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Fidel Castro's May Day Speech

"The people of Iraq are today struggling for their independence,
their lives, the lives of their children and for their legitimate
rights and resources." Fidel Castro
"The people of Iraq are today struggling for their independence,
their lives, the lives of their children and for their legitimate
rights and resources." Fidel Castro


Dearest guests, dear comrades:

This is the 45th time we have celebrated a glorious Labor Day since
the triumph of the Revolution.

Extremely important things are taking place both inside and outside
our country.

The Revolution is following its triumphal course with more strength
and success than ever. We have had proof of this recently: the Geneva
meetings on April 15 and 22 will go down in the history of
revolutionary diplomacy. They mark the moment when a crushing blow
was dealt to the enormous hypocrisy, permanent falsehood and cynicism
the masters of the world use to try to preserve the rotten system of
political and economic domination they have imposed on the world.

Our country had been placed in the dock yet again. The new US
administration and the states in the European Union made the mistake
of forgetting that at the extreme eastern end of Cuba one of the most
horrendous examples of human rights violations ever to take place in
this world was underway at that very moment in a 117.6 square
kilometer section of land occupied by force, where the Guantánamo
naval base is located — which in itself is a gross violation of the
sovereign rights of a small country and of international law.

We were never consulted beforehand. We were simply informed of the
decision taken by the US government to transfer the prisoners to that

On January 11, 2002 the Cuban government published a statement in
which it clearly set forth our country's position.

The world knows that the horrible crime committed against the Twin
Towers in New York was unanimously condemned by all conscious people
on the planet.

Nevertheless, the government of the most powerful nation on earth,
showing contempt for all norms concerning what the world understands
as the elementary principles of human rights, created this horrible
prison where hundreds of citizens from many countries, including some
from the United States' own allies, are kept locked up, without
having been tried, incommunicado, without having been identified,
with no legal defense, no guarantee for their physical integrity,
with no criminal, no procedural law and for an indefinite length of
time. They could have used their own territory for such a bizarre
contribution to civilization, but they did it on a stretch of land
that they occupy illegally and forcibly in another country, Cuba,
whom every year in Geneva they accuse of human rights violations.

It spite of that, admirable things do take place in the Commission on
Human Rights.

In the current world conditions, there is a generalized fear of the
fierce empire, of its threats, pressure and reprisals of all kinds,
especially those against the most vulnerable countries of the Third
World. It is almost suicidal to vote in Geneva against a resolution
drafted and imposed by the United States, especially if it is against
Cuba, the country which for almost 50 years has defied its arrogance
and imperiousness. Even the strongest and most independent states
find themselves obliged to take into consideration the political and
economic consequences of their decisions.

Still, as could be seen just a few short days ago in Geneva, Cuba and
20 other countries —some acting out of principle and others showing
amazing courage— opposed the resolution and 10 abstained, thus
maintaining their dignity and self-respect. Only 22 of the 53 members
of the Commission, including the United States, joined in this infamy.

There were seven from Latin America, four of whom suffer from great
economic and social poverty, are highly dependent and have
governments obliged to be totally abject. Nobody could consider them
to be independent states. Up to now this has been pure fiction.

Peru, the fifth Latin American government which voted with the United
States against Cuba, provides an example of the degree of servility
and dependence into which imperialism and its neo-liberal
globalization have led many countries in Latin America, whom they
ruin politically in the twinkling of an eye.

The Peruvian head of state has seen his popularity drop to only 8 per
cent in just a few months. It is absolutely impossible to tackle the
colossal economic and social problems affecting that country with
such insignificant support. In fact, he does not govern, nor can he
govern, anything; the transnationals and the oligarchies take care of
that, until society explodes, as has already begun to happen in more
than one country.

Then we have the Chilean and Mexican governments.

I am not going to judge the former. I prefer that the way the
president of Chile behaved in Geneva be judged by Salvador Allende,
who went down fighting and who now occupies a place of honour and
glory in the history of this continent, by the millions of Chileans
vanished, tortured and murdered by design of those who drafted and
proposed this resolution to censure Cuba — where not a single act of
that sort, nor anything similar ever took place— and by those who in
their name are the standard bearers of the noble ideals and
aspirations to create a truly humane society.

In Mexico, a beloved, sister country to all Cubans, the National
Congress asked their president to abstain from voting for the
resolution, although President Bush had demanded that he do so. It is
truly painful to see the great prestige and influence Mexico earned
in the eyes of Latin America and the world with its unimpeachable
international policy, which stemmed from a genuine, far-reaching
revolution, turn to ashes.

