Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ernesto Che Guevara: Mobilizing the Masses for the Invasion
Speech made to sugar workers in Santa Clara on March 28, 1961; twenty days before the Bay of Pigs invasion.

We have to remind ourselves of this at every moment: that we are in a war, a cold war as they call it; a war where there is no front line, no continuous bombardment, but where the two adversaries - this tiny champion of the Caribbean and the immense imperialist hyena - are face to face and aware that one of them is going to end up dead in the fight.

The North Americans are aware, they are well aware, compa?eros, that the victory of the Cuban Revolution will not be just a simple defeat for the empire, not just one more link in the long chain of defeats to which its policy of force and oppression against peoples has been dragging it in recent years. The victory of the Cuban Revolution will be a tangible demonstration before all the Americas that peoples are capable of rising up, that they can rise up by themselves right under the very fangs of the monster. It will mean the beginning of the end of colonial domination in America, that is, the definitive beginning of the end for North American imperialism.

That is why the imperialists do not resign themselves, because this is a struggle to the death. That is why we cannot take one backward step. Because the first time we retreat a step would mean the beginning of a long chain for us too, and would end up the same way as with all the false leaders and all the peoples who at a particular moment of history did not measure up to the task of withstanding the drive of the empire.

That is why we must move forward, striking out tirelessly against imperialism. From all over the world we have to learn the lessons which events afford. Lumumba's murder should be a lesson for all of us.

The murder of Patrice Lumumba is an example of what the empire is capable of when the struggle against it is carried on in a firm and sustained way. Imperialism must be struck on the snout once, and again, and then again, in an infinite succession of blows and counter-blows. That is the only way the people can win their real independence.

Never a step backward, never a moment of weakness! And every time circumstances might tempt us to think that the situation might be better if we were not fighting against the empire, let each one of us think of the long chain of tortures and deaths through which the Cuban people had to pass to win their independence. Let all of us think of the eviction of peasants, the murder of workers, the strikes broken by the police, of all those kinds of class oppression which have now completely disappeared from Cuba. . . . And, further, let us understand well how victory is won by preparing the people, by enhancing their revolutionary consciousness in establishing unity, by meeting each and every attempt at aggression with our rifles out in front. That is how it is won. . . .

We must remember this and insist again and again upon this fact: The victory of the Cuban people can never come solely through outside aid, however adequate and generous, however great and strong the solidarity of all the peoples of the world with us may be. Because even with the ample and great solidarity of all the people of the world with Patrice Lumumba and the Congolese people, when conditions inside the country were lacking, when the leaders failed to understand how to strike back mercilessly at imperialism, when they took a step back, they lost the struggle. And they lost it not just for a few years, but who knows for how many years! That was a great setback for all peoples.

That is what we must be well aware of, that Cuba's victory lies not in Soviet rockets, nor in the solidarity of the socialist world, nor in the solidarity of the whole world. Cuba's victory lies in the unity, the labour, and the spirit of sacrifice of its people.
Ernesto Che Guevara: Notes for the Study of the Ideology of the Cuban Revolution
Written: October 8, 1960
Published: Verde Olivo
Transcription/Markup: A .N./Brian Baggins
Online Version: Ernesto Che Guevara Internet Archive ( 2002

This is a unique revolution which some people maintain contradicts one of the most orthodox premises of the revolutionary movement, expressed by Lenin: "Without a revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary movement." It would be suitable to say that revolutionary theory, as the expression of a social truth, surpasses any declaration of it; that is to say, even if the theory is not known, the revolution can succeed if historical reality is interpreted correctly and if the forces involved are utilised correctly. Every revolution always incorporates elements of very different tendencies which, nevertheless, coincide in action and in the revolution's most immediate objectives.

It is clear that if the leaders have an adequate theoretical knowledge prior to the action, they can avoid trial and error whenever the adopted theory corresponds to the reality.

The principal actors of this revolution had no coherent theoretical criteria; but it cannot be said that they were ignorant of the various concepts of history, society, economics, and revolution which are being discussed in the world today.

Profound knowledge of reality, a close relationship with the people, the firmness of the liberator's objective, and the practical revolutionary experience gave to those leaders the chance to form a more complete theoretical concept.

The foregoing should be considered an introduction to the explanation of this curious phenomenon that has intrigued the entire world: the Cuban Revolution. It is a deed worthy of study in contemporary world history: the how and the why of a group of men who, shattered by an army enormously superior in technique and equipment, managed first to survive, soon became strong, later became stronger than the enemy in the battle zones, still later moved into new zones of combat, and finally defeated that enemy on the battlefield even though their troops were still very inferior in number.

Naturally we, who often do not show the requisite concern for theory, will not run the risk of expounding the truth of the Cuban Revolution as though we were its masters. We will simply try to give the bases from which one can interpret this truth. In fact, the Cuban Revolution must be separated into two absolutely distinct stages: that of the armed action up to January 1, 1959, and the political, economic and social transformations since then.

Even these two stages deserve further subdivisions; however, we will not take them from the viewpoint of historical exposition, but from the viewpoint of the evolution of the revolutionary thought of its leaders through their contact with the people. Incidentally, here one must introduce a general attitude toward one of the most controversial terms of the modern world: Marxism. When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist or a biologist when asked if he is a "Newtonian," or if he is a "Pasteurian".

There are truths so evident, so much a part of people's knowledge, that it is now useless to discuss them. One ought to be "Marxist' with the same naturalness with which one is "Newtonian" in physics, or "Pasteurian" in biology, considering that if facts determine new concepts, these new concepts will never divest themselves of that portion of truth possessed by the older concepts they have outdated. Such is the case, for example, of Einsteinian relativity or of Planck's "quantum" theory with respect to the discoveries of Newton; they take nothing at all away from the greatness of the learned Englishman. Thanks to Newton, physics was able to advance until it had achieved new concepts of space. The learned Englishman provided the necessary stepping-stone for them.

The advances in social and political science, as in other fields, belong to a long historical process whose links are connecting, adding up, moulding and constantly perfecting themselves. In the origin of peoples, there exists a Chinese, Arab or Hindu mathematics; today, mathematics has no frontiers. In the course of history there was a Greek Pythagoras, an Italian Galileo, an English Newton, a German Gauss, a Russian Lobachevsky, an Einstein, etc. Thus in the field of social and political sciences, from Democritus to Marx, a long series of thinkers added their original investigations and accumulated a body of experience and of doctrines.

The merit of Marx is that he suddenly produces a qualitative change in the history of social thought. He interprets history, understands its dynamic, predicts the future, but in addition to predicting it (which would satisfy his scientific obligation), he expresses a revolutionary concept: the world must not only be interpreted, it must be transformed. Man ceases to be the slave and tool of his environment and converts himself into the architect of his own destiny. At that moment Marx puts himself in a position where he becomes the necessary target of all who have a special interest in maintaining the old-similar to Democritus before him, whose work was burned by Plato and his disciples, the ideologues of Athenian slave aristocracy. Beginning with the revolutionary Marx, a political group with concrete ideas establishes itself. Basing itself on the giants, Marx and Engels, and developing through successive steps with personalities like Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and the new Soviet and Chinese rulers, it establishes a body of doctrine and, let us say, examples to follow.

The Cuban Revolution takes up Marx at the point where he himself left science to shoulder his revolutionary rifle. And it takes him up at that point, not in a revisionist spirit, of struggling against that which follows Marx, of reviving "pure" Marx, but simply because up to that point Marx, the scientist, placed himself outside of the history he studied and predicted. From then on Marx, the revolutionary, could fight within history.

We, practical revolutionaries, initiating our own struggle, simply fulfil laws foreseen by Marx, the scientist. We are simply adjusting ourselves to the predictions of the scientific Marx as we travel this road of rebellion, struggling against the old structure of power, supporting ourselves in the people for the destruction of this structure, and having the happiness of this people as the basis of our struggle. That is to say, and it is well to emphasise this once again: The laws of Marxism are present in the events of the Cuban Revolution, independently of what its leaders profess or fully know of those laws from a theoretical point of view. . .

Each of those brief historical moments in the guerrilla warfare framed distinct social concepts and distinct appreciations of the Cuban reality; they outlined the thought of the military leaders of the revolution-those who in time would also take their position as political leaders.

Before the landing of the Granma, a mentality predominated that, to some degree, might be called "subjectivist": blind confidence in a rapid popular explosion, enthusiasm and faith in the power to liquidate the Batista regime by a swift, armed uprising combined with spontaneous revolutionary strikes, and the subsequent fall of the dictator. . . .

After the landing comes the defeat, the almost total destruction of the forces, and their regrouping and integration as guerrillas. Characteristic of those few survivors, imbued with the spirit of struggle, was the understanding that to count upon spontaneous outbursts throughout the island was a falsehood, an illusion. They understood also that the fight would have to be a long one and that it would need vast campesino participation. At this point, the campesinos entered the guerrilla war for the first time.

