FBIS-LAT-94-002 Daily Report 4 January 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Fidel Castro Gives 35th Anniversary Speech PA0201042494 Havana Radio and Television Networks in Spanish 0214 GMT 2 Jan 94 PA0201042494 Havana Radio and Television Networks Spanish BFN [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at a national ceremony to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the victory of the Revolution and the 10th Anniversary of the awarding of the title of Hero of the Republic and the Order of Antonio Maceo to the city of Santiago de Cuba in Santiago de Cuba -- live] [Text] Fellow countrymen: The month of December that has just ended has been one with the most intense work in the revolution's history: We celebrated Finlay's anniversary -- science and medicine day; we formed the association of Cuban revolution fighters; held the UNEAC [National Cuban Writers and Artists Union] Congress, the science and technology forum, the party central committee meeting, the National Assembly of the People's Government [ANPP] meeting, plus countless public and private meetings -- all held during December, a truly tiring and admirable month. Nevertheless, something very important remained: No weariness could prevent a few of us from traveling to the city of Santiago de Cuba to commemorate this anniversary. Today we celebrate a most memorable day of our history. First of all, the meeting of the triumphant troops with the people -- those the Yankees would not allow in 1898. In a very unfair move they prohibited the Mambisas troops from entering the city of Santiago de Cuba. That 1 January was not only memorable for that event, which took place in the city of Santiago de Cuba, a day that served to define whether or not a revolution was to take place. That day defined whether our country would be absolutely and truly independent. Crucial events took place on that day: In the pre-dawn hours a coup d'etat was staged to scuttle the revolution's triumph. On that day again, the current Santiago de Cuba Province played a decisive role. That same morning, from the city of Palma Soriano, the order was issued to all rebel troops to continue advancing. Instructions were given to the Camilo [Cienfuegos] and the Che [Guevara] columns to advance rapidly on the capital. Instructions were sent to the city of Santiago de Cuba for the people to be prepared to support the forces that were coming to liberate this city. A call was made for a revolutionary general strike, which paralyzed the whole country. Such was the revolution's overwhelming popular force that the troops stationed at the garrison in Santiago de Cuba placed themselves under the unconditional orders of the rebel forces that very night.... [pauses] or that very afternoon. That day we achieved what we were unable to achieve on 26 July 1953. In the evening, the whole city joined the thousands of rebel soldiers and the soldiers who had defended the tyrant up until the previous day. They came together to form an impressive force capable of crushing any form of resistance that could arise anywhere else in the country. There was, however, no such resistance anywhere in the country. The forces of the enemy joined the rebels everywhere and the people rose in arms. Meanwhile, the invading forces completed their missions, reaching La Cabana and Columbia fortresses. For the first time in our history, the people held the weapons in their hands, as so seldom has happened before in this hemisphere. We were able to speak of revolution for the first time. That night, from this same balcony, we spoke of true revolution. [applause] Many of the principles we have followed during these 35 years were proclaimed that night. It was said then that for the first time there would be a revolution of the people, by the people, for the people. Injustices would be ended. There would be true equality, brotherhood, and freedom for the people for the first time in the history of our country. I remember some of things we said back then, and I will try to recall them. We said that men of the revolution could also make mistakes, but these men would never betray their principles. We said the men of the revolution would be honest; that the men of the revolution would never abandon the ideas our generation and the generation that preceded us had fought for so much. That date and that night, because of their importance, will constitute a page in our history that will never be erased. The wars of 1868 and 1895 began precisely here in Santiago de Cuba, a town that had fought so much, had sacrificed so much, and had shed so much blood for the dignity and independence of the fatherland. It was here in Santiago de Cuba and in the eastern provinces where the heroic history of Santiago was written. It was here in these eastern provinces where there were so many deeds by brilliant combatants and heroes. It was here in this city where Maceo, Moncada, Crombet, and so many other patriots were born. It was here in this city where Jose Marti came to shed his precious blood. It was here in this city where the Moncada fighters began their struggle. It was here in this city where the decisive events I mentioned on that 1 January occurred. It was here in this city where throughout our generation's struggle for liberation so many pages of courage and patriotism were written, including the 30 November uprising and the battles waged by the people of Santiago de Cuba during the 25 months of war waged in the eastern mountains and in the fields of other provinces. We had no doubt whatsoever what would happen on that 1 January. We had no doubts that we would take this city. A few days earlier, we were forced to cease operations because after a clash with opposing forces, they recognized their defeat and proposed an end to the war and the beginning of