Once achieved, military
invulnerability can only be maintained with constant improvements
Speech by Second Secretary of the
Central Committee of the Party and Minister of the Army General
Raúl Castro, during the event marking the 45th anniversary of the
founding of the Western Army in San José de las Lajas, Habana
province, June 14, 2006, Year of the Energy Revolution in Cuba
years after 1961, that decisive year for the Revolution, we can feel
the double satisfaction of still having with us the Commander in
Chief of always, and of having acted in accordance with the
principle summed up by this affirmation of his: "We shall not
drop our guard for a single minute. We shall not rest for one minute
in the work of organizing the defense."
Fidel made that affirmation on
January 20, 1961 before the thousands of Havana militia troops
returning to confront – together with their comrades from the
center and east of the country – the armed bands incited by the
empire in the mountains of the central region, in what was then Las
The Revolution had already given
palpable evidence that arming the people was far from being a
slogan. It was a reality, growing before the eyes of the enemy
forces, who would be able to confirm that in their own flesh three
The Bay of Pigs is a crucial landmark
in the decision to confront the enemy with weapons in hand. The Days
of the Militia, the Anti-Aerial Defense (DAAFAR) and of the Tank
Regiment are associated with its battles, and shortly before or
after that great victory, the Central, Eastern and Western armies
were born on April 4, April 21, and June 14, respectively. A few
days previously, on June 6, the Ministry of the Interior was
created. Thus these have been months of many and justified
Majors of the Revolution Juan
Almeida, Ramiro Valdés and Guillermo García, founder members of
those institutions and exceptional protagonists of those events, are
here as well as myself, who did something for the Eastern Army in
Also present are the current chiefs,
Generals of the Army Corps Leopoldo Cintra, Ramón Espinosa and
Joaquín Quintas. I believe that all our combatants, as firmly
united as they were in 1961 and always will be, will feel
represented by them.
In a fortunate historical
coincidence, we are also commemorating today the birth of two great
men: the 161st anniversary of that of Lieutenant General Antonio
Maceo and the 78th of Commander Ernesto Che Guevara, and thus three
stages of one same army are symbolically fused in this event: the
Mambí (19th century freedom fighters), the Rebel and the FAR
(Revolutionary Armed Forces).
WE CUBANS ARE AWARE THAT WITHOUT THE
SUSTAINED EFFORT OF OUR PEOPLE TO CONSOLIDATE THE DEFENSE CAPACITY
OF OUR COUNTRY, WE WOULD HAVE CEASED TO EXIST AS AN INDEPENDENT
NATION A LONG TIME AGO
We Cubans are aware that without the
sustained effort of our people to consolidate the defense capacity
of our country, we would have ceased to exist as an independent
nation a long time ago.
In accordance with that principle and
after a profound analysis of the times in which we were living and
scenarios that could present themselves in the short term, on July
15, 2003, our Party, represented by the plenary of its Central
Committee, presided over by its first secretary, called on everyone
to increase whatever we were doing to fortify our defenses.
That time could not have been more
complex. The U.S. government was experiencing the triumphalist
euphoria of a supposed thunderous victory in Iraq. That illusion,
supported by a gigantic propaganda campaign based on lies, confused
a large number of U.S. citizens and many others throughout the world
at that point.
Even though the anti-war movement was
strong in some areas the aggressive policy of the empire had the
backing of the population at that moment, as was reflected in
Many unsuspecting people saw that war
as part of a supposed crusade against terrorism. They did not
realize that in real terms it was an action coherent with the
imperialist plans of planetary hegemony, another effort aimed at
controlling essential raw materials, in particular fuel; in
parallel, a fresh attempt to go for the old scheme of war as a means
of overcoming the economic crisis; and also, not exactly in the last
place, to satisfy the desire for profits of the large transnational
In those conditions favorable to
their interests, it was obvious that the imperial hawks were
considering the possibility of giving a piece of their mind to those
who signified a obstacle to their dreams of world domination, and
evidently, Cuba, for reasons that are all too well known, could be
high on the list of immediate targets.
This U.S. administration’s
increasing backing of ultra-right groups of Cuban origin based in
Miami, as well as the extended inciting of local mercenaries by the
U.S. Interests Section in Havana, compounded by increased
provocations and acts of terrorism such as the hijacking of civilian
vessels and aircraft, all accompanied by the staging of grand media
campaigns, were clear signals of such aggressive plans.
That was happening at an extremely
difficult juncture for the country, given the combination of the
increased price of oil after the invasion of Iraq, the collapse of
tourism as a consequence of the September 11 attacks in 2001, and
the vertiginous descent of sugar prices to levels that made its
production simply unsustainable in many parts of the island.
