Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Castro Speech to Pastors For Peace
Havana Cuba Vision Network

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL0112023492
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-231          Report Date:    01 Dec 92
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:       29 Nov 92

Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 231


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Network 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Castro Speech to Pastors For Peace 

Author(s):   Cuban President Fidel Castro at a meeting with the Pastors For
Peace group at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Havana on 27 November-

Source Line:   FL0112023492 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 2055 GMT 29
Nov 92 

Subslug:   [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at a meeting with the
Pastors For Peace group at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Havana on
27 November- recorded] 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at a meeting
with the Pastors For Peace group at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in
Havana on 27 November- recorded] 

2.  [Text] [Castro] Dear friends: You probably do not want me to make a speech.
[crowd calls out: ``Speech, speech!''] You would rather I have a conversation
with you and that is what I want to do. I was very impatient to meet with you,
because I followed 

his feat of yours very closely. I wanted to be able to express our gratitude to
you directly. I think that very few things as courageous as this have been
done. I think we are in a position to appreciate it because we know what it

3.  The Reverend Walker spoke about Moses and the deserts which he had to
cross. It reminded me that we have also been living in a kind of desert for
many years.  This gesture of yours, this action, has truly become a waterfall.
If Moses could open a path n the sea, you have also created a waterfall in the
desert for us, because for so many years we have suffered injustice, for more
than 30 years, without any reaction from the world. It has really been a
terrible injustice, because there are things which have happened over time, for
many years, and sometimes the significance of what the embargo means is not
recognized. Really, the blockade, as we call it, is an enormous injustice which
we have endured for many years, without enough understanding in the world,
whether because of ignorance or confusion, or because the mass media are
controlled in one way or another or are at the service of certain interests.
People have not been aware of the terrible injustice of this embargo. 

4.  Of course for us, we have been able to resist the consequences of the
embargo for many years because of certain circumstances. The fact is that 85
percent of our trade was with the former socialist community and Soviet Union.
The embargo greatly harmed us. It hindered the development of our country. It
impeded our access to technology. It impeded our access to any kind of credit
from international organizations, the Inter-American Bank, the World Bank,
American banks, credit, financing. All that was inaccessible to us, but also
the merchandise that is sold internationally was inaccessible to us. 
Foodstuffs and medicine were inaccessible to us. It is truly unprincipled-more
than a lie, it is unprincipled-to assert that medicine and foodstuffs are ot
prohibited. They have been prohibited for many years, and they are still

5.  I remember that on one occasion there was a big epidemic, and we (?needed)
certain products to fight the mosquitoes.  It was a dengue epidemic which took
the lives of more than 150 people and affected more than 300,000 people. There
were days in which p to 11,000 people got sick with hemorrhagic dengue. Also,
this epidemic arrived in our country in a strange way, because historically
there is evidence that plans were made to use even bacteriological warfare
against our country. When we said that, many people did not believe it.
However, in later investigations made by the U.S. Senate, it was found that
there were plans to introduce bacteriological warfare in our country against
plants and animals. We have suffered suspicious, rare, and strange pests here
that do not have any logical explanation except for their deliberate
introduction, and they have affected agricultural production, especially food

6.  In addition to the embargo, there are the hostilities, the constant
harrassment, and thousands of things which have happened in addition to the
embargo as part of the same policies of trying to make the Cuban people yield. 
That epidemic I mentioned affected the populace, and there was really no
logical explanation, because this kind of epidemic did not exist in any part of
the world at that time. There was no logical explanation for how it got here,
because all the tests were made, and we reached the conclusion that the
epidemic had been introduced.  There was no other way to explain why that
disease had entered Cuba. It was really very aggressive. It was learned that
this kind of virus was being developed in certain research centers in order to 

be used for bacteriological warfare. We are convinced of that. 

7.  At that time, there was a product called (Abate), and in the midst of that
big uproar, in the midst of that dramatic situation, we were able to purchase
certain amounts from different places. We obtained some (Abate) through Panama
to fight the mosquitoes. We applied directly to the U.S. Government, and we
were able to get them to sell us, as an exception, that product to control
mosquitoes. It was done as something very extraordinary. Because of that
dramatic situation we were experiencing, it was very difficult morally for them
to say no under those circumstances. So, that time we were allowed to buy that

8.  But recently, a young Cuban who was guarding a marina with other comrades,
and some disaffected persons who wanted to travel to the United States ...
[pauses] This is something that is greatly encouraged. If they ask for legal
permission, they are not iven it, but if they steal a boat, or if they go on a
raft, they serve as propaganda material and they are welcomed with open arms.
It does not matter what kind of people they are. It does not matter what crimes
they may have committed. They are welcomed, so these kinds of actions are

9.  As a result of this, a group of young men who were tied up ... [pauses]
They were watchmen. They were taken by surprise and tied up. When they were
discovered by chance, they shot the young men they had tied up, apparently so
they could not testify who the assailants were. Three died immediately, and one
was seriously injured. It was a very painful case. I visited him several times
in the hospital, and I saw the way he suffered. He lived 37 days. All the
resources of science were applied, many of our own medical advances, much of
the equipment that has been developed in Cuba, and other equipment that has
been purchased from abroad. This equipment was used to try to save this young
man's life, because the bullets had penetrated his intestines and caused all
kinds of infection. It was a very difficult case. 