the revolutionary stage. They did not keep those agreements, and that delayed the attack on the city a few days. On 1 January we were forced to advance full speed on the city. The city was well organized. There were hundreds of weapons inside the city itself. We had no doubts whatsoever that the people of Santiago de Cuba were to cast the final blow to tyranny. Fortunately those battles were never fought because the sweeping force of the revolution took over. The coup failed and optimum conditions were created for the revolutionary victory. Thus the city won not only enormous prestige but received the deserved honor of being declared a hero city and decorated with the Antonio Maceo Order. That happened 10 years ago, and we commemorate it today. [applause] Just as we did five years ago from this same podium, we proclaim the brave watchwords: Socialism or Death! [applause] Three historic anniversaries! In round figures, today we are commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1 January victory, the 10th anniversary of the awarding of the hero city decoration, and the 5th anniversary of the proclamation of the slogan Socialism or Death. I ask the people of Santiago de Cuba: Could we have gotten by without appropriately -- albeit austerely -- celebrating these three anniversaries today? [crowd responds: "No"] Would the people of Santiago, the elderly and the young alike, have gone without this very deserved honor? [crowd responds: "No"] Could there be a better time than this to express our deepest conviction and our most unbending revolutionary spirit? [crowd responds: "No"] What a beautiful poem was recited here today! For a moment I thought someone had written it for this occasion. I asked our comrade here for the author's name, and she said Navarro Luna wrote it in 1970. [applause] What intuition, what foresight to have written these concepts in such beautiful words, so adequate and so appropriate for moments such as this, 23 years later. People of Santiago de Cuba, we have fought hard and we have fought for a long time. Our forefathers fought for over 100 years in a long, bloody battle. There were difficult setbacks such as the events of the war of 1868, which never ended in glory. After ten years of excruciating battles that almost drained the patriots of their strength, there came something that honors us and makes us proud: the Baragua protest, an expression of our will to continue the struggle. It was a hard, a very hard blow to the country because, when we had practically defeated the Spanish forces, the imperialists' intervention deprived us of our victory and again made us a colony. It was hard, very hard to accept the results and frustrations of the struggle of our workers, students, and Cuban revolutionaries in the 1930's as they ended up returning to neo- colonialism and the worst forms of political chicanery. However, one day we did achieve victory. This is the day we are commemorating here in Cespedes Park in Santiago de Cuba. Our reason for doing so is amply justified and righteous because this is a park that honors the patriot who started to fight on 10 October 1888. See how history blends and adjusts itself. You can even see this in history's symbols. Yes, the struggle has been a long one. However, the struggle is not over yet. We mention 35 years, but what have those 35 years meant? They have been 35 years of struggle and enthusiastic work by the people. They have been 35 years of building classrooms and graduating teachers and professors, ultimately helping us become the country with the largest number of teachers and professors per capita in the world. They have been 35 years of building medical centers, hospitals, general hospitals, and specialized hospitals, as well as regular schools; schools for the handicapped; and art, music, dancing, painting schools. I was saying that these have been 35 years of preparing medical doctors. In fact, we were left with only 3,000 doctors 35 years ago, and now have more than 50,000. We are probably also one of the countries and, perhaps, the sole country with the largest number of medical doctors per capita in the world. It has been 35 years working to encourage education and culture -- education which was able to multiply several times the number of universities in the country, as well as multiply the number of technical schools several hundred times. We have been able to turn out thousands of university professionals. We have been able to reach educational levels unsurpassed by very few countries in the world. In addition, we have been able to establish health standards unsurpassed by very few countries worldwide. It is enough to say that during 1993, even while we going through the harshest moment of the special period, we were able to lower the infant mortality rate to below 10 [for every 1,000 live births]. What will the world say about this? What will the world say about a country which, despite being ruthlessly blockaded, and at the same time undergoing very special conditions, has been able to lower infant mortality below 10? An infant mortality rate which just a few days ago was 9.4. The infant mortality rate in the city of Santiago de Cuba was at a level of 8 for every 1,000 live births. This was just a few days ago! What will the world say when not one single woman died during delivery in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba? [applause]. It has been 35 years of building dams, canals, highways, roads, all sorts of agricultural installations, diary farms, chicken farms, and livestock fattening farms. It has been 35 years of establishing farms, agricultural cooperatives, and credit and service cooperatives. It has been 35 years of mechanizing the country to allow sugar cane, which at one time was cut by thousands of starving workers, to now be cut with