Spoken: January 15, 1966 in Havana's Chaplin Theater
First publicly disseminated: January 16, 1966
Source: University of Texas: Fidel Castro Speech Database.
Translated: US Government: Foreign Broadcast Information Service from the Havana Domestic Radio and Television Service in Spanish 0249 GMT 16 January, 1966.
Transcription: U.S. Information Agency; the Department of Research of the Radio Marti Program
HTML: Brian Baggins
Subject Index: Vietnam, Cuban Assitance to; Guevara's Departure, Trotskyist distortions of
Public Domain: Castro Internet Archive 2006. This work is completely free.
Honored delegates, Cuban comrades: The importance of this event which has come to a climax tonight does not escape us. Contrary to all the auguries of imperialism, contrary to all its forecasts which revealed the great hope that this conference would not result in anything, that this conference involving the problems of the international communist movement was bound to be divided, that it was bound to be a great failure — what has happened is something that they least or perhaps never expected: that the conference has been a success; that this conference has created an organ tricontinental in nature; that it has arrived at accords which include the most heartfelt yearnings of the peoples who fight for their liberation; that a committee to aid the liberation movements has been created.
And that's not all: Something which unquestionably hurts the imperialists greatly is that Cuba has been chosen as the headquarters of the executive secretariat of the organization until the next Tricontinental conference is held. (Applause)
It is not that we are expressing here a feeling of national pride. Because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the country, its geographic location, the efforts exerted by the imperialists to isolate it from the world, the measures adopted so that practically no one can visit us makes the fact that this conference has been held with such success in our country and defying all obstacles, defying all difficulties, that it has been considered an adequate location for the temporary operation of the headquarters, is something which doubtless must hurt the Yankee imperialists considerably.
Therefore, this has been a great victory for the revolutionary movement. Never has there been a gathering of such dimensions and of such magnitude, a gathering in which the revolutionary representations of 82 peoples have met to discuss problems of common interest. Never has there been such a large meeting, because the peoples of three continents have been here; the revolutionary movements of the peoples of three continents who have a common anti-imperialist stance; who represent the struggle of their peoples with differing philosophical ideas or positions, or with differing religious beliefs; who on many occasions represent differing ideologies. But they have something in common. What the peoples have most in common to unite the people of three continents and of all the world today is the struggle against imperialism (applause); the struggle against colonialism and neocolonialism, the struggle against racism and, in short, all the phenomena which are the contemporary expression we call imperialism, whose center, axis, and principal support of Yankee imperialism.
The meeting, agreements, and conclusions of this conference were all accomplished because the nations in this era have something in common. This was not an easy task; it may seem easy, but it was not and could not be an easy task. This is only natural, because when representatives from different nations and different movements, with special problems which express almost all current problems of the world, it was not easy...
The work on theses, on agreements acceptable to all could not be achieved without hard work. During these past few days we remember how different problems were discussed. When the final statement was being discussed, we remembered how Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had worked and written the Communist Manifesto for several months, and how afterward they revised, retouched, and perfected it several times before it was finally issued. Naturally, in our conference which took two weeks — less than two weeks — a few days were needed to work on a document which would cover the different opinions and would be issued in a manner that would fully satisfy every one of the delegations. Despite these circumstances, a document was achieved which undoubtedly is the most profound, most complete, and most radical of many which have been worked on and agreed upon at a conference of this type.
For the first time the Latin American representatives participated with the African and Asian nations. Of course, in the case of Latin America, the majority or all the representatives came from the movements and nations which are fighting or will fight to free themselves. Our nation in this case represented the only nation free from Yankee domination and constituted in revolutionary power.
We believe that this conference will unquestionably occupy a place in the history of the nations that struggle for their freedom in the revolutionary movement. We also believe that the contacts which have been established, the ties which have been created between the world movements fighting against imperialism, and the organizations which have been created, will play an unquestionable role in the revolutionary struggle.
We have had the opportunity to become more familiar with the thinking and the concrete situation of each one of the movements which fight for their liberation at this hour. We have had the opportunity to know the concrete situation of each one of the peoples who struggle, and, above all, we have had the opportunity of seeing how the solidarity of the peoples has been growing; how the strength of the revolutionary movement grows on a world scale, and how the mutual assistance of the peoples grows and can grow in times to come; the assistance of all the peoples for each one of the peoples who struggle — the mutual assistance of the peoples on a scale and on a level which mankind has never before seen.
