http://www.reflexionesdefidel.info 

Citas de Fidel Castro Ruz, archivadas por año. Las letras en azul representan las palabras originales. Cuando los dos idiomas aparecen en tinta negra, tengo dudas del idioma original de la cita. Algunas son citas aisladas; la mayoría son fragmentos de discursos o escritos más largos. Son bienvenidas las correcciones y sugerencias. Las palabras en verde son traducción del inglés, aunque generalmente el español sea el idioma original.                

Quotes from Fidel Castro Ruz, archived by year. The words in blue represent the original words. When both languages appear in black type, I have some doubt as to the original language of the quote. Some are isolated quotes; most are fragments of longer speeches or writings. Corrections and suggestions are welcome. The words in green are translated from the English, although generally Spanish was the original language.

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1953

(La Historia me Absolverá)

‘‘The five revolutionary laws that would have been proclaimed immediately after the capture of the Moncada Barracks and would have been broadcast to the nation by radio must be included in the indictment. It is possible that Colonel Chaviano may deliberately have destroyed these documents, but even if he has I remember them.

The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaimed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the people should decide to modify or change it…’’

‘‘The second revolutionary law would give non-mortgageable and non-transferable ownership of the land to all tenant and subtenant farmers, lessees, share croppers and squatters who hold parcels of five caballerías of land or less, and the State would indemnify the former owners on the basis of the rental which they would have received for these parcels over a period of ten years.

The third revolutionary law would have granted workers and employees the right to share 30% of the profits of all the large industrial, mercantile and mining enterprises, including the sugar mills. The strictly agricultural enterprises would be exempt in consideration of other agrarian laws which would be put into effect.

The fourth revolutionary law would have granted all sugar planters the right to share 55% of sugar production and a minimum quota of forty thousand arrobas for all small tenant farmers who have been established for three years or more.

The fifth revolutionary law would have ordered the confiscation of all holdings and ill-gotten gains of those who had committed frauds during previous regimes, as well as the holdings and ill-gotten gains of all their legates and heirs…’’

‘‘Cuba is suffering from a cruel and base despotism. You are well aware that resistance to despots is legitimate. This is a universally recognized principle and our 1940 Constitution expressly makes it a sacred right, in the second paragraph of Article 40: 'It is legitimate to use adequate resistance to protect previously granted individual rights.'’’

‘‘…Batista did not restore the Constitution, did not restore civil liberties, did not restore Congress, did not restore universal suffrage, did not restore in the last analysis any of the uprooted democratic institutions…’’

‘‘…It is I who am astonished that a court of law should have attempted to deal a death blow to the legitimate Constitution of the Republic.’’

‘‘…Nevertheless, Honorable Judges, I maintain that the 1940 Constitution is still in force.’’

‘‘…Now that it is I who am accused for attempting to overthrow this illegal regime and to restore the legitimate Constitution of the Republic…’’

‘‘Cuba could easily provide for a population three times as great as it has now, so there is no excuse for the abject poverty of a single one of its present inhabitants. The markets should be overflowing with produce, pantries should be full, all hands should be working.’’

‘‘The people wield simple but implacable logic, in conflict with all that is absurd and contradictory. Furthermore, if there is in this world a people that utterly abhors favoritism and inequality, it is the Cuban people. To them, justice is symbolized by a maiden with a scale and a sword in her hands. Should she cower before one group and furiously wield that sword against another group, then to the people of Cuba the maiden of justice will seem nothing more than a prostitute brandishing a dagger. My logic is the simple logic of the people.

Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time there was a Republic. It had its Constitution, its laws, its freedoms, a President, a Congress and Courts of Law. Everyone could assemble, associate, speak and write with complete freedom. The people were not satisfied with the government officials at that time, but they had the power to elect new officials and only a few days remained before they would do so. Public opinion was respected and heeded and all problems of common interest were freely discussed. There were political parties, radio and television debates and forums and public meetings. The whole nation pulsated with enthusiasm. This people had suffered greatly and although it was unhappy, it longed to be happy and had a right to be happy. It had been deceived many times and it looked upon the past with real horror. This country innocently believed that such a past could not return; the people were proud of their love of freedom and they carried their heads high in the conviction that liberty would be respected as a sacred right. They felt confident that no one would dare commit the crime of violating their democratic institutions. They wanted a change for the better, aspired to progress; and they saw all this at hand. All their hope was in the future.

Poor country! One morning the citizens woke up dismayed; under the cover of night, while the people slept, the ghosts of the past had conspired and had seized the citizenry by its hands, its feet, and its neck. That grip, those claws were familiar: those jaws, those death-dealing scythes, those boots. No; it was no nightmare; it was a sad and terrible reality…’’

“John Locke, in his essay on government, maintained that when the natural rights of man are violated, the people have the right and the duty to alter or abolish the government. 'The only remedy against unauthorized force is opposition to it by force.'

Jean-Jaques Rousseau said with great eloquence in his Social Contract: 'While a people sees itself forced to obey and obeys, it does well; but as soon as it can shake off the yoke and shakes it off, it does better, recovering its liberty through the use of the very right that has been taken away from it.'’’

‘‘The Declaration of Independence of the Congress of Philadelphia, on July 4th, 1776, consecrated this right in a beautiful paragraph which reads: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.'’’

“En el sumario de esta causa han de constar las cinco leyes revolucionarias que serían proclamadas inmediatamente después de tomar el cuartel Moncada y divulgadas por radio a la nación. Es posible que el coronel Chaviano haya destruido con toda intención esos documentos, pero si él los destruyó, yo los conservo en la memoria.

La primera ley revolucionaria devolvía al pueblo la soberanía y proclamaba la Constitución de 1940 como la verdadera ley suprema del Estado, en tanto el pueblo decidiese modificarla o cambiarla…”

“La segunda ley revolucionaria concedía la propiedad inembargable e intransferible de la tierra a todos los colonos, subcolonos, arrendatarios, aparceros y precaristas que ocupasen parcelas de cinco o menos caballerías de tierra, indemnizando el Estado a sus anteriores propietarios a base de la renta que devengarían por dichas parcelas en un promedio de diez años.

La tercera ley revolucionaria otorgaba a los obreros y empleados el derecho a participar del treinta por ciento de las utilidades en todas las grandes empresas industriales, mercantiles y mineras, incluyendo centrales azucareros. Se exceptuaban las empresas meramente agrícolas en consideración a otras leyes de orden agrario que debían implantarse.

La cuarta ley revolucionaria concedía a todos los colonos el derecho a participar del cincuenta y cinco por ciento del rendimiento de la caña y cuota mínima de cuarenta mil arrobas a todos los pequeños colonos que llevasen tres o más años de establecidos.

La quinta ley revolucionaria ordenaba la confiscación de todos los bienes a todos los malversadores de todos los gobiernos y a sus causahabientes y herederos en cuanto a bienes percibidos por testamento o abintestato de procedencia mal habida…”

“Cuba está sufriendo un cruel e ignominioso despotismo, y vosotros no ignoráis que la resistencia frente al despotismo es legítima; éste es un principio universalmente reconocido y nuestra Constitución de 1940 lo consagró expresamente en el párrafo segundo del artículo 40: ‘Es legítima la resistencia adecuada para la protección de los derechos individuales garantizados anteriormente.’”

“…Batista no restablecía la Constitución, no restablecía las libertades públicas, no restablecía el Congreso, no restablecía el voto directo, no restablecía en fin ninguna de las instituciones democráticas arrancadas al país…”

“…soy yo quien se asombra de que un tribunal de derecho haya intentado darle un vil cuartelazo

a la Constitución legítima de la República.”

“sin embargo, señores magistrados, yo sostengo que la constitución de 1940 sigue vigente.”

“…cuando es a mí a quien se acusa de querer derrocar este régimen ilegal y restablecer la Constitución legítima de la República…”

”Cuba podría albergar espléndidamente una población tres veces mayor; no hay razón, pues, para que exista miseria entre sus actuales habitantes. Los mercados debieran estar abarrotados de productos; las despensas de las casas debieran estar llenas; todos los brazos podrían estar produciendo laboriosamente.”

“Los pueblos poseen una lógica sencilla pero implacable, reñida con todo lo absurdo y contradictorio, y si alguno, además, aborrece con toda su alma el privilegio y la desigualdad, ése es el pueblo cubano. Sabe que la justicia se representa con una doncella, una balanza y una espada. Si la ve postrarse cobarde ante unos y blandir furiosamente el arma sobre otros, se la imaginará entonces como una mujer prostituida esgrimiendo un puñal. Mi lógica, es la lógica sencilla del pueblo.

Os voy a referir una historia. Había una vez una república. Tenía su Constitución, sus leyes, sus libertades, Presidente, Congreso, tribunales; todo el mundo podría reunirse, asociarse, hablar y escribir con entera libertad. El gobierno no satisfacía al pueblo, pero el pueblo podía cambiarlo y ya sólo faltaban unos días para hacerlo. Existía una opinión pública respetada y acatada y todos los problemas de interés colectivo eran discutidos libremente. Había partidos políticos, horas doctrinales de radio, programas polémicos de televisión, actos públicos, y en el pueblo palpitaba el entusiasmo. Este pueblo había sufrido mucho y si no era feliz, deseaba serlo y tenía derecho a ello. Lo habían engañado muchas veces y miraba el pasado con verdadero terror. Creía ciegamente que éste no podría volver; estaba orgulloso de su amor a la libertad y vivía engreído de que ella sería respetada como cosa sagrada; sentía una noble confianza en la seguridad de que nadie se atrevería a cometer el crimen de atentar contra sus instituciones democráticas. Deseaba un cambio, una mejora, un avance, y lo veía cerca. Toda su esperanza estaba en el futuro.

