Fidel re-proclaims the socialist nature of the Revolution and comments on the summit in Quebec
schaffer at optonline.net
Fri Apr 20 18:02:26 MDT 2001
[ bounced from unsubbed "Thomas Warner" <twwarner at qwest.net>, Part I]
This Speech was delivered by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz,
President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of the
Republic of Cuba, on the 40th Anniversary of the proclamation of the
socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution, held on 23rd Ave. and 12th
St. in Havana City. April 16, 2001. It crystallizes the reasons why
so many Cubans and so many supporters from around the world devote
their energies to the defense of the Cuban revolution. He also
comments on the summit in Quebec.
I think that you will find it enjoyable and informative.
Thomas W. Warner (Secretary, Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee)
8923 2nd Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA, 98115
warner at scn.org
Exactly 40 years ago, at this same time, in this same place, we
proclaimed the socialist nature of our Revolution. We had just buried
the men who had died victims of the perfidious attack made at daybreak
on April 15, 1961.
The B-26 bombers used for the attack, a property of the
U.S. government, had been painted with the color and insignias of our
modest Air Force. Our three main air bases -in Ciudad Libertad, San
Antonio de los Baños and Santiago de Cuba- were the targets hit on
that treacherous and bloody morning. The aircraft involved were
carrying 10,000 kilograms of bombs, 64 five-inch missiles and 23,040
50-caliber bullets. In a matter of seconds, our young artillerymen,
still in training, responded to the surprise attack with their
antiaircraft weapons. The enemy could only destroy three fighter
planes on the ground.
Seven of our compatriots died and 53 others were wounded, including
five children who lived in the vicinity of the Ciudad Libertad
The attackers' planes had taken off from a base in Nicaragua. One of
them was shot down, two had two make forced landings in different
places, and all those that made it back to their base had been hit
repeatedly by antiaircraft fire.
By the end of the fighting at the Bay of Pigs, our devious enemy had
lost 14 pilots, including four U.S. citizens, and 62% of the aircraft
supplied by the United States.
The Revolution, after fighting off the attack of April 15, was still
left with more fighter planes than pilots. And 48 hours later, at
daybreak on April 17, those pilots would deal a devastating blow to
the invading forces. That air attack had served to alert us to the
imminent invasion, 36 hours before the invaders had landed. By then,
all of our forces were mobilized and on full alert.
Thus the superpower commenced its loathsome and cowardly military
aggression against our country in a flagrant violation of
As was to be expected, the powerful imperialist machinery of
propaganda and deception was immediately put in action. How did the
United States explain those events to the world?
In order to explain this to the generations born later, I will use
excerpts from the same wire dispatches I used on that April 16 to
denounce the shameless conduct of the American leaders:
"Miami, April 15, UPI. Cuban pilots who escaped from Fidel Castro's
Air Force landed today in Florida in World War II bombers after having
blown up Cuban military facilities. [...] One of the Cuban Air Force
B-26 bombers landed in the Miami international airport riddled with
bullet holes from antiaircraft artillery and machine guns, and with
only one of its engines working. Another came down in the air station
at the Key West marina; a third bomber landed in another foreign
country different from the one they had originally planned to head to
after the attack. There are unconfirmed reports of another plane
crashing off Tortuga Island. The U.S. Navy is investigating into the
case. The pilots, who asked for their identities not to be revealed,
disembarked from their planes wearing their maneuver uniforms and
immediately requested asylum in the United States."
Minutes later, another cable:
"Miami, UPI. The pilot of the bomber that landed in Miami explained
that he was one of the 12 B-26 pilots who remained in the Cuban Air
Force. [...] 'My comrades took off earlier to attack the airfields we
had agreed to hit. Later, because I was running out of fuel, I had to
head to Miami because I wouldn't have been able to make it to our
"Miami, April 15, AP. Three Cuban bomber pilots, fearful of being
betrayed in their plans to escape from Fidel Castro's government, fled
to the United States today after strafing and bombing the airports in
Santiago and Havana.