(We have had the opportunity to see) how, despite the military and technical power of the imperialists, the united strength of the revolutionary peoples will be much more powerful. (Applause) Imperialism will inevitably be defeated. Who has taught us this lesson? It has been taught to us by the peoples. Who among the peoples has given us in these times the most extraordinary lesson? The people of Vietnam. (Applause)
Vietnam is a small nation. The imperialists have split it in two, into North and South Vietnam. For revolutionaries, for us, there is but a single Vietnam. (Applause) Against the people of South Vietnam the Yankee imperialists have deployed a large part of their might — hundreds of thousands of regular soldiers of the imperialist armed forces, as well as hundreds of thousands of soldiers drafted by the puppet government; hundreds of planes; thousands of helicopters. Yet the Yankee imperialists have been unable to crush the people in this part of Vietnam.
Trying to intimidate their brothers in the other part of Vietnam, they began bombing with hundreds of planes every day to demand their surrender, to try to bring the Vietnamese to their knees. Yet, as the imperialists themselves admit, instead of gaining ground they have lost ground. Against the ever increasingly steadfast and heroic resistance, they used more and more planes and more and more bombs. To the amazement of the world, the people of Vietnam are furnishing the most extraordinary example of heroism the history of any liberation movement has ever seen, because a liberation movement has never had to face more powerful forces. The people of Vietnam are reversing these forces and defeating the might of the Yankee imperialists.
They not only bomb Vietnam but they also incessantly bomb the patriots of Laos. (Applause) They threaten to bomb and commit aggression against Cambodia. These attitudes and threats of the Yankee imperialists reveal their impotence; they reveal their despair. This is the result of a situation which is becoming more critical in that part of the world. This is due to the defeats they are suffering in that area of Asia, where a decisive battle is being waged by the people against imperialism — and not only against Yankee imperialism but against Yankee imperialism and its allies, Yankee imperialism and its daring associates in Asia — which is expressed by the formations of South Korean, Australian, and Thai soldiers — and which threatens to further involve either military or support forces of the greatest number of world governments.
That struggle against the Vietnamese people and Laos and the threats to Cambodia demonstrate a need to render maximum solidarity and help to those nations.
The Yankee imperialists have the support of Thailand, where there are many troops and bases and from where they carry out threats against Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. This does not mean that this situation will continue indefinitely. We are sure that for the peoples of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia the hour will come when the Thai people will demand an accounting from the Yankee imperialists. (Applause) The hour will also come when that suppressed and exploited people, inspired by its neighboring nations, will also join the struggle against the imperialists.
Meanwhile, the imperialists not only have carried out the war against Vietnam — all of Vietnam — and Laos, but also threaten Cambodia.
Cambodia is a small nation which has not yet been attacked but is seriously threatened by Yankee imperialism. Therefore, it is necessary that the revolutionary states assist in the strengthening of the defenses of the small nation of Cambodia. (Applause)
Talking with that country's representative, who was participating in the Tricontinental Conference, hearing from his lips about the situation in his country and the dangers that threaten it, we expressed that view to him; and we told him further that we Cubans, although we are a small nation and at an enormous distance from Cambodia, are prepared to contribute to the extent of our power to strengthening its defenses, and that all we need is to be advised, all we need is to be asked in any circumstance when it is considered advisable, for we are prepared to make our contribution.
And that is also our position on Laos, and North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. (Applause) We are a small nation, not too far from the shores of the imperialist homeland. Our arms are eminently defensive. But our men, wholeheartedly, our revolutionary militants, our fighters, are prepared to fight the imperialists in any part of the world. (Applause) Our country is a small one; our territory could even be partially occupied by the enemy; but that would never mean a cessation of our resistance.
But the world is big, and the imperialists are everywhere, and for the Cuban revolutionaries the field of battle against imperialism takes in the whole world. (Applause) Without boasting, without any kind of immodesty, that is how we Cuban revolutionaries understand our internationalist duty. That is the way our people understand their duty, because they realize that the enemy is one and indivisible; the one who attacks us along our shoes and on our land is the same who attacks the others. Hence we say and we declare that Cuban fighters can be counted on by the revolutionary movement in any corner of the earth. (Applause)
Thousands and thousands of Cubans have expressed the desire and readiness to go anywhere in the world where they may be needed to help the revolutionary movement and this is logical. If the Yankee imperialist feel free to bomb anywhere they please and send their mercenary troops to put down the revolutionary movement anywhere in the world, then the revolutionary peoples feel they have the right, even with their physical presence, to help the peoples who are fighting the Yankee imperialists. And so, if each helps to the extent of his power, if each helps insofar as he can, the Yankee imperialists will be defeated, that place is Southeast Asia, for there it is impossible to establish a correlation of forces. It is possible to establish a correlation of forces incomparably superior to that of the Yankee imperialists.
