Source: Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea, stage 1, London, 1974, pp108-122
Translated: Richard Handyside
Transcription/Markup: Steve Palmer
Copyleft: Copyright stage 1 .
Text of an interview given to Tricontinental magazine, published in issue no. 8 in September 1968
What is the state of the struggle in the cities of so-called Portuguese Guinea, particularly in the capital, Bissao, and in Cabo Verde?
We have had a great deal of experience in the struggle in the cities and the urban centres of our country, where the struggle first began. At first we organised mass demonstrations, strikes, etc. to demand that the Portuguese change their position with regard to the legitimate rights of our people to self-determination and national independence. We found out that in the cities and urban centres the concentration of the Portuguese repressive forces-military, police, etc.-was causing us serious losses. For example, in August 1959, during the Bissao dock workers' and merchant seamen's strike, in just 20 minutes the Portuguese shot to death 50 African workers and wounded more than 100 on the Pijiguiti docks. At that time our Party decided to hold a secret conference in Bissao, and it was then that we changed direction. That is, we began to mobilise the countryside, and we decided to prepare ourselves actively for armed struggle against the Portuguese colonialist forces.
Later we decided that the Party's underground organisation would continue in the cities. The same leaders remained active in the urban centres, among them the present Party President, who, after 18 months of underground work in Bissao, was arrested by the Portuguese authorities and is still under house arrest. We decided that the popular masses in the cities should not organise any event that would give rise to criminal reprisals on the part of the Portuguese colonialists.
Today, in Bissao, Bafata, Farim, etc., our country's main urban centres, we have an underground Party organisation, but we still have not gone over to any kind of direct action against the Portuguese colonialists in the cities.
It is necessary to explain that our country is a purely commercial colony and not a colony of settlers, therefore the Portuguese civilians themselves, the colonos, have no great interest in establishing themselves on our lands. A few arc government employees, and others are simply businessmen. From the beginning they took a somewhat vacillating, if not indifferent, position on our struggle, and many of them wish to return to Portugal. Therefore, we have no reason to take action, from the standpoint of terrorism. against the Portuguese civilians. For that reason, our urban action should he aimed at the Portuguese military infrastructure and military forces. We are preparing ourselves for this, and we expect that, if the Portuguese fail to recognise Our right to self-determination and independence after four years of armed struggle, we will he forced to attack in the. cities also.
And we will do it, since we know that the Portuguese are determined to continue their criminal acts against our peaceful forces in the liberated areas. Thus far, we have not carried out any action in the cities, but we are determined to do so insofar as it constitutes an advance in the struggle as well as reprisal for the savage acts committed by the Portuguese against our population in the liberated areas.
As for Cabo Verde, we consider that the fight is of prime importance for the progress of our struggle not only in Guinea but in all the Portuguese colonies, and we can guarantee that our Party is getting ready to unleash armed struggle in the Cabo Verde Islands. During the past few years many political advances have been made in the Cabo Verde Islands. The Party leadership functions properly. We have excellent communication with the Cabo Verde Islands, and, as I said before, we are ready to begin armed struggle; the decision depends simply on the Party leadership. which must consider the favourable and unfavourable factors for beginning total armed struggle there.
What is the strategic aim of the armed struggle? Are there any possibilities of negotiating with Portuguese colonialism?
The strategic aim of our armed struggle of national liberation is, obviously, to completely free our country from the Portuguese colonial yoke. It is, after all, the strategic aim of all the national liberation movements, which, forced by circumstances, take up arms to fight against repression and the colonial presence. In our struggle, we established our principles after having become thoroughly familiar with our country's conditions. For instance, we decided that we should never struggle from outside and would begin the struggle within the country, for which reason we never had armed forces outside our own country. And, for the same reason, in 1963 we started the armed struggle in the centre of the country, both in the south and in the north. This means that, contrary to what has been done by other peoples in Africa or elsewhere who are fighting for national independence, we adopted a strategy that we might call centrifugal: we started in the centre and moved towards the periphery of our country. This came as the first big surprise to the Portuguese, who had stationed their troops on the Guinea and Senegal borders on the supposition that we were going to invade our own country.