None of that daunted us. Along with
other important tasks of the Revolution, the programs contained in
the Battle of Ideas directed at improving education, health, social
security, culture, sports – at the end of day, the quality of life
of the people, went ahead.
The resources for that miracle did
not come from any mysterious fund. They emerged from the creative
ingenuity, talent and organized and enthusiastic work of our people.
Those who have considerably fortified the country’s defense
capacity come from that same source.
OUR SECURITY IN VICTORY IS SUSTAINED
BY THE BLOOD OF FALLEN COMPAÑEROS AND IN THE RIVERS OF SWEAT
SPILLED BY MILLIONS OF CUBANS
Behind the affirmation of the
commander in chief that Cuba today is virtually invulnerable to a
military aggression lie many hours of dispassionate analysis of the
strengths and weaknesses of our probable enemy, as well as the
possibilities of standing up to it using the ways and methods most
appropriate for a small country like ours that does not have great
natural wealth, but does have the exceptional source of the
revolutionary morale and knowledge of our sons and daughters.
Our security in victory is sustained
by the blood of fallen compañeros and in the rivers of sweat
spilled by millions of Cubans throughout the decades and
particularly in recent years, who have worked to make our principal
objective of avoiding war a reality.
The terrible hornet’s nest that
every corner of our country would become; I repeat, the terrible
hornet’s nest that every corner of our country would become, would
cause enemy losses far superior to those that U.S. public opinion
would be prepared to allow.
It is fair to recall that in those
extreme circumstances, as in others we have lived through throughout
45 years of aggression of every kind, we have not seen nor do we see
the U.S. people as an enemy; quite the opposite.
Last April, in the east of the
country, we initiated visits lasting various days to the territories
of the three armies in the company of Major of the Revolution Juan
Almeida and the principal FAR chiefs, the last of which ended last
week with the Central Army.
The objective was to directly confirm
on the ground the fulfillment of the agreements of the Plenary of
the Central Committee to which I referred at the beginning of my
address, and the decisions of the Commander in Chief derived from
the Bastion 2004 Strategic Exercise. I can confirm, with full causal
knowledge that however significant was the increase in the country’s
defense capacity up to that date, since then the effort and, above
all, the results, have appreciably doubled.
To the point that it was advisable,
the people were aware of the lengthy sessions that the Commander in
Chief devoted to Bastion 2004, which even extended for various days
after the official completion of the exercise.
The putting into practice of the
decisions derived from that detailed analysis – a summary of the
conclusions reached by hundreds of leadership and command bodies –
signified a considerable qualitative leap in the country’s defense
capacity. And I am not referring to issues directly linked to the
armed struggle. The measures being adopted in the economic and
sociopolitical terrains are just as important.
From the grand collective workshop
directed by our Chief emerged solutions at once rational, creative
and bold that permitted an immediate response to many important
problems that had concerned us over a long period.
Aware that human beings are the
fundamental component of our defensive power, particular attention
has been given to training personnel. Not only was the instruction
for the troops improved. In just three years, the leaders and
civilian officials who have updated their knowledge of their duties
in relation to defense run into the thousands.
The military training centers, this
Brigade-School where were are meeting, and other similar ones
existing in all the military regions that make up the three armies,
are still playing a decisive role in attaining that important
Likewise all the defense plans were
redrafted, from national level to the area of defense, to bring them
into line with the new realities and the particularities of each
concrete place, based on the new concepts developed.
As has invariably happened throughout
our revolutionary history, and particularly at moments of danger,
when mentioning those who made those results possible one cannot
separate the military and civilians because, as always, all of us
work closely together.
It couldn’t be any other way. The
War of All the People is far from being a simply theoretical
concept, it is a daily reality in every task aimed at strengthening
the country’s defense.
Workers from the Ministry of
Construction and from the bodies of People's Power, engineering
troops and military construction workers have built hundreds of
kilometers of tunnels and other fortified works. Patriots in uniform
or out of uniform attached to other agencies of state central
administration have joined efforts to develop communications and
upgrade and manufacture combat means. This last task – with a
rational investment of material resources – has translated into a
considerable increase in their combat qualities and, above all,
making them correspond to the use we foresee giving them, while
allowing the reanimation of one part of national industry and
demonstrating the significant potential existing in those workers’
It has been the same with tasks
directed at the country’s economic and social development. I shall
limit myself to mentioning some notable examples, such as the
important contribution of combatants in the Army of Working Youth
over the years, the large group of FAR officers who have contributed
to easing the flow of merchandise from the ports to its destination,
or that currently being undertaken by the military construction
enterprises with workers from the Ministry of Construction and the
National Institute of Hydraulic Resources in the large-scale
diversion of rivers in the eastern region and subsequently in the
center of the island, which will make it possible to move large
volumes of water to the regions traditionally most affected by
drought in the provinces of Holguín, Las Tunas and Camagüey.
