Although it is said I make long speeches, there is no reason for you to worry. I shall do my best to be brief and state what we see as our duty to say here. I shall also speak slowly to help the interpreters.
Maybe some think we are very angry at the treatment given to the Cuban delegation. We are not. We do understand the reasons why things happen. That is why we are not angry and nobody should worry that Cuba will not make also its modest contribution in the effort to have understanding in the world.
But, yes, we shall speak in clear terms.
It is expensive to send a delegation to the United Nations. We underveloped countries do not have a lot of money to spend, except for speaking clearly at this gathering of the representatives of nearly all the countries of the world.
Previous speakers have expressed here their concern over problemss affecting the whole world. We are concerned over those problems, but also, in the case of Cuba, there is a particular circumstance, and it is that now Cuba should be a reason for concern to the world because, as rightly stated by different delegates, the Cuba problem is among the current issues in today´s world. Besides the issues worrying everybody today, there are problems Cuba and our people are worried about.
There is talk of a universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and thus also the desire of our people. But such peace the world wants to preserve is the peace we Cubans have not had for a long time now. The perils other peoples of the world may see as more or less distant are problems and concerns that are very present for us. And it has not been easy to come to this Aseembly to explain Cuba´s problems. It has not been easy for us to come here.
I do not know whether we are privileged. Are we, the Cuban delegation, the representatives of the worst type of government in the world? ¿Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve to be mistreated as we have been? ¿And why precisely our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations; Cuba has been represented by many persons and, yet, it was us to whom exceptional measures were applied, including confinement to the island of Manhattan, an instruction to all hotels that no room was to be rented to us, hostility and, under the pretext of security, isolation.
Perhaps none of you, distinguished representatives ... you, who are not representing anybody personally but your respective countries and thus are concerned over things which happen to each of you due to what each of you represents upon arriving at this City of New York, has endured such a personally and physically humiliating treatment as the one endured by the head of the Cuban delegation.
I am not rocking the boat here in this Assembly. I am just stating facts. It was about time also we had the opportunity to speak. For many days, there has been talk and newspaper coverage about us and we have remained silent. We cannot defend ourselves from attacks here, in this country. This is our chance to tell the truth and we shall tell it.
Humiliating personal treatment, extortion attempts, eviction from the hotel where we were staying and, after going to another hotel, we have done everything possible to avoid problems and have refrained from going out at all, gone to no other place but to a few sessions of this UN Assembly and only accepted to attend a reception at the embassy of the Soviet government. But this was not enough for us to be left alone.
There were many Cuban immigrants here, in this country. In the last 20 years, over 100 000 Cubans have come to this country from their homeland, where they would have wanted to stay for good and to which they are hoping to return, as always do those who due to social or economic reasons have been forced to leave their homes. That Cuban community worked here and abode and they continue to abide by the law and, naturally, had good feelings for their country and for the Revolution. They never had any problems. But, one day, other type of visitors began arriving in this country: War criminals began arriving; individuals who, in some cases, had murdered hundreds of our fellow Cubans, began arriving. Soon, they were encouraged by publicity here, they were encouraged by the authorities here and, of course, such encouragement results in their behavior and they have provoked frequent incidents with the Cuban community, who had been working honestly in this country for so many years.
One of such incidents, provoked by those who feel supported by systematic anti-Cuban propaganda here and the complicity of the authorities, led to the death of a girl. It was a regrettable ocurrence and everybody should regret it. The culprits were in no way Cubans residing here. The culprits were, in no way at all, ourselves, the members of the Cuban delegation and, still, you all should have seen those newspaper reports saying that “pro-Castro groups” had killed a 10-year-old girl. And with that characteristic hypocricy of those having to do with relations between Cuba and
this country, a White House spokesman readily made statements to everybody about the incident and almost, almost, blamed the Cuban delegation. And, of course, His Excellency the US delegate to the United Nations would promptly join the farse by sending to the Venezuelan government a message of condolences for the victim´s relatives, as if he felt obliged to give explanations from the United Nations about something on which, virtually, the Cuban delegation was to be blamed.
But that was not all. After we were forced to leave a hotel in this city and went to the UN Headquarters, while other efforts to find accommodation were being made, one hotel, a modest hotel in this city, a black Harlem hotel, offered accommodation to us. That answer came as we were talking to His Excellency the General Secretary. But a State Department official did everything possible to prevent us from staying in that hotel. Then, as if by work of magic, there were available hotels in New York. And it included hotels that had previously refused to accommodate the Cuban delegation which were now offering to receive us, even for free. But we, as a matter of elementary reciprocity, accepted to go to the Harlem hotel. We thought we had the right to expect to be left alone. But, no, we were not.
After we moved to Harlem, and as we could be stopped from staying there, slanderous campaigns started. They began spreading around the world the news that the Cuban delegation had gone to stay in a brothel. To some, a humble US black Harlem hotel must be a brothel. And they have also been trying to defame the Cuban delegation, even by showing no respect to the ladies who are its officials or assistants.
If we were men as bad as they are trying to depict us in every way, imperialism would have not lost hope, as it has for so long already, to buy us out or seduce us in one way or another. But as it has lost hope long ago (and there wasn´t ever any reason to harbor it), or at least after saying that the Cuban delegation had found accommodation in a brothel, they should admit that imperialisr financial capital is a whore who cannot seduce us. And I am not talking about Jean Paul Sartre´s The Respectful Prostitute.
The Cuba problem. Maybe some of you are well informed; maybe others are not. It all depends on the sources of information but, no doubt, to the world, the Cuba problem, which came up in the last two years, is a new problem. The world did not have many reasons to know Cuba existed. To many, it was something like an apprendix of the United States. Even, to many citizens of this country, Cuba was a US colony. It did not appear as such in the maps, where our color was different from the United States´. But in actual fact it was.
And how was it our country ended up being a US colony? Not due to its origin, for sure. The United States and Cuba were colonized by different men. Cuba´s ethnic and cultural roots are very different and such roots took hold for centuries. Cuba was the last country in the Americas to get rid of Spanish colonialism, of the Spanish colonial yoke, and this is said with no animosity toward His Excelllency the representative of the Spanish government. And, as Cuba was the last to get free, it had to fight the hardest.
Spain had only one possession left in the Americas and it defended it stubbornly and with determination. Our people, whose numbers were just a little more than a million then, had to face on their own, for nearly thirty years, an army regarded as one of the strongest in Europe. To fight such a small national population, the Spanish government would mobilize as many troops as all those which had fought during the South Amercan independence wars combined. Up to half a million Spanish soldiers came to stop the heroic and unbending resolve of our people to attain their freedom. .
For thirty years, Cubans, on their own, fought for their independence. Those thirty years were also the time during which the love of freedom and independence took hold in our country. But Cuba was a fruit, in the view of a US president in the early Nineteenth Century, John Adams, like an apple hanging from the Spanish tree, which when ripe would fall into the hands of the United States. And Spanish power had waned in our country. Spain had already no more men or economic resources to continue the war in Cuba. Spain was defeated. The apple, so it seemed, was ripe, and the US government held out its hands.
Not one but several apples fell into its hands. Puerto Rico, heroic Puerto Rico, that had started its war for independence at the same time as Cubans, fell; the Philipines fell; and some other possessions fell. But the plan to dominate our country could not be the same. Our country had made a great stand and world opinion supported it. A diferent plan had to be designed.
The Cubans who had fought for our independence, those who were bleeding and dying then, came to believe in good faith that US Congress Joint Resolution of April 20, 1898 stating Cuba was and had the right to be free and independent.
The US people supported the Cuban struggle. That Joint Resolution was a US Congress law which declared war on Spain. But such an illusion ended up in great deceit. After two years of military occupation of our country, the unexpected took place: Just when the people of Cuba were drafting, in a Constituent Assembly, the Constitution of the Republic, a new US Congress bill proposed by Senator Platt, whose name is a sad memory for Cuba, was voted into law. It stated that the Cuban Constituent Assembly had to attach an appendix to the Constitution saying that the US government would have the right to intervene in Cuban political life and, also, the right to lease certain parts of the island´s territory for naval or coal stations.
That is to say, based on a law coming from the legislative body of a foreign nation, the Cuban constitution had to include such a provisíon, and our Constituent Assembly lawmakers were told very clearly that the occupation forces would not withdraw if the Amendment was not accepted. That is to say, the right to intervene and the right to lease naval bases or stations was forcibly imposed on our country by the legislative body of a foreign nation.
It is good that the peoples who have just joined this organisation, those who are now starting their independent lives, do know the history of our country in view of the similarities they may find with their own. Or, if they do not, maybe they shall be found by their children or grandchildren, although I don´t think we will have to wait that long.
Thus started the new colonization of our country and the purchase of its most fertile lands by US companies, toghether with concessions over its natural resources and mines; concessions over utilities for their operation and profiting; and trade and all kinds of concessions; and all this, together with the constitutional right (which had been forcibly imposed) to invervene in our country, turned it into a US colony after having been a Spanish colony.
Colonies have no say; colonies are not known in the world until they have a chance to express themselves. That´s why our colony was unknown to the world and the problems of our colony were not known to the world. Geography texts included one more flag, one more coat of arms; geograhy maps showed one more color; but there wasn´t an independent republic there. Let nobody be mistaken; if we let ourselves be mistaken we are just making fools of ourselves. Let nobody be mistaken. It was not an independent republic: It was a colony where the US ambassador was in charge.
We do not feel embarassed for saying it because, in contrast to such shame, we are proud to be able to say that today no embassy is ruling our people! Our people are being ruled by the people! (APPLAUSE)
Again, the Cuban nation had to fight to attain such independence. It did after seven years of bloody tyranny. By whom was it tyrannized? It was tyrannized by those in our country who were nothing but the tools of the ones that controlled our country economically.
How can any unpopular regime which harms the interests of the people stay in power except by force? Is it necessary that we tell the representatives of our sisterly peoples of Latin America here what military tyrannies are like? Do we have to tell them how those tyrannies have been propped up? Do we have to tell them about the history of several such tyrannies, which are already classic? Do we have to tell them which forces support them? What domestic and international interests support them?
The military clique who opressed our country was supported by the most reactionary circles in the nation and, above all, by foreign economic interests that controlled the Cuban economy. Everyone knows, and we understand that even the US government itself admits to it, everybody knows that was the kind of government monopolies like. Why? Because all demands by the people are repressed by force. It was by force that strikes calling for better living conditions were repressed; it was by force that peasant movements calling for lands were repressed; it was by force that the loftiest aspirations of the nation were thwarted.
That is why governments ruling by force were the oncs US policy leaders liked. That is why governments ruling by force stayed in power for so long and governments ruling by force are still in power in the Americas. Of course, circumstances always determine whether they will have US government support or not.
For instance, now they are saying they are against one of those governments that rule by force: The Trujillo government. But they are not saying they are against another of such goverments, the government of Nicaragua or, for example, the one in Paraguay. The government of Nicaragua is no longer a government ruling by force but a monarchy, almost as constitutional as that of Great Britain, where power is handed down from one generation to the next. And that would have also been the case of our country. That was the government ruling by force led by Fulgencio Batista, the government in Cuba US monopolies liked, but, of course, not the type of good government for the Cuban people, and the Cuban people, through the loss of many lives and much sacrifice, ousted it.
