Fidel Castro CUBA: AGAINST TERRORISM
AND AGAINST WAR
Speeches on September 11; 22; 29 and October
6, 2001 Statements and documents
EDITORA POLITICA/ Havana, 2001
SPEECH THE DAY OF THE TRAGIC
EVENTS THAT OCCURRED
IN THE UNITED STATES
City of Havana, September 11, 2001
Teachers, construction workers, workers, students, relatives
We will see how this goes because ceremonies in stadiums, and
similar places like this coliseum, are always complicated since
part of the audience are behind you, some are on one side, some
are on the other, and when somebody calls out, "I can't hear
you," then the problems begin. [Applause and shouts..]
Yesterday [Shouts of: "We can't hear you over here!']...
All right, then I will leave and talk to you on TV. [Shouts of
"No!"] Make a bit of an effort. You over there, who
seem to be having the hardest time, have some patience and help
us to maintain order here today. [Shouts of: "You can hear
it, you can feel it, Fidel is here."]
As I was saying, yesterday was a quiet day, we were getting
ready for two important events. First, the reopening of the school
and the enormously important course that was beginning with this
group of students. And also, many of our compatriots werewaiting
for news on the results of the famous Grammy awards, where a large
and important delegation of Cuban artists was participating.
When we headed home in the wee hours of morning, quite late,
our only worry was whether or not it would rain at the school,
since there had been heavy showers on the previous days, and almost
always at around the time the ceremony was scheduled. Just in
case, we took the precaution of setting up an alternative venue
for the inauguration of the course and the reopening of the school.
We planned ahead, and it is a good thing we did, because with
all the rain that fell today, the place where we were going to
hold the ceremony would have been flooded and muddy, even though
a special place had been set up for the ceremony, where about
12,000 people were to take part, including students, relatives,
guests, workers and community people.
Well, we had only been resting for a short time when the news
started coming in about the dramatic events taking place in the
United States. That news was and is of great importance. We immediately
adopted the measure of asking the Cuban television network to
broadcast information on what was happening there, with rigorously
factual reports, even using footage from U.S. television broadcasts.
Then we had to wait to see what would happen. Additionally, it
was a very cloudy and rainy day here.
We did not even consider postponing the ceremony. It could not
be postponed, despite the international tension created by such
events. I wouldimagine that almost everyone knows about them, but to briefly
summarize, at approximately 9:00 this morning, a Boeing airplane,
a really big one, crashed straight into one of the two New York
famous towers which make up one of the highest buildings in the
world. Naturally, the tower caught on fire because of all the
fuel from such a big airplane, and some horrific scenes began.
And then, 18 minutes later, another plane, also from an U.S. airline,
crashed straight into the second tower.
At the same time, a few minutes later, another plane crashed
into the Pentagon. News arrived, in the midst of a certain amount
of confusion, of a bomb outside the State Department, and other
alarming events, although I have mentioned the most important.
Obviously, the country had fallen victim to a violent surprise
attack, unexpected, unimaginable, something truly unheard of.
And the scenes that ensued were appalling, especially when the
two towers were burning, and foremost when they both collapsed,
all 100 floors, spilling over onto neighboring buildings, when
it was known that there were tens of thousands of people working
there, in offices representing many companies from various countries.
It was only logical that this would be a shock for the United
States and the rest of the world. The stock markets started to
collapse, and because of the political, economic and technological
importance and the power of the United States, the whole world
was shaken up today by those events. So, we had tofollow the events throughout the day, but at the same time,
we also had to continue thinking about the conditions and circumstances
in which this ceremony would take place.
Therefore, there were two issues: the school and the extremely
important course it will offer, and the political and human catastrophe
that had taken place over there, especially in New York.
Today is a day of tragedy for the United States. You know very
well that hatred against the American people has never been sown
here. Perhaps, precisely because of its culture, its lack of prejudice,
its sense of full freedom -with a homeland and without a master-
Cuba is the country where Americans are treated with the greatest
respect. We have never preached any kind of national hatred, or
anything similar to fanaticism, and that is the reason for our
strength, because our conduct is based on principles and ideas.
We treat all Americans who visit us with great respect, and they
have noticed this and said so themselves.
Furthermore, we cannot forget the American people who put an
end to the Vietnam War with their overwhelming opposition to that
genocidal war. We cannot forget the American people who -in numbers
that exceeded 80% of the population-supported the return of Elian
Gonzalez to his homeland. We cannot forget their idealism, although
it is often undermined by deception, because -as we have said
often times- in order to mislead Americans to support an unjust
cause, or an unjustwar, they must first be deceived. The classic method used by
that huge country in international politics is that of deceiving
the people first, to count on their support later. When it is
the other way around, and the people realize that something is
unjust, then based on their traditional idealism they oppose what
they have been supporting. Often these are extremely unjust causes,
which they had supported convinced that they were doing the right
Therefore, although unaware of the exact number of victims but
seeing those moving scenes of suffering, we have felt profound
grief and sadness for the American people.
We do not go around flattering any government, or asking for
forgiveness or favors. We neither harbor in our hearts a single
atom of fear. The history of our Revolution has proven its capacity
to stand up to challenges, its capacity to fight and its capacity
to resist whatever it has to; that is what has turned us into
an invincible people. These are our principles. Our Revolution
is based on ideas and persuasion, and not on the use of force.
I hope there is not anyone in the world crazy enough to say that
1.2 million people were forced to march along the sea front drive
on July 26.
That has been our reaction, and we wanted our people to see
the scenes and watch the tragedy. We have not hesitated to express
our sentiments publicly, and right here I have a statement, which
was drafted as soon as the facts were known and handed out to
the international media around 3:00 p.m.for the terrorist attacks against Cuba, as well as the assassination
plots organized against me when I have needed to travel abroad,
a group headed by that monster Posada Carriles -we had already
caught some of his accomplices, who were foreign mercenaries,
when they entered our national territory- intended to repeat the
sophisticated procedure used with the bombs planted in hotels
or places frequently visited by foreign tourists, like La Bodeguita
del Medio Restaurant, that could explode up to 99 hours after
being set up. They could travel here, plant the bomb on the plane,
party for three days, and go back to their country before the
bomb exploded. There was the case of a Salvadoran mercenary who
planted five bombs in hotels and other public places and attempted
to make them blow up almost simultaneously, one after the other.
You can see how far they had gone.
We made contact with the U.S. Government more than once through
confidential channels, and here I have one of the direct messages
that we sent to the President at that time. These were messages
sent through confidential channels, not official ones, through
fully trustworthy friends of ours who were also friends of his,
and we precisely explained everything that we wanted them to convey.
Part of this information has already been released to the public,
but I will give you an example:
"An important issue.
"Number one: Plans for terrorist actions against Cuba continue
to be hatched and paid by the Cuban American National Foundation
using CentralAmerican mercenaries. Two new attempts at setting up bombs in
tourist resorts have been undertaken before, and after, the Pope's
"In the first case, those responsible failed, they were
able to escape and return to Central America by plane leaving
behind the technical means and explosives which were then seized.
"In the second case, three mercenaries were arrested with
explosives and other means. They are Guatemalans. They would have
received 1500 USD for every bomb exploded." These were among
the first caught, not the one who planted the most bombs.
"In both cases they were hired and supplied by agents of
the ring organized by the Cuban American National Foundation.
Now, they are plotting and taking steps to set up bombs in planes
from Cuba or any other country airline carrying tourists to, or
from, Cuba to Latin American countries.
"The method is similar: to hide a small device at a certain
place inside the plane, a powerful explosive with a fuse controlled
by a digital clock that can be programmed 99 hours in advance,
then easily abandon the plane at foreseen destination; the explosion
would take place either on the ground or while the plane is in
flight to its next destination. Really devilish procedures: easy
to handle mechanisms, components whose detection is practically
impossible, a minimum training required for their use, almost
absolute impunity. Extremely dangerous to airlines and to tourist
facilities or of any other type. Tools suitable for a crime, very
"If they were revealed and their possibilities exposed,"
-we were opposed to revealing the technology used- "they
might become an epidemic as the hijacking of planes once became.
Other Cuban extremist groups living in the United States are beginning
to move in that direction.
"The American investigation and intelligence agencies are
in possession of enough reliable information on the main people
responsible. If they really want to, they have the possibility
of preventing in time this new modality of terrorism. It will
be impossible to stop it if the United States doesn't discharge
its fundamental duty of fighting it. The responsibility to fight
it can't be left to Cuba alone since any other country of the
world might also be a victim of such actions."
We passed this information on to them, and they paid so much
attention that they even consulted with us on the advisability
of sending airlines a text issued by the U.S. Government.
They sent us the text in which the airlines were informed of
the following: "We have received unconfirmed information
of a plot to place explosive devices aboard civiJian aircraft
operating between Cuba and Latin American countries. Those involved
in the plot plan to leave behind a small explosive device aboard
an aircraft..." Basically, they explained what we had informed
"We cannot discount the possibility that the threat could
include international air carrier operations from the United States.
"The U.S. Government continues to seek further information
to clarify, and substantiate or refute, this threat."
