Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Castro Greets Pastors for Peace Ship
Havana Tele Rebelde Network

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL0712163592
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-236          Report Date:    08 Dec 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       5
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       03 Dec 92
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 236


City/Source of Document:   Havana Tele Rebelde Network 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Castro Greets Pastors for Peace Ship 

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to welcome the ship bringing
a donation from the U.S. Pastors for Peace in Havana-live] 

Source Line:   FL0712163592 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish 0335 GMT 3
Dec 92 

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to welcome the ship
bringing a donation from the U.S.  Pastors for Peace in Havana-live] 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony to
welcome the ship bringing a donation from the U.S.  Pastors for Peace in

2.  [Text] [Castro] Dear friends of the friendship caravan, fellow citizens
from La Habana Vieja and Havana City: I imagine the whole city is represented
here, and the students from the Lenin School are here also. [applause] I want
to explain to you that I came here simply to welcome the ship. I was not
supposed to speak at this ceremony. I have already had the opportunity to meet
with the representatives of the friendship caravan at the Marianao, or La Lisa,
church and also at the Martin Luther King Memorial. There I was able to talk
with them for over an hour and explain to them all the reasons we are so deeply
grateful to them. I also spoke to them at length about our problems and the
embargo. The people had the opportunity to see that ceremony on television.  It
was broadcast to the entire country and was in all the press. 

3.  I do not want to bore our American friends. I do not want them to think my
way of saying thank you for things in the people's name is by making a lot of
speeches. That is really not true. I knew that if I came here it was going to
be difficult to get away without making a speech, even if it was only a brief

4.  But I think many things have come together today. Many symbols have come
together today. This is a day, or night, full of symbolism. All this is because
of a happy coincidence. Today is the 36th anniversary of our landing in what
was Oriente Province. oday we realize that that voyage was relatively
difficult. We had to wait 36 years for me to become convinced of that. This
morning, coincidentally, because of the initiative of our young Communists,
marked the end of a voyage from Tuxpan in which our young people commemorated
the 36th anniversary. They chose, as [Havana City People's Council President
Pedro] Chavez explained, young people who are very outstanding because of their
behavior and talents. There were 82, the same number as the expeditionaries who
made the voyage 36 years ago.  They were accompanied by five Mexicans and some
other guests. 

5.  At 0630 this morning, they landed there in the same place we landed, at the
same time. They went along the highway, no longer following our route. They
could go by highway and visit the different towns along the coast of Manzanillo
Municipality. They held a big ceremony there in Manzanillo, which was shown on
television on the ``Today'' program. I would have liked to wait there also and
welcome them, but it is impossible to do many things at once. In any case, I am
very happy to have been able to welcome this other landing. Coincidentally,
there were two landings on the same day. I was not able to be at Las Coloradas,
but I was able to be at the Havana Port docks to wait for this ship. This not
only compensates and consoles me, it also makes me very happy. 

6.  If we are going to do things as they should be done, in my opinion it was a
matter of elemental gratitude, and elemental appreciation, to wait here for
this landing and not for the other one. Because that landing also happened
once, 36 years ago, and now it is being repeated.  But this landing is
especially important, and it is happening for the first time. [applause] So on
this anniversary, we have had two Granmas. What a large number of historical
coincidences! The young people who came from Tuxpan made the trip in a
relatively small boat, but it was many times larger than the Granma. When I saw
that boat-I was not able to see them off but I saw it on television-I saw that
it was a very large boat compared to the Granma yacht. 

7.  Another coincidence was that there was bad weather when they left, and we
also had to leave with bad weather. I hope the Mexicans will forgive me, but we
had to leave despite the fact that departing was forbidden because of the bad
weather. The Mexicans could have forbidden us to leave for many reasons, among
others because it was an armed expedition that was leaving from Mexican
territory; but supposedly that was not known until later. But the bad weather,
the storm from the north, came up that ay, and they prohibited shipping. 
Nevertheless, at 0200 we set off along the Tuxpan River. We ran a few
kilometers until we reached the open sea. I think the time, the darkness, and
other factors helped us to leave. 

