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At the United Nations
Ernesto Che Guevara represented Cuba in the 19th Session
of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Address to General Assembly
The Delegation of Cuba to this assembly, first of all, is pleased
to fulfil the agreeable duty of welcoming the addition of three
new nations to the important number of those that discuss the
problems of the world here. We therefore greet, in the persons
of their presidents and prime ministers, the peoples of Zambia,
Malawi, and Malta, and express the hope that from the outset
these countries will be added to the group of Non-aligned countries
that struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.
also wish to convey our congratulations to the president of
this assembly (Alex Quaison-Sackey of Ghana), whose elevation
to so high a post is of special significance since it reflects
this new historic stage of resounding triumphs for the peoples
of Africa, who up until recently were subject to the colonial
system of imperialism. Today, in their immense majority these
peoples have become sovereign states through the legitimate
exercise of their self-determination. The final hour of colonialism
has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and
Latin America rise to meet a new life and demand their unrestricted
right to self-determination and to the independent development
of their nations.
We wish you, Mr. President, the greatest success in the tasks
entrusted to you by the member states.
Cuba comes here to state its position on the most important
points of controversy and will do so with the full sense of
responsibility that the use of this rostrum implies, while at
the same time fulfilling the unavoidable duty of speaking clearly
We would like to see this assembly shake itself out of complacency
and move forward. We would like to see the committees begin
their work and not stop at the first confrontation. Imperialism
wants to turn this meeting into a pointless oratorical tournament,
instead of solving the serious problems of the world. We must
prevent it from doing so. This session of the assembly should
not be remembered in the future solely by the number nineteen
that identifies it. Our efforts are directed to that end.
We feel that we have the right and the obligation to do so,
because our country is one of the most constant points of friction.
It is one of the places where the principles upholding the right
of small countries to sovereignty are put to the test day by
day, minute by minute. At the same time our country is one of
the trenches of freedom in the world, situated a few steps away
from United States imperialism, showing by its actions, its
daily example, that in the present conditions of humanity the
peoples can liberate themselves and can keep themselves free.
Of course, there now exists a socialist camp that becomes stronger
day by day and has more powerful weapons of struggle. But additional
conditions are required for survival: the maintenance of internal
unity, faith in one's own destiny, and the irrevocable decision
to fight to the death for the defence of one's country and revolution.
These conditions, distinguished delegates, exist in Cuba.
Of all the burning problems to be dealt with by this assembly,
one of special significance for us, and one whose solution we
feel must be found first — so as to leave no doubt in
the minds of anyone — is that of peaceful coexistence
among states with different economic and social systems. Much
progress has been made in the world in this field. But imperialism,
particularly U.S. imperialism, has attempted to make the world
believe that peaceful coexistence is the exclusive right of
the earth's great powers. We say here what our president said
in Cairo, and what later was expressed in the declaration of
the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-aligned
Countries: that peaceful coexistence cannot be limited to the
powerful countries if we want to ensure world peace. Peaceful
coexistence must be exercised among all states, regardless of
size, regardless of the previous historical relations that linked
them, and regardless of the problems that may arise among some
of them at a given moment.
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At present, the type of peaceful coexistence to which we aspire
is often violated. Merely because the Kingdom of Cambodia maintained
a neutral attitude and did not bow to the machinations of United
States imperialism, it has been subjected to all kinds of treacherous
and brutal attacks from the Yankee bases in South Vietnam.
Laos, a divided country, has also been the object of imperialist
aggression of every kind. Its people have been massacred from
the air. The conventions concluded at Geneva have been violated,
and part of its territory is in constant danger of cowardly
attacks by imperialist forces.
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam knows all these histories
of aggression as do few nations on earth. It has once again
seen its frontier violated, has seen enemy bombers and fighter
planes attack its installations, and has seen U.S. warships,
violating territorial waters, attack its naval posts. At this
time, the threat hangs over the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
that the U.S. war makers may openly extend into its territory
the war that for many years they have been waging against the
people of South Vietnam. The Soviet Union and the People's Republic
of China have given serious warnings to the United States. We
are faced with a case in which world peace is in danger and,
moreover, the lives of millions of human beings in this part
of Asia are constantly threatened and subjected to the whim
of the U.S. invader.