We expressed our opposition to issuing that kind of warning
because one of the objectives of those individuals was to create
panic. We also explained that there were other procedures that
we used. We set up the appropriate watch systems wherever there
was any risk of bombs, we searched and knew who could plant them
and who were involved. We kept watching, which is what has to
be done, if you do not want to grow panic or make a scandal or
grant the perpetrators the possibility to attain their objective,
which was to impinge on the economy of the country and sow terror.
Anyway, they published the information. That was fine with us
since we had already strengthened our mechanisms to capture those
individuals. They have not even been able to plant a small bomb
ever since, and the watch system remains in place where necessary.
When they plotted the assassination attempt in Panama, we knew
more than they were planning, and more than they knew. That is
There is the Miami Mafia making efforts to release the terrorists
caught "in fraganti"and arrested in Panama. They have
already planned how to do it and the country through which they
would evacuate them and how. They would pretend to be sick and
be moved. They freely receive visitors from Miami. We even know
that they contributed to an infiltration through Santa Clara a
few months ago.
Thanks to many friends that we have everywhere and to men like
those (he points to the pictures of the Cuban patriots incarcerated
in Miami for seeking information on terrorist plan against Cuba),
the country has been able to defend itself from that terrorism.
I say this here because the truth is that there are more papers
and notes, and we have sometimes sent verbal messages, and sometimes
we have left written evidence, and one of the arguments that we
have used is irrefutable: The United States is the country with
the largest number of extremist organized groups, 400 of which
The hijacking of planes -a method used against Cuba- became
a universal plague, and it was Cuba that solved this problem when,
after repeated warnings, we sent two hijackers back to the United
States. It is painful because they were Cubans but we had issued
public warnings, so they came and we returned them. We complied
with our public pledge, yet they never again provided us with
any information about them to give to their relatives. They have
their own ways of doing this. No one knows what they will do.
I know they were sentenced to 40 years imprisonment, and that
put an end to those hijackings.
But, listen, they have 800 groups of extremists. Sometimes they
have locked themselves in a place for a certain reason and have
burned themselves to death. They have groups, which due to political
or sometimes religious reasons are prone to the use of force or
to prepare poisons and products to act
against the U.S. authorities. I am not talking about the Mafia
people. I am talking about the hundreds of extremist organized
groups acting within the United States. They blew up that building
in Oklahoma not so long ago.
The United States is the country that is most vulnerable to
terrorism; it is the country with more planes, more dependable
on technical resources, electric grids, pipelines, etceteras.
Many members of these groups are fascists and they do not mind
killing. Mentally speaking, they must be closer to madness than
to a balanced intelligence. We have said to the U.S. authorities
that it is necessary to avoid the dissemination of these methods,
we use that argument because they are easy to use and a danger
for that country.
At this very moment, I mean, as I arrived here, there was no
element of judgment to say who could have exploded those bombs,
because it could have been an action planned and carried out by
any of these groups, which have already done it before, like in
the case of Oklahoma, or it could have been done by groups from
abroad. However, it is evident -based on the details received-
that it was effectively organized, in other words, with sufficient
organization and synchronization, by people who have the knowledge,
the training and by pilots who were able to drive these huge Boeings,
by people who coordinated the exact times at which they would
act. They undpubtedly hijacked the planes, diverting them from
their planned route; and had the pilots who could drive the planes
directly against one toweror other targets and some minutes later against the other, and
nearly at the same time, a third plane was crashed against the
In other words, they are very well trained and organized people
and not necessarily operating in large groups. It is impossible
to imagine the damage that can be caused by a small group of 20;
25 or 30 people, who are extremists devoted to certain ideas,
and it is in the United States where they can cause most damage.
You can perceive how they studied the time at which more people
would be in the offices, around 9:00 am, the damage they could
make, and the thousands of casualties they could provoke.
Actually, given the special characteristics of this event, it
is now necessary to look for clues. That is the reason why I believe
the most important duty of American leaders is to fight terrorism,
and these tragedies are partly the result of the use of terrorist
methods against other countries, like in the case of Cuba and
other countries for a number of years. The idea of terrorism has
been disseminated, and there is no power in the world today, regardless
its size, that can avoid events of this nature because bigots,
people who are totally indifferent to death, carry them out. Thus,
the struggle against such methods is difficult.
A lesson can be drawn from that: none of the problems affecting
today's world can be solved with the use of force, there is no
global, technological or military power that can guarantee total
immunity against such acts, because they can be organized by small
groups, difficult to detect, and what is more complicated, carried
out by suicidal people. Therefore, the general effort of the international
community must be to put an end to a number of conflicts affecting
the world, at least in this area. It is indispensable to put an
end to world terrorism and build a worldwide awareness against
terrorism. I speak on behalf of a country, which has lived through
more than 40 years of Revolution, and has gained much experience,
a unified country with a high cultural level. It is not a country
of bigots. Here, it is not fanaticism that has been cultivated
but ideas, convictions and principles.
We could be in a better position to defend ourselves, and we
have demonstrated it. How many lives we have saved while so much
money and resources have been used to bring terrorism to our homeland!
We have 40 years of experience, so we are ten times better prepared
than the United States to prevent such actions.
It is very important to know what will be the reaction of the
U.S. Government. Possibly the days to come will be dangerous for
the world, and I do not mean Cuba. Cuba is the most peaceful country
in the world for several reasons: our policy, our kind of struggle,
our doctrine, and also, comrades, for the absolute absence of
Nothing troubles us. Nothing intimidates us. It would be very
difficult to put together a package against Cuba, not even its
inventor and the patent holder would believe it, this is very
difficult and today Cuba means something to the world. Cuba has
a very high moral position, and a very sound politicalposition in the world. It does not even cross my mind, although
there is one of those Mafia fools trying to scheme something who
I think even mentioned Venezuela and Cuba; one of the so many
Mafiosi, a despicable big mouth. But, no one will pay the slightest
attention, even though there will be tension and risks, depending
on how the U.S. Government proceeds.
The days to come will be tense both inside and outside the United
States. A number of people will start to express their views.
Whenever there is a tragedy like this one, no matter how difficult
to avoid it may be, I see no other way but to keep calm. And if
at some point I am allowed to make a suggestion to an adversary
who has been tough with us for many years, but knows we can be
tough too, knows we resist, and knows we are not stupid and there
is a little respect for our people, if under specific circumstances
it were correct to suggest something to the adversary, for the
well being of the American people and based on the arguments I
have given you, we would advise the leaders of the powerful empire
to keep their equanimity, to act calmly, not to be carried away
by a fit of rage or hatred and not to start hunting people down
dropping bombs just anywhere.
I reiterate that none of the world problems -not even terrorism-
can be solved with the use of force, and every act of force, every
imprudent action that entails the use of force anywhere would
seriously aggravate the world problems.
The way is neither the use of force nor the war.
I say this here with the full authority of someone who has always
been honest, with the sound conviction and the experience of someone
who has been through the years of struggle that we have lived
in Cuba. It is only guided by reason and applying an intelligent
policy based on the strength of consensus and the support of the
international public opinion that such a predicament could definitely
be solved. I think this unexpected episode must be used to undertake
an international struggle against terrorism. However, this international
struggle against terrorism cannot succeed by killing a terrorist
here and another one there, that is, by using similar methods
to theirs, sacrificing innocent lives. It is resolved, inter alia,
by putting an end to State terrorism and other repulsive crimes,
by putting an end to genocide and by honestly pursuing a policy
of peace and respect for unavoidable moral and legal standards.
The world cannot be saved unless a path of international peace
and cooperation is pursued.
Nobody should think that we are trying to buy a ton of any thing
in the U.S. market. We have proven that we can survive, live and
make progress, and everything seen here today is an expression
of an unprecedented progress in history. Progress is not achieved
only through the manufacturing of automobiles; developing people's
minds, providing knowledge and culture, and looking after human
beings accordingly makes progress. That is the secret of the tremendous
strength of our Revolution.of the arguments that we have used is irrefutable: the United
States is the country with the largest number of organized extremist
groups, and 400 of them are armed.
The hijacking of airplanes - a method invented for use against
Cuba- became a universal plague, and it was Cuba that ultimately
solved this problem when, after repeated warnings, we sent two
hijackers back to the United States. It was painful, because they
were Cubans, but we had issued public warnings, they came here
and we returned them. We complied with our public pledge and yet
they never again provided us with any information about them to
pass on to their relatives. They have their own way of acting.
I know they were sentenced to 40 years imprisonment, and that
put an end to the hijacking of airplanes.
But listen, they have 800 extremist groups over there. At times
they have locked themselves up some place for some reason and
they have burn themselves to death. There are groups formed for
many reasons, often political, sometimes religious, that are prone
to violence and the use of force, or the poisoning of products
as a means to take action against the US authorities. I am not
talking about the mob people. I am talking about hundreds of organized
extremist groups acting within the United States. They blew up
that building in Oklahoma not so long ago.
The United States is the country most vulnerable to terrorism.
