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   Vol.65/No.39            October 15, 2001 
Fidel Castro speaks on imperialist war drive
Printed below is a speech presented by Cuban president Fidel Castro September 22 to the people of Cuba. Castro was responding to a speech given by U.S. president George Bush to a joint session of the U.S. Congress September 20 on Washington's war drive against Afghanistan and assaults on workers rights at home. At the time of the speech the U.S. government dubbed its planned military assault "Operation Infinite Justice." The name was subsequently changed to "Operation Enduring Freedom."


No one can deny that terrorism is today a dangerous and ethically indefensible phenomenon, which should be eradicated regardless of whatever deep origins it may have, whatever the economic and political factors behind it and those responsible for these factors in the world.

The unanimous anger stemming from the human and psychological damage inflicted on the people of the United States by the sudden and shocking deaths of thousands of innocent people whose images have shaken the world is perfectly understandable. But who benefited? The extreme right, the most backward and right-wing forces, those in favor of crushing the growing spirit of rebellion in the world and sweeping away everything progressive that is still left on the planet. It was an enormous error, a huge injustice and a great crime, regardless of who organized and is responsible for such an action.

But, in the name of justice and under the peculiar and bizarre name of "Infinite Justice," the tragedy should not be used to recklessly start a war that could in reality unleash an infinite massacre of people who are also innocent.

In the last few days the foundations, the conception, the true aims, the spirit, and the conditions for such a war have been hastily put into place. No one could state that it was not thought out well in advance, something that was just waiting for an opportunity. Those who after the so-called end of the cold war continued arming themselves to the teeth and developing the most sophisticated means to kill and exterminate human beings were aware that investing fabulous sums in military expenses would give them the privilege of imposing absolute and complete domination over the other peoples of the world. The ideologists of the imperialist system knew very well what they were doing and why they were doing it.

In the wake of the shock and sincere sorrow felt by every people on earth for the atrocious and insane terrorist attack against the people of the United States, the most extremist ideologists and the most belligerent hawks, already placed in privileged positions of power, have taken command of the most powerful country on the planet whose military and technological capabilities would seem infinite. Its capacity to destroy and kill is enormous while on the other hand its habits of equanimity, serenity, thoughtfulness, and restraint are minimal.

The combination of factors--not excluding complicity and the common enjoyment of privileges of the rich and powerful countries--the prevailing opportunism, confusion, and panic--make it almost impossible to avoid a bloody and unpredictable outcome.

The first victims of whatever military actions are undertaken will be the billions of people living in the poor and underdeveloped world with their unbelievable economic and social problems, their unpayable debts and the ruinous prices for their basic commodities; their growing natural and ecological catastrophes, their hunger and misery, the massive undernourishment of their children, teenagers, and adults; their terrible AIDS epidemic, their malaria, their tuberculosis, and their infectious diseases that threaten whole nations with extermination.

The grave world economic crisis was already a real and irrefutable fact affecting absolutely every one of the big economic power centers. Such a crisis will inevitably grow deeper under the new circumstances. And when it becomes unbearable for the overwhelming majority of the peoples, it will bring chaos, rebellion, and ungovernability everywhere.

But the price will also be unpayable for the rich countries. For years to come it would not be possible to speak strongly enough about the environment and the ecology, or about ideas and research done and tested, or about projects for the protection of nature because that space and possibility would be taken by military actions, wars, and crimes as infinite as "Infinite Justice," under whose name they seek to unleash military operations.

Can there be any hope left after listening, barely 36 hours ago, to the speech made by the President before the U.S. Congress?

I will avoid the use of adjectives, qualifiers or offensive words towards the author of that speech. These would be absolutely unnecessary and inopportune when the tensions and seriousness of the moment advise thoughtfulness and equanimity. I will limit myself to underlining a few short phrases that say it all:

"We will use every necessary weapon of war."

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen."

"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

"I've called the armed forces to alert and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act and you will make us proud."

"This is the world's fight, this is civilization's fight."

"I ask for your patience [...] in what will be a long struggle."

"The great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depend on us."

"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. [...] And we know that God is not neutral."

I ask our compatriots to reflect deeply and calmly on the ideas contained in several of the phrases I've mentioned:

Finally, an unheard-of confession in a political speech on the eve of a war, and no less than in times of apocalyptic risks: We do not know the course of this conflict, but its outcome is certain. And we know that God is not neutral.

This is an amazing assertion. When I think about the real or imaginary parties involved in this bizarre holy war that is about to begin, I find it difficult to distinguish where there is more fanaticism.

On Thursday, before the U.S. Congress, the idea was laid out of a world military dictatorship under the exclusive rule of force, irrespective of any international laws or institutions. The United Nations, totally ignored in the present crisis, would have no authority or prerogative whatsoever. There would be one single boss, one single judge, and one single law.

We have all been ordered to ally ourselves with the U.S. government or with terrorism.

Cuba speaks with the moral power of the country that has suffered the most and the longest from terrorist attacks, the one whose people do not shake with fear of anything because there is no threat or power in the world that can intimidate it. And with this moral power Cuba proclaims that it is opposed to terrorism and it is opposed to war. Although the possibilities are now remote, Cuba reiterates the need to avert a war of unforeseeable consequences whose very authors have confessed not to have the slightest idea of how events will unfold. Likewise, Cuba reiterates its willingness to cooperate with every country in the total eradication of terrorism.

Some objective and calm friend should advise the U.S. government against throwing young U.S. soldiers into an uncertain war in remote, isolated, and inaccessible places, like a fight against ghosts, not knowing where they are or even if they exist or not. Or whether the people they kill are or are not responsible for the deaths of their innocent fellow countrymen killed in the United States.

Cuba will never declare itself an enemy of the people of the United States, a people who today are subjected to an unprecedented campaign to sow hatred and a spirit of vengeance, so much so that even the music that sings to peace has been banned. On the contrary, Cuba will make that music its own, and even our children will sing their songs to peace however long the already announced bloody war lasts.

Whatever happens, the territory of Cuba will never be used for terrorist actions against the people of the United States. And we will do everything within our reach to prevent such actions against that people. Today we are expressing our solidarity while appealing for calmness and peace. One day they will admit we were right.

Our independence, our principles and our social achievements we will defend with honor to the last drop of blood, if we are attacked!

It will not be easy to fabricate pretexts to do it. They are already talking about a war employing all weapons but it will be good recalling that not even that would be a new experience. Almost four decades ago, hundreds of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons were aimed at Cuba and nobody remembers seeing a single one of our compatriots who lost sleep over that.

We are the same sons and daughters of that heroic people, with a patriotic and revolutionary consciousness that is higher than ever. It is time for serenity and courage.

The world will become aware of this and will raise its voice in the face of the terrible drama that threatens it and of which it is about to suffer.

As for Cubans, this is the precise time to proclaim more proudly and resolutely than ever:

Socialism or death!

Patria o muerte! [Free homeland or death]

Venceremos! [We shall win]
Related articles:
Imperialists mass troops, ships: End war against Afghan people!
War at home and abroad
Bush deploys National Guard at airports
Rulers discuss issuing national identity cards
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