The Chilean Road to Socialism


PART VI

THE OPPOSITION

CHAPTER 17

The Reaction

By November 1971 the opposition forces within Chile were very much on the offensive against the Popular Unity government. During Fidel Castro's three-week stay in Chile, there were large demonstrations of middle- and upper-class women, "the March of the Empty Pots," protesting shortages of consumer goods and Fidel's presence, street fighting between Right and Left militants, bombings of offices of Popular Unity organizations, and martial law in Santiago. By January 1972 the government had suffered political reverses at the hands of the opposition in Congress and the voters in Congressional by-elections.

Fidel's final remarks in Chile, as usual with Fidel's didactic oratory, were pointed, lucid, and brilliant. He directed himself mainly to the questions of reaction, violence, counterrevolution, and revolution.


FIDEL CASTRO ON CHILEAN FASCISM AND REVOLUTION

Fidel's farewell speech was delivered at the National Stadium in Santiago, December 2, 1971.
The translation is by the Cuban Government.

The President's words have made such an impact on us that we have to calm ourselves a bit. The President has said some very moving and courageous things, analyzing a number of current affairs. But in my case, although I have been a part of some of these events, I am a visitor, and I must not concern myself with such events. We must and can speak of other things that are common to the interests of all our peoples. We must and can concern ourselves with other questions that are common to all revolutionary processes. . . .

We Have Visited Chile as Revolutionaries, as Friends, as Supporters of This Process and of This Country

We are interested, above all, in the human landscape, in the people, in you Chileans.

We have dedicated our lives to the human question, the social question, the revolutionary question. The thing that most stirs our interest is the struggle of the peoples and of mankind, the historic march of humanity, advancing from the man who lived in primitive hordes to the man of today. The thing that interests us the most is the living spectacle of a process in its critical moments.

We haven't come to Chile as tourists. We have visited Chile as revolutionaries, as friends, as supporters of this process and of this country. We would like to say in all frankness that we did come to learn.

But, let no one think that the libelers and seditious proponents of reactionary political theories were right when they said how fine it was that we had come to learn about elections, parliament, certain kinds of freedom of the press and the like. That's all very interesting, but we've already learned more than enough about it. We've learned a great deal during the past 50 years about those bourgeois, capitalist liberties; and we know only too well about their institutions. Now, we don't say they aren't good. Greek democracy was good, too, in its time. In its time the Roman republic, with its millions of slaves, its gladiator circuses and its Christians devoured by lions, also signified an extraordinary advance of human society. The medieval period was also considered an advance over primitive slavery, despite feudal servitude. The historic and famous French Revolution also signified an advance over medieval society and the absolute monarchs who enjoyed prestige in their times— and were also considered a step forward in the march of human progress. And there were even some so-called "illustrious despots."

But whoever claims that any society or social system and the superstructure that it represents are eternal is mistaken, because history has proved otherwise. One social form succeeds another—and is, in turn, succeeded by yet another, and so on, each new social form being superior to the old.

Even the bourgeoisie, in its epoch—before there was any such thing as a proletariat—was revolutionary, a revolutionary class, and led the people in struggle for a new social form, led the peasants who were serfs of the feudal lords, and led the artisans. And human society continued its march.

To claim that the form which emerged two centuries ago is eternal, to claim that it is the highest expression of human advancement, to claim that humanity's progress culminated with it, is simply ridiculous, from any historical or scientific point of view.

Moreover, all decadent social systems and societies have defended themselves when threatened with extinction. They have defended themselves with tremendous violence throughout history.

Truth, Reason and Ideas Constitute the Revolutionary's Arsenal

No social system resigns itself to disappearing from the face of the earth of its own free will. No social system resigns itself to revolution. As we said before, all those systems were once good. It is only today that they are condemned by history as decadent, as anachronistic. And anachronisms hang on just as long as they can. Anachronisms exist as long as the peoples lack the force to do away with them.