"One of the two twin-engine bombers landed in Miami international
airport, and the pilot described how he and three others of the 12
B-26 pilots who remain in the Cuban Air Force had planned for months
to escape from Cuba. [...] Immigration authorities placed the Cubans
in custody and seized the planes." As you can see, they seized their
"Mexico City, April 15, AP. The bombing of Cuban bases by Cuban
deserter planes was particularly welcomed here by the majority of
newspapers, which joined with the Cuban exile groups to say that the
bombing was the beginning of a movement for liberation from
communism. [...] A great deal of activity was seen among the Cuban
exiles. A Cuban source commented that the new Cuban government in
exile would head to Cuba shortly after the first wave of the invasion
against the Fidel Castro regime, to establish a provisional government
that it hoped would be quickly recognized by many anti-Castro Latin
American countries. Amado Hernández Valdés, of the Cuban Democratic
Revolutionary Front here, said that the time of liberation was drawing
close. He declared that four Cuban bases had been attacked by the
three Cuban deserter planes."
Both agencies published the following news item:
"Statement issued by Dr. Miró Cardona: A heroic blow in favor of Cuban
freedom was dealt this morning by a certain number of officers from
the Cuban Air Force. Before flying their planes to freedom, these true
revolutionaries tried to destroy as many of Castro's military planes
as possible. The Revolutionary Council is proud to announce that their
plans were carried out successfully, and that the Council has been in
contact with them and has encouraged these brave pilots. Their action
is another example of the desperation to which patriots of all social
strata can be led under Castro's relentless tyranny.
While Castro and his followers try to convince the world that Cuba has
been threatened by an invasion from abroad, this blow in favor of
liberty like others before it, was dealt by Cubans living in Cuba who
decided to fight back against tyranny and oppression or die
trying. For security reasons, no further details will be released."
Miró Cardona was none other than the head of the provisional
government that the United States had locked up in the barracks of an
air base, together with other political leaders, with their bags all
packed and a plane ready to land them on an airstrip in the Bay of
Pigs as soon as a beachhead had been secured.
But, the numberless lies did not stop here. The wire services reported
that same afternoon:
"The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, rejected
Roa's claims [...] and showed the Commission photographs from United
Press International showing two airplanes that landed in Florida today
after taking part in the raids against three Cuban cities. 'They have
the mark of Castro's Air Force on their tails, they have the star and
the Cuban initials; these are clearly visible. I will exhibit these
photographs with pleasure.' Stevenson added that those two planes were
piloted by officers of the Cuban Air Force and manned by deserters
from the Castro regime. 'No U.S. personnel participated in the
incident today, and the planes were not from the United States, they
were Castro's own planes that took off from his own airfields.'"
Possibly the U.S. government's trickery and lies deceived even the
It is clear how such lies were concocted in advance and fed to the
pilots: everyone regurgitated the same lies with the same details.
The frustrated President of the Provisional Government could not be
expected to do anything other than repeat the same version.
The case of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was
lamentable. He had been a presidential candidate respected by the
general public and politicians in the United States. Many believe he
too was deceived, with no consideration whatsoever for his reputation.
Forty years have passed. Nevertheless, the methods of lies and
deception used by the empire and its mercenary allies remain
unchanged. Barely four years ago, when bombs began to explode in
Havana hotels, financed by the Cuban-American National Foundation and
brought to Cuba from Central America by bloodthirsty terrorists, the
story they tried to spread was that these were actions carried out by
members of the Cuban state security services disgruntled with the
Almost at the end of the speech I gave here 40 years ago, I said,
"What the imperialists cannot forgive us is that we are here. What
they cannot forgive us is the dignity, the determination, the courage,
the ideological firmness, the spirit of sacrifice and the
revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people, and the fact that we have
undertaken a socialist revolution. And that socialist revolution we
defend with these guns! (Applause and shouts of "Viva Fidel!") We
defend that socialist revolution with the same courage with which our
antiaircraft artillery force riddled the attacking planes with bullets
yesterday! We do not defend it with mercenaries; we defend it with the
men and women of our people!
"Is it the millionaires who have the weapons?" (Shouts of "No!")
"Is it the children of the rich who have the weapons?" (Shouts of
"No!") That is what I asked then, and this is what you answer now.
"Is it the foremen who have the weapons?" (Shouts of "No!")
"Who has the weapons?" (Shouts of "The Cuban people!")
"Whose hands are those raising those weapons?" (Shouts of "The
"Are they the hands of the rich kids?" (Shouts of "No!")
"Are they the hands of the rich?" (Shouts of "No!")
"Are they the hands of the exploiters?" (Shouts of "No!")