Thus, we have not the slightest doubt that they will be defeated, crushed, by the peoples of that region, and — if they increase their forces and the forces of their reactionary allies — by the camp and the other peoples. (Applause)
This is why the Yankee imperialists launch their hypocritical peace offensives, in an attempt to confuse, to deceive. And that is why the peoples of Vietnam have said — and very rightly — that is the only peace, true peace, will be achieved only when the Yankee imperialists stop attacking, and when the Yankee imperialists stop occupying part of the territory of Vietnam, and when the Yankee imperialists take their mercenary troops and military bases out of Vietnamese territory. That is, the imperialists have been told the only thing that was proper to tell them under the circumstances: that true peace since they are the only disturbers of the peace will be achieved when they get out of Vietnam. (Applause)
It is evident that the imperialists are there fighting a hopeless fight; the imperialists are there fighting a fight in which they are doomed to inevitable defeat, and as a result, they want to swap defeat for a false peace. And it is logical for the people of Vietnam to refuse; it is logical for the people of Vietnam to be unwilling to exchange their victory for that kind of false peace. If we were in a similar situation, I am fully convinced that we would say exactly the same thing, and that we would refuse to negotiate under bombs, and we would refuse to negotiate under attack, and we would refuse to negotiate while our country was occupied. And therefore our people and the conference unanimously supported the positions and points upheld by the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the South Vietnam liberation movement. (Applause)
On this question, on this topic, the most burning one currently, there were practically unanimous views. And it is very well for the Yankee imperialists to know the degree of solidarity with Vietnam felt by all peoples of the world. It is well for the Yankee imperialists to understand the degree of support enjoyed by the people of Vietnam throughout the world. Hence we consider that this solidarity conference of the peoples of the three continents has acted and spoken in such a way that the support and feelings of solidarity for Vietnam has become evident, and in addition will grow. And as in the case of Vietnam, so it is for Laos and Cambodia, which are the nations being attacked or running the risk of being attacked.
On all problems of Asia, Africa, and Latin America the conference took a similar stand. The peoples and the liberation movements of Africa — and in order to avoid an oversight I wish to say that a small country, too, there in that area of Asia, is fighting for its liberation, although it is not very well known, a people fighting courageously, the people of North Kalimantan — received the warm support of the conference, as did the people of Yemen and the people of Palestine. (Applause)
The African ones, I was saying, the liberation movements that were so worthily represented at this conference: the people of Portuguese-occupied Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands, represented here by one of the most serious revolutionary movements in Africa and by one of the most lucid and brilliant leaders in Africa, Comrade Amílcar Cabral, who instilled in us tremendous confidence in the future and the success of his struggle for liberation; the liberation movement of Angola and Mozambique, two more Portuguese colonies that are an armed conflict for their liberation; the Zimbabwe people, oppressed by the racist minority in Rhodesia; the people of the Congo Leopoldville; the oppressed people of South Africa; the protectorates of Swaziland, Bechuanaland, and Basutoland, whose nomenclature reveals the imperial profile of the country that colonized them; and in sum, all the African liberation movements were worthily represented at this conference and received warm support and solidarity from all the delegates.
In Africa the imperialists attempt to penetrate and divide and subjugate is increasingly manifest. During the past few weeks they have made coups fashionable. Coups in the Congo, coups in the Central African Republic, coups in Nigeria, as reported by dispatches, reveal imperialism's desperate efforts to strengthen its dominion in that part of the world. In Africa, too, a decisive battle is being fought, and the role of the revolutionary movements and the role of the new states that have not today been infected with the disease of neocolonialism will be of extraordinary importance in resisting this imperialist drive and penetration.
For there, aid to the revolutionary movement, determined aid to the liberation movements, determined aid to the majorities that are oppressed by the racists will be a decisive factor.
Equally decisive will be the sense of responsibility, seriousness, and union among the African revolutionary leaders. Some movements have sustained blows, some setbacks; but those setbacks must not discourage them. Those setbacks must serve as experience; those setbacks must serve as lessons, so that pertinent steps and measures may be adopted to overcome present difficulties, to overcome shortcomings and weaknesses of the revolutionary movement.
The solidarity movement, which began in Africa and Asia and has now extended to the third continent of the world that is oppressed and exploited by imperialism, will by a decision of the conference have its next event in Cairo, thereby accepting the invitation extended by President Nasser, who offered the UAR capital for the next Tricontinental Conference in 1968. And we are sure — and we must bend every effort to that end — that by that date, among the peoples that have freed themselves from imperialism or colonialism we will be able to greet a few more fraternal peoples of Africa. (Applause)
The problems of Latin America, beginning with the most burning and critical problem, the problem of the military occupation of Santo Domingo by regular troops of Yankee imperialism, earned the attention of this conference and the full support of the delegates representing their peoples. On the Dominican stage in the years ahead, Latin America faces one of the most serious battles of the next few years. The Dominican Republic, a small country occupied by tens of thousands of Yankee troops, faces a long, hard fight. The Dominican Republic, the Dominican people, must not be alone against the Yankee imperialists. (Applause)
In many other American nations every condition exists for revolutionary armed battle. This battle has already been going on for some time too in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala (Applause). In Latin America there must not be even one, or two, or three peoples fighting alone against imperialism.
