Written: January 20, 1960
Full Speech (off-site): Transcript of Telemundo Pregunta (TV World Questions and Answers)
Source: Castro Speech Database
Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Castro Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2000
I sincerely believe -- and I must tell the whole people that it is our duty to orient the people and to lead the country correctly; we believe that we must prepare ourselves and we must have a militia. And here is the best proof: who puts out the fire at the refinery? Does the refinery owner put it out? No! And so far we have not received any congratulations from the owners of the plantations and refineries when one of those little aircraft comes over and gets shot down. Look, I have the proof here, for example, when the aircraft come and drop their incendiary bombs, who puts out the fire? The peasant patrols. Thanks to the peasant patrols we can be sure that we will have a harvest. What are they trying to do by burning the sugar cane? Well, they want to stir things up and ruin the country. They want to deprive us of our basic product and of our most important source of foreign currency, in other words, sugar. Do you think that, if it were not for the peasant patrols, we could have a harvest? When they burn and when they drop incendiary bombs at 20 different points, look at that alone, let me explain, this is part of one of those bombing campaigns in the zone of Las Villas, and we have some parts of these incendiary bombs which were picked up and I am going to read you a report from the commander there, Major Rodriquez Puerta, who is the military commander of the province. This report is dated 20 January 1960: I am sending you a piece of what the little aircraft dropped for the purpose of setting fire to the sugar cane. They burned a total of 11,800 arrobas. Everything will be milled by the nearby refineries. I want to point out that the rapid action of the peasants in the zone prevented the fire from spreading further; as soon as they saw the aircraft drop the incendiary bomb, they came running to the place where it had dropped and they prevented the first from spreading; in some cases they put the fire out right away. We have 17 refineries that are operating in this province and tomorrow 3 more will begin operating. Signed: Major Armando Rodriguez Puerta.
Robreno: What make were those bombs?
Dr Castro: All right, look here, here is what it says: "Bristol, Navy, here you are... (he holds it up to the camera) -- here it is in English but I have it in Spanish too (Applause). Here is what it says: Red signal flare, 500 candle power, time: 2 minutes; use only when aircraft or ship is spotted (but they forgot to add: to burn sugar cane on the island of Cuba.) Instructions: Rip tape of tip, rub tip forcefully around signal head. Caution: always make sure that the air does not blow toward you." This is what is says, and then again you have Bristol, Navy, made in the United States. This is what they dropped in these cases; this one did not burn and it was picked up intact. And this is the kind of little incendiary bombs that burn for 2 minutes and that they drop on the cane fields....