The Bells Tolling Today for Grenada May Toll Tomorrow for the Whole World.
Speech given by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the Councils of State and of Ministers, at the eulogy for the heroes killed in unequal combat against U.S. Imperialism in Grenada. Held in Havana on November 14, 1983.
On October 15, 1976, a little over seven years ago, we gathered here, in this same place to deliver a funeral address for the 57 Cubans who were vilely murdered in the Barbados plane sabotage, carried out by men who had been trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Today we have come once again to bid farewell — this time to 24 Cubans who died in Grenada, another island not very far from Barbados, as a result of U.S. military actions.
Grenada was one of the smallest independent states in the world, both in territory and population. Even though Cuba is a small, underdeveloped country, it was able to help Grenada considerably, because our efforts — which were modest in quantity though high in quality — meant a lot for a country less than 400 square kilometers in size, with a population of just over 100,000.
For instance, the value of our contribution to Grenada in the form of materials, designs and labour in building the new airport came to $60 million at international prices — over $500 per inhabitant. It is as if Cuba -— with a population of almost 10 million — received a·project worth $5000 million as a donation. In addition, there was the cooperation of our doctors, teachers and technicians in diverse specialties, plus an annual contribution of Cuban products worth about $3 million. This meant an additional annual contribution of $40 per inhabitant. It is impossible for Cuba to render material assistance on that scale to countries with significantly large populations and territories, but we were able to offer great assistance to a country like tiny Grenada.
Many other small Caribbean nations, used to the gross economic and strategic interests of colonialism and imperialism, were amazed by Cuba’s generous assistance to that fraternal people. They may have thought that Cuba’s selfless action was extraordinary; in the midst of the U.S. government’s dirty propaganda, some may even have found it difficult to understand.
Our people felt such deep friendship for Bishop and Grenada, and our respect for that country and its sovereignty was so irreproachable, that we never dared to express any opinions about what was being done there or how it was being done. In Grenada,we followed the same principles we apply to all revolutionary nations and movements: full respect for their policies, criteria and decisions; expressing our views on any matter only when asked to do so. Imperialism is incapable of understanding that the secret of our excellent relations with revolutionary countries and movements in the world lies precisely in this respect.
The U.S. government looked down on Grenada and hated Bishop. It wanted to destroy Grenada’s process and obliterate its example. lt had even prepared military plans for invading the island — as Bishop had charged nearly two years ago — but it lacked pretext.
Socio-economically, Grenada was actually advancing satisfactorily. The people had received many benefits, in spite of the hostile policy of the United States, and Grenada’s Gross National Product was growing at a good rate in the midst of the world crisis. Bishop was not an extremist; rather, he was a true revolutionary — conscientious and honest. Far from disagreeing with his intelligent and realistic policy, we fully sympathized with it, since it was rigorously adapted to his country’s specific conditions and possibilities. Grenada had become a true symbol of independence and progress in the Caribbean.
No one could have foreseen the tragedy that was drawing near.Attention was focused on other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the Grenadian revolutionaries themselves unleashed the events that opened the door to imperialist aggression.
Hyenas emerged from the revolutionary ranks.Today no one can yet say whether those who used the dagger of division and internal confrontation did so motu proprio or were inspired and egged on by imperialism. It is something that could have been done by the CIA — and, if somebody else was responsible, the CIA could not have done it any better. The fact is that allegedly revolutionary arguments were used, invoking the purest principles of Marxism-Leninism and charging Bishop with practising a personality·cult and drawing away from the Leninist norms and methods of leadership;
In our view, nothing could be more absurd .than to attribute such tendencies to Bishop. It was impossible to imagine anyone more noble, modest and unselfish. He could never have been guilty of being authoritarian; if he had any defect, it was his excessive tolerance and trust.
Were those who conspired against him within the Grenadian Party, army and security, by any chance, a group of extremists drunk on political theory? Were they simply a group of ambitious, opportunistic individuals, or were they enemy agents who wanted to destroy the Grenadian Revolution? History alone will have the last word, but it would not be the first time that such things occurred in a revolutionary process.
