Originally broadcast in Spanish to the Americas on 24 October 1962
Mark-up by the Workers' Web ASCII Pamphlet project
ANNOUNCER: Good evening, televiewers. All Cuba's radio and television stations are in network this evening to carry the statements by the Prime Minister of the revolutionary government and the secretary general of ORI, Maj. Fidel Castro Ruz, at a particularly delicate time in the history of the world.
As you know, the United States has established a naval blockade of the Cuba archipelago, using as a pretext the arms acquired by Cuba for the exclusive purpose of assuring its defense against the U.S. aggressions.
Cuba has replied to this aggressive action by issuing the order of battle alert which places our people in arms on a war footing in a few hours.
Today the USSR replied to Kennedy's speech with a measured and firm statement firmly rejecting the assertions of the President of the United States and denouncing the danger of war created by U.S. aggression.
Today in Washington and New York the Council of the OAS was convoked by the United States, and the U.N. Security Council upon the request of Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
Dr. Castro, what can you tell the people of Cuba concerning this new U.S. aggression?
CASTRO replies: Well, actually all these events are the culmination of a policy pursued by the United States, not (only by?) the United States-the imperialists, the warmongers, and the most reactionary circles of the United States-against our country ever since the victory of the revolution. All these measures do not surprise us. Measures of this type and others which we have had to endure are thing which were logically to be expected from a type of government which is as reactionary and as lacking in respect of other peoples and other nations as is the U.S. Government.
However, the entire nation is familiar with all this history. Ever since the first day, since the very day of victory, which was a victory which cost our people so much sacrifice, they were able to see what the policy of U.S. Government would be toward us. This apart from the fact that our people, or part of our people-that part with the greatest amount of political awareness-was familiar with the history of the relations between the United States and Cuba ever since the end of the last century.
Actually all our progress, our independence, and our sovereignty have always been obscured by the policy of the Yankee governments. This intervention was an intervention for imperialist purposes-the Platt Amendment, the successive interventions, the seizure of the wealth of our country, the support given to the most reactionary and the most thieving governments. And finally, the support given to Batista, for we cannot forget and shall never forget that all the bombs they dropped upon us, and upon the people in the Sierra Maestra, were U.S.-made bombs. So, our people are acquainted with the entire procedure up to now.
And how does the situation stand at present? The present situation is that this entire process of fighting was a useless battle by an empire waged against a small country; the useless, sterile, and frustrated battle by an empire against a revolutionary government and against a revolution in a small country -- underdeveloped and exploited until so recently.
Actually, why did the situation become acute? Why did it become critical? Simply because the United States failed in every design hitherto made against us. In short, it was defeated! The situation has grown worse from one defeat to the other. They had to choose between two things: To leave the Cuban revolution in peace or else to continue their policy of aggression until they endured the consequences which could be very bad for it.
So far they have been bad; they have been quite bad for U.S. prestige-I believe it has lost a considerable amount of prestige in this sterile battle against us. However, as unfavorable as this battle may have been, it could have been even more unfavorable. All its designs failed. The U.S. Government was accustomed to solving the problems of Latin America in a very simple way: first of all by a coup d'etat; and also through reactionary military cliques controlled by the embassies.
Whenever they could not solve problems by simple orders through their ambassadors, then it would be by means of revolutions, promoted rebellions, interventions, and all these things-interventions in our continent with which you are also acquainted: the intervention in Haiti, the intervention in Santo Domingo, the intervention in Nicaragua, the intervention in Mexico from which they wrested the richest part in minerals and in oil. The Yankees stole and pirated it away from Mexico. The history of Mexico, for example, is the history of a country filled with heroism. A good part of that heroism was expended in fighting its independence against U.S. invasion. This is known history.
Furthermore, the tactics they used to solve the problem of Guatemala was that of a Giron-type invasion. It also employed propaganda campaigns and promoted subversions. There did not exist a government in Latin America which could resist the opposition of the U.S. Government.
This was the situation until the victory of the Cuban revolution. When the Cuban revolution became victorious, they began to try every procedure against us: They began with slander campaigns, attempts to divide the people and to weaken the revolution through division, encouraged by that tremendous campaign launched inside and outside our country against the revolution. They began with those campaigns, and they continued with political-type maneuvers in the OAS, (two words indistinct) and they continued with economic aggressions. Suffice it to say that those aggressions-one of the weapons I did mention as a weapon of pressure to control the situation in any country is economic aggression . . . . (Castro does not complete sentence-Ed.) They continued with economic aggressions-oil, sugar, and even a total embargo. But economic aggression also failed.
Or else they organized a Guatemala-type invasion. That was the Playa Giron invasion, and that failed, too. Then they organized new maneuvers in the OAS, severance of diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Punta Del Este agreements. All that. Everything that has happened in Latin America since the victory of the Cuban revolution is connected with the Cuban revolution.
It is somewhat-I cannot call is amusing, because it is so ridiculous-it gives an impression of the mental poverty of the U.S. leaders such as, for example, a statement by Stevenson at the Security Council today to the effect that what Cuba could not be forgiven for was not its communism, or its socialism, or its revolution, but rather the fact that it introduced this problem into Latin America just at a time when the most extraordinary effort was being made for progress in Latin America. This was in reference to the Alliance. It is as though no one knew that the Alliance for Progress-that facade,that false policy-is neither progress, nor alliance, nor anything but just another mockery.
But after all the agreements they reached, all the steps they took, and even all the credits they have given-and there were few, but those they did give-all this took place after the Cuban revolution. Thus we can say that without the Cuban revolution the imperialists would not have made the slightest effort to conceal their policy of exploitation, because the Alliance for Progress is nothing more than a formula to conceal their system of exploitation in Latin America.
