Speech delivered before the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 11, 1964
Havana, Ministry of External Relations, Information Department.
Official Cuban Government translation.
Transcribed for the Internet by the Workers' Web ASCII Pamphlet project (RCG), 1997. 2nd (HTML) Edition, 1998
The Cuban delegation to this assembly has pleasure, first of all, in fulfilling the pleasant duty of welcoming three new nations to the large number of nations whose representatives are discussing the problems of the world. We therefore greet through their Presidents and Prime Ministers the people of Zambia, Malawi, and Malta, and express the hope that from the outset these countries will be added to the group of non-aligned countries which struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism.
We also wish to convey our congratulations to the President of this assembly whose elevation to so high a post is of special significance since it reflects this new historic stage of resounding triumphs for the peoples of Africa, until recently subject to the colonial system of imperialism, and who, today, for the great part in the legitimate exercise of self-determination, have become citizens of sovereign states. The last hour of colonialism has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and Latin American rise to meet a new life, and assert their unrestricted right to self-determination and to the independent development of their nations.
We wish you, Mr President, the greatest success in the tasks entrusted to you by member states.
Cuba comes here to state its position on the most important controversial issues and will do so with the full sense of responsibility which the use of this rostrum implies, while at the same time responding to the unavoidable duty of speaking out, clearly and frankly.
We should like to see this assembly shake itself out of complacency and move forward. We should like to see the committees begin their work and not stop at the first confrontation. Imperialism wishes to convert this meeting into an aimless oratorical tournament, instead of using it to solve the grave problems of the world. We must prevent their doing so. This assembly should not be remembered in the future only by the number nineteen which identifies it. We feel that we have the right and the obligation to try to make this meeting effective because our country is a constant point of friction; one of the places where the principles supporting the rights of small nations to sovereignty are tested day by day, minute by minute; and at the same time our country is one of the barricades of freedom in the world, situated a few steps away from United States imperialism, to show with its actions, its daily example, that peoples can liberate themselves, can keep themselves free, in the existing conditions of the world.
Of course, there is now a socialist camp which becomes stronger day by day and has more powerful weapons of struggle. But additional conditions are required for survival: the maintenance of internal cohesion, faith in one's destiny, and the irreversible decision to fight to the death for the defense of one's country and revolution. These conditions exist in Cuba.
Of all the burning problems to be dealt with by this assembly, one which has special significance for us and whose solution we feel must be sought first, so as to leave no doubt in the minds of anyone, is that of peaceful coexistence among states with different economic and social Systems. Much progress has been made in the world in this field. But imperialism, particularly United States imperialism, has tried to make the world believe that peaceful coexistence is the exclusive right of the great powers on earth. We repeat what our President said in Cairo, and which later took shape in the Declaration of the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries: that there cannot be peaceful coexistence only among the powerful if we are to ensure world peace. Peaceful coexistence must be practiced by all states, independent of size, of the previous historic relations that linked them, and of the problems that may arise among some of them at a given moment."
At present the type of peaceful coexistence to which we aspire does not exist in many cases. The kingdom of Cambodia, merely because it maintained a neutral attitude and did not submit to the machinations of United States imperialism, has been subjected to all kinds of treacherous and brutal attacks from the Yankee bases in South Vietnam.
Laos, a divided country, has also been the object of imperialist aggression of every kind. The conventions concluded at Geneva have been violated, its peoples have been massacred from the air, and part of its territory is in constant danger from cowardly attacks by imperialist forces.
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which knows of the histories of aggressions as few people on earth, once again bas seen its frontier violated, its installations attacked by enemy bomber and fighter planes, its naval posts attacked by the United States warships violating territorial waters.
At this moment, there hangs over the Democratic Republic of Vietnam the threat that the United States warmongers may openly extend to its territory the war that, for many years, they have been waging against the people of South Vietnam.
The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China have given serious warning to the United States. Not only the peace of the world is in danger in this situation, but also the lives of millions of human beings in this part of Asia are being constantly threatened and subjected to the whim of the United States invader.