Two events - hardly important in terms of the number of combatants, but of great psychological value - were unleashed. First, antagonism that the city people, who comprised the central guerrilla group, felt towards the campesinos was erased. The campesinos, in turn, distrusted the group and, above all, feared barbarous reprisals of the government. Two things demonstrated themselves at this stage, both very important for the interrelated factors: To the campesinos, the bestialities of the army and all the persecution would not be sufficient to put an end to the guerrilla war, even though the army was certainly capable of liquidating the campesinos' homes, crops, and families. To take refuge with those in hiding was a good solution. In turn, the guerrilla fighters learned the necessity, each time more pointed, of winning the campesino masses. . . .

[Following the failure of Batista's major assault on the Rebel Army,] the war shows a new characteristic: The correlation of forces turns toward the revolution. Within a month and a half, two small columns, one of eighty and the other of a hundred forty men, constantly surrounded and harassed by an army that mobilised thousands of soldiers, crossed the plains of Camagüey, arrived at Las Villas, and began the job of cutting the island in two.

It may seem strange, incomprehensible, and even incredible that two columns of such small size - without communications, without mobility, without the most elementary arms of modern warfare - could fight against well-trained, and above all, well-armed troops.

Basic [to the victory] is the characteristic of each group: the fewer comforts the guerrilla fighter has, the more he is initiated into the rigors of nature, the more he feels himself at home; his morale is higher, his sense of security greater. At the same time, he has learned to risk his life in every circumstance that might arise, to trust it to luck, like a tossed coin; and in general, as a final result of this kind of combat, it matters little to the individual guerrilla whether or not he survives.

The enemy soldier in the Cuban example, which we are now considering, is the junior partner of the dictator; he is the man who gets the last crumbs left to him in a long line of profiteers that begins in Wall Street and ends with him. He is disposed to defend his privileges, but he is disposed to defend them only to the degree that they are important to him. His salary and pension are worth some suffering and some dangers, but they are never worth his life; if the price of maintaining them will cost it, he is better off giving them up, that is to say, withdrawing from the face of guerrilla danger. From these two concepts and these two morals springs the difference which would cause the crisis of December 31, 1958 . . . .

Here ends the insurrection. But the men who arrive in Havana after two years of arduous struggle in the mountains and plains of Oriente, in the plains of Camagüey, and in the mountains, plains, and cities of Las Villas, are not the same men, ideologically, who landed on the beaches of Las Coloradas, or who took part in the first phase of the struggle. Their distrust of the campesino has been converted into affection and respect for his virtues; their total ignorance of life in the country has been converted into a knowledge of the needs of our guajiros; their flirtations with statistics and with theory have been fixed by the cement which is practice.

With the banner of Agrarian Reform, the execution of which begins in the Sierra Maestra, these men confront imperialism. They know that the Agrarian Reform is the basis upon which the new Cuba must build itself. They know also that the Agrarian Reform will give land to all the dispossessed, but that it will dispossess its unjust possessors; and they know that the greatest of the unjust possessors are also influential men in the State Department or in the government of the United States of America. But they have learned to conquer difficulties with bravery, with audacity and, above all, with the support of the people; and they have now seen the future of liberation that awaits us on the other side of our sufferings.
Ernesto Che Guevara On Revolutionary Medicine
Spoken: August 19, 1960 to the Cuban Militia
Source: Obra Revolucionaria, Ano 1960, No. 24 (Official English translation)
Translated: Beth Kurti
Online Version: Che Guevara Internet Archive (, 1999
Transcription/Markup: Brian Baggins

This simple celebration, another among the hundreds of public functions with which the Cuban people daily celebrate their liberty, the progress of all their revolutionary laws, and their advances along the road to complete independence, is of special interest to me.

Almost everyone knows that years ago I began my career as a doctor. And when I began as a doctor, when I began to study medicine, the majority of the concepts I have today, as a revolutionary, were absent from my store of ideals.

Like everyone, I wanted to succeed. I dreamed of becoming a famous medical research scientist; I dreamed of working indefatigably to discover something which would be used to help humanity, but which signified a personal triumph for me. I was, as we all are, a child of my environment.

After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming a famous or making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.

But I continued to be, as we all continue to be always, a child of my environment, and I wanted to help those people with my own personal efforts. I had already traveled a great deal - I was in Guatemala at the time, the Guatemala of Arbenz- and I had begun to make some notes to guide the conduct of the revolutionary doctor. I began to investigate what was needed to be a revolutionary doctor.

However, aggression broke out, the aggression unleaded by the United Fruit Company, the Department of State, Foster Dulles- in reality the same thing- and their puppet, called Castillo Armas. The aggression was successful, since the people had not achieved the level of maturity of the other Cuban people of today. One fine day, a day like any other, I took the road of exile, or at least, I took the road of flight from Guatemala, since that was not my country.

Then I realized a fundamental thing: For one to be a revolutionary doctor or to be a revolutionary at all, there must first be a revolution. Isolated individual endeavour, for all its purity of ideals, is of no use, and the desire to sacrifice an entire lifetime to the noblest of ideals serves no purpose if one works alone, solitarily, in some corner of America, fighting against adverse governments and social conditions which prevent progress. To create a revolution, one must have what there is in Cuba - the mobilization of a whole people, who learn by the use of arms and the exercise of militant unity to understand the value of arms and the value of unity.

And now we have come to the nucleus of the problem we have before us at this time. Today one finally has the right and even the duty to be, above all things, a revolutionary doctor, that is to say a man who utilizes the technical knowledge of his profession in the service of the revolution and the people. But now old questions reappear: How does one actually carry out a work of social welfare? How does one unite individual endeavour with the needs of society?

We must review again each of our lives, what we did and thought as doctors, or in any function of public health before the revolution. We must do this with profound critical zeal and arrive finally at the conclusion that almost everything we thought and felt in that past period ought to be deposited in an archive, and a new type of human being created. If each one of us expends his maximum effort towards the perfection of that new human type, it will be much easier for the people to create him and let him be the example of the new Cuba.

It is good that I emphasize for you, the inhabitants of Havana who are present here, this idea; in Cuba a new type of man is being created, whom we cannot fully appreciate here in the capital, but who is found in every corner of the country. Those of you who went to the Sierra Maestra on the twenty-sixth of July must have seen two completely unknown things. First, an army with hoes and pickaxes, an army whose greatest pride is to parade in the patriotic festivals of Oreinte with hoes and axes raised, while their military comrades march with rifles. But you must have seen something even more important. You must have seen children whose physical constitutions appeared to be those of eight or nine-year-olds, yet almost all of whom are thirteen or fourteen. They are the most authentic children of the Sierra Maestra, the most authentic offspring of hunger and misery. They are the creatures of malnutrition.

In this tiny Cuba, with its four or five television channels and hundred of radio stations, with all the advances of modern science, when those children arrived at school for the first time at night and saw the electric light bulbs, they exclaimed that the stars were very low that night. And those children, some of whom you must have seen, are learning in collective schools skills ranging from reading to trades, and even the very difficult science of becoming revolutionaries.

Those are the new humans being born in Cuba. They are being born in isolated areas, in different parts of the Sierra Maestra, and also in the cooperatives and work centres. All this has a lot to do with the theme of our talk today, the integration of the physician or any other medical worker, into the revolutionary movement. The task of educating and feeding youngsters, the task of educating the army, the task of distributing the lands of the former absentee landlords to those who laboured every day upon that same land without receiving its benefits, are accomplishments of social medicine which have been performed in Cuba.

The principle upon which the fight against disease should be based is the creation of a robust body; but not the creation of a robust body by the artistic work of a doctor upon a weak organism; rather, the creation of a robust body with the work of the whole collectivity, upon the entire social collectivity.

Some day, therefore, medicine will have to convert itself into a science that serves to prevent disease and orients the public toward carrying out its medical duties. Medicine should only intervene in cases of extreme urgency, to perform surgery or something else which lies outside the skills of the people of the new society we are creating.

The work that today is entrusted to the Ministry of Health and similar organizations is to provide public health services for the greatest possible number of persons, institute a program of preventive medicine, and orient the public to the performance of hygienic practices.

But for this task of organization, as for all the revolutionary tasks, fundamentally it is the individual who is needed. The revolution does not, as some claim, standardize the collective will and the collective initiative. On the contrary, it liberates man's individual talent. What the revolution does is orient that talent. And our task now is to orient the creative abilities of all medical professionals toward the tasks of social medicine.

We are at the end of an era, and not only here in Cuba. No matter what is hoped or said to the contrary, the form of capitalism we have known, in which we were raised, and under which we have suffered, is being defeated all over the world. The monopolies are being overthrown; collective science is coring new and important triumphs daily. In the Americas we have had the proud and devoted duty to be the vanguard of a movement of liberation which began a long time ago on the other subjugated continents, Africa and Asia. Such a profound social change demands equally profound changes in the mental structure of the people.

Individualism, in the form of the individual action of a person alone in a social milieu, must disappear in Cuba. In the future individualism ought to be the efficient utilization of the whole individual for the absolute benefit of a collectivity. It is not enough that this idea is understood today, that you all comprehend the things I am saying and are ready to think a little about the present and the past and what the future ought to be. In order to change a way of thinking, it is necessary to undergo profound internal changes and to witness profound external changes, especially in the performance of our duties and obligations to society.