Actually, for every peso they take they lend one. (As heard-Ed.) This is one more thing which has completely failed. However, all these things, all this concern about Latin America, came about after the Cuban revolution-all those decisions, and the isolation of Cuba, all that fighting.
Along with this policy there came more economic aggressions: complete blockade-useless. By blockade I mean a complete ban on purchases of Cuban products and sales of products to Cuba despite the fact that all our factories and transportation needed spare parts made in the United States.
That was not enough. All that was useless. They then began an even more aggressive policy. It was no longer a matter of banning the sales of our products in the United States, but of pursuing our products over the world-and, at the same time, of attempting to prevent all capitalist countries fro selling to us.
They then attempted another type of blockade-to exert pressure with the threat of not permitting ships carrying products to Cuba to enter the U.S. ports. They began a blockade by means of blackmail also against countries which were their allies, and countries which (exist by?) the merchant marine. There are several countries to which the merchant marine represents a very important means of livelihood:
Greece, Norway, England-a whole group of countries. There are others such as Panama, Liberia, and Honduras, and some other countries which have no ships but which lend their flags to ships, many of which belong to the Americans seeking to evade the income tax laws and all the rest. It is a custom, one of the many healthy customs of Yankee imperialism.
What happens is that the U.S. merchant marine is subsidized one way or another and runs a harmful competition with the ships of all those countries. However, as there always exists a double standard in U.S. politics-naturally the intention to harm Cuba-but there is also the intention to eliminate the competition of other merchant marines by banning them from Cuba.
It is logical that these countries should be interested in trade with the Soviet Union and in trade with the socialist camp. Why? Because the socialist camp consists of one-third of humanity and has a very high percentage of world production. And if they sell to Cuba, their ships are threatened with not being permitted to enter U.S. ports, with being definitely boycotted for the purpose of ruining them-a (vain?) attempt. It is useless. It can be said that they have tried every weapon, and every weapon, one after the other, has failed.
They began with La Coubre in an attempt to prevent us from preparing ourselves-the explosion of the ship La Coubre. The purpose was to prevent us from acquiring weapons from Belgium. Then they used pressure on Belgium. They wanted us to be without weapons, at their mercy, so that they could attack us when they wanted to. They thought that with a little invasion of the Playa Giron type they would solve everything and we would be disarmed. And now they have culminated their efforts by this adventure, which is really dangerous to world peace, by trying to prevent us also from arming ourselves with the assistance of the socialist camp.
To sum it up, it has been the story of an uninterrupted chain of failures leading the imperialists, who have not resigned themselves, who will not resign themselves, despite the fact that they have no choice but to resign themselves-a series of more adventurous, more aggressive, and more dangerous steps for the sole purpose of destroying the Cuban revolution.
In the four years of the Cuban revolution's vigorous and healthy life they have not been able to make a dent in it. If we analyze the picture of our country and of our people we will see that the revolution is stronger than ever at this time. Thus, the failure of the attempt to destroy the Cuban revolution is what led to this latest step.
What is the latest step? It is the (word indistinct) the most temerarious and most dangerous adventure to world peace which has happened since the last world war.
The people were informed of the declaration of Mr. Kennedy made yesterday. During the day we had been receiving a series of reports about peculiar meetings, about peculiar things which were going on in Washington in connection with meetings with an officer from the Pentagon, meetings with political leaders of both parties, and meetings of the Security Council, plane movements, ship movements. And from all these reports we realized that it had something to do with us. We knew because of everything they had been doing before, of the policy pursued since the revolution, the warmongering campaign, hysteria, the joint resolution, and all those things.
We became aware that something could happen from one moment to another. However, inasmuch as they will not take us by surprise-because they have not taken us by surprise up to now and they will not take us by surprise-when Playa Giron occurred, they did not take us by surprise. When we became aware that something was happening and that some sort of action was imminent, we did not know exactly what it would be or from where it would come. Discussing the situation, the comrades decided that it was necessary to get our forces on the alert.
That is why yesterday afternoon, at 5:40 p.m., the order for sounding the alarm for battle (alarma de combate) was given. The combat alarm is the highest degree of alert for the armed forces. We wanted to avoid having to take this measure unless it was in the face of something, of a very evident danger, because naturally all of our efforts, the efforts of our country, have for many months been devoted almost exclusively to increasing production and improving the economy. In reality, our country had, and has progressed very much in that field.
Naturally, every time a move of this nature is made, it implies making sacrifices in the field of production, no matter how much one tried to reconcile one thing with the other. And even though we have much more organization and experience, it is affected anyway. In the face of this situation, an order was decreed, and naturally all instructions in the case of a combat alarm were fulfilled in preparation for an aggression and against a danger of a surprise attack. At this moment, therefore, they cannot stage a surprise attack.
As you can see, gentlemen, we must be distrustful always. The same could have occurred-the type of movement that they were carrying out, which was the alleged maneuver in Vieques Island, a landing maneuver in Puerto Rico, to be aimed at Cuba, as in effect was done. They suspended the maneuvers, and we were alert, because one of their methods is to simulate a maneuver and launch an attack, to try to get by surprise the objectives they propose to reach.
The maneuvers were in progress, and in anticipation of something that might happen, such as a sudden attack by surprise, that order was given. Naturally, the declaration appeared in print later, but this declaration was nothing more than a confirmation of the Kennedy declaration; it just confirmed and justified the measures we had taken. Why was this? Simply because an imperialist adventure of this type implies such dangers that it is necessary to be in a complete state of alert.