Peaceful coexistence has also been put to the test in a brutal manner in Cyprus, due to pressures from the Turkish Government and NATO, compelling the people and the government of Cyprus to make a firm and heroic stand in defense of their sovereignty.
In all these parts of the world imperialism attempts to impose its version of what coexistence should be. It is the oppressed peoples in alliance with the socialist camp which must show them the meaning of true coexistence, and it is the obligation of the United Nations to support them.
We must also say that it is not only in relations between sovereign states that the concept of peaceful coexistence must be clearly defined. As Marxists we have maintained that peaceful coexistence among nations does not encompass coexistence between the exploiters and the exploited, the oppressor and the oppressed.
Furthermore, a principle proclaimed by this Organization is that of the right to full independence of all forms of colonial oppression. That is why we express our solidarity with the colonial peoples of so-called Portuguese Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique, who have been massacred for the crime of demanding their freedom, and we are prepared to help them to the extent of our ability in accordance with the Cairo Declaration.
We express our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and its great leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, who has been set free in another act of hypocrisy, at the age of seventy-two, after spending a lifetime in jail, now paralytic and almost without the ability to speak. Albizu Campos is a symbol of the still unredeemed but indomitable America. Years and years of prison, almost unbearable pressures in jail, mental torture, solitude, total isolation from his people and his family, the insolence of the conqueror and lackeys in the land of his birth -- nothing at all broke his will. The delegation of Cuba, on behalf of its people, pays a tribute of admiration and gratitude to a patriot who bestows honor upon America.
The North Americans, for many years, have tried to convert Puerto Rico into a reflection of hybrid culture -- the Spanish language with an English inflection, the Spanish language with hinges on its backbone, the better to bend before the United States soldier. Puerto Rican soldiers have been used as cannon-fodder in imperialist wars, as in Korea, and even been made to fire at their own brothers, as in the massacre perpetrated by the United States Army a few months ago against the helpless people of Panamane of the most recent diabolical acts carried out by Yankee imperialism. Yet despite that terrible attack against its will and its historic destiny, the people of Puerto Rico have preserved their culture, their Latin character, their national feelings, which in themselves give proof of the implacable will for independence that exists among the masses on the Latin American island.
We must also point out that the principle of peaceful coexistence does not imply a mockery of the will of the peoples, as is happening in the case of so-called British Guiana, where the government of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan has been the victim of every kind of pressure and maneuver, while the achievement of independence has been delayed by the search for methods that would allow for the flouting of the will of the people while ensuring the docility of a Government different from the present one, put in by underhanded tactics, and then to grant an important "freedom" to this piece of American soil. Whatever roads Guiana may be compelled to follow to obtain independence, the moral and militant support of Cuba goes to its people.
Furthermore, we must point out that the islands of Guadaloupe and Martinique have been fighting for a long time for their autonomy without obtaining it. This state of affairs must not continue.
Once again we raise our voice to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is being carried out before the eyes of the whole world. The peoples of Africa are being compelled to tolerate in that continent the concept, still official, of the superiority of one race over another and in the name of that racial superiority the murder of people with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to prevent this? I should like specifically to refer to the painful case of the Congo, unique in the history of the modern world, which shows how, with absolute impunity, with the most insolent cynicism, the rights of peoples can be flouted. The prodigious wealth of the Congo, which the imperialist nations wish to maintain under their control, is the direct reason for this. In his speech on his first visit to the United Nations, our comrade Fidel Castro said that the whole problem of coexistence among peoples was reduced to the undue appropriation of another's wealth. He said, "When this philosophy of despoilment disappears, the philosophy of war will have disappeared."
The philosophy of despoilment not only has not ceased, but rather it is stronger than ever, and that is why those who used the name of the United Nations to commit the murder of Lumumba, today, in the name of the defense of the white race, are assassinating thousands of Congolese. How can one forget how the hope that Patrice Lumumba placed in the United Nations was betrayed? How can one forget the machinations and maneuvers which followed in the wake of the occupation of that country by United Nations troops under whose auspices the assassins of this great African patriot acted with impunity? How can we forget that he who flouted the authority of the United Nations in the Congo, and not exactly for patriotic reasons, but rather by virtue of conflicts between imperialists, was Moise Tshombe, who initiated the secession in Katanga with Belgian support? And how can one justify, how can one explain, that at the end of all the United Nations activities there, Tshombe, dislodged from Katanga, returned as lord and master of the Congo? Who can deny the abject role that the imperialists compelled the United Nations to play?