Those external changes are happening in Cuba every day. One way of getting to know the Revolution and becoming aware of the energies held in reserve, so long asleep within the people, is to visit all Cuba and see the cooperatives and the work centres which are now being created. And one way of getting to the heart of the medical question is not only to visit and become acquainted with the people who make up these cooperatives and work centres, but to find out what diseases they have, what their sufferings are, what have been their chronic miseries for years, and what has been the inheritance of centuries of repression and total submission. The doctor, the medical worker, must go to the core of his new work, which is the man within the mass, the man within the collectivity.

Always, no matter what happens in the world, the doctor is extremely close to his patient and knows the innermost depths of his psyche. Because he is the one who attacks pain and mitigates it, he performs and invaluable labour of much responsibility in society.

A few months ago, here in Havana, it happened that a group of newly graduated doctors did not want to go into the country's rural areas, and demanded remuneration before they would agree to go. From the point of view of the past it is the most logical thing in the world for this to occur; at least, so it seems to me, for I can understand it perfectly. The situation brings back to me the memory of what I was and what I thought a few years ago. [My case is the] story all over again of the gladiator who rebels, the solitary fighter who wants to assure a better future, better conditions, and to make valid the need people have of him.

But what would have happened if instead of these boys, whose families generally were able to pay for their years of study, others of less fortunate means had just finished their schooling and were beginning the exercise of their profession? What would have occurred if two or three hundred peasants had emerged, let us say by magic, from the university halls?

What would have happened, simply, is that the peasants would have run, immediately and with unreserved enthusiasm, to help their brothers. They would have requested the most difficult and responsible jobs in order to demonstrate that the years of study they had received had not been given in vain. What would have happened is what will happen in six or seven years, when the new students, children of workers and peasants, receive professional degrees of all kinds.

But we must not view the future with fatalism and separate all men into either children of the working and peasant classes or counter-revolutionaries, because it is simplistic, because it is not true, and because there is nothing which educates an honorable man more than living in a revolution. None of us, none of the first group which arrived in the Granma, who settled in the Sierra Maestra, and learned to respect the peasant and the worker living with him, had a peasant or working-class background. Naturally, there were those who had had to work, who had known certain privations in childhood; but hunger, what is called real hunger, was something none of us had experienced. But we began to know it in the two long years in the Sierra Maestra. And then many things became very clear.

We, who at first punished severely anyone who touched the property of even a rich peasant or a landowner, brought ten thousand head of cattle to the Sierra one day and said to the peasants, simply, 'Eat'. And the peasants, for the first time in years and years, some for the first time in their lives, ate beef.

The respect which we had had for the sacrosanct property right to those ten thousand head of cattle was lost in the course of armed battle, and we understood perfectly that the life of a single human being is worth a million time more than all the property of the richest man on earth. And we learned it; we, who were not of the working class nor of the peasant class. And are we going to tell the four winds, we who were the privileged ones, that the rest of the people in Cuba cannot learn it also? Yes, they can learn it, and besides, the Revolution today demands that they learn it, demands that it be well understood that far more important than a good remuneration is the pride of serving one's neighbor; that much more definitive and much more lasting than all the gold that one can accumulate is the gratitude of a people. And each doctor, within the circle of his activities, can and must accumulate that valuable treasure, the gratitude of his people.

We must, then, begin to erase our old concepts and begin to draw closer and closer to the people and to be increasingly aware. We must approach them not as before. You are all going to say, 'No. I like the people. I love talking to workers and peasants, and I go here or there on Sundays to see such and such.' Everybody has done it. But we have done it practising charity, and what we have to practice today is solidarity. We should not go to the people and say, 'Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you our science, to show you your errors, your lack of culture, your ignorance of elementary things.' We should go instead with an inquiring mind and a humble spirit to learn at that great source of wisdom that is the people.

Later we will realize many times how mistaken we were in concepts that were so familiar they became part of us and were an automatic part of our thinking. Often we need to change our concepts, not only the general concepts, the social or philosophical ones, but also sometimes, our medical concepts.

We shall see that diseases need not always be treated as they are in big-city hospitals. We shall see that the doctor has to be a farmer also and plant new foods and sow, by example, the desire to consume new foods, to diversify the Cuban nutritional structure, which is so limited, so poor, in one of the richest countries in the world, agriculturally and potentially. We shall see, then, how we shall have to be, in these circumstances, a bit pedagogical- at times very pedagogical. It will be necessary to be politicians, too, and the first thing we will have to do is not to go to the people to offer them our wisdom. We must go, rather, to demonstrate that we are going to learn with the people, that together we are going to carry out that great and beautiful common experiment: the construction of a new Cuba.

Many steps have already been taken. There is a distance that cannot be measured by conventional means between that first day of January in 1959 and today. The majority of the people understood a long time ago that not only a dictator had fallen here, but also a system. Now comes the part the people must learn, that upon the ruins of a decayed system we must build the new system which will bring about the absolute happiness of the people.

I remember that some time in the early months of last year comrade Guillên arrived from Argentina. He was the same great poet he is today, although perhaps his books had been translated into a language or two less, for he is gaining new readers every day in all languages of the world. But he was the same man he is today. However, it was difficult for Guillên to read his poems here, which were popular poetry, poetry of the people, because that was during the first epoch, the epoch of prejudices. And nobody ever stopped to think that for years and years, with unswerving dedication, the poet Guillên had placed all his extraordinary poetic gift at the service of the people and at the service of the cause in which he believed. People saw him, not as the glory of Cuba, but as the representative of a political party which was taboo.

Now all that has been forgotten. We have learned that there can be no divisions due to the different points of view of certain internal structures of our country if we have a common enemy and a common goal. What we have to agree upon is whether or not we have a common enemy and whether or not we are attempting to reach a common goal.

By now we have become convinced that there definitely is a common enemy. No one looks over his shoulder to see if there is anyone who might overhear- perhaps some agent from the embassy who would transmit the information- before giving an opinion against monopolies, before saying clearly, 'Our enemy, and the enemy of all America, is the monopolistic government of the United States of America.' If now everyone knows that is the enemy, and it is coming to be known also that anyone who fights against that enemy has something in common with us, then we come to the second part. Where and now, for Cuba, what are our goals? What do went want? Do we or do we not want the happiness of the people? Are we, or are we not fighting for the total economic liberation of Cuba?

Are we or are we not struggling to be a free nation among free nations, without belonging to any military bloc, without having to consult the embassy of any great power on earth about any internal or external measure that is going to be taken here? If we plan to redistribute wealth of those who have too much in order to give it to those who have nothing; if we intend to make creative work a daily, dynamic source of all our happiness, then we have goals toward which to work. And anyone who has the same goals is our friend. If he has other concepts besides, if he belongs to some organization or other, those are minor matters.

In moments of great danger, in moments of great tensions and great creations, what count are great enemies and great goals. If we are already agreed, if we all know now where we are going - and let him grieve to whom it will cause grief- then we have to begin our work.

I was telling you that to be a revolutionary you have first to have a revolution. We already have it. Next, you have to know the people with whom you are going to work. I think that we are not yet well acquainted, that we still have to travel a while on that road. You ask me what are the vehicles for getting to know the people beside the vehicle of living in the cooperatives and working in them. Not everyone can do this, and there are many places where the presence of a medical worker is very important. I would say that the revolutionary militias are one of the great manifestations of the solidarity of the Cuban people. Militias now give a new function to the doctor and prepare him for what was, until a short time ago, a sad and almost fatal reality for Cuba, namely, that we are going to be the victim of an armed attack of great breadth.

I ought to warn you that the doctor, in the function of soldier and revolutionary, should always be a doctor. You should not commit the same error which we committed in the Sierra. Or maybe it was not an error, but all the medical comrades of that period know about it. It seemed dishonorable to us to remain at the side of a wounded man or a sick one, and we looked for any way possible of grabbing a rifle and going to prove on the battlefront what we could do.

Now the conditions are different, and the new armies which are being formed to defend the country must be armies with different tactics. The doctor will have an enormous importance within the plan of the new army. He must continue being a doctor, which is one of the most beautiful tasks there is and one of the most important in a war. And not only the doctor, but also the nurses, laboratory technicians, all those who dedicate themselves to this very human profession, are of he utmost importance.

Although we know of latent danger and are preparing ourselves to repel the aggression which still exists in the atmosphere, we must stop thinking about it. If we make war preparations the centre of our concern, we will not be able to devote ourselves to creative work. All the work and all the capital invested in preparing for a military action is wasted work and wasted money. Unfortunately, we have to do it, because there are others who are preparing themselves. But it is- and I say this in all honesty, on my honour as a soldier- the truth is that the outgoing money which most saddens me as I watch it leave the vault of the National Bank is the money that is going to pay for some weapon.

Nevertheless, the militias have a function in peacetime; the militias should be, in populous centres, the tool which unifies the people. An extreme solidarity should be practiced, as I have been told it is practised in the militias of the doctors. In time of danger they should go immediately to solve the problems of the poor people of Cuba. But the militias offer also an opportunity to live together, joined and made equal by a uniform, with men of all social classes of Cuba.

If we medical workers- and permit me to use once again a title which I had forgotten some time ago- are successful, if we use this new weapon of solidarity, if we know the goals, know the enemy, and know the direction we have to take, then all that is left for us to know is the part of the way to be covered each day. And that part no one can show us; that part is the private journey of each individual. It is what he will do every day, what he will gather from his individual experience, and what he will give of himself in the exercise of his profession, dedicated to the well-being of the people.

