The Cuba Advocate

Year 58 of the Revolution

Free the five Cuban heroes imprisoned in the US

[Speech given by President Fidel Castro at the ceremony to decorate the mothers and wives of the five Heroes of the Republic of Cuba imprisoned in the United States, held at the Karl Marx Theater on March 8, 2002, Year of the Heroes Imprisoned by the U.S. Empire.]

Compatriots:

Throughout history we have paid tribute to legendary heroes and heroines, those glorious examples of bravery, unselfishness and the spirit of sacrifice that always inspire whole generations in their fight for a better, more humane and fairer world. There have, however, been very few times when we have been able to live alongside those men and women.

The five Heroes of the Republic of Cuba imprisoned in the empire, their admirable mothers and wives, our contemporaries and the pride of our country, have deeply touched the hearts of their people and, we can say, in every one of our sons and daughters, without exception.

They are here today, on International Women’s Day, in a moving and solemn ceremony that will surely never fade from our memories as they receive the Mariana Grajales and Ana Betancourt Orders, are Carmen, Magali, Irma and Mirta; Adriana, Rosa Aurora, Olga and Elizabeth; the mothers and wives of Gerardo, Fernando, René, Antonio and Ramón.

Absolutely innocent of the charges, after 16 months of isolation and seven months of a rigged trial where the lies, hypocrisy and cynicism of the accusers were shattered, three have been sentenced to life imprisonment and two to long stretches in jail.

In yet another manifestation of rage and hate, they continue to receive heartless and brutal treatment. Thinking that their morale and strength can be destroyed, the courts have put them in five top-security prisons, with a minimum of 1,400 kilometers between each jail, after a hazardous and cruel journey, always held in punishment cells, and then thrown into the general population of prisons where control, impartiality and moral leadership are conspicuous by their absence. This is a harsh test of our heroes’ unshakable strength and valor. And this is being done to men who, seeking information about terrorism, were defending their people to the death.

Alleging the same objective, the United States has launched all its forces to invade nations, using its most sophisticated and destructive weapons, declaring a long, indefinite and imprecise world war against terrorism.

With the height of superiority and arrogance, it has threatened more than 80 countries and taken the liberty to indicate which are, or are not, terrorists. It also has the gall to mention Cuba among those terrorist nations, when in reality thousands of Cubans have died as a result of terrorism from the United States, and not one single U.S. citizen has suffered the slightest scratch or harm from any act of this type by Cuba.

It goes without saying that our country cannot be intimidated. By using such stupid threats, they are banging their heads against a brick wall.

The U.S. government must ask Cuba’s forgiveness for the thousands of acts of aggression, sabotage and terrorism committed against our country for the last 43 years. The U.S. government must ask Cuba’s forgiveness for over three decades of economic war and the total blockade of food and medicine; these are genocidal acts which even in times of war are sanctioned by 1948 and 1949 international treaties signed by both nations. The U.S. government must compensate our country for crimes that have caused enormous suffering and the loss of tens of thousands of lives. The U.S. government must break with the Miami terrorist mafia, which organized and financed brutal acts of terror such as the explosion of a Cuban airplane in full flight with 73 passengers on board, all of whom perished, and the innumerable bomb attacks on Cuban buildings and hotels, hundreds of assassination attempts on leaders of the Cuban Revolution, biological warfare against people, animals and plants. The U.S. government must arrest and try Orlando Bosch, the well-known terrorist who, along with others, freely walks the streets of Miami. The U.S. government must stop protecting Posada Carriles and demand that justice be done for him and the other criminals who brought scores of kilograms of extremely powerful explosives into Panama, planning to kill hundreds of young university students with the aim of assassinating the Cuban delegation to the Ibero-American Summit, in Panama City. The U.S. government must eliminate the Torricelli Act, the Helms-Burton Act and numerous amendments aimed at tightening up the blockade against our country. The U.S. government must eliminate the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, which has cost the lives of so many women, children, elderly and other citizens, and continues to take the lives of the people of Cuba.

The U.S. government must discuss with Cuba the illegal and arbitrary occupation of a piece of our territory, to come to an agreement about when it will be returned to our country. The U.S. government must respect the Cuban people’s right to self-determination, as well as the economic and political system it has decided to follow.

The U.S. government will never have the moral authority to fight terrorism as long as it continues to use such practices against countries like Cuba, and continues to support massive, repugnant and brutal massacres such as those being perpetrated by its ally, the state of Israel, against the Palestinian people. It must renounce its policy of world domination, stop intervening in other countries, respect the authority of the United Nations and honor the treaties it has signed. These are indispensable requisites for achieving a climate of peace in the world and eradicating that odious scourge of terrorism.

Our heroes must be freed. The whole world will learn of the enormous injustice committed against them. Millions of books will tell the truth and send out Cuba’s message. Sooner rather than later, our comrades will come home! No matter what it costs or where they are, their relatives will exercise their right to visit them every month, and bring them the encouragement and affection of all their people. (APPLAUSE)

Eternal glory to the heroic sons of Cuba, (SHOUTS OF “GLORY!) to the mothers who bore them and raised them, (SHOUTS OF “GLORY!) to the wives and children who contributed lovingly to creating their will of iron and invincible spirit! (SHOUTS OF “GLORY!)

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Patria o Muerte!

Venceremos!

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March 3, 2009 - Posted by | A - Best of Fidel Castro

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