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Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 1:18 PM
 
The million Cubans who are gathered here today to march- May 14, 2004
 
FROM JOSEPH SIMON IN HAVANA
 
News note with corrected English translation of Fidel's
speech this morning. The march still goes on and is really
spirited. There's a very different air with this one.
People are upset.
 
Joseph
 
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Fidel Castro Throws Down the Gauntlet to Bush in Massive
Protest March
 
Havana, March 14 (Antiterroristas)-- Cubans responded to
the latest attacks against them by the Bush administration
with a massive protest march past the US Interests Section
in Havana today with their President throwing down the
gauntlet to US President George W Bush with the words:
"Hail Cesar, we who are about to die salute you!".
 
Well in excess of a million Cubans were packed along the
Malecón seafront this morning in a march that began with a
short address by Fidel Castro who accused Bush of a policy
of overt fascism across the planet and promised that he
would be in the frontline to repel any invasion of the
island.
 
"Since you have decided that the die is cast" the Cuban
leader said to the US president, "I have the pleasure of
saying farewell to you like the Roman gladiators who were
about to fight in the arena: Hail Cesar, we who are about
to die salute you!
 
"My only regret is that I shall not see your face because
you would be thousands of miles away while I shall be in
the frontline to die fighting in defense of my homeland."
 
The recent measures taken by Washington have affected manyhere because the Cuba government has taken steps to protect
the economy by restricting the dollar's spending power on
the Island, so today's protest was very spirited and very,
very, big. There was a sense of outrage with some of the
protesters carrying banners with the images of Iraqi
prisoners in US jails that have become so famous across the
world with the words "This Would Never Happen in Cuba!"
underneath. In reference to the use of more economic
restrictions to squeeze the Cuban economy even further,
another banner with the dollar sign next to a crossed-out
swastika read "The New Symbol of Fascism".
 
-----------------------------------------
 
Proclamation by an Adversary of the US Government: Fidel
Castro Ruz
 
May 14, 2004
 
Mr. George W. Bush,
 
The million Cubans who are gathered here today to march
past your Interests Section is just a small part of a
valiant and heroic people who would be here with us if it
were physically possible.
 
We have not gathered in a hostile gesture to the American
people whose ethics, rooted in time when the first pilgrims
emigrated to this hemisphere, are well known to us. Neither
do we wish to upset the officials, employees and guards of
this Interests Section, who are given all the safety and
guarantees that a civilized and educated people such as
ours can offer while they serve their terms. This is an
outraged protest and a denunciation of the brutal, ruthless
and cruel measures against our country that your country
has just adopted.
 
We know beforehand what you believe or want to make others
believe about those who are marching here. In your opinion
they are oppressed masses who yearn for liberty and who
have been forced onto the streets by the Cuban government.
 
You completely ignore that no force in the world could drag
a dignified, proud people, which has withstood 45 years of
hostility, blockade and aggression from the most powerfulnation on earth, onto the streets like a flock of animals
 
each one with rope around their neck.
 
A statesman, or whoever claims to be one, should know that
throughout history really humane ideas of justice have been
shown to be much more powerful than force; force leaves in
its wake only dusty, contemptible ruins; humane ideas leave
a glowing trail that no one will ever be able to
extinguish. Every era has had its own ideas, both good and
bad, that have been accumulated. But the worst, most
sinister and ambiguous ideas belong in this era in which we
live - a barbarous, uncivilized, globalized world.
 
In the world that you seek to impose on us today there is
not the slightest notion of ethics, credibility, standards
of justice, humanitarian feelings, nor of the elementary
principles of solidarity and generosity.
 
Everything that is written about human rights in your
world, and in the world of your allies who share in the
plundering of the planet, is an enormous lie. Billions of
human beings live in infrahuman conditions starving,
without enough food, medicine, clothes, shoes or shelter
and without even a minimum amount of knowledge or enough
information to understand their tragedy and that of the
world in which they live.
 
Surely nobody has told you about the tens of millions of
children, adolescents, youth, mothers, middle-aged or
elderly people who die every year who could have been saved
in this "idyllic Eden of dreams" which is Earth, nor have
they told you at what rate the natural conditions for life
are being destroyed and that the hydrocarbons which took
the world 300 million years to create are being squandered
in a century and a half, with devastating effects.
 
You have only to ask your assistants for precise data on
the tens of thousands of nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons, bombers, smart long-range missiles, battleships
and aircraft carriers, conventional and non-conventional
weapons in your arsenals which are enough to wipe out all
life on the planet.
 