Now that we have all the elements for our march toward the future, let us remember the advice of Martí. Although at this moment I am ignoring it, one should follow it constantly, "The best way of telling is doing." Let us march, then, toward Cuba's future.
Ernesto Che Guevara Abstract of A New Old Interview--Recorded: April 18, 1959 
Publisher: Shih-chieh Chih-shih (World Knowledge), June 5, 1959
Translated: William E. Ratliff in the Hispanic American Historical Review of August, 1966.
Transcription/Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Ernesto Che Guevara Internet Archive ( 2002

Two Chinese journalists, K'ung Mai and Ping An, interviewed Che Guevara at his home on April 18, 1959, or, as they put it, on "the 108th evening after the victory of the revolution. " Peking radio and the New China News Agency in London gave summaries and a few direct quotations from it, though the interview was not reported in any of Peking's three leading newspapers. The Agrarian Reform, which Guevara speaks about in the future tense, became law on May 17, 1959, i. e., in the interval between the granting of the interview and its publication in China.


Reporter: Will you please tell us how Cuba achieved her revolutionary victory?

Guevara: Certainly. Let us begin at the time I joined the 26th of July Movement in Mexico. Before the dangerous crossing on the Granma the views on society of the members of this organisation were very different. I remember, in a frank discussion within our family in Mexico, I suggested we ought to propose a revolutionary program to the Cuban people. I have never forgotten how one of the participants in the attack on the Moncada army camp responded at that time. He said to me: "Our action is very simple. What we want to do is to initiate a coup d 'etat. Batista pulled off a coup and in only one morning took over the government. We must make another coup and expel him from power… Batista has made a hundred concessions to the Americans, and we will make one hundred and one." At that time I argued with him, saying that we had to make a coup on the basis of principle and yet at the same time understand clearly what we would do after taking over the government. That was the thinking of a member of the first stage of the 26th of July Movement. Those who held the same view and did not change left our revolutionary movement later and adopted another path.

From that time on, the small organisation that later made the crossing on the Granma encountered repeated difficulties. Besides the never-ending suppression by the Mexican authorities, there was also a series of internal problems, like those people who were adventurous in the beginning but later used this pretext and that to break away from the military expedition. Finally at the time of the crossing on the Granma there remained only eighty-two men in the organisation. The adventurous thought of that time was the first and only catastrophe encountered within the organisation during the process of starting the uprising. We suffered from the blow. But we gathered together again in the Sierra Maestra. For many months the manner of our life in the mountains was most irregular. We climbed from one mountain peak to another, in a drought, without a drop of water. Merely to survive was extremely difficult.

The peasants who had to endure the persecution of Batista's military units gradually began to change their attitude toward us. They fled to us for refuge to participate in our guerrilla units. In this way our rank and file changed from city people to peasants. At that same time, as the peasants began to participate in the armed struggle for freedom of rights and social justice, we put forth a correct slogan -land reform. This slogan mobilised the oppressed Cuban masses to come forward and fight to seize the land. From this time on the first great social plan was determined, and it later became the banner and primary spearhead of our movement.

It was at just this time that a tragedy occurred in Santiago de Cuba; our Comrade Frank Pa?s was killed. This produced a turning point in our revolutionary movement. The enraged people of Santiago on their own poured into the streets and called for the first politically oriented general strike. Even though the strike did not have a leader , it paralysed the whole of Oriente Province. The dictatorial government suppressed the incident. This movement, however, caused us to understand that working class participation in the struggle to achieve freedom was absolutely essential! We then began to carry out secret work among the workers, in preparation for another general strike, to help the Rebel Army seize the government.

The victorious and bold secret activities of the Rebel Army shook the whole country; all of the people were stirred up, leading to the general strike on April 9 last year. But the strike failed because of a lack of contact between the leaders and the working masses. Experience taught the leaders of the 26th of .July Movement a valuable truth: the revolution must not belong to this or that specific clique, it must be the undertaking of the whole body of the Cuban people. This conclusion inspired the members of the movement to work their hardest, both on the plains and in the mountains. At this time we began to educate our forces in revolutionary theory and doctrine. This all showed that the rebel movement had already grown and was even beginning to achieve political maturity....

Every person in the Rebel Army remembered his basic duties in the Sierra Maestra and other areas: to improve the status of the peasants, to participate in the struggle to seize land, and to build schools. Agrarian law was tried for the first time; using revolutionary methods we confiscated the extensive possessions of the officials of the dictatorial government and distributed to the peasants all of the state-held land in the area. At this time there rose up a peasant movement, closely connected to the land, with land reform as its banner....

To carry out thoroughly the law providing for the abolition of the latifundia system will be the concern of the peasant masses themselves. The present State Constitution provides for mandatory monetary compensation whenever land is taken away, and land reform under it will be both sluggish and difficult. Now after the victory of the revolution, the peasants who have achieved their freedom must rise up in collective action and democratically demand the abolition of the latifundia system and the carrying out of a true and extensive land reform.

Reporter: What problems does the Cuban Revolution now face, and what are its current responsibilities?

Guevara: The first difficulty is that our new actions must be engaged in on the old foundations. Cuba's antipeople regime and army are already destroyed, but the dictatorial social system and economic foundations have not yet been abolished. Some of the old people are still working within the national structure. In order to protect the fruits of the revolutionary victory and to enable the unending development of the revolution we need to take another step forward in our work to rectify and strengthen the government. Second, what the new government took over was a rundown mess. When Batista fled he cleaned out the national treasury, leaving serious difficulties in the national finances.... Third, Cuba's land system is one in which latifundistas hold large amounts of land, while at the same time many people are unemployed.... Fourth, there is still racial discrimination in our society which is not beneficial to efforts to achieve the internal unification of the people. Fifth, our house rents are the highest in the world; a family frequently has to pay over a third of its income for rent. To sum up, the reform of the foundations of the economy of the Cuban society is very difficult and will take a long time.

In establishing the order of society and in democratising the national life, the new government has adopted many positive measures. We have exerted great effort to restore the national economy. For example, the government has passed a law lowering rents by fifty percent. Yesterday a law regulating beaches was passed to cancel the privileges of a small number of people who occupy the land and the seashores....

Most important is the land reform law, which will soon be promulgated. Moreover. we will found a National Land Reform Institute. Our land reform here is not yet very penetrating; it is not as thorough as the one in China. Yet it must be considered the most progressive in Latin America....

Reporter: How will Cuba struggle against domestic and foreign reactionary enemies? What are the prospects of the revolution ?

Guevara: The Cuban Revolution is not a class revolution, but a liberation movement that has overthrown a dictatorial, tyrannical government. The people detested the American-supported Batista dictatorial government from the bottoms of their hearts and so rose up and overthrew it. The revolutionary government has received the broad support of all strata of people because its economic measures have taken care of the requirements of all and have gradually improved the livelihood of the people. The only enemies remaining in the country are the latifundistas and the reactionary bourgeoisie. They oppose the land reform that goes against their own interests. These internal reactionary forces may get in league with the developing provocation’s of the foreign reactionary forces and attack the revolutionary government.

The only foreign enemies who oppose the Cuban Revolution are the people who monopolise capital and who have representatives in the United States State Department. The victory and continuous development of the Cuban Revolution has caused these people to panic. They do not willingly accept defeat and are doing everything possible to maintain their control over the Cuban government and economy and to block the great influence of the Cuban Revolution on the people's struggles in the other Latin American countries....

Our revolution has set an example for every other country in Latin America. The experience and lessons of our revolution have caused the mere talk of the coffee houses to be dispersed like smoke. We have proved that an uprising can begin even when there is only a small group of fearless men with a resolute will; that it is only necessary to gain the support of the people who can then compete with, and in the end defeat, the regular disciplined army of the government. It is also necessary to carry out a land reform. This is another experience that our Latin American brothers ought to absorb. On the economic front and in agricultural structure they are at the same stage as we are.

The present indications are very clear that they are now preparing to intervene in Cuba and destroy the Cuban Revolution. The evil foreign enemies have an old method. First they begin a political offensive, propagandising widely and saying that the Cuban people oppose Communism. These false democratic leaders say that the United States cannot allow a Communist country on its coastline. At the same time they intensify their economic attack and cause Cuba to fall into economic difficulties. Later they will look for a pretext to create some kind of dispute and then utilise certain international organisations they control to carry out intervention against the Cuban people. We do not have to fear an attack from some small neighbouring dictatorial country, but from a certain large country, using certain international organisations and a certain kind of pretext in order to intervene and undermine the Cuban Revolution....
May Day Celebration (1961): Cuba is a Socialist Nation
Spoken: May 1, 1961
Source: Havana International Service in Spanish 0215 GMT 2 May 1961--E
Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Castro Internet Archive ( 2000

Distinguished visitors from Latin American and the entire world, combatants of the armed forces of the people, workers: We have had 14 and a half hours of parading. (Chanting) I think that only a people imbued with infinite enthusiasm is capable of enduring such tests. Nevertheless, I will try to be as brief as possible (Chanting)

We are very happy over this attitude by the people. I believe that today we should outline the course to follow, analyze a little what we have done up to now, and see at what point in our history we are, and what we have ahead. We have all had a chance to see the parade. Maybe we who are on this platform could appreciate it better than you in the square, maybe still better than those who have paraded. This May Day tells a lot, it tells a lot about what the revolution has been so far, what it has achieved so far; but maybe it does not tell us as much as it tells our visitors.

