Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-144 Daily Report 26 Jul 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Raul Castro Delivers Moncada Anniversary Address

PA2707012494 Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish 2316 GMT 26 Jul 94 PA2707012494 Havana Cubavision Television Spanish BFN [Speech by First Vice President Raul Castro marking the 41st anniversary of the Moncada assault at the Pioneers Palace on the Isle of Youth -- live]

[Text] Dear Fidel; beloved comrade Army General (No Muyien Giap); illustrious representative of the brotherly people of Vietnam [applause; crowd chants: "Cuba, Vietnam -- united they will win."]; dear friend (Jose Antonio Barroso), mayor of the city of Puerto Real, passionate ambassador of the solidarity of the Spanish people with our fatherland [applause]; distinguished guests; fellow countrymen:

Many memories come to mind: the days prior to the assault on the Moncada Barracks; the trip to Santiago; the hours of uneven combat; the bitter days of Boniato Prison; the parody of the trial; the moment at which, looking out from the small window of the airplane carrying the convicted ones, we discovered we would not be imprisoned at the fortress of La Cabana as the tribunal had decided but, rather, at the prison on the Isle of Pines, cynically called Modelo Prison.

We were too young at that time, and we were able to carrying out, with Fidel's leadership and organization, those events that resumed armed, revolutionary action. We fulfilled our duty during the year of the centennial of the apostle, who was banished to this island when he was even younger than us due to his love for the independence of our fatherland.

Antonio Maceo was also younger when he waged his first combat and earned his rank of sergeant due to his bravery. Julio Antonio Mella was murdered in Mexico at the age of 26. Cuban youths have always been at the frontline of patriotic struggles.

The rebel army was a troop of chiefs, officers, and young combatants. Young men have generously offered their precious lives in Angola, Ethiopia, and in various countries of the world for the internationalist ideal of fighting together with brotherly peoples and against oppression. At this time, as we dedicate this 26 July to today's young generation and as we selected this Isle of Youth as the site for this central event, we are expressing our absolute trust in the millions of young men and women who are waging, together with their elders, the most difficult battle the Cuban nation has ever confronted.

The efforts of our youth are outstandingly present at every battlefront. They are in the FAR [Revolutionary Armed Forces] military units, mounting guard for the fatherland. They are guarding our country's borders at the cays and along solitary areas of the coasts, watching over internal order and the security of the state. We find the young combatants of the Interior Ministry everywhere, in the Youth Labor Army, deployed in the mountains and plains, in coffee, sugarcane, citrus fruits, and tobacco plantations as well as at various crop farms. The young workers constitute a high percentage of our working class and are the majority among the university professionals and midlevel technicians. They are outstanding due to their number and their contributions at scientific research centers. Naturally, hundreds of thousands are studying at midlevel schools and at schools of higher learning. In culture and sports, the expertise of our young artists and the courage and training of our athletes transcend our national borders.

We can be proud of our young people: wholesome, jovial, cooperative, studious, hardworking, and free of drug-addiction, gangsterism, and other vices that morally cripple growing numbers of young sectors in both rich and Third World countries. This does not mean 100 percent of our young people exhibit socially correct behavior. There are misguided young people in Cuba. These sorry elements do not embody our young people. They do represent, however, a social factor which we must not underestimate and with which we must work hard and patiently to reeducate them.

Our Union of Young Communists [UJC] is a prestigious organization that is full of creative ideas and has a great ability to marshal and mobilize students and young people. It does not disregard work with the children, through the Organization of Pioneers.

In schools, the Federation of Intermediate Level Students and the Federation of University Students are legitimate emulators of Cuban students' tradition of struggle. Tens of thousands of these students form part of the student brigades of workers during this warm summer, and they spend part of their vacation doing hard, agricultural work. Those who were young during the days of the Moncada Barracks, Granma, and Sierra Maestra, those who were young yesterday, and those who are young now have the common patrimony of the edifice which we all have built.

We are identified by common patriotic and revolutionary values that permit a natural, generational flux.

The big tasks assigned to the young people, since the days of the literacy campaign down to the internationalist missions, have served to engage the dreams of heroic deeds that are characteristic of the young.

The doors of education the revolution has opened wide for everybody have enabled the young to go as far and as high in their pursuit for knowledge as their talent and will allow them.

This island is evidence of what young people can do. They have transformed this island.