10.  However, there was a medicine, an antibody which is used-I do not remember
its name now-to combat toxins, because antibiotics combat bacteria, but by then
the bacteria have left toxins, and it is not the bacteria that kills but the
toxins. There are some medicines-we have also been working on this kind of
medicine-to combat toxins and save lives. We went to Europe to buy that
medicine, but it was produced by a U.S. company and the subsidiary of that U.S.
company in Europe refused to sell us the medicine. So we had to use third
parties to buy the medicine and send it to Havana. 

11.  The Torricelli Law even tries to block most of the foodstuffs that we buy
outside the United States, because of everything we buy from U.S. subsidiaries
abroad- and they know this very well-90 percent is foodstuffs, primarily, and
medicine: 90 

percent. This law was passed so we cannot buy foodstuffs or medicine on the
world market, not in the United States. That is why I say it is very
unprincipled to say that medicine can be sold to us. I think that the
Torricelli Law has a clause, which says that if medicine is sold to us, there
must be U.S.  inspectors here in Cuba supervising the way that medicine is

12.  I think every hospital would need one of these inspectors, and one by
every bed in the hospital to really see how we use U.S. medicine. To buy
medicine you need money, and the embargo tends to deprive us of all
possibilities of earning income to buy medicine. The embargo is not simply the
prohibition of sales. It prohibits Cuban exports, to deprive Cuba of economic
resources to buy essential things. That assumes that there is another country
that would agree to buy medicine and along with the medicine to have the
inspectors to see how that medicine is being used. It is absurd and crazy.  It
is unprincipled. It is truly very unprincipled to say that medicine is not
included in the embargo. 

13.  The embargo is much tougher. The embargo is not only those regulations.
The embargo is a tenacious and constant harassment of all commercial
transactions Cuba carries out. Cuba produces nickel. It is one of the largest
... [pauses] It has one of the largest reserves of nickel in the world and
relatively large nickel production, but it is very difficult for Cuba to sell
its nickel, not in the United States but in Japan, Europe, anywhere. Why?
Because the United States prohibits imports of equipment or teel built with
Cuban nickel. So you can imagine, many of the large factories that produce
machinery want to export their equipment, which contains some steel, to the
United States. When they are prohibited from using Cuban nickel, it is very
difficult for Cuba to sell its nickel. 

14.  They rigorously harass every business transaction that we try to
undertake. Today, the whole U.S. Government apparatus and all the U.S.
embassies in the world are working at harassing Cuban commercial operations
with foreign countries. It is incredible. It would seem that the U.S. embassies
have nothing else to do. This situation is even more serious since the Soviet
Union and the socialist bloc have disappeared. All the resources, all the
assets, all the apparatus, that were used to fight the USSR and the socialist
bloc, that were used in the past to fight China and other countries, all those
resources, that whole immense and gigantic apparatus, are all focused against
one country. They are all focused against Cuba. 

15.  So Cuba, being right next to the United States, today has to withstand the
whole weight of that hostility which is being focused on us. What before was
used to fight countries that together had a population of more than 1 billion
is today being used to fight a population of 10 million, a little over 10.5
million. So we are the one country in the world that is the object of the
greatest hostility per capita, the most money per capita to fight it, the most
resources per capita, in a campaign of hostility.  It is just as I am telling

16.  If any businessman from any part of the world wants to have a joint
venture with Cuba or establish some type of commercial or financial operation
with Cuba or make an investment, the U.S. ambassador will often phone him and
meet with him to pressure him and persuade him from carrying out an operation
with Cuba, threaten him and pressure him by telling him that later he will not
be able to do business in the United States. Since the United States is such a
wealthy and powerful country and has such a large market, with the amount of
technology the United States has, out of every 10 people who want to conduct
operations with us, nine have to desist from doing business with us, at least
nine out of every 10 people. 

17.  They often come in good faith. They always come in good faith, generally.
Industrialists and businessmen come to Cuba, and we tell them not to talk. We
tell them not to publicize what they are doing. Very often, because of their
good faith, they think that what they are doing is very legal and very moral,
and they make it public. Then, immediately, there comes the U.S. Embassy. Very
often the U.S. Embassy finds out even when they do not make it public. They
have many spies. 