It is the country with the most planes, with the greatest dependence
on technical resources, electrical power grids, gas pipelines,
and so on. Many of the people in these groups are fascists who
do not mind killing. Mentally speaking, they must be closer to
insanity than to a balanced intelligence. We have told the U.S.
authorities that these methods should not be publicized, because
they are easy to use and a danger for them.
As I arrived here, there was no evidence as to who could have
planted those bombs, because it may have been an action planned
and carried out by any of these groups, which have already done
such things, like in the case of Oklahoma, or it may have been
done by groups from abroad. However, it is evident, based on the
details received, that it was very effectively organized, in other
words, with a high degree of organization and synchronization,
by people who have the knowledge and the training, and by pilots
who were able to handle these large Boeings, by people who coordinated
the exact time at which they were going to act. They undoubtedly
hijacked the planes, diverting them from their scheduled routes,
and had pilots who could steer the planes directly into a tower
or other target, and then the other tower a few minutes later,
and at nearly the same time, another against the Pentagon.
In other words, they are people who are very well trained and
organized, and they do not necessarily need to be from large groups.
It is unimaginable the damage that can be caused by a small group
of 20; 25 or 30 people, who are extremist fanatics fully devoted
to certain ideas, and the place where they can do the most damage
is the United States. You can see how they studied the time at which more
people would be in the offices, around 9:00 a.m., the damage they
could do, and the thousands of casualties they could cause.
In fact, they now have to look for clues, any clues, because
this event has special characteristics. That is the reason why
I believe the most important duty of U.S. leaders is to fight
terrorism, and these tragedies are partly the result of the use
of terrorist methods against other countries, as in the case of
Cuba for so many years. The idea of terrorism has been broadly
disseminated, and there is no power in the world today, regardless
of its size, that can avoid events of this nature, because the
bigots who carry them out are totally indifferent to death. Thus,
the struggle against such methods is difficult.
A lesson can be drawn from this: none of the problems affecting
today's world can be solved with the use of force; there is no
global, technological or military power that can guarantee immunity
against such acts, because they can be organized by small groups,
difficult to detect, and what is more complicated, used by suicidal
people. Therefore, the general effort of the international community
must be to put an end to a number of conflicts affecting the world,
at least in this area; there should be an end to world terrorism
while a worldwide awareness is built. I speak on behalf of a country
that has lived through more than 40 years of Revolution and has
gained much experience, a unified country with a high cultural
level. This is not a country of bigots. It has not been bigotry
but rather ideas, convictions and principles that have been cultivated
We are in a better position to defend ourselves, and we have
demonstrated it. Just look at the number of lives we have saved
while so much money and resources have been used to sow terrorism
in our homeland! We have 40 years of experience, so we are ten
times better prepared than the United States to prevent such episodes.
It is very important to know what the reaction of the U.S. Government
might be. Possibly the world will be living dangerous days, and
I am not talking about Cuba. Cuba is the most peaceful country
in the world, for several reasons: our policies, our forms of
struggle, our doctrine, our ethics, and also, comrades, and due
to an absolute absence of fear.
Nothing troubles us. Nothing intimidates us. It would be very
difficult to concoct a slanderous accusation against Cuba; not
even its inventor and the patent holder would believe it. It would
be very difficult. And Cuba means something in the world today.
It has a very high moral position, and a very sound political
position in the world. I cannot even conceive of such a thing,
although one of those mob fools is already attempting to scheme,
and I think he even mentioned Venezuela and Cuba; one of the many
members of that mob, one of those contemptible charlatans. No
one will pay the slightest attention to him, but there will be
tension and danger, depending on the U.S. Government's reaction.
The days to come will be tense both inside and outside the United
States. A number of people will start putting forward opinions.
Whenever there is a tragedy like this, no matter how difficult
to avoid it may be, I see no other way but to remain calmed. And
if at some point I were allowed to make a suggestion to the adversary
who has been so tough on us for many years, but who knows we are
tough, knows we resist, and knows we are not stupid, and there
is just a little respect for our people, but if under certain
circumstances it were correct to suggest something to the adversary,
for the well-being of the American people and based on the arguments
I have given you, we would advise the leaders of that powerful
empire to remain calm, to act with a cool head, to avoid getting
carried away by a fit of rage or hatred, and not to start trying
to hunt people down by throwing bombsjust anywhere.
I reiterate that none of the world's problems, not even terrorism,
can be solved with the use of force, and every act of force, every
imprudent action that entails the use of force anywhere, is going
to seriously aggravate the world problems.
The way is neither the use of force nor the war. I say this
with the full authority of someone who has always talked honestly,
of someone with sound convictions and the experience of surviving
the years of struggle that Cuba has lived through. Only reason,
and the intelligent policy of seeking strength through consensus
and international public opinion, can definitely eradicate this
problem. I think this unexpected episode should be used to undertake
an international effort against terrorism. However, this international
struggle against terrorism cannot be won by eliminating a terrorist
here and another one there, by killing people here and there,
using similar methods to theirs and sacrificing innocent lives.
It can only be won, among other ways, by putting an end to State
terrorism and other repulsive forms of killing, by putting an
end to genocide, and by seriously pursuing a policy of peace and
respect for moral and legal standards. The world cannot be saved
unless a path of international peace and cooperation is pursued.
Nobody should think that we are trying to buy a ton of anything
on the U.S. market. We have proven that we can survive, live and
make progress, and everything seen here today is an expression
of unprecedented progress in all of human history. Progress is
not achieved only through the manufacturing of automobiles; developing
people's minds, providing knowledge, promoting culture, and looking
after human beings the way they should be looked after makes progress.
That is the secret of the tremendous strength of our Revolution.
The world cannot be saved in any other way, and by that I mean
the situations of violence. Let us seek peace everywhere and protect
all the people from that plague of terrorism, which is only one
of the plagues, because there is another horrible plague today,
which is called AIDS, for instance. There is another plague, which
kills tens of millions of children, teenagers and adults in the
world, that is, hunger, disease and a lack of health care and
In the political arena, there are absolutist ideas, and attempts
to impose a single way of thinking on the world; this fosters
rebellious attitudes and irritation everywhere.
This world cannot be saved -and this does not have anything
to do with terrorism- if this unfair economic and social order
continues to be developed and applied; an order that is leading
the world to disaster, along a path from which there is no escape
for the 6.2 billion people living today and the future inhabitants
of this planet, suffering ever greater destruction and plunged
further into poverty, unemployment, hunger and despair. This has
been proven by the masses in places that have already gone down
in history, like Seattle, Quebec, Washington and Genoa.
The world's most powerful economic and political leaders now
find it almost impossible to meet; everywhere we can see that
people are less and less afraid, and are rising up. I was recently
in Durban and there I saw thousands and thousands of people members
of non-governmental organizations; discontent is spreading like
wildfire around the globe.
Now that I have already mentioned one of the plagues, it is
only fair to talk of the others, and the most influential national
leaders are obliged to seek for a solution to a situation that
worsens by the minute. A serious economic crisis is affecting
the whole planet; it gravely affects the United States, Europe,
Japan, and the industrialized nations of Southeast Asia, with
virtually the sole exception of China. Alongside its economic
reforms, China has maintained distribution methods that prevent
hunger in a country with the largest number of inhabitants on
earth but only 5% of the world's agricultural land, proving that
the world can still be saved.
The crisis is profound. Every day in the news we read of what
is happening on the stock exchanges, of fluctuations in currency
values, of increases in unemployment, of reductions in growth,
and almost no one can escape, with the above-mentioned exceptions
and perhaps another one under very special circumstances.
It is serious crisis and it could be worse than that of 1929,
because speculation has been abused more than in 1929. Almost
infinite but artificial wealth has been created, stock prices
have been inflated, so much so that those who invested $1000 in
one or various shares have watched their value rise to $800 000
in eight or nine years. But it is imaginary money, and the companies
whose shares have undergone the most rapid growth have lost more
than half of their value.
We watch the theorists and analysts inventing things, old and
new remedies that have no impact on the crisis but bring more
and more surprises. No one can predict the outcome, but I can
assure you that the situation is very complex for the world economy,
for neoliberalism, for neoliberal globalization.
The power of the large transnationals is ever greater; they
are more independent and tend to act wantonly. Even governments
are increasingly unable to fight and resist them.
You cannot imagine how the scenario has changed in just four
months, between the last quarter of 2000 and this month. During
this year there have been periods'of favorable economic winds
in Europe, but the wind has died, the wind no longer blows over
Europe, all is calm and the tide is changing.
It is amazing to see the things that are happening in Japan,
a country that was so capable of developing itself that for years
everything that it did was called a miracle, and yet now its problems
are worse every day.
Nobody can say with any precision what will happen and how it
will happen, because although events arise in almost mathematical
fashion, economics is not an exact science. Trends, nevertheless,
are clear and irrefutable. The prices for basic commodities are
at rock bottom and ever more complicated situations continue to
emerge. They know this, as do the Europeans and their economic
In recent weeks the United States has reduced its interest rate
six times. This is one mechanism they use to check whether there
is more money in the system and if people will buy more, in order
for industries to produce more, even if resources are wasted.
