SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF FIDEL CASTRO RUZ AT THE CLOSING SESSION OF THE CULTURAL CONGRESS OF HAVANA HELD AT THE CHAPLIN THEATER ON JANUARY 12, 1968
Delegates to the Cultural Congress of Havana;
I must share with you the impression expressed by many of the participants in this Congress that this first international event of its kind has been a complete success.
Some had predicted that holding such a conference was a difficult task and it could be impossible to conduct an international meeting of this nature involving such a large number of intellectual workers coming no less than from 70 countries, who speak many different languages, whose ideas may differ in many respects and, thus, the Cultural Congress could become a sort of venue for all kinds of controversy and misunderstandings, and that the intellectual workers would find it be very difficult to arrive at virtually unanimous conclusions.
This may be due to various reasons, including that the intellectual workers in general are sometimes overly individualistic; the great influence – as discussed at the Congress – that their particular habits and living conditions have on men in every society, regardless of their positions and ideas; and, perhaps such assumption conveys an underestimation of intellectual workers.
We must think about what factors have made it possible for this Congress to be held; what factors have inspired discussions in this Congress; what are the factors that have contributed to giving it a profoundly revolutionary approach that can be said to have exceeded the most optimistic predictions. The factor that made this Congress possible and determined its results is the universal awareness that is developing now; the universal awareness about the most profound problems of the contemporary world; the universal awareness about the serious threats against all the peoples of the world; the universal consciousness of struggle, the universal consciousness of justice that spans the globe.
And what’s interesting is that the men and women gathered here did not come as members of any political organization. Many congresses have taken place in many places and at different times, and have gathered members of organizations and parties of a similar nature. However, this Congress has been characterized by its broad representation of so many different origins and the great diversity of the participants’ field of work. Nonetheless, a number of issues, a number of fundamental principles were stated with an unusual unanimity.
Intellectual workers of diverse branches, intellectual workers of diverse philosophical conceptions, of the most diverse scientific and artistic conceptions, of the most diverse political views gathered here and yet a general agreement was appreciated. We truly believe that this has to be a source of concern for the enemies of humanity.
What determines this universal awareness? Is it an idealistic sentiment of the people who attended this Congress? Does it originate from an altruistic feeling, a noble and generous sentiment? While these feelings indeed abound in this Congress, it is indisputable that the factors that create this universal consciousness are precisely the dangers, the threats of aggression and the real aggressions that various peoples of the world, and practically the whole world, are suffering. This universal consciousness has grown hand in hand with the spirit of aggression, with the acts of oppression and servitude, with threats that the whole of mankind is facing. We must say that the men and women gathered here are undoubtedly a vanguard; they are a nucleus capable of penetrating further, of comprehending the nature and the severity of the contemporary problems that are affecting and threatening humanity.
We have read all the resolutions on the various issues discussed and you can say that the fundamental problems and the most serious dangers facing humanity today were addressed in a very correct way, in our opinion.
There are some events in the face of which no one with some level of awareness, with humane feelings and a sentiment of justice can remain indifferent or untouched.
For example, the attack on Vietnam, which is an unusual event for our times, is an act of genocide savagely committed by the yankee imperialism against that people on an completely unjustifiable basis, using means of warfare and resorting to acts of savagery that unquestionably bring back what Nazism did in Europe to the minds of all who experienced it directly o indirectly or read about it; they are unquestionably reminiscent, for example, of all the acts which later constituted war crimes for which they punished and in some cases executed some of the people – not all, though – who had the primary responsibility for those events.
The current yankee imperialist policy reminds us of the policy pursued by Hitler and the barbaric acts of the Nazis, but with the difference that imperialism has brought together technical resources, including also military resources, and has assembled a power for destruction and death incomparably superior to what the Nazi-fascist could have even dreamed to have.
Humanity must necessarily worry when it sees that such tremendous forces are advancing along that path.
That awareness is being fostered not only by the nature of the crimes committed; it is promoted even more strongly by our admiration for the heroic people that in such a brave, successful and incredible manner is confronting these powerful forces, is fighting unflaggingly against them and is capable of defeating them, too.
Outrage, on one side, and hatred and admiration on another, in relation to the events that occur in Vietnam, have contributed in a very remarkable way – perhaps more than any other event in these times – to creating the awareness about justice and universal morality that has been evident in this Congress.
At the same time, humanity increasingly understands that these events are in no way isolated accidents but are the fruits of a conception and of a system that they are trying to impose on the world.