Latin America's solidarity with and support for Mexico and Mexico's
for Latin America are crucial. More than half of Mexico's territory
was snatched from it by its northern neighbor and great danger
threatens what is left. The US-Mexican border is to all practical
purposes no longer the Rio Bravo of which Martí spoke. The United
States has gone much deeper into Mexico. That border is today the
line of death, where about 500 Mexicans die every year. And all
because of a brutal, ruthless principle: free passage for capital and
goods; persecution, exclusion and death for human beings. And yet,
millions of Mexicans take that risk. Today, the country obtains more
income from their remittances than from oil exports, in spite of the
high price of the latter.

Will such an inequitable and unfair situation really be solved by
voting for anti-Cuban resolutions in Geneva, by accusing her of
violating human rights?

The worst and most humiliating part for Mexico was that the news
about its vote in Geneva, both on April 15 and 22, were announced in

The European Union, as usual, voted as a bloc, like a Mafia mob
allied with and subordinate to Washington.

These semi-paternal, dirty, and immoral displays against the Cuban
Revolution never had any success until the socialist bloc
disappeared. A plague of renegades, anxious for the credits and goods
of consumer society added their votes to those of the European
Community mafia. Thus they completed those petty deliveries in the
Commission on Human Rights: resolutions pulled out with forceps, in
the hard-fought battle which Cuba has never ceased to wage against
the loathsome comedy which the empire, its allies, followers and
vassals push through in order to gain an advantage of one or two
votes over the opposition and abstentions of 60 per cent of the
Commission's members. The empire calls these pyrrhic victories
successes and condemns Cuba, despite the fact that the political
effort and cost are greater every year.

When this year Cuba suggested sending a Commission representative to
see what was going on in the Guantánamo naval base, panic spread
through the herd of hypocrites, especially those from the European
Community. Morale collapsed. Some European governments were truly
ashamed, they had to confess their failure to act according to their
principles and their hypocrisy, or do the impossible — disobey the
empire. This was too much for such august defenders of human rights
whose darts are only aimed at those who for centuries were their
colonies, where they wiped out tens of millions of natives and to
which they brought countless human beings from Africa whom they
turned into slaves with less freedom than work horses.

And that is how they treat millions of people in the Third World,
victims of the plunder, unequal terms of trade and looting of their
natural resources and all the hard currency reserves in their central
banks, which are deposited in US or European banks, for the most
part, and which are used to finance investments, trade and fiscal
deficits and for the military adventures of the empire and its allies.

As a result of the Cuban proposal in Geneva, Bush himself and his
senior officials had to work frantically, personally calling
presidents and heads of states. No one knew where he found the time,
nor how he could attend to Iraq, the financial problems of the
government, fundraising banquets and matters related to the
elections. Perhaps it is not fair to call him Fürher; perhaps he is a

Why can Bush talk of a fiscal deficit of $512 billion and a similar
trade deficit, a total of a trillion dollars in just one year?
Because he manipulates and spends the hard currency of the immense
majority of the world's population in order to defend those and other
privileges. They are armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated
war machinery and they wage wars of conquest in search of raw

The international situation is complex. The adventurist policies of
this administration have given the world increasingly insoluble
problems. The economic order imposed is ever more unsustainable.

An impressive, encouraging event took place in Spain. It was an
extraordinary achievement, accomplished almost exclusively by the
Spanish people, especially the younger generation. Its heroic
political battle, scarcely 48 hours after the tragedy and on the eve
of the elections, dealt a devastating blow to the treacherous
maneuvers of the previous Spanish government to manipulate the awful
acts of March 11 in its favor and in the warmonger interests of the
United States.

The present government has kept its promise to pull Spanish troops
out of Iraq. This is undoubtedly a commendable act. But the Spanish
state, under the previous administration, had taken upon itself to
recruit a considerable number of young Dominicans, Hondurans,
Salvadorans and Nicaraguans to be sent as canon fodder to Iraq with
the Spanish Legion, something unique in the history of this
hemisphere. Spain, which as the former colonial power in Latin
America aspires to be given respect and consideration and even to
play a certain role in Latin American and the Caribbean, has the
responsibility and moral duty to fight for the return home of those
young Latin Americans who were sent to Iraq due to the actions of the
previous government.

The peoples of the world, including the Cuban people, do not hate the
American people nor do they want young American soldiers to die —many
of whom are black, mixed race or Latin American— who were induced by
poverty and unemployment to take up soldiering and who today are the
victims of an unnecessary, stupid war.

We do not support any government in Iraq or any given political
system; this is the exclusive prerogative of the Iraqis. We felt
solidarity with those who died in the attacks in New York and Madrid
and we condemn such methods. The enormous and growing world sympathy
with the Iraqi people was generated by the brutal bombings of Baghdad
and other cities which sowed terror and death among innocent
civilians, totally ignoring the terrible trauma which will affect
millions of children, adolescents, pregnant women, mothers and old
people all of their lives, bombings for which there is no possible
justification, based as they were on barefaced lies. This sympathy is
growing, because billions of people have come to realize that it is a
war of conquest to gain possession of the country's resources and raw
materials, because there was no justification, nor legality
whatsoever, because international laws were breached, because the
United Nations' prerogatives and authority were ignored.