Rut we mobilised our people secretly, in the cities and in the countryside. We prepared our own cadres, we armed those few that we could with both traditional and modern weapons, and we initiated our action from the centre of our country.
Today the struggle is spreading to all parts of the country, in Boe and Gabu and in the south; in the north, in San Domingos, in the Farim zone; in the west, near the sea, in the Mandjakos region; and we hope to be fighting within a short time on the island of Bissao as well. Moreover, as you were able to see for yourselves in the Southern part of the country and as other newsmen and film-makers have seen in the North and East, we have liberated a large part of our national territory, which forms part of the framework of our strategy.
As to the possibilities for negotiations, we can say that our struggle seeks a political objective; we are not making war because we are militarists or because we like war. We are not making war to conquer Portugal. We are fighting because we have to in order to win back our human rights, our rights as a nation, as an African people that wants its independence. But the objectives of our war are political: the total liberation of our people of Guinea and Cabo Verde and the winning of national independence and sovereignty, both at home and on the international plane.
For this reason, it is of no importance when-today, tomorrow, or whenever-the Portuguese colonialists, forced by our armed forces, by the heroic struggle of our people, recognise that the time has come to sit down to discuss the situation with us; it does not matter when-today, tomorrow, or whenever-we are willing to enter into discussions. Therefore, the possibilities for negotiating, since the United Nations was unable to get Portugal to negotiate, depend fundamentally on the Portuguese themselves. We are also convinced that such possibilities depend on what we ourselves are able to do within the framework of our armed struggle. That is our position with regard to the possibilities of negotiating with the Portuguese; given what we have done, given the sacrifice of our people during this difficult but victorious struggle, given the fact that Africa is marching towards total independence, our position today is this: to negotiate with the Portuguese whenever they want, whenever they are ready, but to negotiate for the total and unconditional independence of our people.
That does not mean that we are not interested, as a politically aware people and in spite of the crimes committed by the Portuguese in our country, in establishing with Portugal itself the most excellent relations of collaboration and co-operation on the basis of equality, on the basis of absolute reciprocity of advantage, but likewise on the basis of the highest regard for our sovereignty.
Could you tell us something about the tactical principles followed by the PAIGC guerilla army?
At present, to carry out the armed national liberation struggle it is not necessary to invent much along general lines. Already a wealth of experience has been gained in the armed national liberation struggle throughout the world. The Chinese people fought. The Vietnamese people have been fighting for more than 25 years. The Cuban people fought heroically and defeated the reactionaries and the imperialists on their island, which is today a stronghold of progress. Other peoples have struggled and have made known to the world their experience in the struggle.
You know very well that Che Guevara, the great Che Guevara for us, wrote a book, a book on the guerilla struggle. This book, for example, hike other documents on the guerilla struggle in other countries, including Europe, where there was also guerilla struggle during the last World War, served us as a basis of general experience for our own struggle.
But nobody commits the error, in general, of blindly applying the experience of others to his own country. To determine the tactics for the struggle in our country, we had to take into account the geographical, historical, economic, and social conditions of our own country, both in Guinea and in Cabo Verde.
It was by basing ourselves on concrete knowledge of the real situation in our country that we established the tactical and strategic principles and our guerilla struggle.
We can say that our country is very different from other countries. In the first place, it is quite a small country, about 14,000 square miles in Guinea and 1,500 square miles in Cabo Verde. While Guinea is on the African continent, Cabo Verde is in the middle of the sea, like an archipelago. We took all of this into consideration, but, in addition, Guinea is a fiat country. It has no mountains, and everyone knows that in general the guerilla force uses the mountain. as a starting point for the armed struggle. We had to convert our people themselves into the mountain needed for the fight in our country, and we had to take full advantage of the jungles and swamps of our country to create difficult conditions for the enemy in his confrontation with the victorious advance of our armed struggle. As for our other tactics, we follow the fundamental principle of armed struggle, or, if you prefer, colonial war: the enemy, in order to control a given zone, is forced to disperse his forces; he thus becomes weakened, and we can defeat him. In order to be able to defend himself from us he needs to concentrate his forces and when he concentrates his forces he allows us to occupy the areas that are left empty and work on them politically to prevent the enemy from returning.
