Fidel's September 11 speech

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Sun Sep 16 20:14:14 MDT 2001

315 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7215 * Fax: 212-689-9073

Unofficial Translation


Today is a day of tragedy for the United States. You know very well that
hatred against the US people has never been sown here. Exactly due to our
culture, lack of prejudice, and to our feeling of full freedom -- with a
homeland and without a master -- this is the country where American citizens
are treated more respectfully. We are so strong because we have never
preached any kind of national hatred, or any feeling similar to fanaticism,
and because our conduct is based on principles and ideas, and we treat-and
they have noticed that -- every American citizen who visit us with great

Furthermore, we cannot forget the American people that put an end to the
Viet Nam war with its overwhelming opposition to that genocidal war; we
cannot forget the American people that -in an excess of 80%- supported the
return of Elián González to his homeland (APPLAUSE); we cannot forget either
how much idealism, usually affected by deception -- as we have said many
times -- has been used to lead an American citizen to support and unjust
cause or war. First, this citizen has to be misled. The classical method
used in the policy of that huge country is that of deception first, and then
they have the support of the people. When it is the other way around and the
citizen realizes that something is unjust, due to his tradition of idealism,
he opposes what he has been supporting, which is usually a very bad cause
that he has been supporting with a conviction that what he is doing is fair.

Therefore, we -- not knowing the exact number of casualties but seeing those
moving scenes and remaining loyal to the path we have always followed --
have felt grief and sadness together with the American people.

We do not flatter any government or ask for forgiveness or favors, and not
even a single atom of fear is harbored in our hearts. The history of our
Revolution has proven its capacity to stand up to challenges, its capacity
to fight and its capacity to resist whatever it has to resist; that is what
has turned us into an invincible people. These are our principles. Our
Revolution is based on ideas, persuasion and not on the use of force. I hope
there isn't any insane person in the world capable of saying that 1.2
million citizens were compelled or forced to march along the sea front

That has been our reaction, and we wanted our people to see the scenes and
watch the tragedy. We have not hesitated to say it publicly, and right here
I have a statement, which was handed out to the international media around
3:00 PM. In the mean time, our media was immersed in divulging the facts,
and the statement will be published tonight.

I want to anticipate and read it here and let you know the Official
Statement by Government of Cuba on the events that took place in the United

"The Government of the Republic of Cuba has learned with grief and sadness
of the violent, surprise attacks carried out this morning against civilian
and official facilities in the cities of New York and Washington -- which
have caused numerous deaths.

"Cuba's position against any terrorist action is known." Our history proves
that, and those who know the history of our revolutionary struggles know it
well. "It is not possible to forget that for over 40 years our country has
been a victim of such actions fostered from within the territory of the
United States. Both for historical reasons and ethical principles, the
Government of our country strongly rejects and condemns the attacks against
the aforementioned facilities and hereby expresses its most heartfelt
sympathies to the American people for the painful, unjustifiable loss of
human lives resulting from such attacks.

In this bitter hour, our people commiserate with the people of the United
States and express their full willingness to cooperate -- to the extent of
its modest possibilities -- with the health institutions and any other
medical or humanitarian organization of that country in treating, caring for
and rehabilitating the victims caused by this morning's events. (APPLAUSE)

This has not only been made public, but has also been officially
transmitted, especially when we started to hear of the impressive numbers of
possible casualties, and knew that hospitals were full of injured.

Although it is not known whether the casualties are 5000, 10 000, 15 000 or
20 000, it is known that the planes that crashed against the Twin Towers or
against the Pentagon were carrying hundreds of passengers, and we have
offered what we can, if necessary.

That is a country with great scientific and medical development and
resources, but at some point in time it could need blood of a specific group
or plasma -- any other product that we could donate, we would give it with
pleasure -- or medical support or paramedics. We know many hospitals are
short of specific technicians and professionals. In other words, we want to
express our attitude and willingness in relation to these tragic events.

It all has some antecedents, as I told we have been affected by terrorism
for more than forty years; we have even published that on specific
occasions. We have informed the US government of important risks. This is an
example; it's a page and a quarter of a page long.