After trying to justify it in a preamble in which the reasons he invoked are all reasons that have absolutely no foundation, he says that the armaments received by Cuba constitute a threat to the peace and the security of all of the Americas in a flagrant and reproachful defiance of the 1947 Rio de Janeiro Pact-an act that might have validity for those who continue in the fold of imperialism, but not or us.
What are the traditions of this nation and the hemisphere? What are the traditions of this nation? What are the traditions of imperialist exploitation? The piratical sacking of our wealth and the exploitation of our workers? The tradition of submission and exploitation? Then, according to him, we violate the traditions of this continent, the joint resolution of the 87th Congress. What do we care about all of the resolutions? It is all the same to us, the 87th or the 7th or the 587th American Congress. (Loud applause)
He speaks of the U.N. Charter. Precisely at the moment they are about to violate the U.N. Charter, they invoke the U.N. Charter against us. We have not violated in the least any of the U.N. Charter articles-not in the least. There is nothing that can be charged against us, nor can anyone say that we have violated any of its articles.
At the moment when they get ready to commit a flagrant and barefaced violation, they invoke the U.N. Charter. He says: "My own public warnings to the Soviet on 4 and 13 September-what do we care about Mr. Kennedy's own personal warnings? They can matter only to him and his own people, but they do not concern us in the least. This is merely (subdued snickering by Fidel-Ed.) the law and the arguments he uses; that is the basis he takes to adopt a resolution, which is as follows:
He says first: "A strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended"-and note this well-"this quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time"-at this time-"however, denying the necessities of life, as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948."
But note well between the lines how it says that "this quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers," but that "at this time"-note, "at this time."
Second: "I have directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup. The foreign ministers of the OAS in their communique of 6 October rejected these matters in this hemisphere should these offensive military preparations continue, thus increasing the threat to the hemisphere, further action will be justified." (Preceding excerpt as heard)
Note well: "I have directed"-this man has turned into a director (laughter in the crowd)--"the armed forces to prepare for any eventualities." We are prepared, just in case. "And I trust that, in the interest of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at these sites, the hazards of all concerned of continuing this threat will be recognized."
(Third point not given-Ed.)
Fourth: As a necessary military precaution, I have reinforced our base at Guantanamo"-he is an insolent man-"and evacuated today the dependents of our personnel there and ordered additional military units to stand by on an alert basis."
Fifth: "We are calling tonight for an immediate meeting of the organ of consultation under the Organization of American States to consider this threat to hemispheric security and to invoke articles six and eight of the Rio Treaty in support of all necessary action. The U.N. Charter allows for regional security arrangements-and the nations of this hemisphere decided long ago against the presence of outside powers. Our other allies around the world have also been alerted." (Stifled snicker) Yes, they were alerted after the decision was adopted, you know. They did not consult any of them before hand. We can talk about this alter.
So, sixth: "Under the Charter of the United Nations, we are asking tonight that an emergency meeting of the Security Council be convoked without delay to take action against this latest Soviet threat to world peace. Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of observers before the quarantine can be lifted." (As heard)
You can well see how each one of these articles incorporates a design-like the one to which I referred where he said that the quarantine applied to armaments; later it can be expanded to cover other things.
The matter of Cuba's supervision-their supervision has been to violate our airspace daily-a violation of our airspace, our territorial waters, and they themselves admit it, because know they talk of an alleged photograph their planes took. How could their planes take photographs if they did not violate Cuban airspace?
So each one of the points, each one of those actions implies a violation of the law. They assembled the foreign ministers in Washington's State Department behind closed doors, in secrecy, and today they speak of that meeting.
They then speak of the Guantanamo base. Do they have a right to speak of the Guantanamo base? They are speaking about a base they hold in our territory. They took it by force and maintain it against the will of our people. Then, calmly and in a document of this type, they speak of the Guantanamo base, which is located in our territory, and barefacedly they say they are using that base, that they have reinforced it-that is, to utilize it against Cuba. That is a magnificent warning they make to the countries where they currently hold military bases.
They call a meeting of the OAS. What for? To defend a Latin American country from aggression? No, to ratify and support aggression against a Latin American country.
Finally, he speaks of the United Nations only to speak about supervision in Cuba of observers on the measures which we have adopted for our defense.
Perhaps the most insolent thing about the entire declaration made by Mr. Kennedy are the paragraphs which he addressed to the Cuban people, and which I read because one can see how far the cynicism and shamelessness of this man reaches. He says: "I speak to you as a friend." He says: "Finally, I want to say a few words to the captive people of Cuba," to those people who are armed and have hundreds of thousands of men under arms-and they have real good weapons-he calls "captive people." He could have said the 'captive armed people of Cuba," "to whom this speech is being carried by special radio facilities." Special facilities of radio stations beamed to us are not needed. I'll continue to read: "I speak to you as a friend, as one who knows of your deep attachment to your fatherland." We do not deny it;
I imagine he is well aware of our deep attachment to the fatherland. And listen: "As one who shares your aspirations for liberty and justice for all. And I have watched with deep sorrow," and the American people have observed with deep sorrow, (as heard) "that your national revolution was betrayed"-if it had been betrayed, we would now be the best allies of imperialism in the world-"and how your fatherland fell under foreign domination. Now your leaders are no longer Cuban leaders inspired by Cuban ideals." They must be Martians. (Laughter) "They are puppets and agents of an international conspiracy who have turned Cuba against your friends and neighbors." It is they who have compelled the neighbors to break with us; that is, to turn them into our enemies." The first Latin American country to have nuclear weapons on its soil.
"These new weapons are not in your interest. They contribute nothing to your peace and well-being. They can only undermine it. But this country has no wish to cause you to suffer," and listen well, "this country does not want to impose any system upon you or suffering. We know that your lives and land are being used as pawns by those who deny you freedom.