8.  Now, the young people left with the authorities' permission, despite the
bad weather. But the ship that brought the donation from the Pastors for Peace
and the peace caravan, the donation from the American people, was not able to
leave on the scheduled day. I think it was on Sunday, Saturday or Sunday. No,
not last Sunday but the one before. I know it was supposed to have arrived a
week ago. But they could not leave because of the weather. Shipping was
prohibited. They had to wait for several days, and they left on 26 November.
They were supposed to arrive on 29 or 30 November. It seems that that ship
normally takes three and a half days. However, it was delayed in leaving,
first. Then it was delayed in arriving. It took about six days. This ship took
at least six and a half days to get here. The members of the caravan have been
waiting for a week. They were supposed to be in Havana for three days. 

9.  Every day they were given a new date. They were also giving me a new date
every day. I kept saying: When is the ship going to arrive? They would say: Not
Wednesday but Friday. Not Friday but Saturday. Not Saturday but Sunday. Not
Sunday but Monday. Not Monday but Tuesday. I asked: So what are the Pastors and
the delegation going to do? They said: They are waiting. They are going to wait
until Tuesday and leave on Wednesday. But the ship did not arrive on Tuesday
either. They said the ship was going to arrive on Wednesday. I asked: What are
the Americans going to do? They said: Well, they have to go on Thursday morning
in any case. So we said: The ship has to get here on Wednesday. 

10.  But the organizers of this ceremony really did not what to do. They had
already announced it several times.  They did not know what time the ceremony
would be.  They did not know what day. Yesterday it even seemed like there
would be no ceremony, because if the ship did not arrive by 2100, there would
not be a ceremony. I took an interest in the ship. I asked: What has happened
to that ship? That ship has not arrived. They told me the ship had spent I do
not know how many hours behind an island in he Gulf, because of the bad
weather. But I had no further details. I took an interest in it. I talked with
the enterprise that manages that ship. I asked about the captain and the crew.
I asked: How is it possible, if we came in the Granma yacht and arrived in
spite of the bad weather, that that ship has not arrived? 

11.  Well, I even began to think that the captain might be afraid of the bad
weather, that he was frightened. I could not think what had happened. I asked
who the captain was. They told me he was a wonderful person, a very good
captain, that he had been in the fishing fleet for who knows how many years,
that he had worked in many places. They gave me very good reports about the
ship's captain, the crew, and everybody. They told me they have not been able
to get here. I asked: How many knots does that ship do? They told me that in
normal weather it can do 10 knots an hour. Well, you had to pray, Reverend
[Walker], that the weather would be good. I think you prayed so that the
weather would be good, and if the weather was good it would (?arrive). 

12.  I asked: How far away is it? They said it was 138 miles to the northwest
of Cabo San Antonio. I calculated at 10 knots an hour, with the distance, when
the ship would come. In the end, I doubted that the ship would arrive before
2000 or 2100. So I 

spoke to [Jorge] Lezcano . I said: Lezcano, have you convened the ceremony? The
ceremony must be held in any case. If the ship arrives at 2200, then it will be
at 2200. If the ship arrives at 2300 or 0000, then it will be then. If the ship
arrives at 0300, we must tell the residents that the ship has arrived, and in
any case the ceremony must be held at 0300.  [applause] I said: This is because
in any case it is impossible for the Americans to wait any longer. Their plane
leaves early on Thursday morning. With that uncertainty, we have been waiting
for the ship. 

