of us, as in a family.

99.  That is not the only thing we are doing. There are many other things that
have arisen, among the things I have mentioned from the economic point of view.
There are many other possibilities-I have talked about this-so that the
factories will not be idle, to use our labor force and machinery as long as it
is possible. Of course, there are periods of adjustment. There are periods of
adjustment.  [repeats] We are now in a difficult period of adjustment. We must
ensure the minimum of fuel so that the lights will not go out, or so that they
will go out as little as possible. There is a difficult period of adjustment,
and this adjustment period is now, in 1992.

100.  But there are many ideas and we are working in many directions to find
solutions to the problems. Now, we will unquestionably have to undergo
limitations. This is inevitable. We have to go through a period of sacrifices. 
You can see how up to now we have been able to keep all schools and hospitals
in operation. You can see how even this year, when we have received thousands
of millions [not further specified] less, infant mortality is at more or less
the same level as last year. According to the figures, it is maybe two-tenths
higher, three-tenths higher. It was 10.7 last year and may be 10.9 or 11 this
year. We still do not have the final figures. This is incredible. A country
that has had problems with soap, clothes, 20 products of all kinds, has kept
infant mortality at that level. Now we will see how our doctors, nurses,
hospitals, and everyone will work to maintain that rate. If it rises, we will
try so that it will rise only the minimum amount, in order to maintain our
health indexes, to maintain our schools in operations.

101.  The teachers have shown extraordinary willingness to maintain education
under any circumstances in the special period. The scientists, technicians,
skilled workers, engineers, everyone, are willing. They presented 34,000
papers, 40,000 solutions at the forum. It is incredible what this beehive, this
anthill-which is what our country is today-is capable of doing. We have to
maintain all this in the special period.

102.  You can imagine how our transportation problems have become more
complicated. It may be that we will have to reduce the number of bus trips
before we have more bicycles, because this falling appart [desmerengamiento]
has been occurring at an even faster pace. Any meringue would have lasted a
little longer. This collapse has been very quick, very rapid. As we have said,
if some of the things that have occurred had taken four or five years to
happen, how many problems would we have solved? If it had been a bit slower
...[rephrases] but it happened too fast, and it has created some imbalances in
our programs. We must be prepared for imbalances. You, who lead the people, and
lead the party members, and lead the mass organizations, must prepare them for
all these contingencies and especially for the more critical situations that
will arise.

103.  I said: How much would we have done if this catastrophe had not happened?
Someday we will express ourselves in a different way, and we will say: We have
done so much thanks to this catastrophe. Someday the equation will be inverted.
Next to the satisfaction of having gone through this test, we will be able to
count up all that we have done. Most of these things that many of our comrades
marvel at have come from the special period. A lot of the things that we are
obtaining now will have a great value even during times when we have resources
and fuel.

104.  I hope that we never return to wasting things as we used to when there
were 70,000 or 80,000 tractors available for agriculture. We had batteries,
tires, and fuel for these tractors and they were constantly in use. How are we
going to learn to be austere, to conserve, and use our resourses wisely? We do
not know what the intelligence of millions or hundreds of thousands of people
working and creating is worth. I will not say that we will ever be joyful about
the misfortune that has occurred in the socialist bloc, but for us as a
country, in the end, it will bring extraordinarily favorable results. We will
attain the most complete independence that could have ever been attained.

105.  Today we have complete political independence, but cannot say that we
have complete economic independence. Today, we can say that we have enough
courage and willingness to undergo all types of hardships.  Someday we will
have a developed economy under these conditions, which will allow us to solve
all the problems that we may want to solve. A little while ago I said that the
greatest wealth we have is the minds and intelligence of our people. The brain
is a fabulous natural resource. It cannot be exhausted like oil, for example,
but it multiplies itself.  Oil may be very important, but it is more important
to have brains than to have oil.

106.  In fact, there are developed countries, very developed countries, that do
not have oil. It does not matter. It is possible that we may come across some
oil-that possibility has not been ruled out-on land or mainly at sea.  That
idea has not been ruled out, but we cannot count on that for now. What we do
have is our people's brains, which are a resource that instead of running out
multiplies itself.  I say and I repeat that it is more important to have brains
as a natural resource than to have oil.