The important results achieved in the
training for the defense of the country are a new point of departure
for continued advances. This is a task that has demanded and will
constantly require years of sustained effort, maximum when the
international situation could be radically transformed in a matter
of days. Once achieved, military invulnerability can only be
maintained with constant improvements.
In the strengthening of the defense
capacity, creative workers, intelligence, the revolutionary morale
and awareness of the people and their leaders at all levels and of
all institutions have been more decisive than resources – which
have also become available in a growing form.
ONLY THE COMMUNIST PARTY, AS AN
INSTITUTION THAT BRINGS TOGETHER THE REVOLUTIONARY VANGUARD AND IS A
SURE GUARANTEE OF CUBAN UNITY IN ALL TIMES, CAN BE THE WORTHY
INHERITOR OF THE CONFIDENCE DEPOSITED BY THE PEOPLE IN ITS LEADER
The 47-plus years that have passed
since January 1, 1959, totally demonstrate that the millions of
Cubans prepared to defend the Revolution to the final consequences
are not moved by a passing enthusiasm or political fanaticism, but a
confidence based on the infallible evidence of time and facts, on
the profound conviction that the road chosen is the correct one, and
in undefeatable national unity.
That is the key to our defensive
power, to our capacity to resist and overcome the greatest
adversities. The enemy knows that, and for that reason aims its
blows at weakening us ideologically. And it does so, above all, with
a view to the future, to a scenario that it considers more favorable
for its propositions.
We should not forget that they have
drawn up a so so-called transition to capitalism, banking on an end
to the Revolution when its historical leadership is no longer here.
For that reason they are maintaining the so-called Commission for
Assistance to a Free Cuba with a designated U.S. administrator and
everyone to the front, like in the good old days of the Yankee
cannons throughout Latin America.
We are confronting an enemy whose
obstinacy and arrogance frequently leads it to commit errors, but
that does not mean that it is stupid. It knows that the special
confidence given by the people to the founding leader of a
Revolution, is not transmitted, as if it were an inheritance, to
those who occupy the main leadership posts in the country in the
I reiterate what I have affirmed on
many occasions: the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution is
solely and uniquely the Communist Party, as an institution that
brings together the revolutionary vanguard and is a sure guarantee
of Cuban unity in all times, can be the worthy inheritor of the
confidence deposited by the people in its leader. That is what we
are working for and that is how it will be, the rest is pure
speculation, not to call it by another name.
Just as we have won all the battles,
as much within Cuba as in fulfilling our internationalist duty, we
shall overcome the enemy who tries to hide within our ranks, we
shall further consolidate the Revolution and we shall make ourselves
stronger on all fronts.
Indisputably, circumstances have
changed radically in relation to those existing in July 2003, when
the plenary of the Central Committee that I have already referred to
Whereas at that time, in response to
questions asked them or composed surveys, between 90% and 55% of the
U.S. population supported the policy of Mr. Bush, at this point in
time that figure, at best, is no more than one third of citizens,
something that could make even a city councilor quake.
The lightning victory given by the
"mission accomplished" in Iraq three years ago has turned
into a maze without a visible way out and full of mires everywhere.
Even Afghanistan, which seemed to be pacified – at least the
principal cities, really the only ones that they managed to control
to a certain extent – are beginning to be another serious headache
for the empire and its allies.
The U.S. economy is hanging more and
more on the weak thread of war costs. Add to that the unchecked
printing of dollars with which they are trying to counter the
growing trade and budget imbalances, any impartial prognosis would
point to a debacle sooner or later.
On the other hand, more and more
people within the United States are calling for a reassessment of
the policy on Cuba, including some important voices within the U.S.
Without any doubt, it would not seem
to be the most appropriate scenario for undertaking new military
adventures, but the lessons of history must not be forgotten. It
would not be the first time that an imperialist power and, in
particular, the United States, has turned to war as a way of
attempting to get out of an internal crisis of any type.
Neither should we discount the
possibility that wounded arrogance or desperation could take them to
the insanity of initiating a military aggression against Cuba,
however crazy that might seem to be.
That explains the validity and
permanence of what compañero Fidel stated in the Central
report to the 1st Party Congress:
"While imperialism exists, the
Party, the state and the people will lend maximum attention to
defense services. The revolutionary guard must never be neglected.
History teaches with too much eloquence that those who forget this
principle will not survive the error."
That is how it will be, so that we
can always shout in the face of the empire:
íViva Cuba libre!