13.  Then I remembered the ship was going to arrive on the same day the other
boat arrived, the one that left from Tuxpan. Look what a coincidence that is!
Tampico is not very far from Tuxpan. The boat left at least two days later, and
nevertheless they arrived on the same day, on 2 December. One arrived in the
morning, and the other at night. Now, when this ship arrived, I asked for the
captain. I said: What happened to the ship? Why did it not arrive? He said: The
weather was very bad. I asked: What day did you leave? He said: On 26 November;
we could not leave sooner because we did not have permission to leave.  I said:
Well, we did not have permission either, but we left under cover of darkness.
Of course, they could not leave under cover of darkness, in the early morning
there. They had to wait to be given permission to leave. They could not do what
we did 36 years ago. 

14.  He explained to me the problems they had, what island they moored by, and
what had happened. There was quite a lot that happened. There was quite a lot
that happened [repeats] despite the fact that that ship could hold about 20
Granmas. That ship carries more than 2,000 tons of cargo. That ship was
carrying general cargo from Tampico, so they also waited and took on your
donation before they left. But what happened? Well, there were gigantic waves.
I asked if they had had six- or seven-meter waves, and he said: No, 10-meter
waves and more. But I was not yet convinced. I was not convinced that 10-meter
waves could slow down that ship, crew, and courageous captain. But it was not
waves that slowed down the ship. It was the cargo. 

15.  He said that that same night, 26 November, the gigantic waves which were
crossing the prow reached the ship's bridge, shook the ship, and made the cargo
on deck slip, and some of it even fell overboard. Do not worry: It was not the
donation from the caravan. I asked right away: Has anything from the caravan
been lost? He said: No, that was in the hold. Some water may have gotten in
somewhere, but the cargo from the donation is in perfectly good shape. I said:
Well, it is fortunate the donation is alright. I asked: What happened to the
cargo that was on the deck? He said: A few things fell overboard. I asked: How
much feel overboard? He said: About 160 tons of rolled steel were lost. They
were carrying about 300 tons of rolled steel on the deck, and it slipped
because of the storm. 

16.  Of course, the loss of this cargo is regrettable. You may say it is a
shame that cargo was lost. Nevertheless, we have to say that it was lucky those
160 tons were lost.  They explained to me that the ship could have capsized
when the cargo slipped along the deck, and if that cargo had not fallen
overboard, the ship might have sunk and the whole crew might have died. So they
lived through truly dramatic moments. They had to slow down, not because of the
waves, but because they had to find a calm 

place to get the cargo back into place and then ride out the storm. They passed
through some really dramatic and dangerous hours on that ship. 

17.  At one time I began to believe he captain and the crew were deliberately
holding back the ship in order to arrive on 2 December. But nothing was further
from the truth.  We were thinking bad things about the ship, the crew, the
captain, and everybody, and it turned out they were experiencing a real
tragedy. I found this out because I asked the captain. They told us. Well,
finally they could continue. The ship is a few years old now, right? How old?
It is 11 years old. That is not so old for a primary or secondary school
student, but for a ship it is rather old. 

18.  But the problem is not that the ship is 11 years old, but that the ship
was built in a socialist country. It seems they were not very expert at
building ships, (?but they are our ships). Now we will have to see how that
ship's engines are, what parts t has. You know that with all the things that
happened over there in the socialist bloc, we do not have parts today for much
of the equipment we have, of all kinds. So, Reverend, I must mention religion
again, and say that we have people who are doing miracles. Because making that
ship run-not to say the country, but I do not want to make propaganda for any
country-but making that 11-year-old ship run without spare parts is a miracle.
I think you also prayed so that the ship would be able to run and not break
down somewhere along the way. 

19.  In any case, the tragedy of that ship, or the problems the ship had, give
us an idea of what the embargo means, in one more aspect that I did not mention
the day I spoke to the Americans. This is the question of transporting goods. I
have already explained how the Torricelli Law tries to prevent us from hiring
ships to bring our goods.  Our fleet has expanded many times over, as I
explained to you, but it is not enough. In addition, there is another question:
The goods have to come here from thousands and thousands of miles away. This is
additional harm the embargo is doing us. We must find a lot of the goods we
could buy 90, 100 or 200 miles away from us 10,000 miles away, or 7,000 or
5,000 miles away. That makes shipping extraordinarily expensive. You can see
how close Tuxpan is, and the work we have had to do to receive these goods, the
problems that must be overcome even when they come from a short distance.
Imagine when we have to bring the goods from China, or Vietnam, or Japan, or
Europe, or Canada, or the southern hemisphere. The distances to be travelled
are enormous. This is an additional factor in why the embargo is hurting us. 