107.  With that resource, which is our people's intelligence which we have
planted in their hearts and minds for 30 years, we will move forward. We will
move forward, there is no doubt, first slowly and then faster. Do not think
that our neighbors are happier than us. They have a tremendous recession. They
have lost their dream because they have violated all the principles of their
economy and they are beginning to pay the price for the violations that they
have committed. There is a great uneasiness in the governing circles in the
United States because of the very real economic recession. In moments of the
euphoria, in moments when the socialist bloc is collapsing, in moments of the
hegemony, an economic recession has come to ruin their party.

108.  The problems in the world are there to be seen. We will see how problems
of Third World countries will worsen.  We will see how there will be fierce
competition between the great economic blocs in the world. We will see how
poverty will increase in a great part of the world. At that time, we will be
coming out of our most difficult time.  That is the way these events will take
place. Awareness plays a very important role in this struggle; ideology plays a
decisive role.

109.  This morning, we were analyzing this here. What does each person think?
How do our enemies think and move? How do they try to work? How much hypocrisy
there is in some of our underhanded enemies! For some time now we have known
how they think. [Carlos] Aldana explained this to us, how they are always on
the lookout, like vultures, to see just when they can fall upon the revolution.
They look for the soft parts, the weak individuals, the potential imperialism
can count on inside the country, using the most negative and least patriotic
individuals, using the cowardly and demoralized individuals. That is why the
ideological issue has enormous importance.

110.  We should never give up ground in ideology. We should never give up
ground in combativity and fighting spirit.  Never allow anyone to do so.
Remember that in every man there is always a little bit of pride. Life has
taught us this, especially in war, even when we saw men make mistakes. There
have even been cases of men who were frightened and later showed impressive,
reckless courage. We need to know how to incite the pride of each human being.
Do not worry, because when it seems that there is nothing left in a
revolutionary, there will always be a bit of pride, and you can do a lot with
that little bit of pride.

111.  We can say that our people are a people full of traditions and a worthy
people. We have traditions of dignity, traditions of courage, traditions of
honor. One swallow does not make a summer. We know that there will always be
that kind of swallows. There will always be the shameful cases of people who
degenerate, who weaken, who get frightened or tired. There will always be those
cases. But we must learn to look at these cases philosophically. I can assure
you that for every one of those there are at least 10 who have an impressive
level of dinity, honor, and pride. [applause]

112.  Let us never forget that this was the country which did the most generous
international missions. This was the country that offered hundreds of thousands
of men.  Every time there was an internationalist mission hundreds of thousands
would volunteer. Look at what kind of spirit our people were educated in! They
are willing to fulfill their duty no matter how difficult the mission might be.
Let us not forget that the remains of the vast majority of those comrades are
here in our native land. A monument has been built in each municipality in
their honor. The monuments are simple and modest. Maybe someday we will be able
to build better monuments in memory of those men that taught us so much through
their example.

113.  Let us not forget that they are our dead, our dead.  [repeats] Those are
the remains of our comrades. There are many remains spread all over the island
since the beginning of the war in 1868. Those are our remains, from more than
30 years of revolution, since Moncada and the Granma, throughout all our
struggles. Many schools bear the names of those martyrs. Many factories,
buildings, farms, and enterprises bear the names of those glorious comrades who

114.  There are those who are talking over there about dividing up the country
among themselves, or they are dividing it up over there-sugar mills, lands,
houses, schools-those who dream of taking everything once again and assigning
an owner to everything, a private owner to everything. It is clear that none of
us can even resign ourselve to thinking about that. It is clear that this will
not happen while there is even a single one of us, a revolutionary, a man or
woman of pride, alive.  [applause]

115.  Now I ask myself, what will they do with the memory ...  [corrects
himself] or what would they do with the memory of our glorious dead? What would
they do with the tombs that we have built for them throughout the country? What
would they do with those memorials or those modest tombstones that run
alongside the road to the Bay of Pigs and remind us of those who fell on 17,
18, and 19 April in the Bay of Pigs fighting? Or those who fell in the
Escambray? What would they do with our dead? What would that horde of people
full of hate and vengeance do?