It is an economy that needs people to throw more and more money
away in order to survive. It is not an economy that serves humankind;
it only serves itself and the owners of the giant companies, not
We have to contend with all these problems on a daily basis.
We need to know if the price of oil has gone up, or down, if the
sugar price has fallen more. We need detailed daily information
on what is happening in the world, and so we observe and review
the situation every day.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
The Government of the Republic of Cuba has received with pain
and sadness the news of the violent and surprise attacks this
morning on civilian and official installations in the cities of
New York and Washington, and the resultant numerous casualties.
Cuba's position against any act of terrorism is well known.
It is impossible to forget that our people have been the victims
of such actions, promoted from U.S. territory itself, for more
than 40 years.
For both historical reasons and etnical principles, the government
of our country totally rejects and condemns the attacks mounted
on the above-mentioned installations and offers its sincerest
condolences to the U.S. people for the painful and unjustified
human losses those attacks provoked.
At this bitter time, our people express their solidarity with
the U.S. people and their total disposition to cooperate, as far
as their modestpossibilities allow, with that country's public health or any
other institution of a medical or humanitarian nature, in terms
of attention, care and rehabilitation of the victims of this morning's
City of Havana, September 11, 2001
EVERYTHING IS NOT LOST, YET
Under the effect of the shock caused to the world by the appalling
and brutal terrorist action that targeted the American people
on September 11, underlined by painful reports and images of grief
and sorrow, certain minds driven by feelings of hatred and arrogance
have taken to the sinister task of reviving old methods and doctrines
which lie at the very source of terrorism and the extremely grave
tensions affecting the world today.
At a time when the only advisable thing to do is to calmly and
courageously seek for a definitive solution to terrorism and other
tragedies, by universal consensus, a rude language full of rage
and a spirit of vengeance, that had not been heard since the days
prior to World War II, is being used by influential political
leaders in the United States.
Any honest person would have the right to ask if it is really
justice what they want or rather to use the hurting and outrageous
tragedy to impose methods, prerogatives and privileges leading
to the establishment of an unrestricted tyranny over everypeople
on Earth by the most powerful state in the world.
Some senior officials have openly claimed that all restrictions
should be lifted on the right of American institutions and officials
to murder any person, even if that requires the use of the most
despicable criminals. Such a prerogative had been used in the
past by U.S. leaders to eliminate patriots like Patricio Lumumba
in 1961, and to arrange coup d'etat and carnage which have taken
the lives of hundreds of thousands and millions who have been
tortured, vanished or removed by diverse means.
Cuba has denounced hundreds of plans of assassinate its leaders
and has tirelessly demanded punishment for those responsible and
for the authors of countless acts of terrorism which have claimed
a high number of human lives from our people. The very U.S. Senate
investigated and exposed several actions carried out against Cuba
using various means that did not leave out any form of murder
no matter how uncouth and revolting. A peculiar kind of science
was developed to that end.
The world has not given its unanimous support or expressed its
most sincere condolences to the noble American people to let such
sentiments be used to elaborate doctrines that would spread chaos
and bloody events throughout the planet. The fact that a State
proclaims an alleged right to kill wantonly anywhere in the world
in contempt of legal procedures, courts of law or even the presentation
of evidence is as serious as terrorism itself, and one its most
despicable manifestations. Such policywould constitute a barbarian and uncivilized action that would
tear to pieces every rule and legal bases on which peace and coexistence
between nations might be built.
Amidst the panic and confusion created by this whole situation
and despite the extreme gravity of introducing such procedures
in international affairs, the political leaders of various states
have failed to speak out -with few exceptions- against the emergence
of a fascist and terrorist trend implicit in such statements.
One of the first consequences of this has been the acts of xenophobia
and terror perpetrated against people of a different nationality
or religion. Although terrorism is absolutely repugnant and immoral,
the American people would never favor the brutal method of murdering
other people in cool blood, breaking the law, punishing without
evidence or denying fundamental principles of equity and justice
with the pretext of fighting it. Such methods would take the planet
back to law of the jungle, tarnish the United States' reputation
and destroy its prestige while further inciting the hatred that
is today at the root of so much grief and sadness. The American
people want justice, not revenge!
Cuba said from the very first moment that in today's world no
problem can be solved with the use of force and that, in order
to fight terrorism, it was necessary to build an awareness and
a universal union capable of definitely eradicating this and other
scourges and tragedies that put in jeopardy the very survival
of the specie.
Although the war drums beat unexpectedly loud and they seem to
irrevocably lead towards a bloody end, everything is not lost,
In Afghanistan the ulemas -religious leaders of a traditionally
combative and brave people- are meeting to adopt fundamental decisions.
They have already said that they will not oppose the application
of justice and the relevant procedures if those accused, living
in their country, are really guilty. They have simply asked for
evidence, and for guarantees of impartiality and equity in the
process, something that the United Nations could perfectly ensure,
with full support from the international community.
If such evidence exists, as the leaders of the U.S. government
have categorically affirmed, and the religious leaders are not
asked to override the deepest convictions of their faith, which
they are known to defend with their own lives, then an alternative
to war could be worked out. They would not sacrify their people
uselessly if their ethically unquestionable request was taken
into account. In fact, a bloodshed could be avoided and this could
become the first great step towards a world without terrorism
or unpunished crimes: a true world association for peace and justice
could emerge and the American people would earn enormous prestige
Cuba would resolutely support such a solution. But, there is
not a minute to spare; there is little time left. To fail to make
such a basic, simple and viable effort would make it an unjust
By the Government of the Republic of Cuba
Havana, September 19, 2001
SPEECH AT THE OPEN FORUM OF
San Antonio de Los Bahos, Havana, September
No one can deny that terrorism is today a dangerous and ethically
indefensible phenomenon, which should be eradicated regardless
of its deep origins, the economic and political factors that brought
it to live and those responsible for it.
The unanimous irritation caused by the human and psychological
damage brought on the American people by the unexpected and shocking
death of thousands of innocent people whose images have shaken
the world is perfectly understandable. But who have profited?
The extreme right, the most backward and right-wing forces, those
in favor of crushing the growing world rebellion and sweeping
away everything progressive that is still left on the planet.
It was an enormous error, a huge injustice and a great crime whomever
they are who organized or are responsible for such action.
However, the tragedy should not be used to recklessly start
a war that could actually unleash an endless carnage of innocent
people and all of thison behalf of justice and under the peculiar and . bizarre name
of "Infinite Justice".
In the last few days we have seen the hasty establishment of
the basis, the concept, the true purposes, the spirit and the
conditions for such a war. No one would be able to affirm that
it was not something thought out well in advance, something that
was just waiting for its chance to materialize. Those who after
the so-called end of the cold war continued a military build-up
and the development of the most sophisticated means to kill and
exterminate human beings were aware that the large military investments
would give them the privilege to impose an absolute and complete
dominance over the other peoples of the world. The ideologists
of the imperialist system knew very well what they were doing
and why they were doing it.
After the shock and sincere sorrow felt by every people on Earth
for the atrocious and insane terrorist attack that targeted the
American people, the most extremist ideologists and the most belligerent
hawks, already set in privileged power positions, have taken command
of the most powerful country in the world whose military and technological
capabilities would seem infinite. Actually, its capacity to destroy
and kill is enormous while its inclination towards equanimity,
serenity, thoughtfulness and restrain is minimal.
The combination of elements -including complicity and the common
enjoyment of privileges- the prevailing opportunism, confusionand panic make it almost impossible to avoid a bloody and unpredictable
The first victims of whatever military actions are undertaken
will be the billions of people living in the poor and underdeveloped
world with their unbelievable economic and social problems, their
unpayable debts and the ruinous prices of their basic commodities;
their growing natural and ecological catastrophes, their hunger
and misery, the massive undernourishment of their children, teenagers
and adults; their terrible AIDS epidemic, their malaria, their
tuberculosis and their infectious diseases that threaten whole
nations with extermination.
The grave economic world crisis was already a real and irrefutable
fact affecting absolutely every one of the big economic power
centers. Such crisis will inevitably grow deeper under the new
circumstances and when it becomes unbearable for the overwhelming
majority of the peoples, it will bring chaos, rebellion and the
impossibility to govern.
But the price will also be unpayable for the rich countries.
For years to come it would be impossible to speak strong enough
about the environment and the ecology, or about ideas and research
done and tested, or about projects for the protection of Nature
because that space and possibility would be taken by military
actions, war and crimes as infinite as "Infinite Justice",
that is, the name given to the war operation to be unleashed.
Can there be any hope left after having listened, hardly 36
hours ago, to the speech made the President before de U.S. Congress?
I will avoid the use of adjectives, qualifiers or offensive
words towards the author of that speech. They would be absolutely
unnecessary and untimely when the tensions and seriousness of
the moment advise thoughtfulness and equanimity. I will limit
myself to underline some short phrases that say it all:
"We will use every necessary weapon of war."
"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy
campaign unlike any other we have ever seen."
"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make.
Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
"I've called the armed forces to alert and there is a reason.