¡Pobre pueblo! Una mañana la ciudadanía se despertó estremecida; a las sombras de la noche los espectros del pasado se habían conjurado mientras ella dormía, y ahora la tenían agarrada por las manos, por los pies y por el cuello. Aquellas garras eran conocidas, aquellas fauces, aquellas guadañas de muerte, aquellas botas...

No; no era una pesadilla; se trataba de la triste y terrible realidad…”

“Juan Locke en su Tratado de gobierno sostiene que cuando se violan los derechos naturales del hombre, el pueblo tiene el derecho y el deber de suprimir o cambiarde gobierno. ‘El único remedio contra la fuerza sin autoridad está en oponerle la fuerza.’

Juan Jacobo Rousseau dice con mucha elocuencia en su Contrato Social: ‘Mientras un pueblo se ve forzado a obedecer y obedece, hace bien; tan pronto como puede sacudir el yugo y lo sacude, hace mejor, recuperando su libertad por el mismo derecho que se la han quitado.’”

“La Declaración de Independencia del Congreso de Filadelfia el 4 de julio de 1776, consagró este derecho en un hermoso párrafo que dice: ‘Sostenemos como verdades evidentes que todos los hombres nacen iguales; que a todos les confiere su Creador ciertos derechos inalienables entre los cuales se cuentan la vida, la libertad y la consecución de la felicidad; que para asegurar estos derechos se instituyen entre los hombres gobiernos cuyos justos poderes derivan del consentimiento de los gobernados; que siempre que una forma de gobierno tienda a destruir esos fines, al pueblo tiene derecho a reformarla o abolirla, e instituir un nuevo gobierno que se funde en dichos principios y organice sus poderes en la forma que a su juicio garantice mejor su seguridad y felicidad.’” –La Historia Me Absolverá

1958

“I swore to myself that the Americans were going to pay a heavy price for what they were doing. When the war ends, for me a much bigger and wider war will begin: the war I will start against them. I say to myself that this is my true destiny…”.

"Me juré a mí mismo que los americanos iban a pagar caro lo que estaban haciendo. Cuando termine la guerra, para mí empezará una guerra mucho mayor y más extensa: la guerra que voy a iniciar contra ellos. Me digo a mí mismo que éste es mi verdadero destino...". -Junio

“I didn’t break my neck fighting against one dictatorship to then fall into the hands of another. Soviet imperialism is the same as North American imperialism.”

“No me rompí el pescuezo luchando contra una dictadura para caer en manos de otra. El imperialismo soviético es igual al imperialismo norteamericano” -Julio, Entrevista con J. Meneses, español 

1959

“….the revolutionary government is not communist….I am not agreed with communism. My acts prove free press in Cuba.  ….The first thing the dictators do is finish with (the free press), establish censorship. There is no doubt about ‘free press is the first enemy of dictatorship’. I have made very clear that we are not communists.”

“el gobierno revolucionario no es comunista….No concuerdo con el comunismo. Mis hechos comprueban la prensa libre en Cuba…La primera cosa que hacen los dictadores es terminar con (la libertad de prensa), establecer la censura. No hay duda sobre ‘la prensa libre es el primer enemigo de la dictadura’. He hecho bien claro que no somos comunistas.”

“Our Revolution practices the democratic principle, but it’s a humanistic democracy. Humanism means that, to satisfy man’s material needs it’s not necessary to sacrifice the dearest desires of man, which are his freedoms.”

“Nuestra Revolución practica el principio democrático, mas es una democracia humanista. El humanismo significa que, para satisfacer las necesidades materiales del hombre no es necesario sacrificar los deseos mas acariciados del hombre, que son sus libertades.”

“Neither bread without freedom, nor freedom without bread. Nor human dictatorship.”

“Ni pan sin libertad, ni libertad sin pan. Ni dictadura humana.”

I don't agree with communism. We are democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators... That is why we oppose communism.”

“No concuerdo con el comunismo. Somos democracia. Estamos en contra de toda clase de dictador….Por eso nos oponemos al comunismo.”

“….I have supreme confidence in public opinion and in freedom of the press….”

“….tengo suprema confianza en la opinión pública y en la libertad de prensa….” 

In Cuba: “…and this whole campaign of ‘communist, revolutionary government’- false campaign, rabbling campaign, which neither worries us, nor frightens us. The people of Cuba know that the revolutionary government is not communist.”

En Cuba: “…y toda esta campaña de ‘comunista, gobierno revolucionario’- campaña falsa, campaña canallesca, que ni nos preocupa, ni nos asusta. El pueblo de Cuba sabe que el gobierno revolucionario no es comunista.”

“…there will be freedom for those who speak in our favor and for those who speak against us and criticize us”

"...habrá libertad para los que hablan a favor nuestro y para los que hablan en contra nuestro y nos critican" -1° de Enero, en Santiago de Cuba

“How are we going to say: “this is our nation”, if we receive nothing from the nation? “My nation”, but my nation gives me nothing, my country doesn’t sustain me, in my nation I die of hunger. That’s not nation! It might be nation for a few, but not the nation of the people. Nation means not only the place where one can yell, speak, and walk without being killed; nation is a place where one can live, nation is a place where one can work and honorably earn sustenance and, also, earn what is just to earn for his work. Nation is the place where the citizen is not exploited; if they take away what belongs to him, if they rob what he has, that’s not nation.

The exact tragedy of our people has been not having a nation. And the best proof, the best proof that we don’t have a nation is that thousands and tens of thousands of sons of this land leave Cuba for another nation, in order to live, but they have no nation. And not all leave who wish to, just the few who can. And that is true and you all know it.”

¿Cómo vamos a decir:  “esta es nuestra patria”, si de la patria no tenemos nada?  “Mi patria”, pero mi patria no me da nada, mi patria no me sostiene, en mi patria me muero de hambre.  ¡Eso no es patria!  Será patria para unos cuantos, pero no será patria para el pueblo.  Patria no solo quiere decir un lugar donde uno pueda gritar, hablar y caminar sin que lo maten; patria es un lugar donde se puede vivir, patria es un lugar donde se puede trabajar y ganar el sustento honradamente y, además, ganar lo que es justo que se gane por su trabajo.  Patria es el lugar donde no se explota al ciudadano, porque si explotan al ciudadano; si le quitan lo que le pertenece, si le roban lo que tiene, no es patria.

Precisamente la tragedia de nuestro pueblo ha sido no tener patria.  Y la mejor prueba, la mejor prueba de que no tenemos patria es que decenas de miles y miles de hijos de esta tierra se van de Cuba para otro país, para poder vivir, pero no tienen patria.  Y no se van todos los que quieren, sino los pocos que pueden.  Y eso es verdad y ustedes lo saben.” –Enero 4 

“He who says freedom of the press, says freedom, says freedom to gather, freedom to gather and to choose freely, not only the President, but also for the workers to choose their leaders. Rights which cannot be snatched away.”

“Quien dice libertad de prensa, dice libertad, dice libertad de reunión; libertad de reunión y derecho a elegir libremente, no solo al Presidente, sino los trabajadores a elegir a sus dirigentes. Derechos que no se pueden arrebatar.” -Discurso en Camagüey, Cuba, Enero 5  

“The liberties are already reestablished, the terror is over, the fear has ended, there is press freedom, freedom to assemble, freedom for everything, everything related to liberties.”

“Las libertades ya están restablecidas, se acabó el terror, se acabó el miedo, hay libertad de prensa, hay derecho de reunión, derecho a todo, a todo en materia de libertades.” –Enero 6 

“When one right is suppressed all other rights end up being suppressed, ignoring democracy. Ideas are defended with reasons, not weapons. I am a lover of democracy.”

“Cuando se suprime un derecho se termina por suprimir todos los demás derechos, desoyendo la democracia. Las ideas se defienden con razones, no con armas. Soy un amante de la democracia.” -Declaraciones a la prensa, La Habana, Enero 7

“We will celebrate general elections within more or less 18 months. The political parties will reorganize within eight or ten months.”

"En un plazo de 18 meses más o menos celebraremos elecciones generales. Los partidos políticos se reorganizarán dentro de ocho o diez meses. -9 de Enero, en el programa de televisión "Ante la Prensa"

“Concerning the date for elections one should act with an absolutely objective criterion. By no means should it be later than 18 months, because I understand that would be an injustice for those with whom we’re working on this.”

"Sobre la fecha de las elecciones debe actuarse con un criterio absolutamente objetivo. De ninguna manera debe pasarse de 18 meses, porque entiendo que sería una injusticia con los que estamos trabajando en esto.” -12 de Enero, en un discurso en el Círculo Rotario 

“In order to install a dictatorship, only a few are needed. A few generals commanded thousands of soldiers, they had the soldiers deceived, they had prohibited them from thinking…”

"Para implantar una dictadura, bastan unos cuantos. A los miles de soldados los mandaban unos cuantos generales, tenían a los soldados engañados, les habían prohibido pensar..." -Club de Leones, La Habana, Enero 12 

“We neither are nor will be communists. Our Revolution is genuinely democratic, genuinely Cuban.”