In our country, which has known the various forms of the state of exploitation, those instruments that served the exploiters to repress the exploited—their institutions— have been changed.

Very profound changes have taken place in our country! Very profound! It is a difficult thing to understand from a distance. It is very difficult to understand, especially through the prism of lies and calumnies, in which the reactionaries have specialized throughout their history. There is a difference between the revolutionary and the reactionary. The difference is that the revolutionary lives by inner convictions, by deep motivations. And the lie is a violation of character, the lie is a violation of man's innermost feelings. The lie is the weapon of those in the wrong. The lie is the weapon of those without argument. The lie is the weapon of those who disparage others and, above all, of those who disparage the people.

Truth, reason, ideas, thought, awareness and culture constitute the revolutionary's arsenal and the weapon of the contemporary revolutionary is the correct interpretation of the scientific laws that govern the march of human society.

We Have Come to See Something Extraordinary: A Unique Process Is Taking Place in Chile

We have come to learn about a living process. We have come to learn how the laws of human society operate. We have come to see something extraordinary— something extraordinary. A unique process is taking place in Chile. Something more than unique: unusual! unusual! It is the process of a change. It is a revolutionary process in which revolutionaries are trying to carry out changes peacefully. A unique process, practically the first in humanity's history—we won't even say in the history of contemporary societies. It is unique in the history of contemporary societies. It is unique in the history of humanity, trying to carry out a revolutionary process by legal and constitutional methods, using the very laws established by the society or by the reactionary system, the very mechanism, the very forms that the exploiters created to maintain their class domination.

And what has our attitude been? We, the revolutionaries who did nothing unique, nothing unusual. . . . The Cuban revolutionaries at least have the merit of having had the first Socialist Revolution in Latin America. But we don't have the merit of having made it in an unusual and unique form. But what has our attitude been? That of solidarity with this process. That of solidarity with the men who choose this road. Our understanding, our moral support, our curiosity, our interest.

Because, as we have said on other occasions, the revolutionaries are not the inventors of violence. It was the class society throughout history that created, developed and imposed its system, always through repression and violence. In every epoch, the inventors of violence have been the reactionaries.

And we observe, and the world observes with enormous interest, how this Chilean process is developing in today's world circumstances, and even within the present correlation of world forces.

For us, then, this constitutes an extraordinary event.

We have been asked on several occasions—in an academic way—if we consider that a revolutionary process is taking place here. And we have said without the slightest hesitation: Yes! But when a revolutionary process is begun, or when the moment arrives in a country when what can be called a revolutionary crisis occurs, then the struggles and the battles become tremendously acute. The laws of history are in full force.

Anyone who has lived in this country three weeks, anyone who has seen and analyzed the factors, the first measures taken by the People's Unity government— measures that hit strongly at powerful imperialist interests, measures that culminated in the recuperation of the basic wealth of the nation, measures characterized by the advancement of social sectors, measures characterized by the application of the law of agrarian reform— these measures, it can be said, have proven the great historic fact that a process of change generates a dynamism of struggle. The measures already carried out and which constitute the beginning of a process, have released social dynamics, the class struggle; have released the ire and resistance—as is true in all social processes of change —of the exploiters, the reactionaries.

Very well: the question quite obviously suggested—to a visitor observing this process—is whether or not the historic law of resistance and violence by the exploiters will be fulfilled. Because we have said that there is no case in history in which the reactionaries, the exploiters, the privileged members of a social system, resign themselves to change; resign themselves peacefully to changes.

Therefore, this is, in our opinion, a matter of vital importance, an aspect which has aroused our interest and which has taught us a great deal in the past few days. Yes, gentlemen—especially those who didn't want me to come here to learn—I have learned a great deal. I have learned how the social laws operate, how the revolutionary process operates, how each sector reacts and how the various forces struggle. We have gone through these experiences. And we've felt it in our own skin. Not because our skin was bruised by a rock or a bullet. I haven't even seen a rock—not even at a distance. As a visitor, as a friend, as a man in solidarity with you, I have felt another type of aggression, more than well-known to me—an aggression in the form of insults and campaigns.