The hour is coming when America will act and you will make us
"This is the world's fight, this is civilization's fight."
"I ask for your patience [...] in what will be a long struggle."
"The great achievement of our time and the great hope of
every time, now depend on us."
"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome
is certain. [...] And we know that God is not neutral."
I ask our fellow countrymen to meditate deeply and calmly on
the ideas contained in several of the above-mentioned phrases:
o Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.
o No nation of the world has been left out of the dilemma, not
even the big and powerful states; none has escaped the threat
of war or attacks.
o We will use any weapon.
o No procedure has been excluded, regardless of its ethics,
or any threat whatever fatal, either nuclear, chemical, biological
or any other.
o It will not be short combat but a lengthy war, lasting many
years, unparalleled in history.
o It is the world's fight; it is civilization's fight.
o The achievements of our times and the hope ofevery time, now depend on us.
Finally, an unheard of confession in a political speech on the
eve of a war, and no less than in times of apocalyptic risks:
The course of this conflict is not known; yet its outcome is certain.
And we know that God is not neutral.
This is an amazing assertion. When I think about the real or
imagined parties involved that bizarre holy war that is about
to begin, I find it difficult to make a distinction about where
fanaticism is stronger.
On Thursday, before the United StatesCongress, the idea was designed of a world military dictatorship
under the exclusive rule of force, irrespective of any international
laws or institutions. The United Nations Organization, simply
ignored in the present crisis, would fail to have any authority
or prerogative whatsoever. There would be only one boss, only
one judge, and only one law.
We have all been ordered to ally either with the United States
government or with terrorism.
Cuba, the country that has suffered the most and the longest
from terrorist actions, the one whose people are not afraid of
anything because there is no threat or power in the world that
can intimidate it, with a high morale Cuba claims that it is opposed
to terrorism and opposed to war. Although the possibilities are
now remote, Cuba reaffirms the need to avert a war of unpredictable
consequences whose very authors have admitted not to have the
least idea of how the events will unfold. Likewise, Cuba reiterates
its willingness to cooperate with every country in the total eradication
An objective and calm friend should advise the United States
government against throwing the young American soldiers into an
uncertain war in remote, isolated and inaccessible places, like
a fight against ghosts, not knowing where they are or even if
they exist or not, or whether the people they kill are or not
responsible for the death of their innocent fellow countrymen
killed in the United States.
Cuba will never declare itself an enemy of the American people
that is today subjected to an unprecedented campaign to sow hatred
and a vengeful spirit, so much so that even the music that sings
to peace has been banned. On the contrary, Cuba will make that
music its own, and even our children will sing their songs to
peace while the announced bloody war lasts.
Whatever happens, the territory of Cuba will never be used for
terrorist actions against the American people and we will do everything
within our reach to prevent such actions against that people.
Today we are expressing our solidarity while urging to peace and
calmness. One day they will admit we were right.
Our independence, our principles and our social achievements
we will defend with honor to the last drop of blood, if we are
It will not be easy to fabricate pretexts to do it. They are
already talking about a war using all the necessary weapons but
it will be good recalling that not even that would be a new experience.
Almost four decades ago, hundreds of strategic and tactical nuclear
weapons were aimed at Cuba and nobody remembers anyone of our
countrymen sleepless over that.
We are the same sons and daughters of that heroic people, with
a patriotic and revolutionary conscience that is higher than ever.
It is time for serenity and courage.
The world will grow aware of this and will raiseits voice in the face of the terrible threatening drama that
it is about to suffer.
As for Cubans, this is the right time to proclaim more proud
and resolute than ever:
Socialism or death! Patria � muerte! Venceremos!
SPEECH AT THE OPEN FORUM OF
Ciego de Avila, September 29, 2001
A peaceful solution would still be possible. The present situation
is so tense that nobody could write a speech hours before delivery
and be certain that it is not outdated. I am also running the
risk of sounding too optimistic even when I am not. However, it
is my duty to say what I think.
The unanimous shock suffered by all peoples of the world on
September 11, due to the insane terrorist attacks against the
American people, which could be seen live on television, has created
exceptional conditions for the eradication of terrorism without
the need to unleash a useless and perhaps endless war.
Terrorist actions in the United States, as anywhere else in
the world, inflict terrible damage on the peoples fighting for
a cause that objectively they consider to be fair.
Terror has always been an instrument of the worst enemies of
Mankind bent on suppressing andcrushing the peoples' struggle
for freedom. It can never be the instrument of a truly noble and
All throughout history, almost every action intended to attain
national independence, including that of the American people,
was carried out with the use of weapons and nobody ever questioned,
or would question, that right. But, the deliberate use of weapons
to kill innocent people must be definitely condemned and eradicated
for it is as unworthy and inhuman as it is repulsive, the same
as the historic terrorism perpetrated by the oppressing states.
In the present crisis, real possibilities still exist to eradicate
terrorism without a war but the main obstacle is that the most
notable political and military leaders in the United States refuse
to listen to any word said against the use of weapons and in favor
of a truly effective solution to the worrisome problem, heedless
of the fact that it would be very honorable for the American people
to accomplish that objective while avoiding blood shedding. The
decision-makers are only betting on war actions. They have associated
honor with war. Some speak of the use of nuclear weapons as if
it were as simple as having a cup of tea. Others affirm that paratroopers
will be employed in irregular warfare tactics. Someone has even
speculated on the advisability of using lies as a weapon although
others have shown more rationality and common sense but still
along the war line. Objectivity andrationality are not abundant. Many people have been made to
believe that only belligerent formulas are viable regardless the
loss of American lives.
It is hard to know whether the final tactic and strategy of
struggle have already been decided upon to use against a country
whose communications and technological infrastructure as well
as material conditions seem to have hardly left the Stone Age
behind. Will irregular warfare tactics with squadrons of aircraft
carriers, armored warships, cruisers and submarines be used in
a landlocked country? Why send also scores of B-1 and B-52 bombers,
hundreds of modern fighter planes, thousands of missiles and other
strategic weapons? What are they going to shoot against?
Meanwhile, confusion and panic prevail in the rest of the world,
while opportunistic positions motivated by convenience and national
interests are not lacking. Some have torn their honor to pieces.
And, following the initial atmosphere of uncertainty there is
a bizarre and widespread ostrich reflex despite the fact that
there are not even enough holes to hide heads.
Many seem not to have realized yet that, on September 20, before
the United States Senate, the end of independence was decreed
for every other state -without exceptions- as well as the end
of the United Nations' role.
Nevertheless, no one should be misled into thinking that the
peoples of the world, and anumber of honest political leaders, will not react as soon as
the war actions become a reality and their horrific images start
to be seen. These will then take the place of the sad and shocking
images of the events in New York at a time when forgetting them
would bring irreparable damage on the spirit of solidarity with
the American people that is today a primary element towards the
eradication of terrorism, without the need to resort to a war
of unpredictable consequences and avoiding the death of an incalculable
number of innocents.
The first victims can already be seen. They are the millions
trying to escape the war and the dying children with ghastly appearance
whose images will move the world to pity without anyone being
able to prevent their dissemination.
It is a great mistake on the part of the United States and its
NATO allies to believe that the strong nationalism and religious
sentiments of Muslims can be neutralized with either money or
a promise of assistance, or that their countries can be permanently
intimidated by force. There are already statements from religious
leaders of major nations, that have no affinity whatsoever with
the Taliban, who are voicing their resolute opposition to a military
attack. Meanwhile, contradictions are beginning to arise among
the United States' allies, both in Center and South East Asia.
On the other hand, xenophobia, hatred and scorn for every Muslim
country are starting toemerge. An important European head of government has just said
in Berlin that Western civilization is superior to Islamic and
that the West will keep on conquering peoples, even if that means
confrontation with the Islamic civilization, which has remained
stuck where it was 1400 years ago.
In an economic situation such as the world is experiencing today,
when extremely serious problems affecting Mankind remain unresolved,
including its own survival which is threatened by other evils
unrelated to the destructive power of modern weaponry, one wonders:
Why this obstinate course of starting a complicated and open-ended
war? Why are the American leaders showing such arrogance when
their enormous power gives them the privilege of showing some
It would suffice to return to the United Nations Organization
the prerogatives that it has been deprived of and let the General
Assembly, its most universal and representative body, be the center
of that fight for peace -regardless of its limitations due to
the arbitrary veto right of the Security Council standing members,
most of them also a part of NATO- and for the eradication of terrorism
with total and unanimous support from the world opinion.
Under no circumstances should those responsible for the brutal
attacks against the American people be allowed to go unpunished,
ifthey can be identified. An honorable condition for every country
would be that they are tried by an unbiased court of law that
would ensure the reliability of the evidence and that justice
Cuba was the first country to speak of the need for an international
struggle against terrorism just a few hours after the tragedy
brought on the American people on September 11. We also said that:
"None of the present problems of the world can be solved
by force. [...] The international community should build a world
conscience against terrorism. [...] Only the intelligent policy
of seeking strength through consensus and the international public
opinion can decidedly uproot this problem [...] this unimaginable
event should serve to launch an international struggle against
terrorism. [...] The world cannot be saved unless a path of international
peace and cooperation is pursued."
