Fidel in Buenos Aires (1959)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Sun Dec 1 08:59:32 MST 2002

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Text of the speech delivered by
Dr. Fidel Castro,
Prime Minister of the
Cuban Government, before the
Delegates from the 21 American
nations assembled at Buenos Aires.
May 2, 1959
La Habana, diciembre 4 de 1959.

Mister Chairman, Delegates:

First of all I want to beg your pardon for breaking the rule
according to which I am supposed to speak sitting down, as
it cramps my style; I really feel much better when I stand
up.  Besides, due to this veritable invasion of reporters
and journalists it would be impossible for me to see the
rest of the delegation.

Then I want to thank you all for the welcoming words with
which we were received at this meeting, and at the same time
I want to say that it is a great honor for me to be present
at this conference, which we Cubans expect to yield
excellent results.

Our presence here shows how much this meeting interests us
Cubans. This great interest is due to two different reasons:
one is our conviction that economic development is of
paramount importance to the Latin American people; and the
other is the belief that the hour has arrived for the people
of Latin America to make a really serious effort to find a
real solution, a real remedy for our problems and ailments,
which are really economic.  That is why we don't hesitate to
declare from the--start, our adherence and our support to
the happy initiative of the--President of Brazil, and to
take advantage of the occasion it gives us to endorse and
sponsor it.

Since we arrived in this country we have spent our
time,--which by the way, has only lasted twenty some
hours--in reading and carefully studying the statements of
the various Delegates.

I did not bring a written speech with me; I decided that it
would be better to run the risks inherent in spontaneous
utterances and absolute naiveness of speech; sometimes the
typewriter betrays the mind and, since we have confidence in
the truths that are already becoming evident in the
conscience of our Continent, there is no reason to hesitate
to express what we feel clearly and spontaneously.

I happen to be a newcomer in these meetings; furthermore, in
our Country we are new Government; and perhaps it is because
of that our ideas are fresher and more faithfully
representative of the people's hopes and ambitions, as we
are still feeling as people, and are speaking here as
people; as people living a very special moment of their
history; as people who have faith in their own destiny.

I am here to speak in the name of my people, supported by
that--people and with the frankness customarily found in our
people.  Having listened attentively to the speeches
delivered here, we have found that they are really
magnificent examples of public speaking as an art, and that
they contain excellent pronouncements and unquestionable
truths...  There is no doubt that the thought of the capable
men of our Continent has posed with great wisdom the
problems adversely affecting the interests of the Continent.
There is no question that our minds are sufficiently clear
to analyze and understand our problems; and there is no
doubt that we handle them wisely and actually find good
solutions.  The trouble is that very often they never become

So, international conferences have become veritable contests
of elegant oratory.  The result is, and I might as well be
frank here, that the peoples hardly hear anything of what is
discussed in those international conferences.  The people
are hardly concerned about the matters and questions
discussed at international conferences.  The--people hardly
believe in the solutions reached at the international
conferences.  The fact is that they don't have any faith
left.  And they don't have any faith because they don't see
any really tangible results, and because very often the
results are openly contradictory to the resolutions and the
principles voted and adopted at those international
conferences.  They don't have faith because our people have
been waiting for real results, for beneficial achievements,
and they don't see them anywhere.  Consequently, that
promise should be our starting point; we must begin by
admitting the obvious reality, the evident fact, that the
Latin American people have lost their faith in the
international organizations at which their respective
countries are represented, because very often their own
national interests are not adequately represented at these
conferences.  Therefore, it is imperative to awaken
the--faith of those people, and that, gentlemen, cannot be
accomplish with promises, or theories, or pretty figures of
speech.  The faith of the people is restored with realities,
with actual, tangible solutions to their problems, and we
must take very much into account that the most harmful vice
that can take hold of the conscience of men, and of peoples
we well, is the lack of faith in themselves.

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