What did the Revolution find upon attaining power in Cuba? What wonders did the Revolution find in Cuba upon attaining power? First, it found there were 600 000 able Cubans who had no jobs, they were unemployed; proportionally, they were as many as the number of unemployed persons in the United States during the big crisis, that crack which brough a near catastrophe to this country, and that level of unemployment was permanent in our country. Three million out of a population of a little more than six didn´t have electricity or any of the benefits and comforts of electricity; 3.5 million out of a total of a little more than 6 million were living in huts, barracks and slums without the least habitability. In the cities, rents took up to one third of family incomes. Both electricity bills and rents ranked among the highest in the world. Thirty-seven point-five percent of our population were illiterate; they didn´t know how to read and write. Seventy percent of our peasant children had no teachers. Two percent of our population suffered from TB, that is, 100 000 persons in a total of a little more than 6 million. Ninety-five percent of our countryside children had worms. Thus, the infant mortality rate was very high. The life expectancy was very low. On the other hand, 85% of small farmers paid leases for the lands they tilled which accounted for 30% of their gross income, while 1.5% of all land holders owned 46% of the whole territory of our nation. Of course, comparisons based on the number of hospital beds against the number of people in a country make no sense, if such comparisons are made with countries where medical care is reasonably guaranteed.
Utility services such as electricity trusts and telephone companies were owned by US monopolies.
Many banks, much of import trade, oil refineries, most of sugar production, Cuba´s most fertile lands and the most important industries of all kinds were owned by US companies. In the last ten years, from 1950 to 1960, the balance of payments has favored the US over Cuba by 1 billion dollars.
Not to mention the millions and hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from state coffers by the corrupt rulers of the tyranny that were deposited in US or European banks.
One billion dollars in ten years. A Caribean poor and underdeveloped country with 600 000 unemployed people was financing the development of the most industrialized country in the world.
That was the situation we found and it is not unknown to many of the countries represented in this Assembly because, after all, what we have said about Cuba is nothing but a general x-ray diagnosis that can be given on most of the countries represented here.
What was the choice for the Revolutionary Government? Betray the people? Of course, in the eyes of the president of the United States, what we have done for our people is a betrayal to them, and most certainly it would not be so if instead of being loyal to our people we had been loyal to the big US monopolies that were exploiting our country´s economy. At least, it should be stated for the record which were the “wonders” the Revolution found when it came to power, which are nothing but the wonders of imperialism; they are nothing but the “wonders” of the “free world” for us, the colonized countries!
Nobody can blame us for the 600 000 unemployed people in Cuba, the 37.5% of illiterates among the population, the 2% of TB patients and the 95% of children with parasites that existed in Cuba. No! Up to then, we had not had any say in the fate of our country; up to then, the fate of our country had been in the hands of rulers who served monopoly interests; up to then, monopolies had a say in our country. Were they disturbed by anybody? No! Nobody disturbed them. Were they bothered by anybofy? No! Nobody bothered them. They were able to do their job and thus we found the deeds by monopolies.
What reserves did the nation have? When tyrant Batista siezed power there were $500 million in national reserves. That was a good amount which could have been invested in the country´s industrial development. When the Revolution came to power, our reserves had dwindled to 70 million.
Was there an interest in the industrial development of our country? No! Never! That is why we have been so surprised and we are still surprised at listening to the great concerns of the US government for the fate of Latin American, African and Asian countries. And we were still surprised because, after 50 years, we could see the results there.
What has the Revolutionary Government done? What crime has the Revolutionary Government committed to justify the treatment we have been given here and to have so powerful enemies as it has been evidenced we have here?
Did problems with the United States start right from the start? No! Was it that we, after attaining power, were willing to have international conflicts? No! No revolutionary government that comes to power wants to have international conflicts. What it wants is devoting itself to the solution of its own problems; what it wants is implementing a platform, as do governments really interested in the progress of their countries.
The first event we saw as an unfriendly action was that the doors of this country were left wide-open to a full bunch of murderers who had sunk our country in blood; they had murdered hundreds of defenseless peasants, systematically tortured prisoners for many years and indiscriminately killed people, and they were recieved here with open arms. And that intrigued us. Why such an unfriendly action by the US authorities toward Cuba? Why such an act of hostility? We just didn´t understand it fully then; now, we do see the reasons. Was such policy in line with a correct treatment of Cuba, with US-Cuba relations? No, the affront was to us, and the affront was to us because the Batista regime stayed in power with US support; the Batista regime stayed in power with the help of tanks, planes and weapons supplied by the US government; the Batista regime stayed in power through an army whose officers were trained by a US government military mission, and we expect no US official dares to deny such facts.
Even, when the Rebel Army reached Havana, the US military mission was in that city´s main army camp. That army had collapsed; that army had been overrun and defeated. We could have very well regarded those foreign officers who had been there, helping and training the enemies of the people, as war prisoners. But that was not our decision; we just requested the officers of that mission to return home as, after all, we didn´t need their training and their trainees there had been defeated.
Here is a documment (he shows it). Don´t be surprised at how it looks, as it is a torn paper. It is an old military agreement under which the Batista tyranny would get much assistance from the US government, and it is worthwhile reading what Article 2 of this agreement states:
“The Government of the Republic of Cuba undertakes to make good use of the assistance it receives from the Government of United States of America, in conformity with this Agreement, so as to implement defense plans accepted by both governments under which the two governments shall participate in important missions for the defense of the Western Hemisphere; and, unless it is previously agreed to by the Government of the United States of America ... –I repeat--, “... and, unless it is previously agreed to by the Government of the United States of America, such assistance shall not be used to other ends except those for which it was provided.”
The assistance was used to fighting Cuban revolutionaries; so it was agreed to by the US government. And, although a few months prior to the end of the war this country decreed an embargo on arms being sent to Batista, after a little more than six years of military assistance, and after that arms embargo had been solemnly declared, the Rebel Army got evidence, documentary evidence, that the tyranny´s forces had been supplied again with 300 rockets to be launched from aircraft.
When comrades staying in the US revealed those documents to US public opinion, the only thing this country´s government would say was that we were wrong, that it had not re-supplied the tyranny´s army but, simply, replaced some rockets of another caliber which could not be launched from its planes by other rockets that could be launched from the tyranny´s planes and those, by the way, were actually launched against us while in the mountains. It is a sui generis way of explaining contradictions when they turn unexplainable. According to its argument, it was not assistance but some sort of “technical assistance.”
Then why, in view of such precedents, which angered our people, and, as everybody knows, and it is known to the most innocent person here, and considering also the military hardware revolution in these modern times, that those weapons from the last war are completely obsolete for modern warfare, were they sent? With 50 tanks or armored cars and a few old planes you cannot defend a continent, you cannot defend a hemisphere. But such weapons can be used to oppress unarmed people, they can be used to intimidate the people. They can be used for what they are: They can be used to defend monopolies. That is why it would be better to define such hemispheric defense pacts as US monopoly defense pacts.
The Revolutionary Government began taking its early steps. The first thing it did was to lower by 50 percent rents paid by households. It was a very just measure because, as we said earlier, there were families paying up to one third of their income in rents. And the people had been victimized by much real estate speculation and there had been huge speculation with urban plots to the detriment of people´s income. But, when the Revolutionary Government lowered rents by 50%, some got angry; yes, a few who owned those apartment buildings got angry. But the people went out to the streets joyfully, as it would happen in any country, just here in New York also, if all families are benefitted by a 50- percent rent cut. But that did not bring about any problem with monopolies. Some US companies had large buildings but, in relative terms, they were a few.
Then another law was passed: It was a law canceling the concessions the tyrannic Batista government had given to the telephone company that was a US monopoly. Availing themselves of the defendlessness of the people, they had got profitable concessions. The Revolutionary Government wrote off those concessions and reset telephone bills to their previous amounts. Thus the first conflict with US monopolies began.
The third measure was to lower electricity bills, which were among the highest in the world. That was the second conflict with US monopolies. We were being seen already as Communists; they were already painting us red, just because we had clashed with US monopoly interests.
But there came the third law, which was indispensable and inevitable; it was inevitable for our country and it will be inevitable, sooner or later, for all the peoples of the world ... at least for all the peoples of the world who have not passed it yet: The Agrarian Reform Law. Of course, in theory, everybody agrees with the agrarian reform. Nobody dares to deny it; only ignorant people would dare to deny that the agrarian reform is, for the underdeveloped countries of the world, an essential requisite for economic development. In Cuba, even large land holders agreed with the agrarian reform, but only with an agrarian reform in their own way, like the agrarian reform being upheld by many theorists. It is an agrarian reform in their own way and, above all, one that is not implemented in their own way or any way while it can be avoided! It is something accepted by UN economic agencies, something nobody is arguing about anymore. In our country, it was indispensable: Over 200 000 peasant families lived in the Cuban countryside with no lands to grow essential food products.
Without the agrarian reform, our country would not have been able to take the first step toward development. And, yes, we took that step: We carried out an agrarian reform. Was it a radical one? It was a radical agrarian reform. Was it very radical? It was not a very radical agrarian reform. We carried out an agrarian reform based on our development needs, based on our agricultural development possibilities. That is, an agrarian reform to deal with the issue of landless peasants, to deal with the issue of supplies of indispensable food products, to deal with rampant unemployment in the countryside, to put an end to the terrible poverty we had seen in the countryside areas of our country.
And thus came the first real problem. The same had happened also in the neighboring Republic of Guatemala. When the agrarian reform was carried out in Guatemala, problems came up in Guatemala. And I am warning this in full candor to the delegates of Latin America, Africa and Asia. The day you embark on a just agrarian reform, get ready for confrontations similar to ours, particularly if the best and largest farms are in the hands of US monopolies, as it was the case in Cuba (LONG APPLAUSE.)
Maybe we shall be accused later of giving bad advice in this Assembly and, certainly, that is not our intention. ... surely, it is not our purpose to let anybody sleepless. We are just giving facts, though facts are enough to make anybody go sleepless.
The payment question was raised immediately. A barrage of notes from the US State Department came. They never asked us about our problems, never; not even out of commiseration or for the big share of responsibility they had. They would not ask how many people were starving in our country, how many TB patients we had, how many people were jobless. No. Was there a show of solidarity toward our needs? Never. All talks with US government representatives were about the Telephone Company, about the Electricity Trust, and about the issue of US company lands.
How could we pay? Of course, the first question was what were we going to pay with; not how, but with what. Do you think it would be possible that a poor and underdeveloped country with 600 000 jobless people and large numbers of illiterate and sick persons, whose reserves had been depleted, and which had contributed to the economy of a powerful country with $10 billion in 10 years, had cash to pay for the lands that would be expropriated under the agrarian law, or even that it could pay for them under the terms intended to be applied to such payment?
What did the State Department tell us it wanted concerning affected US interests? Three things: Swift payment ..., “swift, efficient and just payment.” Do you understand such language? “Swift, efficient and just payment.” It means “pay right now, in dollars, the amount we ask for our lands.” (APPLAUSE.)