In our view, Coard’s group objectively destroyed the Revolution and opened the door to imperialist aggression. Whatever their intentions, the brutal assassination of Bishop and his most loyal closest comrades is a fact that can never be justified in that or any other revolution. As the October 20 statement by the Cuban Party and government put it, “No crime can be committed in the name of revolution and liberty.”
In spite of his very close and affectionate links with our Party’s leadership, Bishop never said anything about the internal dissensions that were developing. To the contrary, in his last conversation with us he was self-critical about his work regarding attention to the armed forces and the mass organizations. Nearly all of our Party and state leaders spent many friendly, fraternal hours with him on the evening of October 7, before his return trip to Grenada.
Coard’s group never had such relations nor such intimacy and trust with us. Actually, we did not even know that group existed. It is to our Revolution’s credit that, in spite of our profound indignation over Bishop’s removal from office and arrest, we fully refrained from interfering in Grenada’s internal affairs, even though our construction workers and all our other cooperation personnel in Grenada — who did not hesitate to confront the Yankee soldiers with the weapons Bishop himself had given them for their defense in case of an attack from abroad — could have been a decisive factor in those internal events. Those weapons were never meant to be used in an internal conflict in Grenada and we would never have allowed them to be so used; we would never have been willing to use them to shed a single drop of Grenadian blood.
On October 12, Bishop was removed from office by the Central Committee, on which the conspirators had attained a majority. On the 13th, he was placed under house arrest. On the 19th, the people took to the streets and freed Bishop. Whiteman, Jacqueline Creft and other excellent revolutionary leaders were murdered. As soon as the internal dissensions which came to light on October 12 were manifest the Yankee imperialists decided to invade.
The message sent by the leadership of the Cuban Party to Coard’s group on October 15 has been made public: in it, we expressed our deep concern over both the internal and external consequences of the split and appealed to the common sense, serenity, wisdom and generosity of revolutionaries. This reference to generosity was an appeal not to use violence against Bishop and his followers. This group of Coard’s that seized power in Grenada expressed serious reservations regarding Cuba from the very beginning because of our well-known and unquestionable friendship with Bishop. The national and international press has published our strong denunciation of the events of October 19, the day Bishop was murdered. Our relations with Austin’s short-lived government, in which Coard was really in charge, were actually cold and tense, so that, at the time of the criminal Yankee aggression, there was no coordination whatsoever between the Grenadian army and the Cuban construction workers and other cooperation personnel. The basic points of the messages sent to our embassy in Grenada on October 12 through 25, the day on which the invasion took place, have been made public. These documents stand in history as irrefutable proof of our clean principled position regarding Grenada. Imperialism, however, presented the events as the coming to power of a group of hard-line Communists, loyal allies of Cuba. Were they really Communists? Were they really hard-liners? Could they really be loyal allies of Cuba? Or were they rather conscious or unconscious tools of Yankee imperialism?
Look at the history of the revolutionary movement, and you will find more than one connection between imperialism and those who take positions that appear to be on the extreme left.
Aren’t Pol Pot and Ieng Sary — the ones responsible for the genocide in Kampuchea — the most loyal allies Yankee imperialism has in Southeast Asia at present? In Cuba, ever since the Grenadian crisis began, we have called Coard’s group — to give it a name — the “Pol Pot group.”
Our relations with the new leaders of Grenada were to be subjected to profound analysis, as was set forth in the October 20 statement by the Party and government of Cuba. In it, we also stated that due to our basic regard for the Grenadian people, we would not rush to “take any steps regarding technical and economic cooperation which may jeopardize the basic services and vital economic interests of the people of Grenada.” We could not accept the idea of leaving the Grenadians without doctors or leaving the airport, which was vital to the nation’s economy, unfinished. Most certainly, our construction workers were to leave Grenada when that project was completed, and the weapons that Bishop had given them were to be returned to the government. It was even possible that our very bad relations with the new government would make it necessary for us to leave much earlier.
