On the Formation of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
Spoken: September 29, 1960, Havana
By Fidel Castro
.... We observed honor and hospitality and generous conduct and decency among the humble Negroes of Harlem. (Applause and Singing)
[A bomb explodes in the crowd ]
That little bomb; everybody knows who paid for it; it is one of imperialism's. Tomorrow you will read — note this well — that the bomb went off just as they were talking about imperialism. (Crowd cheers again for several minutes. Music played to quiet the crowd.)
How naive they are. When they fired 500 to 1000-pound bombs marked made in USA they couldn't do a thing; not even when they fired napalm bombs, and their planes couldn't do anything. They had to surrender. They couldn't take the Sierra Maestra. how are they going to advance now behind the little explosives.
How are they going to impress the people with little bombs, if the people here are preparing to resist not just little bombs. The people are prepared to resist anything that falls, even atomic bombs.
For every little bomb of the imperialists, we build 500 houses. For every little bomb they make in a year, we construct three cooperative houses. For every little bomb, we nationalize a Yankee estate. For every little bomb of the imperialists, we refine hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. For every little bomb we will build a plant to give employment in our country. For every little bomb the imperialists pay for, we convert a garrison into a school. For every little bomb the imperialists pay for, we arm at least 1,000 militiamen. (Applause) Comrade (Pani?) had a good idea; he says we should dedicate a new labor circle, a regiment to this little bomb. (Applause)
We are going to establish a system of collective vigilance and we shall see how the lackeys of imperialism are going to get around this. We shall see if there is a single district not well represented here. We shall set up a collective revolutionary vigilance system and everyone on the block will be known, what his activities are. If they think they are going to have to deal with the people they will get a tremendous scare. We are going to set up a revolutionary vigilance committee on every block so that the people can see what is going on.
The imperialists and their lackeys will not be able to make a move. They are dealing with the people, and they do not know yet the tremendous revolutionary power of the people. Therefore, new steps must be taken in the organization of the militia. Malitia battalions will be created throughout Cuba. Each man for each weapon will be selected. A structure will be given to the entire mass of militiamen so that as soon as possible our combat units will be perfectly formed and trained. One thing is clear: We do not have to tighten up before the time comes. There is nothing to worry about. One must not worry. Let them do the worrying. We will conserve our serenity and our march; it is a firm but sure march.
One of our impressions on this trip, this important trip, is the amount of hatred felt toward our revolutionary people by imperialism, the degree of hysteria which imperialism has reached, the degree of demoralization that imperialism has reached. And you have seen it. They are still thinking about the Cuban charges because they really do not have anything with which to reply.
It is, however, important that all of us be very conscious of the struggle undertaken by revolution. It is necessary for all of us to know perfectly well that it will be a long, long and hard struggle. (Applause) It is important for us to realize that our revolution has faced up to the most powerful empire in he world. Of all the colonialist and imperialists countries, Yankee imperialism is the most powerful in diplomatic influence and military resources. It is also an imperialism that is not like the English, which is more mature, more experienced, it is proud imperialism, barbarous,and many of its leaders are barbarous men who have nothing to envy of the first cavemen. Many of their leaders are men with fangs. It is the most aggressive, most warlike, and most stupid imperialism.
We are on the frontline, a small country with few economic resources giving battle on the frontline for our sovereignty, destiny, and right. It is necessary to be very conscious that our country is facing the most fierce empire of the contemporary times. It must also be realized that imperialism will not stop trying to destroy the revolution, hinder the revolution. It must always be borne in mind that imperialism hates us with the hatred of the masters for the rebellious slaves. And we will defend ourselves with the fierceness of slaves who have rebelled.
There is nothing more fierce than the hatred of the master for the rebellious slave. And to that must be added the fact that they see their interests endangered — not only here but throughout the world. We brought our case to the United Nations, but our case was the case of all underdeveloped countries — the case of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the case of the Asian countries. Our case was one that could be applied to the rest of the world. The rest of the underdeveloped world is also being exploited by the monopolies. We told them that the property of the monopolies must be nationalized without any indemnification. We told the other countries: Do what we have done; do not continue to be victims of aggression.