Young people from all corners of the country have colonized and garnished this place, which for a century was synonymous with prison and exile, horror, torture, and death.

When Jose Marti and Pablo de la Torriente Brau were young, they wrote volumes denouncing this terrible situation. Today, they would write beautiful pages describing today's situation, as thousands of young people from approximately 50 Third World countries receive solidarity, love, and education here.

The Isle of Youth is not just a grand, international school; it is also a producer of citrus, lobsters, and marble, to mention only its exportable products. Great investments have been made on the island during the 35 years of revolution, in both structural works and social and economic works.

The people from the Isle of Youth are aware that only constant work and the efficient exploitation of installed, productive capability will allow them to be self-sustaining in food production and other consumer articles as well as afford them the possibility of returning to the national economy the resources invested in the island's development.

By deciding the Isle of Youth would be the venue for this event, the Politburo was demonstrating its recognition of the effort made in this municipality for more than three decades, the determination with which it is facing the difficulties of the special period and the particular attention it is giving to defense tasks with the objective of being declared ready for defense during the second phase.

We congratulate the people from the Isle of Youth for the advances and for the will of the party directorate and the government of not allowing itself to be conquered by the it-cannot-be-done attitude. We especially congratulate the youthful first secretary of the party's municipal committee, citizen (Emilio Gonzalez Farad) [applause], who was born and raised on this island. He has been a witness to as well as a participant in the transformation of the land of his birth, of this piece of Cuba.

Citizens, the will to withstand the rigors of the special period and to overcome the difficulties and come out ahead, the character of the people of the Isle of Youth, is what is predominant from one extreme to the other of the largest island in the Antilles. Our people are rising to the occasion in the face of the dangers of all types that are brewing around the fatherland. They are reviewing and strengthening their militant lives and resolutely devoting themselves to creative work, a process which is the only way to overcome the special period.

We are constantly touring the country not only to review the engineering works for defense, the maintenance and preservation of weapons and combat techniques, and the state of preparedness of the millions of men and women who would victoriously wage the war of all the people in the event of an imperialist aggression. More than just visiting the batteries where the cannons are kept, we are touring the plantations where beans are being grown.

The country's main political and economic task today is the production of foodstuffs, including sugar. There where this objective is being pursued with determination and initiative, there where the cadres know how to instill in all the people the conviction this can be done, we are advancing in the improvement of the food situation, step by step, firmly consolidating what has been achieved and maintaining our course forward, an example of which is seen in the small municipality of Caybarien.

Guantanamo, the most easterly and impoverished province, is also an eloquent example of successful struggle against adversities. Three floods in only three months there have left property damage amounting to millions and swept away banana farms and other plantations time and time again. The people of Guantanamo repeatedly rose together, however, to recover the losses and do much more.

The people of Guantanamo did not cry and lament over flooded rivers; instead, they controlled the flooded waters with the heroism they learned from their Mambi grandparents and their rebel parents.

We held territorial party meetings during these days in July, one in the six eastern provinces, another in the five central provinces. We will hold another meeting very soon for the three western provinces, including the special municipality of the Isle of Youth. These meetings will have a specific objective: to analyze how to face with greater efficiency and unity the challenges of the special period, the intensified imperialist blockade, and the unbridled campaign launched by counterrevolutionary radio stations from the United States on 17 frequencies with 1,148 hours weekly of distorted news reports and coarse slander against Cuba.

These meetings characteristically analyze a broad agenda, but in a peculiar manner. We do not make the usual recount of what has been accomplished; instead, we analyze what the difficulties and deficiencies are in each place. Within a fully democratic atmosphere, with realism, aggressiveness, and optimism, we subjectively identify those deficiencies that need to be promptly remedied and those deficiencies we objectively define as needing creative, alternative solutions.

Just as we have done at those meeting, we are taking advantage of this podium to summon all revolutionaries and patriots to close ranks and fight together under the direction of the party in each province, municipality, council, community, work or study center, convinced that the intelligence and force of the questioned masses can accomplish everything and that the special period will be a new victorious battle in our fatherland's heroic history, under Fidel's supreme direction.

Citizens, without even brushing off the dust from his trip, after rendering a most fervent homage to the liberator, Simon Bolivar, and after signing on behalf of Cuba the agreement establishing the Association of Caribbean States, the most outstanding son of Cuba in this century is here presiding over this event, as is his custom. [applause; crowd shouts: "Raul, we can do it here! Long live Fidel, and viva the revolution! Viva!"]