The thing that placed Cuba in a morally complex, difficult situation was the announcement that Yankee .naval forces were en route to Grenada. Under those circumstances, we couldn’t possibly leave the country. If the imperialists really intended to attack Grenada, it was our duty to stay there. To withdraw at that time would have been dishonorable and could even have triggered aggression in that country then and in Cuba later on. In addition, events unfolded with such incredible speed that if the evacuation had been planned for, there would not have been time to carry it out.
In Grenada however, the government was morally indefensible, and, since the Party, the government and the army had divorced themselves from the people, it was also impossible to defend the nation militarily, because a revolutionary war is only feasible and justifiable when united with the people. We could only fight, therefore, if we were directly attacked. There was no alternative.
It should nevertheless be noted that, despite these adverse circumstances, a number of Grenadian soldiers died in heroic combat against the invaders. (APPLAUSE) .
The internal events, however, in no way justified Yankee intervention. Since when has the government of the United States become the arbiter of internal conflicts between revolutionaries in any given country? What right did Reagan have to rend his made over the death of Bishop, whom he so hated and opposed? What reason could there be for its brutal violation of the sovereignty of Grenada — a small independent nation that was a respected and acknowledged member of the international community? It would be the same as if another country believed it had the right to intervene in the United States because of the repulsive assassination of Martin Luther King or so many other outrages, such as those that have been committed against the black Hispanic minorities in the United States, or to intervene because John Kennedy was murdered.
The same may be said of the argument that the lives of 1000 Americans were in danger. There are many times more U.S. citizens in dozens of other countries in the world. Does this, perchance, imply the right to intervene when internal conflicts arise in those countries? There are tens of thousands of Grenadians in the United States, England and Trinidad. Could tiny Grenada intervene if domestic policy problems arose that pose some threat to its compatriots in any of those countries? Putting aside the fallacy and falseness of such pretexts for invading Grenada, is this really an international norm that can be sustained?
A thousand lessons in Marxism could not teach us any better the dirty, perfidious and aggressive nature of imperialism than the attack unleashed against Grenada at dawn on October 25 and its later development.
In order to justify its invasion of Grenada and its subsequent actions, the U.S. government and its spokesmen told lies; Reagan personally told the first 13.
1.Cuba had to do with the coup d’etat and the death of Bishop.(SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
2. The American students were in danger of being taken hostage. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
3.The main purpose of the invasion was to protect the lives of American citizens. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
4.The invasion was a multinational operation undertaken at the request of Mr. Scoon and the eastern Caribbean nations. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
5. Cuba was planning to invade and occupy Grenada. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
6. Grenada was being turned into an important Soviet-Cuban military base. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
7. The airport under construction was not civilian but military. (SH0UTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
8. The weapons in Grenada would be used to export subversion and terrorism. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
9. The Cubans fired first.(SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
10. There were over 1000 Cubans in Grenada. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
11. Most of the Cubans were not construction workers but professional soldiers. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
12.The invading forces took care not to destroy civilian property or inflict civilian casualties.(SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
13 The U.S. troops would remain in Grenada for a week. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
14. Missile silos were being builtin Grenada. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
15. The vessel VietNam Heroicowas transporting special weapons.(SHOUTS OF “THAT S A LIE!”)
16. Cuba was warned of the invasion. (SHOUTS OF “THAT S A LIE!”)
17. Five hundred Cubans are fighting in the mountains of Grenada.(SHOUTS OF “THAT S A LIE!”)
18. Cuba has issued instructions for reprisals to be taken against U.S.citizens. (SHOUTS OF “THAT’S A LIE!”)
19. The journalists were excluded for their own protection.(APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS OF “LIARS!” “FIDEL, FIDEL, GIVE ‘EM HELL; LET’S MAKE ‘EM RESPECT US WELL!”)
None of these assertions were proved, none are true and all have been refuted by the facts. This cynical way of lying in order to justify invading a tiny country reminds us of the methods Adolf Hitler used during the years leading up to World War II.