We do not ignore the fact that our visit might very well make a number of problems even worse than they are. In fact, it might even constitute a source of stimulus to those who wanted to create difficulties for the government of People's Unity. At a time when, according to what is being said, there are here hundreds and hundreds of newsmen from all over the world covering our visit; at a time when people all over the world—in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America—are talking about this visit, about this meeting between Chileans and Cubans, between two processes which had such different beginnings; at a time when the image of Chile is in everyone's mind, it is obvious that this visit might cause some irritation, some feeling of discomfort, some exasperation which, in turn, might lead to the worsening of certain attitudes.

Unquestionably, the man visiting this country was not Benito Mussolini. The man visiting this country was not Adolf Hitler. The man visiting was not a fascist, or an instrument of the Yankee monopolies. The man visiting this country was not a friend of the powerful and the privileged. The man visiting this country was a friend of the humble people, a friend of the workers, a friend of the farmers, a friend of the students, a friend of the peoples!

This is why, when, after having been invited by the President, we spoke with Chilean comrades and they asked us what we would like to see on our visit here, we said we wanted to see the mines, the saltpeter, the copper, the iron, the coal, the work centers, the agricultural centers, the universities, the mass organizations, the parties of the left, everything and everybody, that we wanted to talk with the revolutionaries and even with those who, though they could not be considered revolutionaries, were decent people. We couldn't think of a better way to spend our visiting time.

And this is the way our visit was organized.

Why did we want it this way? Because we know where we can find our friends, among which social class. We know that wherever the workers, the fanners, the people of humble origin are, there we find our friends.

And that is why we got the kind of reception we got everywhere—in every town, university and agricultural area—the extraordinary reception we got in every work center without exception. In every one of them!

The Desperation of the Exploiters Today Tends Toward the Most Brutal, Most Savage Forms of Violence and Reaction

And—I repeat—we have learned something else. We have witnessed the verification of another law of history: we have seen fascism in action. We have been able to verify a contemporary principle: the desperation of the reactionaries, the desperation of the exploiters today tends toward the most brutal, most savage forms of violence and reaction.

You are all familiar with the story of fascism in many countries; in those countries that are the cradle of that movement. You are all familiar with the story of how the privileged, the exploiters, destroy the institutions they created once these institutions—the very institutions they invented to maintain their class domination: the laws, the constitution, the parliament—are no longer of any use to them. When I say they invent a constitution, I mean a bourgeois constitution, because the socialist revolutions establish their own constitutions and forms of democracy.

What do the exploiters do when their own institutions no longer guarantee their domination? How do they react when the mechanisms historically depended upon to maintain their domination fail them? They simply go ahead and destroy them. Nothing is more anticonstitutional, more illegal, more antiparliamentarian, more repressive and more criminal than fascism.

Fascism, in its violence, wipes out everything. It attacks, closes and crushes the universities. It attacks the intellectuals, represses them and persecutes them. It attacks the political parties and trade unions. It attacks all mass organizations and cultural organizations.

And we have been able to verify, in this unique process, the manifestations of that law of history in which the reactionaries and the exploiters, in their desperation— and mainly supported from the outside—generate that political phenomenon, that reactionary current, fascism.

We say this in all sincerity: we have had the opportunity to see fascism in action.

Of course, it is said that nothing can teach the people as much as a revolutionary process does. Every revolutionary process teaches the people things which, otherwise, it would take dozens of years to learn.

This involves a question: who will learn more and sooner? Who will develop more of an awareness faster? The exploiters or the exploited? Who will learn the faster from the lessons of this process? The people or the enemies of the people?

(EXCLAMATIONS OF "THE PEOPLE!")

Are you absolutely sure—you, the protagonists in this drama being written by your country—are you completely sure that you have learned more than your exploiters have?

