1.4 million march in Havana: Fidel's remarks beforehand
Campaign News | Tuesday, 24 January 2006
Massive protest against terrorism and the Bush administration's provocations
Havana 24 Jan: A massive wave of 1.4 million people flooded Havana’s seaside drive Tuesday in a protest march against the latest provocations launched by the Bush administration against the island.
Shortly before the march kicked off, President Fidel Castro addressed the people to point out that the island’s response to US provocations would be "entirely peaceful, but we shall strike back with all the strength of our moral fortitude."
His words in full are reproduced below.
Students and workers, men, women and children from all walks of life, began marching in front of the US Interests Section building in Havana as they shouted Bush fascist! Condemn the terrorist! in direct reference to the protection Washington has provided Luis Posada Carriles who was scheduled to attend a hearing at El Paso Texas, where “his immigration status is to be revised.”
Posada, a co-author of the 1976 mid-flight bombing of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados that killed all 73 people on board, has been detained only under common immigration charges for having illegally entered US territory, and now Washington intends to release him.
The protest march not only denounced the US protection of Posada Carriles but also the latest US provocations denounced by the Cuban President in recent TV appearances this week, available in English at:
Key remarks by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, to the people of Cuba, to the noble American people and to the world public opinion, at the onset of the heroic Cuban people’s march on the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on January 24, 2006
At the onset of this march on the perfidious and provocative representatives of imperialism, I wish to reiterate what I said on Sunday in my closing remarks to the heroic people of our beloved homeland, to the noble American people and to the world public opinion.
“The United States government is deliberately in pursuit of the following objectives:
“First, the release of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who was trained by US authorities -Bush Sr. included- and used to perpetrate monstrous crimes against the Cuban people. Recruited in 1961, this repulsive character was trained to carry out special operations during the Bay of Pigs invasion. He and Orlando Bosch, officially pardoned by Bush Sr., subsequently received rigorous training to execute despicable acts of terrorism against Cuba. Likewise, he was given instruction to take part in Operation Condor, an international terrorist organization responsible for odious crimes against Latin American personalities. He is the mind behind the midair bombing of a Cubana de Aviación airliner, which claimed the lives of 73 people, off the coasts of Barbados, on October 6, 1976. Taken out of a Venezuelan prison by the CIA on August 18, 1985, he immediately became involved in the dirty war against Nicaragua, supplying weapons to the ‘contras’ in El Salvador and introducing drugs in the United States in the same planes that brought them weapons. For over four decades, Luis Posada Carriles maintained close ties with US intelligence agencies, received financing from various administrations and was used by the Cuban American National Foundation in attempts to assassinate the Cuban head of state. Efforts by the current US President, and a pardon signed by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, finally secured his release from prison on August 26, 2004. Then, taken to a Central American country under protection from the US government, he was authorized to secretly enter the United States. Between March 18 and 20, 2005, he entered the country on the Santrina, a yacht captained by the notorious terrorist Santiago Álvarez, a man who, strangely enough, is also being held for weapons trafficking and gross violations of US national security laws. These are irrefutable facts.
“Second, the current US administration has utterly failed in its efforts to isolate and stifle Cuba economically. But it does not accept this failure, and grows dangerously desperate.
“Third, the government of the United States has done everything in its power to please the Cuban American terrorist mafia, which resorted to fraud, in Florida, to put President George W. Bush in office.
“Fourth, President Bush and his administration have committed themselves to implementing a macabre transition plan in Cuba, an act of flagrant interference in the internal affairs of our country, which would return it to a state of backwardness.
“Fifth, the government of the United States has implemented every imaginable measure to deprive Cuba of completely legitimate sources of income. It has made it more difficult for people to send remittances to Cuba and even, callously, forbidden, or made it next to impossible, for Cuban-born US residents to visit their relatives on the island.
“Sixth, under pressure from the Cuban-American mob, and as one their next step, the government of the United States is intent on openly violating the US - Cuba Migratory Accords.
“Seventh: The government of the United States is looking for any pretext to prevent, at all costs, the sales of agricultural products to Cuba, which have been growing, while our country has paid every cent on time during five years, something that government did not expect from a blockaded nation facing constant aggression.
“Eighth, the government of the United States, unhappy about President Carter’s decision of May 30, 1977, is intent on breaking the minimal diplomatic links which exist between Cuba and the United States today. The gross acts of provocation of the US Interests Section in Havana do not and could not have a different objective.
“The Bush administration is well aware that no government on earth can tolerate such an affront to its dignity and sovereignty.
“Cuba’s attitude, and its response to the empire’s provocations, will be entirely peaceful, but we shall counter the insult with all the strength of our moral fortitude and we shall persist in our determination to fight to the death, against whatever act of belligerence of the restless and brutal empire that threatens us. Let no one for a minute forget the oath of Maceo, our Bronze Titan, when he said that ‘whosoever attempts to take possession of Cuba shall conquer but the blood-soaked ground beneath his feet, if he does not first perish in battle’.
I will be witnessing this march together with our spirited children and students who, from the Anti-imperialist Square, will encourage our brave and combative people that will be marching today on this perfidious and provocative representation, the same as they will march on to battle against any aggressor.
Homeland or death!
We shall overcome!