The extraordinary unanimous condemnation of the yankee imperialist actions today are logically the result of a chain of similar events that have taken place in the world in recent years. In fact, the imperialists who are brutally murdering and killing in Vietnam are the same imperialists who invaded and occupied the territory of Santo Domingo; they are the same imperialists that repress the revolutionary movements worldwide; they are the same imperialists who promoted the events that led to the assassination of Lumumba; they are the same imperialists who launch aggressions and provocations against Korea, and intervene in Lao, threaten Cambodia, keep a discredited puppet in Formosa, sustain with their support, weapons and resources the oligarchic governments of Latin America, the tyrannies and the archaic systems that prevail in this continent; they are the same that maintain Portuguese colonialism in Africa; they are the same who support not only the coups in Latin America – which are so customary – and the coups in Africa – that are so fashionable these days – but that even in Europe support the reactionary military coup d'état in Greece and encourage aggressions against the Arab peoples (APPLAUSE).
I mean, there is no need to mention Cuba, because our case is no longer an isolated case but just one of many cases. We have come to know the activities and behavior of imperialism much too well. However, our people’s attitude and its indignation and hatred towards imperialism are not precisely due to the imperialist aggressions against us anymore but to having come to understand the role that imperialism is playing worldwide.
There isn’t a single continent, or a single country in the world, not a single village, not a single contemporary problem where the imperialist activity is not found; there isn’t a single infamous cause in the world that is not supported by imperialism, just as there is not a single righteous cause in this contemporary world that is not countered by imperialism.
The problem is not just that imperialism insists on attacking what has come to be known as the Third World or the underdeveloped world, or the developing world as others call it. The term “developing world” is a misapplied concept really because if we look at the reality of this world, rather than a world that is developing from a technical point of view, from an economic point of view, rather than a developing world we could say it is a world in a backward trend as a consequence of the conditions that imperialism has imposed on it.
In fact, the clutches and actions of imperialism are not set against that region of the world only; the actions of imperialism seriously and increasingly undermine also the interests of the so-called developed countries. There are terminological discrepancies regarding the terms “developed” and “underdeveloped” because it is said that sometimes a country highly developed industrially and economically is at the same time a country that is underdeveloped politically and socially; and a country that is underdeveloped economically is more developed politically and socially.
We are not in the least offended if we are counted among the underdeveloped countries, for the development of our consciousness, our social development and our general cultural development have become a prerequisite for our economic and industrial development. In our country – just as it should happen in any other country with conditions similar to ours – the development of the people in terms of politics and consciousness is a sine qua non condition for winning the battle against economic underdevelopment.
But imperialism as a universal phenomenon, as a universal evil, as a universal wolf, cannot exist unless it behaves as a wolf worldwide and attacks everybody’s interests. And that imperialism also acts against the interests of the rest of the so-called developed world, the rest of the industrialized world.
Today, the political terminology often refers to a US-led imperialism. In fact, in the contemporary world there is only one truly powerful imperialism; in contemporary times, what bolsters imperialism is essentially the US imperialism. The once-powerful imperialist countries are now extremely weak compared to the yankee imperialism. That is why the world increasingly understands that the efforts and the struggle should concentrate on confronting the yankee imperialism, which is the mainstay of all reactionary governments and all the evil causes of the world.
The US imperialism threatens to devour, and to some extent is devouring, even the other imperialist powers. We need not argue in favor of this idea. This issue was discussed during the Congress and brilliant ideas were expressed and proposals made. The debate during the Congress included one paper about the yankee imperialist penetration in Europe, as well as the theft of capital – not only the export of capital but the theft of capital from the underdeveloped world by the yankee imperialism, substantiated with figures – including an explanation about the plunder of technical human resources worldwide by the yankee imperialism. These facts that are an expression of the contemporary phenomenon of the monopoly of science and technology, of the use that the imperialists give to the great breakthroughs in science and modern technology were brilliantly presented at the Congress, as was the idea that the yankee imperialists just need to provide 10% of the total value of the investments they make in Europe and mobilize the remaining resources inside Europe itself.
We know, indeed, the extent of the yankee imperialist penetration in Europe. We can seriously say that the yankee imperialism rules in Europe to a degree perhaps greater than the Europeans imagine (APPLAUSE).
And we know that; we have proof of that constantly. This is because we are the target, for example, of the imperialist relentless economic sabotage and economic blockade; imperialism does everything it can to prevent us from purchasing anything useful anywhere in the world. Worse still, on countless occasions the imperialists sabotage and hinder our efforts in countries that say to be very independent, very highly developed and sovereign.
The fact is that the imperialists have majority shares in countless European companies; the imperialists control numerous patents that are used in Europe. So, if we want to purchase a machine that is manufactured according to a US patent, or if part of the machine is made with an American patent, we cannot purchase that machine or the technology. Sometimes they sell us part of a factory, but they cannot sell us the entire process because it is US patented. In many cases, even if a US patent is not involved or US financial capital is not invested in the factory, we cannot buy what we want because the US is an important customer of that industry and it gets upset if that industry sells us anything; this is how they exert pressures and sabotage and hinder our economic efforts.