After the terrorist attacks against our hotels by the terrorist mafia that
organized and paid for the terrorist attacks against Cuba and like dozens of
assassination plots organized against me when I have needed to travel, a
group headed by the monster of Posada Carriles -- when we started to capture
some of his accomplices, who were alien mercenaries -- intended to use a
sophisticated procedure in which they planted bombs in hotels or in La
Bodeguita del Medio Restaurant that could burst 99 hours after being
planted. They could come here, plant the bomb, party for three days and go
back to their country before the bomb exploded. There was one person who
laid five bombs and attempted to make them blow up almost simultaneously,
one after the other. You can see up to where they have gone.

We got in contact with the US Government more than once through confidential
channels, and here I have one of the direct messages that we sent to the
President at that time. These were messages sent through confidential
channels, not official ones, through friends of ours who were also friends
of his, and we explained everything that we wanted them to convey. Part of
this information was used once, but I will mention an example:

"An important issue:

"Number one: Plots for terrorist acts against Cuba are still in place. The
Cuban American National Foundation is paying for them, and they are using
Central American mercenaries. Two new attempts to make bombs explode in our
tourist centers have been carried out before and after the Pope's visit to

"In the first case, the people responsible managed to escape and returned to
Central America by plane, without accomplishing their goal, and the
technical devises and explosives they left behind were seized.

"In the second attempt, three mercenaries were arrested, and we seized the
explosives and technical devises; they are Guatemalans. They would receive
1500 dollars per every one of the four bombs they had to explode. These were
the first that we captured, and not the one that planted more bombs.

"Let me check and don't become impatient because there is not much left.

"In both cases, they were hired and equipped by agents of the network set up
by the Cuban American National Foundation; now they are planning and
developing steps to explode bombs on aircrafts from Cuban or any other
foreign airline flying to Cuba, which carries tourists to and from Latin
American countries.

"The method is similar: they plant a small devise in a hidden place on the
plane, use powerfully detonating explosive controlled from a digital watch
that can be programmed up to 99 hours prior to its blast, and leave the
aircraft normally at its destination; then the explosion would take place
while on the ground or in the middle of the flight. These are really
devilish procedures: easy to assemble mechanisms, components almost
impossible to be detected, minimal training for their use, almost total
impunity, extremely dangerous for airlines, tourist or any other kind of
facility. These are instruments that can be used for very serious crimes.

"If those possibilities get to be divulged and known -- and we opposed to
divulging the technology they used- they may turn into an epidemics, as
happened with the hijacking at some other time. Other US-based extremist
groups of Cuban origin are starting to move in that direction.

"The US police and intelligence agencies have enough and reliable
information on the main people responsible. If the United States really
wants it, this new form of terrorism can be frustrated on time. If the US
does not comply with the fundamental duty of fighting it, it cannot be
stopped. The responsibility to do so cannot be only faced by Cuba; any other
country of the world could be the victim of that very soon.

We informed [them of] this; they paid so much attention that they even
consulted with us about the convenience of sending a text issued by the US
Government to Airlines.

They sent us the text in which the airlines were informed the following: "We
have received non confirmed information on a plot to plant explosive
artifacts on board of civilian aircrafts operating in Cuba and Latin
America. People involved are planning to plant a small explosive artifact on
board." In other words, they explained what we had told them.

"We cannot discard the possibility that the threat could include
international air cargo operations from the United States.

"The US Government continues to compile further information to clarify,
verify and turn down that threat."

We express our opposition to making that kind of warning because one of the
objectives of those individuals was to create panic. We also explained that
there were other procedures that we used -- we set up the appropriate guard
systems wherever there was any risk of bombs, we searched and knew who could
plant them and who were involved. We kept watching, which is what has to be
done, if you don't want to grow panic or make a scandal or grant the
perpetrators the possibility to meet their objective, which was to impinge
on the economy of the country and sow terror.

