Speeches by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba

Embassy of Cuba in Canada
August 29, 2003

  • “Thank You Führer.” Editorial published in the newspaper Granma on May 21, 2003.
  • Press conference by Foreign Minister of the Repúblic of Cuba, Felipe Pérez Roque on the mercenaries at the service of the empire who stood trial on April 3,4,5 and 7, 2003. Havana City, April 9, 2003.
  • Letter to the Editor, National Post (Financial Post) January 1, 2003.
  • Letter to the Editor, National Post (Financial Post) January 13, 2003.
  • Letter to the Editor of The National Post (Financial Post) January 1, 2003.

    Dear Sir:

    Regarding the article published on Saturday, January 18, 2002, “Bad Cuban Medicine” by Lawrence Solomon.

    For the second time in less than two weeks Mr. Solomon has offered the Post’s readers his mistaken understanding of Cuba. The target on this occasion is the Health Care System.

    In May 1998, Mr. Hiroshi Nakajima, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said that “Cuba’s national health system, with its emphasis on primary health care managed by a “health team,” is widely considered to be exemplary. Few developing countries have adopted such a comprehensive range of health policies, geared to priority needs and the capacity of health workers to meet them, on behalf of all Cuban people, particularly the most vulnerable and impoverished.

    It would be too lengthy to answer each and every one of the superficial allegations of this article. But the following figures can give an idea of how wrong is Mr. Solomon’s characterization. The Panamerican Health Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the CIA World Fact Book 2002 have all published their assessments of health care conditions in Cuba and other countries of the world. Among the findings, let me point out the following:

    Child mortality in Cuba: 6.5 per thousand live births.
    United States 6.7, Mexico 24.9, Argentina 16.6, Brasil 31.8.
    Life Expectancy in Cuba: 76.6 years.
    Russia, 67.3, Nicaragua 68, Colombia 70.7.
    Medical Doctors /10,000 inhabitants in Cuba: 59.
    United Sates 27.9, Chile 13, Colombia 1.5.
    Hospital Beds /1000 inhabitants in Cuba: 6.3.
    United States 4, El Salvador 1.6, Guatemala 1.
    Proportion of under-5 registered deaths due to intestinal infectious diseases in Cuba: 2%.
    United States 1%, Mexico 6%, Brazil 7%, Dominican Republic 8%.
    Proportion of under-1 population vaccinated against poliomyelitis in Cuba: 100%.
    United States 91%, Mexico 89%, Dominican Republic 83%.
    Cuba has the lowest rate of HIV positive patients of any nation in the world. There are 2,500 HIV positive patients in a nation of 11 million.

    Cuba is currently helping 20 countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa in the health care field with 2,914 medical doctors and technicians at no cost for the recipient country. We also have more than 4,000 students from 23 countries receiving medical training in Cuba and who graduate as medical doctors at no cost for them and their countries.

    Counting just the victims of Chernobyl, more then 18 thousand children have enjoyed free medical care and treatment in Cuba. Medical attention for tourists or foreigners who pay for the service does exists and it has a marginal impact. Less than 1% of hospital beds are destined to such purpose.

    When these facts are so clear and illustrations are so abundant, one wonders why a journalist would attempt to portray such a false picture. Further, it also prompts the question as to why a newspaper would publish such a story without fact checking.

    Vladimir Mirabal, Press Attaché, Embassy of Cuba

    Letter to the Editor of The National Post (Financial Post) January 13, 2003

    Dear Sir:

    Regarding your Saturday, January 11, 2003 article “Cuba’s cruel joke” written by Lawrence Solomon.

    Your column, introduced as the “first in a series,” is a gross misrepresentation of facts with a very creative spin. Cuba is a developing country, undergoing severe economic constrains. Its GDP is a fraction of Canada’s, the US or any member of the OECD. It is not a country with rich natural resources and it has suffered for the past 44 years a relentless economic war carried out by the most powerful nation that has ever existed.

    It is no surprise for most observers of Cuba that the standard of living of Cubans is below your typical expectation in North America, and that the country faces uncommon challenges in its development objectives. Cuba is perhaps the only developing country that receives absolutely no financial loans from the World Bank or the IMF, that receives no preferential financing from any bilateral source whatsoever and that is forcefully exempted form accessing the most lucrative and dynamic market for the export of its goods and services. [We do not have the luxury to develop a sophisticated industry for pet food, and therefore it is common for people to collect leftovers for their pets].