"Many times in the past, the Cuban people have risen to throw out tyrants who destroyed their liberty. And I have no doubt that most Cubans today look forward to the time when they will be truly free-free from foreign domination, free to choose their own leaders"-I do not know who chose us-"and to select their own system, free to own their own land," and get this: "And be free to own their own land"-of the land we have taken away from the American companies and the latifudists and which we have placed in the hands of the people-of the land over which the peasants had to pay rent on a third part, a fourth part, even over half.
And this man, notice-well, I do not know, these things are hard for me to figure out. "And be free to own their land." This is a promise he makes, "free to read and write, what do you think of that? (Castro laughs) Free to read and write. This man is talking to a people 1 million of whom have learned to read and write during the course of the revolution because the revolution has taught them. "And worship without fear or degradation." No one here bars anyone else from going to churches or anywhere else.
But it must be their own god-that is, the golden calf, because these men, the imperialists, have no other god than gold." . . . To the society of free nations and to the associations of the hemisphere," vis-a-vis Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, the 'gorillas' (laughter) from Argentina, and he invites us to join the society of free nations, of the family of nations. Which family?
"My fellow citizens: Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out." No, we do not doubt it at all. It is difficult and dangerous. If we were aware of this, possible he would not set out on it.
"No one can foresee precisely that course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred by humanity." Could this man be so insolent as to talk of the casualties that humanity must sustain to teach our people to read and write, and to make the peasants owners of their land, other people can own their land? Anyone reading this speech gets a strange idea that this man is not informed, or these people have lost their last shred of shame, or in reality there is only one thing: this is for consumption, for the consumption of a public to whom they have told all those things; a public intoxicated by lies, calumny, and all those campaigns. Of course, to our people all these things really seem very ridiculous, and what Mr. Kennedy is really doing is being ridiculous.
There is another thing, in the argument of these gentlemen, when they say: "If they continue these preparations for a military offensive, thereby increasing the threat against this hemisphere, we will be justified to take additional measures." You will remember how the world war began. You will even remember how the invasion of Poland began, by a Hitler communique. Hitler issued a communique that his troops, beginning at 3 A.M.-I do not remember what time-or 6 A.M., had begun to reply to Polish fire. It was not they; Hitler was replying to Polish fire. All the campaigns of aggression, all the wars of aggression begun by Nazism and fascism in the contemporary world-all their aggressions were always begun by speaking of the threat of aggression and the pretext of the threat of aggression to initiate their type of action.
Finally, this gentleman returns at the end, because he is so good, so saintly, that at the end, after writing all these felonies, he commits a deed that is a violation of law and morals. he says: "Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right. And it is not peace at the expense of liberty, but, simultaneously, peace and freedom here in this hemisphere and, we hope, in the entire world. With the blessing of God we shall achieve that goal." He even asks God to bless all those misdeeds he intends to commit and has been committing.
This is in synthesis the statement of Mr. Kennedy. To me and to our people, this is not the statement of a statesman, but of a pirate. There is the following fact: That the measure he takes as a result of all that is a completely unconcealable violation of international law. No state can do that. No state can stop the ships of another state on the high sea. No state can blockade any other state. It is as if we were to send our ships to say: "No, the United States cannot send such arms to Guatemala or Venezuela"-as if any country placed its warships around another country and blockaded it. That is against every international law, and it is also against the ethics of international relations, against the most basic right of the peoples.
In the first place, it is a flagrant violation of law. It commits two violations: one against our sovereignty in that it attempts to blockade our country, and, second, against the right of all countries because it says "any ship of any country can be searched." Where? In North American waters? No. On the high seas; that is to say in international waters. He commits a violation against the right of all the other countries, not merely against Cuba. Of course,this is a deed that will very soon begin to have repercussions throughout the world, because every country sees what it means when one nation assumes the right to blockade another nation.
And the more than 100 independent nations and even those that are less independent must view with justified fear the fact that one nation assumes the right to blockade another nation, to prevent that country from freely receiving the arms that it decides to obtain and the products it decides to obtain. So it violates the sovereign right of our country and violates international law-that is to say, the right of all the nations and establishes a precedent that must be alarming to all the countries of the world. That, in the first place, is what this act by Mr. Kennedy involves.
In the second place, they list another series of measures, and I want to see how they can carry these measures out. It is one thing to do one thing and another to do another. They propose here the support of the OAS. They seek the complicity of the governments of Latin America to commit a crime against a Latin American country.
The governments that have permitted themselves to be dragged along by that policy doubtlessly are committing the greatest act of betrayal ever committed by any government of Latin America. To lend oneself to an aggression like that against our country, t serve as the retinue of the imperialists to commit that crime against a fraternal Latin American country, is the greatest act of betrayal that a government can ever commit; but this is a betrayal the peoples will never commit-because the imperialists want Latin American soldiers to come with them to fight their Cuban brothers, to fight men who have the same problems, the same traditions, the same culture, and the same language. The imperialists do not want to come alone, because in their adventure they want to make cannot fodder of the peoples of Latin America-peoples who will never be in agreement with this aggression.
It will not be we-we will defend ourselves on our shores-it will be the peoples, the ones who will be charged with correcting that policy, and it will be the peoples who will be charged with punishing the traitors. In that way they only bring closer the hour of the revolution in Latin America, with the aggression against Cuba, by serving in the retinue of the imperialists against Cuba, the only thing that is happening is that the hour approaches in which their respective peoples will oblige them to make an accounting.
Revolution arrives when one least suspects it, particularly the more abject, the more servile, and the more traitorous a government may be.
