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Speech by Fidel Castro to CTC Congress

From a Radio Progreso broadcast, Nov. 19, 1959

Delegates from labour movement of other countries visiting us,
CTC delegates, (Thunderous Applause):
We are always moved by identification of the workers with their government. We are even more moved this time by this symbolic tribute.

This is the first congress in revolutionary Cuba. It is the first meeting after many years of struggle and sacrifice in a completely free gathering. Many compatriots have fallen in the struggle. An equally large number have had to suffer all kinds of humiliation and physical torture to achieve this. Much blood has been shed to make it possible today for the workers to hold this congress. It is not a congress attended by puppets only. The delegates present here were designated by the workers and the views expressed here are the freely expressed views of the workers. Decisions made here will be the expression of the free will of the Cuban workers. This must necessarily be a reason for pride for all of us. For seven years the working class was ruled by terror methods of the tyranny in complicity with trained accomplices serving the worst enemies of the people. For seven years the working class was not allowed to parade on May 1. (Applause) These were sad years which are gone forever. (Applause)

Those who believe we will forget the past are mistaken. (Applause) The working class, which for seven years could not parade on May 1, has, by its efforts by its triumph since Jan. 1 become the decisive factor in the political life of the country, because it was the working class which in the general strike, promoted in conjunction with the rebel army, prevented efforts to snatch victory away at the last moment. It was the working class which in these 10 months of revolution has been in the front lines,as it was in the first gathering of a million Cubans, as it was on May 1. Cuban workers protested the criminal attack on the national territory by planes from abroad. (Applause)

Finally, it was the workers who organized the Oct. 27 rally. Whenever the workers have been called on, they have answered with enthusiasm and unity. (Applause) This is a disciplined army which always answers "present" and is in the front ranks. It is the workers who have contributed most generously to buy tractors, to contribute to a day's work to our agrarian reform, to make their contribution to the defense of the sovereignty of the country, to buy arms to defend the national territory. Never has it failed the revolution.

We have asked sacrifices of the workers. We know today that when the day comes when it may be necessary to defend the revolution by arms we shall turn to the workers. The destiny of Cuba and of the revolution is in the hands of the working class (applause) and it is vitally important that the working class understand that it holds the future of the country in its hands. The destiny of Cuba could not be in better hands.

Fortunately, we can also count on another sector of the nation, the Cuban campesinos (applause). The campesinos and working class need each other fighting side by side. In view of the threats and maneuvers by those who want to bring down upon them the yoke of privilege and injustice, what can they do against the united campesinos and workers?

Of what use would it be for them to try to take back power against our united workers and campesinos? Against our soldiers, the campesinos, and workers with arms? Anyone who makes a mistake now is either irresponsible or stupid and unable to understand his own interests and the interests of the enemies of the country. if the workers should be defeated they would be made to pay a terrible price for freeing themselves from centuries-old evils. The people must be saved. Not only do we have the revolution's military with the workers and campesinos, but also most of the intellectuals. They are defending the interests of the people of Cuba.


Who will be against the revolution? Those whose interests are not the interests of Cuba and the Cuban people. The frustrated, those who sell themselves, those who betray, all those who conceived the revolution as a satisfaction of personal ambition, not a people's undertaking, will be against the revolution, as well as all those who wanted to continue the past.

When you analyze those who write against the revolution you will realize they serve the big interests, the enemies of the revolution. When you analyze the antirevolution press you will understand that a press developed by paid subsidies is the enemy of the revolution. The revolution has destroyed privileges. Those enjoying the privileges are against the revolution. Those who lack ideals are against it.

In the early days of the revolution, when we spoke of latifundists, exploiters, war criminals, and Trujilloists, some thought we were exaggerating. It was difficult then to conceive that some of those who wrote little articles in favor of the revolution when it triumphed would joint those elements.

Scarcely a few months had passed when we found a small group of latifundists associated not only with war criminals, but with a foreign tyrant who has been maintaining a bloody rule in his country for 30 years -- Trujillo. Today it is evident that there is a connection between reactionary foreign press charges -- between those who say there is no freedom of the press and those who receive prizes from certain international organs (not specified -- Ed.). One of these shameless ones has written an article "Lenin and Cuba." All agree on imputing to the revolutionary government the same charges. They insinuate that this is a foreign revolution (applause) when they themselves are the real supporters of foreigners. They come here to quote cables manufactured abroad against us and lies invented abroad against our revolution. They are defending the worst foreign interests. (Applause)

The measures taken by the revolutionary government and the agrarian reform will recover more than 800,000 caballerias of land in the hands of a group of foreign countries to deliver it to the campesinos who live in hunger in our canefields. (Applause)

Is this serving foreign interests? Is defense of the people against monopoly serving foreign interests, or a measure such as reducing the cost of electricity, putting an end to gambling and exploitation of the people, rice production (applause), protection of currency, customs measures, school construction, a clean administration, investment in public works instead of putting money into New York or Swiss banks, establishing justice (applause) -- are these serving foreign interests?