“No somos ni seremos comunistas. Nuestra Revolución es genuinamente democrática,

genuinamente cubana.” -Club de Leones, Enero 13

“I don’t know the reason behind the slanders against our revolution, that it’s communist, that it’s infiltrated by communism. I don’t know how to express it!

“Could anyone think that we hide dark plans?”

“Could anyone even claim that we have even once lied to the public?”

“Could anyone even think that we are hypocrites?”

“We will never, for any reason on earth, prostitute our conscience with lies or with hypocrisy!”

"Yo no sé por qué las calumnias contra nuestra revolución de que es comunista, de que está infiltrada de comunismo. ¡Yo no sé de qué forma se podrá hablar!"

"¿Es que alguien puede pensar que encubrimos oscuros designios?"

"¿Es que acaso pudiera alguien afirmar que hemos mentido alguna vez al pueblo?"

"¿Es que acaso pudieran pensar que somos hipócritas?"

"¡Jamás, por ninguna razón del mundo, prostituiremos nuestra conciencia con la mentira o con la hipocresía!" -En una declaración a la prensa habanera, 13 de Enero 

Jan 15: “The whole world is informed, that’s why there is freedom of the press. Because according to the dictatorships the press does not favor them because it obstructs them, the press benefits an honorable and democratic government, because it keeps it in constant contact with public opinion, and the strength of a government is not in weaponry.”

Enero 15: “Todo el mundo está informado, para eso hay libertad de prensa. Porque según las dictaduras la prensa no les conviene porque les estorba, a un gobierno honrado y a un gobierno democrático la prensa le conviene, porque lo mantiene en constante contacto con la opinión pública, y la fuerza de un gobierno no está en las armas.” 

Jan 21: “there are the dictatorships with their prisons full, with their press censorship”

“Where there is justice there is no crime, and where there is crime there is no freedom of the press. Where there is crime what is done is hidden, and here we act in the public light, we come here so they will see there is justice. Here we can invite all the journalists of the world, because there is an absolutely free press in Cuba, which does not exist in any other part of the world. In Cuba there is a respect for human rights which does not exist in any other part of the world.”

Enero 21: “ahí están las dictaduras con sus cárceles llenas, con su censura de prensa”

Donde hay justicia no hay crimen, y donde hay crimen no hay libertad de prensa; donde hay crimen se oculta lo que se hace, y aquí actuamos a la luz pública, aquí venimos para que vean que hay justicia. Aquí podemos invitar a todos los periodistas del mundo, porque hay en Cuba una libertad de prensa absoluta, que no la hay en ninguna parte del mundo. Hay en Cuba un respeto a los derechos humanos que no hay en ninguna parte del mundo.” 

“By no means will we fall into the orbit of International Communism, since we never received help from them to make this revolution, nor will we request it to defend it. We will find support in the public opinion of the peoples of America.”

“De ninguna manera caeremos en la órbita del comunismo internacional, puesto que nunca recibimos ayuda de ellos para hacer la revolución, ni la pediremos para defenderla. Nos apoyaremos en la opinión pública de los pueblos de América.”  

“…I want to clarify here that I am not communist, because I’m sure that the first thing they’re going to want to say after this campaign is that we are communists. My political ideology is very clear. Above all else we feel the interests of our Nation and of our America, which is also a big nation. …to establish regimes of social independence within the widest description of human liberties, above all.”

“…Quiero aclarar aquí que yo no soy comunista, porque estoy seguro que lo primero que van a querer decir después de esta campaña es que nosotros somos comunistas. Mi ideología política es bien clara. Nosotros antes que nada sentimos los intereses de nuestra Patria y de nuestra América, que es también una patria grande. …establecer regímenes de independencia social dentro del más amplio cuadro de libertades humanas, por encima de todo.” –Diario La Marina, 23 de Enero 

“No, censorship, no! No censorship, by any means; that goes against principles…We don’t censor them…” “So what we won’t do is sacrifice liberties.”

“No, la censura, ¡no!   La censura no, de ninguna manera; eso va contra los principios…No los censuramos…” “Así que lo que no haremos es sacrificar las libertades.” –Feb. 6 

“Everyone knows that they already made a Constitution and everyone knows what to abide by. And that the reforms, the laws, the measures that are to be taken will be within the Constitution, which permits it, gentlemen. That is to say, there is ample justice in all orders within the norms of the Constitution of the Republic. And everyone is very happy with the Constitution. We will apply [the 1940 Constitution]” 

“Todo el mundo sabe que ya hicieron una Constitución y todo el mundo sabe a qué atenerse.  Y que las reformas, las leyes, las medidas que se vayan a tomar serán dentro de la Constitución, que lo permite, señores.  Es decir, que hay una justicia amplia en todos los órdenes dentro de las normas de la Constitución de la República.  Y todo el mundo está muy contento con la Constitución.  Vamos a aplicar [la Constitución de 1940]” –Feb. 14 

“They wed us with falsehood and forced us to live with her; therefore we feel the world is collapsing when we hear the truth.”

"Nos casaron con la mentira y nos obligaron a vivir con ella; por eso nos parece que se hunde el mundo cuando oímos la verdad." Jose Martí (repetido por Fidel Castro en marzo, 1959) 

“Those who talk about democracy should start by realizing what it means to respect all ideas, all beliefs, the meaning of others’ freedom and rights… we don’t persecute anyone… In the United States itself there is a communist newspaper, there are communist organizations. The other day there was a discussion on a radio station between Catholics and communists; they were discussing ideas. To discuss ideas with reason, that is how they should be discussed in the public light. If we persecute a newspaper and we close it, Ah!, when one starts by closing a newspaper, no daily will be able to feel safe; when one starts to persecute a man for his political ideas, no one will be able to feel safe, when restrictions begin to be made, no right will possibly seem secure.”

“Democracy is a right for some and for others, let all theories be discussed, all sermons be written, be discussed, because man is reason and not force, man is intelligence and not imposition nor whim, so write, so discuss, since what we look for is that freedom where all ideas are discussed, in which we all have the right to think, right to write, right to gather, for all lawful and legal acts. Man is truly democratic… And even if it’s on a corner and where 20 people can hear if not 100 people, that man can express his thoughts. And if you want to make copies of a political thesis then print it and hand it out in the University without being taken to the police station.”

“Los que hablan de democracia deben empezar por saber en que consiste el respeto a todas las ideas, a todas las creencias, en que consiste la libertad y el derecho de los demás… no perseguimos a nadie… En los propios Estados Unidos hay un periódico comunista, hay organizaciones comunistas. El otro día hubo una discusión en una estación de radio entre católicos y comunistas; estaban discutiendo ideas. Discutir ideas con razones, es como se deben discutir a la luz pública. Si perseguimos a un periódico y lo clausuramos, Ah!, cuando se empiece a clausurar un periódico, no se podrá sentir seguro ningún diario; cuando se empiece a perseguir a un hombre por sus ideas políticas, no se podrá sentir seguro nadie, cuando se empiece a hacer restricciones, no se podrá sentir seguro ningún derecho.”

“La Democracia es derecho para unos y para otros, que se discutan todas las teorí­as, todas las prédicas que se escriban, que se discutan, porque el hombre es razón y no fuerza, el hombre es inteligencia y no imposición y no capricho, que se hable, que se discuta, que lo que nosotros estamos buscando es esa libertad donde todas las ideas se discutan, en que todos tengamos derecho a pensar, libertad para escribir, libertad para reunirse, para todos los actos lí­citos y legales. El hombre es verdaderamente demócrata… Y aunque sea en una esquina y donde lo oigan 20 personas si no lo pueden oí­r 100, ese hombre pueda expresar su pensamiento. Y si quieres sacar en mimeógrafo una tesis polí­tica que la imprima y la reparta en la Universidad sin que se lo lleven a la estación de policía.” -Ante la Prensa, CMQ TV, La Habana, Abril 2 

April 9: “We desire that when elections come, every Cuban know his rights and duties, every Cuban know how to read and write, so that no one deceive him, so that no one confuse him. And when we have achieved that, then truly democratic elections can be held.”

“…we in principle are defenders of the sovereignty of the people and the right of the people to choose their leaders. Why? Because it is a guarantee for the people.”

Abril 9: “Nosotros queremos que cuando las elecciones vengan, todo cubano conozca sus derechos y sus deberes, cualquier cubano sepa leer y escribir, para que nadie lo engañe, para que nadie lo confunda.  Y cuando hayamos logrado eso, entonces sí se podrán hacer elecciones verdaderamente democráticas.”

“… nosotros por principio somos defensores de la soberanía del pueblo y el derecho del pueblo a elegir a sus gobernantes. ¿Por qué?, Porque es una garantía para el pueblo.” 

“With respect to communism, I can only say one thing to you, I AM NOT COMMUNIST, nor do communists have the strength to be a determining factor in my country.”

“Respeto al comunismo, solo puedo decirles una cosa, NO SOY COMUNISTA, ni los comunistas tienen fuerza para ser factor determinante en mi país”. -Discurso en la Sociedad Norteamericana de Editores de Periódicos de Washington, Abril 17 

“This revolution is not communist, but humanist.”