We firmly stand by these views.
It is indispensable to return to the United Nations its role
in the attainment of peace.
I harbor no doubts that the Third World countries -I dare say
almost everyone of them without exception, despite their political
and religious differences- would be willing to go alongside the
rest of the world in this struggle against terrorism as an alternative
I think that these ideas do not, in any way, tarnish the honor,
the dignity and the predominantpolitical or religious principles of any of the above-mentioned
I am not talking here on behalf of any of the poor and underdeveloped
countries of the world. I am simply expressing my deepest conviction
as I am aware of the tragedy of these peoples that have been exploited
and humiliated for centuries where, even without a war, inherited
poverty and underdevelopment, hunger and curable diseases are
silently killing scores of millions of innocents every year.
For these people, saving peace with dignity, with independence
and without a war is the cornerstone of the struggle that we should
wage together for a truly just world of free peoples.
Cuba is not motivated by any economic interest or by opportunism,
much less by any fear of threat, danger or risk. But this people
that, as it is widely known, has most honorably endured over four
decades of economic warfare, blockade and terrorism is entitled
to explain, reiterate and insist on its viewpoints; and, it will
not hesitate to do so until the very last minute.
We are, and we will continue to be, opposed to terrorism and
opposed to war! No matter what happens, nothing will separate
us from that line!
The dark clouds on the horizon of the world today, will not
prevent the Cubans from continuing to work restlessly on our wonderful
social and cultu ral programs as we are persuaded that it is a
human endeavor unparalleled in history. And even if the promised
wars were to turn them into mere dreams, we would still fall with
honor defending such dreams.
Long live the Revolution and Socialism!
Patria � Muerte!
DECLARATION BY THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY OF PEOPLE'S POWER OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
Twenty-five years ago Cuba was victim to a premeditated and
heinous crime that shocked the whole nation and remains in the
collective memory of our people.
On October 6, 1976, a Cubana Airline aircraft was the target
of a cowardly act of sabotage that blew it up in mid flight offshore
Barbados. All the passengers and crewmembers on board were killed,
including the young winners of the Central American and Caribbean
Fencing Championship and a group of Guyanese students. The 73
victims are still awaiting justice. The main culprits have never
been brought to trial or sanctioned, thus they have continued
to carry on their criminal careers for more than four decades.
Those who conceived, planned and directed this act of genocide
have a long history of terrorism that began in the 1960's under
the auspices of the CIA. The role they played in the blowing-up
of the Cubana aircraft and the cold-blooded murder of all those
on board are well known by the U.S. government. On June 23,1989,
the Department of Justice of thatcountry admitted that it possessed information on the case,
which it had kept a secret. Despite his infamous history, including
serious crimes committed on American soil, contrary to the ruling
of the Attorney General's Office and in spite of the opposition
of major U.S. media, one of these terrorists, Orlando Bosch, has
lived in the United States for more than ten years, thanks to
a decision by the then-President George Bush, and there he has
continued to carry out his monstrous trade undisturbed. This man
and his cronies, confident of the complete impunity they enjoy
and backed up by the so-called Cuban-American National Foundation
announced, in a Miami daily paper full page last August 22, that
they would continue to use all means and methods available against
Cuba without ruling out either terrorism or violence.
After his escape from the Venezuelan penitentiary where he was
awaiting trial in the case of the Cubana aircraft, the other terrorist,
Luis Posada Carriles, immediately went to work for the White House.
There, under direct orders from Lieut. Col. Oliver North, he became
involved in the U.S. clandestine activities in Central America
where he went on to direct various bomb-attacks against tourist
resorts in Cuba and finally planned an assassination attempt against
president Fidel Castro and thousands of Panamanian students meeting
with him, on the occasion of last year's Ibero-American Summit.
He is currently incarcerated in Panama awaiting trial on minor
crimes; however, once againhe is confident that his friends will ensure his freedom and
When the whole world repudiates the brutal attacks of last September
11, the United Nations adopts condemnatory resolutions and governments
declare their intention to punish all such actions and avoid them
ever being repeated, the National Assembly, alongside the Cuban
people, condemns the attacks and reaffirms its solidarity with
the American people while demanding that the war against terrorism
be genuine, responding to a real desire to eradicate these acts
wherever and however they occur.
Thousands of Cubans have lost their lives or suffered irreparable
damage as a result of acts of vandalism perpetrated against Cuba
for more than 40 years by groups who operated, and continue to
operate, from inside the U.S. territory with the complicity or
tolerance of that country's authorities. Cuba, on the other hand,
has never resorted to such despicable methods nor ever used force
against the bandits that have committed unspeakable atrocities
against our people from foreign territory. We have always pursued
a principled policy. We have defended ourselves without ever violating
either the ethics or the principles of international law. Additionally,
we have tried to make the government in Washington fulfill its
obligation to prevent these terrorist acts, by supplying them
with information obtained through the generous sacrifice of heroic
countrymen like those who now languish in unjust incarceration
We have every reason, and the necessary moral strength, to demand
that justice also be done in the case of the crime committed on
October 6, 1976. We strongly demand that the international struggle
against terrorism be sincere, consistent, free from double standards,
free from racism, free from hegemonic arrogance and free from
fraudulent manipulation. This is the only way to completely eradicate
this scourge; the only way to pay a most deserved tribute to all
Twenty-five years ago, we were brought closely together like
one large family by the pain and sorrow we felt when the lives
of our brothers and sisters were so ruthlessly cut short. We pledged
then that they would forever stay in our hearts, that they would
never be forgotten; and, here they have been with us, always present
in the sacrifice, the heroism, the dignity and the creative resistance
of their people. We shall continue to denounce their assassins
and demand that they be punished. We will persevere in our struggle
definitely united to defend our homeland and ensure that a free,
independent, just and fraternal Cuba offers a permanent tribute
to them and to all our martyrs.
Socialism or Death! Homeland or Death! We shall overcome!
National Assembly of People's Power
Havana, October 4, 2001
SPEECH AT THE OPEN FORUM OF
"Year of the Victorious Revolution in the
Revolution Square, City of Havana, October 6, 2001
History can be unpredictable and move along strange labyrinths.
Twenty-five years ago, in this very same square, we bid a final
farewell to a small number of caskets. They contained tiny fragments
of human remains and personal belongings of some of the 57 Cubans,
11 Guyanese -most of them students on scholarships in Cuba- and
five North Korean cultural officials who were the victims of a
brutal and inconceivable act of terrorism. What was particularly
moving was the death of almost the entire Cuban juvenile fencing
team, both women and men, coming home with every single one of
the gold medals awarded in this sport at a Central American and
A million of our fellow countrymen -as many as today- with tears
filling their eyes and running down their cheeks, gathered here
to bid a more symbolic than actual farewell to our brothers and
sisters whose bodies rested on the ocean floor.
Nobody, except for a group of friendly personalities and institutions,
shared our pain and sorrow. There was no upheaval around the world,
no acute political crises, no United Nations meetings, nor the
imminent threat of war.
Perhaps, few people in the world understood the terrible significance
of that event. How important could it be that a Cuban jetliner
was blown up in mid-flight with 73 people aboard? It was almost
a common occurrence. Thousands of Cubans had already died in La
Coubre, the Escambray Mountains, the Bay of Pigs, and in hundreds
of other terrorist acts, pirate attacks and similar actions, had
they not? Who could pay any attention to the denunciations of
this tiny country? All that was needed, apparently, was a simple
denial from the powerful neighbor and their media, which inundate
the world, and the matter was forgotten.
Who could have predicted that almost exactly 25 years later,
a war with totally unpredictable consequences would be on the
verge of breaking out as a result of an equally heinous terrorist
attack, which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people
in the United States? Back then, in what now appears to be a tragic
omen, innocent people from various countries died; this time,
there were victims from 86 nations.
Then, as now, there was hardly anything left of the victims.
In Barbados, not a single body could be recovered and in New York,
only a few were and not all of them identifiable. In both cases,
the families were left with an appalling emptiness and infinitegrief; a deep indignation and an unbearable sorrow was brought
on the peoples of both nations. It had not been an accident, a
mechanical failure or a human error; these were both deliberate
acts, planned and executed in cold blood.
There were, however, a few differences between the monstrous
crime in Barbados and the abhorrent, unimaginable terrorist attack
against the American people. In the United States, the act was
the work of fanatics willing to die alongside their victims, while
in Barbados it was the work of mercenaries who did not run the
slightest risk. In the United States, the main goal of the perpetrators
was not that of killing the passengers. They hijacked the planes
to attack the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, albeit absolutely
mindless of the death of the innocent traveling with them. In
Barbados, the basic objective of the mercenaries was to kill the
In both cases, the anguish suffered by the travelers in those
final minutes of their lives, particularly the passengers on the
fourth plane hijacked in the United States -who already knew what
had happened in New York and Washington-must have been unbearable,
the same as that of the crew and passengers of the Cuban plane
during the desperate attempt to land when it was clearly impossible
for them to do so. There were clear demonstrations of courage
and determination in both cases as well: in Barbados, we learned
of them through the recorded voices of the Cuban crew; inthe United States, through subsequent reports on the attitude
assumed by the passengers.