Peaceful coexistence has also been brutally put to the test
in Cyprus, due to pressures from the Turkish government and
NATO, compelling the people and the government of Cyprus to
make a heroic and firm stand in defence of their sovereignty.
all these parts of the world, imperialism attempts to impose
its version of what coexistence should be. It is the oppressed
peoples in alliance with the socialist camp that must show them
what true coexistence is, and it is the obligation of the United
Nations to support them.
We must also state that it is not only in relations among sovereign
states that the concept of peaceful coexistence needs to be
precisely defined. As Marxists we have maintained that peaceful
coexistence among nations does not encompass coexistence between
the exploiters and the exploited, between the oppressors and
the oppressed. Furthermore, the right to full independence from
all forms of colonial oppression is a fundamental principle
of this organization. That is why we express our solidarity
with the colonial peoples of so-called Portuguese Guinea, Angola,
and Mozambique, who have been massacred for the crime of demanding
their freedom. And we are prepared to help them to the extent
of our ability in accordance with the Cairo declaration.
We express our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and
their great leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, who, in another act
of hypocrisy, has been set free at the age of seventy-two, almost
unable to speak, paralysed, after spending a lifetime in jail.
Albizu Campos is a symbol of the as yet unfree but indomitable
Latin America. Years and years of prison, almost unbearable
pressures in jail, mental torture, solitude, total isolation
from his people and his family, the insolence of the conqueror
and its lackeys in the land of his birth — nothing broke
his will. The delegation of Cuba, on behalf of its people, pays
a tribute of admiration and gratitude to a patriot who confers
honour upon Our America.
The United States for many years has tried to convert Puerto
Rico into a model of hybrid culture: the Spanish language with
English inflections, the Spanish language with hinges on its
backbone — the better to bow down before the Yankee soldier.
Puerto Rican soldiers have been used as cannon fodder in imperialist
wars, as in Korea, and have even been made to fire at their
own brothers, as in the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. army
a few months ago against the unarmed people of Panama —
one of the most recent crimes carried out by Yankee imperialism.
And yet, despite this assault on their will and their historical
destiny, the people of Puerto Rico have preserved their culture,
their Latin character, their national feelings, which in themselves
give proof of the implacable desire for independence lying within
the masses of that Latin American island.
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We must also warn that the principle of peaceful coexistence
does not encompass the right to mock the will of the peoples,
as is happening in the case of so-called British Guiana. There
the government of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan has been the victim
of every kind of pressure and manoeuvre, and independence has
been delayed to gain time to find ways to flout the people's
will and guarantee the docility of a new government, placed
in power by covert means, in order to grant a castrated freedom
to this country of the Americas. Whatever roads Guiana may be
compelled to follow to obtain independence, the moral and militant
support of Cuba goes to its people.
Furthermore, we must point out that the islands of Guadeloupe
and Martinique have been fighting for a long time for self-government
without obtaining it. This state of affairs must not continue.
Once again we speak out to put the world on guard against what
is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid
is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The
peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the
African continent the superiority of one race over another remains
official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority
murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do
nothing to stop this!
I would like to refer specifically to the painful case of the
Congo, unique in the history of the modern world, which shows
how, with absolute impunity, with the most insolent cynicism,
the rights of peoples can be flouted. The direct reason for
all this is the enormous wealth of the Congo, which the imperialist
countries want to keep under their control. In the speech he
made during his first visit to the United Nations, Compañero
Fidel Castro observed that the whole problem of coexistence
among peoples boils down to the wrongful appropriation of other
peoples' wealth. He made the following statement: "End
the philosophy of plunder and the philosophy of war will be
ended as well."
But the philosophy of plunder has not only not been ended, it
is stronger than ever. And that is why those who used the name
of the United Nations to commit the murder of Lumumba are today,
in the name of the defence of the white race, murdering thousands
of Congolese. How can we forget the betrayal of the hope that
Patrice Lumumba placed in the United Nations? How can we forget
the machinations and manoeuvres that followed in the wake of
the occupation of that country by United Nations troops, under
whose auspices the assassins of this great African patriot acted
with impunity? How can we forget, distinguished delegates, that
the one who flouted the authority of the UN in the Congo —
and not exactly for patriotic reasons, but rather by virtue
of conflicts between imperialists — was Moise Tshombe,
who initiated the secession of Katanga with Belgian support?