“Esta revolución no es comunista sino humanista.” -Discurso ante la prensa, Washington, Abril 17 

“Our revolution established two or three new things in the world: First, that revolution is possible when there is a relatively good economic situation, when the people are not desperate; some unemployed, some hungry, the same things as in other conditions, in other places.”

“Nuestra revolución estableció dos o tres cosas nuevas en el mundo: Primero, que la revolución es posible cuando hay una situación económica relativamente buena, cuando el pueblo no está desesperado; algunos desempleados, algunos hambrientos, las mismas cosas que en otras condiciones, en otros lugares.” –20 abril 

“Look, Rufo, I’m letting the communists raise their heads so I’ll know who they are. And once I know, I will blow them all away with the edge of my cap.”

“Mira Rufo, yo estoy dejando que los comunistas asomen la cabeza y así saber quienes son. Y cuando lo sepa, los vuelo a todos con la orilla de mi gorra.” -A Rufo Lopez Fresquet en Washington, Abril 

“Communism is a class dictatorship and I have fought all my life against dictatorships. That’s why I’m not communist. Communism preaches class hatred, class struggle and I am against that. Communists can’t be trusted.”

“El Comunismo es una dictadura de clase y yo he luchado toda mi vida contra las dictaduras. Por eso no soy comunista. El comunismo predica el odio de clases, la lucha de clases y yo estoy contra eso. No se puede confiar en los comunistas.” -Al Prof. José Ignacio Rasco, Abril 

(In Habana) “And of course, I have said very clear that we are not communist- very clear.” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Q6pOfwMFw&feature=player_embedded

“Obviamente, he hecho muy claro que no somos comunistas- bien claro.” -Abril 

21 Nations Conference, May 2: “….to save our continent for the democratic ideal, but not for a theoretical democracy, not for a democracy of hunger and misery, not for a democracy under terror and oppression but for a true democracy, with absolute respect for the dignity of man, with all human liberties prevailing within a framework of social justice, because the peoples of America want neither liberty without bread nor bread without liberty.”

“There is no more corrupt system of government than a dictatorship.”

“…democratic governments like our own should not be satisfied with being democratic alone, we 
must be honorable too.”
“We are not opposed to private investment… We trust in the usefulness, in the experience and in 
the enthusiasm of private investors… Businesses with international investments will have the 
same guarantees and the same rights as national businesses.”
(Later in the day) “The firing squads are ending in Cuba.”
Consejo Económico de los 21, Mayo 2: “…para salvar al continente para el ideal democrático, 
mas no para una democracia teórica, no para una democracia de hambre y miseria, no para 
una democracia bajo el terror y bajo la opresión, sino para una democracia verdadera, con a
bsoluto respeto a la dignidad del hombre, donde prevalezcan todas las libertades humanas bajo 
un régimen de justicia social, porque los pueblos de América no quieren ni libertad sin pan 
ni pan sin libertad.” 
"No hay sistema de gobierno más corrompido que una dictadura.”

“…los gobiernos que somos democráticos no debemos conformarnos solo con ser democráticos, 
sino, además, con ser honrados.”
"No nos oponemos a la inversión privada... Confiamos en la utilidad, en la experiencia y en el 
entusiasmo de los inversores privados... Las empresas con inversiones internacionales tendrán 
las mismas garantías y los mismos derechos como las empresas nacionales.”
(Más tarde ese día) "Los fusilamientos están terminando en Cuba."

 

“Opposing those who argue their disgusting theory of the need for strongmen, of strong 
governments; opposing those who argue their criminal claims that nations are incapable of 
governing themselves and need the iron hand of a commander or of a dictator. Uruguay has 
shown more political stability than any other nation of America, and it has shown it without 
commanders, it has shown it without dictators, it has shown it without regimes of force, 
it has demonstrated it within the most absolute freedom, as proof that liberties don’t interfere, 
as proof that liberties don’t sow anarchy, as proof that liberties don’t impede progress.”

“Frente a los que esgrimen su asqueante teoría de la necesidad de los hombres fuertes, de los

gobiernos fuertes; frente a los que esgrimen sus criminales postulados de que los pueblos son

incapaces de gobernarse y necesitan la mano de hierro de un caudillo o de un dictador.  Uruguay

ha demostrado más estabilidad política que ningún otro pueblo de América, y ha demostrado

más orden y más progreso, y lo ha demostrado sin caudillos, lo ha demostrado sin dictadores,

lo ha demostrado sin regímenes de fuerza, lo ha demostrado dentro de la más absoluta libertad,

como prueba de que las libertades no estorban, como prueba de que las libertades no siembran

la anarquía, como prueba de que las libertades no entorpecen el progreso.”–Mayo 5 

“Neither suspend the right of capitalists to speak and write, nor suspend the right of communists

to speak and write. When one has a firm conviction as to what are man’s freedoms, when one

has a firm conviction as to what are man’s rights, when one has a firm conviction as to what is

the mind of man, when one has a firm conviction as to what are human equality and justice, we

can not conceive of anyone aspiring to have a right that is taken from others, to enjoy a right

that others don’t have.”

“Then, why when we say that our Revolution isn’t communist, why when we prove that our

ideals differ from communist doctrine, that the Cuban Revolution is neither capitalist nor

communist and is  its own revolution, with its own ideology, entirely its own, having Cuban roots,

being entirely Cuban and entirely American, why then that determination to accuse our Revolution

of what it isn’t?

It’s necessary to clarify right now that if our ideas were capitalist, we would say so here, just as

if our ideas were communist ideas we would say so here…”

“Ni suspender el derecho de los capitalistas a hablar y a escribir, ni suspender el derecho de los

comunistas a hablar y a escribir.  Es que cuando se tiene una convicción firme de lo que son las

libertades del hombre, cuando se tiene una convicción firme de lo que son los derechos del

hombre, cuando se tiene una convicción firme de lo que es la mente humana, cuando se tiene

una convicción firme de lo que es la equidad y la igualdad humanas, no podemos concebir que

nadie aspire a tener un derecho que se les quite a los demás, a disfrutar un derecho que no

tengan los demás.” “Entonces, ¿por qué cuando decimos que nuestra Revolución no es comunista,

por qué cuando probamos que nuestros ideales se apartan de la doctrina comunista, que la

Revolución Cubana no es ni capitalista ni comunista y que es una revolución propia, que tiene

una ideología propia, enteramente propia, que tiene raíces cubanas, que es enteramente cubana

y enteramente americana, por qué entonces ese empeño en acusar a nuestra Revolución de lo

que no es?

Es preciso aclarar de una vez que si nuestras ideas fuesen las ideas capitalistas lo diríamos aquí,

como si nuestras ideas fuesen ideas comunistas lo diríamos aquí…”  –Mayo 8 

May 10- Fidel Castro claims on television that the charge of communist influence is a fantasy,

promulgated by enemies.
Mayo 10- Fidel Castro proclama por televisión que el cargo de influencia comunista es una 
fantasía, promulgada por enemigos.     
  
May 14- Fidel Castro claims on television that those who speak of communist infiltration are 
enemies of the revolution and defending class interests.
Mayo 14- Fidel Castro proclama por televisión que los que hablan de infiltración comunista 
son enemigos de la revolución y defienden intereses de clase.  

 

 

Commentary from Hubert Matos, who fought for Cuba’s freedom together with Fidel:

