Letters and Messages

Message from Fidel to the mass rally in Manzanillo

To the people of Manzanillo, Bayamo, and all of eastern Cuba:

Our beloved province of Oriente had yet to be multiplied by five when, as fate would have it, our tiny Granma, with only two inches of fuel in its tanks, and daylight already upon us, definitely led us to the swampy shore of Las Coloradas, in the municipality of Niquero. There, discovered by the enemy, and hungry and exhausted from the long sea journey, we immediately set out on the perilous march to the Sierra Maestra, whose nearest peaks were not even visible in the distance.

At that time, we could not have imagined that this region, where we recovered from the worst of setbacks by rebuilding and developing our small army with the few scattered combatants who survived, would one day be transformed into a province bearing the name of the small boat that brought us from Mexico to this part of Cuba.

There we waged our first successful combats and decisive battles. There we learned to win, and to never admit defeat. It was from there that various columns set out to subsequently invade the rest of the country. And from there, in less than two years, always faced with a ratio of no less that 20 enemy soldiers for every one of us, we fully defeated the enemy army on January 1, 1959.

On that very day, the glorious struggle that had begun just a few kilometers from Manzanillo, at La Demajagua sugar mill, over 130 years before culminated in total victory, and for the first time ever, we were entirely free. Since then, nothing and no one has been able or ever will be able to defeat our people.

Without the support of Manzanillo, of Bayamo, of all the compatriots who lived in what is now the province of Granma, non of that would have been possible.

There is no other place on our island with greater symbolism, nor one that could bode so well for the continuation of the battle of ideas and masses that we have been waging for seven months against the most powerful empire ever known to humanity.

Hardly a few hours have passed since the emotional return to our homeland of Juan Miguel and Elián, transformed into two moral giants, and our ceaseless and tireless struggle has been vigorously renewed as we enter a new and long chapter. We are not the kind of people who stop to enjoy the pleasure of their victories or to boast of their successes. With the experience we have gained, and the formidable strength we have accumulated, we will not relent until each and every one of the just goals we swore upon at Baraguá has been achieved.

We have not stripped away a single right from any other country, nor attempted to deprive it of the fruits of its peaceful labor, or its independence. We do not threaten any other nation, nor have we ever proclaimed military hostility, blockades or economic war against another people. We have declared no people our enemy, much less the people of the United States; for despite the sea of prejudices and lies constantly used to deceive them when seeking an excuse to commit heinous crimes, those people supported the just cause of a kidnapped boy and his father, just as they once put an end to the bloody and unjust war that killed four million Vietnamese and completely devastated a small and impoverished Third World country.

We could not care less about who becomes the next head of government in the superpower that has imposed its system of hegemonic rule and domination to the rest of the world. We do not find any of the candidates trustworthy. It is useless for them to waste time on declarations and promises against Cuba to capture the vote of a few traitors who even dared to trample and burn American flags. Whoever the new president of the United States turns out to be, he should know that Cuba is here and will always be with its ideas, its example, and the unbreakable rebelliousness of its people; that any aggression and every attempt to asphyxiate us and bring us to our knees will be defeated. Four decades of arrogance, foolish underestimation and humiliating failure should be enough.

Since January 1, 1959, Cuba has been, is, and will continue to be free forever. Its capacity for struggle and resistance, its profound political culture, and the awareness and courage of its people demonstrate that the Cuban Revolution, with its devotion to justice and its noble objectives, has created such a spirit of solidarity and heroism and has become so deeply rooted in the heart of the homeland that it has been rendered invincible.

It is this sentiment of confidence, certainty and healthy patriotic and revolutionary pride that I wish to transmit to you today, July 1, 2000, another unforgettable day in the history of Granma and of Cuba.

Fidel Castro Ruz