And how can one justify, how can one explain, that at the end
of all the United Nations activities there, Tshombe, dislodged
from Katanga, should return as lord and master of the Congo?
Who can deny the sad role that the imperialists compelled the
United Nations to play?
To sum up: dramatic mobilizations were carried out to avoid
the secession of Katanga, but today Tshombe is in power, the
wealth of the Congo is in imperialist hands — and the
expenses have to be paid by the honourable nations. The merchants
of war certainly do good business! That is why the government
of Cuba supports the just stance of the Soviet Union in refusing
to pay the expenses for this crime.
And as if this were not enough, we now have flung in our faces
these latest acts that have filled the world with indignation.
Who are the perpetrators? Belgian paratroopers, carried by United
States planes, who took off from British bases. We remember
as if it were yesterday that we saw a small country in Europe,
a civilized and industrious country, the Kingdom of Belgium,
invaded by Hitler's hordes. We were embittered by the knowledge
that this small nation was massacred by German imperialism,
and we felt affection for its people. But this other side of
the imperialist coin was the one that many of us did not see.
Perhaps the sons of Belgian patriots who died defending their
country's liberty are now murdering in cold blood thousands
of Congolese in the name of the white race, just as they suffered
under the German heel because their blood was not sufficiently
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Our free eyes open now on new horizons and can see what yesterday,
in our condition as colonial slaves, we could not observe: that
"Western civilization" disguises behind its showy
facade a picture of hyenas and jackals. That is the only name
that can be applied to those who have gone to fulfil such "humanitarian"
tasks in the Congo. A carnivorous animal that feeds on unarmed
peoples. That is what imperialism does to men. That is what
distinguishes the imperial "white man."
All free men of the world must be prepared to avenge the crime
of the Congo. Perhaps many of those soldiers, who were turned
into subhumans by imperialist machinery, believe in good faith
that they are defending the rights of a superior race. In this
assembly, however, those peoples whose skins are darkened by
a different sun, coloured by different pigments, constitute
the majority. And they fully and clearly understand that the
difference between men does not lie in the colour of their skin,
but in the forms of ownership of the means of production, in
the relations of production.
The Cuban delegation extends greetings to the peoples of Southern
Rhodesia and South-West Africa, oppressed by white colonialist
minorities; to the peoples of Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland,
French Somaliland, the Arabs of Palestine, Aden and the Protectorates,
Oman; and to all peoples in conflict with imperialism and colonialism.
We reaffirm our support to them. I express also the hope that
there will be a just solution to the conflict facing our sister
republic of Indonesia in its relations with Malaysia.
President: One of the fundamental themes of this conference
is general and complete disarmament. We express our support
for general and complete disarmament. Furthermore, we advocate
the complete destruction of all thermonuclear devices and we
support the holding of a conference of all the nations of the
world to make this aspiration of all people a reality. In his
statement before this assembly, our prime minister warned that
arms races have always led to war. There are new nuclear powers
in the world, and the possibilities of a confrontation are growing.
We believe that such a conference is necessary to obtain the
total destruction of thermonuclear weapons and, as a first step,
the total prohibition of tests. At the same time, we have to
establish clearly the duty of all countries to respect the present
borders of other states and to refrain from engaging in any
aggression, even with conventional weapons.
In adding our voice to that of all the peoples of the world
who ask for general and complete disarmament, the destruction
of all nuclear arsenals, the complete halt to the building of
new thermonuclear devices and of nuclear tests of any kind,
we believe it necessary to also stress that the territorial
integrity of nations must be respected and the armed hand of
imperialism held back, for it is no less dangerous when it uses
only conventional weapons. Those who murdered thousands of defenceless
citizens of the Congo did not use the atomic bomb. They used
conventional weapons. Conventional weapons have also been used
by imperialism, causing so many deaths.
Even if the measures advocated here were to become effective
and make it unnecessary to mention it, we must point out that
we cannot adhere to any regional pact for denuclearisation so
long as the United States maintains aggressive bases on our
own territory, in Puerto Rico, Panama, and in other Latin American
states where it feels it has the right to place both conventional
and nuclear weapons without any restrictions. We feel that we
must be able to provide for our own defence in the light of
the recent resolution of the Organization of American States
against Cuba, on the basis of which an attack may be carried
out invoking the Rio Treaty.