18.  The embargo is more than prohibiting the sale of U.S.  products or
stopping us from buying from the United States. It is ferocious pressure and
ferocious harassment in order to prevent us from conducting any type of
business transaction. All that immense power is now focused on our country.
Today, the embargo harms us even more because we used to have assured fuel
supplies from the USSR. We had a guaranteed markets for our goods. We had
guaranteed food supplies, many important foods, medicines, many things. Now we
have to find them on the world market. In the past we would sell our products,
like sugar, at reasonable and fair prices. 

19.  On the world market, sugar is not traded at the world market price. The
world market is a residual market on which sugar is sold below cost. In fact,
most of the sugar that is traded in the world is traded at special prices. The
sugar that the United tates buys and imports, which is not much ... [pauses] In
the past, the United States imported a lot more. When the embargo was imposed
on Cuba, they divided the Cuban sugar quota among other countries. The United
States imported approximately 5 million tons. Later, with protectionist
measures, they increased sugar production from corn and sugarbeets, using
glucose and also corn syrup-which has another name-to reduce sugar imports.
Finally, they took away the sugar quotas from almost all the countries they had
given them to after they began the embargo against Cuba. Today the United
States imports barely 1 million tons of sugar. So the sugar that is sold on the
world market ... [pauses] that is sold in Europe, the sugar that Europe imports
from countries that had relations with the EEC, and the small amounts of sugar
the United States imports, are paid at much higher prices. 

20.  That is why the embargo is more harmful to us now, because we have to buy
100 percent of our goods on the world market. We have to pay for these goods
with our sugar, which gets a very low price. There is another problem in
addition to this: the price ratio of sugar and oil. At the beginning of the
Revolution, we could buy eight tons of oil with one ton of sugar. Today oil has
a monopoly price, a monopoly price. [repeats] Today, you can only buy 1.4 tons
of oil with one ton of sugar, which costs so much effort to produce. That is
one of the most serious problems we have: the current price ratio between sugar
and oil. 

21.  Before, we would pay ... [pauses] the USSR would pay us fair and
reasonable prices for our sugar. Even though we paid for oil at the current
prices, we paid for it with our sugar at high prices. All this was assured for
us. When the socialist bloc disappeared, when the USSR disappeared, 85 percent
of our trade disappeared. The assurance of being able to sell our products and
purchasing imports also disappeared. But when they saw that in spite of all
this, we were looking for ways, we were tightening our belts [words indistinct]
to resist, and that we would deprive ourselves of many things, they felt that
what they had was not enough, and they invented the Torricelli Law. 

22.  They did it so that we would not be able to purchase food and medicines on
the world market, because many of those U.S. companies and their subsidiaries
are the ones that control the world food trade. They are the ones that control
many of the goods we used to purchase outside the United States. There is
something else, in addition: They wanted us not to be able to import whatever
we were able to buy or sell.  You do not accomplish anything by buying wheat or
soybeans in Argentina, or soybeans in Brazil, or any other food product, if you
do not have the ships to transport it. We have developed our merchant fleet a
lot, and we have increased by many times the number of ships we had before the
Revolution, but the merchant fleet of the socialist countries also transported
a lot of those goods to Cuba.  Those fleets no longer exist. No one knows where
those ships disappeared to. 

23.  So we have to hire ships on the world market, and so the measure is
unfair. Forbidding those ships from entering the United States is meant to
prevent us from hiring ships to bring the goods to Cuba. Really, one cannot
conceive of a more brutal, crueler policy than this kind of policy being
applied against our country at present. That is why I say that at the present
time, the embargo is doing us much more damage. We used to count on those
factors, and now we no longer have any of them, and the Torricelli Law is a
kind of attempt to give the coup de grace to our country, to finish off our
country [words indistinct]. 

24.  That is why at the present time, and after 30 years, we consider what you
have done so important. It is especially important because it arises from the
American people themselves. That is decisive. It has arisen spontaneously, from
the American people themselves, and that has special importance. 

25.  We have often seen that the U.S. Administrations are not the least bit
concerned about what the rest of the world thinks. They are indifferent to what
the rest of the world thinks. I remember during the Vietnam War, it was a
precedent. World opinion was against that war, but the U.S. Administrations
began to consider a solution to the Vietnam problem only when the American
people themselves took a stand and an extremely powerful public opinion formed
against the Vietnam War. So what happens within the United States itself
carries particular, special weight, as regards certain problems. 

26.  Thus, we see in your actions an act fated to carry much weight, to be very
important in the struggle against this injustice. But of course the rest of the
world is also becoming aware of this. A large part of the world has become
aware of this. They understand these things I am explaining, and solidarity is
increasing all over. Now, the Torricelli Law is like the famous last straw that
breaks the camel's back. [applause] It has sort of boomeranged, because it is
already affecting directly not only Cuba but also all the countries that trade
with Cuba, all the countries where there are U.S. subsidiaries. It affects the
dignity and sovereignty of many countries, and even of many countries that are
allies of the United States. These countries are not willing to accept that
reduction in sovereignty that a U.S. law is seeking to impose on them.  That is
why they took action and protested. 