We were not 150% Communist yet (LAUGHTER.) We were getting a little redder hue. We were not confiscating lands. Simply, we were proposing to pay for them in 20 years, in the only way we could pay for them, that is, in bonds that would fall due in 20 years; they would carry a 4.5-percent interest and be payed back yearly.
How could we pay for the lands in dollars? How could we pay for them immediately? And how could we pay the amounts that would be asked for them? It was absurd. Anyone would see that, under such circumstances, we had to choose between carrying out the agrarian reform or not. If we chose not to, our country´s terrible economic situation would last indefinitely. If we carried it out, we were risking the emnity of the government of the powerful neighbor to the north.
We carried out the agrarian reform. Of course, for a representative of, let´s say, The Netherlands, or any European country, the boundaries we set for farms would be almost surprising. Surprising due to their expanse. The largest expanse set under our agrarian law was around 400 hectares. In Europe, 400 hectares are a really large land holding. In Cuba, where there were US monopoly concerns holding up to 200 000 hectares ... Two hundred thousand hectares! (I repeat just in case someone thinks he didn´t get the number right). In Cuba, an agrarian reform that reduced the maximum expanse to 400 hectares was an inadmissible law to those monopolies.
But the thing is in our country not only lands were owned by US monopolies. The biggest mines were also in the hands of those monopolies. Cuba, for instance, produces much nickel; all nickel was taken by US concerns. And during the Batista tyranny Moa Bay, a US company, had got such a profitable concession that (listen carefully) it would pay back a $120 million investment in just five years; it was a $120 million investment to be payed back in five years.
Who had granted such a concession to Moa Bay through the auspices of the ambassador of the US government? Just the Fulgencio Batista tyrannical government, the government which was there to protect monopoly interests. And this certainly happened. It was completely tax free. What would those companies leave to us Cubans? The mining pits, a depleted land, and no contribution to the economic development of our country at all.
And the Revolutionary Government passed a Law of Mines
imposing on those monopolies a 25-percent tax for the export of those ores. Actions by the Revolutionary Governement had turned too bold already. They had clashed with the interests of the international electricity trust; they had clashed with the interests of the international telephone trust; they had clashed with the interests of international mining trusts; they had clashed with the interests of the United Fruit Company; and, virtually, they had clashed with the most powerful US interests which, as you know, are closely interwined. And it was too much for the US government or, rather, the representatives of US monopolies. And so, it was the beginning of a new period of harassment of our Revolution. Would anyone who analyzes facts objectively, anyone who tries to think honestly and not to think as told by UPI or AP but with his own head, and to draw conclusions based on his own reasoning and reach an unprejudiced, sincere and honest opinion of things, believe that the actions taken by the Revolutionary Government were enough to decree the destruction of the Cuban Revolution? No. But those interestes affected by the Cuban Revolution were not concerned over Cuba´s case; the measures by the Revolutionary Government would not ruin them. That was not the issue. The issue was those very interests owned the wealth and natural resources of most of the peoples of the world. And the Cuban Revolution had to be punished for its stance. Punitive actions of all kinds, including the destruction of those daring men, had to be the response to the boldness of the Revolutionary Government.
We swear on our honor that we hadn´t had a chance yet to even exchange a single letter with the distinguished prime minister of the Soviet Union Nikita Krushchev. That is, when the US press and the international news agencies that inform the world were thinking already that Cuba was a red government, a red menace 90 miles off the US shores, a government controlled by Communists, the Revolutionary Government had not had even a chance to establish diplomatic or trade relations with the Soviet Union.
But hysteria knows no boundaries. Out of hysteria, the most unbelievable and absurd things can be said. Of course, nobody here should expect we shall say mea culpa. No mea culpa. We don´t have to apologize to anybody. We have been fully aware of what we have been doing and, specially, very sure we have the right to do it (LONG APPLAUSE.)
And threats against our sugar quota started; it was the uttering of the philosophy, the cheap philosophy, of imperialism showing its selfish and exploitative kindness, showing its kindness toward Cuba, as they were granting us a privileged price for sugar, and it was a sort of subsidy for Cuban sugar, which was not so sweet for Cubans because we Cubans did not own the best sugar lands nor did we own the best sugar factories. Also, that statement concealed the true history of Cuban sugar, of the sacrifices that had been imposed on Cuba, of the times Cuba had been harmed economically. Earlier, it had not been a question of quotas but of tariffs. Under one of those laws or agreements that are entered between the “shark” and the “sardine,” the US, through a pact they called a “reciprocity” agreement, got a series of franchises for its products to compete easily with and oust from the Cuban market the goods of their British or French “friends,” a usual thing among “friends.” In exchange for that, there were certain tariff concessions for our sugar that, incidentally, could be changed unilaterally if so decided by the US Congress or administration. And that´s what happened.
When they thought it was good for their interests, they would raise tariffs and our sugar could not go to the US market or it did under unfavorable terms. In war times, they would lower tariffs. Of course, as Cuba was the closest sugar supplier such a supply source had to be guaranteed. Tariffs were lowered, production was encouraged and during the war years, when the sugar price was skyrocketing all over the world, we were selling our sugar to the United States cheaply even when we were the only source of supply.
Then the war ended and thus came collapses in our economy. Mistakes with the sale of that commodity made in this country were paid for by us. Prices skyrocketed at the end of World War I, there was a huge encouragment of production, and, later, a sharp drop in prices that ruined Cuban sugar factories which then, very easily, landed in ... whose hands? In the hands of US banks, because, when Cuban entities went bankrupt US banks in Cuba reaped the benefits.
And that situation continued until the 1930s and the US government, trying to find a way to concile its supply interests with those of its domestic producers, created a quota system. Supposedly, that quota would be based on the historical market shares of different suppliers and, in the case of our country, its historic US market supply share had been nearly 50 percent. But, when quotas were set, our share was cut to 28%, and the benefits we had got under that law, the few ones we had got under it, were gradually eliminated in later laws and, of course, the colony relied on the metropolis; the economy of the colony had been structured by the metropolis. The colony was to be subdued by the metropolis, and if the colony took measures to get free the metropolis would act to crush it. Knowing that our economy relied on its market, the US government began issuing a series of warnings that we would be deprived of our sugar quota while other things, actions by contrarrevoltuonaries, were taking place in the United States.
One afternoon, an aircraft coming over the sea from the north overflew one of our sugar factories and dropped a bomb. It was a strange event, an usual thing, but, of course, we knew where those aircraft were coming from.
Another afternoon, a plane overflew our sugar cane fields and dropped some little incendiary bombs. And what had begun as sporadic actions became a usual practice.
One afternoon when, by the way, many US tourism agents were visiting our country when the Revolutionary Government was trying to promote tourism as a national income source, a US-made aircraft, like those that fought in the last war, flew over Havana and dropped leaflets and a few hand grenades. Of course, some anti-aircraft volleys were fired. The result was over 40 victims hit by the grenades dropped from by plane and anti-aircraft fire as some rounds (as you know) blow up when hitting a hard surface. The result was over 40 victims, including girls with their bellies ripped off, and old men and women. Was it the first time for us? No. Children, elderly persons and men and women had been torn apart in our villages in Cuba many times by US-made bombs that had been supplied to tyrant Batista.
Once, 80 workers died when a boat loaded with Belgian weapons that had docked in Cuba blew up suspiciously, very suspociouly, after the US government had made great efforts to prevent the Belgian government from selling weapons to us. There were dozens of war victims, eighty families who lost their dear ones in the blast. Forty victims as a result of an aircraft that simply overflew our country. Ah! US government authorities were denying that such planes were taking off from the US, but the aircraft was just stationed in a hangar, and it was only when a Cuban magazine showed a picture of the plane that the US authorities seized it and, of course, they stated it wasn´t important, that the victims had not been the result of bombs but of anti-aircraft fire, and those who had done such terrible things, the ones who had committed that crime, were just free here in the United States, where they were not even bothered in the aftermath of those acts of aggression.
Your Excellency, I avail myself of this occasion to tell His Excellency the US representative that many mothers in the Cuban countryside and many Cuban mothers are still awaiting your messages of condolences for their children killed by US bombs (APPLAUSE.)
Aircraft were flying in and out. There was no evidence. Well, it depends on what is seen as evidence. There was that aircraft photographed and seized here but, well, they were saying it had not dropped bombs. It is not known how US authorities were so well informed. Pirat aircraft continued overflying our country and dropping incendiary devices. Millions and millions of Cuban pesos were lost in burning sugar cane fields. Many among the people (yes, the humble people!) were witnessing the destruction of a wealth which was now theirs, and they got burns and lesions while facing repeated and continued bombings by pirate aircraft.
Until one day, when the bomb to be dropped on one of our sugar factories went off and blew up the aircraft, and the Revolutionary Governement was able to find parts of the pilot´s body who, incidentally, was a US pilot whose documents were seized, and we had the aircraft and all the evidence on where it had taken off from. That aircraft had flown in-between two US bases. Now it could not be denied those aircraft were taking off from the US. Ah!
Now faced with irrefutable evidence, the US governmenr gave an explanation to the government of Cuba! Its stance was not as during the U-2 incident. When it was proved the aircraft were coming from the United States, the US government did not state its right to set our sugar cane fields afire. This time they apologized to us and said they were very sorry. We were so lucky after all! Because when the U-2 incident took place the US government did not apologize then. It proclaimed its right to overflow the Soviet territory! Bad luck for the Soviets! (APPLAUSE.)
But we do not have a strong anti-aircraft defense and the aircraft overflights continued, until the sugar harvest was over. There were no more sugar canes and the bombings ceased. We were the only country in the world going through such harassment, although I remember well that, during his Cuba visit, President Sukarno told us that no, that we should not think we were the only ones, that they had also had some problems with some US planes overflying their country also. I don´t know whether I´ve been indiscreet. I hope not (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE.)
But the fact is that, at least in this peaceful hemisphere, we were a country which, being at war with nobody, was enduring a ceaseless harassment by pirate aircraft. Could those aircraft fly in and out the US territoriy freely? Well, we invite delegates to think a little, and we also invite the US people, if by any chance the US people have the opportunity to be informed about the things that are being said here, to think about the fact that, according to the very statements of the US government, this country´s territory is well surveilled and protected from any air raid, that the US territory defense is impregnable, that the defense of what they call the “free” world (though, at least for us, it wasn´t free until January 1, 1959) is impregnable, that such territory is very well defended. If that is the case, how come not only subsonic planes but also small aircraft flying a mere 150 miles per hour can fly in and out the US territory undisturbed, fly past two bases and fly back past two bases without the US government even noticing those aircraft are coming in and out its territory? It means one of two things: Either the US government is lying to the US people and the US is open to air raids or the US government is an accessory to such air raids (APPALUSE.)
There were no more air raids and economic aggressions started. Which was one of the arguments given by those opposing the agrarian reform? They were saying the agrarian reform would bring chaos to farming, that production would drop a lot, that the US government was worried over Cuba not being able to meet its supply commitmtents to the US market. First argument –and it is good that at least the new delegations here get familiar with some arguments as, maybe, one day they will have to respond to similar ones: The agrarian reform would ruin the country. It did not. If the agrarian reform had ruined the country, if agricultural production had gone down, then the US government would not have needed to carry out its economic aggression.