If the conference to which we have just referred were to achieve
all these objectives — which, unfortunately, would be
difficult — we believe it would be the most important
one in the history of humanity. To ensure this it would be necessary
for the People's Republic of China to be represented, and that
is why a conference of this type must be held. But it would
be much simpler for the peoples of the world to recognize the
undeniable truth of the existence of the People's Republic of
China, whose government is the sole representative of its people,
and to give it the seat it deserves, which is, at present, usurped
by the gang that controls the province of Taiwan, with United
The problem of the representation of China in the United Nations
cannot in any way be considered as a case of a new admission
to the organization, but rather as the restoration of the legitimate
rights of the People's Republic of China.
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We must repudiate energetically the "two Chinas" plot.
The Chiang Kai-shek gang of Taiwan cannot remain in the United
Nations. What we are dealing with, we repeat, is the expulsion
of the usurper and the installation of the legitimate representative
of the Chinese people.
We also warn against the United States government's insistence
on presenting the problem of the legitimate representation of
China in the UN as an "important question," in order
to impose a requirement of a two-thirds majority of members
present and voting. The admission of the People's Republic of
China to the United Nations is, in fact, an important question
for the entire world, but not for the machinery of the United
Nations, where it must constitute a mere question of procedure.
In this way justice will be done. Almost as important as attaining
justice, however, would be the demonstration, once and for all,
that this august assembly has eyes to see, ears to hear, tongues
to speak with, and sound criteria for making its decisions.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons among the member states
of NATO, and especially the possession of these devices of mass
destruction by the Federal Republic of Germany, would make the
possibility of an agreement on disarmament even more remote,
and linked to such an agreement is the problem of the peaceful
reunification of Germany. So long as there is no clear understanding,
the existence of two Germanys must be recognized: that of the
German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic. The German
problem can be solved only with the direct participation in
negotiations of the German Democratic Republic with full rights.
We shall only touch on the questions of economic development
and international trade that are broadly represented in the
agenda. In this very year of 1964 the Geneva conference was
held at which a multitude of matters related to these aspects
of international relations were dealt with. The warnings and
forecasts of our delegation were fully confirmed, to the misfortune
of the economically dependent countries.
We wish only to point out that insofar as Cuba is concerned,
the United States of America has not implemented the explicit
recommendations of that conference, and recently the U.S. government
also prohibited the sale of medicines to Cuba. By doing so it
divested itself, once and for all, of the mask of humanitarianism
with which it attempted to disguise the aggressive nature of
its blockade against the people of Cuba.
Furthermore, we state once more that the scars left by colonialism
that impede the development of the peoples are expressed not
only in political relations. The so-called deterioration of
the terms of trade is nothing but the result of the unequal
exchange between countries producing raw materials and industrial
countries, which dominate markets and impose the illusory justice
of equal exchange of values.
So long as the economically dependent peoples do not free themselves
from the capitalist markets and, in a firm bloc with the socialist
countries, impose new relations between the exploited and the
exploiters, there will be no solid economic development. In
certain cases there will be retrogression, in which the weak
countries will fall under the political domination of the imperialists
Finally, distinguished delegates, it must be made clear that
in the area of the Caribbean, manoeuvres and preparations for
aggression against Cuba are taking place, on the coasts of Nicaragua
above all, in Costa Rica as well, in the Panama Canal Zone,
on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico, in Florida, and possibly in
other parts of United States territory and perhaps also in Honduras.
In these places Cuban mercenaries are training, as well as mercenaries
of other nationalities, with a purpose that cannot be the most
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After a big scandal, the government of Costa Rica — it
is said — has ordered the elimination of all training
camps of Cuban exiles in that country. No one knows whether
this position is sincere, or whether it is simply an alibi because
the mercenaries training there were about to commit some misdeed.
We hope that full cognisance will be taken of the real existence
of bases for aggression, which we denounced long ago, and that
the world will ponder the international responsibility of the
government of a country that authorizes and facilitates the
training of mercenaries to attack Cuba.
We should note that news of the training of mercenaries in different
parts of the Caribbean and the participation of the U.S. government
in such acts is presented as completely natural in the newspapers
in the United States. We know of no Latin American voice that
has officially protested this. This shows the cynicism with
which the United States government moves its pawns.
