Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Government Holds National Assembly Elections
Havana Radio and Television Networks

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL2402141893
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-93-036          Report Date:    25 Jan 93
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       4
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       24 Feb 93
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 036


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio and Television Networks

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Government Holds National Assembly Elections

Subheadline:   Castro Says `A Few Words'

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de

Source Line:   FL2402141893 Havana Radio and Television Networks in Spanish
0046 GMT 24 Feb 93

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the Moncada Barracks in
Santiago de Cuba-live]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de

2.  [Text] Young people and compatriots from Santiago de Cuba: [applause] I
thought the election campaign had ended. [crowd shouts: ``No!''] When I got
here now, I found that they were asking me to say a few words, [crowd shouts:
``Yes!''] after the many speeches that have been made during these days.
[crowd shouts: ``That does not matter!''] My words will have to be brief in
order not to take television time away from the other comrades in the rest of
the country. [crowd shouts: ``No!''] The people of Santiago cannot take over
all the television time and press space.  It must be shared with the rest of
the country.

3.  To my mind comes the idea of what that 23 February 1895 must have been
like, at this same time of day.  I imagine the feverish work of our
compatriots, the vibrant spirit, the emotions and tensions of the eve of the
start of our second war for independence.  Jose Marti had given the order in
the name of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, in coordination with Maximo Gomez,
the commanding general of the liberating army.  Guillermon Moncada, the leader
of the movement, lived precisely here, in Santiago de Cuba.  A few days before
24 February, he left Santiago de Cuba right when they were going to arrest
him.  He went to the countryside around the city and on 24 February he was
fighting with other compatriots from the eastern provinces, including those
from Baire, and other compatriots in the rest of the country.

4.  Moncada's participation in that war was very brief, however; he died on 5
April, 40 days after the uprising began.  When he began fighting, he was
already seriously ill as a result of a disease he had caught in this same
place, in these same buildings.  I imagine that they have been modernized
since then.  They were Spanish barracks and a prison.  There, he contracted a
lung disease that would bring about his death when the war had barely started. 
That is why afterwards these barracks were named Moncada Barracks, in honor of
that extraordinary combatant of the War of 1868 and the head of the
revolutionary forces in 1895, in anticipation of Maceo and Gomez's arrival,
with Marti, of course.

5.  What must those hours preceding 24 February have been like for Marti and
Gomez?  They were feverishly planning the uprising, anxiously waiting for news
from Cuba, to find out what would happen on 24 February, the date set even
after the terrible blow dealt by the seizure in the United States of the guns
of what was called the Fernandina Expedition.  The three ships that were to
bring the guns were seized.  Marti wanted a quick, short war, with as little
bloodshed as possible, and well planned.

6.  We all know how that war ended, with the intervention of the American
forces in our country, at a time when Spain was already defeated.  This
intervention became an occupation of the country for four years.  It resulted
in the disbanding of the liberating army and the Revolutionary Party founded
by Jose Marti.  These barracks, which bore the name of one of those heroes,
became a place for housing not Mambi forces but the forces of the army created
by the American occupation troops.  They were not used to defending those
ideals for which our forefathers had fought.  They were used to upholding
regimes of force and exploitation, upholding the new colony founded by the
United States where a Spanish colony had existed for centuries.

7.  The Mambises, including Calixto Garcia, could not enter Santiago de Cuba.
They were forbidden from entering Santiago de Cuba.  What an atrocity, after
30 years of struggle!  They did not let the Cuban troops enter the other
cities in the country.  No revolution triumphed.  Fifty-eight years and five
months after that 24 February, a revolutionary generation again experienced
the tasks and tensions of preparing for an uprising, with the taking of
precisely these barracks, or of what had been barracks until the revolution
turned them into a great school.

8.  We lived through those times and it was for good reason that the eastern
region and the city of Santiago de Cuba were chosen to begin the armed
revolutionary struggle.  [applause] The heroic traditions of the population,
which had begun the first war for independence in 1868, the patriotic spirit
of this city and these provinces, justified it, but in addition the geography
and topography of this eastern region justified our conviction that the just
cause we represented would receive the support of Santiago de Cuba in the
first place and of all the eastern provinces. [applause]

9.  At that time, it was not the eastern provinces.  Then, it was a single
province.  The reaction of support and sympathy from Santiago de Cuba was
instantaneous.  It was what we had hoped for.  It supported us throughout
those years of imprisonment, exile, and organization to resume the struggle. 
Almost simultaneous with the landing of the Granma, Santiago de Cuba rose up
under the leadership of Frank Pais [applause], along with a group of heroic
combatants who defied the powerful forces of tyranny.  Throughout our struggle
in the Sierra Maestra, Santiago de Cuba, along with Manzanillo and Bayamo,
continued its ceaseless, systematic support of the combatants in the Sierra
Maestra.  They were our suppliers of essential things and they continued a
heroic clandestine struggle for years, until 1 January 1959, when our
victorious troops entered this hundred-times heroic city of Santiago de Cuba.

10.  That time, as we said then, the Mambises did enter Santiago de Cuba.  The
Mambises did enter all the cities in the country and a true revolution for
which so much blood had been shed during so many years was begun.  [applause]
The loyalty with which Santiago de Cuba, its population, and the population of
the eastern provinces supported the revolution in all the battles of these 34
years has been admirable.  They have never failed.  We would have to write
alongside the history of this city and these provinces the words loyalty,
tenacity, perseverance, and heroism.