"Whose hands are those raising those weapons?" (Shouts of "The
"Are they not the hands of workers, are they not the hands of
peasants, are they not hands callused by work, are they not creative
hands, are they not the humble hands of the people?" (Shouts of
"And who makes up the majority of the people, the millionaires or the
workers?" (Shouts of "The workers!") "The exploiters or the
exploited?" (Shouts of "The exploited!") "The privileged or the
humble?" (Shouts of "The humble!")
"Do the privileged have them? (Shouts of "No!")
"Do the humble have them? (Shouts of "Yes!")
"Are the privileged the minority? (Shouts of "Yes!")
"Are the humble the majority? (Shouts of "Yes!")
"Is a revolution democratic when it is the humble who have the
weapons? (Shouts of "Yes!")
"Comrades, workers and peasants: This is the socialist and democratic
revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble! (Applause
and Shouts of "Long live the Commander inn Chief!") And for this
revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble, we are
willing to give our lives!
"Yesterday's attack, which cost seven heroic lives, was aimed at
destroying our planes on the ground. But they failed, they only
destroyed three planes, and the bulk of the enemy planes were damaged
or shot down."
Compatriots of yesterday, today and tomorrow:
At the Bay of Pigs, our patriotic and heroic people, who had matured
extraordinarily in barely two years of confrontation with the powerful
empire, fought fearlessly and unwaveringly for socialism.
Once and for all, they crushed the absurd idea that the suffering
endured, and the blood and tears spilled throughout almost a hundred
years of struggle for independence and justice against Spanish
colonialism and its slavery-based model of exploitation, and later
against imperialist domination and the corrupt and bloody governments
imposed on Cuba by the United States, were to serve for the rebuilding
of a neocolonialist, capitalist and bourgeois society. It was
essential to seek out loftier objectives in the political and social
development of Cuba.
It was necessary, and it was possible. We did it at the exact and
precise moment in history, not a minute before and not a minute later,
and we were daring enough to attempt it.
When we see that south of the Río Grande there is a whole collection
of balkanized countries --although they all share the same language,
culture, history and ethnic roots-about to be devoured by the mighty,
expansionist and insatiable superpower of the turbulent and brutal
north that scorns us, we Cubans can cry out to the top of our voices:
Bless that day, a thousand times over, that we proclaimed our
revolution to be socialist! (Applause and shouts of "Fidel! Fidel!
Fidel!") Today it might have been too late. The victory of January 1,
1959 offered an exceptional opportunity to do it.
Without socialism, we would not have been able to reduce the
illiteracy rate to zero.
Without socialism, we would not have schools and teachers for all our
children, without a single exception, even in the most distant and
remote corners of the country. Nor would we have special schools for
those who need them, nor a primary schooling rate of 100%, nor a
secondary schooling rate of 98.8%. We would not have exact science
vocational schools, or senior high schools, or military schools, or
sports training schools, or schools for physical education and sports
instructors, or trade schools, or technological and polytechnic
professional training institutes, or colleges for workers and
peasants, or language schools, or art schools in every province of the
Without socialism, Cuba today would not have 700,000 university
graduates, 15 teacher-training colleges, 22 medical schools, a total
of 51 higher education institutions, plus 12 affiliates and
independent faculties, with 137,000 university students.
Without socialism, we would not have 67,500 doctors, over 250,000
professors and teachers, and 34,000 physical education and sports
instructors, the highest number per capita in all three categories
among all countries in the world.
Without socialism, sports would not be a right of the people, and Cuba
would not win more Olympic gold medals per capita than any other
Without socialism, we would not have been able to attain the level of
political culture we have today.
Without socialism, we would not have 30,133 family doctors, 436
polyclinics, 275 hospitals, both general and specialized, including
surgical, pediatric and maternal hospitals, and 13 specialized medical
Without socialism, our country would not have 133 scientific research
centers and tens of thousands of either Masters or Ph.D. researchers.