The imperialists' correlation of forces on this continent, the nearness of their home territory, the zeal with which they will try to defend their dominions in this part of the world require, on this continent more than anywhere else, a common strategy, a joint, simultaneous struggle. (Applause) If the imperialists have to face not just the people of the Dominican Republic, or the people of Guatemala, or the people of Venezuela, or the people of Colombia, or the people of Peru, but have the fight, at the same time as in all these countries, against the other oppressed peoples, as in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Argentina and other peoples in Central America; if the struggle is waged on a broad scale, if every revolutionary of this continent does his duty — and as the Havana Declaration says, the duty of every revolutionary is to effect the revolution, and effect it in deed not in word; not be a revolutionary in theory alone, but a revolutionary in practice — if revolutionaries spend less energy and time on theorizing and devote more energy and time to practical work; and if there is less of revolutions and possibilities and dilemmas and it is understood once and for all that sooner or later all or almost all peoples will have to take up arms to liberate themselves, then the hour of liberation for this continent will be advanced. What with the ones who theorize and the ones who criticize those who theorize while beginning to theorize themselves, much energy and time is unfortunately lost.
We believe that on this continent, in the case of all or almost all peoples, the battle will take on the most violent forms. And when this is realized, the only proper thing is to prepare for the time when the battle comes. Prepare! (Applause) Of course, that battle will break out first where — as the Havana Declaration says — conditions of imperialist oppression are the most naked, where every course is absolutely closed, as is the case in most countries of this continent. And even where the bourgeoisie and imperialist exercise their class rule through constitutionalist means, as is the case in Uruguay, the force of the mass movement and the people's revolutionary spirit are more and more evident. (Applause)
And we must express our people's great liking for Uruguay, because the latter is a tiny, tiny country that has no mountains and is surrounded by two reactionary colossi, and invariably, always, without exception, under every circumstance, its people have been on a par with the people of Venezuela in solidarity and support for the Cuban revolution. (Applause) We still remember how, because of the break in diplomatic relations with Cuba due to an OAS decision imposed by the United States as a penalty against Cuba, the people of Uruguay, led by their revolutionary organizations, took to the streets with incomparable vigor in protest against that servile, traitorous act against a nation of this continent.
Well, gentlemen, in this problem of Latin America you delegates will allow me to extend myself in a few observations, since we are situated on this continent, and since against us not only have the Yankee imperialists established the economic blockade, made use of armed aggression, threatened us mortally on certain occasions, committed every kind of sabotage, infiltrated spies, and launched piratical attacks, but also Yankee imperialism has used more subtle weapons against our country, such as the weapons of propaganda and slander. And not that alone — Yankee imperialism and its agents have sought to destroy the prestige of the Cuban revolution; they have tried to depict the Cuban revolution as being apart from the revolutionary struggles on this continent; they have tried in the basest and most slanderous way to discredit the revolution; and they have had recourse to every method, every fact, every weapon.
Of course, the imperialists would be interested in a concrete discussion of these problems. Any irresponsible person, any charlatan, any puppet cares nothing about making an irresponsible statement, a slanderous statement. It is well known that only the enemy would be interested in the manner of putting into practice the term “solidarity” with revolutionary peoples of the whole world as well as on this continent. (Applause) But what has happened?
There is a fact which I will take as an example to demonstrate how imperialism and its agents work. It is a very interesting fact. I refer to the campaign carried out by Yankee imperialism and its agents regarding the departure of our Comrade Ernesto Guevara. (Applause) I believe we must take this matter by the horns to clarify some things.
Comrade Ernesto Guevara and a few revolutionaries from this country and a few revolutionaries outside this country know when he left and what he has been doing during this period. The imperialists are, of course, very interested in learning all the details as to his whereabouts, what he is doing and how. Apparently they do not know, and if they do, they disguise it very well.
These are things, of course, that time, when circumstances so permit, will clarify. However, we revolutionaries do not need any clarifications. The enemy seizes upon these circumstances to try to conspire and to confound and to slander.