They try that, and they also ask of the United States that we disarm ourselves and (permit?) the sending of observers. With regard to this problem, there is something very peculiar. The imperialists have now invented the terms "offensive" and "defensive" arms. Which are the offensive weapons and which are the defensive? The rifles that cane to Playa Giron were offensive weapons; the bazookas, the grenades, the mortars, the bullets, the knives they landed in Playa Giron were offensive weapons. But the rifles, mortars, and tanks we had were defensive weapons, while the Sherman tanks they landed there were offensive tanks.
The thing that determines the offensive or defensive character of the weapons is not their shape but their use, their employment. And since our weapons were used to defend ourselves, our rifles, our cannons, our tanks were defense; and the rifles, the weapons, the tanks they brought were offensive. That cannot be debated anywhere. But the imperialists have not invented the category of offensive weapons and defensive weapons.
That is a true invention by them in their attempt to keep the people disarmed. What have we said about this? What have we always said? At the time of the joint resolution of the U.S. Congress (Here Castro begins a long aside-Ed.)--another Yankee resolution, and I say Yankee because of its contradictions and its absurdities, because in this very resolution of the Congress it is said: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States, meeting in Congress, that the United States is determined: 1) To prevent by the same means necessary, including the use of arms, that the Marxist-Leninist regime extend by force or threat of force its aggressive or subversive activities to any part of the hemisphere; 2) To prevent in Cuba the creation or use of a military capability of external support that would threaten the security of the United States; 3) To work with the organization of American states and freedom loving Cubans to support the aspirations of the Cuban people for self-determination"-so at the same time they say they are going to take measures of force against subversion, they shamelessly speak of suing subversion against the Cuban revolution-but when they made this statement: prevent in Cuba the creation or use of a military capability or support that threatens U.S. security (Here ends the aside-Ed.)--we advised that our intention was not to attack any country, much less attack any Latin American country or attack the United States.
That is absurd. There is nothing more ridiculous than to say that we have aggressive intentions against the United States. It is too much that after their four years of attacking us, the result is that we are the ones who have aggressive intentions against the United States.
But what did we say in regard to this question of weapons? We said that if Cuba is militarily strengthened to the extent that the United States has taken upon itself to determine, a threat to launch a direct armed attack is absurd.
We do not have the slightest intention of rendering accounts or of consulting the illustrious members of the U.S. Senate and House about the weapons we believe we should obtain and the measures to be taken to properly defend our country-to properly defend our country-just as we did not consult or request authorization about the type of weapons and the measures we took when we destroyed the invaders of Playa Giron.
Do we not have the rights which the international norms, laws, and principles recognize for every sovereign state everywhere in the world? And that part of the world and what country is denied the right to arm itself? What part of the world and what country has its arms controlled? What part of the world and what country? And what makes the imperialists think that we are the only such country in the only such part of the world? Why, when we are a sovereign state, just as sovereign as they-and even more so, because we are not the slaves of exploitation, of imperialism, and of the warmongering policy they serve?
We are not sovereign by the grace of the Yankees, but in our own right. We are not sovereign in word, but we are sovereign in deed, and consistent with our condition as a sovereign state, in order to take away our sovereignty it will be necessary to wipe us off the face of the earth.
Our declaration in reply to the joint resolution went on to say: We have not abdicated and we do not intend to abdicate any of our sovereign prerogatives in favor of the United States. If the U.S. Government did not harbor any aggressive intentions toward our country it would not be interested in the quantity, quality, or type of our weapons. If the United States could give Cuba effective and satisfactory guarantees with regard to our territory and would cease in its counterrevolutionary activities against our people, Cuba would not have to strengthen its defense. Cuba would not even need an army, and all the resources this implies would be invested into the economic and cultural development of the nation. Can one be clearer? Who forced us to arm ourselves?
They do not give up their policy of hostility. They do not give up their policy of aggression and subversion. They proclaim it; and while they are proclaiming this, they are trying to destroy the revolution. They try to tell us what measures we should take; what steps we should take to defend ourselves? The victim must consult with assassins as to how he is going to defend himself?
That is basically what those gentlemen are suggesting. They are mistaken! To say it is one thing, and to believe that we are going to pay attention to them, if they believe that, they are crazy.
Thus, Cuba has always been ready to discuss with the U.S. Government and do its share if it should encounter in the attitude of the U.S. Government a reciprocal attitude to reduce tension and improve relations. This is what Cuba suggested in all frankness and sincerity. Through our President with Cuban revolution made that suggestion at the United Nations.
From my viewpoint, it is undeniable that Cuba is arming itself. It has the right to arm and to defend itself. And the important question is this: Why did Cuba arm itself? There is no doubt that we should have liked to turn all these human and material resources, all the energy we have had to use in strengthening of our military defenses, for the development of our economy and of our culture. We armed ourselves against our own wishes, our desires, because we were forced to strengthen our military defenses on pain of endangering the sovereignty of our nation and the independence of our country.
We armed ourselves because the people of Cuba have the legitimate right granted it by history, which is that of defending its sovereign decisions, of conducting the country along the historic paths which our people have chosen in the exercise of sovereignty. I ask you to give a sincere answer, guided by your conscience: What would have happened had we not strengthened our military defenses when a division, armed and trained by the United States, invaded our country at Playa Giron?
Of course, our revolution would not have been defeated, nor would our historical progress have been turned back, but no doubt it would have been a long and violent battle, and many more human lives and greater wealth would have been destroyed than were.
We liquidated that invasion in 72 hours. That unjustified and arrogant invasion of our country was liquidated in 72 hours because we exercised in time the right to strengthen our defensive military ability to safeguard our sovereignty and our independence and our revolution.