Without socialism, there would not be 1,012, 000 retired workers,
325,500 pensioners and 120,000 people on social welfare receiving
social security benefits, without a single exception, nor would those
social security benefits be available to all of the country's people
Without socialism, 163,000 peasants would not be the owners of their
lands, whether in the form of individually owned parcels or
cooperatives, nor would 252,000 agricultural workers be the owners of
the facilities, machinery and crops in the basic units of cooperative
Without socialism, 85% of families would not own their homes, nor
would 95% of the population have access to electricity, and 95.3% to
drinking water; 48,540 kilometers of highways would not have been
built, nor would there be 1005 water reservoirs, which hold almost all
of the water that can be dammed for agricultural, industrial and
Without socialism, the infant mortality rate would not be less than 8
per 1000 live births. Vaccines against 13 diseases would not protect
our children, nor would our people's life expectancy at birth be 76
years. The HIV positives' rate would not be 0.03%, as compared to 0.6%
in the United States and other developed and wealthy countries; nor
would 575,000 voluntary blood donations have been made in the year
Without socialism, we would not be able to promise, as we are now
doing, to provide decent employment to 100% of our youth under the
sole condition that they be trained; nor would we be developing the
programs that will offer them all the opportunity for training.
Without socialism, manual laborers and intellectuals, whose works help
fulfill the material and spiritual needs of our species, would never
have taken the vanguard role they justly deserve in human society.
Without socialism, Cuban women, formerly discriminated against and
relegated to humiliating work, would not constitute 65% of the
country's technical workforce today, nor would they enjoy the right to
equal pay for equal work, a goal that has yet to be achieved in almost
all of the developed capitalist countries.
Without socialism, there would not be mass organizations, made up of
workers and laborers, peasants, women, neighborhood residents
organized into Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, primary
school, junior and senior high school students, university students,
veterans of the Cuban revolution. These organizations encompass the
vast majority of our people and play a decisive role in the
revolutionary process and the truly democratic participation of all
the people in the leadership and destiny of the country.
Without socialism, we could not have a society without beggars
wandering the streets, without children going barefoot or begging, or
absent from school because they need to work for a living, or
subjected to sexual exploitation, or used for committing crimes, or
joining gangs, things that are so common in other parts of the world,
including the United States.
Without socialism, Cuba would not have an outstanding place in its
growing, tenacious and sustained struggle to preserve the environment.
Without socialism, the country's cultural heritage would be left
unprotected, subjected to plunder or destruction. The historic parts
of Cuba's oldest cities would have been replaced with new buildings
totally unrelated to their architectural surroundings. The oldest
section of our capital, where visitors increasingly marvel at the
painstaking care taken in its restoration and preservation, would not
exist. The eyesore built behind the Palace of the Captains-General,
where a centuries-old university building was torn down to put up a
heliport in its place, provides ample evidence for these claims.
Without socialism, we would not have been able to withstand the
overpowering foreign influence progressively imposed on so many
peoples around the world, nor would we be witnessing the vigorous
cultural and artistic movement developing in our country today: the
Higher Institute of Arts, a prestigious institution created by the
Revolution, is being restored and expanded; valuable knowledge is
being passed on in the 43 vocational and professional art schools
throughout the country, which will soon grow in number; and 4000 young
people have just entered the first year of study in 15 new art
instructor training schools (Shouts from the audience), created last
year. Every year, another 4000 students will enter these schools,
which have room for a total enrollment of 15,000, and they will
graduate with a baccalaureate degree in humanities.
Presently, we have 306 cultural centers, 292 museums, 368 public
libraries open to the entire population, and 181 art galleries.
Without socialism, we would not have the televised courses of
University for All; its initial programming has had a tremendous
impact, and it promises to contribute significantly to achieving a
level of comprehensive general knowledge that will make Cubans the
most educated people in the world.
Three hundred Youth Computer Clubs are operating, and 20,000 personal
computers are being distributed among junior and senior high
schools. Computer skills will be taught on a mass basis from preschool
all the way up to the university level.
The list of comparisons and contrasts would be endless, but there are
a few that I cannot fail to mention, given their patriotic,
internationalist and human significance:
Without socialism, Cuba would not have been able to endure 42 years of
hostility, blockade and economic war imposed by imperialism, much less
a ten-year special period that has still not ended. It would not have
been able to achieve an appreciation of its currency from 150 pesos to
the dollar in 1994 to just 20 pesos to the dollar in 1999, a feat
unequalled by any other country. Nor would it have been possible, in
the midst of inconceivable difficulties, to initiate modest yet
sustained and sound economic growth.
Without socialism, Cuba would not be the only country in the world
today that does not need trade with the United States in order to
survive, and even to advance, both economically and socially. As to
the latter, not even the wealthiest and most industrialized countries
compare to Cuba.
[ end Part I ]
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