The U.S. students and officials of the medical school located there acknowledged that they were given full guarantees for U.S. citizens and the necessary facilities for those who wanted to leave the country. Moreover, Cuba had informed the U.S. government on October 22 that no foreign citizens, including Cubans, had been disturbed, and it offered to cooperate in solving any difficulty that might arise, so that problems could be settled without violence or intervention in that country.
No U.S. citizen had been disturbed at all prior to the invasion, and if anything endangered them, it was the war unleashed by the United States. Cuba’s instructions to its personnel not to interfere with any actions to evacuate U.S. citizens in the area of the runway under construction near the university contributed to protecting tie U.S. citizens residing in that country. Reagan’s reference to the possibility that Grenada might turn into another Iran — a reference calculated to appeal to the U.S. feelings wounded in that episode — is a demagogic, politicking, dishonest argument.
The assertion that the new airport was a military one — an old lie that the Reagan administration had dwelt on a lot — was categorically refuted by the English capitalist firm that supplied and installed the electrical and technical equipment for that airport. The British technicians of the Plessey company, which has made a name for itself internationally as a specialist in this field, worked alongside the Cuban construction workers, to whose civilian worker status they attest. Several countries of the European community that are members of the Atlantic alliance cooperated in one way or another with the airport. How can anyone ·imagine them helping Cuba to build a military airport in Grenada?
However, the idea that Grenada was being turned into a Soviet-Cuban base is refuted by the proved fact that there wasn’t even one Soviet military adviser on the island.
Agreements for Co-operation
The supposedly secret documents that fell into the hands of the United States and were published by the Yankee administration a few days after the invasion refer to the agreement between the governments of Cuba and Grenada by virtue of which our country was to send Grenada 27 military advisers, which could later be increased to 40 — figures that coincide with the ones Cuba published on the number of advisers, which was 22 on the day of the attack, to which were added a similar number of translators and service personnel from the mission. Nowhere in those documents that they have been crowing over is there something that has anything to do with the idea of military bases in Grenada. What they do show is that the weapons that the Soviet Union supplied to the government of Grenada for the army and the militia were subject to an article that prohibited their export to third countries, which refutes the idea that Grenada had been turned into an arsenal for supplying weapons to subversive, terrorist organizations, as the present administration likes to call all the revolutionary and national liberation movements. No weapons ever left Grenada for any other country, and, therefore, Reagan can never prove that any did.
The assertion that Cuba was about to invade and occupy Grenada is so unrealistic, absurd, crazy and alien to our principles and international policy that it cannot even be taken seriously. What has been proved is the absolutely scrupulous way in which we refrained from meddling in the internal affairs of that country, in spite of our deep affection for Bishop and our total rejection of Coard and his group’s conspiracy and coup, which could serve only the interests of imperialism and its plans for destroying the Grenadian Revolution. The messages containing precise, categorical instructions to our embassy in Grenada, which have been widely publicized by the government of Cuba, constitute irrefutable proof of the clear position of principles maintained by the leadership of our Party and state with regard to the internal events in Grenada.
The civilian status of the vast majority of the Cuban cooperation personnel in Grenada has been shown to the whole world by the hundreds of foreign journalists who saw them arriving in our country and who were able to interview each and every one of them. Nearly 50 percent of them were over 40 years old. Who could question their status as civilian cooperation personnel and workers with long years of experience on their jobs.
Cuba Told The Truth
When the U.S. government spokesmen asserted that there were from 1,000 to 1,500 Cubans in Grenada at the time of the invasion and that hundreds of them were still fighting in the mountains, Cuba published the exact number of Cuban citizens who were in Grenada on the day of the invasion: 784, including diplomatic personnel with their children and other relatives. The agencies that sent them and the kind of work they did were also reported, as well as the instructions given them to fight in their work areas and camps if attacked, and the fact that it was impossible — according to the information we had — for hundreds to remain in the mountains. Later, the names and jobs of all cooperation workers were published, as well as the known or probable situation. of each one. The facts have shown that the information provided by Cuba was absolutely true. There isn’t a single fact in all that information that could be proven false.