There is moving filmed footage of the horrific events in New
York. As for the explosion of the plane off the coasts of Barbados
and its plunge into the sea, there could not be, and there is
not, so much as a photograph. The only testimony lefts are the
recordings of the dramatic communications between the crew of
the doomed aircraft and the Barbados airport control tower.
This was the first time in the history of Latin America that
such an act had been promoted fromabroad.
Actually, the systematic use of such politically motivated ruthless
and fearsome practices and procedures was initiated in this hemisphere
against our country. But, it was preceded in 1959 by another equally
absurd and irresponsible practice: that of 1 hijacking and diverting
planes in mid-flight, a phenomenon that was practically unknown
in the world at the time.
The first of such acts involved a DC-3 passenger plane bound
from Havana to the Isle of Youth. It was hijacked by a few former
members of Batista's tyranny repressive corps, who forced the
pilot to change course and fly them to Miami. This happened on
April 16, 1959, less than four months after the triumph of the
Revolution. The perpetrators were never punished.
Between 1959 and 2001, a total of 51 Cuban jetliners were hijacked
and most of them diverted to the United States. Many of these
hijacked aircraftwere never returned to our country despite the fact that not
a few pilots, guards and other people were murdered or injured.
Also, several planes were destroyed or seriously damaged in frustrated
The consequence of this was that the plague of "skyjacking"
soon spread throughout the United States itself. For the most
varied reasons, a number of individuals -the vast majority of
them mentally unbalanced, thrill-seekers or common criminals,
from both the United States and Latin America- started to hijack
airplanes using guns, knives, Molotov cocktails, and on a number
of occasions, simple bottles of water, which they claimed contained
gasoline and would be used to set fire to the plane.
Thanks to the painstaking care of our authorities, not a single
accident occurred upon landing. The passengers always received
proper treatment and were immediately returned to their places
The majority of hijackings and diversions of Cuban aircraft
took place between 1959 and 1973. Faced with the risk of a major
catastrophe in the United States or Cuba -given that there were
even hijackers who, once they had the plane under control, threatened
to fly it into the Oak Ridge nuclear power station [in the United
States] if their demands were not met- the Government of Cuba
took the initiative of approaching the Government of the United
States - led at the time by President Richard Nixon, with William
Rogers as Secretary of State- and proposing an agreement to deal
with cases ofaircraft hijacking and maritime piracy. The proposal
was accepted, and the agreement was quickly drawn up and signed
by representatives of both governments on February 16, 1973. It
was also immediately published in our country's press and given
That rational and well thought-out agreement established heavy
sanctions against hijackers of planes and boats, and it did serve
as a deterrent. From that date forward, there was a considerable
reduction in the hijacking of Cuban planes, and for more than
ten years, every attempted hijacking in our country was foiled.
However, the brutal terrorist attack that led to the explosion
of the Cuban plane in mid-flight dealt a devastating blow to that
exemplary and effective agreement. The Cuban government, faced
with this inconceivable act of aggression that had taken place
as part of a new wave of terrorist acts unleashed against Cuba
in late 1975, denounced the agreement, in full accordance with
the clauses stipulated therein. Nevertheless, it did continue
to abide by the procedures set forth to prevent the hijackings
of U.S. planes, including the application of heavy sanctions,
which had been considerably stepped up as a result of the agreement,
with sentences of up to 20 years imprisonment. Even before the
agreement was signed, Cuban courts had been applying the sanctions
provided in our own Penal Code against hijackers, although these
had been less severe.
Despite the rigorous application of sanctions, a few other American
jetliners were hijacked and diverted to our country. Then, the
Government of Cuba, after issuing duly advanced warnings, decided
to return two hijackers to the United States; thus, on September
18, 1980, they were delivered to the authorities of that country.
Our records show that between September 1968 and December 1984,
there were 71 cases of airplanes hijacked and diverted to Cuba.
Sixty-nine participants in these hijackings faced trials in courts
of law and were given prison sentences ranging between three and
five years. Subsequently, after the signing of the 1973 agreement,
sentences ranged between 10 and 20 years.
As a result of these measures adopted by Cuba, the fact is that
for the last 17 years there has not been a single further hijacking
or diversion of an U.S. plane to Cuba.
On the other hand, what has been the stance of successive U.S.
administrations? Since 1959, until today, the U.S. authorities
have not sanctioned a single one of the hundreds of individuals
who have hijacked and diverted dozens of Cuban aircraft to that
country, not even those have committed murder in the course of
It is impossible to conceive of a greater lack of basic reciprocity,
or a greater incitement to the hijacking of planes and boats.
This unbending policy has remained unchanged throughout more than
four decades and continues to be maintained today, without a single
The constructive agreement on the hijacking of planes and boats
signed between the governments of Cuba and the United States,
whose results were immediately evident, was seemingly accepted
by the top leaders of the terrorist groups. Some had actively
cooperated or participated in the organization of irregular warfare
through armed gangs that, at times, had expanded to the six former
provinces of Cuba. The majority of them had been recruited by
the U.S. government in the days of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the
Missile Crisis, and in later years. They participated in all manner
of violent actions, particularly assassination plots and terrorist
attacks, that did not leave out a single sphere of the country's
economic and social life, a single method, a single procedure,
a single weapon.
They were taken to all kinds of institutions, schools and training
programs, sometimes to be trained, sometimes to be kept busy.
Dramatic events like the assassination of President Kennedy
led to in-depth investigations, like that carried out by an U.S.
Senate Committee. The embarrassing situations and major scandals
that resulted forced a change in tactics, although there was never
really any change in the policy towards Cuba. As a consequence,
after periods of relative calm, new waves of terrorism have continued
to break out.
This is exactly what happened in late 1975. The Church Commission
had presented its famous report on assassination plots against
the leaders of Cuba and other countries on November 20 of that
year,therefore, the Central Intelligence Agency could not continue
assuming direct responsibility for assassination plots and terrorist
acts against Cuba. The solution was simple: their most trustworthy
and best-trained terrorist personnel would adopt the form of independent
groups, which would act on their own behalf and under their own
responsibility. This led to the sudden emergence of a bizarre
coordinating organization, called the CORU, and made up by the
main terrorist groups in operation, which as a rule were fiercely
divided, due to leadership ambitions and personal interests. A
wave of violent terrorist actions was then unleashed. To mention
just a few, chosen from among the numerous and significant terrorist
acts carried out during this new stage, I could point out the
following that took place in a period of just four months:
o A pirate attack by speedboats from Florida against two fishing
boats, leading to the death ofa fisherman and serious damage to the boats,on April 6, 1976.
o A bomb planted in the Cuban embassy in Portugal, which caused
the death of two diplomaticofficials, serious injuries to others, and the totaldestruction of the premises, on April 22.
o An explosive attack against the UN CubanMission, causing serious material damages, on June 5.
o The explosion of a bomb on the cart carrying theluggage that was about to be loaded on a Cubana Airlines flight
at the Kingston, Jamaica, airport on July 9.
o The explosion of a bomb in the British West IndiesAirways offices in Barbados, which representedCubana Airlines in that country, on July 10.
o The murder of a fishing industry specialist duringthe attempted kidnapping of the Cuban Consulin Merida, Mexico, on July 24.
o The abduction and vanishing of two Cubanembassy officials in Argentina, on August 9; bothdisappeared without a trace.
o The explosion of a bomb in the Cubana Airlinesoffices in Panama City, causing considerabledamage, on August 18.
Obviously, this was real war. Numerous attacks were aimed at
Even The New York Times and the U.S. News and World Report,
two of the most prestigious publications in the United States,
described it as a new wave of terrorism against Cuba.
The groups that made up the CORD, which began to operate in
the first months of 1976, although it was not officially founded
until June of that year, issued public statements in the United
States claiming responsibility for every one of the terrorist
acts they perpetrated. They sent their war dispatches -as they
themselves called them- from Costa Rica to the Miami press. One
of their publications printed in the moth of August an article
entitled "War Dispatch" recounting the destruction of
the Cuban embassy in Colombia. That was the day they did not hesitate
in publishing a particularly significant communique signed by
the five terrorist groups that made up the CORU: "Very soon
we will attack airplanes in mid-flight."
To carry out their attacks, the CORU terrorists freely used
as the main bases for their operations the territories of the
United States, Puerto Rico, Somoza's Nicaragua, and Pinochet's
Less than eight weeks later, the Cuban jetliner would be blown
up in mid-flight off the coasts of Barbados with 73 people aboard.
Hernan Ricardo and Freddy Lugo were the two Venezuelan mercenaries
who planted the bomb during the Trinidad and Tobago-Barbados leg
of the flight. They got off the plane in Barbados and returned
to Trinidad, where they were arrested and immediately confessed
to their involvement.