Were they being honest by saying that the agrarian reform would bring production drops? Maybe they were! It is logical you believe things you have conditioned your mind to believe in. Possibly, they thought that, without the all-powerful monopolies, we Cubans would not be able to produce sugar. That´s possible! Perhaps they even expected we would ruin the country. And, of course, had the Revolution ruined the country the United States would not have needed to attack us, it would have left us alone; the US government would have been seen as a very noble and good government, and we would have been regarded as men who had ruined the nation, and that would have been a very good example that you should not carry out revolutions, because revolutions ruin countries. That was not the case! There is evidence revolutions do not ruin countries, and such evidence has just been provided by the US government. It has proved many things but, among others, it has proved revolutions do not ruin countries and that it is imperialist governments who can really try to ruin countries! .
Cuba had not gone bankrupt; it had to be ruined. Cuba required new markets for its products and, honestly, we can ask any delegation here which of them would not want their country to be able to sell the things it produces or that its exports increase? We wanted to expand our exports. That is what all countries want; it must be a universal law.
Only selfish interest may oppose the general interest in trade, which is one of the oldest aspirations and needs of humanity.
And we wanted to sell our products and went out for new markets and signed a trade agreement with the Soviet Union under which we would sell 1m tons of sugar and buy certain amounts of Soviet goods or products. Of course! Nobody would say that´s wrong. There may be some who would not do it so as not to run counter certain interests. Actually, we didn´t need permission from the State Department to sign a trade agreement with the Soviet Union, as we saw and we see ourselves and shall continue seeing ourselves always as a truly free country.
When sugar stocks began dwindling, for the benefit of our economy, we then got a swipe: Upon the request of the US executive, Congress passed a law by virtue of which the president or the executive was empowered to narrow the limits, as it thought fit, of sugar imports from Cuba. The economic weapon was being wielded against our Revolution. The justification for such attitude had already been concocted by the media. The campaign had been going for a long time already, and you know perfectly well that, here, monopolies and publicity are absolutely identified. The economic weapon was wielded, our sugar quota was swung down by nearly a million tonnes (it was an amount of sugar already produced to go to the US market) so as to deprive our country of resources for its development, to render our country impotent, to reach political aims. Such measure was explicitly forbidden by Regional International Law. As all Latin American delegates attending this Assembly know, economic aggression is explicitly condemned by Regional International Law. Still, the United States violated such right, it wielded the economic weapon, and wrote off nearly 1m tonnes of our sugar quota. End of story. It could do it.
How could Cuba defend itself under such circumstances? Appealing to the UN? Appealing to the UN to denounce political and economic aggressions? To denounce air raids by pirate aircraft and denounce economic aggression, as well as constant US government interference in our country´s politics, the subvertion campaigns being carried out against the Revolutionary Government of Cuba?
We appealed to the UN. The UN has powers to discuss these questions; the UN is, among international organizations, the highest authority; the UN even has higher authority than the OAS. And, moreover, we wanted the issue to be known in the UN, as we understand the economic situation of the peoples of Latin America, the reliance on the US of the economies of the peoples of Latin America. The UN knew about the issue and requested an investigation by the OAS; and the OAS held a session. Fine. What was to be expected? That the OAS would protect the country under attack, that the OAS would condemn political aggressions against Cuba and, above all, that the OAS would condemn economic aggressions against our country. That could be expected. After all, we were just a small people of the Latin American community; we were, after all, one more people who were being attacked. We were neither the first nor the last in such predicament, because Mexico had been attacked more than once, and it had been so by the force of arms. During a war, it was deprived of much of its territory and during that time the heroic sons and daughters of Mexico stormed out of Chapultepec Castle wrapped in the Mexican flag instead of surrendering. Those are the heroic children of Chapultepec! (APPLAUSE.)
And that was not the only aggression, it was not the only time US infantry troops trampled upon Mexican soil. There was an intervention in Nicaragua and Augusto César Sandino resisted heroically for seven years. Cuba went through an intervention more than once, as did Haiti and Santo Domingo. There was an intervention in Guatemala. Who would honestly dare to deny here the involvement of the United Fruit Company and the US State Department in the outsting of the legitimate government of Guatemala? I understand some see it as their official duty to be discreet on this matter, and that they even come here and deny it; but deep in their minds they do know we are stating facts.
Cuba was not the first country to be attacked. Cuba was not the first country facing the danger of aggression. In this hemisphere, everybody knows the US government always imposed its law: The law of the strongest; that´s the law of the strongest through which it has been destroying Puerto Rican nationhood and it continues its domination over that sisterly island! That´s the law by virtue of which it grabbed the Panama Canal and it it keeping the Panama Canal.
It was nothing new. Our country should have been defended, but it was not defended. Why? What´s important here is going to the heart of the matter and not to formalities. If we stick to the written papers, we are safe; if we see facts, we are not safe at all. Because realities prevail over the rights enshrined in international codes; and such realities are that a small country, which was under the attacks of a powerful government, was not defended and could not be defended.
What, in turn, came out of Costa Rica? Ah, the results from Costa Rica were such a miracle of ingenuity! In Costa Rica, the US or, rather, the US government, was not condemned ... Allow me to say our good feelings toward the US people should not be mistaken. There was no condemnation of the US government for 60 pirate aircraft incursions, it was not condemned for its economic aggression or for many other aggressions. No. They condemned the Soviet Union. So remarkable! We had not been the target of any aggression by the Soviet Union; no Soviet plane had violated our airspace and, yet, in Costa Rica, the Soviet Union was condemned for interference. The Soviet Union had limited istelf to saying that in case of a military aggression against our country Soviet gunners (speaking figuratively) could support the country under attack.
Since when has support to a small country that is facing a possible aggression by a powerful country been defined as interference? Because the law includes the so-called impossible conditions: If a country considers it is incapable to commit a given crime, then it is enough to say: “There is no possibility whatsoever that the Soviet Union supports Cuba, because there is no possibility that we attack the small country.” But that principle was not stated. The principle of condemning interference by the Soviet Union was stated.
Any mention of the bombings in Cuba? None. (APPLAUSE) Of the aggressions against Cuba? None.
Surely, there is something we should remember and somehow it should be of concern to us all. All of us, without any exceptions among those present here, are the actors and participants of a transcendental moment in the history of mankind. Sometimes, apparently, criticisms are not heard, that is, criticism and a condemnation for our deeds, seemeningly, are not realized by us, and that happens mainly when we forget that in the same way we´ve had the privilege of being actors during this transcendental
moment of history, some day history shall also hand down its judgement on us for our deeds. And on the defenselessness of our country at the Costa Rica meeting. That´s why we smile, because history shall judge such episode.
And I am not saying this out of sourness; it is hard to condemn men. Very often, men act according to circumstances, and we, knowing which was the history of our country and also being the exceptional witnesses to the on-going experiences of our country, understand how terrible the submission of the economy and general life of nations to foreign economic power is. Suffice it to say simply that our country got defenseless and, also, that there is an interest in not bringing the Cuba issue to the UN, perhaps because there is the notion it is easier to reach a mechanical majority vote at the OAS. And such fear is not so easy to understand after all, as we has seen that here too, at the UN, mechanical majority votes have worked many times.
And, in full respect toward this institution, I must say here that is why the peoples, and the Cuban people, yes, our people, those people who are there back home, but people who have learned so much and who are a people, and we say this proudly, who are up to the role they are playing now and to the heroic struggle they are waging ... our people, who have learned in the school of recent international events, know that, in the final analysis, after their rights have been negated, when aggressive forces are about to pounce on them, they shall make the ultimate choice and the heroic choice of resisting when their rights are not guaranteed either at the OAS or the UN. (LONG APPLAUSE)
That is why we small countries aren´t so sure yet our rights shall be preserved; that is why, when we small countries want to be free, we know we are doing it at our peril. Because, actually, when the people are united, when they are defending a true right, they can rely on their own strength because, of course, it is not a group of men ruling a country, as it has been intended to depict us. It is the people ruling a country; it is all the people in very close ranks having great revolutionary awareness and upholding their rights. And that should be known by the enemies of the Revolution and of Cuba, and if they are ignoring it they are making a regrettable mistake.
Those are the circumstances under which the Cuban revolutionary process has been taking place; the situation we found in our country; the reasons there have been problems. And, still, the Cuban Revolution is changing what was a hopeless country in the past, a country where part of the population was illiterate; it is turning it into a nation which shall be soon one of the most advanced and developed peoples in this continent.
In just 20 months, the Revolutionary Government has opened 10 000 new schools, meaning that in such a short time the number of countryside schools created in 50 years has been doubled. And, today, Cuba is already the first country in the Americas to have met all its schooling needs, with teachers even in the most remote mountain areas.
In such a short time, the Revolutionary Government has built 25 000 homes in rural and urban areas; 50 new townships are emerging now in our country; the most important military fortresses are now the schools for thousands of students and, for next year, our people are readying themselves to wage their great battle against illiteracy, with the ambitious goal of teaching all illiterate persons how to read and write by next year and, to such end, teacher, student and workers´ organizations, that is, the whole people, are getting ready for a great campaign, and Cuba shall be the first country in the Americas that, in a matter of months, will be able to say it has no illiterates at all.
Our people are now being given care by hundreds of physicians who have been sent to the countryside to fight diseases such as parasitism snd improve health conditions in the nation.
Concerning another question, that is, the preservation of natural resources, we can also say here that, in just one year, and under the most ambitious project for preserving natural resources ever implemented in this continent, the US and Canada included, over 50 million wood trees have been planted.
Youths who were neither working nor studying have been organized by the Revolutionary Government and now they are doing useful work for the country while being trained for productive labor.
Agricultural production in our country has increased right from the start –an almost unique feat. An increase in agricultural production was scored from the beginning. Why? First, because the Revolutionary Government gave small farmers who had been paying rents the titles of their lands and, at the same time, preserved large-scale production through farming production cooperatives; that is, big company production continued with cooperatives and this has made it possible to use state-of-the-art technologies in our agricultural production; and there has been a rise in production right from the start.
And we have made all such efforts at social wellbeing, as teachers, housing and hospitals, without sacrificing development resources, because now the Revolutionary Government is implementing an industrialization program in the country, and the first factories are being erected in Cuba already.
We have spent resources rationally in our country. For instance, in the past, Cuba imported $35 million worth of cars but $5 million in tractors. An essentially agricultural nation was importing seven times more cars than tractors. We have reversed that and we are importing seven times more tractors than cars.
Nearly $500 million were recovered from politicians who had enriched themselves during the tyranny. Almost $500 million in goods and in cash; that´s the full worth of what was recovered from corrupt politicians who had been plundering our country for seven years. A correct investment of such goods, wealth and resources is allowing the Revolutionary Government, which is implementing a plan for industrialization and expansion of our farming activities, to build houses and schools, send teachers to the country´s most isolated areas and provide medical care there, that is, to carry forward a social development program.