machines. It has been 35 years of mechanizing agriculture to carry out field work in a more humane manner. It has been 35 years of mechanizing construction activity, expanding ports, and building wharfs and terminals to handle sugar in bulk. We have also built piers with modern derricks that allow us to use modern loading and unloading systems at our ports. It has been 35 years of mechanizing crops such as rice, which in the past was done by hand. It has been 35 years of building all kinds of factories and industries, 35 years of installing electrical plants and electrifying the country until we were able to provide electricity for 95 percent of the population. It has been 35 years of developing our people's culture and artistic talent, 35 years of building sports installations and developing our country's sports talent, making it accessible to the workers' children. It has been 35 years of building multi-family housing projects and houses, 35 years of building aqueducts and sewers according to our means, and 35 years of developing transportation. It has been 35 years of developing the material part of our country's economy. We were not working for the privileged or the rich. Those who graduated from our universities were generally the children of peasants and workers -- those who became teachers, professors, engineers or doctors; those who went to live in the houses built by the revolution; those who assumed responsibilities and posts were these children. The revolution did not only work for material things, however. The revolution also worked hard for spiritual things. First of all, it eliminated loathsome racial discrimination. It tirelessly fought to eliminate discrimination against women. It tirelessly fought to create equal opportunities and rights for everyone. It fought to guarantee a retirement or pension for every elderly person. Even those who had not been workers always received the state's support. The exploitation of man by man has truly ended in our country. [applause]. Political chicanery, in all of its expressions, also ended. The revolution fought to dignify man and the fatherland. The revolution fought for justice -- not only in domestic policy but also in foreign policy. Noble and generous, Cuba dispatched the aid of its teachers and doctors to so many corners of the world. Noble and generous, Cuba found it in itself to offer its blood in support of the just causes of other nations around the world. I believe and am absolutely convinced that there has never been a more noble and generous revolutionary political process than our revolutionary political process. We played our part as patriots, we played our part as internationalists, and we joined our forces with the most progressive forces of the world. We have defended our sovereign rights and our independence with extraordinary dignity. We have been willing to give our blood and our lives -- without the slightest doubt -- to defend our ideas, to defend our cause, and to defend our fatherland. [applause] Who has accomplished more in less time? Who has accomplished more and with such consistency and determination than we have? What revolutionary political process has stayed more loyal to its principles that ours? However, we have been witnesses to tragic events: the truly embarrassing manner in which the socialist bloc crumbled and the truly embarrassing way in which the USSR disintegrated along with those processes that were the result of colossal sacrifices by the people. They were the result of colossal efforts and colossal acts of heroism. It would seem that history was envious of the glories of our people and wanted to submit us to even more severe trials. What are we doing now but defending 35 years of revolution? What can we do today other than defend the fruits of more than 100 years of struggle? What can we do today other than defend not only the rights of the past and current generations, but also the rights of the future generations? When we say that we defend the country, the revolution, and the principles of socialism, we are not only talking about ourselves, but also about the future generations who will recount our struggles and our proficiency in surmounting the enormous obstacles we face today. What can we do other than try to be consistent with our history? In 1993, we have undoubtably gone through the most difficult year of the revolution, but we have done so with dignity and courage. [applause] Navarro Luna [author of poem read earlier in the ceremony] has already mentioned the weak [flojos] and told them to get out of the way. As we have said on other occasions, it is easy to be a revolutionary during good times. It is not easy, however, to be a revolutionary during difficult times. [applause] Those of us who are meeting here are revolutionaries of difficult times. The champions of 1868 and 1895 -- Moncada and Granma. [applause] They were champions who were able to make our fatherland what it is today. They were champions who had confidence in their country and their people. They were champions who had confidence in man and in man's courage and heroism. Once again, when I say man, I am referring to mankind, which of course includes -- and, rightfully so -- women. [applause] Throughout its history, our country has confronted many difficult times. Nevertheless, our country never had such a large contingent of men and women with such an elevated revolutionary culture or such a large contingent of men and women with such a profound and solid revolutionary culture. [applause] For this reason, the weak will never be able to discourage us. For this reason, the weak will never be able to demoralize us. We will pull through, just as we have done during other difficult times. We are capable of pulling through this, which is the most difficult moment of our history. [applause] Instead