(EXCLAMATIONS OF "YES!")

Then, allow me to say that I don't agree—not with the President, but with the mass.

Tomorrow there'll be a headline in some paper somewhere in the world, reading, "Castro disagrees with the masses." We disagree on one aspect of the appreciation of the situation.

In this sort of dialogue on scientific and historic matters, we can say that we are not completely sure that in this unique process the people, the humble people—which constitute the majority of the population—have learned more rapidly than the reactionaries, than the old exploiters.

And there's something else: the social systems which the revolutions are transforming have had many years of experience to their credit—many, many years of culture, technology and tricks of every kind to use against revolutionary processes. They face the people—who lack all that experience, know-how and technology—armed with the experience and technology accumulated through the years.

The Reactionaries and the Oligarchs Here Are Much Better Prepared than They Were in Cuba

Is it because the people lack qualities? Is it because the people of Chile lack patriotic virtues, character, courage, intelligence and firmness? No! We have been deeply impressed when we spoke with the farmers here, after having chatted with them for half an hour, we'd ask them how far they'd gone in school, and they'd answer, "We don't even know how to read or write."

We were deeply impressed by the Chileans' fiery character. Everywhere we went, at receptions, during our tours, we witnessed this courage, this determination; we saw how the men swarmed over our cars. And, what's more, very often we saw how the women, holding children in their arms, stood firmly across the road, with an impressive determination and courage.

We have seen, in the Chilean people, qualities which our people lacked in the early days of the Revolution: a higher level of culture, a higher level of political culture. Listen to this carefully!—a higher level of political culture, a much higher level of political culture! This is because the situation in our country was different than here. For example, an electoral victory for the Marxist parties—that is, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party—and other organizations which supported those parties.

In regard to political culture, you have started from a higher level than ours. Moreover, you start from a patriotic tradition which dates back 150 years. You start from a much higher level of patriotic awareness. A higher awareness of the problems in your country.

The imperialists' ideology had made deep inroads in our country. Our country had been invaded by the imperialist culture, by the way of life and the the habits of that society so close to us: U.S. society.

Therefore, in that sense, we were much weaker than you. You can see that there is a whole series of aspects which reveal that your people started from a much higher level than we did. From the economic standpoint, Chile has more economic resources than Cuba. Chile has an incomparably higher economic development than Cuba, based on a natural resource which it now owns. In other words, Chile is now the owner of its copper, where 30,000 workers produce close to 1000 million dollars in foreign exchange. It produces oil: almost two million tons. It has hydroelectric power resources, iron, coal, a food industry much more highly developed than Cuba's, a textile industry. In other words, you start from a technological and industrial level much higher than the one that existed in Cuba.

Therefore, all the human conditions, all the social conditions that make for advance exist in this country.

However, you are faced with something we didn't have to face. In our country, the oligarchs, the landowners, the reactionaries, didn't have the experience that their colleagues here have. Over there, the landowners and the oligarchs weren't in the least concerned about social changes. They said, "The Americans"—they called everybody from the United States Americans—"will take care of that problem. There can't be any revolutions here!" And they went to sleep on their laurels.

This is not the case in Chile, though!

The reactionaries and the oligarchs here are much better prepared than they were in Cuba. They are much better organized and better armed to resist changes, from the ideological standpoint. They have all the weapons they need to wage a battle on every field in the face of the process' advance. A battle on the economic field, on the political field and on the field of the masses—I repeat— on the field of the masses!

Now, then, we have beaten them everywhere. We beat them, first, on the ideological field; second, on the field of the masses; and, third, on the field of armed battle.

In our opinion, the problem of violence in these processes—including the Cuban process—once the revolution is in power, does not depend on the revolutionaries. It would be absurd, incomprehensible and illogical for revolutionaries to engage in violence when they have an opportunity to advance, to create, to work, to march toward the future. Therefore, it isn't the revolutionaries who promote violence in these circumstances. And, in case you didn't know this, you'll find out through experience.