116.  That horde of reactionary people would not want the smallest symbol of
the revolution to remain in the country. What would they turn our schools into?
Into cabarets or brothels? What would they do with the schools in rural areas?
What would they do with our social centers ...[corrects himself] I mean, our
child care centers or our special schools? What would they do with our
universities? What would they do with our hundreds of teachers? What would they
do with our tens of thousands of doctors or our hundreds of thousands of
university-graduate professionals? What would they do with our young people?
What would they do with our adolescents? What would be their fate?

117.  What would they do with the women of this country?  What would they do
with our proletariat or working class? What would they do with those who fought
during these 30 years defending the revolution in the party, the youth
organization, the Federation of University Students, the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution, the labor unions, the farmers associations? What
would they do? What would they do with the remains of our dead?

118.  Because we already know what they would do with the nation's symbols;
they would vilely hand them over to our enemies. They would give our nation,
our land, our waters, our natural resources, and the blood and sweat of our
people to the empire. They would give our land to the empire. They would have
an emblem. The world is full of emblems that do not mean a thing. We are
infested, full of flags, many of which mean very little, unfortunately.

119.  We know what our duties are, with all these memories.  We have great
things to defend, very sacred values to fight for, and an extraordinary cause
to die for.

120.  Who would want to live? Would anyone who has a little bit of honor and
pride ever resign themselves to that fate? It would be better for us to have
one shirt for five years, or to watch less television, or even stop watching
television. [applause] It would be better for us to forget about our tastes
when there are so many things at stake.  I have spoken of Cuba alone. I have
not spoken of the world, because the world expects us to know how to rise to
the occasion. Everyone tells us this.

121.  The world expects us to be capable of resisting. The revolutionary
movement and the revolutionaries of the world expect that of us. Our ideas
expect that of us; our flags expect that of us. We are a symbol today, and we
are playing a role that we did not seek but that came to us.  We must carry it
out. We are a hope. We are a trench of Latin American independence, as the
declaration which was approved here today said. We are a trench of the just
causes of this world.

122.  As I said recently, heroism and courage are admired and not looked upon
with pity. We do not need anyone's pity. We do not want them to give us advice
or come to tell us what to do. We do not want anyone to feel pity for us. Pity
is for those who have lost their honor and pride.  [applause] Pity can be felt
for those who die in vain or who die of sickness or old age without having done
anything worthwhile in their lives. Death is inevitable for all of us. It is a
natural law. I wish all of us could die of natural causes. We would not want
anyone's death to arrive even one second early. But we would not want to wish
anyone a second of life without honor, nation, or dignity. [applause]

123.  That is why no one will have any reason to feel pity for us. Nor will
anyone have any reason to be ashamed of us.  Nor will anyone have any reason to
say that we became discouraged, that we became demoralized, that we
surrendered, that we abandoned our ideas, that we abandoned our flag. No one
will ever have any reason to say any of those things. Cuban revolutionaries
....[changes thought] No one will have to endure the disdain of others.
Traitors are despised. Those who have pride and know how to defend their ideas
to the end are saluted with admiration, with hats off.

124.  That is why I am expressing here my conviction that this generation of
Cubans, and those who come afterwards, and those who came before us, will be
respected and admired. They will always have to recognize that we were able to
fight in the most incredibly difficult conditions, that we were willing to give
everything to defend everything that we hold sacred, that we were able to give
everything for victory. Because if we act as we should act, if we conduct
ourselves as we should conduct ourselves, and as I am sure we will, victory is
the only possible end result. [applause]

125.  Let it never be said of any of us present, of those who make up this
ANPP, or even of our guests, let it never be said that a single one of us
wavered. [applause] Let it never be said that a single one became demoralized.
Let it never be said that a single one sold out. Let it never be said of any of
us who are witnesses to this historic moment we are experiencing, let it never
be said that we were not capable of fighting and that we were not capable of
dying for the nation, for the revolution, and for socialism. [applause]

126.  Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win.  [applause]

127.  Let us go to work now. I wish you a heroic, glorious, and successful
1992. [applause]