27.  How can all that be justified when it is being said that the Cold War is
over? When nothing is threatening, or can threaten, U.S. security? Many of the
world's governments realize that (?it is unfair). They speak of Cuba's
isolation, but events show the opposite. Every time there was a public vote,
how did people act, until now? People were very much afraid to raise their
hands. Why?  Because they were afraid of economic reprisals. At the United
Nations, the representatives of the U.S. State Department keep a tally of how
many times a country votes with the U.S. delegation and how many times it votes
differently from the U.S. delegation. There is a file for each country, and
they tally things up every so often: Out of 100 votes, they voted the same way
we did 80 times but voted differently 20 times, or 10 times, or five times, or
two times. 

28.  That constitutes terrible pressure there at the United Nations, and when
the voting is public, people are afraid.  We ourselves are even reluctant to
ask them to vote for something that would be good for us, so as not to put our
friends in a difficult situation, a situation that could be detrimental to
them. You cannot be asking friends to sacrifice themselves for you everyday.
You cannot always be asking them to do something that causes them harm. When
the voting is secret, however, we always get a great many votes, a majority of
the votes. It is notable ... [applause] When we were elected to the Security
Council, an overwhelming majority of countries voted for Cuba. When we were
first elected to Ecosoc [United Nations Economic and Social Council], we got an
overwhelming majority of the votes. 

29.  Now, recently, we were also elected to Ecosoc, one of the most important
UN organizations, and a great majority of members voted for Cuba. They stayed
until the end at the voting. Because there are many countries that have
excellent relations with us, and these countries have seen that Cuba follows a
policy based on principles always, and has tried to cooperate with many
countries, and that, despite the embargo, to the extent that Cuba has been able
to do so, when our trade and our economy were buttressed by the ecomomic
relationship we had with the socialist bloc, we helped many countries. 

30.  We have sent doctors to dozens and dozens of countries, and we have sent
teachers and technicians (?to help), for free, to dozens and dozens of
countries. We have even shed our blood in the struggle to defend the
independence of other countries, of the Angolans. [applause] 

31.  We have shed our blood struggling against apartheid, against apartheid's
troops in Africa, and the African countries know this. That is why most of the
votes for the resolution came from the African countries. But we have helped in
a generous and disinterested manner for 30 years. We had more than 20,000
foreign students in Cuba on scholarship, and there are still many thousands of
foreign students in Cuba on scholarship, despite the special period. We have
not changed those programs.  They have to some extent been reduced, because ...
[rephrases] in keeping with our means, but we have a very large number of
them. I cannot give you an exact figure right here and now, but there must be
over 15,000 foreign students on scholarship in our country, students from the
Third World. 

32.  We have helped train tens of thousands of technicians (?in those
countries). Our medicine has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives in the
Third World; and the people are aware of this. At the United Nations, we have
always defended just causes. could say that, really, no other country in the
world has had as many foreign students on scholarship as Cuba has, per capita.
When there were 80,000 scholarship students in the USSR, which had almost 300
million inhabitants, Cuba had 22,000. We have far more foreign students from
Third World countries on scholarship per capita than the United States. It is
for free. [words indistinct] for free, paid for by the Cuban state. Even now,
in the middle of a special period, we are taking care of many people from the
Third World. Many people from Latin America and other countries of the world
today come here to receive health care services. Those who have money pay for
such services. In such cases, our medical services, certain institutions, have
been acquiring a lot of prestige. But there are many people who cannot pay for
such services, and who ask us to provide the care. 

33.  The diseases are sometimes terrible ones: spinal problems, or disability
problems. We have institutions, we have a center for nerve transplants and
rehabilitation.  That institution enjoys great prestige. It has many patients.
We have other institutions that cure, for example, vitiligo. We have very good
orthopedics institutions. We have an institution that can cure retinitis

34.  This very day, incidentally, as I was on my way over here, I had planned
to say hello to a child who had written me, an Ecuadoran child. I think he is a
champion chess player in Ecuador. He had written me a very nice letter, saying
that he was getting ready to leave and that he wanted to see me so he could
thank me. I was told he was leaving tomorrow, so I went by for a few minutes to
see the child, who had been treated here at one of these institutions of ours.
But at that same place, there was an Uruguayan woman and her daughter. They
were blind due to retinitis pigmentosa. The woman had written, saying that she
had no funds with which to cover the expenses of the operation. We told her to
come anyway.  By accident, I ran into her. They 

were staying at the place where the child was. They were at a kind of hostel, a
house of... [pauses] a little hotel. The lady had recovered quite a bit of her
sight. But the most interesting thing was the daughter, who was about 14 or 15
years old. Her vision was back to normal. She had been blind, and now her
vision was back to normal. 