Our people will never forget that friend Kennedy gave orders for the attack, the attack which cost our people so many lives, which left so many widows and so many orphans. Of course, it did not cost dozens and hundreds of thousands of lives because it was defeated rapidly.
But what would have happened had they seized the swamps, that piece of our territory which could be reached only by two narrow highways between swamps, and had they begun to operate their bombers from there, and had they attacked our cities, our transportation lines, and our plants every night? How great would have been the wretchedness and destruction, the killing, and the resultant problems. After all, that was friend Kennedy's intention, as were his intentions in everything else: to deprive our country of food, trade, spare parts, and raw materials by means of the economic blockade, the subversion, the thousands of weapons dropped into the mountains of our country to organize bands of mercenaries, counterrevolutionary bands, and the piratical attacks they made. There were all kinds of attacks-beginning with the planes which, hardly had the revolution begun, came here to burn our sugar plantations, to drop incendiary bombs upon our sugar plantations, and to attack the city of Havana in the middle of the afternoon during the first year of the revolution. They cost dozens of victims.
Then came the attacks like the one on the oil refinery in Santiago de Cuba before the invasion of Giron. The treacherous Pearl Harbor type of bombing carrier out on 15 April, two days prior to the invasion, during which women and children were injured, victims of all (classes?). The documentary pictures taken that day show the bodies of women assassinated by the homicidal bullets of our friend Kennedy's bombers.
Then came the pirate attacks of which there were many, particularly the last one in which a small unarmed launch was attacked by one of the U.S.-armed P.T. boats. Not only was it attacked, but it was sunk, and the two young injured crew members were captured. They were taken to the United States. They were practically kidnapped. They were revolutionary comrades from revolutionary families, and they are holding them there, cynically and impudently kidnapped. Such are all the actions and all the misdeeds which the imperialists have been committing.
All these activities have been constantly carried out against our country, ever since the victory of the revolution, long before we began arming ourselves. When the CIA agents blew up the ship La Coubre, which was carrying weapons and which cost us some 80 lives, we did not even have any relations with the Soviet Union. We had begun to arm ourselves, because after the agrarian reform law they began to prepare the expedition in Guatemala. When? From the very first year of the revolution, five months after the victory of the revolution, simply because the revolution decreed an agrarian law. For this sole reason they began to prepare the expedition, and they began their war on us.
What did we do? We defended ourselves. What did we do but defend ourselves exclusively? Did the imperialists think that after their first attack upon us, after their first action they would have a subdued nation, a subdued government, and a legion of revolutionaries carrying a white flag?
Were they hoping that we revolutionaries would surrender, that the people of Cuba would surrender. That is what they were hoping. That is obviously what they were hoping. But what we did was to defend ourselves. And for each measure that they took against us we took another. What we did was to defend ourselves. It was they who decreed this policy of aggression, of enmity toward us, of the severance of relations with our country.
It was they. If they failed, it was their fault, not ours. It was they who time and again rejected the proposals made by the Cuban revolution, the friendly words of the Cuban revolution, the repeated offers to negotiate, from the beginning until the time the President spoke to the United Nations. Of course they could not reply to these words, because they do not want to negotiate. Why did they not reply to the appeal for negotiations made by the Government of Cuba presented there before the representatives of all the countries of the world?
Therefore we have clearly set forth what we think about arms. We obtain the arms we want to obtain for our defense, and we take the measures we deem necessary to take for our defense. And this is what we have dome. We do not have to tell them what these measures are, nor do we have to tell them what weapons they are. Whoever said that we are obliged to render accounts to the imperialists-the aggressors-of the measures and of the weapons we are taking for our defense?
Up until now none of our weapons has been of the offensive type. Why? Because we have never harbored any aggressive intentions against anyone. Never have we pursued an offensive policy against the rights of any nation, or of any country. We shall never change this policy. We shall never be aggressors. We shall never be the aggressors. That is why our weapons will never be of the offensive type.
We can clearly state that all countries can rest assured, every country in Latin America, every country of America-the United States-because we shall never be the aggressors. Never shall we start the offensive.
But as we declare this clearly and honestly, we also declare that neither shall we be the victims of any aggression. We also declare that with the same determination and the same security we shall know how to defend ourselves, and we shall repel any aggressor. That is what our weapons are for. That is precisely what I said on 26 July in Santiago de Cuba: That we knew of the intentions of our enemies, of their plans, and that we had to take the proper measures, not only to resist, but to repel them. That is simply what has happened. We have taken the proper measures to resist and, listen carefully, to repel any direct attack by the United States.
We decidedly reject any attempt at supervision, any attempt at inspection of our country. Our country will not be subjected to inspection from any quarter. Our country will never be inspected by anyone, because we will never give authorization for that to anyone, and we will never abdicate our sovereign prerogative. Within our frontiers, we are the ones who rule, and we are the ones who do the inspecting. That is all there is to it. We resolutely reject any attempt, or any type of investigation, come from where it may, over our territory. Cuba is not the Congo.
Imperialists went to the Congo flying the U.N. banner. They then assassinated the Congolese leader. They divided the Congo and muzzled it. They killed the independent spirit of that nation.
But Cuba is not the Congo. No one can come under the U.N. banner or any other flag to inspect our country. We are the ones who run this country. And we know how we can defend our integrity and our sovereignty. (Applause)
Anyone who tries to come and inspect Cuba must know that he will have to come equipped for war. That is our final answer to illusions and proposals for carrying out inspections on our territory.