    In spite of all of that and quite contrary to what the article pretends to portray, Cuba has been able to build a very equitable society in the ocean of inequality that surrounds it. The World Bank, which is no fan of Cuba, has reported on the unquestionable advances in social development and equity. It has gone as far as to recognize Cuba’s achievements in economic and financial stability. In important indicators such as child mortality rates, life expectancy, real income distribution, literacy, school enrollment, university graduates, average medical doctors per capita, average hospital beds per capita, sports achievements, artistic education, participation of women in society, vaccination programs, scientific development, real carbohydrate and protein consumption and many others, there is no country in Latin America and the Caribbean that can match what Cuba has accomplished. In many of these indicators it leads in the whole hemisphere.

    It is true that a rationing system continues to exist for some essential material necessities. Though not perfect, it will not allow any human being to be discarded or forgotten by society, this including the secure distribution of one liter of milk a day for every child under seven years of age. It is our way to ensure, in our conditions, a fair response to a set of a minimal needs, in addition of what is available for everyone in the market, regardless of the economic means and capabilities of each and every citizen in the country. Hundreds of millions in Latin America and many in North America could benefit from an assured access to what already every Cuban enjoys.

    Without pretending to answer each and every miss representation in the column, historical facts must be recalled. The Economic Commission for Latin America, UNESCO and the World Bank recorded in the 1950s their assessment of Cuba and it was far from the heavenly picture that the article tries to portray. Cuba was a playground for foreign interests, with a backward economy and a corrupt and extremely unequal society, where crime, prostitution, gambling, drugs and racism colored the landscape. Today that is certainly not the case.

    The core message of the article seems to be in the last sentence, calling for the government to do “much, much less.” Such call reflects more an ideological impulse than an informed understanding of Cuba and the region in which we live in. However, it does not explain the motivation behind the untruthful depiction of a country striving to do better for its people.

    Vladimir Mirabal, Press Attaché, Embassy of Cuba

    “Thank You Führer”

    We really have reasons to be happy. Yesterday, May 20, 2003, as they commemorated the 101st anniversary of that sad and shameful day on which, after the destruction of Jos­é Martí’s party and the disarming of the Liberation Army, they awarded us the caricature of a republic with the Platt Amendment and the U.S. right to intervention, we received a very sweet, moving message from Mr. Bush which literally read:

    “Today, Cubans around the world celebrate May 20th, Cuban Independence Day. On behalf of the people of the United States, I send greetings to the Cuban community. My hope is for the Cuban people to soon enjoy the same freedoms and rights that we do. Dictatorships have no place in the Americas. May God bless the Cuban people, who are struggling for freedom. Thank you.”

    Of course, it had to be yesterday that the subversive, perfidious radio station, to which they have offensively given the name of Jos­é Martí, went on air with four new frequencies and, under the tolerant eye of U.S. authorities, a notorious Miami terrorist flew off the 12 mile limit along the sea corridor between Boca de Jaruco and Matanzas, testing TV broadcasts to Cuba in shameless violation of the existing international regulations on such matters. Of course, an individual such as he and others who are in the service of the U.S. government will never do time in the outrageous cages where citizens from dozens of countries are locked up, with no regard for law or custom, in the Cuban territory of Guantánamo, forcibly occupied by the United States.

    In addition to the above, and as a special surprise from the Bush administration, closely guarded as a great war secret, the TV signal went on air from six to eight in the evening over channels and systems used by Cuba in several provinces for educational, news or recreational programming.

    In fact, those broadcasts were no technical feat to be proud of as very few people heard their noises.

    The U.S. government should not forget that Cuban radio could be heard on medium wave in many U.S. states.

    Is this by any chance another blatant and rude provocation against Cuba?

    On the other hand, an AFP wire datelined Washington yesterday said that “George W. Bush’s government had not yet completed its ongoing review of its Cuba policy to respond to the recent repression of dissidence, Republican congresspersons Lincoln and Mario D­iaz Balart and Ileana Ros Lehtinen announced Tuesday.”

    As we all remember, they were the same who along with the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, intimate friends of the brilliant Mr. Bush and of “Baby” Jeb of the same last name and the governor of Florida, recently said that after Iraq, Cuba would be next.

    Our fellow Cubans can appreciate just how extraordinarily honest and merciful was the U.S. government’s message to the Cuban people, how incredibly patriotic are those they call “dissidents” who, up to their necks in the empire’s dollars, struggle for Cuba’s freedom and independence.

    The big bad wolves disguised as grannies are not fooling anybody nor will they be able to. If Mr. Bush does not know, yet, what measures to take, the Cuban people have absolutely no doubts about their duty. Such sugary and cynical maneuvers will not persuade anybody that Cuba is not in danger.

    Nor have those who gobble up Little Red Riding Hoods abandoned the idea of keeping the Damocles sword of economic measures and others of a similar punitive nature against the Revolution hanging over our heads. All measures announced or foreseen as possible options to tighten the blockade and strangle our economy have been analyzed. None of them will have the success they expect.