11.  That is why it has been an immense honor for us to represent this city
traditionally in the legislature.  It has been an immense honor that we have
been nominated as a candidate for deputy of the National Assembly.  The people
of the entire country were able to see on television, with emotion, the warm
and enthusiastic support for the revolution in this city. Everyone was
impressed by that child who spontaneously gave us a great lesson in political
wisdom.  This city and region have done a great deal for the nation, the
revolution, and socialism.  [applause]

12.  They have done a great deal for national unity.  They have done a great
deal with their example for the entire country. [applause] We can never forget
that this spirit that began in the eastern region ended with the invading
forces in the western end of Pinar del Rio.  The heroism, fervor, and
patriotism of the people of the eastern region reached there.  Santiago and
Havana exchanged their titans, their giants.  We cannot forget that Antonio
Maceo was born in Santiago de Cuba [applause] and died in Punta Brava and that
his remains lie there, near the capital.  We cannot forget that Jose Marti was
born in Havana, and that his remains lie here in the cemetery of Santiago de
Cuba. [applause]

13.  Tonight must bring many memories to mind and it brings us the awareness
that we are also on the eve of an extremely important battle, a decisive
political battle.  We have invited as many journalists as have wanted to come. 
As you can see, there is no shortage of photographers, television cameras, and
representatives of the foreign media, so that they can see everything they
want to see, talk with whomever they want to talk, and ask questions of
whomever they want to ask [applause] about our electoral system and how these
elections have become a great battle of ideas and a test of strength between
our people and imperialism. [applause, chanting]

14.  We could ask ourselves if elections like this could be possible in
societies... [rephrases] elections like the ones we are holding here, and with
the nature of the ones we are holding here, with candidates nominated by the
people and elected by the people, arising from the people themselves.  We ask
if this could be done in a society of exploiters [crowd shouts: ``No!''] and
exploited, [crowd shouts: ``No!''] if this could be done in a society where
injustice and inequality prevail. [crowd shouts: ``No!''] To hold elections
like these, it is necessary first to carry out a revolution as profound as the
one that has taken place in our nation. [applause, chanting]

15.  What can I say to you about the elections that has not been said and
repeated 100 times?  What did you say?  A real democracy. [applause] But it is
a clean, pure democracy.  Soldiers and police do not have to guard the polling
stations in this country. [crowd shouts: ``No!''] Journalists will not see a
single soldier or policeman.  They will see pioneers, and they can talk with
them and ask them about politics as well. [applause] These are elections
without the slightest opportunity for fraud, which is so common in the
so-called Western democracies.  Because even in those democracies where they
do not change the votes that have been put in the ballot boxes, there is the
great fraud that to be a candidate you must be a millionaire, wealthy, a
landowner, a landlord, have a whole machine.

16.  That is fraud, because no humble, ordinary citizen has that opportunity.
In our case, almost half of our legislature comes directly from the base
level. That is a revolution. [applause]

17.  What can I say to you about the united vote that has not already been
said, and about its solid ethical foundation, about the equity and justice it
represents, the possibility of electing those humble, ordinary men and women
who do not have millions to print up placards and posters and create
propaganda and hire space for advertising?  The candidates in the United
States.... [changes thought] They are waging this battle like brothers.  Where
else has this been seen?  If we want to be just and start from the fact that
to be elected you need more than half the valid votes, any honest person would
have to acknowledge the purity and greatness of this process, as well as the
courage of our people, who are able to carry this out in the difficult
conditions of the special period. [applause]

18.  Thus I do not have much more to add that has not already been said.  It
is not right to repeat things until people become bored or to repeat things
too much.  Perhaps one last recommendation: Do not let an excess of enthusiasm
lead you to write slogans on your ballots, because that will nullify them.
[crowd shouts: ``No!''] Is it clear to you that you cannot write slogans?
[crowd shouts: ``No! Yes!''] In addition, there is one small point: You should
not vote for any of the candidates outside your own district. [crowd shouts:
``No!''] Because this is a country where everyone knows how to read and write,
and if you vote for any of the candidates outside your district, you will
nullify your ballot.  Is that clear, very clear? [crowd shouts: ``Yes!'']

19.  Is there anything that is unclear? [crowd shouts: ``No!''] So what is
left to do?  Think hard. [crowd shouts indistinct] No, no, no.  Conserve a
little energy.  I know some of you walked up to 10 km to come to this rally
from some of the districts, going up and down hills. [crowd shouts: ``That
does not matter!''] Yes, it matters. [crowd shouts: ``No!''] It matters
because it shows your courage, bravery, and enthusiasm. [applause]

20.  Return to your homes and relax.  It is the eve of battle.  Watch
television programs and listen to the radio about what they are doing in the
rest of the country, and rest like good soldiers on the eve of battle, so that
you can begin it early.  Tomorrow we must set an example for the world, so
that not only Marti but also Antonio and Jose Maceo, Maximo Gomez, Carlos
Manuel de Cespedes, Ignacio Agramonte, Julio Antonio Mella, Abel Santamaria,
Frank Pais [applause]-we are on the same wavelength-Camilo [Cienfuegos] and
Che Guevara and so many others who like them gave their lives for so long for
the same values we are going to defend tomorrow, will feel proud of us.

21.  Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win!  [applause,