So they rule in Europe, either because they own the companies or because they own the patents, or because they are major clients, or because they are allies of some governments in Europe and use their influence to sabotage Cuba’s economic activities.
It is really incredible the extent to which they go and their thoroughness in doing it. Therefore, although we are not Europeans we know the degree to which the European economy is governed by the United States. The challenge before capitalist Europe is to find out if there is a way to control and contain that economic penetration; if there is any way – within capitalist conception and under capitalist laws – to resist that penetration. Regardless of how much protected they seek to be with tariffs and customs duties, the financial and technical power of the United States is such that they can often sell at lower prices and even sell some products at dumping prices bypassing any kind of tariff barrier. Sometimes they don’t need to overcome any barrier, for they simply buy the European companies.
We have encountered situations such as the following: we purchased some trucks from a European firm and after we received the trucks some US businessmen arrived there, bought the factory, and from that moment on we have been unable to get a single spare part for those trucks.
We sometimes have the impression that they seize all with greed, and sometimes we even have the impression that when any European industry supplies us with some products that may be important for our development, they don’t give up until they buy that industry. Fortunately, they have not been able to do that with all industries; fortunately, contradictions arise; and fortunately in spite of that, and as the result of those contradictions, of the penetration and the competition of the yankee imperialism against Europe, amid all the difficulties, the trade between Cuba and Europe is increasing.
We also have evidence of the increasing resistance on the part of the European industry and governments; of their growing concern, their growing anxiety in relation to the economic penetration in and control over the European economy by the US, as some things that were very difficult for us to purchase some years ago are not so difficult now. Our country’s credit – and I apologize for this digression – is growing and the number of offers we receive is increasing.
Consequently, we perceive the contradiction in these facts; we perceive the tremendous influence that the yankee imperialists have in Europe but at the same time the growing concern within the very European capitalist circles about this phenomenon that is taking place in Europe.
Therefore, there is an enemy that can be indeed said to be universal; and if ever in the history of humanity there was a truly universal enemy, an enemy whose attitude and actions are a source of concern worldwide, a threat to everyone, an attack in any form on everyone, that real and undoubtedly universal enemy is precisely the yankee imperialism. To the extent that humanity becomes aware of this problem, humanity is mobilized; to the same extent that it becomes aware of this issue, humanity begins to act in one way or another.
Sometimes we hear the intellectuals, the scientists and artists criticize themselves for having a distant relationship with the problems. I am not referring to the intellectual workers from the Third World – so to speak – I refer especially to the intellectual workers in Europe. The criticism is about them having a distant relationship – sometimes they call it a paternalistic relationship – regarding the world's problems. What’s our view in this regard? We think that it would be naive and idealists to expect that the kind of awareness that we were talking about could awaken overnight in a tremendous manner.
We do not engage in analyzing the degree of mobilization of intellectual workers in favor of just causes in the world; we rather take interest in considering that whatever the degree of that development, whatever the effectiveness of that solidarity, the fact is that that movement is on the rise, the fact is that the movement is developing, the fact is that the movement is growing.
To be honest, we could say that we have often seen that certain causes that affect the world today, certain attacks, certain crimes, have found more support, more resonance, more condemnation and more agitation among groups of intellectual workers than among organizations of a political nature which should be expected to be more active! (APPLAUSE). Sometimes we have seen that alleged vanguards stay deep in the rearguard in the struggle against imperialism! (APPLAUSE)
I assure you that we are not here to offend or hurt anyone. Moreover, we do not like to offend or attack by indirect means. And I say this as an unavoidable reference to a truth that we have experienced; after all, this is the view of the attacked, the view of revolutionary combatants of a country that struggles against imperialism and a country that though it is not in the frontline trench – because Vietnam is in the frontline trench unquestionably (APPLAUSE) – is holding a modest position in the battle which it defends firmly and resolutely.
When we see at the forefront a man from the vanguard – or that we assume is of the vanguard – we take it as something most natural; but when at the forefront of the protests and the struggle we see people who were not believed to be in the vanguard, we stand in admiration. So we do not stop to appraise how much they fight but we appreciate the fact that there are worthy men who collect the flags of justice when there is no one to collect them in some countries! (APPLAUSE) and there are many examples of such cases.
We have learned a lot during these years of revolution, and among other things we have learned to tell true from false, to distinguish between a revolutionary attitude and a revolutionary slogan, between words and deeds, between the dogmas and the facts.