Comrade Guevara joined us when we were in exile in Mexico. From the very first day he always had the idea, clearly expressed, that when the struggle ended in Cuba he would still have other duties to fulfill elsewhere. We always gave him our word that no state or national interest, no circumstances, would make us request him to remain in our country, would make us obstruct the fulfillment of this wish or this vocation. And we fulfilled thoroughly and faithfully that promise which we made to Comrade Guevara. (Applause)
Naturally, if Comrade Guevara was to leave the country, it would be logical for him to do this clandestinely. It would be logical for him to move clandestinely. It is logical that he is not calling newsmen. It is logical that he has not been granting press conferences. It is logical that he would carry out the tasks he had planned in the way he did.
However, how much capital have the imperialists tried to make from this situation, and how they have done it!
That is why I brought some papers. Do not be afraid that I am going to read all the papers here. I am only going to read some things. Because here we have what all the imperialists and bourgeois newspapers have written with respect to the case of Major Guevara, what the U.S. newspapers, their magazines, and their wire agencies have written, the Latin American bourgeois newspapers and (newspapers) of the entire world, and we are going to see who exactly have been the main spokesmen of the imperialist campaign of intrigue and calumnies against Cuba with respect to the case of Comrade Guevara.
In the first place there were certain elements who during the past decades have been used constantly against the revolutionary movement. And if you will give me a little time, I am going to look among all these papers for some very interesting ones. Ah, I found it; it is a UPI dispatch dated 6 December 1965: “Ernesto Guevara was murdered by Cuban Premier Fidel Castro on orders from the USSR, declared Felipe Albaguante, chief of the Mexican Trotskyists, in statements to El Universal.” He adds that Che was liquidated for insisting on placing Cuba on the Chinese line.
This, naturally, came at the same time as a campaign which the Trotskyist elements began in all places simultaneously. Likewise, dated 22 October 1965, in the weekly Marcha, an article is published in which a well-known Trotskyist theoretician, Adolfo Gilly, declares that Che left Cuba due to differences with Fidel on the Sino-Soviet conflict and that Che could not impose his opinion on the leadership. He says that Che in a confused manner proposed the extension of the revolution to the rest of Latin America in opposition to the Soviet line.
He says that the Cuban leadership is divided into a conservative wing which includes former leaders of the pact, the followers of Che, and Fidel and his team in a position of swinging back and forth between conciliation and opposition. He says that Che left Cuba because he lacked means of expressing himself, and that Fidel feared to face the masses to explain the case of Che.
This same Trotskyist theoretician on 31 October 1965, as a reporter for Nuovo Mondo, an Italian paper, writes an article calling the Cuban leadership “philo-Soviet” and accusing Fidel of not having politically explained what happened to Che. He says that Major Guevara was defeated by the pact and the Castro team. He criticizes Che for not having taken the struggle to impose his point of view to the masses, and he concludes that the Cuban state, paralyzed by its own policy, did not openly support the Dominican revolution. I am going to refer to this a little more extensively a little further on.
In its October 1965 number, the Spanish Trotskyist newspaper Batalla declares: “The mystery which surrounds the case of Che Guevara must be cleared up. Friends of Che suppose that the letter read by Castro is false, and it is asked whether the Cuban leadership is orienting itself toward submission to the bureaucracy of the Kremlin."
Around the same date, the official Trotskyist organ of Argentina publishes an article in which it avers that Che is dead or a prisoner in Cuba. It says: “He entered into conflict with Fidel Castro over the operation of the unions and the organization of the militia.” It adds that Che opposed the formation of the Central Committee with Castro's favorites, particularly army officers supporting the Moscow rightwing.
However, one of the filthiest articles, the most gross, the most indecent, is that written by the leader of the Latin American political bureau of the Fourth International, in the newspaper Lutta Operaria of Italy. Of this article, a long one for sure, I am only going to read three paragraphs. It begins by saying:
“One aspect of the worsening of the world crisis of bureaucracy is the expulsion of Guevara. Guevara was expelled now, not eight months ago. The discussion with Guevara has lasted eight months. These were not eight months spent drinking coffee. They have fought hard, and perhaps there have been deaths, perhaps they have argued with pistols. We cannot say whether or not they killed Guevara, but there exists the right to suppose that they killed him.
“Why does Guevara not appear? They have not presented him in Havana for fear of the consequences, the reaction of the population; but after all, by hiding him they cause the same effect. The people say, 'Why does Guevara not come out, why does he not appear?' It is not a political accusation. There are political praises for him. Why have they not presented Guevara? Why has he not spoken? How can it be possible that one of the founders of the Cuban worker state, who up until a short time ago toured the world in the name of the worker state, unexpectedly says: 'I am fed up with the Cuban Revolution. I am going to make revolution somewhere else.' Somewhere else, and they do not say where he has gone, and he does not appear. If there are no differences, why does he not appear? All the Cuban people understand that there is an enormous struggle and that this struggle had not ended.