Therefore, there is a universal interest in our struggle. A battle is taking place for the liberation of Cuba and all the other exploited nations of the world. It is necessary for us to know what we are doing, the interests we are affecting. Those interests will not raise the white flag easily. It will be a long fight. Not only do we have to defend ourselves from aggression, but we must also advance, we must progress on all fronts. The clearest impression we brought back is that we must redouble our efforts (Applause), that we must be aware of the great role we are playing in the world. Actions are worth more than words. We have spoken of some of the things we have done. The important thing is action, deeds. We must make our country forward. To do this we must devote ourselves to our task. We all have a task.
We went there to speak on behalf of all of you. We went because we have the support of all of you. We could do this because we took with us the moral support of all the men and women of our country. We took with us the moral strength of a people. That is why we could go there to denounce imperialism, and that is why our country is admired — not for the words, but for the deeds; not for what a Cuban may say there, but for what all the Cuban may do and can do.
The world is forming an idea of us, a better idea than it ever had — if the world ever had an idea of our existence. And what is behind that opinion is a people, what makes that opinion is the efforts of a people. We urge each and every one of you to form an image of the great responsibility each of us has. We are not individuals, we are part of a people, we are part of humanity, at a decisive hour for the human race. We are an idea, we are a hope, we are an example, and when the premier of the revolutionary government appeared at the United Nations (Applause) it was not a man appearing, it was a nation. (Applause)
Every one of you appeared there; every one of you was there. We went there with the force we receive from being able to count on the support and effort of every one of you. We felt very obligated to the people; we feel we have a great responsibility to the people. And so, every one of you must feel — and keep this in mind — the work we are doing, we are all doing it together.
(Editor's Note: Another bomb explodes in the crowd. There are shouts from the crowd. After the dust settles, the national anthem is played and sung)
Let them explode; that way they are training the people to become accustomed to all kinds of noise. (Shouts of "unity" heard) these things just confirm what we have been saying: The revolution has a long battle ahead, a hard battle. Therefore, we reiterate that every one of us should taken to heart his role and his responsibility. Easy things are not those that give the best fruits in the long run. The worthwhile things in the life of nations and people are the difficult things, for these are the ones worth doing. (Applause)
Knowing the might of the empire we face does not discourage us. On the contrary, it encourages us. The one that should be demoralized is the empire, because of the battle being waged against it by a small nation. Let nobody think that the years ahead will be years of tranquility and east. The greatest interest in the years ahead is the work and the battle we have ahead of us. That is the extraordinary interest which the future holds for us. That is what liberates us from the sorrows and shame of the past. That is what makes our people happy, above all, knowing that on Jan. 1 the revolution did not end, but was just beginning. That is what makes our people happy, thinking that if the first stage was the fruit of effort by part of the nation, the future, tomorrow's victory, will be the fruit of the effort of the entire nation.
And tomorrow no one need feel shame, because the future is full of riches, there is a place for each of us. In the future there is a place for every one of us, and we ourselves feel that we are beginning, that we have barely begun, that we are on the first pages of the great book of the history which the Cuban people are wiring. (Applause) And this victory we will win with two things: Intelligence and courage. (Applause) Neither intelligence nor courage must get ahead; both must march together on the road to victory. (Applause) Up to today, those have been the main essentials of the successes we have achieved.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the imperialistic enemy. He made the mistake of underestimating us. (Applause) In our people there has been a greater revolutionary force than they ever imagined. In our people there has been a greater moral force than they ever imagined.
We must not commit the mistake of underestimating the imperialist enemy. We will correctly estimate his power and do what is necessary to be victories in this battle for the liberation of our country. We want to know every moment what they are planning, what they are doing and how to combat it, as we are doing right now in denouncing their hysteria and how to combat it, as we are doing right now in denouncing the hysteria they are creating about the base, and the reports about our attacking the base. We asked the president of the assembly to take note of our concern over the campaigns they have been undertaking in order to create a pretext for aggression against our country.