To sum up, dramatic mobilizations were made to avoid the secession of Katanga, but today that same Katanga is in power! The wealth of the Congo is in imperialist hands and the expenses must be paid by honest nations. The merchants of war certainly do good business. That is why the government of Cuba supports the just attitude of the Soviet Union in refusing to pay the expenses of this crime.
And as if this were not enough, we now have flung in our faces recent events which have filled the world with horror and indignation. Who are the perpetrators? Belgian paratroopers transported by United States planes, who took off from British bases. We remember as if it were yesterday that we saw a small country in Europe, a civilized and industrious country, the kingdom of Belgium, invaded by the hordes of Hitler. We learned with bitterness that these people were being massacred by the German imperialists, and our sympathy and affection went out to them. But the other side of the imperialist coin many did not then perceive. Perhaps the sons of Belgian patriots who died defending their country are now assassinating thousands of Congolese in the name of the white race, just as they suffered under the German heel because their blood was not purely Aryan. But the scales have fallen from our eyes and they now open upon new horizons, and we can see what yesterday, in our conditions of colonial servitude, we could not observe - that "Western civilization" disguises under its showy front a scene of hyenas and jackals. That is the only name that can be applied to those who have gone to fulfill "humanitarian" tasks in the Congo. Bloodthirsty butchers who feed on helpless people! That is what imperialism does to men; that is what marks the "white" imperialists.
The free men of the world must be prepared to avenge the crime committed in the Congo. It is possible that many of those soldiers who were converted into "supermen" by imperialist machinery, believe in good faith that they are defending the rights of a superior race, but in this assembly those peoples whose skins are darkened by a different sun, colored by different pigments, constitute the majority, and they fully and clearly understand that the difference between men does not lie in the color of their skins, but in the ownership of the means of production and in the relationship of production.
The Cuban delegation extends greetings to the peoples of Southern Rhodesia and Southwest Africa, oppressed by white colonialist minorities, to the peoples of Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland, French Somaliland, the Arabs of Palestine, Aden, and the Protectorates, Oman, and to all peoples in conflict with imperialism and colonialism; and we reaffirm our support.
I express also the hope that there will be a just solution to the conflict facing our sister republic of Indonesia in its relations with Malaysia.
One of the essential items before this conference is general and complete disarmament. We express our support of general and complete disarmament. Furthermore, we advocate the complete destruction of thermonuclear devices and the holding of a conference of all the nations of the world toward the fulfillment of this aspiration of all people. In his statement before this assembly, our Prime Minister said that arms races have always led to war. There are new atomic powers in the world, and the possibilities of a confrontation are grave.
We feel that a conference is necessary to obtain the total destruction of thermonuclear weapons and as a first step, the total prohibition of tests. At the same time there must be clearly established the obligation of all states to respect the present frontiers of other states and to refrain from indulging in any aggression even with conventional weapons.
In adding our voice to that of all peoples of the world who plead for general and complete disarmament, the destruction of all atomic arsenals, the complete cessation of thermonuclear devices and atomic tests of any kinds, we feel it necessary to stress, furthermore, that the territorial integrity of nations must be respected and the armed hand of imperialism, no less dangerous with conventional weapons, must be held back. Those who murdered thousands of defenseless citizens in the Congo did not use the atomic weapons. They used conventional weapons, and it was these conventional weapons, used by imperialists, which caused so many deaths.
Even if the measures advocated here were to become effective, thus making it unnecessary to say the following, we must still point out that we cannot adhere to any regional pact for denuclearization so long as the United States maintains aggressive bases on our territory, in Puerto Rico and in Panama, and in other American states where it feels it has the right to station them without any restrictions on conventional or nuclear weapons.
However, we feel we must be able to provide for our own defense in the light of the recent resolution of the Organization of American States against Cuba, which on the basis of the Treaty of Rio might permit aggression.