Could anyone believe that the October Crisis1 did not constitute an unforgettable experience for us? We do not like to talk about that episode, but our people unquestionably lived moments of great danger then. Nobody should take it as a manifestation of pride that we say here that our people behaved with dignity, integrity and courage (APPLAUSE). I should also say, however, that for a long time, since we had almost reached adolescence, we have heard about the great campaign for peace. I'm not critical of the men who have fought for peace, of the men who have honestly, in one way or another, taken up the banner of the struggle for peace and have made all in their power to raise that flag. What was really astonishing for us was the fact that when peace was truly in danger, when the world was indeed on the brink of nuclear war, we didn’t see large mass mobilizations in Europe although there would have been war presumably in Europe also if a nuclear war started. It is logical to expect that in case of a war between the major nuclear powers Europe would have suffered the consequences of that war and would have been in the war bound as it is by military pacts to one of those powers, namely, the yankee imperialism. Indeed if there were any we didn’t hear about them; if there were any, either large or small, we did not know of them. And we really felt... we had the impression – and if it is a false impression we would deeply appreciate anyone who could erase that deep impression from our minds – that that slogan was nothing more than a slogan, an entertainment, and that the slogan was unable to mobilize no mass at all, that the slogan was unable even to awaken the self-preservation instinct of the masses.
Where were the vanguards? Where were the revolutionary vanguards?
And the fact is that we have a recent, very recent example, which touched us very personally, and it was on the occasion of the death of heroic comrade Ernesto Guevara (OVATION).
It will be difficult to find a man like him; it will be difficult to find a man purer than him, more consistent than him, more honest than him, more exemplary than him. When one wants to present an example of what a revolutionary is and ought to be, can there be a better example than the one set by him?
But who was it that hoisted his flag? Who agitated worldwide? But above all, who raised his name in Europe and raised and extolled his example? Who mobilized, painted signs and organized meetings across Europe? What sector was most profoundly impacted by Che Guevara’s death? It was precisely the intellectual workers’ sector! (APPLAUSE). They were not organizations or parties but honest and sensitive men and women, who had the spirit to assimilate, to understand, to admire, to do justice; versus those who ask why Che Guevara died, versus those who are unable to understand and never will understand why he died, nor will ever be able to die like him, or be revolutionaries like him (APPLAUSE).
We know how that hurt the hearts of true revolutionaries worldwide and above all, we know how that fact hurt the most exemplary fighters of this era, which are the Vietnamese fighters (APPLAUSE).
We know of many condolences; true condolences and formal condolences. And I say “condolences” because there is no other word, although, of course, the death of a fighter is no cause for mourning if we believe – as we have always believed, as our people believes and the revolutionaries have believed at all times – that no true man, no true revolutionary dies in vain. Our own enemies give irrefutable evidence of that; proof of that is given by those who cowardly murdered him not respecting his status as a wounded soldier who was unable to continue fighting as his gun had been destroyed. Not only did they murder him cowardly but also made him disappear in a more cowardly manner yet.
In recent days the news agencies have been reporting news about a swap of counterrevolutionary prisoners in Cuba for Régis Debray. Of course we are sure that Régis Debray will never accept such an exchange because we have seen his attitude, for we have seen his formidable defense, because we have seen the serenity, courage and fortitude with which he exposed his prosecutors. However, we do not shrink from the challenge made by Barrientos the "gorilla". If you want us to release counterrevolutionaries, if you want counterrevolutionary leaders, this is what we say and propose: Return the remains of Commander Guevara and we will release one hundred counterrevolutionary leaders! (APPLAUSE) We will immediately release not one but one hundred counterrevolutionary leaders, selected by the CIA and the Pentagon, if you have the courage to return the remains of Commander Guevara! (APPLAUSE).
It is they who have to prove whether it is true or not that they fear Che dead even more than alive (APPLAUSE).
That is a formidable example of what an example is! It is a formidable example that ideas cannot be destroyed! It is a formidable example that revolutionary and just causes cannot be crushed, whatever the blows and losses! Because we are human after all, we are men after all, and for man his ideas and values are above everything else and, of course, much above his own life.
We have lived through these experiences, and that is why, without any intention to flatter but in all sincerity, I said what we feel whenever we see intellectuals workers uniting in ever increasing numbers to become formidable champions and defenders of the just causes.
I mentioned the example of Che, but we have witnessed the growing strength of the movement worldwide in support for and solidarity with Vietnam. We have seen an increasing number of intellectual workers in the United States in the struggle against the savage aggression on Vietnam. We have seen that intellectual workers from around the world provide increasing support to the black movement in the United States. We have seen the intellectual workers everywhere in the world defending the banner of struggle against the imprisonment of Régis Debray; and we have seen from recent, defining events that the movement of solidarity among intellectual workers is growing worldwide. And indeed we deeply appreciate that!