    We simply do not believe them when now, trying to make amends for their stupid threats, they allege that all options other than an invasion are being considered. They said the same thing after the mercenary invasion by the Bay of Pigs and before the 1962 October Crisis, while as of March 1962 they already had drawn up and approved more than 15 pretexts (to invade) that seemed the output of a veritable Olympiad of cynicism, vileness and infamy.

    Nor do we believe them when they say they are worried about possible massive exodus, something they in fact are trying to provoke.

    Their economic blockade, their efforts to create additional difficulties of that nature, their murderous Cuban Adjustment Act and their shameful threats to do the same thing in Cuba as they did in Iraq only serve to increase the number of potential emigrants in Cuba. The aim of such provocations, as we know only too well from both private and public statements by major ringleaders of the Miami terrorist Mob and the extreme right, is to cause incidents that could be used as pretexts for an attack against our people.

    Of the select group of 11 who were invited to celebrate the ill-fated and shameful date of May 20 at the White House, three are well-known terrorists:

    1.     Eusebio de Jesús Peñalver Mazorra. U.S. authorities in California arrested him on December 12, 1995 – in Clinton’s days – when he was involved in preparations for an armed raid against Cuba and a cachet of weapons in his possession was seized. He is linked to terrorist Luis Posada Carriles who is in jail in Panama for his plan to explode 48 kilograms of dynamite in a students meeting which the President of the Cuban Council of State was scheduled to attend.

    2.     Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez. In 1999, he was involved in a plan to assassinate President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez. He traveled to Venezuela during the 7th Ibero-American Summit on Margarita Island to try and carry out actions against the Cuban delegation. On the same occasion, close to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Coastguard seized a boat headed for Margarita Island carrying two .50 caliber rifles with telescopic sights, which were to be used to assassinate the head of the delegation, Comrade Fidel. Leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation were the owners of both the rifles and the boat. Despite this being a proven fact, those involved were acquitted thanks to the leverage of and pressure from the Miami terrorist Mob.

    3.     Ángel Francisco D’fana Serrano. A counterrevolutionary, who served a prison sentence in Cuba for his direct participation in terrorist actions.

    Although these men spoke very confidentially with Mr. Bush, you can be sure that, given the composition of the group, he did not tell them anything about his intimate plans and his commitment to get rid of the Cuban head of state, which he made with the leaders of the Cuban-American Mob that so diligently and through fraud raised him to the presidency of the United States.

    However, they should be in no hurry to believe that the dangers lying in wait and their sinister plans could keep the Cuban people and their leaders sleepless. Cuba’s fundamental concern does not stem from problems associated with its own security. At the Bay of Pigs, during the 1962 October Crisis, when the European socialist camp and the USSR itself were falling to pieces and in the last 20 months since the atrocious attack on the American people in New York – which was turned into a source of hysteria, a pretext to threaten 60 or more nations with pre-emptive attacks and to strike remote and dark corners of the world with weapons of mass destruction, as sworn before a God who, according to the creator of this fundamentalist fantasy is not neutral – the world has been witness to the dignity and bravery of the Cuban people; a truly heroic people that, when many cowardly, mediocre and ignorant politicians were incapable of seeing that the terrifying reality of a Nazi-fascist tyranny was haunting the world, did not hesitate to denounce it. Those governments or individuals that keep a disgraceful silence in the face of such events fail to have the slightest moral authority to criticize a country like Cuba, which defends its most sacred rights. History will bury them along with their cowardice, their complicity and their lies!

    The pictures of millions of men and women demanding their independence, freedom, respect for their religious and ethical values and the return of their resources conquered by force in a country invaded without any legal or moral justification, should be reasons enough to make sane political leaders come to their senses. Such problems will never be solved with bombing and missiles, tanks and guns, nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

    Mr. Bush, the man behind the bombings of cities that when shown on television moved and shocked the world, leaving traces indelibly etched on the lives of millions of children, mothers and elders who suffered those attacks worthy of Dante’s inferno, promises that Cubans will soon be free and says that “dictatorships have no place in the Americas.” This, fortunately, is absolutely true.

    The American people will grow tired of his ridiculous ideas and his bigotry, which can lead, among other things, to economic and ecological catastrophes. Latin America and the Caribbean will never tolerate his plundering FTAA, which he wants to use to snatch their sovereignty and their resources away from them, and much less will they resign themselves to his Nazi-fascist world tyranny.

    Mr. Bush: we extend our deepest gratitude to you for your amazing kindness and your infinite generosity to Cubans on this May 20, 2003. You will see the deep emotion and affection we shall display to welcome you to the land of Martí and Maceo, of Camilo and Che!

    Editorial published in the newspaper Granma on May 21, 2003

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