The assertion that the Cubans initiated the acts of hostility is equally false and cynical. The irrefutable truth is that the Cubans were sleeping and their weapons were stored at the time of the air drop on the runway and around the camps. They had not been distributed. There weren’t enough to go around, and they weren’t distributed until the landing was already under way, and that is when the Cuban personnel went to the places assigned to them for that emergency. Even so, our personnel, now organized and armed, had time to see the U.S. paratroopers regrouping on the runway and the first planes landing. That was the invaders’ weakest moment. If the Cubans had fired first, they would have killed or wounded dozens — perhaps hundreds — of U.S. soldiers in those early hours. (APPLAUSE) What is strictly historical and strictly true is that the fighting began when the U.S. troops advanced toward the Cubans in a belligerent way. It is also true that when a group of unarmed cooperation personnel was captured, they were used as hostages and forced to lead the way in front of the U.S. soldiers.
The invasion of Grenada was a treacherous surprise attack, with no previous warning at all — just like Pearl Harbour, just like the Nazis. The note from the government of the United States to the government of Cuba on Tuesday, October 24, in an attempted response to our note of Saturday, October 22, was delivered at 8:30 in the morning, three hours after the landing had taken place and an hour and a half after the U.S. troops began attacking our compatriots in Grenada. Actually, on the afternoon of the 25th, the U.S. government sent the government of Cuba a deceitful note that led us to believe that the fighting would cease in a reasonable and honorable manner, thus avoiding greater bloodshed. Although we immediately responded to that note, accepting that possibility, what the U.S. government did was to land the 82nd Airborne Division at dawn on the 26th and attack with all its forces the Cuban position that was still resisting. Is this the way a serious government behaves? Is this the way to warn of an attack? Was this the way to avoid greater bloodshed?
Mr Scoon blatantly declared that he approved of the invasion but that he had not previously asked anyone to invade Grenada. A few days after the landing, Mr. Scoon — lodged in the Guam helicopter-carrier — signed a letter officially requesting the intervention. Reagan could not prove any of his false assertions.
When as a pretext for keeping the Vietnam Heroico — which was in the port of St. George’s on the day of the invasion — from being used as a means of transportation for evacuating the Cuban hostages from Grenada, it was alleged that it carried special weapons, its captain was immediately asked if by any chance he carried weapons on board, and the only thing that was determined was that it had just one fearful weapon — its name: Vietnam.• (APPLAUSE)
The slanderous charge that Cuba had given instructions to carry out actions against U.S. citizens in other countries was given a worthy, official and public reply based on reality, proven by the history of the Revolution, that Cuba has always been opposed to acts of reprisal against innocent people.
The government of the United States has not condescended to offer the number of people arrested nor the figure of Grenadian losses, including civilian losses. A hospital for the mentally ill was bombed, killing dozens of patients.
And where is Mr. Reagan’s promise that U.S. troops would withdraw in a week? President Reagan himself in his first address to the U.S. people,at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the invasion, in a speech prepared before the landing, stated that the situation was under control. That same day, his own spokesmen described the resistance the invading forces were facing. The military ride the Pentagon had planned would take four hours did not take into account the tenacious and heroic resistance of the Cuban cooperation personnel and the Grenadian soldiers. (APPLAUSE)
Twisting the Truth
Who, then, has told the truth, and who has cynically lied about the events in Grenada? No foreign journalists — not even those from the United States — were allowed to see and report on the events on the spot. The pretext that this prohibition was a security measure for the journalists is both superficial and ridiculous. What they obviously wanted was to monopolize and manipulate the information so they could lie without any let or hindrance to world public opinion, including the people of the United States. This was the only way they could spread deliberate lies and falsehoods of all kinds — which would be difficult to clear up and refute after their initial impact and effect on the people of the United States. Even in this, the method used by the U.S. administration was fascist.
