[News] Fidel speech to the National Assembly

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Dec 30 10:50:33 EST 2007

Dear comrade Alarcón:

             Please read the following message, 
addressed to the National Assembly, when you open the morning session.

A heartfelt embrace,

Fidel Castro Ruz

December 27, 2007
8:40 p.m.

Comrades of the National Assembly:

             You have no easy task on your hands. 
On January 1st, 1959, surrounded by the 
accumulated and deepening grievances that our 
society inherited from its neo-colonial past 
under U.S. domination, many of us dreamed of 
creating a fully independent nation where justice 
prevailed. In the arduous and uneven struggle, 
there came the moment when we were left completely alone.

             Nearly 50 years since the triumph of 
the Revolution, we can justifiably feel proud of 
ourselves, as we have held our ground, for almost 
half a century, in the struggle against the most 
powerful empire ever to exist in history. In the 
Proclamation I signed on July 31, 2006, none of 
you saw any signs of nepotism or an attempt to 
usurp parliamentary powers. That year, at once 
difficult and promising for the Revolution, the 
unity of the people, the Party and State were 
essential to continue moving forward and to face 
the declared threat of a military action by the United States.

             This past December 24, during his 
visit to the various districts of the 
municipality which honored me with the nomination 
of candidate to parliament, Raúl noted that all 
of the numerous candidates proposed by the people 
of a district famous for its combativeness, but 
with a low educational level, had completed their 
higher education. This, as he said on Cuban 
television, made a profound impression in him.

             Party, State and Government cadres 
and grassroots organizations face new problems in 
their work with an intelligent, watchful and 
educated people who detest bureaucratic hurdles 
and inconsiderate justifications. Deep down, 
every citizen wages an individual battle against 
humanity's innate tendency to stick to its 
survival instincts, a natural law which governs all life.

             We are all born marked by that 
instinct, which science defines as primary. 
Coming face to face with this instinct is 
rewarding because it leads us to a dialectical 
process and to a constant and altruistic 
struggle, bringing us closer to Martí and making us true communists.

             What the international press has 
emphasized most in its reports on Cuba in recent 
days is the statement I made on the 17th of this 
month, in a letter to the director of Cuban 
television's Round Table program, where I said 
that I am not clinging to power. I could add that 
for some time I did, due to my youth and lack of 
awareness, when, without any guidance, I started 
to leave my political ignorance behind and became 
a utopian socialist. It was a stage in my life 
when I believed I knew what had to be done and 
wanted to be in a position to do it! What made me 
change? Life did, delving more deeply into 
Martí’s ideas and those of the classics of 
socialism. The more deeply I became involved in 
the struggle, the stronger was my identification 
with those aims and, well before the 
revolutionary victory I was already convinced 
that it was my duty to fight for these aims or to die in combat.

              We also face great risks that 
threaten the human species as a whole. This has 
become more and more evident to me since I 
predicted, for the first time in Rio de Janeiro, 
--over 15 years ago, in June 1992-- that a 
species was threatened with extinction as a 
result of the destruction of its natural habitat. 
Today, the number of people who understand the 
real danger of this grows every day.

A recent book by Joseph Stiglitz, former 
Vice-President of the World Bank and President 
Clinton's chief economic advisor until 2002, 
Nobel Prize laureate and best selling author in 
the United States, offers up-to-date and 
irrefutable facts on the subject. He criticizes 
the United States, a country which did not sign 
the Kyoto Protocol, for being the largest 
producer of carbon dioxide in the world, with 
annual emissions of 6 billion tons of this gas 
which disturbs the atmosphere without which life 
is impossible. In addition to this, the United 
States is the largest producer of other greenhouse gases.

             Few people are aware of these facts. 
The same economic system which forced this 
unsustainable wastefulness on us impedes the 
distribution of Stiglitz' book. Only a few 
thousand copies of an excellent edition have been 
published, enough to guarantee a margin of 
profit. This responds to a market demand, which 
the publishing house cannot ignore if it is to survive.

             Today, we know that life on Earth 
has been protected by the ozone layer, located in 
the atmosphere’s outer ring, at an altitude 
between 15 to 50 kilometers, in the region known 
as the stratosphere, which acts as the planet’s 
shield against the type of solar radiation which 
can prove harmful. There are greenhouse gases 
whose warming potential is higher than that of 
carbon dioxide and which widen the hole in the 
ozone layer above Antarctica, which loses as much 
as 70 percent of its volume every spring. The 
effects of this phenomenon, which is gradually 
taking place, are humanity's responsibility.
To have a clear sense of this phenomenon, suffice 
it to say that the world produces an average of 
4.37 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita. In 
the case of the United States, the average is 
20.14, nearly 5 times as much. In Africa, it is 
1.17, while in Asia and Oceania it is 2.87.

             The ozone layer, in brief, protects 
us from ultraviolet and heat radiation which 
affects the immune system, sight, skin and life 
of human beings. Under extreme conditions, the 
destruction of that layer by human beings would 
affect all forms of life on the planet.

             Other problems, foreign to our 
nation and many others under similar conditions, 
also threaten us. A victorious counterrevolution 
would spell a disaster for us, worse than 
Indonesia's tragedy. Sukarno, overthrown in 1967, 
was a nationalist leader who, loyal to Indonesia, 
headed the guerrillas who fought the Japanese.

             General Suharto, who overthrew him, 
had been trained by Japanese occupation forces. 
At the conclusion of World War II, Holland, a 
U.S. ally, re-established control over that 
distant, extensive and populated territory. 
Suharto maneuvered. He hoisted the banners of 
U.S. imperialism. He committed an atrocious act 
of genocide. Today we know that, under 
instructions from the CIA, he not only killed 
hundreds of thousands but also imprisoned a 
million communists and deprived them and their 
relatives of all properties or rights; his family 
amassed a fortune of 40 billion dollars ­which, 
at today's exchange rate, would be equivalent to 
hundreds of billions­ by handing over the 
country's natural resources, the sweat of 
Indonesians, to foreign investors. The West paid 
up. Texan-born Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's 
successor, was then the President of the United States.

             The news on the events in Pakistan 
we received today also attest to the dangers that 
threaten our species: internal conflict in a 
country that possesses nuclear weapons. This is a 
consequence of the adventurous policies of and 
the wars aimed at securing the world's natural 
resources unleashed by the United States.

             Pakistan, involved in a conflict it 
did not unleash, faced the threat of being taken back to the Stone Age.

             The extraordinary circumstances 
faced by Pakistan had an immediate effect on oil 
prices and stock exchange shares. No country or 
region in the world can disassociate itself from 
the consequences. We must be prepared for anything.

             There hasn't been a day in my life 
in which I haven't learned something.

             Martí taught us that "all of the 
world's glory fits in a kernel of corn". Many 
times have I said and repeated this phrase, which 
carries in eleven words a veritable school of ethics.

             Cuba's Five Heroes, imprisoned by 
the empire, are to be held up as examples for the new generations.

             Fortunately, exemplary conducts will 
continue to flourish with the consciousness of 
our peoples as long as our species exists.

             I am certain that many young Cubans, 
in their struggle against the Giant in the 
Seven-League Boots, would do as they did. Money 
can buy everything save the soul of a people who 
has never gone down on its knees.

             I read the brief and concise report 
which Raúl wrote and sent me. We must not waste a 
minute as we continue to move forward. I will 
raise my hand, next to you, to show my support.

Fidel Castro Ruz
December 27, 2007
8:35 p.m.

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