We have been witnesses, all of us Cubans, of every step taken by the revolution, so maybe we cannot realize how much we have advanced as fully as can be understood by visitors, particularly those visitors from Latin America, where today they are still living in a world very similar to the one we lived in yesterday. It is as if they were suddenly transported from the past to the present of our revolution, with all its extraordinary progress as compared to the past. We do not intend tonight to stress the merit of what we have done. We merely want to locate ourselves at the point where we are at the present.

We had a chance today to see genuine results of the revolution on this May Day, so different from the May Days of the past. Formerly that date was the occasion for each sector of labor to set forth its demands, its aspirations for improvement, to men who were deaf to the working class interests, men who could not even accede to those basic demands because they did not govern for the people, for the workers, for the peasants, or for the humble; they governed solely for the privileged, the dominant economic interests. Doing anything for the people would have meant harming the interests that they represented, and so they could not accede to any just demand from the people. The May Day parades of those days marked the complaints and protest of the workers.

How different today's parade has been! How different even from the first parades after the revolution triumphed. Today's parade shows us how much we have advanced. The workers (Light applause) now do not have to submit themselves to those trials; the workers now do not have to implore deaf executives; the workers now are not subject to the domination of any exploiting class; the workers no longer live in a country run by men serving exploiting interests. The workers know now that everything the revolution does, everything the government does or can do, has one goal: helping the workers, helping the people. (Applause)

Otherwise, there would be no explanation for the spontaneous sentiment of support for the Revolutionary Government, that overflowing good will that every man and woman has expressed today. (Applause)

Fruits of the revolution are seen everywhere. The first to parade today were the children of the Camilo Cienfuegos school center. We saw the Pioneers parade by with the smile of hope, confidence, and affection. We saw the young rebels parade by. We saw the women of the federation go by. We saw children from numberless schools created by the revolution parade. We saw 1,000 students from the 600 sugar-cane cooperatives who are studying artificial insemination here in the capital. We saw young people, humble people, parade with their uniforms of the school center where they are learning to be diplomatic representatives of the future.

We saw the pupils of the schools for young peasants of the Zapata swamps parade by, the swamps that the mercenaries chose for their attack. We saw thousands and thousands of peasants who are studying in the capital and who come from distant mountain areas or from cane cooperatives or from people's farms parade. We saw the young girls studying for children's club work. And here everyone of these groups staged scenes that are worthy of praise. And we saw also what is going into the rural areas. The volunteer teachers paraded and also representatives of the 100,000 young people on their way to the interior to wipe out illiteracy. Where does this strength come from? It comes from the people, and it is devoted to the people in return.

These young people are truly children of the people. When we saw them today writing Long Live Our Socialist Revolution with their formations we thought how hard it would have been to have all this without a revolution; how hard for any of these children from the mountains to have paraded here today, or any of these young people from the rural areas to have a chance to get to know the capital, or to study in any of these schools, or to parade with the joy and pride shown here today, or to march with the faith in the future shown today, because schools, university professions, art, culture, and honors were never for the children of poor families, in town or in the country. They were never for the peasant of the remote rural areas; they were never for the poor young fellow, black or white, or our countryside and cities.

Art, culture, university professions, opportunities, honors, elegant clothes were only the privilege of a small minority, a minority represented today with that grace and humor shown by some worker federations in their imitations of the rich. It is astounding to think that today more than 20,000 athletes paraded, if one remembers that we are just beginning. And this, without touching on the most marvelous thing we had a chance to see today, that is, this armed nation, this united people, which came to attend these ceremonies.

How would it have been possible without a revolution? How can one compare this present with the past? How can one avoid emotion on seeing endless lines of workers, athletes, and militiamen parade by? At times all went to intermingled. After all, workers, athletes, and soldiers are the same thing. Anybody could understand why our people must emerge victorious in any battle. We noted the many women in the ranks of the federations. The men were in the artillery units, mortar units, ack-ack units, or militia battalions. The women were the wives and sisters and sweethearts of the militiamen who marched by later in the battalions and those young men of the basic secondary schools, the Pioneers who paraded by were their sons.

And so one can see today the unity of the humble people who are fighting for the poor. Workers of every profession; manual laborers and intellectual workers; all were marching together, the writer, artist, actor, announcer, doctor, nurse, clinical employer. Marching together in great numbers under the flag of the national education workers union were the teachers, employees of the Education Ministry. (Applause).

Today we have had a chance to see everything worthwhile in our country, everything produced in our country. We have understood better than ever that there are two classes of citizens, or rather there were two classes of citizens; the citizens who worked, produced, and created and the citizens who lived without working or producing. These latter were parasites. (Applause)

In this young, fervent nation, who did not parade today, who could not parade here today? The parasites! Today the working people paraded, everybody who produces with his hands or his brain. I do not mean that workers who did not have a chance to parade were parasites, because they had to take care of their children, or were ill, or even just did not want to parade today. I am speaking only of those who were not represented here because they could not be represented by those who produce.

This is the people, the true people. He who lives as a parasite does not belong to the people. Only the invalid, the sick, the old, and children are entitled to live without working and are entitled to have us work for them and to care for them, and from the work of everyone they can be benefited. For the children, the old, the invalid, and the sick, we have the duty to work, all of us. (Applause) What no moral law will be able to justify ever is for the people to work for the parasites. (Applause)

Those who paraded today were the working people who will never resign themselves to work for the parasites. (Applause) In this manner our national community has understood what the revolution is, and has understood clearly what the meaning of a revolution is in which a nation gets rid of parasites from the outside and those inside. (Applause) We remember that because of the nationalization of the largest industries of the nation, and just before the U.S. factories were nationalized, some asked: Was not this factory a Cuban factory? Why should a Cuban factory be nationalized? Well, such a factory did not belong to the people, it belonged to some man. Now they belong to the nation. (Applause)

New Concept of Motherland

It was the custom to talk about the motherland; there were some who had a wrong idea of the motherland. There was the motherland of the privileged ones, of a man who has a large house, while the others live in hovels. What motherland did you have in mind, sir? A motherland where a small group lives from the work of others? A motherland of the barefoot child who is asking for alms on the street? What kind of motherland is this? A motherland which belonged to a small minority? Or the motherland of today? The motherland of today where we have won the right to direct our destiny, where we have learned to decide our destiny, a motherland which will be, now and forever--as Marti wanted it--for the well-being of everyone and not a motherland for few!

The motherland will be a place where such injustices will be eliminated, now we can have the real concept of motherland. We are willing to die for a motherland which belongs to all Cubans. (Applause) That is why the exploiting classes could not have the real concept of motherland. For them, the motherland was a privilege by which they took advantage of the work of others. That is why when a Yankee monopolist (shouts of Out!) when a leader, or a member of the U.S. ruling circles, talks about the motherland, they refer to the motherland of monopolies, of the large banking monopolies. And when they talk about the motherland, they are thinking about sending the Negroes of the South, the workers, to be killed to defend the motherland of monopolies. (Applause)

What kind of morality and what reason and what right do they have to make a Negro die to defend the monopolies, the factories, and the mines of the dominating classes? What right have they to send the Puerto Rican of Latin blood, of Latin tradition, to the battlefields to defend the policy of large capitalists and monopolies? This concept of motherland and this danger to their security to which they refer is the danger of the monopolies. You can understand what concept they have of morality, law, and rights, to send the Negroes of the South and the Puerto Ricans to the battlefields to fight for them. This is their concept of motherland. That is why the people receive the real concept of motherland only when the interests of the privileged classes are liquidated, and when a nation with its wealth becomes a nation for everyone, the wealth for everyone, and opportunity and happiness for everybody.

This happiness now belongs to those youths who paraded, and the families who know that their children can have a school, receive scholarships, and go to the best universities abroad, a privilege enjoyed only by the richest families. And today any family, regardless of how poor, has the opportunity to send its children to schools in the nation and abroad. Any family knows that thanks to the revolution its children have all the opportunities which formerly belonged only to the rich. A nation which works for itself, whether it be in defense of or in achieving wealth can achieve what the minorities cannot. (Applause)

The revolution can win the people with its fervor and enthusiasm. The revolution can utilize all intelligence and creative spirit and take everyone toward a path of well-being and progress. The people who spent 15 hours here today are the same people who formerly could not spend even one hour at a public rally, or who were paid or forced to go to a public rally. These enthusiastic people are the discouraged people of yesterday. The difference is that yesterday they worked for others and today they work for themselves. (Applause)

Fight Against Imperialism

Think of the men who died in recent battles and decide whether a single drop of blood was worth being lost to defend the past. Consider that these workers and youths, the children of workers, fell 10 or 12 days ago to defend what we have seen today. They fell to defend this enthusiasm, this hope, and this joy of today. That is why when today we saw a happy face or a smile full of hope, we though that each smile of today was a flower over the grave of the fallen hero.

