The following message was sent by Cuban President FIDEL CASTRO to a January 25 Peace for Cuba Rally in New York. The text comes from NY Transfer News Service via Pegasus.
Dear comrades and friends, brothers and sisters,
Under the present circumstances, your decision to organise this demonstration in support of the people of Cuba is a moving evidence of honesty and courage.
This meeting is also a testimony of solidarity which deeply touches each and every Cuban, absorbed as we are in the gigantic effort to which we are all dedicated today.
I address not only those who share the ideas of the Cuban Revolution, but also those who experience a sincere concern about Cuba's peace and security, those who believe that the right of us Cubans to self-determination should be respected, and that any kind of intervention or aggression against our country should stop.
Today Cuba faces an unprecedented challenge. The collapse of socialism in Europe and the disappearance of the Soviet Union have deprived us, all of a sudden, of our main source of essential supplies, including oil, foodstuffs, raw materials and all kinds of equipment, obtained by means of a fair and equitable trade relation.
Thus, a second blockade has in fact appeared, which comes on top of the cruel economic blockade forced on us for more than 30 years by the government of the United States.
The US administration believes that Cuba will not be able to resist, that the time has come to terminate the revolution, and to that end takes stronger measures in order to suffocate our economy, increase hostility and pressures, encourages the actions of the counter-revolutionaries, and uses all its influence and that of its more reactionary allies in promoting a media campaign unparalleled in its deceit and distortion of the truth.
We are calmly facing this test with determination. Our present difficulties are the consequence of external factors, not the result — as some want to make believe — of the failure of our noble revolutionary efforts.
As a matter of fact, it is the revolution and socialism that give our people strength to face this challenge. We have the will and the patriotic spirit needed to resist and to win. We are not demoralised, nor are we defeated. We are working hard, and we are basing our struggle on the fighting spirit, the intelligence and the scientific potential we have been able to develop in all these years. We are a united and cohesive people. The vast majority of Cubans support the concept that only in the free fatherland, with the independence and social justice which the revolution has given us, we will be able to r present difficulties, to improve our system, and to build the future we deserve.
To those who argue that Cuba should be crushed, humiliated and destroyed because there are no longer a Soviet Union nor a European socialist community, we say that our revolution is and always will be as Cuban as the palm trees, that we didn't ask anybody permission to carry out the revolution, and that the revolution exists and will keep on existing because of the sovereign will of our people.
We have many problems and shortages. However, even in these conditions we have not renounced the social achievements of which we are justly proud and which account for our well-being.
Let me point out just one example. Last year the infant mortality rate in our country as a whole was a third of Washington's rate. Ours is a poor country, and we have had to stand this terrible blow in the midst of a very hard struggle for development. But even in the "special period" we are able to bring education to all our children and youngsters, we manage to guarantee to every one of our workers the right to a decent job, we take proper care of our elderly, and keep a comprehensive system of social security. As you all well know, there are no such scourges in Cuba as prostitution, organised crime, drugs, beggars, racial discrimination.
Cuban women, with the active support of all society, are front-line participants in history and in the struggle for their full equality.
Our people, nevertheless, have to endure once again the attempts to force on us counter-revolutionary subversion, destabilisation and terrorism.
The anti-Cuban policy of the US government encourages the worst counter-revolutionary elements — both within Cuba and out of the country — to carry out all sorts of irresponsible and criminal actions. A few days ago we had to control again our emotions when we buried three young men who had been brutally murdered. Once again we have to deal with infiltration attempts into our territory by terrorists trained and armed with total impunity in the US for the self-admitted purpose of sowing death and panic among our people, and even new plans for the assassination of our revolution's leaders.
We are witnesses to a shameless farce played out in other countries by opportunists, cowards, demagogues and fakes, all of whom dare to condemn Cuba for enforcing Cuban law, for exercising its inalienable right to protect the life of our children and the sovereignty of our nation, for upholding the constitutional order approved in popular referendum by more than 90 per cent of our people. However, not a single word is spoken about the responsibility of those who tolerate such actions, or in condemnation of the repeated acts carried out against us.
To bestow upon common terrorists the status of dissidents is as absurd as to try to characterise as criminal the legitimate actions of a state like Cuba, dedicated to the welfare of the people and to the izen of a productive and spiritually full life.
We are confident that truth will prevail. Lies and slander are not eternal. This bitter and confusing moment in which the world is living will also pass away.
On the other hand, the last word has not been said, nor are we enacting the final chapter of social revolution as an alternative of justice and development. In order to be able to talk about the failure of socialism, it would be necessary to announce the solution through some other way of the abysmal problems facing three out of every four men and women in the planet today, as well as the social evils which befall the so-called first world. But nothing at all like this has happened.
We are sure that socialism will emerge again from this crisis, a cleansed and perfected socialism, the only program of social change and true democracy for which it is imperative to fight according to the traditions, the historical experience and the national consensus in each country.
We are not preparing for an apocalypse, but we are ready for everything, and we will do every sacrifice necessary precisely because we are convinced that the future belongs to us and that right is on our side.
Only those who resist win, those who do not weaken when faced with difficulties, those who have confidence in their ideas and in the moral and revolutionary reserves of the people.
We, Cubans, are not and will not be alone in this extraordinary hour. Nobody should feel pity or be sorry for us. One can feel sorrow for traitors and weaklings, but not for a people writing some of the most heroic and honorable pages of its history. What Cuba now needs, above all, is understanding and respect. You give us much more than that when you do not hesitate to express your solidarity with the Cuban people in this crucial moment.
What is at stake at this very instant in our land is not only the future of our country, but also to a great extent the future of justice, of socialism and of the poor peoples of the world. Therefore, you could very well say the same words written by Jose Martí almost a century ago: "A mistake in Cuba is a mistake in America, a mistake in modern mankind. Whoever stands today alongside Cuba, stands forever."
Thank you very much, my dear brothers and sisters.