This is the dilemma faced by colonialism in our country. just as has been the case in other countries, and it is this dilemma, if thoroughly exploited by us, that will surely lead Portuguese colonialism to defeat in our country.
'This is sure to happen, because our people are mobilised. They are aware of what they are doing. Also, the liberated regions of the country, where we are developing a new society, are a constant propaganda force for the liberation of other parts of our country.
What are the principal tactical and strategic antiguerilla principles used by the Portuguese Army?
If we have not had to invent a great deal in the course of our struggle, the Portuguese have invented even less. The only thing that the Portuguese do in our country is follow the tactics and strategies used by the US and other imperialists in their wars against the peoples who wish to free themselves of their domination. The Portuguese first attempted to work politically after having experimented with the art of repression: armed repression, police repression, murder, massacres, etc. All that did not stop the struggle. Then they tried to work politically. They exploited tribal contradictions. They even exploited racism on the basis of lighter and darker people. They exploited the question of the civilised and the uncivilised, etc., as well as the privileged position of the traditional chiefs. That did not lead to the desired results. The Portuguese then unleashed a colonial war, and in that colonial war they used the strategy and tactics that are common to all imperialists who fight against the people.
Against us, they used the most modern weapons given them by their allies, the US, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, etc. They used every kind of bomb save the nuclear ones. In particular, they have used napalm bombs against us since the beginning of the war. They also used armoured cars. They used B-26, T-6, and P-2V planes and fighter jets-Fiat 82s, Fiat 9ls, and Sabres supplied by Canada through Federal Germany, etc. None of it worked. Lately they have been using armed helicopters for combined operations with the Navy and Infantry. We are sure that they will not work, either.
The Portuguese find themselves in the position which you have already been able to observe, since you came to our country in a way that, unfortunately, no Portuguese has done~-since you came as journalists. They are closed up in their barracks; once in a while they try to make sallies to carry out criminal actions against our people. They do battle against our forces, and almost every day they bomb our villages and try to burn the crops. They are trying to terrorise our people.
We are determined to resist, and the tactics and strategies of Portuguese colonialism-which are the same as those imperialism uses, for instance, in Vietnam-just as they do not work in Vietnam, will not work in our country, either.
We know that the Portuguese carry out offensive operations using two or even three thousand men, trying to recover the already liberated territories. What can you tell us about this?
Yes, the big dream of the Portuguese has been to recover the already liberated territory. For instance, in 1964 they carried out a big offensive with almost 3,000 men against Como Island. The recovery of Como would have two advantages for the Portuguese: first, a strategic advantage, because it is a firm base for the control of the southern part of the country; secondly, a political advantage, because it would constitute a big propaganda victory for the Portuguese and would serve to demoralise our own populations.
But the Portuguese were defeated on Como, where they lost more than 900 soldiers and much material. They had to withdraw, and Como continues to be free. It is today one of the most developed zones of our liberated areas.
The Portuguese have tried and continue to try to recover ground. During the last dry season they made various efforts in both the South and the North, but they did not manage to establish themselves in either of these zones.
They come with hundreds of men-never less-and at times with thousands. It is our opinion that the more men they bring, the easier it is for us to cause them losses and damage. We are prepared to repel any attack by the Portuguese; when they advance with their aviation it is generally harder for us, but our combatants have learned from their own experience how to fight under such conditions.
Therefore, we are convinced that, whatever the number of Portuguese who come, the larger the number, the worse it will he for them; we are determined to inflict upon them ever greater defeats.
You mentioned Che Guevara's book Guerilla Warfare. In this book Guevara divided the guerilla struggle into three phases. According to this, what phase do you think the struggle in so-called 'Portuguese' Guinea is in?