20.  I do not need to repeat what I have already said and what Comrade Chavez
said about how much we appreciate these goods, this donation you have made. We
do not measure it by its volume, but rather by its moral value, its meaning. 
Reverend Walker spoke of 15 tons. In my meeting with you, I spoke about
millions of tons, which is the equivalent to us of what this means morally.
Above all, these are tons of moral encouragement, tons of morale, which we have
received with this action of yours. That is hy we appreciate it so much. That
is why we thank you so much. 

21.  These are tons of encouragement, tons of hope. This is what has arrived
with this shipment. It has also been very moving to see how the people here
benefit from this, like the comrade who received the bicycle. That was a
symbolic bicycle, because the eal bicycle he needs is still on the ship. It has
not yet been unloaded. And the comrade who received the wheelchair he needs. He
is a comrade from another country. He is not a Cuban. As Walker said, it is a
joint effort between you and Cuba to express solidarity with a person from
another country. 

22.  Medicine was also coming on the ship. We need medicine. There are a number
of drugs that are short at this time, or are totally lacking. With the
situation we have, we try to prioritize the most indispensable, the most
essential ones; but today when the comrade from Granma Province spoke, when he
welcomed the young people who commemorated our expedition, he said there were
300 drugs that are lacking in Granma Province. So of a list of more than 1,000
drugs, about 300 are lacking.  He said that despite that, this year infant
mortality in Granma Province is less than 10 [per 1,000 live births].  It is
possible that before the triumph of the Revolution, the infant mortality rate
in that province was about 100.  Infant mortality is 10 times lower. 

23.  But I should say that very few countries in the world have an infant
mortality rate lower than 10. This gives an idea of the human effort our
doctors are making, the effort our health care services are making, so that
they can-even in this year of the special period, a very difficult year-reduce
infant mortality to under 10. At the time of the Revolution, infant mortality
nationwide was around 60. Recently it was reported that right now, at the end
of November and beginning of December, infant mortality is about 10.4 per 1,000
live births. So it is even lower than last year, despite all these

24.  Now think about the gratitude with which our people receive a donation
that includes medicine, when hundreds of different kinds of medicine are
lacking. This can help you to understand. You have been here about a week,
right?  How long have you been here? Since Sunday. You have been here 10 days.
For our part, we are happy you have stayed here 10 days. You have been able to
make more contacts with our populace. You have been able to go to more places
and see the Revolution's work at a difficult time. t is not the same thing to
come here at a normal time in the past and to come to Cuba right now, when we
are experiencing very great difficulties which we do not hide. We are suffering
great hardships. That is the reality. You have been able to see this, and at
the same time you have been able see the efforts our people are making to
overcome these difficulties. 

25.  The Reverend Walker described, when he was telling our fellow citizens
about the things that had happened, the efforts his group had made; he talked
about what Cuba meant and the need to defeat the embargo, to wipe out the
embargo. At one point, he said that the embargo is almost defeated. He is
right, strategically, if we do not measure it in terms of time. That is, sooner
or later, the embargo will be defeated. Sooner or later, the embargo will
disappear. But this does not mean that we can expect 

it to disappear immediately or in a short time. I really think that it is a
long road. This is a long struggle, a difficult and hard struggle.  But what
you have done is proof of the truth that the embargo will sooner or later
disappear. You have shown the way for the quickest disappearance of the

26.  I told you when I met with you last week that a lot was going to depend on
the American people, and what the American people do. A lot is going to depend
on the examples they set. A lot will depend on the awareness of the American
people. A lot is going to depend on what people like you do. A lot will depend
on your ability to mobilize. A lot will depend on what you do. You are the
pioneers. Because, as I explained on Friday, the factor of solidarity by the
American people is decisive in wiping out he embargo. I think you have the
great merit of having shown the way to defeat the embargo. But we cannot get
the idea that it will be easy. We must get used to the idea that it will be a
lengthy and difficult struggle.  The embargo is a tangle of extremely complex
measures and legislation of all kinds. Those who set it up did so in such a way
that it would be difficult to dismantle. This is why I think you have a hard,
difficult task ahead of you. 