“Guevara was not alone and is not alone. If they take these measures against Guevara, it is because there is great support, great support for him, and in addition to this great support the people are enormously preoccupied. A short while ago the Cuban government published a decree, very severe, saying that it was necessary to return all weapons to the state. At that time the situation was a bit confused. Now it is clear why this resolution was issued. It was against the Guevara partisans. They are afraid of an uprising.”
Here is another paragraph:
“Why have they silenced Guevara? The Fourth International must carry out a public campaign in this respect, demanding the appearance of Guevara, the right of Guevara to defend himself and to debate, to make an appeal to the masses not to trust the measures the Cuban state has taken because they are bureaucratic measures and perhaps those of murderers. They have eliminated Guevara to stop his struggle. They have silenced Guevara regardless of the fact that their position was not compatible with a revolutionary point of view, because it tended toward the harmonizing of their positions in the revolutionary tendency.”
Further on it says:
“This demonstrates not the power of Guevara, or of a Guevara group in Cuba, but the maturity of the conditions in the rest of the workers' states for the fructification of these positions within a short time. Bureaucracy is not deceived by maneuvers and measures of this type. The elimination of Guevara means for bureaucracy the attempt at the liquidation of a base for possible regrouping of revolutionary tendencies which continue to develop world revolution. This is the basis for the liquidation of Guevara. And not only is it a danger for Cuba, but it exerts influence on the rest of the Latin American revolution. Guatemala is at the side of Cuba; Guatemala is at the side of Cuba with the program of the socialist revolution. Despite its force and the speeches of its highest leader, Fidel Castro, it has not been able to prevent the 13 November Movement from turning into a socialist revolutionary movement fighting directly for socialism.”
It is not by coincidence that this gentleman, a leader of the Fourth International, mentions here very haughtily the case of Guatemala and of the 13 November Movement. Because, precisely in relation to this movement, Yankee imperialism has used one of the most subtle tactics to liquidate a revolutionary movement, which consisted of infiltrating the agents of the Fourth International who, by ignorance — political ignorance — made the main political leader of that movement adopt no less than that discredited thing, that anti-historic thing, that fraudulent thing which emanated from elements who without doubt serve imperialism, as did the program of the Fourth International.
How did this happen? Yon Sosa was undoubtedly a patriotic officer. Yon Sosa led the movement of a group of armed officers in the crushing of whom the mercenaries who later invaded Playa Girón participated. Through a businessman who took charge of the movement's political aspects, the Fourth International fixed it up so that that leader, who was ignorant of the profound problems of politics and of the history of revolutionary thought, would permit that agents of Trotskyism, about whom we do not have the slightest doubt that he is an agent of imperialism, to publish a newspaper which copies outright the program of the Fourth International. By doing this, the Fourth International committed a real crime against the revolutionary movement to isolate it from the rest of the people, to isolate it from the masses, when it contaminated it with the stupidities, the discredit, and the repugnant thing which Trotskyism today is in the field of politics. (Applause).
Even though at one time Trotskyism represented an erroneous position, but a position in the field of political ideas, Trotskyism became during the following years a vulgar instrument of imperialism and reaction. This is the way these gentlemen think. For example, in relation to South Vietnam, where a broad revolutionary front has united the overwhelming majority of the people and various sectors of the population, has united them closely around the liberation movement in the struggle against imperialism. For the Trotskyists that is absurd; that is counterrevolutionary. Yet these gentlemen who serve imperialism have the gall to do such an unusual thing in the face of the facts and realities of history and against the revolutionary movement and to express themselves in this manner.
Fortunately, in Guatemala the revolutionary movement is being saved, and it is being saved thanks to the clear vision of one of the officers who along with Sosa began the revolutionary movement and who, understanding that blunder, that stupidity, divorced himself from the 13 November Movement and with other progressive and revolutionary sectors organized the Guatemalan Rebel Armed Forces. (Applause) That officer, that young officer who had such a clear vision, who represented the Guatemalan revolutionary movement at this conference, is Major Turcios. (Applause)
Major Turcios has to his credit not only having been one of the standard bearers of the armed struggle for the liberation of his oppressed nation, but also having saved the Guatemalan revolutionary movement from one of the most subtle and perfidious stratagems of Yankee imperialism. He also raised the revolutionary banners of Guatemala and of his anti-imperialist movement by snatching them from the dirty hands of these mercenaries at the service of Yankee imperialism.