What is left now, objectively, of those 19 assertions? Where are the silos for strategic missiles that were being built in Grenada? But all those lies that the world did not believe, told by the U.S. president and his spokesmen, made a tremendous impact on U.S. public opinion.
Moreover, the invasion of Grenada was presented to the U.S. people as a great victory for Reagan’s foreign policy against the socialist camp and the revolutionary movement. It was linked to the tragic death of 240 U.S. soldiers in Beirut, to the memory of the hostages in Iran, to the humiliating defeat in Vietnam and to the resurgence of the United States as an influential power on the world scene. A dirty, dishonest appeal was made to U.S. patriotism, to national pride, to the grandeur and glory of the nation. This was how they got a majority of the U.S. people — it is said that it was 65 percent at first and then 71 percent — to support the monstrous crime of invading a sovereign country without any justification, the reprehensible method of launching a surprise attack, the press censorship and all the other similar procedures the U.S. government used for invading and justifying its invasion of Grenada. Hitler acted .the same way when he occupied Austria in 1938 and annexed Sudetenland, in Czechoslovakia, in the name of German pride, German grandeur and glory and the happiness and security of German subjects. If a poll had been taken in Hitler Germany at that time, in the midst of the chauvinistic wave unleashed by the Nazis, around 80 or 90 percent of the people would have approved of those aggressions.
The deplorable, truly dangerous fact — not only for the peoples of the Caribbean, Central America and Latin America, but for all the peoples of the world — is that, when world opinion unanimously denounced the warmongering, aggressive, unjustifiable action that violated a people’s sovereignty and all international norms and principles, most of the people of the United States- manipulated, disinformed and deceived-supported the monstrous crime committed by the government.
There is something even more disturbing: when this about-face was effected in U.S. public opinion, many U.S. politicians who initially had opposed these events ended up by condoning Reagan’s actions, and the press — censored, humiliated and kept at a distance from the events — ended up moderating its complaints and criticisms.
Are these, perchance, the virtues of a society where the opinion and the political and informational institutions can be grossly manipulated by its rulers, as they were in German society in the time of fascism? Where is the glory, the grandeur and the victory in invading and defeating one of the tiniest countries in the world, of no economic or strategic significance? Where is the heroism in fighting a handful of workers and other civilian cooperation personnel whose heroic resistance — in spite of the surprise element; the shortage of ammunition; and their disadvantages in terms offered in, arms and numbers — against the air, sea and land forces of the most powerful imperialist country in the world forced it to bring in the 82nd Airborne Division, when the last stronghold was being defended at dawn on October 26 by barely 50 fighters? (APPLAUSE) The United States did not achieve any victory at all — not political or military or moral. If anything, it was a Pyrrhic military victory and a profound moral defeat, as we pointed out on another: occasion.
The imperialist government of the United States wanted to kill the symbol of the Grenadian Revolution, but the symbol was already dead. The Grenadian revolutionaries themselves destroyed it with their split and their colossal errors. We believe that, after the death of Bishop and his closest comrades, after the army fired on the people and after the Party and the government divorced themselves from the masses and isolated themselves from the world, the Grenadian revolutionary process could not survive.
In its efforts to destroy a symbol, the United States killed a corpse and brought the symbol back to life at the same time. (APPLAUSE) Was it for this that it challenged international law and won the repudiation and condemnation of the world?
Does it feel such contempt for the rest of mankind? Is that contempt really so great that Mr. Reagan’s appetite for breakfast on November 3 was not at all affected, as he declared before the press?
Threat to World Peace
If unfortunately all this were true — and it seems to be — the invasion of Grenada should lead us to an awareness of the realities and dangers that threaten “the world. Mr. O’Neill, speaker of the House of Representatives, said that it was sinful that a man who was totally uninformed and ignorant about the international problems and who doesn’t even read the documents was president of the United States. If we consider that the United States has powerful sophisticated means of conventional and nuclear warfare and that the president of that country can declare war without consulting anyone, it is not only sinful but truly dramatic and tragic for all mankind.