‘And when we were returning along the Malecón, I asked him: “Fidel, have you decided against 
putting into practice what you propose in your discourse ‘History will absolve me’, to give the 
workers part of the rewards (benefits) of the businesses?” (“The third revolutionary law would 
have granted workers and employees the right to share 30% of the profits of all the large 
industrial, mercantile and mining enterprises, including the sugar mills.”) And he said to me: 
“No Hubert, we can’t do that, because if we favor the workers having economic independence, 
there’s but one step from there to political independence. We can’t!Fidel, October 21, 1959: 
What was Hubert Matos doing?  …What did he devote himself to?  He devoted himself to 
accusing us of being communists!”
(In December 1959 Fidel condemned Major Hubert Matos to 20 years prison for treason
when he resigned his post due to his opposition to communist infiltration in the army.)
Comentario de Hubert Matos, quien fuera combatiente por la libertad de Cuba junto a Fidel: 
‘Y cuando regresábamos por el Malecón, le dije: “Fidel, ¿tú has renunciado a poner en práctica 
lo que planteas en tu discurso ‘La historia me absolverá’, de darles a los obreros una 
participación de las utilidades (beneficios) de las empresas?” (“La tercera ley revolucionaria le 
hubiera garantizado a los trabajadores y empleados el acceso al 30% de las ganancias en todas las 
empresas industriales, mercantiles y mineras incluyendo los centrales azucareros.”) Y me dijo: 
“No Hubert, eso no lo podemos hacer, porque si propiciamos que los trabajadores tengan 
independencia económica, de ahí a la independencia política no hay más que un paso. 
¡No podemos!”
Fidel, Octubre 21, 1959:¿Qué hacía Hubert Matos?  …¿A qué se dedicaba?  
¡Se dedicaba a acusarnos a nosotros de comunistas!” 
(En diciembre de 1959 Fidel condenó al Comandante Hubert Matos
a 20 años de cárcel por traidor cuando renunció a su cargo
por no estar de acuerdo con la infiltración comunista en el ejército.)
Dec 17: Fidel Castro proclaims on television that the government respects all religions.
Dic 17: Fidel Castro proclama en la televisión que el gobierno respeta todas las religiones.   
“And how, how the U.S. is going to know that better than myself? That is, my brother and my, 
my sister-in law? I can tell that they are not communists.” 
(Raúl was already a communist in 1954.)
¿1959? ¿Y cómo, como los EE.UU. va a saber eso mejor que yo? Eso es, ¿mi hermano y mi, 
mi cuñada? Puedo decir que ellos no son comunistas.” (Raúl ya era comunista en 1954.)
1960
Sept 2: “…democracy comes from the people! Democracy means the government of the 
people, by the people and for the people. And the government which does not call the 
people together is not democratic! The government which does not consult with the people 
is not democratic! To be democratic it is necessary to consult the people!”  
Sept 2: “…democracia viene del pueblo!  ¡Democracia quiere decir gobierno del pueblo, 
por el pueblo y para el pueblo. Y el que no reúna al pueblo, el que no reúna al pueblo, 
¡ese no es demócrata!; el que no consulte al pueblo, ¡ese no es demócrata!  ¡Para ser 
demócrata hay que consultar al pueblo!”
“… At moments like this, we promise ourselves that even the smallest errors must be
eliminated, and we promise ourselves that although things have not been done entirely 
properly or perfectly well or with complete wisdom, because who knows better than we that 
men err, that men make mistakes, and that revolutions, however just, noble and good they 
may be sometimes commit injustices, because it is men who carry them out, men who 
implement them, and men who decide…”
“And those who must use means of oppression, repressive laws, persecuting the people there 
with forces of repression, jailing the citizens, let them not speak of democracy…..” 
“…En momentos como estos, nos prometemos que hasta los mas pequeños errores han de 
eliminarse, y nos prometemos que aunque las cosas no se hayan hecho completamente 
correcto o completamente bien o con sabiduría completa, porque quien sabe mejor que 
nosotros que los hombres yerran, y que las revoluciones, por justas, nobles, 
y buenas que sean, a veces cometen injusticias, porque son los hombres quienes las 
ejecutan, hombres quienes las implementan, y hombres quienes deciden…”
“Y aquellos que tienen que usar métodos de opresión, leyes represivas, persiguiendo 
al pueblo con fuerzas de represión, encarcelando los ciudadanos, 
que no hablen de democracia…” 
1961
The revolution has no time for elections. There is no more democratic government in Latin 
America than the revolutionary government. 
... If Mr. Kennedy does not like socialism, we do not like imperialism. 
We do not like capitalism.”
“La Revolución no tiene tiempo para elecciones. No hay gobierno más democrático en 
Latinoamérica que el gobierno revolucionario. 
…Si al Sr. Kennedy no le gusta el socialismo, a nosotros no nos gusta el imperialismo. 
No nos gusta el capitalismo.”
“I am Marxist-Leninist and I will be Marxist-Leninist until the last day of my life."
“Soy Marxista-Leninista y seré Marxista-Leninista hasta el último día de mi vida.”
(Marxism-Leninism is a type of communism.)
(El Marxismo-Leninismo es un tipo del comunismo.)
“Naturally if we had said on the heights of Mount Turquino, when we were but a handful of 
men, that we were Marxist-Leninists, we would never have reached the plain”
"Naturalmente si hubiéramos dicho en las alturas del Pico Turquino, cuando éramos solo 
un puñado de hombres, que éramos marxistas-leninistas, 
nunca hubiéramos llegado a la llanura" -discurso el 20 de Diciembre
1962
“In ten years we will have a higher living standard than the United States.” 
“En diez años tendremos un nivel de vida superior al de los Estados Unidos” -La Habana
1963
“With my ideas and my temperament, even in my school and university days, I could not be 
a capitalist, a democrat, a liberal.”
“Con mis ideas y mi temperamento, aún en mis días de escuela y universidad, yo no podía 
ser capitalista, demócrata, liberal.”
“…It’s much more political, much more socialist, much more revolutionary, for that business, 
in that place, to function well and attend the public. Rather than, as in some cases, that when 
they removed the owner and put in an administrator, they put in a complete loafer who 
attends no one; the other one was a capitalist who defended his interests, and this one is a 
loafer who isn’t willing to defend anyone’s interests; and since he has his salary secured, he 
doesn’t worry about attending the public. Let no one believe that that’s revolution, let no one 
believe that that’s socialism. That’s confusing shoddiness with socialism”.
"…Es mucho más político, mucho más socialista, mucho más revolucionario, que esa 
empresa, en aquel lugar, funcione bien y atienda al público. Y no ocurra, como en algunos 
casos, que cuando quitaron al dueño y pusieron administrador allí, pusieron un perfecto 
vago que no atiende a nadie; el otro era un capitalista que defendía sus intereses, y este es 
un vago que no está dispuesto a defender los intereses de nadie; y como tiene un sueldo 
asegurado, no se preocupa por atender al público. Que nadie se crea que eso es revolución, 
que nadie se crea que eso es socialismo. Eso es confundir la chapucería con el socialismo"
1965
It’s true, everything that we say about the United States here [in Cuba] refers essentially to 
the worst aspects of the United States, and it is very rare that things in any way favorable to 
the United States will be published here…We always try to create the worst opinion of 
everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. 
We emphasize the worst things [and] we omit things that could be viewed as positive.”
“Es verdad, todo lo que decimos sobre los Estados Unidos aquí [en Cuba] se refiere 
esencialmente a los peores aspectos de los Estados Unidos, y es muy raro que se publican 
cosas aquí que de algún modo favorecen a los Estados Unidos…Siempre intentamos crear la 
peor opinión de todo lo que hay en Estados Unidos, como respuesta a lo que siempre han 
hecho con nosotros. Enfatizamos las cosas peores [y] omitimos lo que se podría ver 
positivamente.”
“The great battle of the eggs has been won. From now on the people will be able to count on 
60 million eggs every month.” Cuba presently imports a significant quantity of eggs from 
the US.
"La gran batalla de los huevos ha sido ganada. De ahora en adelante el pueblo podrá contar 
con sesenta millones de huevos cada mes" -discurso en enero 2. Actualmente, Cuba importa 
una cantidad importante de huevos de EEUU.
1966
“We are capable of straying from the manual, we are capable of daring to exercise the right to 
use our heads. Only maniacal and crazy people, only maniacal and crazy people, only maniacal 
and crazy people could consider themselves monopolists of the truth.”
“He who doesn’t want to be mistaken in someone else’s head, should be able to think with his 
own head. If you think with someone else’s head, if you think with someone else’s head, then 
when the other head makes a mistake, or says that he made a mistake you have to come out like 
a parrot and say that you also made a mistake. And there is nothing sadder than to make a 
mistake on someone else’s account.”
“People don’t believe nor can they believe in those who err frequently, people don’t believe nor 
can they believe in blind people. And those who lead the people into error or failure- whoever 
they might be, any one of us- it’s necessary to get rid of him immediately.”
“No one should, in an arbitrary, self-centered, capricious manner, say: ‘this is the path, because 
this is the path’, because one believes, without attending to any other consideration, nor to any 
other criteria besides the path. The important thing is that we develop our path.”
“In the heart of the Revolution we should not permit, nor will we ever permit, discrimination 
against anyone, exclusion of anyone, sectarianism of any kind. If we proceeded in that way, we 
would be unworthy of holding the people’s confidence.”
“Somos capaces de apartarnos de los manuales, somos capaces de atrevernos a ejercer el 
derecho de usar la cabeza. Únicamente gente maniática y loca, únicamente gente maniática y 
loca, únicamente gente maniática y loca se puede creerse monopolizadora de la verdad."
"Quien no quiera equivocarse en cabeza ajena, que sea capaz de pensar con cabeza propia. Si
usted piensa con cabeza ajena, si usted piensa con cabeza ajena, entonces cuando la cabeza 
ajena se equivoque, o diga que se equivocó tiene usted que salir como un papagayo a decir que 
usted también se equivocó. Y no hay nada más triste que equivocarse por cuenta de otro."
"Los pueblos no creen ni pueden creer en la gente que se equivoca con frecuencia, los pueblos
no creen ni pueden creer en gente ciega. Y los que conduzcan los pueblos al error o al fracaso 