We hope that Yon Sosa, whose patriotic intentions were questioned by no one when the struggle began and whose honesty is not questioned by anyone, even though we have strong reasons to doubt his attitudes as a revolutionary leader, will not delay in divorcing himself from these elements and will return to the Guatemalan revolutionary movement, but this time under a different leader, a different guide who demonstrated in such moments a clarity of vision and an attitude becoming a revolutionary leader. (Applause)
This position of the Trotskyists is the same which all newspapers and publicity agencies of Yankee imperialism adopted in relation to the cause of Comrade Ernesto Guevara. All the imperialist press of the United States, its news agencies, the Cuban counter-revolutionaries' press, the bourgeois press throughout the continent and the rest of the world — in other words, this campaign of slanders and intrigues against revolutionary Cuba in connection with the case of Comrade Guevara — coincided with precision with all imperialist bourgeois sectors, all the slanderers and all the conspirators against the Cuban revolution, for there is no doubt that only reaction and imperialism is interested in discrediting the Cuban revolution and in destroying the confidence of the revolutionary movements in the Cuban revolution, in destroying the confidence of the Latin American peoples in the Cuban revolution, in destroying their faith. Therefore, they have not hesitated to use the dirtiest and most indecent weapons.
This same man (Gilly), who once in a while poses among other North American intellectuals in the U.S. magazine (Monthly Review), had the villainy to write the following paragraph with regard to the Santo Domingo crisis which is worthy of analysis.
“A high point of this crisis had to be the Dominican revolution, where the Cuban worker state was left paralyzed by its own policy, without openly supporting the revolution, while in Cuba there was tremendous internal pressure for a policy of active support. If the crisis took place long before the Santo Domingo incident, then the Santo Domingo incident undoubtedly precipitated the revolution.”
This man has the villainy to accuse the Cuban revolution of not having actively supported the Dominican Revolution. While the imperialists accused Cuba, while the imperialists were trying to justify their intervention, saying that leftist and communist elements trained in Cuba were there leading the uprising, while imperialism was accusing Cuba and presenting the Dominican revolution not as an internal problem, but as an external problem, this man accuses the revolution of not having actively supported the Dominican revolution. What is the interpretation of active support? Could they perhaps think that Cuba, whose forces and resources are known, could prevent and had to prevent the landing of North American troops in Santo Domingo?
Cuba has weapons to defend itself in a relation infinitely inferior to the imperialists. Cuba has defensive arms. And these gentlemen are so miserable and shameless that they attempt to blame Cuba for not having prevented the landing, because, what else is the meaning of active support, because everything that Cuba could do under those circumstances, everything that Cuba could do and had to do was done. To ask Cuba to prevent the landing is tantamount to asking Cambodia in Southeast Asia to prevent the bombing of North Vietnam and to prevent the occupation of South Vietnam by the Yankee Marine Corps. (Applause) Unfortunately, Cuba's forces are limited, but to the measure of its strength and in the best manner possible, in the most determined manner and according to the circumstances, Cuba lends and will lend its maximum support to the revolution. Those who think that this country fears the imperialists, those who think with a spirit of superiority and with their insolent delirium of superiority that this country fears the imperialists, should have lived a few hours here during the October crisis, when for the first time such a small nation as ours was threatened with a massive rain of nuclear missiles over its territory, to see the attitude assumed by this nation and the revolutionary government. (Applause)
Many stupid lies and blunders are written, and above all are written by irresponsible persons when certain documents cannot be released to the public. However, one day mankind will know. One day mankind will know all the facts. That day the miserable ones will find out that Comrade Guevara was not murdered, when each of his steps will be known in full detail, and when the position assumed by Cuba during those difficult days — and how calm our people were — will also be known. When that is understood there will be no one, regardless of how insolent he is, regardless of how provocative he is, who will dare question the feeling of solidarity of this nation and the worth of this nation, worth demonstrated by its conduct even though this country is located 90 miles from the imperialist metropolis.
In the coming years enormous dangers will weigh on our people's heads to see the same degree that the revolutionary movement grows, a revolutionary movement that grows above all because of the example of the Cuban revolution, a revolutionary movement that grows and becomes gigantic because of Cuba's example, because of Cuba's victories, because of Cuba's position against the enemy. It must be taken into account that when this nation defies that danger, this nation does not have millions of men under arms, this nation does not possess thermonuclear arms, because here we possess moral rockets and here.(Applause) millions do not represent the infinite, the number of men is not infinite, but the dignity and the decorum of this nation is infinite.
The coming years will speak for us, and the coming years will take care of crushing the slanderers, not those who are known agents of the imperialists, but the confused, the conspirators, who allow themselves to be involved in intrigues and serve as instruments for the lies against our revolution.
