Fidel Castro HOME

Fidel Castro holds the record for the longest speech in the United Nations: 4 hours and 29 minutes, in 1960. His personal record, however, was set in 1986, at a party congress: a speech of 7 hours and 10 minutes.

Fidel Castro

Extracts From his autobiography and various interviews

“On my own I came to the conclusion that the capitalist economy was absurd. What I’d already become, before I came into contact with Marxist or Lenin material, was a utopian Communist. A utopian Communist is someone whose ideas don’t have any basis in science or history, but who sees that things are very bad, who sees poverty, injustice, inequality, and insuperable contradiction between society and true development … When people talk about the ‘crisis of overproduction’ and the ‘crisis of unemployment’ and other problems, I gradually came to the conclusion that the system didn’t work.”

“From Marx, I received the concept of what human society is; otherwise, someone who hasn't read about it, or to whom it hasn't been explained, it's as though they were set down in the middle of a forest, at night, without knowing which way north is, or south, east or west. Marx told us what a society is and the history of its evolution. Without Marx, you can't formulate any argument that leads to a reasonable interpretation of historical events - what the tendencies are, the probable evolution of a humanity that has not yet completed its social evolution.”

The government itself said the attack showed such precision and perfection that it must have been planned by mili- tary strategists. Nothing could have been farther from the truth! The plan was drawn up by a group of young men, none of whom had any military experience at all. I will reveal their names, omitting two who are neither dead nor in prison: Abel Santamaría, José Luis Tasende, Renato Guitart Rosell, Pedro Miret, Jesús Montané, and myself. Half of them are dead, and in tribute to their memory I can say that al- though they were not military experts they had enough patriotism to have given, had we not been at such a great disadvantage, a good beating to that entire lot of generals together, those generals of the 10th of March who are neither soldiers nor patriots. Much more difficult than the planning of the attack was our organizing, training, mobilizing and arming men under this repressive regime with its millions of dollars spent on espionage, bribery and information services. Nevertheless, all this was carried out by those men and many others like them with incredible seriousness, discretion and discipline. Still more praiseworthy is the fact that they gave this task everything they had; ultimately, their very lives.”

“I organized a unit of women in the Sierra, the Marianas. We showed that women could be as good at soldiering as men. I had to fight hard against machismo there, because we had … the lightest weapons reserved for the women, and some men said, ‘How can we give a woman an M-I?’—this was after Batista’s last offen- sive—‘Why don’t I get one?’ I had a phrase I used with some of the men—I’ll tell you what it was. I’d say, ‘Listen, you know why [we’re using women]? I’ll tell you— because they’re better soldiers than you are.”

“In the first few days and months those terrorist activities were organized by Batista elements, really—former police officers and Batista people mixed in with some counter-revolutionaries. But even then, the U.S. administration, using those elements, was working intensely against Cuba. In the months prior to the invasion of óó, the CIA was frantically creating anti-Cuba and counter-revolutionary organi- zations—over time it created more than 300 of them. And today we know that in March 1960 President Eisenhower signed an order authorizing a ‘powerful propa- ganda offensive’ against the Revolution and a clandestine plan of action to topple the Cuban government.”

“Current and future generations of Cubans will continue on, no matter how great the difficulties may be, fighting tirelessly to ensure that the Revolution is always as invulnerable politically as it is militarily and will soon be economically. We will con- tinue to fight. We will continue to resist. We will continue to defeat every imperialist aggression, every lie in their propaganda, every political and diplomatic maneuver.”

Art, culture, university professions, opportunities, honors, elegant clothes were only the privilege of a small minority, a minority represented today with that grace and humor shown by some worker federations in their imitations of the rich. It is astounding to think that today more than 20,000 athletes paraded. if one remem- bers that we are just beginning. And this, without touching on the most marvelous thing we had a chance to see today, that is, this armed nation, this united people, which came to attend these ceremonies. How would it have been possible without a revolution? How can one compare this present with the past? How can one avoid emotion on seeing endless lines of workers, athletes, and militiamen parade by. At times, all went to intermingled. After all, workers, athletes, and soldiers are the same thing. Anybody could under- stand why our people must emerge victorious in any battle. We noted the many women in the ranks of the federations. The men were in the artillery units, mortar units, ack-ack units, or militia battalions. The women were the wives and sisters and sweethearts of the militiamen who marched by later in the battalions and those young men of the basic secondary schools, the Pioneers who paraded by were their sons. And so, one can see today the unity of the humble people who are fighting for the poor. Workers of every profession; manual laborers and intellectual workers; all were marching together, the writer, artist, actor, announcer, doctor, nurse, clinical employer. Marching together in great numbers under the flag of the national education workers’ union were the teachers, employees of the Education Ministry.

Today we have had a chance to see everything worthwhile in our country, every- thing produced in our country. We have understood better than ever that there are two classes of citizens, or rather there were two classes of citizens; the citizens who worked, produced, and created and the citizens who lived without working or producing. These latter were parasites.

“Obama made a speech in which he uses the most sweetened words to express: ‘It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind, let us look to the future to- gether, a future of hope. And it won’t be easy, there will be challenges and we must give it time; but my stay here gives me more hope in what we can do together as friends, as family, as neighbors, together.’ … I suppose all of us were at risk of a heart attack upon hearing these words from the President of the United States. After a ruthless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years, and what about those who have died in the mercenary attacks on Cuban ships and ports, an airliner full of passengers blown up in midair, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence and coercion?”