“Our people will never give up their independence!”

Photo: Ahmedy Elasquez

June 21, 2004

No country in the world has given as much physical and moral protection, as much health and education to its children as Cuba has. You should know that a higher proportion of children die in their first year of life in the United States than in Cuba.

How can you claim to not know that, while in the United States there are, on average, 30 students to a classroom, in Cuba the ratio is less than 20 and our educational results are better than those in any developed country?

Our health care services have raised the life expectancy of each child from about 60 years in 1959, according to estimates, to 76.13 years today. …unemployment in Cuba is only 2.3 percent, which is several times lower than in your own country, the richest and most industrialized in the world.

You are trying to strangle our economy and are threatening war against a country that has shown itself capable of having 20,000 doctors currently offering their services in 64 countries of the Third World. …

The worst thing about your ridiculous, clumsy anti-Cuban policy is that you and your closest advisors have brazenly proclaimed your goal of forcibly imposing what you call “political transition” on Cuba if I die in office, a transition which you do not, of course, hesitate to confess you will try to hasten as much as possible. You are very well aware of what that means in the language of the mob.

However, perhaps the most shameful thing you did was to announce that the first hours will be decisive, since the idea is to go to any lengths, under any circumstances, to prevent a new political and administrative leadership from taking charge of our country. This you would do completely ignoring the Cuban Constitution, the powers of the National Assembly and our Party’s leadership. …

Since this you can only do by sending troops to occupy key positions in the country, you are announcing your intention of launching a military intervention of our homeland. …

You should know that your march against Cuba will be anything but easy. Our people will stand up to your economic measures, whatever they may be. Forty-five years of heroic struggle against the blockade and economic war, against threats, aggressions, plots to assassinate its leaders, sabotage and terrorism have not weakened but rather strengthened the Revolution.

Today, we are not just a handful of men and women determined to win or die. We are millions of women and men with enough weapons and over 200,000 well-trained officers and chiefs who know perfectly well how to use them under conditions of modern, sophisticated warfare, and we have a huge mass of combatants who are equally well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those who are threatening us, despite their enormous military resources and the technological superiority of their weapons.

Under the present circumstances in Cuba, and in case of an invasion of our country if I cease to exist—either from natural causes or others—this will not in any way hurt our capacity to fight and stand firm. Every political and military chief at every level, and every individual soldier, is a potential commander in chief who knows what s/he must do, and in a given situation each person can become his or her own commander in chief. …

Undesirable things could happen that are not good for the Cuban people or for the U.S. people. You could shatter the immigration agreement and provoke a mass exodus that we would not be in a position to prevent and you could bring about an all-out war between young American soldiers and the Cuban people. That would be very sad.

Yet, I assure you that you would never win that war. … Our people will never give up its independence nor will it ever give up its political, social and economic ideals.


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