In general, we have certain reservations about the systematisation of phenomena. In reality the phenomena don't always develop in practice according to the established schemes. We greatly admire the scheme established by Che Guevara essentially on the basis of the struggle of the Cuban people and other experiences, and we are convinced that a profound analysis of that scheme can have a certain application to our struggle. However, we are not completely certain that, in fact, the scheme is absolutely adaptable to our conditions.
With this reservation, we believe that, in the present phase of our struggle, we are already in the stage of mobile warfare. This is why we have been reorganising our forces, creating units more powerful than those of the regular army, and surrounding the Portuguese forces; this is why we have been increasing the mobility of our forces, thus diminishing the importance of the guerrilla positions in order to advance against enemy positions. But today an essential characteristic of our struggle is the systematic attacking of Portuguese fortified camps and fortresses. This in itself indicates that we are in the stage of mobile warfare. And we hope that the time is not far off when, advancing with this mobile warfare, we will at the same time have the conditions for launching a general offensive to end the Portuguese domination in our country.
Can you tell us something about the development of guerilla communications and propaganda work?
We have many difficulties in our propaganda work. First of all, thus far we do not have a radio station-which could play a role at least as important as, or more important than many guns. Our Party is actively working on getting a station so as to be able to speak daily (or, if not every day, at least several times a week) to our forces, to our people, and even to the enemy. Meanwhile, we are convinced that friendly peoples who do have stations-such as the Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Cuba, and others-will also be able to work in this area, because their broadcasts are heard in our country. They will be able to help us with broadcasts in favour of our struggle. To do so we need not issue many reports, because all are familiar with the justice and the raison d'être of our struggle.
Moreover, once in a while we communicate the results of our armed struggle. We cannot put out these communiqués with much frequency because communications are difficult between the different fronts of struggle and the centre that co-ordinates these communications (we do not as yet have an effective radio system-and we are now setting up a system of radio communication) and for that reason our communiqués at times come out after some delay. But that does not mean in the least that the struggle is not progressing in any sector. On the contrary, what happens is that our communiqués in general do not reflect the great intensity of the struggle, the frequency of the combats, and many times the victories we achieve against the enemy. In relation to communications, our struggle has very special characteristics: we cannot fight riding in jeeps or trucks; we are the first to know that our country does not have good roads, since we ourselves have cut down the few existing bridges, we have destroyed many sections of highways, and our people have felled trees to block the highways. in fact, the enemy today can travel on almost no road in our country. Therefore, we do not have trucks, jeeps, etc., to travel along the roads that we ourselves mine. We have to move on foot within our territory. This makes communications extremely difficult. As I said, we are working actively to improve our radio communications in such a way as not only to give daily reports on the progress of the struggle on all fronts, but also to facilitate the co-ordination of the struggle on all fronts, to make our armed struggle progress.
Can you tell us something about the difficulties met during the development of the struggle with relation to tribal and linguistic problems, difficulties with feudal chieftains in Guinea-Bissao?
The difficulties of our struggle were mainly those inherent in our situation as an underdeveloped-practically non-developed-people whose history was held back by colonialist and imperialist domination. A people that started with nothing, a people that had to begin the struggle almost naked, a people with a 99% illiteracy rate-you have already seen the effort that we have to make now to teach our people to read and write, to create schools-a people that had only 14 university-trained men-this people was surely going to have difficulties in carrying out its armed struggle. You know that this was the situation with Africa in general, but it was very pronounced in our country. Our people were not only underfed but also the victims of many diseases because the Portuguese never concerned themselves with decent public health in our land. All this caused difficulties at the beginning of the struggle.
Another difficulty is the following: our own African culture, which corresponds to the economic structure we still have, made certain aspects of the struggle difficult. These are the factors that those who judge the struggle from outside do not take into consideration but that we had to consider, because it is one thing to struggle in surroundings where everyone knows what rain, high tide, lightning, storms, typhoons, and tornadoes are, and another to fight where natural phenomena can be interpreted as a product of the will of the spirits.