And it is just now, as you know, that the US government has proposed a plan at the Bogota meeting. But is it an economic development plan? No. It proposed a social development plan. What does that mean? Well, also a program to build homes, to build schools, to build roads. But would that solve the problem in any way? How can you solve social problems without an economic development program? Is there an intent to deceive the peoples of Latin America? What will the families who dwell in those houses live on --if such houses are built? What shoes, clothes and food
will the children going to those schools have? Ins´t it known that when families have no clothes or shoes for their children they do not send them to school? Where will the money to pay teachers come from? Where will the money to pay physicians come from?
Where will the money to pay for drugs come from? Do you want to have a good way for saving drugs? Improve nutrition among the people; the better people are nourished the greater hospital savings will be.
So, in the face of the tremendous reality of undervevelopment, the US government is coming forward now with a social development program. Of course, its concern over Latin American problems is something. Until recently, it had not been concerned at all. What a coincidence it is being concerned now over those problems! And, possibly, they will say that any resemblance with the fact that such concern has come after the Cuban Revolution is purely coincidental.
So far, the only interest of monopolies has been to exploit underveloped countries. But the Cuban Revolution came, and monopolies got concerned, and while we are being attacked economically and there is an effort to crush us, on the other hand, pittances are being offered to the peoples of Latin America. It is not resources for economic development, which is what Latin America wants, but it is being offered resources for social development, for houses where jobless men shall live, for schools children will not go to, and for hospitals that would not be so needed if there was a little better nutrition in Latin America.
After all, and even though some comrades from Latin America think it is their duty to be discreet, the Cuban Revolution should be welcomed because, as least, it has brought about a concern of monopolies for returning just a small portion of the natural resources and of the toil of Latin American peoples they have been taking! (APPLAUSE.)
The fact we are not included for such assistance does not worry us. We do not get angry over such things; we have been solving those very school, housing and other problems for a long time now. But we think perhaps somebody has doubts as to us making propaganda here, as the president of the United States said some would come to this rostrum to make propaganda. And, certainly, there is a permanent invitation for any UN comrade to visit Cuba. We don´t close the doors to anybody there, nor do we confine anybody´s movements; any person in this Assembly may visit Cuba and see thing for himself. You are familiar with that Bible chapter about St Thomas, who said seeing is believing. I think it was St. Thomas.
And, after all, we can invite any journalist or any member of a delegation to visit Cuba and see what the people are capable of doing with their own resources when they are invested honestly and rationally.
But we are not only solving our housing and schooling problems but also our development problems, because social problems shall never be solved without tackling the development issue.
But, what´s the situation? Why doesn´t the US government want to talk about development? Simply, because the US government doesnt want trouble with monopolies, and monopolies demand natural resources and investment markets for their capitals. That´s the big contradiction; that is why the true solution to problems is not sought; that is why no public development investment plan is tried in underdeveloped countries.
And this should stated here crearly because, in the final analysis, we undeveloped countries are in the majority here --just in case somebody does not know it-- and, after all, we are seeing what is happening in underdeveloped countries.
But a real solution to the problem is not sought, and there is always talk here of private capital involvement. Of course, that means markets for surplus capital investments, those investments that are paid back within 5 years.
The US government cannot propose a public investment program because that would alienate it from its reason to be, that is, US monopolies.
No further analysis is needed; that is why no real economic development program to preserve our lands in Latin America, Africa and Asia is promoted. It is for excess capital investmenrts.
So far, we have referred here to our country´s problems. Why have such problems not been solved? Just because we do not want to solve them? No. The government of Cuba has always been willing to discuss its issues with the US government, but the US government has not wanted to discuss its problems with Cuba, and it should have its reasons for not wanting to discuss issues with Cuba.
This is the note sent by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba to the US government on January 27, 1960. I reads as follows:
“Through diplomatic negotiations, differences in views that may exist between both governments can be solved effectively through such negotiations. The government of Cuba is fully willing to discuss, unreservedly and quite amply, all differences, and it states explicitly its view there are no obstacles whatsoever to the holding of such negotiations through any of the traditionally adequate instruments and means to such end. Based on mutual respect and reciprocal benefits, the government of Cuba wishes to have and expand diplomatic and economic relations with the government and the people of the Unied States, and it understands that, under such premises, the traditional friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United States is indestructible.”
And, on February 22 this year, the following was stated:
“The Revolutionary Government of Cuba, in line with the purpose of resuming through diplomatic channels the already-initiated negotiations on pending issues between Cuba and the United States of America, has decided to appoint a commission with powers to such effect so that it starts discussions in Washington on a date acceptable to both parties.
“But the Revolutionary Government of Cuba wishes to state that a resumption and further development of such negotiations shall take place only if your country´s administration or Congress does not take any unitaleral measure prejudging the results of the above-mentioned negotiations or harming the Cuban economy or the Cuban people. It seems obvious it should be added that adherence by the government of Your Excellency to this viewpoint would not only contribute to an improvement in relations between our respective countries but also reaffirm the spirit of fraternal friendship that has bound and is binding our peoples. That would also make it possible for both governments to examine calmly and most flexibly the issues which have affected the traditional relations between Cuba and the United States of America.”
Which was the answer from the US government?
“The Government of the United States cannot accept the negotating terms stated in the note of Your Excellency to the effect that no unilateral meaures are to be taken by the government of the United States that may harm the Cuban economy or that of its people, either by the legislative or the executive. As stated by President Eisenhower on January 26, the US government shall remain free, while exercising its own overeignty, to take the steps it deems necessary, being aware of its international obligations, to defend the legitimate rights or interests of its people.”
That is, the US government shall not bother to discuss with a small country, Cuba, its differences in relations.
What hopes can the Cuban people have concerning a solution to these problems? Well, all the facts we have been able to describe here are running counter a solution to such problems, and it is good the UN takes this very much into account, because the government of Cuba and the people of Cuba are essentially concerned about the aggressive path being taken by US government Cuba policies, and it is good we all are well informed.
First, the US government considers it has the right to promote subversion in our country; the US government is helping in the creation of subversive movements against the Revolutonary Government of Cuba and we are denouncing it here, in this General Assembly, and we want to denounce specifically that, for instance, in a Caribbean island which is Honduran territory and is known as Swan Island, the US government has grabbed manu military that island; US marines are stationed there, even when it is a territory of Honduras, thus violating international law and depriving a sisterly people of part of their territory; and, in violation of international radio broadcast conventions, they have set up a powerful radio station and put it in the hands of war criminals and subversive groups they are supporting in that country. Also, there is training being given there to promote subservion and promote armed landings in our island.
It would be good that the delegate of Honduras to the General Assembly reivindicate here the right of Honduras to that chunk of its territory, but that´s a matter concerning him. What concerns us is that a small part of a sisterly country has been taken away, as pirates would do, from that country by the US government and it is being used as a base for subversion and attacks against our territory. And I am requesting that this denunciation we are making in the name of the government and people of Cuba is taken for the record.
Does the US government think it has the right to promote subversion in our country, in violation of all international agreements and of radio broadcasting space? Would that mean in any way that the Revolutionary Government of Cuba also has the right to promote subversion in the United States? Does the US government think it has the right to violate the radio broadcasting space, greatly harming our radio stations? Would that mean the government of Cuba also has the right to violate the radio broadcasting space?
What right can the US government have over ourselves or over our island which allows other peoples to demand equal respect? Swan Island should be returned to Honduras, because the US has never had any jurisdiction over that island (APPLAUSE.)
But there are even more alarming circumstances for our people. It is known that, under the Platt Amendment, forcibly imposed on our people, the US government abrogated itself the right to establish naval bases in our territory. It was a right imposed by force and it is being kept by force.
A naval base in the territory of any country is a reason for just concern. First, the concern that a country which is implementing and aggressive and war-mongering international policy has a base there, at the heart of our island, which exposes our island to the perils of any international conflict, of any nuclear conflict, with us having absolutely nothing to do with such a problem, as we have absolutely nothing to do with US government problems and the crises being provoked by the US government. And, yet, there is a base there, at the heart of our island, that poses a danger for us in case of any armed conflict.
But is that the only peril? No! There is a peril which worries us even more, as it is closer to us. The Revolutionary Government of Cuba has stated repeatedly its concern over the possibility that the imperialist government of the United States uses that base, located in our territory, for a self-inflicted aggression that justifies an attack against our nation! I repeat: The Revolutionary Government of Cuba is extremely concerned, and it is stating it here, that the imperialist government of the United States uses a self-inflicted aggression as a pretext in an effort to justify an attack on our country! And such concern of ours is growing bigger and bigger because there is more aggressiveness and symptoms are more alarming.
This is, for instance, a UPI newscable received in our country. It reads:
“Admiral Harley Burke, the US naval operations chief, says that if Cuba would try to occupy the Guantánamo Naval Base, ´we shall fight. back´” In an interview published by U.S. News and World Report,”(excuse me for any defect in my pronounciation) Burke was asked whether the Navy was worried about the prevailing situation in Cuba under the Castro regime. ´Yes, our Navy is worried, not for our Guantánamo Base but for the whole Cuban situation,´ Burke answered. The admiral adds that all US army corps are worried. ´Is it due to Cuba´s strategic position in the Caribbean?´ Burke was asked. ´Not particularly,´ he said. “It is a country whose people were usually friendly to the United States, who liked our people and we also liked them. In spite of that, there is an individual who has come up with a group of hardline Communists bent on changing everything. Castro has taught people to hate the United States and done much to ruin his country.´ Burke said ´we would react promptly if Castro would take some decision against the Guantánamo Base. If they try to take it by force, we shall fight back,’ he added. Questioned whether the threat uttered by Krushchev that Soviet rockets would support Cuba had made him think about such decision twice, the admiral said: ´´No, because he wouldn´t fire the rockets; he knows very well he would be destroyed if he did so.´“
He means Russia would be destroyed.
First of all, I should emphasize that, for this gentleman, having increased industrial production by 35% in our country, having given jobs to another 200 000 Cubans and having solved the great social problems in our country are equivalent to “ruin the country.” And based on such “arguments,” they abrogate themselves the right to create conditions for an aggression.
See the calculation he is making, a really dangerous calculation, because this gentleman is virtually calculating that, in case of an attack against us, we are going to be alone. It is just a calculation by Mr. Burke, but let´s imagine Mr. Burke is wrong. Let´s imagine that Mr. Burke, though an admiral and soon, is wrong. (Voices from the Soviet delegation and Krushchev himself and applause are heard.)
Then Admiral Burke is toying irresponsibly with the fate of the world. Admiral Burke and all those in his aggresive war-mongering group are toying with the fate of the world, and actually it would not be worthwhile worrying about the fate of each of us. But we believe that we, the representatives of the various peoples of the world, do have a duty to worry about the fate of the world, and we have a duty to condemn all those toying irresponsibly with the fate of the world! Because they are not toying only with the fate of our people: they are toying with the fate of their own people and they are toying with the fate of all the peoples of the world! Or is it this Admiral Burke thinks we are still living in the times of harquebuses? Or is it this Admiral Burke hasn´t realized finally we are living in the atomic era, with a disastrous destructive force that would have not been imagined even by Dante or Leonardo da Vinci in spite of their great imagination, because it is above anything man was ever able to imagine? However, he is calculating and, of course, United Press has already spread the news all over the world. The magazine will be in the stands soon. The campaign is already under way; preparations for hysteria are already under way; the imaginary danger of an action by us against the base is already being reported.