This does not mean that we should be complacent or that we believe that all possible efforts have been made; it does not mean that this movement is as strong as it should be. It just means that we feel optimistic because this movement of conscience and justice is growing and developing. Besides, there is no doubt that it will continue to grow and to develop because to the same extent that the universal enemy becomes increasingly aggressive, to the same extent that its crimes are increasingly repugnant, to the same extent that its claws become more threatening, that movement, that force grows.
While we say that the yankee imperialism is powerful, that it has accumulated large financial and technical resources, large means of destruction and death, we will never accept that such threat against humanity and all the forces accumulated by imperialism can be more powerful than mankind. This is demonstrated once again by Vietnam, a tiny part of humanity, and the way it confronts the mighty imperialism, the way it fights it and defeats it! The imperialism that is trying to scare the world, to blackmail the world but only gets to raise more awareness in the world, more anger and fighting spirit around the world, as a result of its repugnant actions, its criminal and abhorrent actions; the enemy that wants to solve everything with weapons, with its gold, and kills or bribes, that oppresses by way of force or by way of corruption, and that penetrates all fields and every activity.
It is logical for the intellectual workers to be upset by the fact that the best creations of man, the most extraordinary products of the human intelligence, the creations of men of science and of the arts, all the means that man has developed for the good of man, are used today to kill, to destroy, to oppress, to corrupt. Be them the breakthroughs in physics, chemistry, electronics or biology, because they manufacture from bombs that are fragmented into thousands of pieces to poisons, chemical and biological means of destruction, everything that the scientists have created.
It is logical for the intellectual workers of the world to feel that they are, one way or the other, victims of that theft, victims of an attack, just as they feel attacked by the brain theft policy, by the policy to plunder the technical staff, the policy to monopolize science aimed at recruiting scientists around the world both from developed and from the so-called underdeveloped countries. That is clear and well known, and relevant data are published in the United States itself; so – as I said on the 2nd of January – the country with the most developed technology is engaged in the sacking of intelligences and the looting of technical staff.
Therefore, in the face of these realities, why should it be odd that men and women, intellectuals of the most diverse philosophical positions, of the most varied political or apolitical positions, from the most varied militancy meet here?
I must say that there are some things in this Congress that have been truly impressive. One of them is the universal consciousness of what imperialism is and what it represents, and the universal awareness that the problems posed by the modern world cannot be resolved through social systems that are obsolete, that have been abolished by the development of science and technology and by the development of human consciousness. Another is the unanimous criteria voiced here by intellectual workers both from the Third World and developed countries that it is impossible to overcome the profound problems of any modern country, whether developed or underdeveloped – for the developed countries to overcome the profound contradictions that remain under capitalism, to overcome a society that is virtually abolished by history; and in the case of the underdeveloped countries as the only way, because what alternative can there be for a country affected by an increasing gap between them and the rest of the world if it wants to achieve an accelerated pace of development, going through the ordeal of capitalist development under the conditions imposed by the imperialist domination.
Anyway, these things were matters of elementary knowledge, of basic conviction on the part of the people participating in this Congress.
However, there are some things, particularly one thing, that made a great impression on us, actually, because it demonstrates how broad the world’s revolutionary movement has come to be, and it was the presentation by a group of Catholic priests who participated in the Congress. I will not say their names because I have not consulted with them, but I'll read the paper for our people to know, assuming you know this paper, which reads:
"We, Catholic priests participating in the Cultural Congress of Havana,
"That at present – and particularly in the Third World – imperialism is a factor of dehumanization that destroys the foundations of individual dignity, attacks the free expression of culture, prevents the authentic forms of human development and provokes situations of growing and increasingly oppressive underdevelopment;
"That despite the differences between Christianity and Marxism on the interpretation of man and the world, Marxism presents the most accurate scientific analysis of the imperialist reality and the most effective stimuli for revolutionary mass action;
"That the Christian faith implies love translated into effective service to each and every man;
"That priest Camilo Torres Restrepo set the highest example of a Christian intellectual committed to the people when he died for the revolutionary cause (APPLAUSE).
"WE COMMIT OURSELVES
"To the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle to the ultimate consequences in order to achieve the liberation of man as a whole and of all men.
"We condemn the economic and cultural blockade that US imperialism has established against the Republic of Cuba, the first free territory of America;
"We condemn the United States’ war on Vietnam as the most monstrous attack of imperialism against the freedom of a people of the Third World;
"We reject all forms of colonialism and neocolonialism as the result from alienating and dehumanizing imperialism."
This paper shows how revolutionary ideas, one way or another, are extending and expanding, and how these ideas penetrate even religious sectors and a growing number of revolutionary militants emerge within these sectors.