If such a conference to which we have just referred should achieve all these objectives -- which unfortunately, would be rather difficult to do -- it would be one of the most important developments in the history of mankind. To ensure this, the People's Republic of China must be represented, and that is why such a conference must be held. But it would be much simpler for the peoples of the world to recognize the undeniable truth that the People's Republic of China exists, that its rulers are the only representatives of the Chinese people, and to give it the place it deserves, which is, at present, usurped by a clique who control the province of Taiwan with United States aid.
The problem of the representation of China in the United Nations cannot, in any way, be considered as a case of a new admission to the organization, but rather as the restitution of their legitimate rights to the people of the People's Republic of China.
We repudiate strongly the concept of "two Chinas." The Chiang Kai-shek clique of Taiwan cannot remain in the United Nations. It must be expelled and the legitimate representative of the Chinese people put in.
We warn, also, against the insistence of the United States Government on presenting the problem of the legitimate representation of China in the United Nations as an "important question" so as to require a two-thirds majority of members present and voting.
The admission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations is, in fact, an important question for the entire world, but not for the mechanics of the United Nations where it must constitute a mere question of procedure.
Thus will justice be done, but almost as important as attaining justice would be the fact that it would be demonstrated, once and for all, that this august Assembly uses its eyes to see with, its ears to hear with, and its tongue to speak with; and has definite standards in making its decisions.
The proliferation of atomic weapons among the member States of NATO, and especially the possession of these devices of mass destruction by the Federal Republic of Germany, would make the possibility of an agreement on disarmament even more remote, and linked to such an agreement is the problem of the peaceful reunification of Germany. So long as there is no clear understanding, the existence of two Germanies must be recognized: that of the Democratic Republic of Germany and the Federal Republic. The German problem can only be solved with the direct participation of the Democratic Republic of Germany with full rights in negotiations.
We shall touch lightly on the questions of economic development and international trade which take up a good part of the agenda. In this year, 1964, the Conference of Geneva was held, where a multitude of matters related to these aspects of international relations was dealt with. The warnings and forecasts of our delegation were clearly confirmed to the misfortune of the economically dependent countries.
We wish only to point out that insofar as Cuba is concerned, the United States of America has not implemented the explicit recommendations of that conference, and recently the United States Government also prohibited the sale of medicine to Cuba, thus divesting itself once and for all, of the mask of humanitarianism with which it attempted to disguise the aggressive nature of its blockade against the people of Cuba.
Furthermore, we once more state that these colonial machinations, which impede the development of the peoples, are not only expressed in political relations. The so-called deterioration of the terms of trade is nothing less than the result of the unequal exchange between countries producing raw materials and industrial countries which dominate markets and impose a false justice on an inequitable exchange of values.
So long as the economically dependent peoples do not free themselves from the capitalist markets, and as a bloc with the socialist countries, impose new terms of trade between the exploited and the exploiters, there will be no sound economic development, and in certain cases there will be retrogression, in which the weak countries will fall under the political domination of imperialists and colonialists.
Finally, it must be made clear that in the area of the Caribbean, maneuvers and preparations for aggression against Cuba are taking place; off the coast of Nicaragua above all, in Costa Rica, in the Panama Canal Zone, in the Vieques Islands of Puerto Rico, in Florida, and possibly in other parts of the territory of the United States, and also, perhaps, in Honduras, Cuban mercenaries are training, as well as mercenaries of other nationalities, with a purpose that cannot be peaceful.
After an open scandal, the government of Costa Rica, it is said, has ordered the elimination of all training fields for Cuban exiles in that country. No one knows whether this attitude is sincere, or whether it it simply a maneuver, because the mercenaries training there were about to commit some offense. We hope that full cognizance will be taken of the actual existence of those bases for aggression, which we denounced long ago, and that the world will think about the international responsibility of the government of a country which authorizes and facilitates the training of mercenaries to attack Cuba.
We must point out that news of the training of mercenaries at different places in the Caribbean and the participation of the United States Government in such acts is news that appears openly in United States newspapers. We know of no Latin American voice that has been lifted officially in protest against this. This shows the cynicism with which the United States moves its pawns.