That is very important for a struggle such as ours. Another difficulty is as follows: our people fought as one, opposing their traditional weapons to colonial domination at the time ofthe colonial conquest. But today we must wage a modern war. A guerilla war, but a modern one, with modern tactics. That also creates difficulties for us: it is necessary to create cadres, to prepare the combatants properly. Before, we had to prepare them during the struggle itself because we did not have time to build schools. Only today do we have schools for combatants as you know.
All of this created difficulties for us, that is, in training for the armed struggle. While the Portuguese officers who lead the Portuguese fight have seven years of training in military academies, in addition to the other basic courses they receive, we have to bring to the struggle young people from the cities or the countryside, some of them without any education, who have to gain in the struggle itself the necessary experience to confront the Portuguese officers. Suffice it to say that the Portuguese Government has had to change its General Staff in our country five times, and some of the chiefs of staff were even punished. This shows that after all it is not necessary to go to a military academy to fight in one's country to win a people's freedom.
As for tribal questions, our opinion on this is quite different from that of others. We believe that when the colonialists arrived in Africa the tribal structure was already in a state of disintegration due to the evolution of the economy and historical events on the African scene. Today it cannot be said that Africa is tribal. Africa still has remnants of tribalism, in particular as far as the mentality of the people is concerned, but not in the economic structure itself. Moreover, if colonialism, through its action, did anything positive at all, it was precisely to destroy a large part of the remnants of tribalism in certain parts of our country.
Therefore, we have had no great difficulties as far as tribalism is concerned. We did have trouble creating in our people a national awareness, and it is the struggle itself that is cementing that national awareness. But all the people in general, from whatever ethnic group, have been easily led to accept the idea that we are a people, a nation, that must struggle to end Portuguese domination, because we do not fall back on cliches or merely harp on the struggle against imperialism and colonialism in theoretical terms, but rather we point out concrete things. It is a struggle for schools, for hospitals, so that children won't suffer. That is our struggle. Another goal of the struggle is to present ourselves before the world as a worthy people with a personality of our own. This is the motivating force of our people. We also know that the vestiges of tribalism in our country have been eliminated through the armed struggle we are waging. Moreover we want to stress that in general the African people, both in our country and in the Congo, where terrible things took place from the tribal point of view, are not tribalist. Among the people of Africa, the tendency is to understand one another as much as possible. Only political opportunists are tribalists: individuals who even attended European universities; who frequented the cafés of Brussels, Paris, Lisbon, and other capitals; who are completely removed from the problems of their own people-they may be called tribal, these individuals who at times even look down on their own people but who, out of political ambition, take advantage of attitudes still existing in the minds of our people to try to achieve their opportunist aims, their political goals, to try to quench their thirst for power and political domination.
With regard to our country, we want to add that the armed struggle is not only wiping out the remnants of tribal ideas that might still exist but that it is also profoundly transforming our people.
You must have had the opportunity to see how, in spite of the fact that we still live in poverty, in spite of the fact that we still do not have enough clothing and our diet lacks vitamins, fresh foods, and even meat and other protein foods-all this a part of the colonial heritage and our state of underdevelopment-a great transformation is going on in many places. And you must have found the new man, the new man who is emerging in our country, the new woman who is emerging in our country. And, if you had the opportunity to speak to the children, you would see that even our schoolchildren are already politically and patriotically aware and desire the independence of our country. They have an awareness of mutual understanding, of national unity and of unity on the African continent.
We want to emphasise in particular that the women of our country are winning an independence for which so many have fought unsuccessfully. You saw, surely, how there were women in charge of the committees in tabancas and the zones and even of inter-regional committees. These women are conscious of their worth and their role within our Party, and I can say that there are women on all levels of our Party.
Could you tell us briefly how the political and military leadership of the struggle is carried out?