Neither you nor anyone else would ever be able to sleepagain. Neither would your allies, who are trying to emulate
your military build-up. If your allies low responsibility
coefficient, political talent, inequality between their
respective states and their infinitesimal inclination to
reflect in the time they have left between procedures,
meetings and advisors, are taken into account, those who
have the destiny of the world in their hands can harbor few
hopes when, half puzzled and half indifferent, they gaze
upon the real madhouse that world politics has become.
 
The purpose of these words is not to offend nor insult you:
but since you have set out to intimidate, to terrorize this
country and eventually to destroy its socio-economic system
and independence and, if necessary, its very physical
existence, I consider it my elemental duty to remind you of
a few home truths.
 
You have neither the morality nor the right - none
whatsoever - to speak of freedom, democracy and human
rights when you hold enough power to destroy humanity and
are attempting to install a world tyranny, side-stepping
and destroying the United Nations Organization, violating
the human rights of any and every country, waging wars of
conquest to take over world markets and resources and
installing decadent and anachronistic political and social
systems which are leading the human race into the abyss.
 
There are other reasons why you cannot mention the word
democracy: among these is the fact that everyone knows you
became president of the United States through fraud. You
cannot speak of freedom because you cannot conceive of a
world other than one ruled by fear of the lethal weapons
which your inexpert hands might rain down on humanity.
 
You cannot speak of the environment because you are
completely ignorant of the fact that the human race is in
danger of disappearing.
 
You label a tyranny the economic and political system that
has guided the Cuban people to higher levels of literacy,
knowledge and culture than those in the most developed
countries in the world. The same that has reduced infant
mortality to a rate lower than that of the United States
and whose population is provided with all healthcare and
education services and with other extremely importantsocial and human services free of charge.
 
Listening to you talk of human rights in Cuba has a hollow,
absurd ring. This, Mr. Bush, is one of the few countries in
this hemisphere where not once in 45 years has there been a
single case of torture, a single death squad, a single
extrajudicial execution or a single ruler who has become a
millionaire through having held power.
 
You lack the moral authority to speak of Cuba, a dignified
country which has withstood 45 years of a brutal blockade,
economic war and terrorist attacks which have cost
thousands of lives and ten of billions of dollars in
economic losses.
 
You are attacking Cuba for petty, political reasons, trying
to obtain electoral support from a shrinking group of
renegades and mercenaries who have no ethical principles
whatsoever. You lack the moral right to speak of terrorism
because you are surrounded by a bunch of murderers who have
caused the death of thousands of Cubans through terrorist
methods.
 
You do not hide your contempt for human life, because you
have not hesitated to order the extrajudicial death of a
secret, unknown number of people in various parts of the
world.
 
You have no right whatsoever, except for that of brute
force, to intervene in Cuba's affairs and, whenever the
fancy takes you, to proclaim the transition from one system
to another and to take measures to make this happen.
 
This people can be exterminated - you well know this- or
wiped off the face of the earth but cannot be subjugated
nor put once again into the humiliating position of a
United States neo-colony.
 
Cuba fights on the side of life in the world; you fight on
the side of death. Whereas you kill countless people with
your indiscriminate, pre-emptive surprise attacks, Cuba
saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of children,
mothers, old and sick people all over the world.
 
The only thing you know about Cuba are the lies that spillforth from the ravenous mouths of the corrupt and
insatiable mob of former Batista supporters and their
descendents who are experts in electoral fraud and capable
of electing as President of the United States someone who
did not obtain enough votes to claim victory.
 
Human beings are not aware of, nor can they be aware of,
freedom in a regime of inequality like the one you
represent. No one is born equal in the United States. In
the black and Latin ghettos and on the reservations for the
Native Americans who once inhabited that land but were
exterminated, there is no other equality but that of being
poor and excluded.
 
Our people, educated in solidarity and internationalism, do
not hate the American people nor do they want to see young
white, black, Native Americans, mestizo or Latin soldiers
from that country die - young people driven by unemployment
to enlist in the military to be sent to any corner of the
world in traitorous, pre-emptive attacks or in wars of
conquest.
 
The unbelievable torture applied to prisoners in Iraq has
rendered the world speechless.
 
I do not seek to offend you with these words, as I have
already said. My only hope is that in your leisure time one
of your assistants will bring these truths to your notice,
even though they may not be completely pleasing to you.
 
Since you have decided that the die is cast, I have the
pleasure of saying farewell to you like the Roman
gladiators who were about to fight in the arena: Hail
Cesar, we who are about to die salute you!
 
My only regret is that I will not see your face because you
will be thousands of miles away while I'm in the frontline
ready to die fighting in defense of my homeland.
 
In the name of the Cuban people,
 
Fidel Castro Ruz.
 
May 14/2004
 
 
 
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