of becoming discouraged, we must feel proud of being witnesses and participants of these pages in the history of our fatherland. What are we up against? We are up against the most powerful empire on earth! When the socialist camp and the Soviet Union fell, the imperialist bloc, in a display of repugnant opportunism, decided to become more tyrannical and ruthless toward us. They simply want to make us surrender at any cost. They cannot stand the thought of a country in the world with our people's honor, dignity, and courage. [applause] They cannot tolerate that a country such as ours can resist in the face of the mandates of the hegemonic power to which so many bow today. They cannot tolerate that we are the standard bearers of the most just, noble, and human ideals. Yes, we must say categorically: There has not been a more noble or humanitarian revolution than the Cuban Revolution. [applause] It is a revolution whose behavior -- from the moment we respected the first Moncada prisoners up until today, 35 years later -- has not had a single blemish. Our behavior has been irreproachable in every respect. There is no other political process as clean as ours. It is truly incredible that those who were the allies; those who in this hemisphere made thousands of people disappear; those who, in Central America, were the allies and supporters of those who killed thousands of people, most of whom turned up missing; those who were the allies of the South Africans; those who destroyed the revolution in Nicaragua with their dirty war; those who invaded small countries to impose their interests and their laws; and those who loot the world -- these are the same people who are trying to blemish the clean and honorable history of the purest of revolutions, and we can shout it out loud: It is the Cuban Revolution! [applause] We know we are defending those values and all the other values we mentioned tonight, because we know that we are doing the most noble and just thing in the world. For this reason, we have strength and energy to resist and to fight. We have just ended our toughest year, and if we do everything we should -- our duty -- with the utmost efficiency, we shall start reversing the situation bit by bit. Only a demagogue or a charlatan could tell his people that these difficulties are slight and the enormous obstacles that lie ahead will be easily won. We say yes, they will be won, but with much sacrifice, work, and struggle. Right now we are already involved in a new stage: Sugar production will not be much greater than last year's, but it must be greater nonetheless. That would be proof that we have reversed the situation. We are already in full harvest time; we cannot lose a week, a day, an hour, or a minute. We cannot allow the harvest to be delayed. Any delays in the harvest would bring forth a new set of problems and difficulties. We cannot allow delays in sugarcane planting and harvesting and other crops in general. We should not fail in a single activity that we need to face up to. It has been very difficult to produce sugarcane and harvest it in a country where everything has been mechanized and yet suffers from a great fuel shortage, with a nearly total shortage of fertilizers, pesticides, spares, tires, and so on, and so on. We are nevertheless doing it. We are managing to do it with the people's creativity and imagination and with a great effort to conserve. It is our duty not only to reverse the situation but to develop despite the very difficult conditions of today's world -- conditions I will not speak about at this event; despite the tragic destiny that is in store for Third World countries; and despite the increasing plundering and exploitation that is foreseen. We must be sufficiently strong, determined, and capable not only to overcome the specific obstacles that befell us when the socialist bloc collapsed and the blockade became more severe but to overcome the objective obstacles of today's world. Comrades, I trust we will be able to do this. Comrades of Santiago and revolutionaries throughout Cuba -- you, too, will be able to do this. [applause] This is the moment, Comrades, when we must transform ourselves into a nation of giants. Everyone of us must become a giant, and all of us together must turn out more giants such as Jose Marti. We must turn out giants such as Antonio and Jose Maceo, giants such as Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, giants such as Maximo Gomez, giants such as Ignacio Agramonte, giants such as Mella, giants such as Frank Paiz, giants such as Camilo and Che. [applause] We must be capable of repeating what we did on 1 January 1959 and once again confront all of the challenges we face ahead. Without any doubt, the greatest obstacle has been that there has been a world dominated by an empire. If not the entire world, then there has been a continent completely dominated by an empire. That same empire has attempted to counter the revolution but has been unable to destroy it. It has been unable to make our people grovel. It has been unable and will never be able to conquer us. [applause] If there is one thing we can say today, it is that the greatest accomplishment the Cuban people have been able to achieve above all other nations in the history of the world is that we have been able challenge the empire. We have been able to resist that empire for 35 years. The empire already knows we are defending values that are very sacred, and we are defending hopes we will never renounce -- hopes for which we revolutionaries are willing to go our graves. Maceo already expressed it quite well once: Very well, if they do not die while attempting to take over Cuba. [applause] Viva the Hero City of Santiago de Cuba! Viva the purest of all revolutions! Socialism or death! Free fatherland or death! [applause]