He is the one who showed us we could assault Moncada Barracks; that we could change that setback into a victory; that we could reach Cuban coasts on board the Granma yacht; that we could resist the enemy, hunger, rain, and cold; and that we could organize a revolutionary army at the Sierra Maestra following the disaster in Alegria del Pio [applause]. He showed us we could set new guerrilla fronts in Oriente Province with our columns and Almeida's. He showed us we could defeat the offensive of more than 10,000 soldiers with only 300 rifles; that we could emulate the Maceo and Gomez epic fight by reinforcing the battle from one coast to the other with the columns headed by Che and Camilo; and that we could oust the Batista regime supported by the imperialistic United States with the people's support.

He taught us we could defeat the mercenary invasion of Playa Giron in 72 hours while campaigning to eradicate illiteracy; that we could proclaim the socialist character of our revolution at some 90 miles from the empire, as its warships were on their way to Cuba to aid the mercenary brigade; that we could firmly hold onto the irrevocable principles of our sovereignty without surrendering to the U.S. nuclear blackmail during the October 1962 crisis; that we could send solidary aid to other brotherly peoples to fight colonial oppression, foreign aggression, and racism; that we could defeat South African racists by safeguarding the territorial integrity of Angola, by forcing the independence of Namibia, and by landing a heavy blow on the Apartheid regime.

He also taught us what could make Cuba a medical power by reducing infant mortality to the lowest rate in the Third World while considerably raising our population's life expectancy; that we could make Cuba a great scientific country by making progress in the modern and decisive fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology and by entering the closed sphere of international pharmaceutical trade; that we could develop tourism despite the U.S. blockade against us; that we could build land causeways to make Cuba a growing and more attractive archipelago by tapping our natural beauties to attain a growing source of foreign exchange; that we could resist, survive, and develop ourselves, without renouncing the principles and achievements of Socialism, in the unipolar world despite the omnipotence of the multinational companies that emerged following the fall of the European Socialist Bloc and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Fidel's ongoing teaching is: It can be done. Man can overcome the most difficult situation if he does not abandon his will to win, if he correctly evaluates every single situation and does not renounce fair and noble principles.

As you all know, our commander in chief has just returned from Cartagena de Indias, from the summit meeting of chiefs of state and government who constitute the Association of Caribbean States. This association is composed of 25 independent states, Cuba and other islands of the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, and 11 associate members that are dependent territories. All these countries have a population of approximately 200 million and a territory of 4.5 million square kilometers.

Despite U.S. opposition, the Caribbean brothers said no to Yankee pressure. They bravely said that one cannot conceive of the Caribbean without Cuba. This is an important step toward Latin American integration, which was the ideal of Bolivar and Marti and today is a cause for which our people are ardently struggling.

This small country, under a blockade and harassment from the empire, has been chosen as a founding and full member of an association of countries in its geographic area. This is a diplomatic and political victory for Cuba and a bitter pill for anti-Cuban circles, which predominate in the U.S. Administration and legislature nowadays.

In the face of each victory our country achieves in the international arena, U.S. experts in anti-Cuban campaigns launch a campaign to becloud it. To cite just one example, remember how in 1979, when Cuba assumed the Nonaligned Movement presidency, the U.S. Senate found, between quotation marks, there was a Soviet Brigade in Cuba. The Senate found this out after that brigade had been in the country for 17 years. Now they are unscrupulously taking advantage of the accident involving an ancient tugboat that was commandeered under the direction of two irresponsible individuals, an accident in which more than 30 people died, including women and children who had been involved in the attempt to leave the country illegally.

For these lives lost on the bottom of the ocean, one has to place on trial primarily the U.S. Administration and its permanent attitude of aggression toward our country, which includes the immigration policy for Cuban citizens, to whom it denies visas to travel legally to the United States but welcomes them as heroes when they arrive on the Florida coasts in rafts and fragile vessels or in hijacked airplanes and helicopters, without the slightest concern for the risk being run by those who use these methods.

In this case, the organizers of the boat seizure, by having placed more than 60 people in a 115-year-old wooden tugboat fit to carry a crew of only four and sailing in port waters, traveled toward an inevitable wreck in the strait.