35.  Let us not forget about that miracle that Christ performed, the miracle of
returning sight to the blind.  Because I really must say, with satisfaction,
that sight has been returned to many people in our country, as a result of that
spirit of willingness to work hard and of solidarity that we have toward the
Third World. 

36.  But right now, when I was told that you were coming, I suggested ...
[pauses] I was told you were going to be taken to see the facilities for the
Pan American Games, and I thought: If they are willing to travel a little bit
farther, they can visit the center where we are providing care for the children
from Chernobyl. We do not use this for propaganda, but we, alone, have taken
care of many more Chernobyl children than the entire rest of the world, than
all the rest of the world put together. [applause] 

37.  Ten thousand Chernobyl children have stayed at that center. If we take a
count of the number that have been received in the entire rest of the world, I
doubt that the figure will be over 1,000, and I am certain it does not exceed
2,000. In many cases, what they received was not medical care. What they
received were vacations at a camp, not the medical care, the rigorous
examinations they undergo in Cuba, the care for any kind of illness they might
have. Not all of the illnesses are serious, or extremly serious. Nevertheless,
anything they might have is detected. We help them to get the radiation out of
their systems. We have had really excellent results. 

38.  I wanted you to go there because, in view of the noble, generous gesture
that you yourselves are making for us, we wanted you to see how we ourselves
too, even in a special period, have not suspended our cooperation with the
Chernobyl children. 

39.  It has already been some time since the USSR and the socialist bloc
disappeared, yet we continue providing care for the Chernobyl children, despite
the embargo and despite the special period that we are experiencing. We are
doing this for reasons of ethics, for reasons of morality. It would have been
easy to justify not continuing, easy to say: Do not send a single child more. 
Now, they often send them even when it is not a matter of radiation. Sometimes
they have skin conditions, or leukemia that has nothing to do with the
radiation.  There is a hospital here that is at the service of those children
of a nation that no longer exists. So we have shown solidarity not only with
people from the Third World but also with other countries that had a certain
degree of development, such as the Soviet Union. 

40.  But all this comes into play when a battle such as the one at the United
Nations is waged. Because it was not only a matter of a just cause. It was not
only a case of an embargo seeking to apply the laws of the United States
outside U.S. territory. Rather, it was also that many of those countries
acknowledge the solidarity given by Cuba, Cuba's actions, Cuba's efforts, in
favor of the interests of those countries in all spheres. Not just in the
sphere of cooperation with health care and many other such things, but also in
defending the interests of the Third World countries in the sphere of
economics, in defending ... [pauses] in the struggle for a new world economic
order-this was approved by the United Nations more than 10 years ago but never
implemented-and the declaration on the economic rights and duties of nations,
which was a Mexican proposal applied ... [pauses] adopted at the United
Nations, which was also never implemented. 

41.  But we have never for a single moment stopped struggling for all those
things. We have always, invariably, avoided opportunism. We have never fallen
into opportunist positions in our international policies. Many people at the
United Nations acknowledge this. If that vote had been secret, we would have
gotten far more than 100 votes. Because we knew of all the governments that
wanted to vote in favor, but they could not challenge the power of the United
States. That is why there was a high number of abstentions. 

42.  Abstaining, however, in spite of the memorandum sent around by the U.S.
Government, abstaining was a rejection of the embargo. Leaving the session is
as if you, right now, knew you were going to be asked a question, and that the
question was a troublesome one, so many of you leave so that the question
cannot be put to you, or so that you will not have to accept something you are
being asked to do. Thus, by doing this, you would actually be expressing
rejection. They were being asked to vote for he embargo, to vote against the
Cuban resolution, or find themselves in trouble. So, leaving the room was also
a way to reject the embargo. So we must count not only those who voted against
[the United States] but also all those who abstained, and all those who
absented themselves from the room. 

43.  Also, the 18 people who made speeches there in favor of the resolution
were applauded. There was celebration at the United Nations when this
resolution was approved.  We ourselves thought we were going to get the
approval at the United Nations. We thought that the number voting in favor
would be higher, but that it would be a tight vote. We ourselves were surprised
by the result of the voting, because we did not know what the results of the
pressures were going to be. Also, it was not a secret vote. It was a public
vote. Yet despite that, 59 countries voted in favor of the resolution. Only
three, including the United States, voted against. What happened there at the
United Nations was a truly spectacular thing, something that gives the lie to
all the theories about Cuba's alleged isolation. 

44.  I think it was an excellent test, and I think that your battle, in my
opinion, your battle, with this march and all, helped the elections ...
[pauses] helped with the vote at the United Nations. It helped to make people
aware. I am sure that it carried some weight. 