And this is not all. Yesterday, another UPI report appeared with statements by a US senator whose name is pronounced, or so it seems to me, as Stail Bridge, and I understand he is a member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, and he said today: “The US must make preparations at its Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba no matter what.” And added: “We must go as far as it takes to defend the huge US facility. There we have naval forces, we have marines and, were we attacked, I certainly would defend it because I think it is the most important base in the Caribbean.”
This member of the Senate Armed Services Committe would not rule out completely the use of atomic weapons in case of an attack against the base.
What does this mean? This means that not only hysteria is being created, that not only opinions are being influenced systematically, but that we are being threatened even with the use of atomic weapons. And, actually, among the many things crossing our minds, one is asking this Mr. Bridge whether he is not ashamed when threatening a small country like Cuba with atomic weapons. (LONG APPLAUSE.)
For our part, and in full respect, we must tell him that the problems of the world cannot be solved by uttering threats and spreading fear, and that our modest and small people ... and what can we do about it? ... are here, whether he likes it or not, and the Revolution will go on, whether he likes it or not; and also, our modest and small people must accept their fate and are not cowed by his nuclear weapon use threats at all.
What does that mean? There are many countries in the world having US bases but, at least, and as far as we know, those bases are there not against the very governments which gave them such concessions. Our case is the most tragic one: It is having a base in our island territory against Cuba and against the Revolutionary Government of Cuba. That is, it is in the hands of those declaring themselves as enemies of our country, enemies of the Revolution and enemies of our people. In all the history of bases existing in the world today, Cuba´s case is the most tragic one: It is a base imposed in our indubitable territory far from US shores, against Cuba, against the people; it is being imposed forcibly and as a threat to and a concern for our people.
That is why we must state here, first, that such attack gibberish is intended to create hysteria and the conditions for aggressions against our country; that we have never talked about nor uttered ever a single word implying the idea of any kind of attack against the Guantánamo Naval Base. Because nobody is having a greater interest than us in not giving imperialism pretexts to attack us, and we are stating this here most emphatically; but we are also declaring that, as that base has become a threat to the safety and tranquility of our country and a threat to our people, the Revolutionary Government is considering very seriously to request, under the principles of international law, the withdrawal of US government navy and army forces from that portion of our territory (LONG APPLAUSE.) And the imperialist US government shall have no choice but to withdraw those forces, because, how will it justify in the eyes of the world its right to install an atomic base or a base which brings peril to our people in a portion of our territory, in an indubitable island which is the territory in the world where the Cuban people live? How will it justify in the eyes of the world any right to exert sovereignty on a portion of our territory? What will it tell the world to justify such arbitrariness? And, as it will not be able to justify such right in the eyes of the world, the time our government requests it, in line with international law, the US government shall have to abide by such law.
But this Assembly should be very well informed about Cuba´s problems because we must be vigilant against deceit and confusion. We must explain all these problems very clearly, because the security and fate of our country are at stake. And that is why we are asking these words go very much for the record, particularly if it is remembered that bad opinions or misinterpretations of Cuba´s problems by politicians in this country are showing no signs to get better.
Right here, for instance, I have statements by Mr. Kennedy that would astonish anybody. Concerning Cuba, he has said:
“We must exert all the OAS force to prevent Castro from interfering in other Latin American governments and bring freedom back to Cuba.” They are going to bring freedom back to Cuba!
“We must state our intent of not allowing the Soviet Union to turn Cuba into its Caribbean base and apply the Monroe Doctrine.”
Just in the middle of the Twentieth Century, or a little bit later, this candidate is talking about the Monroe Doctrine!
“We must make Premier Castro understand we intend to defend our right to the Guantánamo Naval Base.” He is the third, the third person to refer to the issue. “And we should make the Cuban people know we sympathize with their legitimate economic aspirations ...,” How come they did not sympathize before? “ ... that we know about their love of freedom, and that we shall never be satisfied until democracy is back in Cuba ...” What democracy? Democracy “made” in the imperialist monopolies of the US government?
“The forces fighting for freedom in exile ...” --here you should pay attention so as to understand later why planes are flying from US territory to Cuba; pay attention to what has been said by this gentleman--“... and in the Cuban mountains should be sustained and supported, and, in other Latin American countries, Communism should be kept confined and it should not be allowed to expand.”
If Kennedy were not an ignorant and illiterate millionaire, (APPLAUSE) he would realize it is not possible to carry out a revolution against peasants in the mountains with the support of large land holders, and that each time imperialism has tried to promote counterrevolutionary groups peasant militias, in a matter of days, have defeated them. But it seems he read, or saw in a Hollywood novel or in some movie, some story about guerrillas and believes that, socially speaking, it is possible to wage guerrilla warfare in Cuba today.
In any case, it is disheartening, but still, nobody should think these views on Kenendy´s statements mean we somewhat like the other one, Mr. Nixon, (LAUGHTER) at all, because Nixon has made similar statements. To us, they both lack political brains.
So far, we have expounded our country´s problem, which is our essential duty upon coming to the United Nations. But we do understand we would be a little selfish if our concerns were only about our specific case. It is also true we have spent most of our time informing this Assembly about the Cuba case, and we don´t have much time for discussing other matters about which we want to speak just briefly.
But Cuba´s case is not the only one. Thinking of Cuba´s case only would be a mistake. Cuba´s case is that of all underdeveloped peoples. Cuba´s case is like that of Congo´s, Egypt´s, Algeria´s or western Iran´s; (APPLAUSE) and, well, it is like the case of Panama, which wants its canal back; like the case of Puerto Rico, whose national identity is being destroyed; like the case of Honduras, part of whose territory is being seggregated; and, well, although we haven´t mentioned other countries specifically, Cuba´s case is the case of all underdeveloped and colonized countries.
The problems of Cuba we were describing could be easily found all over Latin America. Monopolies control economic resources in Latin America, and when they do not own mines directly, they do mining operations, as it happens with copper in Chile or Peru or Mexico, or with sync in Peru and Mexico, or with oil in Venezuela; or it is because they own utilities, utility companies as in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia; or they own telephone services, as in Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia; or they trade in our products, as is the case of coffee from Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica and
Guatemala; or in bananas, which are harvested, traded and also transported by the United Fruit Company in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras; and as is the case of cotton in Mexico or cotton in Brazil. And monopolies control the country´s leading industries.
Economies are completely reliant on monopolies! Ah! The day they also want to embark on an agrarian reform there will be trouble! They will be asked to make prompt, efficient and just payment. And, if inspite of it all, they carry out an agrarian reform, the delegate from the sisterly country who comes to the UN shall be confined to Manhattan, no hotel shall accommodate him, slanders shall fall on his head, and it is even possible he is manhandled by the police.
The Cuba problem is just an example of the situation in Latin America. And for how long will Latin America be waiting for its development? Well, it shall have to wait, in the view of monopolies, till the Greek calends.
Who is going to industrialize Latin America? The monopolies? No. There is a UN Economic Secretariat report explaining, also, how private investment capital is going, not to countries where it is most needed for creating basic industries, to contribute to development, but instead, and preferably, to the most industrialized countries because, as so it is said or believed, there is greater safety there. And, of course, even the UN Economic Secretariat has admitted there is no possibility of development with private investment capital, that is, with monopolies.
Development in Latin America must be carried out through public investments that are planned for and conceived with no political conditionings because, of course, we all like representing a free country and nobody likes representing a country which does not feel free. None of us likes that the independence of one´s country is subordinated to interests which are not the country´s. So assistance should include no political conditionings.
Is it we will not be offered any assistance? It doesn´t matter. We have not asked for it. But, in the interest of Latin American peoples, we do think it is our solidarity duty to say that assistance should be given with no political conditionings. There should be public investments for economic development, and not for “social development,” which has been the latest invention to hide the real need for economic development.
The problems of Latin America are like the problems of the world, of the rest of the world, of Africa and Asia. The world is distributed among monopolies. Those very monopolies you see in Latin America are also in the Middle East. There, oil is in the hands of monopoly companies controlled by financial interests in the US, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France ... That´s the case of Iran, Irak and Saudi Arabia. I mean, it is happening everywhere in the world. The same is happening, let´s say, in the Phillipines. The same is happening in Africa. The world is distributed among monopoly interests. Who would dare denying that historical fact? And monopoly interests do not want the peoples to develop. What they want is to exploit the natural resources of the peoples and exploit the peoples. And the sooner their investment capitals are paid back or amortized the better.
The problems the people of Cuba have been having with the imperialist US government are the same ones Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Irak, would have if they nationalized their oil. Those are the same problems Egypt faced when it nationalized, and rightly so, the Suez Canal; the same problems Oceania faced when it wanted to be independent, that is, Indonesia, when it wanted to be independent; the same surprise invasion of Egypt, the same surprise invasion of Congo.
Have colonialists or imperialists ever lacked pretexts for invasions? Never! They have always resorted to some pretext. And which are the colonialist countries? Which are the imperialist countries? Four or five countries own things. Or, rather, not four or five countries but four or five groups of monopolies are the ones owing the wealth of the world.
If an alien from outer space came to this Assembly without having read Karl Marx´s Communist Manifesto or cable news from UPI, AP or other monopolistic media, and asked how the world is partitioned, how it is distributed, and saw in a map that wealth is distributed among the monopolies of four or five countries, he would say, without any further consideration: “The distribution of the world is not right; the world is being exploited.”
And here, where underdeveloped countries are in a great majority, he would be able to say: “A great majority of the peoples you represent are being exploited and they have been exploited for a long time. The form of exploitation has changed, but they continue being exploited.” That would be the verdict.
There is a statement in Premier Krushchev´s sppech that drew our attention very much due to its value: He said that “the Soviet Union has neither colonies nor foreign investments in any country.”
Ah! What a good place our world, now facing cataclysmic threats, would be if the delegates from all nations could say also: “Our country has no colonies nor does it have investments in any foreign country!” (APPLAUSE)
It is idle to keep on talking about it. That´s the core of the matter, and even the key for peace and for war, the key for the arms race or for disarmament. From the beginning of humanity, wars have started essentially due to one reason: The desire of some to plunder the wealth of others. When the philosophy of plundering is gone, the philosophy of war shall be no more! (APPLAUSE) When there are no more colonies, when there is no more exploitation of countries by monopolies, then humanity shall have reached a true time of progress!
As long as such step is not taken, as long as such time is not reached, the world will have to live always with the nightmare of being involved in any crisis, in an atomic war. Why? Because there are some having an interest in continued plundering; there are some having an interest in continued exploitation.
We have talked about the case of Cuba here. We have learned from our case, due to the problems we have had with our imperialism, that is, the imperialism which is against us ... But, after all, imperialisms are all the same, and they are all allies. A country exploiting the peoples of Latin America or of any other part of the world is an ally in the exploitation of the other peoples of the world.
There is something in the speech by the US president that really worried us. He said:
“In developing zones, we should try to promote peaceful changes, and also to assist in the implementation of their economic and social progress. To do that, to attain such change, the international community should be able to have a presence in cases it is needed by sending UN observers or forces.