Anyway, they published the information. That's OK, we had already
strengthened our mechanisms to capture those individuals, they have not even
been able to plant a small bomb ever since, and the guard system is still in
place. When they plotted the assassination attempt in Panama, we knew more
than what they were planning, and more than what they knew. That is very

There is the Miami mafia making efforts to release them. They have already
planned how to do it, or the country through which they will evacuate them
and how. There, they will pretend to be sick and will move, and will freely
receive visitors from Miami. We even know that they participated in an
infiltration through Santa Clara some months ago.

Thanks to many friends that we have everywhere and to men like the ones who
are here, the country has been able to defend itself against terrorism

I point out this here because there is a reality, there are more papers and
notes, and we have sometimes sent verbal messages, and sometimes we have
left written evidence, and one of the arguments that we have used is
undeniable -- the United States is the country with the largest number of
extremist organized groups, out of which 400 hold weapons.

The hijacks -- a method used against Cuba -- became a universal plague, and
it was Cuba, which solved this problem at the end when -- after repeated
warnings -- we sent back two hijackers. It's painful because they were Cuban
citizens but we warned them, they came and we returned them. We complied
with our public oath, yet they never again provided us with any information
about them to give to their relatives. They have their own way of acting.
Nobody knows. I know they were sentenced to 40 years imprisonment, and that
put an end to those hijacks.

But listen, you have 800 groups ... Sometimes they have locked themselves in
a place due to a certain reason, they have burned themselves and died. They
have groups, which -- due to political or sometimes religious reasons -- are
given to the use of force or to prepare poisons and products to act against
the US authorities themselves. I am talking about the mafia people. I am
talking about hundreds of extremist organized groups, acting within the
United States. They blew up that building in Oklahoma not so long ago.

The country that is most vulnerable to terrorism is the United States; it is
the country with more planes, more dependable on technical resources,
electric grids, pipelines, and etcetera. Many of the components of these
groups are fascist; they don't care about killing. Mentally speaking, they
must be closer to madness than to a balanced intelligence. We have told them
that it's necessary to avoid the dissemination of these methods, we use that
argument because they are easy to use and a danger for you.

Right now, when I was coming here, there was no element of judgment to say
who could explode those bombs, because it may have been an action planned
and carried out by any of these groups, which have already done it, like in
the case of Oklahoma, or it may have been done by groups from abroad.
However, it is evident -- due to the details received -- that it was
effectively organized, in other words, with sufficient organization and
synchronization, by people who have the knowledge, the training and by
pilots who were able to drive these sizable Boeings, by people who
coordinated the exact times at which they were going to act.

They undoubtedly hijacked the planes, detouring them from their air route,
and had the pilots who could drive the planes directly against one tower,
some minutes later against the other, and nearly at the same time, a third
plane collided against the Pentagon.

In other words, they are people who are very well trained and organized, and
they do not necessarily require using large groups. Nobody can imagine the
damage that can be caused by a small group of 20, 25 or 30 people, who are
extremist fanatics committed to certain ideas, and the place they can damage
the most is the United States. You can notice how they studied the time in
which more people would be in the place -- around 9:00 AM, the damage they
could make, and the thousands of casualties they could cause.

Actually, they now have to look for clues because this event has special
characteristics. That is the reason why I believe the most important duty of
American leaders is to fight terrorism, and these tragedies are partly the
result of the use terrorist methods against other countries, like in the
case of Cuba for loads of years. The idea of terrorism has been
disseminated, and there is no power in the world today, however its size,
that can avoid events of this nature because they are carried out by
fanatics, people who are totally indifferent to death. Therefore, the
struggle against such methods is difficult.

A lesson can be drawn from that: none of the problems affecting today's
world can be solved with the use of force, there is no global, technological
or military power, which can guarantee immunity against such acts, because
they can be organized by small groups, difficult to detect, and what's more
complicated, used by suicidal people. Therefore, the general effort of the
international community must be to put an end to a number of conflicts
affecting the world, at least in this area, we must put an end to world
terrorism (APPLAUSE) and raise a world awareness against terrorism. I speak
on behalf of a country, which has lived through more than 40 years of
Revolution, and has gained much experience, a country, which is united and
has a high cultural level. It is not a people of fanatics; it has not sown
fanaticism, but ideas, convictions and principles.