45.  There were different factors that helped. The Torricelli Law itself
helped. It is said that Torricelli himself was asked for his opinion on the
matter, and that he said it was a victory for the United States because many
people had abstained. [chuckles] He did not say that there had been only three
votes against the resolution. He said that there had been only 59 votes in
favor. He did not take into account in any way those who abstained, or those
who left the room. That is a way of proceeding.  [chuckles] There are some
people who prefer to leave so as to not be present, so as not to be in the
position of having to say either yes or no. That is something they have
invented there, at the United Nations, when they find themselves in those kinds
of awkward situations.  But, fortunately, these two things coincided: your
march, your breaking of the embargo, and the UN resolution.  These two things
came together, thereby increasing each other's impact. 

46.  The day before the vote, I had spoken to the workers at the CTC [Cuban
Workers Federation], and I had said to them: There are going to be many
abstentions. Although we were pretty confident that we were going to obtain a
majority, I chose not to go out on a limb and assure it. To say that we were
going to obtain a majority for sure would not have been a responsible thing to
do. But I did say that there would be many abstentions, of course, because of
this whole situation. That same day, I was talking about the march-what is it
called?-the caravan of friendship, organized by the Pastors for Peace with the
help of the other organizations. I was talking about that, and I was also
talking about this (?vote) thing. It just so happened that, by the next day,
the results were already known. 

47.  So these are two historic things, and I say this because I am convinced
that your action, your caravan, your march, your breaking the embargo, and the
UN resolution-all this creates better conditions in the world to promote
solidarity. One of things I most admire about your actions was not the number
of km you traveled, nor your physical effort, nor even your heroic crossing of
the bridge-because I think that since Napoleon crossed the famous Bridge of
(Arcola) and became famous, no one had ever carried out such a daring,
courageous, and heroic act at a bridge as you did. [applause] 

48.  With much fewer troops, you took the Laredo bridge, carrying a wheelchair
as a weapon, carrying a Bible as your primary weapon, a wheelchair, and
medicine. It was really a beautiful battle. If I talk about historic battles,
that was a historic battle. The most important thing is your moral value. At a
time when there is a gigantic propaganda campaign, a univeral deluge of
propaganda, lies, and distortion about Cuba's situation, about the principles,
ideas, and conduct of the Cuban Revolution, you defied all that. 

49.  I say that it is easier to defy the might of the U.S.  Government than to
defy the deluge of lies and slanders and false campaigns that you have defied.
In my opinion, that is what has more value and power, because the power of the
U.S. Government is ased not only on military force, not only on the number of
sophisticated weapons, sophisticated planes, missiles of all kinds, and smart
bombs, and all those things, but it is based a lot on propaganda. 

50.  I should say this, really, it is based on lies. Because whenever they are
going to do something, they try to find a moral justification for it. If it is
Vietnam, they have to find a moral justification to carry out a brutal war
there and drop 2 or 3 million tons of bombs. But they have to find a moral
justification for it. If they invade Grenada, they have to find a moral
justification to invade Grenada, invent a story about students in danger there
and all those things, which we knew was a huge lie. e knew more or less what
was going on there (?because we had construction workers there) and we knew
there was danger but not ... [pauses] I can assure you that the safest people
there in all of Grenada were the students. But to save their lives and because
of the danger, they had to send an airborne division and I don't know how many
troops against a country so small it can hardly be found on a map. It is so
small that it is hard to find it on a globe.  It has 100,000 inhabitants, and
they invaded it as if they were invading Mars or an extraterrestrial enemy. 

51.  They always try to find a moral justification. There are countries that
unfortunately have helped, contributed to finding these moral justifications
with their actions in some cases. I do not want to mention their names. But to
embargo Cuba, harass Cuba, try to destroy the revolution and everything it
means, they must find a moral justification. They have been fabricating one for
30 years. You have defied more than 30 years of lies, and this is in my opinion
what is most valuable, most courageous, about your defiance. 

52.  In addition, you have been intelligent. We must say that you have not only
acted with profound moral conviction, profound faith, and absolute conviction
that what you were doing was honest and right, but you also knew how to do it
in a very intelligent way. I must say this, when we witnessed this battle, it
was not all seen on television, like the war against Iraq. The war against Iraq
was announced beforehand. In addition, it was a previously announced war about
which we said in United Nations: Let us find a way for peace. Why announce a
war with a deadline? That was a war with a deadline, that everyone followed
along on television like in a stadium. 

53.  Your battle was not seen on television, but it had more merit than that
battle. (?You had fewer forces.)  It had much more merit than the other war.
[applause] Because when you have many very sophisticated weapons, and your
adversaries make all kinds f mistakes, from political to military mistakes, it
is easy to win a battle. But how did you win this battle? With moral force and
intelligence. You showed that you were good strategists and good pastors. You
organized the operation throughout the United 

States, in all the cities. You arrived at the same place simultaneously. You
would almost need the Pentagon to organize an operation as precisely as you
organized it, and you ended up simultaneously in Laredo, that whole caravan
with 103 drivers and all the cargo. 