An air of triumph reigns in the Reagan administration. The echoes of the last shots in Grenada have barely died away and there is talk of intervening in El Salvador, Nicaragua and even Cuba.
In the Middle East and Southern Africa imperialism’s acts of interference and military aggression against progressive countries and, national liberation movements continue unabated.
In Europe, the first of the 572 Pershing and Cruise missiles are already being deployed, surrounding the USSR and other socialist countries with a deadly ring of nuclear weapons that can reach their territories in a matter of minutes.
Not just the small countries, but all mankind is threatened. The bells tolling today for Grenada may toll tomorrow for the whole world.
The most prestigious and experienced scientists and doctors assure us that man could not survive a global nuclear conflict. The destructive power of these stockpiled weapons is a million times greater than that of the unsophisticated bombs, that wiped out the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in just a few seconds. This is what the Reagan administration’s aggressive, warmongering policy can lead to.
Meanwhile, the arms race is already a reality in the midst of the worst economic crisis the world has witnessed since the ’30s. And, with the problems of development of the vast majority of the peoples in the world still to be solved, who can feel confidence in a government that acts as precipitately, rashly and cynically as the U.S. government did in Grenada? Reagan did not even bother to listen to the advice of a government as closely linked to him politically, ideologically and militarily as the British government. It is not strange that, in a poll taken just a few days ago, more than 90 percent of the British were categorically opposed to· the United States’ having the unilateral prerogative of using the Cruise missiles that are being deployed there.
In our hemisphere, just a year and a half ago, a NATO power used sophisticated war means to shed Argentine blood in the Malvinas. The Reagan administration supported that action. It did not even consider the Organization of American States or the so-called security pacts and agreements, but scornfully pushed them aside. Now, basing itself on the alleged request of a phantasmagoric Organization of Eastern Caribbean states, it has invaded Grenada and shed Caribbean blood and Cuban blood. Nicaragua paid a price of over forty thousand lives for freedom, and nearly a thousand more sons of that noble people have been killed in the attacks made by mercenary bands organized, trained and equipped by the U.S. government. In El Salvador, over 50,000 people have been murdered by a genocidal regime whose army is equipped trained and directed by the United States. In Guatemala, more than 100,000 have died at the hands of the repressive system installed by the CIA in 1954 when it overthrew the progressive Arbenz government. How many have died in Chile since imperialism staged the overthrow and assassination of Salvadore Allende? How many have died in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. Brazil and Bolivia in the last 15 years?
What a high price our people have paid in blood, sacrifice, poverty and mourning for imperialist domination and the unjust social system it has imposed on our nations!
Our Ideas Will Multiply
Imperialism is bent on destroying symbols, because it knows the value of symbols, of examples and of ideas. lt wanted to destroy them in Grenada and it wants to destroy them in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba; but symbols, examples and ideas cannot be destroyed. When their enemies think they have destroyed them, what they have actually done is made them multiply. (APPLAUSE) In trying to wipe out the first Christians, the Roman emperors spread Christianity throughout the world. Likewise, all attempts to destroy our ideas will only multiply them.
Grenada has already multiplied the Salvadoran, Nicaraguan and Cuban revolutionaries’ patriotic conviction and fighting spirit. (APPLAUSE) It has been proved that the best U.S. troops can be fought and that they are not feared.(APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS) The imperialists must not ignore the fact that they will encounter fierce resistance wherever they attack a revolutionary people. Let us hope that their Pyrrhic victory in Grenada and their air of triumph don’t go to their heads, leading them to commit serious, irreversible errors.
They will not find in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba the particular circumstances of revolutionaries divided among themselves and divorced from the people that they found in tiny Grenada. (APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS)
In more than three years of heroic struggle, the Salvadoran revolutionaries have become experienced, fearsome and invincible fighters. There are thousands of them who know the land inch by inch, veterans of dozens of victorious combats who are accustomed to fighting-and winning when the odds are one to ten against elite troops, trained, armed and advised by the United States. Their unity is more solid and indestructible than ever.