-sean quienes sean, cualquiera de nosotros- hay que prescindir de ellos inmediatamente."
"Nadie debe, de una manera arbitraria, unipersonal, caprichosa, decir: ‘éste es el camino,
porque éste es el camino’, porque uno crea, sin atender a ninguna otra consideración, ni a 
ningún otro criterio que el camino. Lo importante es que desarrollemos nuestro camino."
"En el seno de la Revolución no debemos permitir, ni permitiremos jamás, discriminación, 
persecución contra nadie, exclusión de nadie, sectarismo de ninguna índole. Si procediéramos 
de esa forma seríamos indignos de ostentar la confianza del pueblo.” -Agosto 29
In the Spanish-language magazine Sucesos (Events), No. 1738, Mexico City, 10 September 1966, 
pp 11-58:
Mario Menendez Rodriguez: "Here in Cuba there is no freedom of the press as in the United States. 
One sees no criticism of the government, and the only things one can read about my country are 
bad. Why?"
"It is true that there is no press freedom, but we admit it, and we have our reasons. 
Reactionaries and counterrevolutionaries cannot write in our newspapers.”
“…Now, we accept the fact that there is no freedom of the press here. Why? Because we are in a 
period of revolutionary formation, a period with political goals to which the journalist must 
submit. And there is no criticism due to the fact that we have been living in an emergency 
situation during these years. On the other hand, journalism requires great culture and solid 
training, because the journalist has a great responsibility to the people. We do not have this 
kind of journalist, although we are trying to train them.”
“….I also believe that constructive criticism is very healthy, provided it is constructive and not 
destructive. With respect to the fact that one reads only the negative side about the United States 
in our newspapers, this is true.”
“….I would also like to make it clear that to the degree that the process has developed and the 
Revolution is institutionalized, the leadership becomes ever more collective and ever less 
centered in a single person.”
En la revista Sucesos, No. 1738, Cd. de Mexico, 10 Septiembre, 1966, pg 11-58: (traducido de 
la traducción, por no hallar el original)
Mario Menendez Rodríguez: “Aquí en Cuba no hay libertad de prensa como en los Estados Unidos. 
Uno no ve critica del gobierno, y las únicas cosas que uno puede leer sobre mi país son malos. 
¿Por qué?”
“Es verdad que no hay libertad de prensa, mas lo confesamos, y tenemos nuestras razones. Los 
reaccionarios y contrarrevolucionarios no pueden escribir en nuestros periódicos.”
“…Ahora, aceptamos el hecho de que no hay libertad de prensa aquí. ¿Por qué? Porque estamos 
en un período de formación revolucionario, un período con metas políticas a las cuales el 
periodista ha de someterse. Y no hay crítica debido al hecho que hemos estado viviendo en una 
situación de emergencia durante estos años. Por el otro lado, el periodismo requiere gran cultura 
y entrenamiento sólido, porque el periodista tiene una gran responsabilidad para con el pueblo. 
No tenemos esa clase de periodista, aunque intentamos entrenarlos.”
“…También creo que la crítica constructiva es muy sano, si es constructiva y no destructiva. Con 
respeto al hecho que uno solo lee el lado negativo sobre los Estados Unidos en nuestros 
periódicos, esto es verdad.”
“…Quisiera hacer claro que al grado que el proceso se ha desarrollado y la revolución se ha 
institucionalizada, el liderazgo se vuelve siempre más colectiva y siempre menos concentrado 
en una sola persona.”
1968
“Anyway, it must be said very clearly that…private trade, self-employment, private industry, 
or anything like it will not have any future in this country.”
“Comoquiera, hay que decir claramente que… no tendrán ningún futuro en este país ni el 
comercio privado, ni el trabajo por cuenta propia, ni la industria privada, 
ni nada por el estilo.”
1971
“…some more painful things, like used to happen in our country: that tens of thousands of 
women, for lack of employment, had to devote themselves to prostitution. And what a 
terrible, painful thing, that a woman has to sell herself every day and at all hours 
in order to live!”
“…algunas cosas más dolorosas, como ocurría en nuestro país: que decenas de miles de 
mujeres, por no tener empleo, tenían que dedicarse a la prostitución. ¡Y qué cosa tan terrible, 
tan dolorosa, que una mujer tenga que venderse todos los días y a todas horas para 
poder vivir!” -18 de noviembre en Playa Blanca, Lota, Chile
1975
“Wish of understanding. Wish of friendship. I understand it is not easy. We belong to two 
different worlds. But I, we are… neighbors. And in one way or another, we ought to live in 
peace. The United States and Cuba.”
“Deseo de entendimiento. Deseo de amistad. Entiendo que no es fácil. Pertenecemos a dos 
mundos distintos. Mas yo, somos… vecinos. Y de una u otra forma, debemos de vivir en paz. 
Los Estados Unidos y Cuba.”
1977
“We do not have your same perceptions. Our concept of freedom of the press is not yours. 
If you ask if a newspaper can appear against socialism, I can say very honestly, no, it cannot. 
In that sense, we do not have the freedom of the press that you possess in the United States, 
and we are very satisfied about that.”
“No tenemos sus mismas percepciones. Nuestro concepto de libertad de prensa no es el suyo. 
Si preguntas si puede aparecer un periódico opuesto al socialismo, puedo decir muy 
honestamente, no, no puede. En ese sentido, no tenemos la libertad de prensa que posean en 
los Estados Unidos, y estamos muy satisfechos por eso.”
1983
Barbara Walters: “What do you think of the idea that it was us, the Americans, 
who led you to communism?”
“No one leads me anywhere!”
Bárbara Walters: "¿Qué piensa usted de la idea que fuimos nosotros, los norteamericanos, 
quienes lo condujimos a usted al comunismo...?"
"¡A mí nadie me conduce a ninguna parte!"
1992
“Cuban women become prostitutes because they like sex.”
"Las mujeres cubanas se hacen jineteras (prostituyen) porque les gusta el sexo"
-discurso a la Asamblea Nacional
1998
“In Cuba there are no prohibited books, what’s lacking is money to buy them.”
“En Cuba no hay libros prohibidos, lo que falta es dinero para comprarlos.” -respuesta a un 
periodista durante una entrevista, Febrero
Currently more than ten independent librarians are prisoners in Cuba; the sentence for some 
of them is over 20 years of prison.
En la actualidad más de una decena de los bibliotecarios independientes están presos en Cuba; 
la condena de algunos de ellos sobrepasa los 20 años de prisión.
1999
“Our country doesn’t prohibit any family from emigrating abroad.”
"Nuestro país no prohíbe a ninguna familia que emigre al exterior." -Periódico Granma, Dic. 24
2000
“The policy pursued by the revolution is that any person who desires to leave our country 
and go somewhere else can do so if they have permission to enter another country. 
Our country doesn’t prohibit any family from emigrating because the construction of a just 
and evolving socialist society is a free and voluntary decision.”
(“When the inhabitants of a nation emigrate, it’s not they who should emigrate but 
rather their leaders”. Jose Martí)
"La política perseguida por la revolución es que cualquier persona que desea irse de 
nuestro país e ir a algún otro lugar pueden hacerlo si tiene el permiso de entrar en otro país. 
Nuestro país no evita que ninguna familia emigre porque la construcción de una sociedad 
evolutiva y justa en socialismo es una decisión voluntaria y libre."
-Conferencia de prensa en Pabexpo, 4 de Marzo
(“Cuando los habitantes de un pueblo emigran, no son ellos los que debían emigrar 
sino sus gobernantes”. Jose Martí)
May 1: “Revolution is understanding the historic moment; it’s changing everything that 
should be changed; it’s full equality and liberty…” 
(it’s) “never lying or violating ethical principles”
Mayo 1: “Revolución es sentido del momento histórico; es cambiar todo lo que debe ser 
cambiado; es igualdad y libertad plenas…” (es)"no mentir jamás ni violar principios éticos”
2006
We are expanding the number of free-lance workers. Free-lance working, an embryonic 
form of what you call private enterprise, is one of the ways by which we must find jobs for 
all those people who have no work.”
“Estamos aumentando el número de trabajadores por cuenta propia. Trabajar por cuenta 
propia, una forma embriónica de lo que Uds. llaman la empresa privada, es una de las 
maneras por las cuales tenemos que buscar trabajos para toda esa gente 
que no tiene empleo.”
“At that time (in the future) the U.S. and Cuba will be friends. The awareness of the need for 
peace will have made great strides, and the so-called embargoes by you and by us would 
have disappeared-- out of mental illness-- out of stupidity, it will disappear.” 
“En ese tiempo (en el futuro) los EE.UU. y Cuba serán amigos. La consciencia de la 
necesidad de paz habrá avanzado mucho, y los llamados embargos por Uds. y por nosotros 
habrán desaparecido—por enfermedad mental—por estupidez, desaparecerá.”
2009
“torture is a cowardly and shameful act which can never be justified”
la tortura es un acto cobarde y vergonzoso que no puede ser jamás justificado" –Mayo 28
1960’s?-“the revolution can never be imputed to have killed 
even one citizen, to have tortured even one prisoner…”
“a la revolución no se le podrá imputar jamás haber
asesinado un solo ciudadano, haber torturado un solo preso…”
The largest number of political prisoners ever held at one time in Cuba, seems to have been 
about 60,000, during the 60’s. (This amounted to about 1% of the national population at the 
time.) About 20,000 of these prisoners had been released by the 70’s. It is estimated that 
100,000 Cubans have been held as political prisoners by the Castro regime at some point in 
their lives. Many of those released are then held under house arrest, sometimes for decades. 
The Castro regime has been directly responsible for the death of approximately 
15,000- 30,000 Cubans. It is beyond reasonable doubt that thousands, and probably tens 
of thousands, have suffered torture at the hands of this dictatorship.
El mayor número de presos políticos detenidos en Cuba, al mismo tiempo, parece ser como 
60,000, durante los 60’s. (Esto equivale a como 1% de la población nacional de ese tiempo.) 
Como 20,000 de estos presos habían sido liberados para los 70’s. Se estima que 100,000 
Cubanos han sido detenidos como presos políticos por el régimen castrista en algún punto 
de su vida. Muchos de los liberados siguen bajo detención domiciliaria, a veces por décadas. 
El régimen castrista ha sido directamente responsable de la muerte de aproximadamente 
15,000- 30,000 Cubanos. Excede toda duda razonable que miles, y probablemente decenas 
de miles, han sufrido tortura a manos de esta dictadura.