It was like giving thanks to those who gave their lives in the battle against imperialism. Without them we would not have had the May Day parade. We would not have been able to see what passed in front of us today. What would have happened to our antiaircraft batteries, what would have happened to our cannons and our soldiers who marched here? What would have happened to our workers, wives, sisters, and factories? What would have happened if imperialism had established even a single beachhead on our territory? What would have happened if the imperialists succeeded in taking one part of our territory, and from there, with Yankee bombs, machineguns, and planes, would have launched an armed attack against us.

Let us not talk about what would have happened if the imperialist had won. There is no sadder picture than a defeated revolution. The uprising of slaves in Rome [Spartacus uprising] and their defeat should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is. The Commune of Paris should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is. History tells us that a defeated revolution must pay the victors in blood. The victors not only collect the past debts but also try to collect future debts. But under certain circumstances, it is impossible to crush a revolution.

It has never happened in history that a revolutionary people who have really taken over power have been defeated. What would have happened this May Day if imperialism had won its game? That is why we were thinking of all we owed those who fell. That is why we were thinking that every smile today was like a tribute to those who made possible this hopeful day. The blood that was shed was the blood of workers and peasants, the blood of humble sons of the people, not blood of land- owners, millionaires, thieves, criminals, or exploiters. The blood shed was the blood of the exploited of yesterday, the free men of today. The blood shed was humble, honest, working, creative blood--the blood of patriots not the blood of mercenaries. It was the blood of militiamen who voluntarily came to defend the revolution. It was spontaneously offered blood to defend an ideal.

This ideal was not the ideal with which the Yankees inclucated their mercenaries. It was not an ideal of parrots. It was not an ideal of the tongue, but of the heart. It was not an ideal of those who came to recover their lost wealth. It was not the ideal of those who always lived at the expense of others. It was not the ideal of those who sell their soul for the gold of a powerful empire.

It was the ideal of the peasant who does not want to lose his land, the Negro who does not want discrimination, the humble, those who never lived from the sweat of others, and of those who never robbed from others, an ideal that a poor man of the people can feel.

The revolution is all for him because he was mistreated and humilated. He defends the revolution because the revolution is his life. Before sacrificing this he prefers to lose his life. He knows that he may fall, but never in vain, and that the cause for which he falls will serve for millions of his brothers.

Humble, honest blood was shed by the fatherland in the struggle against the mercenaires of imperialism. But what blood, what men did imperialism send here to establish that beachhead, to bleed our revolution dry, to destroy our achievements, to burn our cane? It was to be a war of destruction.

U.S. Planned Aggression

We can tell the people right here that at the same instant that three of our airports were being bombed, the Yankee agencies were telling the world that our airports had been attacked by planes from our own airforce. They coldbloodedly bombed our nation and told the world that the bombing was done by Cuban pilots with Cuban planes. This was done with planes on which they painted our insignia.

If nothing else, this deed should be enough to demonstrate how miserable are the actions of imperialism. It should be enough for us to realize what Yankee imperialism really is and what its press and its government is. It is possible that millions have heard only the report that Cuban planes piloted by defectors had attacked our airports. This was planned, because the imperialist studied the plan to bomb and the way to deceive the entire world. This should serve to keep us alert and to understand that the imperialists are capable of the most monstrous lies to cover the most monstrous deeds.

U.S. leaders publicly confessed their participation--without any explanation which they owe the world for the statements made by Kennedy that they would never would participate in aggression--and save us the effort of finding proof. Who were those who fought against those workers and peasants? We will explain.

Privileged Class Mercenaries

Of the first mercenaries captured, we can say that, without counting ships' crews, there were nearly 1,000 prisoners. Among that thousand we have the following: About 800 came from well-to-do families. They had a total of 27,556 caballerias of land, 9,666 houses, 70 industries, 10 sugar centrals, 2 banks, and 5 mines. So 800 out of 1,000 had all that. Moreover, many belonged to exclusive clubs and many were former soldiers for Batista.

Remember, during the prisoner interrogation that I asked who was a cane cutter and only one said that he had cut cane once. That is the social composition of the invaders.

We are sure that if we ask all those here how many owned sugar centrals, there would not be even one. If we asked the combatants who died, members of the milita or soldiers of the revolutionary army, if we compared the wealth of those who fell, surely there would be no land, no banks, no sugar centrals, or the like listed. And some of the shameless invaders said that they came to fight for ideals!

The invaders came to fight for free enterprise! Imagine, at this time for an idiot to come here to say that he fought for free enterprise! As if this people did not know what free enterprise is! It was slums, unemployment, begging. One hundred thousand families working the land to turn over 25 percent of their production to shareholders who never saw that land. How can they come to speak about free enterprise to a country where there was unemployment, illiteracy and where one had to beg to get into a hospital? The people knew that free enterprise was social clubs, and bathing in mud for the children because the beaches were fenced. The beaches were for the wealthy. One could never dream of going to Varadero, for that was for a few wealthy families. One could never dream of having a son study law. That was only for the privileged. A worker could never dream that his son might become a teacher or lawyer. Ninety percent of the sons of workers, or at least 75 percent of those who lived in places were there were no secondary schools had no chance to send their children to study. Not even in a dream could the daughters of the peasants dance here or parade here.

How can one of those who never knew labor say that he came to shed the people's blood to defend free enterprise? (Chanting, applause) And they did not stop at their fathers' mention of free enterprise; they included the United Fruit and the electrical company. Those were not free enterprises; they were monopolies. So when they came here they were not fighting for free enterprise; they came for the monopolies, for monopolies do not want free enterprise. They were defending the monopolistic interests of the Yankees here and abroad. How can they tell the Cuban people that they were coming to defend free enterprise?

They also say that they came to defend the 1940 constitution. How curious! That constitution was being torn into bits with the complicity of the U.S. Embassy, the reactionary church, and the politicians. So it is cynical for this group of privileged and Batista-type tyrants, criminals, and torturers to tell the people that they were coming to defend the constitution of 1940, which has been advanced by the Revolutionary Government.

Who represented you in the congress? The corrupt politicians, the rich, the big landholders. There was only a handful of workers in congress. They were always in the minority. The means of disseminating ideas were all in the hands of the rich. It was hard to learn about the horrible conditions because of that. The death of thousands of children for lack of medicine and doctors did not bother the free enterprise men. There was never an agrarian reform law because congress was in the hands of the rich. Even though the constitution said the land must be returned to the Cubans, and even though in 1959 the 1940 constitution had been in effect 19 years, no law took land from the Yankee monopolies, which had huge expanses.

Up to 200,000 hectares were held by some foreign monopolies. The constitution which said that land must be returned to the Cubans and the law setting a limit on landholdings were never enforced. There were teachers without employment, while children lacked schooling.

The Batista group took over through a coup sponsored by imperialism and the exploiting class; they needed such a man as Batista, so that the rural guard would serve the landowners against the peasants. (Applause) It did not matter to them that the nation was being plundered. The landowners did not give anybody modern weapons to fight that regime; they gave arms to that bloody regime itself, not caring about how it violated the constitution. The Yankees did not give arms to anybody to fight Batista. None of the fine little gentlemen fought, because they still had their Cadillacs; they had a regime that guaranteed their frivolous life. They cared nothing about politics, for they had a very good life. Now that their privileges have ended, they found a Yankee government willing to give them arms to come here and shed the blood of workers and peasants. (Applause)

Those gentlemen spoke of elections. What elections did they want? The ones of the corrupt politicians who bought votes? Those elections in which a poor person had to turn over his ballot in return for work? Those fake elections that were just a means for the exploiting class to stay in power? Those elections which were not a military coup? There are many pseudo-democracies in Latin America; what laws have they passed for the peasants? Where is nationalization of industry? Where is their agarian reform? (Applause)

A revolution expressing the will of the people is an election everyday, not every four years; it is a constant meeting with the people, like this meeting. The old politicians could never have gathered as many votes as there are people here tonight to support the revolution. Revolution means a thorough change.

What do they want? Elections with pictures on the posts. The revolution has changed the conception of pseudo-democracy for direct government by the people.

No Time for Elections

There had to be a period for abolition of the privileges. Do the people have time now for elections? No! What were the political parties? Just an expression of class interests. Here there is just one class, the humble; that class is in power, and so it is not interested in the ambition of an exploiting minority to get back in power. Those people would have no chance at all in an election. The revolution has no time to waste in such foolishness. There is no chance for the exploiting class to regain power. The revolution and the people know that the revolution expressed their will; the revolution does not come to power with Yankee arms. It comes to power through the will of the people fighting against arms of all kinds, Yankee arms.

The revolution keeps in power through the people. What are the people interested in? In having the revolution go ahead without losing a minute. (Applause) Can any government in America claim to have more popular support than this one? Why should democracy be the pedantic, false democracy of the others, rather than this direct expression of the will of the people? The people go to die fighting instead of going to a poll to scratch names on paper. The revolution has given every citizen a weapon, a weapon to every man who wanted to enter the militia. So some fool comes along to ask if, since we have a majority why don't we hold elections? Because the people do not care to please fools and fine little gentlemen! The people are interested in moving forward.