In Nicaragua, the imperialists would have to confront a deeply patriotic and revolutionary people that is united, organized, armed and ready to fight and that can never be subjugated. (APPLAUSE)
With regard to Cuba, if in Grenada, the imperialists had to bring in an elite division to fight against a handful of isolated men struggling in a small stronghold, lacking fortifications, a thousand miles from their homeland, how many divisions would they need against millions of combatants fighting on their own soil alongside their own people? (PROLONGED APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS)
Our country — as we have already said on other occasions — might be wiped off the face of the earth, but it will never be conquered and subjugated (PROLONGED APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS OF “COMMANDER IN CHIEF WE AWAIT YOUR ORDERS!”)
In the present conditions of our continent, a U.S. war against a Latin American people would raise the morale of all the peoples of Latin America and turn their feelings against the aggressors. A bottomless abyss would be opened between peoples that, because they are in the same hemisphere, are called upon to live in peace, friendship and mutual respect, and cooperate with one another.
The experiences of Grenada will be examined in detail to extract the utmost benefit from them for use in case of another attack against a country where there are Cuban cooperation personnel or on our own homeland. (APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS)
The Cubans who were captured and virtually turned into hostages had an unforgettable experience of what a country occupied by Yankee invading troops is like. The physical and psychological treatment given the cooperation personnel who were taken prisoner was insulting and a cause for indignation, and promises of all kinds were made to each of them to try to get them to go to the United States. But they were not able to break their steel like staunchness. Not a single one deserted his homeland. (APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS)
There was no manipulation of the news, nothing was hidden from the people, in our country. All reports concerning the invasion that were received directly from Grenada were transmitted to our population just as they arrived, even though the one son October 26 turned out to be exaggerated. As a matter of principle, at no time were efforts made to play down the seriousness of the situation or to minimize the magnitude of the dangers facing our compatriots.
We are deeply grateful to the International Committee of the Red Cross (APPLAUSE) for its interest, dedication and efficient efforts to identify and evacuate the wounded, sick and other prisoners and the dead as quickly as possible. We are also grateful to the governments of Spain and Colombia for the immediate efforts they made in this regard. (APPLAUSE)
In bidding farewell to our beloved brothers who died heroically in combat, fulfilling with honour their patriotic and internationalist duties, and in expressing our deepest solidarity to their loved ones, we do not forget that there are Grenadian mothers and U.S. mothers who are crying for their sons who died in Grenada. (APPLAUSE) We send our condolences to the mothers and other relatives of the Grenadians who were killed and also to the mothers and other relatives of the U.S. soldiers who died because — they, who also suffer from the loss of close relatives, are not to blame for their government’s warmongering, aggressive, irresponsible actions; they, too, are its victims. (APPLAUSE)
Every day, every hour, every minute — at work, at our study and combat positions — we will remember our comrades who died in Grenada. (APPLAUSE)
The men whom we will bury this afternoon fought for us and for the world. They may seem to be corpses. Reagan wants to make corpses of all our people, men, women, the elderly and the children; he wants to make a corpse out of all mankind. But the people shall struggle to preserve their becoming a huge cemetery; they will struggle and pay the price necessary for mankind to survive.
However, they are not corpses; they are symbols. They did not even die in the land where they were born. There, far away from Cuba, where they were contributing with the noble sweat of their internationalist work in a country poorer and smaller than ours, they were also capable of shedding their blood and offering their lives. But in that trench, they knew they were also defending their own people and their own homeland.
It is impossible to express the generosity of human beings and their willingness to make sacrifices in a more pure way. Their example will be multiplied, their ideas will be multiplied and they themselves will be multiplied in us. No power, no weapons, no forces can ever prevail over the patriotism, internationalism, feelings of human brotherhood and communist consciousness which they embody.
We shall be like them, in work and in combat! (APPLAUSE)
Patria o Muerte! Venceremos! (OVATION)