[R-G] Fidel: Peace still possible
mstainsby at tao.ca
Mon Oct 1 02:39:12 MDT 2001
Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit
PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
315 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7215 * Fax: 212-689-9073
New York, 29 September 2001
Speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro,
President of the Republic of Cuba
Ciego de Avila, September 29, 2001
A peaceful solution is still possible.
The present situation is so tense that nobody could write a speech
hours before delivery and be certain that it is not outdated. I am
also running the risk of sounding too optimistic even when I am not.
However, it is my duty to say what I think.
The unanimous shock suffered by all peoples of the world on September
11, due to the insane terrorist attacks against the American people
which could be seen live on television, has created exceptional
conditions for the eradication of terrorism without the need to
unleash a useless and perhaps endless war.
Terrorist actions in the United States, as anywhere else in the
world, inflict terrible damage on the peoples fighting for a cause
that objectively they consider to be fair.
Terror has always been an instrument of the worst enemies of humankind
bent on suppressing and crushing the peoples' struggle for freedom.
It can never be the instrument of a truly noble and just cause.
All throughout history, almost every action intended to attain
national independence, including that of the American people, was
carried out with the use of weapons and nobody ever questioned, or
would question, that right. But, the deliberate use of weapons to
kill innocent people must be definitely condemned and eradicated for
it is as unworthy and inhuman as it is repulsive, the same as the
historic terrorism perpetrated by the oppressing states.
In the present crisis, real possibilities still exist to eradicate
terrorism without a war but the main obstacle is that the most
notable political and military leaders in the United States refuse to
listen to any word said against the use of weapons and in favor of a
truly effective solution to the worrisome problem, heedless of the
fact that it would be very honorable for the American people to
accomplish that objective while avoiding bloodshed.
The decision-makers are only betting on war actions. They have
associated honor with war. Some speak of the use of nuclear weapons
as if it were as simple as having a cup of tea. Others affirm that
paratroopers will be employed in irregular warfare tactics. Someone
has even speculated on the advisability of using lies as a weapon
although others have shown more rationality and common sense but
still along the war line. Objectivity and rationality are not
abundant. Many people have been made to believe that only belligerent
formulas are viable regardless of the loss of American lives.
It is hard to know whether the final tactic and strategy of struggle
have already been decided upon to use against a country whose
communications and technological infrastructure as well as material
conditions seem to have hardly left the Stone Age behind. Will
irregular warfare tactics with squadrons of aircraft carriers,
armored warships, cruisers and submarines be used in a landlocked
country? Why send also scores of B-1 and B-52 bombers, hundreds of
modern fighter planes, thousands of missiles and other strategic
weapons? What are they going to shoot against?
Meanwhile, confusion and panic prevail in the rest of the world,
while opportunistic positions motivated by convenience and national
interests are not lacking. Some have torn their honor to pieces. And,
following the initial atmosphere of uncertainty there is a bizarre
and widespread ostrich reflex, despite the fact that there are not
even enough holes to hide heads.
Many seem not to have realized yet that, on September 20, before the
United States Senate, the end of independence was decreed for every
other state --without exceptions-- as well as the end of the United
Nevertheless, no one should be misled into thinking that the peoples
of the world, and a number of honest political leaders, will not
react as soon as the war actions become a reality and their horrific
images start to be seen. These will then take the place of the sad
and shocking images of the events in New York at a time when
forgetting them would bring irreparable damage on the spirit of
solidarity with the American people that is today a primary element
towards the eradication of terrorism, without the need to resort to a
war of unpredictable consequences and avoiding the death of an
incalculable number of innocents.
The first victims can already be seen. They are the millions trying
to escape the war and the dying children with ghastly appearance,
whose images will move the world to pity without anyone being able to
prevent their dissemination.
It is a great mistake on the part of the United States and its NATO
allies to believe that the strong nationalism and religious
sentiments of Muslims can be neutralized with either money or a
promise of assistance, or that their countries can be permanently
intimidated by force. There are already statements from religious
leaders of major nations, that have no affinity whatsoever with the
Taliban, who are voicing their resolute opposition to a military
attack. Meanwhile, contradictions are beginning to arise among the
United States' allies, both in Central and South East Asia.
On the other hand, xenophobia, hatred and scorn for every Muslim
country are starting to emerge. An important European head of
government has just said in Berlin that Western civilization is
superior to Islam and that the West will keep on conquering
peoples, even if that means confrontation with the Islamic
civilization, which has remained stuck where it was 1400 years ago.
In an economic situation such as the world is experiencing today,
when extremely serious problems affecting humanity remain unresolved,
including its own survival which is threatened by other evils
unrelated to the destructive power of modern weaponry, one wonders:
Why this obstinate course of starting a complicated and open-ended
war? Why are the American leaders showing such arrogance when their
enormous power gives them the privilege of showing some moderation?
It would suffice to return to the United Nations Organization the
prerogatives that it has been deprived of and let the General
Assembly, its most universal and representative body, be the center
of that fight for peace --regardless of its limitations due to the
arbitrary veto right of the Security Council standing members, most
of them also a part of NATO-- and for the eradication of terrorism
with total and unanimous support from the world opinion.
Under no circumstances should those responsible for the brutal
attacks against the American people be allowed to go unpunished, if
they can be identified. An honorable condition for every country
would be that they are tried by an unbiased court of law that would
ensure the reliability of the evidence and that justice be done.
Cuba was the first country to speak of the need for an international
struggle against terrorism just a few hours after the tragedy brought
on the American people on September 11. We also said that: "None of
the present problems of the world can be solved by force. [...] The
international community should build a world conscience against
terrorism. [...] Only the intelligent policy of seeking strength
through consensus and the international public opinion can decidedly
uproot this problem [...] this unimaginable event should serve to
launch an international struggle against terrorism. ...] The world
cannot be saved unless a path of international peace and cooperation
We firmly stand by these views.
It is indispensable to return to the United Nations its role in the
attainment of peace.
I harbor no doubts that the Third World countries --I dare say
almost everyone of them without exception, despite their political
and religious differences-- would be willing to go alongside the rest
of the world in this struggle against terrorism as an alternative to
I think that these ideas do not, in any way, tarnish the honor, the
dignity and the predominant political or religious principles of any
of the above-mentioned states.
I am not talking here on behalf of any of the poor and underdeveloped
countries of the world. I am simply expressing my deepest conviction,
as I am aware of the tragedy of these peoples that have been
exploited and humiliated for centuries where, even without a war,
inherited poverty and underdevelopment, hunger and curable diseases
are silently killing scores of millions of innocents every year.
For these people, saving peace with dignity, with independence and
without a war is the cornerstone of the struggle that we should wage
together for a truly just world of free peoples.
Cuba is not motivated by any economic interest or by opportunism,
much less by any fear of threat, danger or risk. But this people
that, as it is widely known, has most honorably endured over four
decades of economic warfare, blockade and terrorism is entitled to
explain, reiterate and insist on its viewpoints; and, it will not
hesitate to do so until the very last minute.
We are, and we will continue to be, opposed to terrorism and opposed
to war! No matter what happens, nothing will separate us from that
The dark clouds on the horizon of the world today will not prevent
the Cubans from continuing to work ceaselessly on our wonderful social
and cultural programs, as we are persuaded that it is a human endeavor
unparalleled in history. And even if the promised wars were to turn
them into mere dreams, we would still fall with honor defending such
Long live the Revolution and Socialism!
Patria o Muerte!
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