The sharp foreign ministers of the OAS had eyes to see Cuban
emblems and to find "irrefutable" proof in the weapons
that the Yankees exhibited in Venezuela, but they do not see
the preparations for aggression in the United States, just as
they did not hear the voice of President Kennedy, who explicitly
declared himself the aggressor against Cuba at Playa Girón.
In some cases, it is a blindness provoked by the hatred against
our revolution by the ruling classes of the Latin American countries.
In others — and these are sadder and more deplorable —
it is the product of the dazzling glitter of mammon.
As is well known, after the tremendous commotion of the so-called
Caribbean crisis, the United States undertook certain commitments
with the Soviet Union. These culminated in the withdrawal of
certain types of weapons that the continued acts of aggression
of the United States — such as the mercenary at tack at
Playa Girón and threats of invasion against our homeland
— had compelled us to install in Cuba as an act of legitimate
and essential defence.
The United States, furthermore, tried to get the UN to inspect
our territory. But we emphatically refuse, since Cuba does not
recognize the right of the United States, or of anyone else
in the world, to determine the type of weapons Cuba may have
within its borders.
In this connection, we would abide only by multilateral agreements,
with equal obligations for all the parties concerned. As Fidel
Castro has said:
So long as the concept of sovereignty exists as the prerogative
of nations and of independent peoples, as a right of all peoples,
we will not accept the exclusion of our people from that right.
So long as the world is governed by these principles, so long
as the world is governed by those concepts that have universal
validity because they are universally accepted and recognized
by the peoples, we will not accept the attempt to deprive us
of any of those rights, and we will renounce none of those rights.
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The secretary-general of the United Nations, U Thant, understood
our reasons. Nevertheless, the United States attempted to establish
a new prerogative, an arbitrary and illegal one: that of violating
the airspace of a small country. Thus, we see flying over our
country U-2 aircraft and other types of spy planes that, with
complete impunity, fly over our airspace. We have made all the
necessary warnings for the violations of our airspace to cease,
as well as for a halt to the provocations of the United States
Navy against our sentry posts in the zone of Guantánamo,
the buzzing by aircraft of our ships or the ships of other nationalities
in international waters, the pirate attacks against ships sailing
under different flags, and the infiltration of spies, saboteurs,
and weapons onto our island.
We want to build socialism. We have declared that we are supporters
of those who strive for peace. We have declared ourselves to
be within the group of Non-aligned countries, although we are
Marxist-Leninists, because the Non-aligned countries, like ourselves,
fight imperialism. We want peace. We want to build a better
life for our people. That is why we avoid, insofar as possible,
falling into the provocations manufactured by the Yankees. But
we know the mentality of those who govern them. They want to
make us pay a very high price for that peace. We reply that
the price cannot go beyond the bounds of dignity.
And Cuba reaffirms once again the right to maintain on its territory
the weapons it deems appropriate, and its refusal to recognize
the right of any power on earth — no matter how powerful
— to violate our soil, our territorial waters, or our
If in any assembly Cuba assumes obligations of a collective
nature, it will fulfil them to the letter. So long as this does
not happen, Cuba maintains all its rights, just as any other
nation. In the face of the demands of imperialism, our prime
minister laid out the five points necessary for the existence
of a secure peace in the Caribbean.
||A halt to the economic blockade and all economic and
trade pressures by the United States, in all parts of
the world, against our country.
||A halt to all subversive activities, launching and landing
of weapons and explosives by air and sea, organization
of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and saboteurs,
acts all carried out from the territory of the United
States and some accomplice countries.
||A halt to pirate attacks carried out from existing bases
in the United States and Puerto Rico.
||A halt to all the violations of our airspace and our
territorial waters by United States aircraft and warships.
||Withdrawal from the Guantánamo naval base and
return of the Cuban territory occupied by the United States.
None of these elementary demands has been met, and our forces
are still being provoked from the naval base at Guantánamo.