“I would wish that Member States take positive measures concerning the suggestions stated in the report by the Secretary General for the training of qualified staff within the Secretariat to assist in meeting the needs for UN forces.”
That is, after considering that Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania are “development zones,” he is calling for the promotion of “peaceful changes” and, for that, he is even proposing the use of “UN forces” or “observers.” But the United States came to the world through a revolution against those who colonized it. The right of the people to get rid of colonial power or any other form of oppression through a revolution was enshrined even by the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, and now the US government is calling for the use of UN forces to prevent revolutionary changes.
Now the Secretary General has suggested that Member States should be willing to meet future UN requests to contribute with keeping those forces. All countries represented here should meet such need by contributing with national contingents that could join those UN forces if need be. The time to do it is now, at this very Assembly. He assured countries now getting assistance from the United States of America to be in favor of the use of such assistance to help them in keeping contingents in the way suggested by the Secretary General. That is, he is saying to countries having bases and getting assistance there is a readiness to provide more assistance for the creation of that emergency force. In order to assist in the efforts by the Secretary General, the
United States of America is equally willing to provide great air and maritime support to transport contingents the UN asks for any future emergency situation. It means it is even offering its ships and aircraft for those emergency forces, and we wish to say here that fhe Cuban delegation shall not agree with such an emergency force until all the peoples of the world can be sure that those forces shall not be used in the service of colonialism and imperialism (APPLAUSE), and much less so when any of our countries may be at any time the target of the use of such forces in violation of the rights of our peoples.
There are several issues here various delegations have referred to already. Just due to lack of time, we only wish to express our view about the problem in Congo. It can be understood that, as our stance is against colonialism and the exploitation of undedeveloped countries, we condemn the way the UN forces intervention was carried out in Congo.
First, those forces did not go there to act against interventionist forces, which was the reason for calling them up. All the time needed for promoting the first dissension was given there. When this was not enough yet, time was given and an opportunity was favored for having the second dissension, and, finally, as radio stations and aerodromes were being seized there, the opportunity was favored for having the emergence of a third man, as those saviors that come up under such circumstances are called. We have known them too well already, because in the year of 1934, in Cuba, one of those saviors, called Fulgencio Batista, also emerged. In Congo, it is Mobutu. In Cuba, (Batista) was visiting the US embassy daily and it seems the one in Congo was doing the same. Is it because we are saying it? No. It is said, of all sources, by a magazine which is the biggest champion of monopolies and thus cannot be against them. It cannot support Lumumba, as it is against Lumumba and for Mobutu. But it also explains who he is, how he came up, how he worked, and, finally, in its last issue, Time magazine states: “Mobutu became a frequent visitor to the US embassy and held long talks with its officials. One afternoon last week, Mobutu held discussons with Camp Leopold officers and got their arousing support. That evening, he went to Radio Congo, the same Radio Congo station Lumumba had not been allowed to speack from and, simply, announced the army was taking power.”
Which means he did all that after frequent visits to and long talks with US embassy officials –it is being said by Time, which stands for monopolies.
Which means that colonialist interests have been clearly and evidently involved in Congo, and therefore it is our view that wrong things have been done, that colonialist interests have been favored and that all facts show the people of Congo are for and right is with the only leader, who stayed there defending the interests of his country, and that leader is Lumumba. (APPLAUSE)
If Afro-Asian peoples, in view of this situation and of this mysterious man who has come up there in Congo and been called upon to put aside the legitimate interests of the Congolese people and the legitimate governments of Congo, are able to make such legitimate powers reconcile themselves for the sake of the interests of Congo, so much for the better. But if such reconciliation is not reached, he who not only is having the support of the people and Parliament, but who has stood firmly in the face of monopoly interests and by the side of his people, should be seen as being right and having the law on his side.
Concerning the Algerian issue, we must say we fully support the right of the Algerian people to their independence, (APPLAUSE) and also, it has a touch of the ridiculous, like many other ridiculous things with an artificial life given by vested interests have. It is ridiculous to pretend that Algeria is part of the French nation. That has also been pretended by other countries to keep their colonies in the past. That thing called “integrism” failed historically. Let´s approach the question from the other end, that Algeria were the metropolis and declared that a piece of Europe was an integral part of its territory. That´s simply a feeble argument making no sense. Algeria, ladies and gentlemen, is part of Africa as France is part of Europe.
Yet, those African people have been waging a heroic struggle against the metropolis for several years now. Perhaps, as we are discussing here calmly, shrapnel and bombs of the French government or army are falling on Algerian villages and townships. And men are dying in a war about which there is no doubt whatsoever who is right and which can be ended taking into account even the interests of a minority, who are also the ones taken as a pretext to deny 90 percent of the population of Algeria their right to independence. Still, we are doing nothing. We went to Congo so quickly and we are showing so little desire to go to Algeria! (APPLAUSE) And, if the Algerian government (which is also a government as it is representing millions of Algerians who are fighting) requests UN forces to go there also, would we go as promptly? It would be good we went as promptly, but with different ends, that is, with the end of upholding the interests of the colony and not the interests of colonizers!
So we take sides with the Algerian people, as we take sides with the peoples still under the yoke of colonialism in Africa, and with the discriminated blacks of the Union of South Africa, and we are taking sides with the peoples wanting to be free, and not only politicially free, as it is very easy to hoist a flag and have a coat of arms and anthem and a color in a map, but economically free. Because there is a fact we all should have foremost in our minds, and it is there is no political independence without economic independence, that political independence is a lie if there no economic independence. And so, we support the aspiration to be politically and economically free, and not just having a flag and a coat of arms and representation at the United Nations. We want to uphold another right here, a right that has been proclaimed by our people at a big mass rally recently: The right of underdeveloped countries to nationalize, without indemnity, natural resources and monopoly investments in their respective territories. That is, we are calling for the nationalization of natural resources and foreign investments in underdeveloped countries.
And, if highly industrialized nations want to do it also, we shall not oppose it. (APPLAUSE)
For countries to be truly free politically, they must be truly free economically, and then they should be helped. We will be asked about the value of investments and we are asking about the amount of profits, the profits which have been taken away from underveloped peoples subdued by colonialism for decades, or even for centuries!
There is also a proposal by the head of the Ghanean delegation we wish to support. The proposal that the territory of Africa has no military bases and thus no nuclear arms bases; that is, a proposal to free Africa from the perils of an atomic war. Something has been done over Antarctica already. Why, while there is progress toward disarmament, don´t we make progress also to free certain regions of the world from the danger of nuclear war? Yes, Africa is being reborn, that Africa we are learning to know; not the Africa we were shown in maps, not the Africa we were shown in Hollywood movies and in novels, not that Africa where there were always half-naked tribes wielding spears who would run away at the first clash with the white hero, that white hero who got bigger as he killed more African natives. That Africa standing up here with leaders like Nkruma and Sekou Touré, or that Africa of the Arab world of Nasser; the true Africa, the oppressed continent, the exploited continent, the continent from where millions of slaves came, that Africa whose history is so full of suffering. With that Africa, to that Africa, we have a duty: Preserving it from the danger of destruction. Other peoples should make it up to Africa to some measure, the West should make it up to Africa for the great suffering it has brought to it, by preserving it from the danger of atomic war, by declaring Africa as a zone free from such danger; that no atomic bases are opened there and that, at least, the continent, until we can do something else, is the sancturary for preserving human life. (LONG APPLAUSE) We do support that proposal.
And, on the issue of disarmament, on the issue of disarmament we fully support the Soviet proposal --and we are not blushing here for supporting the Soviet proposal. We believe it is a correct, specific, defined and clear proposal.
For instance, we have read carefully the speech made here by President Eisenhower and, really, he didn´t talk about disarmament, about the development of underdeveloped countries or about the problem of the colonies. Actually, it would be good that the citizens of this country, who are so influenced by false propaganda, objectively read the speeches by the US president and the Soviet premier to realize where there is a sincere concern over the problems of the world, to see where things are said clearly and honestly and, also, to see who are those wanting disarmament and who are those not wanting disarmament and why.
The Soviet proposal is crystal clear. The Soviet statement has gone as far as it can get. Why the reservations when such a big issue as this one has never been discussed so clearly?
The history of the world has shown tragically that arms races have always led to war. But, still, nowhere in time has war meant so big a catastrophe for humanity as now and, consequently, never has responsibility been so big. And, concerning this issue which worries humanity so much, because its existence is virtually at stake with it, the Soviet delegation has put forward a proposal for total, complete and far-reaching disarmament. Who could ask for more? Ask for more, if you can! Ask for more guarantees, if you can! But the proposal is as clear and defined as it can be, and, historically, you cannot give a negative answer to it without taking the responsibility of risking war and war itself.
Why the desire to prevent the General Assembly from discussing the issue? Why doesn´t the US delegation want to discuss this matter among all of us? Is it we hold no views? Is it we should not know about the problem? Is it a commission should meet? Why isn´t the most democratic thing done? Namely, that the General Assembly, all delegates, discuss the disarmament issue here, and that everybody does air his views and it is known who is for disarmament and who is not, who wants to play with war and who doesn´t, and who is ignoring that aspiration of humanity. Because humanity should never be dragged into a catastrophe by selfish and mean interests! Humanity, our peoples, not us, must be saved from such catastrophe, so that everything human knowledge and intelligence have created is not used for the very destruction of humanity.
The Soviet delegation has spoken clearly, and I am being objective by saying this, and I urge you to discuss such proposals, and that everyone says what he thinks. Above all, this is not just a question for delegations: This is a question for public opinion! War-mongerers and militarists must be exposed and condemned by world public opinion! This is not a problem concerning minorities; it concerns the world. And war-mongerers and militarists must be unmasked and that´s a task for public opinion. It should be discussed not only in the plenary session: It should be discussed before the whole world. It should be discussed before the general assembly of the whole world because, in case of war, not only those responsible shall be exterminated. It will be the extermination of hundreds of millions of innocent people who are not to be blamed at all, and that´s why we, meeting here as the representatives of the world –or part of the world, as not all the world is represented here yet, and it will be so fully only when the People´s Republic of China is represented here!-- must take measures. (APPLAUSE) Of course, one fourth of the world is absent from this Assembly, but the part that is here has a duty to speak up clearly and not to hide, and to discuss everything, because this is too serious an issue, this is a more important problem, and discussing it shall entail more economic benefit than all other commitments as it is a commitment with preserving the life of humanity. Let us all discuss, and let us all talk about this problem and let us all endeavor for the sake of peace or, at least, to unmask militarists and war-mongerers. And, above all, if we underveloped countries want to cherish hopes for progress, want to have hopes that our peoples enjoy higher living standards, we must strive for peace and we must strive for disarmament, because one fifth of what the world is spending in weapons could be used to promote development in all underdeveloped countries at a 10-percent growth rate. Just one fifth! And, of course, the living standards in countries spending their resources in weapons could be raised.