They have no time to waste. The people must spend tremendous amounts of energy in preparing to meet aggression, when everybody knows we want to be building schools, houses, and factories. We are not warlike. The Yankees spend half of their budget on armaments; we are not warlike. We are obliged to spend that energy, because of the imperialists. We have no expansionist ambitions. We do not want to exploit any worker of another county. We are not interested in aggressive plans; we have been forced to have tanks, planes, machineguns, and a military force to defend ourselves.

The recent invasion shows how right we were to arm. At Playa Giron, they came to kill peasants and workers. Imperialism forced us to arm for defense. We have been forced to put energy and material and resources into that, although we would prefer to put them into more schools, so that in future parades there can be more athletes and school children. If our people were not armed, they could not crush mercenaries coming with modern equipment.

The imperialists would have hurled themselves on us long ago if we had not been armed. But we prefer to die rather than surrender the country we have now. They know that. They know they will meet resistance, and so the aggressive circles of imperialism have to stop and think.

So we are forced, by the threat of aggression to proclaim to the four corners of the world: All the peoples of American should rise in indignation after the statement that a country can intervene in another just because the first is strong. Such a policy would mean that the powerful neighbor takes the right to intervene to keep a people from governing themselves according to their own choice. It is inconceivable that there should be such miserable governments; after the aggression that killed peasants and workers, it is inconceivable that they have even begun a policy of breaking with Cuba, instead of breaking with Somoza, Guatemala, or the government in Washington that pays for planes, tanks, and arms to come her and kill peasants.

The Costa Rican government has said that, if mercenaries are executed, it will break with us. It has no reason at all for a break, so it seeks some pretext, and hits on the idea of if there are executions. That government, in insolent intervention, stated its disposal to break with us if any of the mercenaries are executed. It does not break with Kennedy who organized the expedition, or with Guatemala, or Nicaragua. We did not break with it; we merely answered the note.

Those who promote the policy of isolating Cuba at the orders of imperialism are miserable traitors to the interests and feelings of America. (Applause) These facts show us the rotten politics that prevail in many Latin American countries, and how the Cuban revolution has turned those corrupt forms upside down to establish new forms in this country.

New Socialist Constitution

To those who talk to us about the 1940 constitution, we say that the 1940 constitution is already too outdated and old for us. We have advanced too far for that short section of the 1940 constitution that was good for its time but which was never carried out. That constitution has been left behind by this revolution, which, as we have said, is a socialist revolution. We must talk of a new constitution, yes, a new constitution, but not a bourgeois constitution, not a constitution corresponding to the domination of certain classes by exploiting classes, but a constitution corresponding to a new social system without the exploitation of many by man. That new social system is called socialism, and this constitution will therefore be a socialist constitution.

Kennedy's Protests

If Mr. Kennedy does not like socialism, well we do not like imperialism! We do not like capitalism! We have as much right to protest over the existence of an imperialist-capitalist regime 90 miles from our coast as he feels he has to protect over the existence of a socialist regime 90 miles from his coast. Now then, we would not think of protesting over that, because that is the business of the people of the United States. It would be absurd for us to try to tell the people of the United States what system of government they must have, for in that case we would be considering that the United States is not a sovereign nation and that we have rights over the domestic life of the United States.

Rights do not come from size. Right does not come from one country being bigger than another. That does not matter. We have only limited territory, a small nation, but our right is as respectable as that of any country, regardless of its size. It does not occur to us to tell the people of the United States what system of government they must have. Therefore it is absurd for Mr. Kennedy to take it into his head to tell us what kind of government he wants us to have here. That is absurd. It occurs to Mr. Kennedy to do that only because he does not have a clear concept of international law or sovereignty. Who had those notions before Kennedy? Hitler and Mussolini!

They spoke the same language of force; it is the fascist language. We heard it in the years before Germany's attack on Czechoslovakia. Hitler split it up because it was governed by a reactionary government. The bourgeoisie, reactionary and profascist, afraid of the advance of a socialist system, preferred even domination by Hitler. We heard that language on the eve of the invasion of Denmark, Belgium, Poland, and so forth. It is the right of might. This is the only right Kennedy advances in claiming the right to interfere in our country.

This is a socialist regime, yes! Yes, this is a socialist regime. It is here, but the fault is not ours, the blame belongs to Columbus, the English colonizers, the Spanish colonizers. The people of the U.S. will someday get tired.

No Threat to U.S.

The U.S. Government says that a socialist regime here threatens U.S. security. But what threatens the security of the North American people is the aggressive policy of the warmongers of the United States. What threatens the security of the North American family and people is the violence, that aggressive policy, that policy that ignores the sovereignty and the rights of other peoples. The one who is threatening the security of the United States is Kennedy, with that aggressive policy. That aggressive policy can give rise to a world war; and that world war can cost the lives of tens of millions of North Americans. Therefore, the one who threatens the security of the United States is not the Cuban Revolutionary Government but the aggressor and aggressive government of the United States.

We do not endanger the security of a single North American. We do not endanger the life or security of a single North American family. We, making cooperatives, agrarian reform, people's ranches, houses, schools, literacy campaigns, and sending thousands and thousands of teachers to the interior, building hospitals, sending doctors, giving scholarships, building factories, increasing the productive capacity of our country, creating public beaches, converting fortresses into schools, and give the people the right to a better future--we do not endanger a single U.S. family or a single U.S. citizen.

The ones who endangers the lives of millions of families, of tens of millions of North American are those who are playing with atomic war. It is those who, as General Cardenas said, are playing with the possibility of New York becoming a Hiroshima. The ones who are playing with atomic war, with their aggressive war, with their policy that violated the rights of people are the ones who are endangering the security of the North American nation, the security of the lives of unknown millions of North Americans.

What do the monopolists fear? Why do they say that they are not secure with the socialist revolution nearby. They are, as Khrushchev says, proving that they know their system is inferior. They do not even believe in their own system. Why don't they leave us alone when all our government wants is peace.

U.S. Refusal to Negotiate

Recently, our government issued a statement that we were willing to negotiate. Why? Because we are afraid? No! We are convinced that they fear the revolution more than we fear them. They have a mentality that does not permit them to sleep when they know that there is a revolution nearby.

Fear? No one has fear here. The people who struggle for their liberty are never frightened. The frightened ones are the wealthy. The ones who have been wealthy. We are not interested in having imperialism commit suicide at our expense. They do not care about the death of Negroes, Puerto Ricans, or Americans. But we do care about every Cuban life. We are interested in peace.

We are ready to negotiate. They say that economic conditions can be discussed, but no communism. Well, where did they get the idea we would discuss that? We would discuss economic problems. But we are not even ready to admit that these talks so much as brush a petal of a rose here. The Cuban people are capable of establishing the regime they want there. We have never been thought of the possibility of discussing our regime. We will discuss only things that will not effect our sovereignty. We do want to negotiate on behalf of peace.

Those who do not worry about taking American people to war are being led by emotions. We have no fear. If they think so, let them get over that idea. No Cuban is afraid. If they think we will discuss internal politics, let them forget that, for one one will do that here. Let them discuss all topics they want to discuss. We discussed things with invaders, did we not? Well, we will debate with anyone. We are willing to talk. We are willing to debate. But does that mean we are aching to negotiate? Of course not. We are just taking a sensible step. Does that mean the revolution will slow down? Of course not! We will continue, picking up speed as we can.

Kill Foreign Invaders

If they want to say that that they do not care about the sovereignty of countries, let them. But we are ready to defend as well as to negotiate. We are ready to fire a million shots at the first Yankee parachutist that tries to land here. From the first moment they land on our soil they can be sure that they have begun the most difficult war they ever heard of. That war would be the beginning of the end for imperialism. With the same willingness to negotiate, we will fight. Even the Pioneers will fight. Each man, woman, and child has one duty in case of foreign attack--kill! If we were attacked by foreigners there would be no prisoners. The invading foreigners must know they must kill us all! While one lives, he has an enemy! Death struggle! There is no middle ground! It would be a war without prisoners!

If the invaders land on Cuban soil we will not want our lives. We will fight to the last man against whoever sets foot on our land. All men and women must know their duty. This duty will be fulfilled in simple and natural manner as peoples fight in a righteous war.

It is a crime that our people are not left in peace to complete our work of justice for those who once lived in humiliation and misery. It is too bad that illegitimate interests have determined to harm our country. While they tried to cut off our supplies, they were supplying mercenaries with weapons to invade our country and shed the people's blood. And in this shameful task, who participated?

I have already told you of the social composition. Well, the priests were not missing either. Three of them came. None were Cubans, they were Spanish. You remember that when we asked them they said they came on a purely spiritual mission. They said they came on a Christian mission. But reviewing their books we find this: An appeal to the people by Ismael de Lugo: Attention Cuban Catholics: Liberating forces have landed on Cuban beaches. We come in the name of God--as if Calvino came in the name of God--justice, and democracy to reestablish trampled freedom; this must be a lie. We come because of love, not hate. We come with thousands of Cubans, all of whom are Catholics and Christians-- what a lie--their spirit is the spirit of the crusades. (Editor's Notes: Castro continues reading the message written by Father de Lugo.....)