The people of Iraq are today struggling for their independence, their
lives, the lives of their children and for their legitimate rights
and resources.

The US government is facing a complicated situation because of this,
as it insisted on taking the path of violence, war and terror. I have
the moral authority to propound this point of view, because long
before this warmongering policy was unleashed, on September 11, 2001,
the very same day as the horrendous attack on the Twin Towers, in a
ceremony to inaugurate the school year for 4,500 young primary school
teachers I said, and I quote:

"It is very important to know what the reaction of the US Government
will be. Possibly the days to come will be dangerous for the world,
and I do not mean Cuba. Cuba is the most peaceful country in the
world for several reasons: our policy, our kind of struggle, our
doctrine, and also, comrades, for the absolute absence of fear".

"The days to come will be tense both inside and outside the United
States. A number of people will start voicing their views.

"Whenever there is a tragedy like this, even when they are sometimes
so difficult to prevent, I see no other way but to keep calm. And if
at some point I am allowed to make a suggestion to an adversary who
has been tough on us for many years knows […] if under specific
circumstances it were correct to suggest something to the adversary,
for the well being of the American people and based on the arguments
I have given you, we would advise the leaders of the powerful empire
to keep their equanimity, to act calmly, not to be carried away by a
fit of rage or hatred and not to start hunting people down dropping
bombs all over the place.

"I reiterate that none of the world problems, not even terrorism, can
be solved with the use of force, and every act of force, every
reckless use of force anywhere would seriously aggravate the world

"The way is neither the use of force nor war. I say this here with
the full credibility of someone who has always been honest, with the
sound conviction and the experience of someone who has been through
the years of struggle that we have lived through in Cuba. It is only
guided by reason and applying an intelligent policy based on the
strength of consensus and the support of the international public
opinion that such a predicament could be definitively solved. I think
this unexpected episode must be used to undertake an international
struggle against terrorism. However, this international struggle
against terrorism cannot succeed by killing a terrorist here and
another one there, that is, by using similar methods to theirs,
sacrificing innocent lives. It would be resolved, internally, by
putting an end to State terrorism and other repulsive crimes, by
putting an end to genocide and by honestly pursuing a policy of peace
and respect for unavoidable moral and legal standards. The world
cannot be saved unless a path of international peace and cooperation
is pursued".

The Iraq war brings to many people memories of the Vietnam War. To
me, it brings back memories of the Algerian war of liberation, when
French military might shattered against the resistance of a people
with a very different culture, language and religion, in a country
which in places is just as desert-like as many regions of Iraq, a
people that managed to defeat the French troops and all their
technology, which was fairly advanced for its time. The French had
previously sustained defeat in Dien Bien Phu, where Bush's
predecessors were on the point of using nuclear weapons.

In this type of war the entire arsenal of a hegemonic superpower is
superfluous. This superpower can conquer a country with its enormous
power but it is impossible to administer and govern that country if
its population battles resolutely against the occupiers.

I never thought that one day Mr. Bush would address a kind letter to
the President of Syria and the authorities of the Iranian government –
both countries considered terrorists until now-- and ask them with
humility to help in the solution of the Iraqi conflict. It is still
more amazing that, according to press dispatches, two days ago the US
marines were pulled out of Fallujah and replaced by Iraqi soldiers
led by an ex General from Saddam Hussein's army.

I do not criticize any peace effort or initiative which the current
US administration decides to take, but I doubt very much that there
can be any solution other than withdrawing US troops from Iraq —
where they should never have been sent— and returning full
independence to the Iraqi people. This would have the support of the
international community, which would no doubt find a way to resolve
the complex situation that has been created there.

Meanwhile, we Cubans will continue to observe what happens and will
continue to wage our most resolute battle against those who give
themselves the luxury of advocating political changes based on the
physical removal of some of us. The worst thing is that those who
talk of speeding up the aforementioned changes are characters whose
same old murderous ideas are quite familiar to us.

Now they are once again making themselves hoarse shouting threats of
upcoming measures to affect our economy and destabilize the country.
They would do well to return our five prisoners of the empire to us,
who with unequalled dignity are withstanding the most shameful and
cruel case of human rights violations. Their fate in federal
government prisons, where they are kept completely separate, is
hardly any better than that of those held captive in the Guantánamo
naval base. But despite all that, we do not hesitate in suggesting to
those who govern the United States that they be calmer, more
sensible, saner and wiser.

To those who persist in their efforts to destroy the Revolution, I
simply say in the name of the crowd gathered here on this May 1st, as
I said at Girón and at other decisive moments in our battles:

Long live socialism!

Homeland or Death!

We shall overcome!

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Re: Fidel Castro's May Day Speech

I was there and it was a great speech. It was a hot day, however much fun was had by all at the revolution square


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