We could be in a better position to defend ourselves, and we have
demonstrated it: how many lives have we managed to save in the face of so
much money and resources used to sow terrorism in our homeland! We have 40
years of experience, so we are ten times more prepared than the United

It is very important to which the reaction of the US Government is going to
be. Dangerous days for the world may approach in the days to come, and I
don't speak about Cuba. Cuba is the quietest country in the world due to
several reasons: due to our policy, our kind of struggle, our doctrine, and
also, comrades all, and due to the total lack of fear.

Nothing troubles us. Nothing intimidates us. It would be very difficult to
put together a package against Cuba, not even its inventor and the patent
holder would believe it, this is very difficult and today, Cuba is not a
little thing in the world. (APPLAUSE) Cuba has a very high moral position,
and a very sound political position in the world. It does not even come
through my mind, although there is one of those mafia fools attempting to
arouse intrigues, and I think he even mentioned Venezuela and Cuba; one of
the so many mafia members, one of those big mouth. No one will pay the
slightest attention, but there will be tension and risks, depending on how
the US Government acts.

The days to come will be tense both inside and outside the United States; I
don't know how many people will start to express their views.

Whenever there is a tragedy like this one, -- no matter how difficult to
avoid it may be, I see no other way, and if at some point I am allowed to
make suggestion to the adversary who has been tough with us for many years,
but knows we are tough, knows we resist, and knows we are not stupid and
there is a little respect for our people -- there are many problems in many
places. However, if -- under specific circumstances -- it were correct to
suggest something to the adversary, for the well being of the American
people and based on the arguments that I mentioned, we would advise the
leaders of the powerful empire to be sober, to act with calmness, not to be
carried away by a fit of rage or hatred and not to start to try to hunt
people down by throwing bombs everywhere.

I reiterate that none of the world problems -- not even terrorism -- can be
solved with the use of force, and every act of force, every imprudent act of
use of force anywhere is going to aggravate the world problems.

The path should not be the use of force; I say this with the full conviction
of having always talked honestly, a sound conviction of a person who has
outlived what we have lived through. Only by being right, and by having an
intelligent policy of becoming strong and united... I think this unusual
event must be used to create an international front against terrorism.
However, this international front against terrorism cannot be solved by
sanctioning a terrorist here and another one there. It is resolved, inter
alia, by putting an end to State terrorism (APPLAUSE), by putting an end to
genocide and by faithfully pursuing a policy of peace. The world cannot be
saved unless a path of international peace and cooperation is pursued.

Nobody must imagine that we are trying to buy a ton of any thing. We have
proven that we can survive, live and make progress, and everything seen here
today is an expression of an unprecedented progress in history (APPLAUSE).
Progress is not achieved only through the manufacturing of automobiles;
progress is made by developing intelligence, providing knowledge and
culture, and looking after human beings accordingly -- that is the secret of
the tremendous strength of our Revolution.

The world cannot be saved, and by that I refer to the situations of
violence. Let us look for peace everywhere to protect all the people from
that plague of terrorism, which is one of the plagues (APPLAUSE), because
there is horrible plague today, which is called AIDS, for instance. There is
another plague, which kills tens of millions of children, adolescents and
people in the world of starvation, diseases and lack of medicine.

In the political area, there are absolutist ideas, which a single way of
thinking that they try to impose on the world, and they promote rebellious
attitudes and irritation everywhere.

This world cannot be saved -- and it does not have anything to do with
terrorism -- if this unfair economic and social order continues to be
developed and applied; an order, which leads the world into catastrophe,
into a blind path for the 6.2 billion people who live today in this planet
increasingly more destroyed, and into more poverty, unemployment and
despair. The masses in different historical places like Seattle, Quebec,
Washington and Genova have proven that.

New York, September 12, 2001

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