A few days ago I was reading one of the many news cables that we receive here; it was from one of the many yankee agencies and it was about this movement, and it expressed concern about the movement that is developing among the Catholic clergy in Latin America. They said that this movement was linked to Cuba, linked to the Cuban Revolution, linked with Castro, and so on and so forth, and they even accused the Apostolic Nuncio (LAUGHTER). They accused the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba, and accused also a Canadian Apostolic Nuncio who had come to give the bishop’s insignia to the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba.
There was a reception, and we attended the reception. And of course, for the imperialists, for the gusanera2 and the reactionaries, perhaps for the CIA, that was a conspiratorial council (LAUGHTER). It is undisputed that the reactionaries are increasingly scared, living in fear, seeing conspiracies everywhere, seeing ghosts everywhere, seeing subversions everywhere. And it's true, it's true ! Those are the ghosts they have created, the rebellions that they have unleashed and the universal conspiracy that they have generated among the worthy men of humanity.
It is unquestionable that we are witnessing new realities and new phenomena. Unquestionably, we the revolutionaries, those of us who consider ourselves revolutionaries and also Marxist-Leninists are obliged to analyze these new phenomena because there can be nothing more anti-Marxist than a dogma (APPLAUSE), nothing more anti-Marxist than the petrification of ideas. And there are ideas that are put forward on behalf of Marxism that look like fossils, really (APPLAUSE).
Marxism had great thinkers: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin, just to mention its fundamental founders. But Marxism needs to develop, to get rid of a kind of stiffness, to interpret the realities of today objectively and scientifically, and to behave as a revolutionary force and not as a pseudo-revolutionary church (APPLAUSE).
These are the paradoxes of history. How can we resign ourselves to seeing that sectors of Marxism become ecclesiastical forces if we see that sectors of the clergy are turning into revolutionary forces? (APPLAUSE)
We hope, of course, that as a result of us saying this they will not apply on us the method of "excommunication" (LAUGHTER), and certainly not that of the "Holy Inquisition"; but certainly we should meditate, we should act with a more dialectical sense, a revolutionary sense.
We need to analyze contemporary phenomena and study them in depth. Naturally, analysis and concepts must increasingly result from the work of teams of men rather than from individual men. In the same way that in science the isolated researchers practically don’t and cannot exist, in politics, in economics, in sociology it is increasingly impossible for isolated researchers and bright men to surface in modern conditions.
There is indeed some kind of underdevelopment in the field of political ideas, in the field of revolutionary ideas. That’s the origin of the enormous confusion that exists in the world today, of the huge crisis that exists in the realm of ideas, in the field of doctrines, precisely when the revolutionary attitudes and sentiments of the world are growing. Nobody can say to be the holder of absolute truth; amid the enormous complexity of the world today no one can declare to be the holder of absolute truth. We have our truths here that stem from our experience and apply to our conditions; and we have made our own deductions and conclusions but we have never claimed to be professors, we have never claimed to have the monopoly of revolutionary truths.
However, we have seen that the revolutionary truths are being found, how the revolutionary truths are emerging as a result of the analysis and the efforts made by many intelligent minds.
Without a doubt, that is the impression left by the resolutions of the Congress. That is, in our view, what’s most extraordinary: the way such unanimous conclusions have been reached, how views have been unified, and how a handful of truths have been said and a handful of unquestionably revolutionary and human sentiments have been expressed. That’s the impression that will necessarily be left in all those who read the resolution approved by this Congress.
What will the imperialists say? What will they think? Maybe they will say that this is a Vietnam in the field of culture; they say that the guerrillas have started to emerge among intellectuals; this means that the intellectuals are taking an increasingly active position. And we have no doubt that the imperialists will be deeply worried about this event and the resolutions and the revolutionary tone of this event.
The imperialist thoughts are increasingly clear and their intentions are increasingly unequivocal. For example, two news cables were received here in Cuba today about two major oligarchs of imperialism: one, about a General and member of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Army; the other about some statements by Mr. Rusk. Are they any different from their usual statements? No. They are not different. Are they any different from many of the statements in Congress? No. But they reveal how accurate and clear the intellectual workers and their resolutions were.
Let's see what they say – either one of the two; the one you prefer. Mr. Rusk took the floor and among other things he referred to the October Crisis3 and said that “‘the 1962 crisis in Cuba, during which the United States showed considerable restraint, has surely served as a warning for several large and small powers, the United States secretary Dean Rusk told the US press yesterday and added that many countries have learned the lesson".
That’s the vulgar language of vulgar blackmail! (APPLAUSE)
But well, let’s read the most important part. It says: "Another problem, he continued, are aggressions such as Vietnam’s" – he called it Vietnam’s aggressions! – "and added that once the so-called liberation wars are contained" – that once the so-called liberation wars are contained! – "the world could enjoy a long era of peace." The Roman peace! (LAUGHTER)
And then it immediately adds: "Speaking about the population explosion, Dean Rusk stressed the urgent need to solve it before this danger grows to cause the outbreak of a nuclear war.