Cuban authorities have thoroughly investigated the event and exhaustively informed its public of how the tragic events occurred. Half the people in the tugboat were saved from perishing thanks to the timely and courageous action of the border guards, who rescued 31 people from their deaths, and to the attitude of the workers, the crew members of the other three tugboats who tried to foil the theft and stop the death trip of the 63 people who were on board a large coffin that apparently floated but was unavoidably destined to sink long before it got to any port. Those workers generously gave their own life preservers to the shipwrecked. This is how comprehensively we investigated the shipwreck. The survivors themselves have helped clarify the events.

We strongly reject the orchestrated, hypocritical, and deceitful anti-Cuban campaign regarding this event and the coarse intervention in the internal affairs of our sovereign country by the United States or any other country. Neither the State Department, the U.S. Senate, nor President Clinton has any right to intervene in an event that is the exclusive jurisdiction of the sovereign government of the Republic of Cuba. The United States lacks not only a legal basis to legislate on an event that took place in our territorial waters but also the moral authority.

Confronted with so much hypocrisy and opportunism, we are obligated to recall the tragic events in Waco, Texas, last year. World public opinion followed with anguish for 51 days the actions of the federal officers close to the installations of the Branch Davidian sect. Millions of people around the world prayed to their god that the police siege would not end in a horrible, human tragedy. The end took place before the terrified eyes of television viewers in all the corners of the world: the initiation of police attacks against the wooden structures of the religious institution; the advance of the armored vehicles; the throwing of tear gas; the shooting of lethal weapons; and the deadly explosion in the church in which more than 80 human beings were burned to death, including many women and children. No one can claim accidental causes in this appalling incident, because the action had been cold-bloodily planned for several days, perhaps weeks, by the FBI, that is, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Texas police. It was approved by the U.S. attorney general, who obtained President Clinton's authorization to act.

Everything I have said is confirmed by the textual and public statements of both authorities. Attorney General Reno had admitted she had made a number of errors in assessment and judgment. Under the overwhelming weight of her responsibility in such tragic results, which, of course, she did not expect, she presented her resignation, but the president did not accept it. Nevertheless, such a serious event has not been convincingly clarified, and we do not know whether any security officer or government employee has been to jail or brought to trial because of it.

The invisible strings in the United States used to gag the press for reasons of the state functioned once again in the Waco case. One year prior to that, there had been an explosion of violence in Los Angeles, California, and in other states when four white policemen were acquitted after savagely beating Rodney King, a black driver. As a result of the repression by the authorities, 44 people were killed, 2,000 were injured, and an undetermined number were imprisoned. We yield our assessment of these events to what a U.S. newspaper, THE NEW YORK TIMES, stated: This is what we have in this country: Fear against fear, hatred against hatred, revenge against revenge, end of quote.

While this is the brutality and violence that prevails in the United States, on the contrary, something such as this has never happened in our country. There are no missing or tortured individuals here, and we do not have here the classic death squads that abound in Latin America without the State Department really worrying about that. Those in Cuba who join that cynical campaign against our country are showing their true faces as traitors and accomplices of the enemies of the fatherland.

Fidel has said many times: This society is made up of volunteers. The country's doors are open for those who want to leave legally. There have always been people for whom the concepts of fatherland and independence mean nothing. There always were, are, and will be deaf people who refuse to listen to the bells of Majagua. The vast majority of our people deeply love their fatherland, however, and the glorious history of its existence as an independent nation, thanks to the sacrifice of its best children for more than 125 years of struggle for freedom. That struggle for freedom began last century, continues during this century, and will continue just as strong during the 21st century, during the next millennium of our era.

In the face of the empire, which seeks to make us yield and impose its will on us, and the traitors who in our own backyard have always agreed with the enemies of the fatherland, we will fulfill the Marti rule of never allowing the sword of freedom to fall. We must raise that sword higher than ever before, because that incensed campaign over the sorrowful event of the tugboat, at a time when the United States is intervening in any point of the world with similar pretexts, entails a serious threat to Cuba.

The U.S. Senate has gone so far in its anti-Cuban hysteria that it has decided to suggest to the president that he accuse Cuba at the United Nations and propose a Security Council resolution condemning it. We cannot underestimate this Yankee escalation against our country that is taking place in the unipolar world in which we live and at a time when our fatherland is facing its most difficult times.

Hence, as in the dangerous days of the October crisis 32 years ago, together with millions of Cubans, let us repeat today: For whatever, however, and wherever, commander in chief. [crowd answers: "Give the order."] [applause]