The political and military leadership of the struggle is one: the political leadership. In our struggle we have avoided the creation of anything military. We are political people, and our Party, a political organisation, leads the struggle in the civilian political, administrative, technical, and therefore also military spheres. Our fighters are defined as armed activists. It is the Political Bureau of the Party that directs the armed struggle and the life of both the liberated and unliberated regions where we have our activists. Within the Political Bureau is a War Council composed of members of the former who direct the armed struggle. The War Council is an instrument of the Political Bureau, of the leadership of the armed struggle.
Each front has its command. On the sector level there is a sector command, and each unit of our regular army also has its command. That is the structure of our armed struggle, and it is true that the guerrillas are installed in bases and that each base has a base chief and a political commissar. In relation to organisation proper, a Party congress is generally held every two years, but within the framework of the struggle it is held whenever it is possible. The Party has a Central Committee and a Political Bureau which directly lead the local bodies-that is, the Northern and Southern inter-regional committees and the sector and tabanka committees. That is our structure.
In the cities and urban centres, the Party organisation remains underground, in general under the leadership of a very small number of individuals.
Since outside aid is so important to the national liberation struggle and particularly to that of Guinea-Bissao, we would like to know which countries are giving aid to your guerilla struggle.
A basic principle of our struggle is our counting on our own forces, our own sacrifices, our own efforts, but considering the characteristic underdevelopment of our people, of our country, the economic backwardness of our country, it is very difficult for us to produce weapons. Taking into account these circumstances, taking into account the fact that in our country 99% of the people are illiterate, which makes the immediate existence of cadres difficult; and also taking into account that the enemy, which has no scruples, is aided by its NATO allies, in particular, the United States, Federal Germany, and some other countries, and above all by its South African racist allies-taking into account all this and also the essential characteristic of our times, which is the general struggle of the peoples against imperialism and the existence of a socialist camp, which is the greatest bulwark against imperialism, we accept and request aid from all the peoples that can give it to us. We do not ask for aid in manpower: there are enough of us to fight and defeat colonialism in our country. We ask for aid in weapons, in articles of prime necessity to supply our liberated regions, in medicines to heal our wounded and cure our sick and to provide medical care for the population of the liberated regions. We ask for any and all aid that any people can offer us. We also ask different countries for aid in preparing our cadres. Our aid ethics are as follows: we never ask for the aid we need. We expect that each will conscientiously give what help he can to our people in our struggle for national liberation. As part of this aid we point above all to that of Africa. Through the OAU, Africa has granted us some aid. We consider that this aid, thus far, is not sufficient to meet our needs, to provide for the development of our struggle. which is today a real war against an enemy that possesses powerful weapons to use against us and which receives aid from its allies. For example, Federal Germany even sends aviation technicians to train the Portuguese in Bissao. and. in addition, it receives Portuguese wounded for treatment in Germany to prevent the Portuguese people from seeing how many we have wounded in our country.
Our opinion is that aid from Africa is good, but insufficient. Therefore, we hope that the African peoples, the African states through the OAU can increase their aid, both financial and material.
And on the financial plane we want to point out that today our expenses are enormous. In petrol alone, we use almost 40,000 litres to supply the fighting fronts. All this involves large expenditures, and thus far we have not received the financial aid necessary to cover the costs of the war, while Portugal, in addition to its state budget, receives fabulous aid in dollars, marks, and pounds from its allies.
We want to add that within the framework of Africa there are some countries that aid us bilaterally. For example, we receive the greatest support from the Republic of Guinea, the greatest facilities for the development of our struggle. Algeria continues to help; the UAR, also. At the beginning of the struggle Morocco helped, and we don't understand why it no longer gives us the help it gave us at that time.
Other African countries have aided us. For example, Tanzania, which aids the people of Mozambique, and the Congo (Brazzaville), which aids the people of Angola, also aid us.