"Science and technology will have to overcome these problems that by the 80s will be at least as explosive as the nuclear weapons issue", he concluded.
And what did the General say?
"General Harold K. Johnson, Chief of Staff of the US Army, said today that this country’s experience in the Dominican Republic and Cuba demonstrate that the war in Vietnam is necessary to stop the spread of communism.
"In a speech in this city, General Johnson said that ‘the proliferation of communism ended when our country started its direct assistance in resisting the implementation of the system. ’
"The military added that ‘even in our hemisphere, when we confront communists quickly and vigorously, as was the case in the Dominican Republic, they stop their advance. ’
"'But – said Johnson – when America failed to recognize a communist strike, as was the case in Cuba, the tumor took root and has tried to spread. ‘
"General Johnson, who returned last week from his ninth inspection tour in Vietnam, denied that the communists have taken the initiative in the current war and that the war has become bogged down."
Two statements on the same day: one from a general with many defeats and the other one from a dark eminence of imperialism.
All this, all these expressions so brazenly uttered by spokesmen of imperialism, generals and civilians alike, what do they mean? Do they conceal the strategy of imperialism? Do they by any chance disguise their intentions and purposes in any way?
This one says that "communism stop to proliferate when we fight it vigorously." That is the case of Cuba, "that tumor" –maybe he meant a tumor that was not removed – how do you stop it? "That is why we launched an allout intervention in Santo Domingo, to assist in the resistance." They assisted the gorillas there! ¿Resistance? They would not have been able to resist the Dominican people for half an hour! (APPLAUSE)
They say that is the reason that they intervened in Vietnam; they say clearly that in Vietnam they intend to crush the revolutionary movement, to give a final lesson to liquidate liberation movements. That is the terminology used by the international henchman. And, of course, he regrets that this "tumor" was not removed.
And what does the other one say? He says the same thing, "that when the liberation struggles cease there will be peace." But the fact is that the problem does not end then. It is not enough that the liberation struggles cease: there should be birth control, the population increase should be curbed, because it is of no use that the liberation struggles cease; if mankind continues to grow there will be explosions more powerful and more dangerous than nuclear weapons. So science and technology, come to the aid of imperialism! Let education about birth control come, let birth control come!
The solutions that imperialism proposes are uncomplicated. Two thirds of humanity are starving and they necessarily have to make revolutions to stop the famine, to escape poverty. Ah! But revolutions are not wanted. Revolutions will be suppressed by fiercely! And there will be peace only if there are no revolutions. But even if there are no revolutions, what will happen to those two thirds of humanity that are multiplying like guinea pigs? When they talk about the population and births issue they are in no way inspired by a concept related to the interests of the family or society. Not at all! They are based on the principle that humanity will starve if it continues to multiply, and especially during these times, which are not Malthus’ times or the times of Methuselah. When science and technology achieve incredible success in all fields, they turn to technology to suppress the revolutions and the help of science is requested to stop population growth. In short, neither the people should make revolutions, nor women should give birth. T he philosophy of imperialism boils down to that.
That also reveals the insurmountable contradictions of that imperialism, its insecurity and its fear of the future. It is evidence that its oligarchy, sitting on guns, sitting on piles of gold, lives restless, suspicious and in fear about the future.
Such is the essence of the political thought of imperialism, of the oligarchy that rules in the United States which feels insecure despite the fierce repression it exerts and despite its technical and military resources. And it is so because they know that without a revolution none of those countries will get rid of underdevelopment. They admit, they understand, they know that there is no formula to move from feudalism to progress. The imperialists know that there is no development without revolution, and they feel powerless against the reality of a world that is growing and developing, and a population that is increasing as is the revolutionary awareness as a natural and inevitable phenomenon.
The imperialists know that the gap between the developed world and the underdeveloped world is expanding; the data on the issue are published constantly by the United Nations agencies. It is known, for example, that in 15 years the US gross product will increase from approximately 400 billion in 1960 to 800 billion in 1975; in the European Common Market the gross product will increase in the same period, approximately, from 200 billion dollars to 400 billion by 1975. All the economists and all the people who deal with trade issues know that the manufactured goods are sold at increasingly higher prices to the underdeveloped world, while the products from the latter are bought at increasingly cheaper prices.
Recently, a Latin American oligarch said that with the same amount of a product that his country used to purchase three jeeps 10 years ago it can now buy only one jeep.
And as in one part of the world the living standards grow, poverty levels grow, the imbalance grows and exploitation grows in the rest of the world.
According to these numbers, the trade imbalance of the underdeveloped world vis-à-vis the developed world was 4 billion in 1960 and it will reach 20 billion pesos approximately in 1970.