That base has become a nest of thieves and a launching pad for
them into our territory. We would tire this assembly were we
to give a detailed account of the large number of provocations
of all kinds. Suffice it to say that including the first days
of December the number amounts to 1,323 in 1964 alone. The list
covers minor provocations such as violation of the boundary
line, launching of objects from the territory controlled by
the United States, the commission of acts of sexual exhibitionism
by U.S. personnel of both sexes, and verbal insults. It includes
others that are more serious, such as shooting off small-calibre
weapons, aiming weapons at our territory, and offences against
our national flag. Extremely serious provocations include those
of crossing the boundary line and starting fires in installations
on the Cuban side, as well as rifle fire. There have been seventy-eight
rifle shots this year, with the sorrowful toll of one death:
that of Ramon Lopez Pefia, a soldier, killed by two shots fired
from the United States post three and a half kilometres from
the coast on the northern boundary. This extremely grave provocation
took place at 7:07 p.m. on July 19, 1964, and the prime minister
of our government publicly stated on July 26 that if the event
were to recur he would give orders for our troops to repel the
aggression. At the same time orders were given for the withdrawal
of the forward line of Cuban forces to positions farther away
from the boundary line and construction of the necessary fortified
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One thousand three hundred and twenty-three provocations in
340 days amount to approximately four per day. Only a perfectly
disciplined army with a morale such as ours could resist so
many hostile acts without losing its self-control.
Forty-seven countries meeting at the Second Conference of Heads
of State or Government of Non-aligned Countries in Cairo unanimously
Noting with concern that foreign military bases are in practice
a means of bringing pressure on nations and retarding their
emancipation and development, based on their own ideological,
political, economic, and cultural ideas, the conference declares
its full support to the countries which are seeking to secure
the evacuation of foreign bases on their territory and calls
upon all states maintaining troops and bases in other countries
to remove them forthwith.
The conference considers that the maintenance at Guantánamo
( Cuba) of a military base of the United States of America,
in defiance of the will of the government and people of Cuba
and in defiance of the provisions embodied in the declaration
of the Belgrade conference, constitutes a violation of Cuba's
sovereignty and territorial integrity. Noting that the Cuban
government expresses its readiness to settle its dispute over
the base of Guantánamo with the United States of America
on an equal footing, the conference urges the United States
government to negotiate the evacuation of this base with the
Cuban government. The government of the United States has not
responded to this request of the Cairo conference and is attempting
to maintain indefinitely by force its occupation of a piece
of our territory, from which it carries out acts of aggression
such as those detailed earlier.
The Organization of American States — which the people
also call the United States Ministry of Colonies — condemned
us "energetically," even though it had just excluded
us from its midst, ordering its members to break off diplomatic
and trade relations with Cuba. The OAS authorized aggression
against our country at any time and under any pretext, violating
the most fundamental international laws, completely disregarding
the United Nations. Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico opposed
that measure, and the government of the United States of Mexico
refused to comply with the sanctions that had been approved.
Since then we have had no relations with any Latin American
countries except Mexico, and this fulfils one of the necessary
conditions for direct aggression by imperialism.
want to make clear once again that our concern for Latin America
is based on the ties that unite us: the language we speak, the
culture we maintain, and the common master we had. We have no
other reason for desiring the liberation of Latin America from
the U.S. colonial yoke. If any of the Latin American countries
here decide to re-establish relations with Cuba, we would be
willing to do so on the basis of equality, and without viewing
that recognition of Cuba as a free country in the world to be
a gift to our government. Because we won that recognition with
our blood in the days of the liberation struggle. We acquired
it with our blood in the defence of our shores against the Yankee
Although we reject any accusations against us of interference
in the internal affairs of other countries, we cannot deny that
we sympathize with those people who strive for their freedom.
We must fulfil the obligation of our government and people to
state clearly and categorically to the world that we morally
support and stand in solidarity with peoples who struggle anywhere
in the world to make a reality of the rights of full sovereignty
proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
It is the United States that intervenes. It has done so historically
in Latin America. Since the end of the last century Cuba has
experienced this truth; but it has been experienced, too, by
Venezuela, Nicaragua, Central America in general, Mexico, Haiti,
and the Dominican Republic. In recent years, apart from our
people, Panama has experienced direct aggression, where the
marines in the Canal Zone opened fire in cold blood against
the defenceless people; the Dominican Republic, whose coast
was violated by the Yankee fleet to avoid an outbreak of the
just fury of the people after the death of Trujillo; and Colombia,
whose capital was taken by assault as a result of a rebellion
provoked by the assassination of Gaitán.