José Martí: Sólo la opresión debe temer
el ejercicio pleno de las libertades.”
 

Hugo Chávez: “En Cuba sí hay una dictadura.” 5/12/1998 

Ayuda a Cuba http://www.visitecuba.info Help Cuba

“Here are some photos of the walls surrounding the Canaleta prison, in Ciego de Ávila. I have

several friends there, mostly independent journalists imprisoned since the Black Spring of 2003.

Some of them dictate by telephone to various bloggers- such as Claudia Cadelo, Iván García,

Reinaldo Escobar and me [Yoani Sanchez]- news that we post on the Internet. Which

makes me think that there are no bars enclosing opinion and that cyberspace has the capability-

also- to slip between the bricks and mortar of these dismal places.”

“In a society marked by punishments against those who express their opinions, neither fools nor

children say what they think, only drunkards.  Thus, I wasn’t surprised at the news that they found

Pánfilo to be a criminal and charged him with “pre-criminal dangerousness” for which he was given

two years in prison.  The judicial process must have sobered him up faster than a bucket of cold

water and an extremely strong coffee.  Although there is still the possibility of appealing this

decision before the court, he’s unlikely to get off without punishment because it’s a lesson aimed

not only at him.  If they don’t condemn him, who will prevent the corner alcoholics, the

neighborhood drunks, from standing in front of a camera and starting to shout for everything we

lack:  Food!  Future!  Freedom!”

Peace without Borders

On September 20, over a dozen international musicians led the “Paz sin Fronteras” (Peace

without Borders) concert in Havana, Cuba. It was transmitted live on Cuban television. Attendance

at this free event was reported to be over one million (about 10% of the nation’s population). They

sang of peace, friendship between nations, freedom, and God. Although the artists made it clear

that this event was apolitical, they were threatened and criticized for “supporting the communist

regime”. This concert was the second installment of the artist Juanes’ “Peace Without Borders”

series. The first event in March 2008 drew tens of thousands to the tense border between

Venezuela and Juanes’ native Colombia.

"....They're good artists, good composers- I'm not going to deny their merits. But everyone knows

their affiliation, 100%, with the government. They are, firstly, representatives of the government's

policies. As a musician, I can tell you what I suffered in Cuba- the brutality, the opprobium, that

the Cuban government inflicted on me, and on all of us, those of us who don't think the same as

[Tucho] Perete or Silvio [Rodriguez]. I was never a favorite of the government, because I was

always a fan of American music- jazz, of course, and they called that 'imperialistic music'. They

put me in prison because I used to listen to a jazz station.” (words of Arturo Sandoval, translated

from Cuban [government-controlled] television, September 19, 2009. This was rebroadcast from

abroad in a piece concerning the anti-concert hysteria.)

 Glasnost- Maximal Publicity, Openness, and Transparency

Juan Reynaldo Sanchez has made detailed revelations concerning his experiences in Fidel Castro’s

personal security force. He describes Castro’s direct involvement in selling arms to Central American

revolutionaries, and even some involvement for a time in the drug trade. But the main source of

income for the Cuban regime and national economy was doubtless the socialist block in Eastern

Europe and the USSR. With the fall of the Soviet block close to 20 years ago, Cuba faced

unprecedented economic woes. The steady stream of subsidies dried up, and as Che Guevara’s

grandson put it, Cuba was left in diapers. The government calls this stage in Cuba the “special period”.

Their liberalization of the economy during that time is portrayed as necessary to save the gains of

socialism. That capitalism was necessary to “save socialism” is glossed over as being a temporary

stage, and indeed, some of the reforms were later scaled back. Of course, Cuba has found a new

benefactor in Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who has also supplanted Fidel Castro as the public face of

revolutionary socialism in Latin America. Venezuelan petroleum and petrodollars are what currently

keep the Cuban government afloat.

The state’s social services net is being dismantled, and food scarcity is widespread on the island.

No new generation of left-wing authoritarians has emerged in Cuba. Lately, the government of Raul

Castro has opened Pandora’s Box. Internet cafes are now available to the general public. The

regime attempts to control the flow of information through internet censorship, but the “ruling

elderly” are no match technically for the savvy youth. The dictatorship is charging about a week’s

salary for one hour of internet access. This public relations ploy will also prove insufficient to deter

the thirst for freedom. Television censorship is showing unmistakable signs of relaxation; the word

“contestatario” (dissident) is heard more often in 2009 on Cuba’s several TV channels, and often in

a neutral if not obliquely positive manner. People mention problems in Cuban society and express

religious convictions through the wearing of crosses or even verbally. The phenomenon of TV

commercials is in an embryonic stage; the film and music industries are more developed and

appear to be pushing the limits on free expression. There seems to be some measure of truth in

Raul’s assertion that the time for “excessive prohibitions” is past. Technologies such as cell

phones are increasingly available, and proving almost impossible to effectively police. Several

mostly 20-something bloggers are getting uncensored news to the outside world, and are driving

change as the autocracy’s stomach for brutality seems to be waning. Change is brewing, and

will not be reversed. Although perhaps not explicitly declared or named, “Cuban glasnost” is

definitely underway. May the transformation in Cuba be peaceful, and may the future well-being

of the nation take precedence over the instinct to exact vengeance or create abrupt and

disruptive change. 

Raúl Castro, 2006: "The Revolution cannot lie.''

"In this Revolution we are tired of excuses.''

"We've told the North American government, in private and in public, that we are prepared,

wherever they want, to discuss everything -- human rights, freedom of the press, political

prisoners - everything, everything, everything that they want to discuss," –Raúl Castro Ruz,

April, 2009

(“Big Brother Fidel” quickly “corrected” Raúl’s statement, leaving little hope for progress.)

 Now let’s see some action; it’s time for the peoples of Cuba and the United States to interact and

build a dialogue. What’s needed now is for Cuba’s government to allow anyone who wishes, to visit

the USA. And the American government must allow Americans to visit Cuba. This is something we

should all be able to agree on as a step away from hostilities and toward mutual respect.

Human Rights by any Other Name

"I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial

domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba,

in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which

Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially

yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista

was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to

pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban

revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear."

U.S. President John F. Kennedy, interview with Jean Daniel, October 24, 1963

By 1961, the Cuban Revolution had strayed from its stated ideals to such an extent that Kennedy

ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion to topple the new regime. This was a complete failure, as is the

subsequent US embargo on Cuba. Kennedy’s point concerning US government support for the

brutal Batista regime is historically correct. Much of US policy from that time until the present has

helped strengthen both the Castro revolution and the continuing mistrust of the US by many Cubans.

It is likewise true that the US has, to some extent, fomented the development of the Taliban and

AlQaeda. By supporting corrupt regimes around the world, the US has made her support for

democracy seem less a principle, and more a self-interested exercise in selective blindness.

Police, military, and paramilitary brutality, and the lack of due process are no less deplorable

because a regime is considered “politically correct”.

Many see the absurdity of claiming to be combating despotism and illegal drugs “for the good of

society”, while producing and selling much of the weaponry fueling corrupt regimes and organized

crime worldwide. The US is the main consumer of prohibited drugs, yet we persecute developing

nations for daring to produce such “evil substances”. Then we “reward” prohibitionary compliance

with more military armaments. Prohibitionary policies inevitably lead to human rights abuses

(among them the spraying of dangerous chemicals). US government drug policies penalize

minorities disproportionately and help perpetuate the racial divide. Yet the legal drugs kill many

times as many people, and the “war on drugs” takes more lives than the drugs chosen for

demonization. America needs to extract first the beam from her own eye; then she will be

keen-sighted to be extracting the mote from others’ eyes. (Luke 6:42) America’s unfinished

journey towards “liberty and justice for all” has progressed now for over 230 years. To expect

others to reach our “advanced level” of human rights in a generation or two is unrealistic. Just

how advanced is our level of human rights development? The US infant mortality rate is now

worse than that of dozens of other nations, including Cuba, which is a developing nation (CIA

World Factbook and UN Population Division). Singapore’s infant mortality is half that of the US.

It doesn’t behoove America to continue denying so many of her citizens the basic human right

of decent health care. (Life expectancy is higher in 46 countries than in the US. While lifespan

in the US and Cuba is almost identical, healthcare expenditures are about 20 times greater per

person in the US. Fidel Castro has always recognized the importance of propaganda, and so has

made a point of keeping the infant mortality rate low. This does NOT mean the Cuban health

system is exemplary in all respects.)

In April, 2002 the Journal of American Medicine reported that "properly prescribed" legal drugs

kill 106,000 Americans each year, due to toxic reactions. That's at least six times the number

of Americans killed by illegal drugs. Marijuana alone has not been shown to cause an overdose

death. Alcohol is responsible for 85,000 annual deaths in America, and tobacco kills 435,000.

It is our right to consume what we wish, without infringing on the rights of others. However,

the consumption of certain substances (tobacco especially) is almost always detrimental to

society at large. Therefore, government must intervene to protect the public, and especially

minors. In setting goals for public well-being, we need to carefully consider the potential benefits

and costs of each policy. Government needs to carefully choose its battles, aiming always to

maximize benefits while minimizing pitfalls. All things considered, highly addictive substances such

as opiates, certain stimulants, and tobacco are certainly deserving of strict government controls,

as is alcohol. Even marijuana and certain highly caffeinated beverages should be regulated so

as to restrict access to adults.