We don't want them to invade our country. We don't want to give them a pretext for invading it. What they would like is that we allow ourselves to do as they wish. We should do what we want to do and what is beneficial for us, not them. Marti said: Never do what the enemy wants you to do. That is why we have always explained, as we did at the United Nations, that we would demand our sovereignty by legal means, through international law, not through international law, not through arms. Our arms are not to serve the enemy but to combat it. Our weapons should always be ready for what the enemy does not want — for our defense, for resistance.
"It is necessary that the people who have listened to our words in the United Nations know that one of the most delicate problems, one in which we must act with the most intelligence, one in which we must overcome the imperialist enemy, is that of the Caimanera Base because that base is the one they will try to use as a pretext. Our position must be clear to the people and to the entire world: That when we go to reclaim it we will reclaim it in accordance with international law as one of our deniable rights which they will have to acknowledge."
Against the imperialist enemy the best thing to do is to bar its path when it seeks a pretext and tell it: Seek another way, for that one will not be open to you.
The imperialist enemy is capable of the unimaginable. The enemy uses any weapons — from the murder of leaders to military invasions, always seeking the murdering hand, the gangster, the pretext. And we should not only be valiant but also intelligent. We must win the battle, we must be victorious against the imperialist enemy. We must win all battles, as we have won in the United Nations.
The imperialist enemy is being defeated at the United Nations. The supporters of armaments, the enemies of peace, the militarists are receiving rough blows at the United Nations. The imperialist enemy must be demoralized before a war. The enemies of peace, those who play with the fate of all humanity, must be defeated on all fronts.
We must go on orienting ourselves, preparing ourselves mentally, and educating ourselves on these questions. Our interest in international problems must not flag. Previously we did not care about international problems because we were only interested in what the Yankee delegate used to say. We were always silent and obedient. That is why no one worried. They would say: This is a Yankee problem, let the Americans worry about it. What were we? That is why no one worried. But now that we also have opinions in the world, now that we are also in the world, it is good for us to know what is happening in Latin America, Asia, Africa; what peoples live there, what are their problems, what are the positions of their governments.
That is why it is good for many books to be published and for us to continue to study. All of us have the duty to learn, to know, and to teach. The opportunity must be taken to learn of the problems, to know of the economic and social problems of Cuba and outside of Cuba. Otherwise we will never be more than bachelors of revolution; we will never become doctors of revolution. Books should be read at social circles, in military camps, in unions — everywhere. We must learn what we must know. All can be sure that what the Cuban cannot learn cannot be learned by anyone.
We consider that from our impressions on our trip, these are the most important conclusions: The role of Cuba, the idea of the struggle ahead, the need for intelligence and valor, the need to work harder. We must be able to tell what we have done. We are building a great land and we are proud of it. We alone are responsible for what we have done and what we are doing. We will not do it for the sake of vanity. We will do it because it is good for our people. We will try to do the most perfect work possible, so that it will be our best defense, so that we can say: Come to see our cooperatives, houses, schools, and universities. (Applause)
Let them come. We will always have something to show. We will show the militia, the youth brigades, the great reforestation projects, the school cities we are building, we will show what our country is. Those who have come to see what we are doing are astonished that a small nation, facing so many obstacles, can do so much. And this will always be a reason of pride for us. It is what sustains the spirits of our copatriots in New York. It is the pride that sustains our delegates anywhere in the world. It is the basic idea we wanted to expose here tonight.
And thanks for the two little bombs, for they have been valuable in regard to what we have been explaining. They demonstrated the mettle of our people, the courage of our people (Applause) for not a single woman budged from her place (Applause) not a single man budged (Applause) nor will anyone budge from his post in face of any danger, any attack. We are soldiers of the country. We do not belong to ourselves: We belong to our country. (Applause) It does not matter if any one of us falls; what matters is that this flag shall remain high, the idea shall go forward, our country shall live. (Applause)