We want to mention the special aid given to us by the peoples of the socialist countries. We believe that this aid is a historic obligation, because we consider that our struggle also constitutes a defence of the socialist countries. And we want to say particularly that the Soviet Union, first of all, and China, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and other socialist countries continue to aid us, which we consider very useful for the development of our armed struggle. We also want to lay special emphasis on the untiring efforts-sacrifices that we deeply appreciate-that the people of Cuba-a small country without great resources, one that is struggling against the blockade by the US and other imperialists-are making to give effective aid to our struggle. For us, this is a constant source of encouragement, and it also contributes to cementing more and more the solidarity between our Party and the Cuban Party, between our people and the Cuban people, a people that we consider African. And it is enough to see the historical, political, and blood ties that unite us to be able to say this. Therefore, we are very happy with the aid that the Cuban people give us, and we are sure that they will continue increasing their aid to our national liberation struggle in spite of all difficulties.
At present there is a very important problem, a burning issue in the Middle East, the Israeli aggression against the Arab peoples. What is the PAIGC's position in regard to this conflict?
We have as a basic principle the defence of just causes. We are in favour of justice, human progress, the freedom of the people. On this basis we believe that the creation of Israel, carried out by the imperialist states to maintain their domination in the Middle East, was artificial and aimed at the creation of problems in that very important region of the world. This is our position: the Jewish people have lived in different countries of the world. We lament profoundly what the Nazis did to the Jewish people, that Hitler and his lackeys destroyed almost six million during the last World War. But we do not accept that this gives them the right to occupy a part of the Arab nation. We believe that the people of Palestine have a right to their homeland. We therefore think that all the measures taken by the Arab peoples, by the Arab nation, to recover the Palestinian Arab homeland are justified.
In this conflict that is endangering world peace we are entirely in favour of and unconditionally support the Arab peoples. We do not wish for war; but we want the Arab peoples to obtain the freedom of the people of Palestine to free the Arab nation of that element of imperialist disturbance and domination which Israel constitutes.
What is the Party's position on the struggle in Vietnam?
For us, the struggle in Vietnam is our own struggle. We consider that in Vietnam not only the fate of our own people but also that of all the peoples struggling for their national independence and sovereignty is at stake. We are in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, and we immensely admire their heroic struggle against US aggression and against the aggression of the reactionaries of the southern part of Vietnam, who are no more than the puppets of US imperialism.
We offer all our support to the people of Vietnam. Under the present historical circumstances of our people, we can do no more than fight every day with valour and determination against the Portuguese colonialists, who are also the lackeys of international imperialism.
What is your opinion of the revolutionary struggle in Latin America?
Within the framework of our firm position in favour of the peoples, we understand that the peoples of Latin America have suffered enormously. The independence of the peoples of Latin America was a sham. The peoples of Latin America never enjoyed true independence. Governments were created that were completely submissive to imperialism, in particular to US imperialism. We all know that the Monroe Doctrine was the US point of departure for the total domination of Latin America. This means that the peoples of Latin America who had been subjected to the Spanish yoke-or to that of Portugal, in Brazil, for example-passed over to the imperialist yoke in spite of having their own governments-that is, a fictitious political independence.
Today the peoples of Latin America-whose development has reached a higher level than that of the African peoples, where class contradictions are more clearly defined, and also therefore the positions of different individuals in regard to true independence-are determined, and they prove it in practice, to use whatever means are necessary to fight for their genuine national independence. We could not do less than offer the greatest support to the peoples of Latin America. We follow with a great deal of interest the development of new guerrilla tacos in Latin America. We hope that they will develop further with every passing day and that their leaders will show determination in this struggle.
We believe that each people and each leadership should be free to choose the road of struggle that best suits it, but we also expect each people and each leadership to know how to recognise when the real moment of struggle has arrived, because the enemy always fights with every means at its disposal. There will be disputes over whether or not to carry out armed struggle. Within the framework of the national liberation of the peoples there is no problem of armed or unarmed struggle. For us, there is always armed struggle. There are two kinds of armed struggle: the armed struggle in which the people fight empty-handed, unarmed, while the imperialists or the colonialists are armed and kill our people; and the armed struggle in which we prove we are not crazy by taking up arms to fight back against the criminal arms of the imperialists.
We believe that the people of Latin America have already grasped this and are showing their clearsightedness by taking up arms to fight with valour against the reactionary and imperialist forces infesting the Latin American continent.