The shrewd foreign ministers of the OAS had eyes to "see" Cuban emblems and find "irrefutable proof" in the Yankee weapons in Venezuela, but do not see the preparations for aggression in the United States, just as they did not hear the voice of President Kennedy, who explicitly declared himself to be the aggressor against Cuba at Playa Giron. In some cases it is a blindness provoked by the hatred of the ruling classes of the Latin American people against our revolution; in others, and these are even more deplorable, it is the result of the blinding light of Mammon.
As everyone knows, after the terrible upheaval called the "Caribbean crisis," the United States undertook certain given commitments with the Soviet Union which culminated in the withdrawal of certain types of weapons that the continued aggressions of that country -- such as the mercenary attack against Playa Giron and threats of invasion against our country -- had compelled us to install in Cuba as a legitimate act of defense.
The Americans claimed, furthermore, that the United Nations should inspect our territory, which we refused and refuse emphatically since Cuba does not recognize the right of the United States, or of anyone else in the world, to determine what type of weapons Cuba may maintain within its borders.
In this connection, we would only abide by multilateral agreements, with equal obligations for all the parties concerned. Fidel Castro declared that "so long as the concept of sovereignty exists as the prerogative of nations and of independent peoples, and as a right of all peoples, we shall not accept the exclusion of our people from that right; so long as the world is governed by these principles, so long as the world is governed by those concepts which have universal validity because they are universally accepted by peoples, we shall not accept the attempt to deprive us of any of those rights and we shall renounce none of those rights."
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, U Thant, understood our reasons. Nevertheless, the United States presumed to establish a new prerogative, an arbitrary and illegal one; that of violating the air space of any small country. Thus, we see flying over our country U-2 aircraft and other types of espionage apparatus which fly over our airspace with impunity. We have issued all the necessary warnings for the cessation of the violation of our airspace as well as the provocations of the American navy against our sentry posts in the zone of Guantanamo, the "buzzing" by aircraft over our ships or ships of other nationalities in international waters, the piratical attacks against ships sailing under different flags, and the infiltration of spies, saboteurs and weapons in our island.
We want to build socialism; we have declared ourselves partisans of those who strive for peace; we have declared ourselves as falling within the group of non-aligned countries, although we are Marxist-Leninists, because the non-aligned countries, like ourselves, fight imperialism. We want peace; we want to build a better life for our people, and that is why we avoid answering, so far as possible, the planned provocations of the Yankee. But we know the mentality of United States rulers; they want to make us pay a very high price for that peace. We reply that price cannot go beyond the bounds of dignity.
And Cuba reaffirms once again the right to maintain on its territory the weapons it wishes and its refusal to recognize the right of any power on earth -- no matter how powerful -- to violate our soil, our territorial waters, or our airspace.
If, in any assembly, Cuba assumes obligations of a collecfive nature, it will fulfill them to the letter. So long as this does not happen, Cuba maintains all its rights, just as any other nation.
In the face of the demands of imperialism our Prime Minister posed the five necessary points for the existence of a sound peace in the Caribbean. They are as follows:
1. Cessation of the economic blockade and all economic and trade pressure by the United States in all parts of the world against our country.
2. Cessation of all subversive activities, launching and landing of weapons, and explosives by air and sea, organization of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and saboteurs, all of which acts are carried out from the territory of the United States and some accomplice countries.
3. Cessation of piratical attacks carried out from existing bases in the United States and Puerto Rico.
4. Cessation of all the violations of our airspace and our territorial waters by aircraft and warships of the United States.
5. Withdrawal from the Guantanamo naval base and restitution of the Cuban territory occupied by the United States.
None of these fundamental demands has been met, and our forces are still being provoked from the naval base at Guantanamo. That base has become a nest of thieves and the point from which they are introduced into our territory.