54.  In addition, you knew what you were doing. You knew how you had to do it.
You knew that your ``No!'' was very powerful. You knew that that ``No!'' was
more powerful than a nuclear weapon, because it was a moral weapon of many
kilotons, 100 kilotons or 1,000 kilotons, or several megatons. But the fact is
that you knew how you had to act. As The Reverend (Walker) explained, to accept
the license was to accept the embargo. It was to accept the embargo. [repeats]
It was to ask permission. 

55.  You also understood that for the U.S. authorities it was very difficult,
in fact, to oppose your crossing (?in Laredo). I even know that this matter
reached such international prominence that the European countries recommended
that the U.S. Government let the caravan pass. They recommended that the
caravan be let past.  [applause] 

56.  They were more intelligent, and they realized the consequences of stopping
the caravan or using repression against the caravan, or sending you to jail and
putting you on trial for wanting to bring medicine, wheelchairs, bicycles, and
Bibles to Cuba. You put the authorities ...  [pauses] You so unmasked the
authorities that you made it impossible for them to apply those classic
measures of repression. You defied that, because you were willing to be
arrested, put on trial, have those measures taken. That is what your heroism
consisted of, but you knew how to apply your heroism. Your courage was
accompanied by great intelligence and great psychology. Because what you did
when they forbade the trucks from crossing the bridge with a few items was
really xcellent. You must be congratulated not only for your courage but also
for your intelligence. 

57.  I would say that your battle was won in advance. Your battle was already
won from the time it was thought up.  But there is an enormous symbolism here.
I told the workers a few days ago that the importance is not in the volume of
things. For me, each on is worth 1 million tons. I appreciate each ton as much
as or more than 1 million tons, because of its moral value, because it is a
symbol. We know how to appreciate this. Our people know how to appreciate this.

58.  In addition, it is very good for us, because we have always been preaching
that we have nothing against the American people. On the contrary; we have
always spoken very well of the American people. We have never blamed the
American people for the embargo. We have always blamed the government, always.
We have always tried to educate our people with feelings of friendship towards
the American people. Do you know in what country in the world an American is
best treated? Do you know what country that is? It is Cuba. It is Cuba. 
[repeats] [applause] 

59.  This shows our people's feelings, and the policy of principles followed by
the revolution, which has educated the people with a high political awareness,
a clear idea of who is responsible for what, a feeling of friendship towards
the American people. So in 30 years of revolution, I do not think an American
exists who can say: They treated me badly in Cuba. They treated me
disrespectfully. They treated me with contempt. 

60.  There are many places in the world where American citizens are treated
badly. We cannot agree with that.  (?They) blame the American citizens for
things they are not responsible for. But of course, this is a kind of escape
valve. They cannot do anything, so they take it out on an American individual.
But we, who have fought against all the might [of the United States], our minds
are calm, our souls are at peace, and we have no reason to take revenge on an
American citizen for the wrongs we have suffered because of the might of the
U.S. Government.  That is how it is. 

61.  Now, this helps us in educating our people, because when our people see
that a group like you do what you have done, our people's feelings of sympathy
and recognition grow.  The seed of friendship that we have planted germinates,
grows, and bears fruit. This action helps us a lot, and it helps us to
establish in the hearts of our people this differentiation between people and
government.  Words are useful, reasoning is useful, but actions are even more
useful. We are always trying to educate the people in the realities of the
United States. That is really why we are so appreciative and grateful. I wanted
so much to be able to say this to you personally with arguments and reasons,
without exaggeration or flattery or false words, but really say how e see it,
how I see it, how the people see it, how everyone sees it here in our country. 

62.  We hope that now in the new conditions, with greater knowledge of our
reality, you can continue to help us break the embargo. Everyone may come to an
agreement unanimously that the embargo should disappear, but as long as an
important part of the American people does not decisively support the
disappearance of the embargo, the embargo will not disappear. So international
solidarity has to be complemented by American solidarity. I am thinking this,
because it would be a subject that all Americans will [words indistinct]. But
there must be many million people in the United States like you. If you succeed
in mobilizing them, it will be the surest guarantee that sooner or later the
embargo will disappear. 