In the same manner that we are not interested in inspecting anyone's territory or concerned over what goes on in anyone's territory, we do not accept inspections of any kind over our territory. Naturally they produce new declarations which each time are more aggressive. And we have one here made by Mr. Dillon. Dillon is the Secretary of the Treasury who was in Mexico attending a meeting of the ministers. He is the man who makes other believe he is giving them money. It reads as follows: He told the Latin American finance ministers today that a new action against Cuba will be fully justified if the offensive preparations on the island are not checked immediately. Dillon said the following during a speech which he made at this meeting:
"I can assure you that the United States is determined to continue on the path it has chosen until the offensive weapons now in Cuba are withdrawn or are neutralized effectively." In other words, he is saying: I can assure you that the United States is determined to continue on the path it has chosen-that is, that the United States is resolutely determined to commit suicide. (Laughter)
He continues: "We hope that this will be realized." Listen to this:
"We hope that this will be realized by the immediate," right now, right here and now, "by the immediate acceptance by Cuba of the resolution which we have proposed to the U.N. Security Council requesting the immediate dismantling of offensive arms in Cuba under the supervision and inspection of the United Nations." This man proposes that we disarm. He wants us to disarm. We are sorry to tell him his hopes will have to be dashed, because not today, or ever, will we disarm as long as the policy of aggression and hostility on the part of the United States persists against us.
What is our position on the principles of the armaments race or disarmament? We are decidedly in favor of disarmament. What is our policy on military bases? We are decidedly in favor of dismantling all military bases. What is our policy on the presence of troops in the various countries? We are in favor of a peace policy. We maintain there should be no troops or military personnel in the territory of any other country. That is our position, the principle we stand on. If the United States wishes disarmament, that is magnificent. Let us all disarm. Magnificent! Let us all support a policy for the dismantling of bases, troops, of all those things scattered throughout the world. Magnificent! We are in accord with that kind of policy.
However, we are not in agreement with a policy which calls for disarming us in the face of the aggressors. That is so stupid, so ridiculous, and so absurd, that it is not worth wasting time merely thinking about such idiocy, (applause) in case it can be called idiocy, because it can be idiocy, if this is believed,although it is not possible. It can be idiocy because they believe they are going to scare us with that.
We are all cured of that here-cured of fear. It could be that they do it only as an excuse. All U.S. policies are riddled with contradictions. They lack sense, principle, and morality. That characterizes U.S. policies. That is why we can say that U.S. policies are piratical, characteristic of filibusters.
What was the new step? Well, as a result of this declaration, we have here an AP cable dispatch which says: "President John F. Kennedy proclaimed a blockade of Cuba today to be in effect tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. He ordered the Defense Department to adopt the measures necessary to implement it, including the use of force if necessary. The chief of the U.S. nation signed this document in his office. It is called 'The banning of offensive arms to Cuba.' He listed the offensive arms: ground-to-ground missiles, bombers, air-to-ground missiles, nuclear warheads, electronic equipment for such weapons, and anything else which might later be added by the Defense Department.
"Kennedy granted the necessary powers to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to use the army in any form necessary, as well as any other force that might be supplied by any other American nation. However, he explained that force is to be used only when it becomes necessary--(Castro repeated) as well as any other force that might be supplied by another American nation. He explained that force is to be used only when it becomes necessary and only in the event that vessels carrying cargo for Cuba refuse to heed orders.
"The Defense Department will establish the restricted or prohibited areas pointing the way for vessels going to Cuba." They own the seas already. Morgan is the owner of the seas. (Deep sigh) I do not say Drake, because Drake was a person of some credit. (laughter) The proclamation says that any vessel will be stopped and will be detained, if necessary. Anyone refusing to heed orders will be taken into U.S. custody and sent elsewhere. The text of the declaration was not immediately released for publication.
White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger only read the clear passages. This is the decree. So, tomorrow, we shall have the little American ships. We have always had them around, really, but now they possibly will make themselves more clearly seen around the island-display of force-and they will be inspecting vessels. What right do they have to do this? They have no right. They can search in the archives or anywhere else, but in the history of piracy they will not find a precedent of any kind for this sort of action. It is an act of war in time of peace. Gentlemen, this is pure Yankee-ism. And they claim they are at peace!
You might go back to the history of fascism to find precedents for all of these actions. They cannot deny it, because precisely now, the United States is unfortunately the refuge of world reaction-of fascism, of racism, and all of the most retrograde and most reactionary currents in the world. This is an historical fact. The United States was once a country of freedom. It was a country enjoying the sympathy of the entire world. But those times of Lincoln-from Lincoln to Kennedy is such a long stretch-and in that country (sigh) the worst and the most reactionary in th world find asylum for the disgrace of humanity.
Very well, this is the situation at this moment-threat, and threats of new measures. Let us look at what they are and how they are to be taken, and what is to happen. It is not the same to be surrounded by little ships-there is none there yet-as to allow things to be changed here within our territory. Threats against measures-it would not be strange-this they have said here in the first part (Sound of rustling of papers) so many papers are involved in this man's speech:
"This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers." It would not be strange if they tried to extend it at a given moment to other types of Cargo, including food and everything-that is, a complete blockade.
We can say that if a complete blockade is imposed, we will be able to resist a complete blockade. (Last part of sentence uttered slowly and with deliberation-Ed.) All of this will only show up the smallness of that country and will add stature to our homeland. At this moment a weave of messages of repudiation is flowing in, despite the reactionary press and the attempts at appearances. It is clear that they have tried to dress up the doll, but it is losing its clothing and the skeleton is beginning to show.
There are a few embassies that have been assailed. Among them is the one in London. The people in London staged a demonstration involving more than 2,000 persons. They broke a cordon of 100 police and made their way to the embassy. This action which the United States has just perpetrated will bring the hatred and reproach of the world upon it. If they add other articles to the blockade and try to starve our people to death, that repulsiveness will increase, and we shall see who resists the most-their own shame or our shame, their own cowardice or our own bravery.