While the gross product and the per capita income grow in one part of the world, the per capita output decreases in the largest part of the world; the imbalance grows; those that enjoy better levels see their prices increase while the prices of those with worst levels decrease; additionally, resources are often squandered by the feudal lords and the oligarchs; the theft of the financial resources are on the rise.
That is simply an insoluble problem, a problem that has no solution; that's a fact. As they employ cybernetics and make calculations, add, subtract, multiply and divide, it seems that they have consulted with the computers and have been told that there is no remedy to that and that the situation is untenable.
So, what is the remedy that the imperialists use? Repressive wars against revolutions, and there will be peace when there are no revolutions; the populations should cease to grow otherwise there will be explosions and nuclear wars.
Never before in the history of mankind had so barbaric, genocidal and brutal utterances against humanity been heard!
That is the real fact; that is the fact that can’t be disguised; that is what contributes to creating the revolutionary universal consciousness; that fact is what brought you together here; these are the indisputable facts that set the revolutionary tone of this Congress.
It is true that in the field of culture there are many problems left to be solved, there are many issues to be clarified; and we do not deny in the least that there are lots of things that need to be addressed, there are new unresolved problems. And we revolutionaries face those problems especially when, as revolutionaries and under special conditions, we have to dedicate a great part of our efforts to survive, to defend ourselves and move forward.
However, there is an unquestionable intention to find the right answer, the best solutions to countless problems that arise in the development of society. There are solutions to be found, problems to be solved and there is no reason to deny it; but we'll find the solutions. And we truly believe that this Congress is a contribution to us and to the revolutionary movements.
It has been instructive, though, to see the way in which the intellectuals attending this Congress grabbed the fundamental problems, the key issues, the things that worry man at the moment, and worked around these issues, rallied around them and discussed them at the Congress.
There are multiple problems that could be discussed among revolutionaries regarding cultural issues because these problems are real. However, maybe that was what the imperialists expected: the attention, the effort focused on the fundamental contradictions, on the decisive contradictions that are not the contradictions that exist within the revolutionary movement, they are not the problems related to culture within the revolutionary movement but the contradictions and problems of culture vis-à-vis imperialism.
We do not believe in the least that all the problems have been solved in this Congress or that all issues have been clarified, but we do believe it has been an extraordinary step forward, we do believe that it has been very positive, and we believe the issues that were discussed are essential and that the concerns about the revolutionary society were important and essential; mainly the problems related to the new man.
Fortunately, regarding this issue of the future we have the magnificent leaflet written by Che, who so clearly and so brightly discussed some of these issues with his customary sincerity, honesty and frankness and expressed his idea of how the new man should be, how the man of tomorrow should be, how the man of the 21st century should be.
Those concerns were expressed in the Congress. We saw that the example of Che, his attitude, his behavior, his honesty, his purity presided over and inspired many of the resolutions of the Congress.
For us this successful event and its results – that exceed the most optimistic predictions – will be unforgettable. It is true that our people plunges itself deep into work for hours, days and months, overcoming obstacles in the battle for the development of the economy under difficult conditions, confronted by an aggressive imperialism and by a socialism with many limitations in all fields. It may have appeared to be distant from the Congress immersed as it is in this battle, in this titanic struggle, in this effort that is greater every day and in the work but really is not so. In fact, our people has gained an extraordinary sensitivity as well as an extraordinary perception and in some mass rallies you were able to perceive the speed, the agility with which our masses grasp the problems; our people’s political awareness, its revolutionary spirit, its developed internationalist spirit; the feeling of solidarity that has been created during the struggle and that has inspired in and has received the encouragement of the whole world. With every event, either a Tricontinental Conference, a conference of Latin American revolutionary organizations, or events like this one, our people has expanded its knowledge, its information, its revolutionary horizons.
It goes without saying that your presence here was a great honor for us. I hope that our people has conveyed to you in a thousand different ways its warmth, its appreciation and sympathies. We were highly honored to have this meeting here of worthy, prestigious men and women whose work is known perhaps more than you can imagine. We will remember forever this great honor! This feeling expresses the feelings of the Revolutionary Government, the feeling of our Party and the feeling of our people. With these sentiments of friendship, brotherhood and affection I am closing this Congress.
I thank you all very much. You can rest assured that our effort to move forward in all fields, in the field of the economy, in culture, in the revolutionary struggle, in building a superior society, in developing a better man will not cease, and that our Revolution will live up to your trust and the hopes that you may set on it!
Homeland or Death!
We shall overcome!
1 Translator’s Note: Also known as the Missil Crisis.
2 Translator’s Note: Referring to the counterrevolutionaries as a group.
3 Translator’s Note: Also known as the Missil Crisis.