I ask the people: Are the measures taken by the revolutionary government just? (Applause) if we are to be fought for taking just measures, let us be fought? If we must be invaded for this, let us be invaded. Our just revolution fulfills an historic mission. Can it be said after 10 months of government that there has been a single minister who has grown rich in office? The revolutionary government cannot be charged with promoting gambling, traffic in drugs, vice -- all traditional evils in our country.

it is enough to read a cable such as I received here at this congress. It reveals enemies of our country. The cable reads: Washington, Nov. 18 -- There is evidence that in Cuba a rocket launching base is being established which could destroy Cape Canaveral and even the Pentagon, says Emilio Nunez Portuondo (Boos) in a weekly Latin American publication which is again circulating here. Almost all comment by Nunez Portuondo attacks our government and alleges dangers of communism. I am convinced, he says, that Cuba is becoming as dangerous for U.S. security as any captive country of East Europe. Thus they openly promote a policy of foreign intervention in our country. To justify this, they invent tales such as this ridiculous story.

What and whom do reactionary press insinuations serve? In articles such as one yesterday, titled: "Lenin and Cuba," they simply tend to promote foreign intervention.

The problem is clear. You must think as workers, campesinos, as Cubans. (Applause) Our strength lies in our identification with the revolution. Is there a single worker who does not agree with us? (Applause). The revolution stands above all. This is the party of the country. (Applause) It is justice which unites comrades, it is patriotic ideals which unite us.

When a criminal bomb falls over a district of Cuba, or when terrorists and bandits carry out acts, they do not discriminate or ask on which house it is going to fall, or what Cuban it is going to kill.

The enemy who unites forces us to unite. This is our strength. The spectacle which would most please our enemies is any division in this labour congress. (Applause) They fear the tremendous strength of the working class. They know that it is invincible. They are going to listen carefully to the congress to see whether there are problems of difficulties.

This means it is the duty of all of us to see that this congress is an example of revolutionary unit. (Applause)

We know of the plans made to turn certain social groups against us. We can see how they are trying to set one social group against another. They have no inkling of the revolutionary fevers which nowadays affect Cuban workers and farmers. (Applause) These privileged groups are incapable of realizing that the measures which have affected certain privileged classes are the same which have brought hope and happiness to the immense majority of our people.


Despite the injustices and nonsense which motivates them, they are still powerful. It is a struggle between those who possess it all and those who possess nothing. The same group who had a monopoly on the wealth of the country also possessed a monopoly of the means of publicity and information.

They have the wealth necessary to lie around conspiring against the revolution. Their strength lies not in their numbers but in their resources and cunning. They also possess the education which the immense majority of our people lacks.

The revolution is attacked by these privileged circles because it is trying to wipe out social ills and raise the social standards of the masses. In the face of aggression by these groups we have only one alternative -- to unite farmers and workers in order to defend the revolution.

There must be discipline in the army of workers. You are the officers and leaders of that army. We must maintain the strength necessary to defend this revolution which will continue to forge ahead to its goals if we know how to defend it.

When each farm, factory, household, ship, is a bulwark of the revolution, who will be able to defeat it? We must be aware that we will be attacked and that we shall have to defend it.

Camilo was of the people just like you (applause). Our revolution had many men who were ready to die. They did not have any education, yet they knew their duty.

It would have been logical that those fighters would have passed into government offices once the revolutionary cause was victorious. However they were not equipped for it. However, in the future they will be able to serve. This demonstrates the difficulties we face, but it also shows that in the long run victory will be ours.


Our most difficult task now is that of defending the revolution. Without a revolutionary government there can be no revolutionary program. I was very impressed by the resolution of the workers to contribute four percent of their earnings for the purchase of farm machinery. This shows what the workers have learned. They know that this is their government. They know that the agrarian reforms affects precisely that part of our economy which we can improve.

Our rice and cotton production this year will be great. We must be able to meet our consumer needs. We have invested much money in agricultural production. The more we produce on all types of necessary articles, the sooner our living standard will rise.

Our strategy must be to put all unemployed to work. In this way I am such we will reach our goals.

The four percent the worker gives now represents an investment he will enjoy later. He will receive (bonds?) which will not be redeemable for five years. The worker not only will receive more from his investment but will also enjoy a rising standard of living. These sacrifices will repay us three or four-fold.

We are going to undertake the task of training you as soon and rapidly as we can (applause). Former governments here had large armies to protect the privileges and investments of the wealthy landholders. Who was then in a position to do anything for the farmers? Nobody! Now, on the other hand, the farmers are being defended against the large landholders. The same applies to the workers. They have won their rights.

The privileged classes tremble -- they know that their privileges are a thing of the past. Let them return if they dare, but they will find an armed Cuba awaiting them -- and armed Cuba which will defend its hard-won rights.


You know the efforts of foreign news agencies to subvert the revolutionary government. They continue to print lines and slander. You can imagine how it hurts us to read those slanderous lies about Camilo Cienfuegos. We shall always keep the people abreast of the news and latest slanderous and subverting campaigns of our enemies so that they will know the truth.

To be a revolutionary is to have the courage to face the truth. The efforts and sacrifices of the people have not been in vain. They did it once and will do it again, as many times as necessary. We shall take care of each problem and difficulty as it arises. If the rich antirevolutionaries begin to conspire, the farmers and workers are lined up, ready to defend the revolution. We can say with certainty that none of their maneuvers, will succeed here.

by Fidel Castro