We would bore this assembly were we to give a detailed account of the large number of provocations of all kinds. Suffice it to say that including the first day of December, the number amounts to 1,323 in 1964 alone. The list covers minor provocations such as violation of the dividing line, launching of objects from the territory controlled by the North Americans, tbe commission of acts of sexual exhibitionism by North Americans of both sexes, verbal insults, others which are graver such as shooting off small-caliber weapons, the manipulation of weapons directed against our territory and offenses against our national emblem. The more serious provocations are those of crossing the dividing line and starting fires in installations on the Cuban side, seventy-eight rifle shots this year and the death of Ramon Lopez Pena, a soldier, from two shots fired from the United States post three and a half kilometers from the coast on the northern boundary.
This grave provocation took place at 19:07 hours on July 19, 1964, and our Prime Minister publicly stated on July 26 that if the event were to recur, he would give orders for our troops to repel the aggression. At the same time orders were given for the withdrawal of the advance line of Cuban forces to positions farther away from the dividing line and construction of the necessary housing.
One thousand three hundred and twenty-three provocations in 340 days amount to approximately four per day. Only a perfectly disciplined army with a morale such as ours could resist so many hostile acts without losing its self-control.
Forty-seven countries which met at the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of the nonaligned countries at Cairo unanimously agreed that:
Noting with concern that foreign military bases are, in practice, a means of bringing pressure on nations and retarding their emancipation and development, based on their own ideological, political, economic and cultural ideas...declares its full support to the countries which are seeking to secure the evacuation of foreign bases on their territory and calls upon all States maintaining troops and bases in other countries to remove them forthwith.
The Conference considers that the maintenance at Guantanamo (Cuba) of a military base of the United States of America, in defiance of the will of the Government and people of Cuba and in defiance of the provisions embodied in the Declaration of the Belgrade Conference, constitutes a violation of Cuba's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Noting that the Cuban Government expresses its readiness to settle its dispute over the base at Guantanamo with the United States on an equal footing, the Conference urges the United States Government to negotiate the evacuation of their base with the Cuban Government.
The government of the United States has not responded to the above request of the Cairo Conference and presumes to maintain indefinitely its occupation by force of a piece of our territory from which it carries out acts of aggression such as those we mentioned earlier.
The Organization of American States -- also called by some people the United States Ministry of Colonies - condemned us vigorously, although it had excluded us from its midst, and ordered its members to break off diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. The OAS authorized aggression against our country at any time and under any pretext and violated the most fundamental international laws, completely disregarding the United Nations. Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico opposed that measure, and the government of the United States of Mexico refused to comply with the sanctions that had been approved. Since then we have no relations with any Latin American countries other than Mexico; thus the imperialists have carried out one of the stages preliminary to a plan of direct aggression.
We want to point out once again that our concern over Latin America is based on the ties that link us; the language we speak, our culture, and the common master we shared. But we have no other reason for desiring the liberation of Latin America from the colonial yoke of the United States. If any of the Latin American countries here decides to [resume relations it must be on the] basis of equality and not with the assumption that it is a gift to our government that we be recognized as a free country in the world, because we won the recognition of our freedom with our blood in the days of our struggles for liberation. We acquired it with our blood in the defense of our shores against Yankee invasion.
Although we reject any attempt to attribute to us interference in the internal affairs of other countries, we cannot deny that we sympathize with those people who strive for their freedom, and we must fulfill the obligation of our government and people to state clearly and categorically to the world that we morally support and feel as one with people everywhere who struggle to make a reality of the rights of full sovereignty proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
It is the United States of America which intervenes. It has done so throughout the history of America. Since the end of the last century Cuba has known very well the truth of the matter; but it is known, too, by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Central America in general, Mexico, Haiti, and Santo Domingo. In recent years, besides our peoples, Panama has also known direct aggression, when the marines of the Canal opened fire against the defenseless people; Santo Domingo, whose coast was violated by the Yankee fleet to avoid an outbreak of the righteous fury of the people after the death of Trujillo; and Colombia, whose capital was taken by assault as a result of a rebellion provoked by the assassination of Gaitan.
There are masked interventions through military missions which participate in internal repression, organizing forces designed for that purpose in many countries, and also in coups d'etat which have been so frequently repeated on the American continent during the past few years. Specifically, United States forces took part in the repression of the peoples of Venezuela, Colombia, and Guatemala, who carry on an arined struggle for their freedom. In Venezuela not only do the Americans advise the army and the police, but they also direct acts of genocide from the air against the peasant population in vast rebel-held areas, and the United States companies established there exert pressures of every kind to increase direct interference.