If they blockade us, they will add stature to our homeland, because our homeland will be able to resist. There is no doubt that we will be able to resist any complete blockade. What can happen-a complete blockade or a direct aggression? These are the alternatives. They have already established what they call a quarantine. They are so insolent that they themselves say they call it quarantine, but that it is actually a blockade. That is what they say.
They alternatives are a total blockade or aggression. In the face of that, what can we tell the people? A total blockade we will resist! We will duly adopt the necessary measures, and if the case presents itself, we will be able to resist a complete blockade. That will simply sink imperialism in the deepest abyss of lost prestige and will lift our country to unexpected levels of heroism and greatness. We shall not starve to death.
If the other alternative, direct attack, takes place, we will repel it; that I can tell you. If there is a direct attack we will repel it, and I think that is sufficient. The people must know that. We have the means with which to repel a direct attack, more clearly, the water. (Applause)
They threaten us with being the target of nuclear attacks. They do not frighten us. I would like to know if the Yankee senators, imperialists, and millionaires have the temper of our people, the calm nerves of our people, and the courage of our people; because there is a difference between defending a just cause and being completely convinced of it, and being a pirate. They are pirates!
I would like to know if at this time they are as calm as we in order to face everything calmly. We are not intimidated. But we are calmed by something, and that is knowing that the aggressors will not go unpunished. We are calmed by knowing that the aggressors will be exterminated. Knowing that makes us calm.
We are running risks that we have no choice but to run. They are the risks run by mankind. And we, who are part of mankind, and a very worthy part of mankind, know how to run those risks calmly. And we have-Ed.) the consolation of knowing that the aggressors in a thermonuclear war, those who unleash a thermonuclear war, will be exterminated. I think there are no ambiguities of any kind.
Mankind must face this threat. It must struggle for peace. Peace, for some reason, is a basic aspiration of mankind. That is why mankind must mobilize itself against those who promote war and aggression and place the world on the brink of war, those who follow this policy of playing with the fire of war and nuclear war, which would cause such frightening harm to all mankind.
We, as part of mankind, run those risks. We are not frightened by them. We must know how to live in the era that has fallen to us and with the dignity with which we should know how to live. Who threatens? These gentlemen! But whom do they threaten? Those who cannot be intimidated! It is possible that those who threaten us with these things, these gentlemen who threaten us, are victims of fear. How so, correct? How incredible that it turns out now that in their obsession the imperialists have ended up inventing and fabricating a kind of fear of Cuba. The shark is frightened and is calling the other little sardines to try to devour the former sardine, Cuba. (Chuckles)
The other run? Some governments go and give support? So much more the shame. So much more their infamy, and so much more the glory of our country, for our revolution, and for us all. Because when our country decided to be free and to do what it is doing, to make a revolution, it knew that it had to face the consequences, to face many enemies. We were no longer the retinue, we were no longer the flock; the flock runs along behind, obedient to the voices and the whips of the masters. Not us. And when the reactionaries of this continent gather against our glorious revolution and our heroic people, this only serves to ennoble our people, to raise the merit, the prestige, and the heroism of our people, who, alone in this continent, are facing up to the reactionaries.
Those agreements do not worry us. We know how they are obtained, how they are demanded, how they are extracted. And we know the infinite mud all that involves, mud of which we are clean. They are (meaningless?) agreements, inasmuch as to crush the revolution they would have to come to destroy it by force, and they cannot destroy it by force. All the rest is just talk.
Against that policy of provocation and violence, our position is to be firm and calm and to defend ourselves. The position of the Soviet Union? A calm, exemplary position. The Soviet reply has been a real lesson to imperialism: Firm, calm, full of arguments, full of reasons that reduce the aggressive policy of Mr. Kennedy to its skeleton. And history will have to mark all this down, the position of one camp and the other, the position of the defenders of peace, of those who struggle to avoid for the world the tragedy of a war. History will have to note this.
Mankind must struggle with hope for peace, and that hope is based precisely on the fact that the imperialists today are not the all-powerful gentlemen and masters of the world and that the imperialists cannot set out upon a warm without suffering the consequences of the war they were provoking, which is extermination. That is what may stop them. Because they are no longer masters, mankind must maintain the hope that there will be peace-with that hope, with firmness, the determination, and with a policy of principles.
And that policy of principles gains more sympathizers in the world every day. And that policy of provocation and war, of piracy and arbitrary actions, gains more repudiation in the world every day. History will note that, as well as the responsibility that falls to each.
If the imperialists, against the most basic interest of mankind, force things to the point of unleashing a war very painful to mankind, the historic responsibility will be theirs, and on their shoulders, that is, on their ashes they will have to bear the tremendous and overwhelming responsibility of the harm they might cause the world.
Our policy is a policy of respect for principles, of respect for international norms, and of peace. We can say this because it is true; without having any ulterior purpose, we can say this. And because we can say this and because we have the conviction of the cause we defend, of all the justice and the justification on our side, and because we know that these risks our people are running are not being run because we are a corrupt vile, abject people, or a people who live in the muck of injustice and exploitation, but because our people have unfurled a banner of justice, a people that has freed itself of vices, of the depravity, exploitation, and the moral and material poverty of the past, and a people that are very convinced of what they are doing-from which stems its strength, very much convinced of the historic role it is playing, very much convinced of the prestige and the faith the other peoples of the world have placed in them-that is why, because they are convinced of that, they know how to look ahead calmly. All of us, men and women, young and old, we are all united in this hour of danger, and ours, the fate of all the revolutionaries and the patriots, will be the same fate, and the victory will belong to all.
by Fidel Castro