But which are the obstacles facing disarmament? Who are those interested in being armed? Those with an interest in being armed to the teeth and the ones wanting to keep colonies, the ones wanting to keep monopolies, the ones wanting to keep Middle
Eastern oil and natural resources in Latin America, Africa and Asia in their hands, and, to keep them, they need force. And you know perfectly well those territories were occupied and colonized by virtue of the right of force; millions of men were enslaved by virtue of the right of force. And it is by force such exploitation is continued in the world. So those chiefly interested in having no disarmament are those interested in keeping force, to preserve their control over the natural resources and wealth of the peoples and over cheap labor in underdeveloped countries. We promised we would speak clearly, and truth should be told for what it is.
So, colonialists are the enemies of disarmament. We must struggle together with world opinion to impose disarmament on them, as we must struggle together with world opinion to impose on them the right of peoples to their political and economic liberation.
Monopolies are the enemies of diasarmament because, besides imposing such interests with weapons, the arms race has always been big business for monopolies. And, for instance, everybody knows that in this country big monopolies tripled their capitals after World War II. Like vultures, monopolies feed on the bodies of those killed in wars.
And war is business. Those doing business with war, those getting rich with war, must be unmasked. We must open the eyes of the world and tell it who are the ones trading in the fate of humanity, those trading in the peril of war, specially when war may be so terrible there will be no more hope of liberation or survival in the world after it.
And that is an endeavor we, as a small and underdeveloped country, are inviting, specially, other small and underdevloped peoples, as well as all this Assembly, to join, and to struggle and to bring the issue here; if we don´t, we won´t forgive ourselves for the consequences later if, due to our negligence or infirmity or weakness concerning this problem, the world is increasingly immersed in the perils of war.
There is one more point that, according to what we have read in some newspapers, was going to be one of the points by the Cuban delegation and, logically, it was the issue of the People´s Republic of China.
Other delegations have raised it already. We wish to state here that the fact a discussion of such problem has not even started here is actually a negation of the United Nations´ reason to be and essence. Why?
Because that´s what the US government wants. Why should the UN General Assembly give up its right to discuss that issue?
Many countries have joined this organization in recent years. Opposing a debate here on the righs of the People´s Republic of China, that is, of 99% of the inhabitants of a country of over 600 million, to be represented here is denying the realities of history, and denying occurrences and the facts of life themselves. It is simply absurd and ridiculous that such an issue is not even discussed. And for how long are we going to play that pitiful role of not even discussing this problem when we have here the representatives of, for instance, Spain´s Franco?
We would like to make a consideration on how the United Nations came into being.
It came into being after the struggle against fascism, after tens of millions of people died. And thus, out of a war that took so many lives, the organization emerged as a hope. Still, there are remarkable paradoxes. While US soldiers were dying in Guam, Guadalcanal or Okinawa, or in any of the many islands in Asia, other men were also falling in continental China fighting the same enemy. And those are the same men to whom the right to a discussion on their admission to the United Nations is being denied. And while in those days there were Blue Division soldiers fighting in the Soviet Union for fascism, the People´s Republic of China is being denied the right his case is debated here at the United Nations.
However, that regime which emerged as a result of German Nazism and Italian Fascism, which stormed power with Hitler´s guns and planes and Mussolini´s Blackshirts, was generously admitted to the United Nations.
China has one fourth of the world´s population. What government really represents those people, the largest in the world? Simply, the government of the People´s Republic of China. And there is still another regime, in the midst of a civil war which was interrupted by the interference of the US Seventh Fleet.
It is still worth asking here what is the right the navy of a country from another continent has to do that (and it is worthwhile repeating this here), at times there is so much talk of extracontinental interference; and we should be given an explanation why the fleet of an extracontinental country meddled there in an internal affair of China´s with the single aim of keeping a friendly group there and impeding the total liberation of the territory. But, as it is an absurd situation and an illegal situation from any viewpoint, the United States does not want a discussion about the issue of the People´s Republic of China. And, for the record, we wish to state our viewpoint here and our support to such debate and to the legitimate representatives of the Chinese people, who are the representatives of the government of the People´s Republic of China, having their seats at the United Nations General Assembly.
I understand perfectly well it is somewhat unlikely that anyone here can get rid of the stereotyped notions by which the representatives of nations are often judged. I must say we have come here with no prejudices, to discuss matters objectively, not fearing other people´s views or the consequences of our attitude.
We have been honest, we have been frank (with no franquismo), (APPLAUSE) because we don´t want to be an accessory to that great injustice being committed against many Spaniards who have been in jail in Spain for 20 or more years and who fought together with Americans in the Lincoln Battalion, the comrades of those very Americans who went there to be true to the name of that great American, Abraham Lincoln.
In sum, we shall trust reasoning and everybody´s honesty. There are aspects concerning these problems of the world with which we would like to summarize our thoughts, things that are indubitable. We have explained our problem here. It is one of the problems of the world. Those attacking us today are the ones helping to attack others in other parts of the world.
The US government cannot take sides with the Algerian people because it is an ally of the metropolis, France. It cannot take sides with the Congolese people because it is an ally of Belgium. It cannot take sides with the Spanish people because it is an ally of Franco. It cannot take sides with the Puerto Rican people, whose nationhood it has been destroying for 50 years. It cannot take sides with the Panamanians, who are claiming the Canal. It cannot be with the strengthening of civilian power in Latin America, Germany or Japan. It cannot take sides with peasants wanting lands because it is an ally of large land holders. It cannot take sides with workers demanding better living conditions anywhere in the world because it is an ally of monopolies. It cannot take sides with colonies seeking independence because it is an ally of colonizers.
That means it is with Franco, with colonization in Algeria, with colonization in Congo; it is with keeping its privileges and interests in the Canal, with colonialism all over the world. It is with German militarism and the resurgence of German militarism. It is with Japanese militarism and the resurgence of Japanese militarism.
The US government is ignoring the millions of Hebrews who were killed in European concentration camps by Nazis who are now regaining their influence in the German army. It is ignoring the Frenchmen who were killed in their heroic struggle against occupation. It is ignoring the US soldiers who died in the Sigfried Line, in the Ruhr or in the Rhine, or in the Asian fronts. It cannot be with the integrity and sovereignty of the peoples. Why? Because it needs to sever the sovereignty of peoples to keep its military bases, and each base is a knife stabbed on sovereignty, each base is a severance of sovereignty.
That is why it must be against the sovereignty of peoples; because it must sever sovereignty to continue its policy of bases encircling the Soviet Union. And we believe the US people are not being explained these matters well. It would be enough that the US people imagined what would come of their safety if the Soviet Union began establishing a ring of atomic bases in Cuba, Mexico or Canada. People in the US would feel unsafe, they would be uneasy.
World public opinion, which includes US public opinion, should be taught how to see problems from another angle, from the angle of others. Aren´t undeveloped peoples and revolutionaries depicted always as the aggressors, as the enemies of the US people? We cannot be the enemies of the US people because we have seen Americans like Carleton Beals, or Waldo Frank, and great and distinguished intellectuals like them, with tears in their eyes over the mistakes being made, over the lack of hospitality we experienced in particular. I see, in many US people, in the most humane and progressive and valuable US writers, the noble feelings of the early leaders of this country, of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. I´m saying this not demagogically but out of our sincere admiration for those who one day were able to free their people from the colony and to struggle, but not for their country to be now the ally of all the reacionaries of the world, the ally of all the gangsters of the world, the ally of large land holders, of monopolies, of exploiters, or militarists, of fascists, that is, not to be the ally of the most backward-minded and reactionary people but for their country to be always the champion of noble and lofty ideals.
We, by the way, know what they are going to tell the US people today, tomorrow and always about us to deceive them. It doesn´t matter. We are fulfilling our duty by expressing these feelings at this historic Assembly. We proclaim the right of peoples to their integrity, the right of peoples to their nationhood, and those knowing that nationalism means an endeavor to get back what is yours, your wealth and natural resources, are conspiring against nationalism.
In sum, we support all the noble aspirations of all peoples. That´s our position. We support and shall always support everything that is just, and be against colonialism, against exploitation, against monopolies, against militarism, against the arms race, against playing with war. We shall always be against those things. That shall be our position.
And, to conclude, and to fulfill what we deem as our duty, we will read to this Assembly the essential part of the Havana Declaration. You know the Havana Declaration was the response by the people of Cuba to the Costa Rica Letter. It was not a gathering of 10, 100 or 100 000 but of over a million Cubans. Those in doubt, may go there and count them at the next rally or general assembly we hold in Cuba; certainly, they will have the sight of an enthusiastic people and of a people with an awareness, a sight most likely they shall not have had before, one that only takes place when the people are fervently upholding their most sacred interests.
During that assembly to respond to the Costa Rica Letter, after a consultation with the people and as agreed by acclamation by them, these principles were proclaimed as the principles of the Cuban Revolution:
“The National General Assembly of the People of Cuba condems large land holding, the cause of poverty for peasants and a backward and inhumane agricultural production system; it condems hand-to-mouth wages and the iniquitous explotation of human labor by bastardly and privileged interests; it condems illiteracy, the lack of teachers, schools, physicians and hospitals, and the lack of protection for elderly persons that are rampant in the countries of the Americas; it condemns discrimination against Blacks and Indians; it condems women´s inequality and exploitation; it condems the political and military oligarchies that are keeping our peoples in poverty, preventing their democratic development and the full exercise of their sovereignty; it condems concessions on the natural resources of our countries to foreign monopolies as part of a submissive and treasonous policy that harms the interests of the people; it condems the governments which ignore the sentiments of their peoples so as to obey foreign orders; it condemns the systematic lies to the people by the media which are answerable to the interests of oligarchies and the policies of oppressive imperialism; it condems the monopoly over news by monopolistic news agencies, which are the tools of monopoly trusts and the agents of such interests; it condemns repressive laws prohibiting workers, peasants, students, intellectuals and the large majorities in each country to organize themselves and struggle for their social and patriotic reivindications; it condemns imperialist monopolies and companies that are constantly plundering our wealth, exploiting our workers and peasants, bleeding our economies and keeping them in backwardness and subordinating Latin American politics to their designs and interests.
“In sum, the National General Assembly of the People of Cuba condems exploitation of man by man and the exploitation of underveloped countries by imperialist financial capital.
“Consequently, the National General Assembly of the People of Cuba is proclaiming to the Americas --and it is proclaiming it here to the world:
“The right of peasants to have lands; the right of workers to enjoy the results of their labor; the right of children to education; the right of sick persons to medical and hospital care; the right of youths to work; the right of students to free, experimental and scientific education; the right of Blacks and Indians to the ´full dignity of man;´ the right of women to civil, social and political equality; the right of elderly persons to secure old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and scientists to strive, through their works, for a better world; the right of States to nationalize imperialist monopolies, thus recovering national wealth and resources; the right of countries to free trade with all the peoples of the world; the right of nations to their full sovereignty; the right of people to turn their army fortresses into schools and to arm their workers,” (as in this case we´ve got to be for weapons, in the sense of arming our people to defend ourselves from imperialist attacks), “peasants, students, intellectuals, and Blacks and Indians, and women, youths old persons, all those who have been oppressed and exploited, so that they themselves defend their rights and fate.”
Some wanted to know the line of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba. Well, this is our line!
Typewritten version of the Council of State