A fact that was demonstrated in this conference is highly gratifying, because many things were demonstrated in this conference: it was demonstrated, in the first place, how discussions can be carried on beyond everything and around the things which basically interest us, above all, around those things that interest the people who are struggling. All peoples, regardless of their strength, of their resources, of their stature have a voice and an opinion. The people are capable of having their own opinions and independent voices. This was demonstrated in this conference. We Cubans and the revolutionary movements were always in identical positions, irrespective of continents. How a united force, how the revolutionary outlook, how the most honorable positions prevailed! And in this conference, as a compensation in the face of the conspirators and slanderers, the peoples and the revolutionary liberation movements always demonstrated a great and immense trust in Cuba and in its revolutionary party, and how this country, therefore, was given the honor of carrying the office of secretary general and the temporary headquarters of the organization!
And considering the task carried out by the Cuban delegation, by the Cuban Committee of Solidarity — working in favor of the conference, struggling ceaselessly to overcome all obstacles, maintaining at all times a position of principle, objective, just — which has even jeopardized Cuban relations with some countries, as was the case with Indonesia, due to the fact that it was up to the Cuban delegation to decide, and the Cuban delegation rejected the official delegation from Indonesia. Cuba risked its relations with a state which is important in that part of the world. And although for us all states are equally important and all peoples have equal rights, may this fact serve to show to what point Cuba was — or tried to be — fair, and tried to be objective, and tried to maintain a position of principle. We know how hard all of the delegations worked, because according to those who have been in several international conferences, this is one of the conferences for which more serious work was done more indefatigably.
That is why, when Cuba was assigned to be its temporary headquarters — and with the headquarters, the office of the secretary general of the organization — the Political Bureau of our party agreed to appoint Comrade Osmani Cienfuegos as secretary general of the organization. (Loud applause) All delegations have had an opportunity to learn about the efforts and the sincerity with which Comrade Osmani worked in the preliminary tasks and the development of the conference.
We must say that everyone cooperated, and that all contributed in one way or another to unite opinions and for the success of this conference. For as I said previously, opinions were not always in agreement, but all, in the final analysis, in a genuinely dispassionate interest, helped bring about its successes.
I do not want to close without mentioning two things.
One is a concern which affects us all in the face of the events in Indonesia, confronted with the reports reaching us from Indonesia that more than 100,000 revolutionary militant individuals have been savagely assassinated, with the report that Aidit and some other Communist Party leaders in Indonesia have been assassinated. We would like to register our reproach, our protest, and our solidarity with the Indonesian revolutionaries, today persecuted by militarist reaction, frightened by Yankee imperialism. Simultaneously, (we do this) as a tribute to those who had a great deal to do with the success of this conference.
We would like to acknowledge that Ben Barka was a decisive factor, with his constancy, his personal work, in the organization of this first Tricontinental Conference. His effort and his work were the cause of the problem which occurred. There is a general consensus that Ben Barka has been assassinated, cruelly and cowardly. If this conference of solidarity is duty bound to take a step forward precisely in loyalty and elementary obligation toward him, who so devotedly worked for its success, then it should demand that Ben Barka's assassination be investigated and Ben Barka's assassins be penalized.
Every indication points to the direct responsibility of the Moroccan minister of the interior, General Oufkir, upon whom all suspicion and all evidence rests. This conference should not rest until the facts are known clearly as to who planned and carried out Ben Barka's assassination — the assassination of the person who was the president of the preparatory committee for this Tricontinental Conference. This is a repugnant deed, monstrous! It demonstrated from the outset imperialism's interest in obstructing the conference and causing the conference to fail. However, the results of this conference demonstrate that Ben Barka's blood will not shed in vain, and that the Ben Barka crime — his assassination, like Lumumba's assassination, like Aidit's murder, like Sandino's assassination — that with none of its barbarous acts can imperialism contain the victorious march, the final liberation of the peoples!
It is but fair for us to dedicate our memories to those who have fallen as victims of imperialism in all continents. May we propose always to be loyal to that cause, always loyal in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to the cause for which some died and gave their blood for the liberation of the peoples.
Our country, which, as you have been able, to see is made up of various ethnical groups, a result of the intermingling of people from the various continents — deeply linked to Latin America because of this fact, deeply linked with Africa, deeply linked to all of the people from all continents — has done its utmost to make pleasant the stay of the delegations here. It had displayed all of its enthusiasm and hospitality and all the warmth of which it is capable. Thousands of Cubans, incessantly, without rest or vacations, have worked for the success of this conference. They have worked to wait upon the representatives of the sister nations. Our entire people have lived during these days through a big feast of international solidarity. Our people have felt as their own each and every one of the problems of other people. Our people, as I said on 2 January, received them with open arms, and they bid them farewell with an embrace, as a symbol of a bond that will never break, and as a symbol of their sentiments of fraternity and solidarity toward the other people who struggle, and for whom they are ready, also, to offer their blood. Fatherland or death, we will win!