27.  I asked the Reverend Walker where you were returning to.  He said you were
returning to Tampico. I think you are going to pick up your vehicles again. I
think that by the end of the week, you will be back in Laredo. He told me
something very interesting. I do not know whether this is a military secret,
because you have an almost military organization. I said before that it would
have taken a Pentagon to organize what you organized. I told the
comrade...[rephrases] What is your name, comrade? [several voices answer: Tom
Hansen] Hansen. I could see he was a strategist, because they told me he was
the organizer. I said that I could see he was a strategist. [applause] 

28.  Now you are going to do the movement in reverse, according to what I have
been told. You are going to go through the same cities you did when you were
coming here.  You can see, Captain, how much these people's return to the
United States has been delayed, not by your fault but because of the bad
weather. Well, what more can I say?  What more can I say to my fellow citizens?
That you know what you are doing, and you know how to do it well. You have good
leaders, good activists, good strategists, and above all, above all, [repeats]
you have a good cause, a just cause, a noble cause, a generous cause.

29.  This is why I say that on a day so full of symbolism, there is one more
kind of symbolism on this 2 December. In the future we will have to commemorate
the Granma landing and the arrival of this donation. [applause] But all this
symbolism means something. It must mean something. It is telling us, among
other things, that the struggle is long and difficult, because when we
succeeded in landing, we were very happy. We had two great moments of
happiness: when we left [Mexico] and when we ran into the storm, because the
storm was in the open sea, and so we were on our way, if the Granma was to
arrive. But we were convinced that the Granma would arrive, and so we had a
sentence: If we leave, we will arrive. If we arrive, we will land. If we land,
we ill win. [applause] 

30.  That is what you have done now. If you left, you were going to arrive. If
you arrived, you were going to land. If you landed, you were going to win.
[applause] But you are also saying something else: If we leave, we will return.
If we return, we will come back again! [applause] We had very hard setbacks,
but we did not become discouraged.  The important thing is not to become
discouraged. But the pastors will say: Men of faith never become discouraged.
Men of faith are able to climb any path. Men f faith are able to carry any
cross. Men of faith are able to climb any Calvary, suffer any calvary. You are
men and women of faith. [applause] 

31.  That is another resemblance between your struggle and ours, whose
beginning 36 years ago is commemorated today. Did anyone invent all these
coincidences? No one could invent them. Who invented all these coincidences,
all this symbolism? Two ships that leave, two ships that arrive on the same
day. Who invented the storm? Who invented the hazardous voyage so that all this
could coincide? We should take note of all these coincidences and understand
that the struggle will be long, yours as well as ours, yours just as ours was.
When will you be able to meet again, you the pioneers, with the people of
Havana, as the people of Manzanillo met today with the Granma pioneers of 1956
and the young generations who made the voyage again? When will you be able to
meet again and say, ``We have won; the embargo no longer exists,'' and
celebrate the victory with the people of Havana? 

32.  Sooner or later this will happen. Sooner or later you will meet here
again, and a new tradition will be created, that of celebrating this first
voyage, on 2 December of whatever year. It does not matter what year it is. But
it will come, because just auses, noble causes, win. The cause of men and women
who have faith win. [applause] It is with this conviction and these emotions
that we say goodbye to you tonight. And we say, as we say to friends: Until we
meet again. Or we say, taking the words of Che [Guevara]: Ever onwards to
victory. We will win! [applause]