That's the experience we went through when the Cuban revolutionary movement won.

Today, there's one revolutionary force in Cuba; the revolutionary force of the people of Cuba.

I have no idea how many people are here now. You may know more or less how many. But I can tell you that it takes 10 minutes to get as many people together in Cuba. And we can get together 10 times as many in a couple of hours! And, yet, the population of our capital is two thirds the population of Santiago!

Our country has reached a high level of unity, a high level of revolutionary awareness. A very sound, really sound form of patriotism has been created, which makes our country a bulwark of the revolution and one trench among the nations of America which the imperialists will never be able to destroy.

We were simply amazed when we heard the President say that a very important newspaper in Washington—or New York—has published statements by a high-ranking government official who said that "The days of the popular government in Chile are numbered."

I would like to point out—regardless of the rudeness and intromission, the unheard-of prediction, the offense and insolence—that it's been many a year since some crazy U.S. official had the idea of saying that the days of the Cuban Revolution were numbered.

It would be logical, in view of a statement like that, not only to get angry, to protest the insult to one's dignity, to protest against the offense, but also to ask what makes them believe such a thing and why they feel so confident about it. What kind of calculations did they make? What computers did they put into operation to figure this out? This doesn't mean that Yankee computers don't make mistakes. They do, and we know it by experience. We have good evidence that they do make mistakes. In the case of Girón, the Pentagon's computers, the CIA's computers, the U.S. Government's computers, everybody's computers were wrong—a million times wrong.

Nevertheless, one must ask what are the grounds for such optimism, for such an assurance, and where does the encouragement come from. And you are the only ones who can supply the answer.

Or maybe you'd be interested in hearing the opinion of a visitor who is not a tourist? Do I have your permission to express it? (EXCLAMATIONS OF "YES!")

All those in favor, raise their hands.

(ALL HANDS GO UP)

Well, in view of the permission granted me in this sort of plebiscite—to express my opinion in matters of concept, I say that such confidence is based on the weakness of the very revolutionary process, on weaknesses in the ideological battle, on weaknesses in the mass struggle, on weakness in the face of the enemy! And the enemy outside, which supports the enemy at home, tries to take advantage of the slightest breach, of the slightest weakness.

You're Going Through a Period When the Fascists Are Trying to Beat You to the Streets

You're going through a period which is very special, albeit not a new one, in the matter of class struggle. There are countless examples of this. You're going through that period in the process in which the fascists—to call them by their right name—are trying to beat you to the streets, are trying to beat you out of the middle strata of the population. There is a specific moment in every revolutionary process when fascists and revolutionaries engage in a struggle for the support of the middle strata.

The revolutionaries are honest. They don't go around telling lies. They don't go around sowing terror and anguish or cooking up terrible schemes.

The fascists. . . . Well, the fascists stop at nothing. They'll try to find the weakest spot. They'll invent the most incredible lies. They'll try to sow terror and unrest among the middle strata by telling the most incredible lies. Their objective is to win over the middle strata. Moreover, they'll appeal to the basest sensibilities. They will try to arouse feelings of chauvinism.

If we weren't sincere, if we didn't believe in the truth, we wouldn't dare say what we just said. It might even sound as if we were saying something that the enemy could use to its advantage, to gain ground. No! The only way in which the enemy can gain ground is by deceit, by confusion, by ignorance, by the lack of an awareness about the problems!

If you want my opinion, the success or the failure of this unusual process will depend on the ideological battle and the mass struggle. It will also depend on the revolutionaries' ability to grow in numbers, to unite and to win over the middle strata of the population. This is because in our countries—countries of relatively little development—these middle strata are quite large and are susceptible to lies and deceit. However, in the ideological struggle, nobody is ever won over except through the truth, sound arguments and by right. There is no question about that.

I hope you will win. We want you to win. And we believe that you will win!