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Covert interventions are carried out through military missions
that participate in internal repression, organizing forces designed
for that purpose in many countries, and also in coups d'etat,
which have been repeated so frequently on the Latin American
continent during recent years. Concretely, United States forces
intervened in the repression of the peoples of Venezuela, Colombia,
and Guatemala, who fought with weapons for their freedom. In
Venezuela, not only do U.S. forces advise the army and the police,
but they also direct acts of genocide carried out from the air
against the peasant population in vast insurgent areas. And
the Yankee companies operating there exert pressures of every
kind to increase direct interference. The imperialists are preparing
to repress the peoples of the Americas and are establishing
an International of Crime.
The United States intervenes in Latin America invoking the defence
of free institutions. The time will come when this assembly
will acquire greater maturity and demand of the United States
government guarantees for the lives of the Blacks and Latin
Americans who live in that country, most of them U.S. citizens
by origin or adoption.
Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against
them because of the colour of their skin; those who let the
murderers of Blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore
punishing the Black population because they demand their legitimate
rights as free men — how can those who do this consider
themselves guardians of freedom? We understand that today the
assembly is not in a position to ask for explanations of these
acts. It must be clearly established, however, that the government
of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather
the perpetuator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples
of the world and against a large part of its own population.
To the ambiguous language with which some delegates have described
the case of Cuba and the OAS, we reply with clear-cut words
and we proclaim that the peoples of Latin America will make
those servile, sell-out governments pay for their treason. Cuba,
distinguished delegates, a free and sovereign state with no
chains binding it to anyone, with no foreign investments on
its territory, with no proconsuls directing its policy, can
speak with its head held high in this assembly and can demonstrate
the justice of the phrase by which it has been baptized: "Free
Territory of the Americas."
Our example will bear fruit in the continent, as it is already
doing to a certain extent in Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela.
There is no small enemy nor insignificant force, because no
longer are there isolated peoples. As the Second Declaration
of Havana states:
No nation in Latin America is weak — because each forms
part of a family of 200 million brothers, who suffer the same
miseries, who harbor the same sentiments, who have the same
enemy, who dream about the same better future, and who count
upon the solidarity of all honest men and women throughout the
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This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian
masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It
is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest
and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly abound in our suffering
Latin American lands. A struggle of masses and of ideas. An
epic that will be carried forward by our peoples, mistreated
and scorned by imperialism; our people, unreckoned with until
today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism
considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins
to be terrified of that flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million
Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees
its gravediggers. ...
But now from one end of the continent to the other they are
signalling with clarity that the hour has come — the hour
of their vindication. Now this anonymous mass, this America
of colour, somber, taciturn America, which all over the continent
sings with the same sadness and disillusionment, now this mass
is beginning to enter definitively into its own history, is
beginning to write it with its own blood, is beginning to suffer
and die for it.
Because now in the mountains and fields of America, on its flatlands
and in its jungles, in the wilderness or in the traffic of cities,
on the banks of its great oceans or rivers, this world is beginning
to tremble. Anxious hands are stretched forth, ready to die
for what is theirs, to win those rights that were laughed at
by one and all for five hundred years. Yes, now history will
have to take the poor of America into account, the exploited
and spurned of America, who have decided to begin writing their
history for themselves for all time. Already they can be seen
on the roads, on foot, day after day, in an endless march of
hundreds of kilometres to the governmental "eminences",
there to obtain their rights.
Already they can be seen armed with stones, sticks, machetes,
in one direction and another, each day, occupying lands, sinking
hooks into the land that belongs to them and defending it with
their lives. They can be seen carrying signs, slogans, flags;
letting them flap in the mountain or prairie winds. And the
wave of anger, of demands for justice, of claims for rights
trampled underfoot, which is beginning to sweep the lands of
Latin America, will not stop. That wave will swell with every
passing day. For that wave is composed of the greatest number,
the majorities in every respect, those whose labour amasses
the wealth and turns the wheels of history. Now they are awakening
from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected.
For this great mass of humanity has said, "Enough!"
and has begun to march. And their march of giants will not be
halted until they conquer true independence — for which
they have vainly died more than once. Today, however, those
who die will die like the Cubans at Playa Girón. They
will die for their own true and never-to-be-surrendered independence.
All this, distinguished delegates, this new will of a whole
continent, of Latin America, is made manifest in the cry proclaimed
daily by our masses as the irrefutable expression of their decision
to fight and to paralyse the armed hand of the invader. It is
a cry that has the understanding and support of all the peoples
of the world and especially of the socialist camp, headed by
the Soviet Union.
That cry is: Patria o muerte! (Homeland or death)
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