Excerpt from an email from Barack Obama:

It’s time to fix our unsustainable insurance system and create a new foundation for health care security.

That means guaranteeing your health care security and stability with eight basic consumer protections:

  • No discrimination for pre-existing conditions

  • No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays

  • No cost-sharing for preventive care

  • No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill

  • No gender discrimination

  • No annual or lifetime caps on coverage

  • Extended coverage for young adults

  • Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid

These are laudable goals, at least for the most part. To accomplish them would require considerable

government involvement. It seems that the single-payer system holds the best hope of achieving

them. Thus the insurance industry becomes an “expensive and unnecessary middleman”. Is it not

a human right to receive emergency medical care at the nearest facility? How many thousands

must die because the nearest hospital wasn’t “in-network” before America wakes up? The scare

tactic of threatening Americans with “socialized medicine” overlooks one important option that

must be left open: anyone dissatisfied with the single-payer system must be free to purchase

additional private insurance or pay for health care out-of-pocket. That Barack Obama defends

the existence of the private health insurance industry is remarkable. I don’t believe he would

favor such a system were we starting from scratch- he has said as much. But he apparently

feels we must gradually reform what truly deserves radical overhaul.

Cuba, the Inscrutable Nation

The Cuban Paradox

The challenges facing Cuba today are many. Probably the main one is channeling the desire within

the population for self-expression and self-determination. The rapid growth in television

programming and tourism provide some outlet for this. The Cuban government faces the challenge

of nurturing distrust of the USA, while at the same time opening their airways to numerous

American TV programs. Travel between the two countries also challenges the Revolution’s

stereotypes concerning the “Imperialist Power”. The US embargo on Cuba and the strained

relations have played into the Revolution’s hands by making demonization easier. Cuba’s challenge

is to relate in an unbiased fashion towards the outside world, without putting politics over our

common humanity. The Revolution makes every effort to channel the public’s self-expression away

from any political dissent, as such debate is not tolerated. Cuba must peacefully transition to a

freer society without weakening her gains in healthcare and wealth distribution.

Cuba faces the difficult job of putting economics into balance, basing policy on results rather than

strict ideology. She faces the task of accepting self-criticism and differing points of view as useful

in improving the shortcomings of Cuban society while maintaining the progress made. Cuba faces

the challenge of solidifying her leading position on ecotourism and climate change mitigation. The

task for Cuba is capitalizing on her long experience in "inventiveness", healthcare, and universal

education to foster greater technological advances. This will lead to increasing prosperity while

preserving the natural beauty and environmental health of the island.

In the mid 1960s, Castro himself admitted to 20,000 political prisoners.

While the Cuban population has doubled since the revolution, the number of prisons

has increased 50-fold. Torture of detainees has been widely reported. In addition to

all those unjustly detained, millions more are in exile, mostly for political reasons.

Castro has been very vocal in condemning American imperialism, whether real or

imaginary. On the other hand he's apparently been silent since taking power

concerning Soviet imperialism, and even spoke in favor of the Soviet invasion of

Czechoslovakia to crush "socialism with a human face."

Discussion in Raul’s Cuba

"Stone Age" conditions

Freedom isn’t Free

Following are excerpts from two opinion pieces from the state-run Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde,

both by José Alejandro Rodríguez. After each are excerpts from some reader responses, also

from Cuba’s “Rebel Youth” website. The original Spanish has been translated into English.  

August 29, 2009: “The unhealthy obsession with protecting “the image” of the country, the ministry,

the business, or the territory…. is occasionally paranoia about the destiny of your own post, your

own position, and other trivial things….  

Some have come to see the healthy act of criticism…. as an admission of weakness; as giving

weapons to the enemy. The truth is that the most dangerous missile that we give to those who want

to dismantle a 50-year project is silence, pretense, double standards, and conformity…. Cuba has

enough light to see herself in the mirror, and correct her ugliness.” 

Ernesto- "Very good, Alejandro- your opinion seems sincere to me, but many times in Cuba, for

criticizing something with the best of intentions, they destroy you." 

Deborah- “....from now on I feel a little sad about your professional life, because they will

certainly find some little problem in your personal or professional life and remove you from the

editorial board of JR.... I ask God (because I'm a Christian) that nothing will happen in your

professional, or much less, your personal life for writing this article." 

Duniesky Dominguez- "Excellent article. If we want to build a better and lasting society we

must open up to debate and to the plurality of opinions, regardless of the source. The results will

always be positive...." 

Evelia- "Excellent, Jose Alejandro, I've read your article. I waited many years for articles like

these from the Cuban press. Your words are those of every Cuban. Unfortunately there is much

fear of having a critical attitude. Could it be that the fear is being broken? 

October 5, 2009: “….In no way am I calling for an uncivil rebellion because Cuban socialism must

repair the legality and discipline eroded during years. But, precisely in order to fortify our institutions,

we should prioritize the detailed analysis of the imperfections, obsolescence, and absurdities in our

laws and all the normative structure of society. In our very lives.

That which is legal is not always that which is just…. “Change what needs to be changed”,

Fidel said….

….Now that we all, with or without militancy, are convoked to elaborate and enrich the agenda

of the public discussion, it is worthwhile to reflect upon the transcendence of debate and

consensus, in the light of the experiences of 50 years of revolutionary sustainability: both the

positive and the mistaken.

I say this because I still perceive the heavy head of dogmatism and uncontrolled verticality….

….If the revolution has reached this point, it has been because of popular protagonism, above

more than a few bumps on the way to building our own democracy. Therefore, we must not

underestimate the necessity of consensus, nor believe that we have it at hand. Let us not allow

interests different than those of the nation, to snatch away the spaces of polemic, debate, criticism,

as tools sharp and wise for improvement.

The solutions to our problems, the structure of 21st century socialism, must be built upon the

consensus of all, regardless of creed. An intelligent equilibrium between the vertical and the

horizontal. An interaction from down to up, and from up to down. So that no one pretend to shut

us up with “that comes from above”. No, it comes from all of us.

Peter- “Hello, Pepe! I applaud you for your excellent article. I would like to suggest in this space

that the Cuban government implement a digital site where ALL Cubans can participate in the

national debate about the most important topics that are supposed to be discussed relating to

the future of our country. There are people not only in the workplaces and schools who would like

to participate. Inside and outside of Cuba are other CUBANS, not attached to these institutions,

who would like to participate and be heard. I’m sure that if that debate is realized, the discussions

would be enriched with many more topics and solutions. If what is really intended is for the future

destiny of Cuba, short-, medium-, and long-term, to be decided by the entire Cuban people, then

may ALL opinions, from ALL Cubans, be welcomed. Greetings, Peter.”

Joe Martinez-Your article seems very true to me. Reading it gives me hope that some things

will change soon for the good of all. I like the fact that topics which a little while ago were taboo

in Cuba, come to public view. I think the time to talk about past errors is past- now it’s time to fix

them- we could start with the absurd centralization in which we live- let the citizen develop and

create his own path. A while ago Mr. Ramiro Valdez said that Father State couldn’t resolve

everything. Now I ask myself, isn’t that what they’ve accustomed us to all this time?” 

*Apparently, José Alejandro Rodríguez crossed the line in his October 16 article; it was soon

removed from the website. Here’s more info. The following link has the entirety of the copy

of the webpage in Spanish. (Lea el articulo entero en http://www.juventudrebelde.info.) 

Would you like to help? 

Please send a request to Juventud Rebelde to restore the deleted article. Here’s the email:

digital@jrebelde.cip.cu

Here’s a suggested message, and its Spanish translation (The words in blue are from the article

itself.): Please restore the October 16 article by José Alejandro Rodríguez, entitled Against the

demons of sequestered information, to your website. Please publish it in your print edition as

well. Juventud Rebelde has gained much ground and prestige in this Cuban battle against the

demons of sequestered information. Are we going to retreat?

Favor de restaurar el articulo del 16 de octubre, de José Alejandro Rodríguez, titulado Contra

los demonios de la información secuestrada, a su sitio web. Favor de publicarlo también por

impreso. Juventud Rebelde ha ganado buen trecho y prestigio en esta pelea cubana contra

los demonios de la información secuestrada. ¿Vamos a retroceder? 

Closing the prison camp in Guantanamo is insufficient. Instead of toppling communism,

the US embargo on Cuba provides a handy excuse to the Castro brothers for the failures of

their government. It should be rescinded. The US should renounce and denounce all forms

of torture and human rights abuses, wherever they might exist, and wisdom should prevail

over fanaticism. In a recent UN vote, 180 nations supported the end of the embargo. In the

face of this overwhelming consensus, the US and two other nations voted to continue this

failed policy, purportedly due to their support for democracy. Why single out Cuba for his

type of treatment when we have normalized relations with other communist regimes such

as China and Viet Nam? Chinese hackers threaten the US far more than any Cubans do.

Patrick Symmes’ idea about creating a free-trade zone in the 45-square-mile US base is

interesting, although perhaps very unlikely. He says Cuban-Americans can run the

businesses and offer to trade with the rest of Cuba. If Castro refused, the claim that the

embargo is opposed by Cuba would be brought into serious doubt.