There was something which made a deep impression on us today, and that was the words of the President, especially when he reaffirmed his will to defend the cause of the people and the will of the people. Most especially when he said a history-making thing: that he was the President by the will of the people and that he would fulfill his duty until his term was over or until his body was taken out of the Palace. Those of us who know him know very well that the President is not a man of words but a man of deeds. All of us who know his character know that this is the way he is.

We saw how the people reacted to the President's words. . . .

When the chiefs, the leaders, are ready to lay down their lives for a cause, the men and the women of the people, too, are ready to lay down their lives!

The people are the makers of history. The people write their own history. The masses make history. No reactionary, no imperialist enemy can crush the people! And our country's recent history proves it!

How did we manage to resist and why? Because of the unity of our people, because of the strength that such a unity generates.

We said that it would take two hours for us to get together 10 times as many people as there are here now. And we also say that we can have 600,000 men in arms within 24 hours!

A close, unbreakable unity between the people and the armed forces has been created in our country. This is why we say that we have a strong defense. . . .

What is it that gives our people this deep motivation in their defense against danger from outside? The fact that, when it comes to defending our homeland, that homeland is not divided into millionaires and paupers, wealthy landowners with all the privileges in the world and miserable peasants without land or work, living a life of poverty. The fact that our homeland is not divided into oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited, ladies overloaded with jewelry and girls forced to lead a life of prostitution. Our homeland is not divided into privileged and dispossessed. . . .

No people, no armed force has more power to fulfill the sacred duty of defending the homeland than that where exploiters and exploited are a thing of the past. In other words, where the exploitation of man by man has disappeared.

It is not by accident that history taught us a lesson not too long ago.

In World War II, which brought about the collapse of a number of powerful armies, what was it that the fascists did to attack Europe, to invade France, Belgium, Holland and practically all of the western world? They sowed their fifth column, promoted division and morally disarmed the people. When the fascist hordes attacked with their armor, when their motorized divisions broke through, they made their greatest profit from the demoralization of the people.

But, when, one day, two years later—in June 1941— four million experienced veterans of that same fascist army launched a surprise invasion on the Soviet Union, what did they find? They found a stiff resistance, from the very first moment, from the very first day, from the very first hours. They found a people ready to fight and to die, a people who lost 18 million lives, who accumulated the most extraordinary experience of war in recent times. . . .

We mentioned the French Revolution. You will recall that, when the bourgeoisie was a revolutionary class and led the people, the same thing happened: the country, invaded by a great number of nations, not only resisted but went on to defeat the aggressors. This is because, in the revolutions, the people become united when the age-old injustices disappear, and forces come forth which nobody and nothing can defeat.

Here we have a perfect lesson taught by history. Never before, notwithstanding the proverbial patriotism of that nation, had they put up such a heroic, determined resistance. This was because the society of the feudal lords and serfs, of the czars with their absolute power, no longer existed. The socialist state resisted even more. And what's really extraordinary is that this socialist state, made up practically of farmers became the powerful industrial power it is today and the country which has helped such small nations as Vietnam and Cuba to resist such great dangers as the imperialist danger. . . .

We Feel That We Are the Sons of a Whole Community, a Part of a World Much Larger than Cuba and Chile and That Is Latin America

The day will come when we'll all have the same citizenship, without losing one iota of our love for our homeland, for that corner of our hemisphere where we were born; for our flags, which will be sister flags; for our anthems, which will be sister anthems; for our traditions,

which will be sister traditions; and for our cultures, which will be sister cultures. The day will come when our peoples will have the power to take an honored place in the world, when the powerful will no longer be able to insult us, when the empire, proud and arrogant, will no longer be able to threaten us with tragedy and defeat or make any other kind of threat. . . . Because it is not the same thing to threaten a small country as it is to threaten a union of sister nations that may become a large and powerful community in the world of tomorrow.

