(Open letter to George W. Bush from Fidel Castro, read shortly before beginning the huge march to protest Washington's aggressive policies against Cuba)
Proclamation by Fidel Castro Ruz
[Includes discussion of human rights.]
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 powerful nation 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 sleep again. 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 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, ignoring 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 important social 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 spill forth 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 on the frontline ready to die fighting in defense of my homeland.
In the name of the Cuban people,
Fidel Castro Ruz.