And that gentlemen is not even a Cuban; he is a Falangist Spaniard. He could have saved all those appeals and warlike energy by fighting against the Moorish guard of Franco. Why should he come here with three other Falangist Spanish priests instead of going to Spain to fight for freedom against Franco, who has been oppressing Spanish people for 20 odd years and who has sold out to Yankee imperialism? The Yankees are not fighting for freedom in Spain, or Nicaragua, or Guatemala. They are great friends of Franco. And these Falangist priests came here, when it is in Spain they should fight for freedom for peasants and workers. That Falangist priest comes here instead to preach against workers and peasants who have thrown off exploitation. And there were three, not just one; and the fourth, in the Escambray, is a Spanish priest too.

Foreign Priests To Be Expelled

We are going to announce here to the people that in the next few days the Revolutionary Government will pass a law declaring void any permit to remain in Cuba held by any foreign priest in our country. And this law will have only one exception; do you know for whom? A foreign priest can remain with special permission, provided the government approves, if he has not been combatting the Cuban revolution; that is, if he has not displayed an attitude opposed to the revolution; that is, there will be exceptions if a priest has been honest, has not been combatting the revolution, has not been carrying out counterrevolutionary activities. He can request permission, and the government can grant it if it deems proper, because there are some foreign priests, by way of exception, that have not taken a stand against the revolution, although the general rule has been otherwise.

Of course, they will say we are impious, enemies of religion. Can they say that after a leader of the ecclesiastic service, while proclaiming that he is coming to give spiritual service, also signs a manifesto like this one--of this political nature? Can the revolution go on allowing these acts to go on with impunity?

And let these gentlemen come to bring hell here, to bring hell on earth here, with their war criminals, their Calvinos, their Soler Puigs, their big landowners, and their privileged sons, to bring hell on earth here to the peasants and workers? Can we let the Spanish Falange go on promoting bloodshed and conspiracy here through its priests? No, we are not disposed to allow it. The Falangist priests know now, they can begin packing. (Applause)

They have been waging counterrevolutionary activities in the schools, too, poisoning the minds of pupils. They have found fertile soil in schools usually attended by children of the rich. There they have been promoting counterrevolutionary poison in the minds of the young. They have been forming terrorist minds. They have been teaching hatred for the country. Why should the revolution stand for that? We would be guilty if we let that go on.

Nationalization of Private Schools

We announce here that in the next few days the Revolutionary Government will pass a law nationalizing the private schools. This law cannot be a law for one sector; it will be general. That means the private schools will be nationalized; of course, not a little school where one teacher gives classes, but private schools with several teachers.

Directors of private schools have displayed different types of conduct. Many private school directors have not been instilling counterrevolutionary poison. The revolution feels it is its duty to organize and establish the principle of free education for all citizens. The people feel they have the duty of training future generations in a spirit of love for the country, for justice, for the revolution.

What shall be done in the case of private schools that have not displayed counterrevolutionary conduce? The Revolutionary Government will indemnify those directors or owners of schools whose attitude has not been counterrevolutionary, whose attitude has been favorable to the revolution; and the revolution will not indemnify any school whose directors have been waging a counterrevolutionary campaign, who have been against the revolution. That is, there will be indemnity for those schools that have displayed a patriotic, decent attitude toward the revolution. They will be indemnified, and their directors will be invited to work with the Revolutionary Government in directing that school or another school. That is to say, these directors will be called on to help in the field of education, besides being indemnified.

The teachers and employees of all these schools, of a lay nature, will be given work. That is, the employees and teachers of these schools will have their work guaranteed. The pupils of these schools can go on attending them, the educational standards will be kept up and even improved, and furthermore they will have to pay absolutely nothing to attend these schools.

Religion Not Restricted

Villanueva is included in this nationalization, of course. They will say this impious government opposes religious instruction. No sir. What we oppose are those shameless acts they have been committing, and this crime against our country. The can teach religion, yes; in the churches they can teach religion.

Religion is one thing, politics another. If those gentlemen were not against the political interests of the people, we would not care at all about their pastorals, their discussions of religious matters. The churches can remain open; religion can be taught there. Would it not be much better if they had stuck to their religious teaching? Would it not be much better to have peace? They can have peace, within strict limits of the respect due the revolutionary people and government. But they cannot make war on the people in the service of the exploiters. That has nothing to do with religion; it has to do with blood, with gold, with material interests. They can have the consideration of the people, in the limits of that mutual respect for rights.

Christianity arose as a religion of the poor, the slaves, and the oppressed of Rome--the religion that flourished in the catacombs. It was the religion of the poor, and it obtained the respect of the laws. It coexisted with the Roman Empire. Then came feudalism. That church coexisted with feudalism, later with absolute monarchies, later with bourgeois republics. Here the bourgeois republic disappears; why should not that same church coexist with a system of social justice that is far superior to those previous forms of government? This system is much more like Christianity than Yankee imperialism or bourgeois republics, or the Roman Empire. We believe coexistence is perfectly possible. The revolution does not oppose religion. They have used religion as a pretext to combat the poor. They forget what Christ said about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

Small Business man Protected

Those are the facts. We have spoken, as always, clearly. It means only that we are prepared to defend the revolution and continue forward, convinced of the justice of our cause.

We have spoken of our socialist revolution. It does not mean the little businessman or little industrialist need worry. Mines, fuel, banking, sugar mills, export and import trade--the bulk of the economy-- is in the hands of the people. That way the people can develop our economy. The little industralist and little businessman can coesxist with the revolution. The revolution has always cared for the interests of the small owners.

Urban reform is a proof. This month all little landlords will be collecting around 105,000 pesos. Formerly if the tenant did not pay his rent the landlord did not collect; now a fund has been established to insure that the little landlord will be paid. The revolution will have some 80 million pesos a year for construction from the urban reform. And when rental is the only income of these landlords, the revolution has ruled that after the house is all paid for, the landlord will receive a pension. A socialist revolution does not mean that interests of certain sectors are eliminated without consideration. The interests of the big landholders, bankers, and industrialists were eliminated. No social interest of the lesser levels of society is to be condemned. The revolution will adhere to its word: No middle interest will be affected without due consideration.

Little businessmen industrialists have credit today. The revolution has no interest in nationalizing them. The revolution has enough to do with developing the sources of wealth it now has at its disposal. The revolution feels that there can be collaboration from the little businessman and little industrialist. It believes that their interest can coincide with those of the revolution. Counterrevolutionaries have claimed that barbershops would be nationalized, even food stands. The revolution does not aim at those. The solution of those problems will be the result of a long evolution. There are some problems; sometimes tomatoes and pineapples are sold in the city at far higher prices than in the country. There is still a small plague of middlemen. The revolution still has measures to take to do away with the middleman abuse, to improve consumption for the people. But I do not want anybody to be confused. I want everybody to know what to expect.

Call for Collaboration

Basically, the revolution has already passed its measures. Nobody need worry. Why not join in this enthusiasm, in this prowess? Why are there still Cubans bothered by this happiness? I asked myself that while watching the parade. Why are some Cubans so incapable of understanding that his happiness can also be theirs? Why do they no adapt to the revolution? Why not see their children in the schools here also? Some people cannot adopt, but the future society will be better than the old one.

This is the hour in which we, far from using the moment against those who do not understand, should ask them if the time has not come for them to join us. The revolution found it necessary to be detained. Perhaps they have. The revolution does not want to use its force against a minority. The revolution wants all Cubans to understand. We do not want all this happiness and emotion all to ourselves. It is the glory of the people.

We say this to those who have lied in the past and have not understood. We frankly say that our revolution should not be lessened by severe sanctions against all the mercenaries. It might serve as a weapon for our enemies. We say this because we tell the people all that will benefit the revolution. We have had a moral victory and it will be greater if we do not besmirch our victory.

The lives lost hurt us as much as they do others. But we must overcome that and speak for our prestige and our cause. What is before us? The risks of imperialist aggression! Big tasks! We have reached a point in which we should realize that the time has come to make the greatest effort. The coming months are very important. They will be months in which we must make greater efforts in all fields. We all have the duty to do the utmost. no one has a right to rest. With what we have seen today we must learn that with efforts and courage we can harvest wonderful fruit. And today's fruits are nothing compared to what can be done if we apply ourselves to the maximum.

Before concluding, I want to recall what I said during the Moncada trial. Here is a paragraph: The country cannot remain on its knees imploring miracles from the golden calf. No social problem is resolved spontaneously. At that time we expressed our views. The revolution has followed the revolutionary ideas of those who had an important role in this struggle.

That is why when one million Cubans met to proclaim the Havana Declaration, the document expressed the essence of our revolution, our socialist revolution. It said that it condemned landed estates, starvation wages, illiteracy, absence of teachers, doctors, and hospitals, discrimination, exploitation of women, oligarchies that hold our countries back, governments that ignore the will of their people by obeying U.S. orders, monopoly of news by Yankee agencies, laws that prevent the masses from organizing, and imperialist monopolies which exploit our wealth. The general assembly of the people condemns exploitation of man by man. The general assembly proclaims the following: The right to work education, the dignity of man, civil rights for women, secure old age, artistic freedom, nationalization of monopolies, and the like. This is the program of our socialist revolution.

Long live the Cuban working class! Long live the Latin American sister nations! Long live the nation! Fatherland or death! We shall win!