The Barbados police commissioner declared before an investigative
committee that Ricardo and Lugo had confessed that they were working
for the CIA. He added that Ricardo had pulled out a CIA card and
another one where the rules for the use of C-4 plastic explosives
On October 24, 1976, The New York Times indicated that "the
terrorists who launched a wave of attacks in seven countries during
the last two years were the product and instruments of the CIA."
The Washington Post noted that confirmed contacts with the U.S.
embassy in Venezuela "cast doubt" on the statement issued
on October 15 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, with
regard to the claim that "no one related to the U.S. government
had anything to do with the sabotage of the airplane" from
A correspondent from the Mexican daily Excelsior commented from
Port of Spain that "with the confession made by Hernan Ricardo
Lozano, the Venezuelan detained here in Trinidad, about his responsibility
in the attack on a Cubana aircraft that crashed off the coast
of Barbados with 73 people aboard, a major anti-Castro terrorist
network that is somehow linked with the CIA is on the verge of
Le Monde wrote that the CIA connection with Cuban-born terrorist
groups that moved about freely on U.S. soil was public knowledge.
Many of the world's most respected news publications expressed
the same view.
Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, who masterminded the
terrorist crime, had links with the CIA dating back to 1960. They
were arrested and submitted to a dubious trial plagued with irregularities
amidst enormous pressures. The Venezuelan magistrate, Dr. Delia
Estaba Moreno, initiated legal proceedings against them for murder,
manufacture and use of firearms, and forging and carrying of false
documents. But, her honesty and integrity provoked a violent reaction
among the Cuban-Venezuelan extreme right.
General Elio Garcia Barrios, the presiding judge of the Military
Appeal Court, maintained a steadfast and determined stance, thanks
to which the two terrorists were forced to spend a number of years
in prison. But, the Miami terrorist mob took revenge by riddling
one of his sons with bullets in 1983.
Posada Carriles was rescued by the Cuban-American National Foundation,
that sent 50,000 dollars via Panama to finance his escape, which
was successfully carried out on August 18, 1985. In a matter of
hours, he turned up in El Salvador. He was visited there, having
barely arrived, by the top leaders of the Foundation. Those were
the days of the dirty war in Nicaragua. He immediately began to
execute important tasks under direct orders of the White House,
in the air supply of weapons and explosives to the Contras in
The cold figure of 73 innocent people murdered in Barbados could
not possibly express the significance and magnitude of the tragedy.
Certainly, Americans will better understand by comparing the
population of Cuba 25 years ago with that of the United States
on September 11, 2001. The death of 73 people aboard a Cuban jetliner
blown up. in mid-flight is to the U.S. people as if seven American
jetliners, with over 300 hundred passengers each, had been destroyed
in full flight the same day, at the same time, by a terrorist
We could still go further and say that if we were to consider
the 3,478 Cubans who have perished in over four decades as a result
of acts of aggression -including the invasion by the Bay of Pigs
as well as all the other terrorist acts sustained by Cuba, which
originated in the United States- it would be as if 88,434 people
had died in that country, that is,a figure almost similar to the number of Americans who died
in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. This denunciation we
are making here today is not inspired in either hate or rancor.
I understand that American officials do not even want to hear
us raise these embarrassing issues. They say that we simply should
However, it would be senseless not to look back at the sources
of errors whose repetition should be avoided, and at the causes
of major human tragedies, wars and other calamities that, perhaps,
could have been prevented. There should not be innocent deaths
anywhere in the world.
This massive demonstration against terrorism has been called
to pay homage and tribute to the memory of our brothers and sisters
who died off the coasts of Barbados 25 years ago, but also to
express our solidarity with the thousands of innocent people who
died in New York and Washington. We are here to condemn the brutal
crime committed against them while supporting the search for ways
conducive to a real and lasting eradication of terrorism, to the
prevalence of peace and against the development of a bloody and
I am deeply convinced that relations between the terrorist groups
created by the United States in the first 15 years of the Revolution,
to act against Cuba, and the U.S authorities have never been severed.
In a day such as this, it is only right that we ask what will
be done about Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, the main culprits
of the obnoxious terrorist
act perpetrated in Barbados; and what about those who planned
and financed the bombs that were set up in hotels of the country's
capital and have been restlessly trying, for over four decades,
to murder Cuban leaders.
It is not too much to ask that justice be done, for these professional
terrorists, acting from inside the very territory of the United
States, have not ceased to apply their despicable methods against
our people to sow terror and to destroy the economy of a harassed
and blockaded nation, one from which terrorist devices have never
come -not even a gram of explosives- to blast in the United States.
Never has an American been injured or killed, nor has a facility
big or small in that large and rich country ever suffered the
least damage from any action coming from Cuba.
As we are involved in the worldwide struggle against terrorism
-committed to take part alongside the United Nations and the rest
of the international community, we have the full moral authority
and the right to demand the end of terrorism against Cuba. The
economic warfare, itself a genocide and a brutal act to which
our people have been subjected for more than 40 years, should
Our brothers and sisters who died in Barbados are no longer
only our martyrs, they are also symbols in the struggle against
terrorism. They rise today like giants in this historic battle
for the eradication of terrorism from Earth, that repulsive procedure
that has caused so much damage to their home country and brought
so much suffering to their closest relatives
and their people that have already written unprecedented pages
in the history of their Homeland and their times.
The sacrifice of their lives has not been useless. Injustice
starts to shake before the eyes of a forceful and virile nation
that 25 years ago cried out of indignation and sorrow, and that
today cry out of emotion, of hope and pride in remembering them.
History, that can be unpredictable, has wanted
it that way.
On behalf of the martyrs of that day in Barbados, let us say:
Socialism or Death!
Patria � muerte!
Editorial: THE WAR HAS BEGUN
Yesterday, at 9:00 p.m. Afghanistan time, the war began or rather
the military attack against Afghanistan. The word war suggests
a conflict between more or less similar parties, where the weaker
has, at least, a minimum of technical, financial and economic
resources to defend itself. However, in this case, one of the
parties has absolutely nothing. Still, let us call it a war. He
who ordered the beginning of the military operations called it
This is really a sui generis war. An entire country is being
turned into a testing ground for the most sophisticated weaponry
ever invented. The experts and specialists at the research centers
and military workshops, who have invested tens of billions of
US dollars in the creation of deadly devices, will follow attentively
every detail of their creatures' performance.
Whatever the pretexts, this is a war in which the most sophisticated
technology will be used against people who cannot read or write.
A country whose Gross Domestic Product is 20 billion US dollars
every year will be fighting another with approximately one thousand
times less, therefore, for economic, cultural and religious reasons
this will be a war of the old colonizers against the old colonized;
of the most developed against the least developed; of the richest
against the poorest; of those who call themselves civilized against
those I they consider ignorant and barbaric.
It is not a war against terrorism, which should and could have
been defeated by truly efficient, swift and lasting means available.
It is a war in favor of terrorism, since the military operations
will make it more complicated and difficult to eradicate it. It
is like pouring oil on the flame.
From now on, there will be a real avalanche of news about bombs,
missiles, air strikes, the advance of armored vehicles with troops
of ethnic groups allied with the invaders, the dropping of paratroops
or the ground advance of elite forces of the attacking countries.
Rather soon, there will be news about occupied cities, the capital
included, and TV images of whatever censure permits or escapes
control. The fight will be against the people of that country
and not against the terrorists. There are no battalions or armies
of terrorists. This is a sinister concept and an insidious method
of struggle against a ghost.
These events will be compounded with triumphant statements,
chauvinistic exaltation, boasting, braggadocio and other manifestations
of arrogance and of a spirit of racial and cultural superiority.
Then, there will be the great question: Will resistance stop
and every contradiction disappear or will the true war begin,
that which was defined as long and open-ended? This is certainly
the main question in the minds of those who are now taking pride
in having launched this adventurous war.
Millions of refugees are already spreading everywhere, and the
greater difficulties are still to come. Let us wait for the events
Our people will be informed with utmost objectivity of every
new occurrence, giving them more or less space in the press, radio
and television depending on their importance. At the same time,
we shall avoid disruptions of our everyday activities and the
usual information and recreation programs.
We shall remain most attentive to the enormous efforts being
made in matters related to our social and cultural development
and be particularly watchful and mindful of production and services,
which are today more important than ever, given all the inconveniences
that the ongoing events will bring on the already deteriorated
world economy whose effects no country will be able to avoid.
However, no other country is better prepared and organized, and
more aware than ours, to face whatever difficulties may come.
Likewise, we shall continue to concentrate on our defense as we
have always done.
Once again, there will be hesitation and panic in the world.
Later, as the foreseeable problems begin to arise, there will
be a growing awareness and a universal repudiation of the war
that has just begun. Even the American people, who are today shocked
by the horrible tragedy, will sooner or later understand.
Even when the opposition and condemnation of terrorism and the
war, that have been the basis of our stance, -shared today by
many people in the world- have sustained an expected blow with
the beginning of the military operations, we shall persist struggling
with all our capabilities for the only possible solution: the
cessation of the military operations and the eradication of terrorism
through the cooperation and support of all countries, and through
the unanimous repudiation and condemnation of the international
public opinion under the leadership of the United Nations Organization.