The day will come when reactionary ideology will be defeated, when all narrow-minded nationalism, the ridiculous chauvinism which the reactionaries and the imperialists utilize to maintain a situation of division and hostility among our peoples—peoples who speak the same language, who can understand one another as we understand each other now—will be defeated. Reactionary ideology makes for division.

For America to be united and become Our America, the America Marti spoke of, it will be necessary to eradicate the very last vestige of those reactionaries who want the peoples to be weak so they can hold them in oppression and submitted to foreign monopolies. After all, all that is but the expression of a reactionary philosophy, the philosophy of exploitation and oppression. . . .

We have met, and talked at length, with the workers, the students, the farmers and the people in general in our visit to so many places here. We have talked with newspapermen and intellectual workers and with economists and technicians, as those in ECLA. We have met and talked with deputies, with the leaders of the parties of People's Unity, with the leaders of the organizations of the left; with everybody.

(VOICE FROM THE AUDIENCE: "AND WITH THE WOMEN")

I'm not forgetting them. We have met with the worker's representatives. We have met with the women of Chile. We have met with the Cardinal of Chile. We have met with more than 100 progressive priests who make up quite an impressive movement. We have talked with members of the Army, the Navy and the Carabineers Corps. And we were met with affection and respect everywhere. And we have tried our very best to answer all the questions put to us.

Of all these meetings, those which were the source of the greatest irritation and criticism were the meeting with the Cardinal, the meeting with the progressive priests and the meeting with the members of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and Carabineers Corps.

It is necessary, by all means, that we explain the essence of these meetings and the reason why they came about.

We had many things to talk about with the Christian left and with the Chilean priests, many, many things based on principles rather than on opportunism, on profound reasons, on convictions rather than on profiting; based on the possibility—and the need—of bringing together in this Latin-American community the Marxist revolutionaries and the Christians, the Marxist revolutionaries and the Christian revolutionaries.

We examined the many points of coincidence that may exist between the purest precepts of Christianity and the objectives of Marxism. There are many who have tried to use religion to defend exploitation, poverty and privilege; to transform people's life in this world into a hell, forgetting that Christianity was the religion of the humble, of the slaves of Rome, of the tens of thousands who were devoured by the lions at the circus and who had very definite ideas about human solidarity or human love and condemned greed, gluttony and selfishness.

That was a religion which, 2000 years ago, called the merchants and the Pharisees by their name, which condemned the rich and said virtually that they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. That was the religion which multiplied the loaves and the fishes—precisely what the revolutionary man of today intends to do with technology, with his hands, with the rational, planned development of the economy.

When you search for the similarities between the objectives of Marxism and the most beautiful precepts of Christianity, you will find many points of coincidence. You will see why a humble priest who knows what hunger means—because he is in close contact with it— who knows what sickness and death and human pain mean. ... Or why some of those priests who practice their religion among the miners or among humble peasant families become identified with them and fight shoulder to shoulder with them. You will see why there are unselfish people who devote their whole life to the care of people afflicted with the worst diseases.

When you find all those points of coincidence you will see how much a thing as a strategic alliance between Marxist revolutionaries and Christian revolutionaries is possible.

The imperialists—and, of course, all the reactionaries— don't want such an alliance to take place.

We also spoke at length with the military. And when we say military we mean the men from every branch of the armed forces of all the institutes. However, these talks came about spontaneously. They were not planned. They were the result of the official attentions given us, of the extraordinary attentions with which the President, the ministers and other government authorities showered us. At the airports, everywhere, the men in uniform and their representatives were there, too. Thus, a series of conversations took place, spontaneously, at the receptions and during our meetings with the authorities. It was obvious that the men in uniform of Chile and our delegation had many things to talk about.

We have lived through the experience of having to organize combat units in the face of a real, great danger. We have had to develop powerful armed forces, create schools, learn how to handle modern armament, learn new combat techniques. We have studied the experience, the reports and the documents of the last World War.