The imperialists are preparing to repress the peoples of America and are setting up an "international" [network] of crime. The United States interfered in America while invoking the "defense of free institutions". The time will come when this assembly will acquire greater maturity and demand guarantees from the United States Government for the lives of the Negro and Latin American population who reside in that country, most of whom are native-born or naturalized United States citizens.
How can they presume to be the "guardians of liberty" when they kill their own children and discriminate daily against people because of the color of their skin; when they not only free the murderers of colored people, but even protect them, while punishing the colored population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men? We understand that today the assembly is not in a position to ask for explanations of these acts, but it must be clearly established that the government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression of the peoples of the world, and of a large part of its own population.
To the equivocating language with which some delegates have painted the case of Cuba and the Organization of American States, we reply with blunt words, that the governments pay for their treason.
Cuba, a free and sovereign state, with no chains binding it to anyone, with no foreign investments on its territory, with no proconsuls orienting its policy, can speak proudly in this assembly, proving the justice of the phrase by which we will always be known, "Free Territory of America".
Our example will bear fruit in our continent, as it is already doing to a certain extent already in Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela. The imperialists no longer have to deal with a small enemy, a contemptible force, since the people are no longer isolated.
As laid down in the Second Declaration of Havana:
No people of Latin America is weak, because it is part of a family of 200 million brothers beset by the same miseries, who harbor the same feelings, have the same enemy, while they all dream of the same better destiny and have the support of all honest men and women in the world.
Future history will be written by the hungry masses of Indians, of landless peasants, of exploited workers; it will be written by the progressive masses, by the honest and brilliant intellectuals who abound in our unfortunate lands of Latin America, by the struggle of the masses and of ideas; an epic that will be carried forward by our peoples who have been ill-treated and despised by imperialism, our peoples who have until now gone unrecognized but who are awakening. We were considered an impotent and submissive flock; but now they are afraid of that flock, a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans, which is sounding a warning note to the Yankee monopolist capitalists.
The hour of vindication, the hour it chose for itself, is now striking from one end to the other of the continent. That anonymous mass, that colored America, sombre, adamant, which sings throughout the continent the same sad, mournful song; now that mass is beginning definitely to enter into its own history, it is beginning to write it with its blood, to suffer and to die for it. Because now, in the fields, and in the mountains of America, in its plains and in its forests, in the solitude, and in the bustle of cities, on the shores of the great oceans and rivers, it is beginning to shape a world full of quickening hearts, who are ready to die for what is theirs, to conquer their rights which have been flouted for almost 500 years. History will have to tell the story of the poor of America, of the exploited of Latin America, who have decided to begin to write for themselves, forever, their own odyssey. We see them already walking along those roads, on foot, day after day, in long and endless marches, hundreds of kilometers, until they reach the ruling "Olympus" and wrest back their rights. We see them armed with stones, with sticks, with machetes, here, there, everywhere, daily occupying their lands, and taking root in the land that is theirs and defending it with their lives; we see them carrying banners, their banners running in the wind in the mountains and on the plains. And that wave of heightening fury, of just demands, of rights that have been flouted, is rising throughout Latin America, and no one can stem that tide; it will grow day by day because it is made up of the great multitude in every respect, those who with their work create the riches of the earth, and turn the wheel of history, those who are now awakening from their long, stupefying sleep.
For this great humanity has said "enough" and has started to move forward. And their march, the march of giants, cannot stop, will not stop until they have conquered their true independence, for which many have already died, and not uselessly. In any event, those who die will die like those in Cuba, at Playa Giron; they will die for their never-to-be-renounced, their only true independence."
This new will of a whole continent, America, shows itself in the cry proclaimed daily by our masses as the irrefutable expression of their decision to fight, to grasp and deter the armed hand of the invader. It is a cry that has the understanding and support of all the peoples of the world and especially of the socialist camp, headed by the Soviet Union.
That cry is: "Our country or death."
by Che Guevara