63.  Of course, the disappearance of the embargo has become a vital issue for
our country, the revolution, and the revolution's accomplishments. What is
important is not the revolution. The important thing is the revolution's
accomplishments. The revolution has accomplishments to present to the world. We
have been talking about this here tonight. That is why I see your movement as a
decisive factor. I really think that it is the foundation, the most solid
pillar, on which relations between the Cuban people and the American people,
and between the peoples of the Third World and the American people, can be

64.  I do not think Cuba is the only case. The world and the Third World need
solidarity. I say that the Third World is experiencing an enormous tragedy, an
enormous tragedy. I do not want to run on at length about the situation the
rest of Latin America is suffering, that Africa is suffering, that many
countries in Asia are suffering. A large part of the world is suffering a
situation of poverty and misery. Many people are living in anguish. The Third
World needs the solidarity of the American people. Peace needs the struggle by
the American people. 

65.  We cannot say that the American people... [pauses] This is not to say that
the United States is powerful. Those who say the United States is powerful are
thinking about nuclear weapons, missiles, F-15 and F-16 planes, tanks,
submarines, and all those hings, and the divisions. We must be able to say one
day to the world: The United States is powerful because it has a powerful
people, and a just people. [applause] 

66.  (?I am telling you) this not in Cuba's name. Cuba is small. Our cause is
just. But we are a small part of the world. If what happens to us has any
importance, it is because it can happen to any other country. Just now the news
agencies have reported, his afternoon the radio reported, that in El Salvador
the FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front] has announced the
possibility of a coup d'etat. As you know, the UN commission investigated and
drew up a list of more than 100 high-ranking officers who are responsible for
war crimes. Those officers must be removed. Now the FMLN members are turning in
their weapons. Well, their demands have not yet been met. If there is a coup
d'etat tomorrow, what will happen? They will have no weapons, and ?what will)
the high-ranking military officers (?do)? Because that famous division ... 
[rephrases] What is that division they sent to Grenada called? The 182d or the
82d Division? They are not going to send the 82d Division to El Salvador,
because they would already have sent the 82d Division against the
revolutionaries in El Salvador, but not against those who committed genocide

67.  We do not want them to send divisions anywhere. We want them to let each
nation solve its own problems, let each nation fight, and respect the
sovereignty and independence of every country, because without the support of
the weapons they received from the U.S. Government, they would never have been
able to commit so many massacres, so many crimes. That is the truth. When we
talk about what is happening to Cuba, we are talking about what could happen to
any country in the world, especially any Third World country. 

68.  That is why the battle you are waging for Cuba today is a battle you are
waging for the entire world. You are waging it for the Third World. You are
waging it for all the nations that have been under embargo for centuries,
because they were turned into colonies. They were exploited. Their children
were enslaved. The Reverend (Walker) said his grandparents had been slaves. How
can we forget that? They invaded countries, hunted down people, and enslaved
them. In this hemisphere, of a population of 

about 80 million natives who were there, the colonizers and conquistadors
annihilated almost 60 million. You also know what happened in the United States
with the remains of the native population of the United States. You know about
this. You know this perfectly well. 

69.  So the world has been suffering an embargo for 500 years. What is
neocolonialism but an embargo? What are those neoconservative and
ultrareactionary policies but an embargo which demands that the governments
close the hospitals and schools, throw people out on the street, leave people
homeless? Even in the special period, when our imports have been reduced to 25
percent of what they were, our country has not closed a single school, a single
childcare center, a single hospital. No one has been left omeless. When there
are no jobs, we give them wages. We at least give them wages. Even if they stay
at home, we do not leave them without wages. We distribute what we have in the
most equitable way possible.  But not a single citizen is left homeless. 

70.  How could we have done that without socialism, with capitalist mechanisms?
How could we have kept the schools open? Reverend, I am not trying to
indoctrinate you in socialism. If you want, I will not say socialism. I will
not say socialism. Without the revolution, without the revolution's measures,
how could we have kept our schools open? We would not be able to do what we are
doing now, the miracle of what we are doing now, with 25 percent of the imports
the country used to receive, in a capitalist ociety. That is why very rich
countries, countries that have not been under an embargo, Latin American
countries that have help from the World Bank and everything, that have a high
level of exports, a lot higher than ours, have closed thousands of schools,
hospitals, and social institutions. Well, that is what is happening in the

71.  That is why I insist on the idea that fighting for the cause that is Cuba
today is to fight for something a lot greater than Cuba. It is to fight for the
cause (?of the world). I am sure that the obstacles you are overcoming can
rightly be compared to the Red Sea that Moses crossed. The Reverend spoke about
Moses. I think that is an excellent example of how the embargo was broken, how
the sea was crossed, as the Bible tells us. 

72.  Well, I say that your battle, the sea that you have to cross, is much
wider. The embargo is a lot broader, and that is why my respect for Americans
has grown, my respect for all those who participated in this effort, and for
the American believers and pastors [words indistinct] inspired by this example.
You are also writing a page in the Bible. I am not going to say you are writing
a page in history. The Bible is still not finished being written. You are
writing the Bible of today, the history of the modern Bible. What you are doing
is really (?that). [applause] Thank you very much. A thousand thanks.