Undoubtedly, from the technical point of view, from the professional point of view, there were many things which could have been the subject of talks. Interest in Cuba's experience, Cuba's process, and the natural curiosity about historic happenings that all men possess. In addition, there were subjects of a human nature, the competence, efficiency, traditions and history of each country, the present and the future. What will the future of our peoples be in the face of the technological gaps which are growing, in the face of the developed nation and those which have been left behind? What are the prospects of weapons, of the new systems of armaments?

That is, from both the professional and human points of view, as things which are related to the future of our peoples, there were plenty of broad themes of this kind, on which our talks developed.

We had the chance to meet many very talented, upright, efficient men, many worthy men, thanks to those talks. We had the chance to speak on matters related to our traditions. We have learned—all of us—many things.

Was this, then, a sin? Was this a conspiracy? Was this a crime? Was there anything that anyone could feel offended by? And why, since we talked with the priests, the Cardinal and the ECLA technicians, shouldn't we talk with the men in uniform of Chile? Why did they fear these talks so much? Whom have we offended with them?

Advance with the People! Advance with Ideas! Advance Uniting Forces! Advance Gathering Forces!

Revolutionaries are moved by profound motivations, by great ideas. They do not promote fear. No! Even though they are familiar with the fate of crushed revolutions. To cite two examples: the revolution of the Roman slaves, led by Spartacus, which was crushed by the oligarchs, and cost the lives of tens of thousands of men who were nailed to crosses alongside the roads leading to Rome; and, the revolution of the Paris Communards, which was drowned in blood.

We could cite some more recent examples. Every time a revolution gets under way, fascism makes its appearance with all its tricks and schemes, all its methods of struggle, all its hypocrisy and pharisaism, all its tactics of promoting fear and making use of lies and the most criminal methods. But there's nothing to fear! Fight back with arguments! Fight back with reasoning! Fight back with the truth! Fight back with conviction! Fight back without fear of the consequences of defeat! And remember the price the peoples must pay for their defeat! Fight for an ideal! Fight for a just cause! Fight back knowing that you're right! Fight back knowing that the inexorable laws of history are on your side! Fight back knowing that the future is yours! Advance with the masses! Advance with the people! Advance with ideas! Advance uniting forces! Advance gathering forces!

We have met and spoken at length with many Chileans. The only ones we haven't spoken with—and will never speak with—are the exploiters, the reactionaries, the oligarchs and the fascists.

We have never talked with the fascists, and we never will!

As far as the rest of the Chileans are concerned, it has been a great honor for us to have met them, to get to know them, to have talked with them and to have exchanged views with them.

Beloved Comrade Salvadore Allende, we will be leaving this beautiful country very soon. We will soon be saying goodbye to this hospitable, magnificent, warm-hearted people. We are taking back with us a memento of our visit: the indelible memory of our stay here, of all the affection, all the attention, all the honors that you heaped on our delegation as the representatives of the people of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution.

All we want to say to you, beloved President, and to all the Chileans, is that you can count on Cuba. You can count on her unselfish, unconditional solidarity; on what that flag and that homeland really mean. Not the homeland of the exploited, but the homeland of free men! A homeland to which the Revolution gave equality and justice! A homeland where man has regained his dignity!

To those who attempt to deny the legitimacy of the Revolution, let them observe its force and then try to explain how it is possible for us to resist the powerful Yankee empire in the cultural field, in the political field and in the military field, if we don't have a conscientious, united people—a people who knows what dignity and freedom mean.

There's our country, firm and staunch! There's our flag, a flag which represents the dignity of Cuba, which represents the nation in the broadest sense of the word, which represents patriotism in its most fraternal sense, as sons of Cuba and sons of America!

These two symbols that today wave together here, also represent the closeness of our peoples, of our ideas, of our cause and of our motives.

And, being that today is December 2, allow me to end the way we do in Cuba.

Patria o Muerte!

Venceremos!


Edición digital del Centro Documental Blest el 07feb02
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