Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban politician and communist revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 to 2011, Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. A Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.
- I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.
- Letter from prison (19 December 1953)
- The 26th of July Movement is not a tendency within the party, it is the revolutionary apparatus of Chibas's organization, a grass-roots movement, from which it emerged to fight against the dictator, while the Ortodoxo Party was lying helpless and divided. From then on, our revolutionary thesis has been the thesis of our party's masses; they had expressed their feelings unequivocally, from then on, the masses and the eladers have gone different ways.
- Statement, Mexico, March 18th, 1956 as published in Carlos Franqui's Diary of the Cuban Revolution (1976), pp. 100.
- The 26th of July Movement is the revolutionary organization of the humble, by the humble, for the humble. The 26th July Movement is the hope of redemption for the Cuban working class, who can hope for nothing from the political cliques; it is the hope of land for the peasants who live like pariahs in the country whose freedom their grandfathers won; it is the hope of going back home for the emigres who had to leave their country, here they could not live or work, and it is the hope of daily bread for the hungry and of justice for the forgotten.
- Statement, Mexico, March 18th, 1956 as published in Carlos Franqui's Diary of the Cuban Revolution (1976), pp. 100-101.
- Weapons for what? (¿Armas, para qué?) To fight against whom? Against the revolutionary government, that has the support of the whole people? … Weapons for what? Hiding weapons for what? To blackmail the President of the Republic? To threaten to break the peace here? To create organizations of gangsters? Is it that we are going to return to gangsterism? Is it that we will return to daily shootouts in the capital? Weapons for what?
- I am not a dictator, and I do not think I will become one. I will not maintain power with a machine gun.
- I Won't Be a Dictator, interview with Ruth Lloyd (January 1959), printed in The Spokesman-Review (24 May 1959)
- Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour.
- I Won't Be a Dictator (1959)
- I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement, but we do not have to say that we are anticommunists just to fawn on foreign powers.
- Resignation announcement (17 July 1959)
- The first duty of the revolutionaries is to tell the truth. Fooling the people, promoting illusions, always brings the worst consequences, and I believe that the people should be warned against excessive optimism. How did the Red Army win the war? By telling the truth. How did the dictatorship lose the war? By deceiving the soldiers.
- Camp Columbia, Havana (Jan. 8th, 1959), Fidel Castro Reader, pp. 133
- A revolution is not a trail of roses.… A revolution is a fight to the death between the future and the past.
- Fellow workers and peasants, this is the socialist and democratic revolution of the working people, with the working people, and for the working people. And for this revolution of the working people, by the working people, and for the working people we are prepared to give our lives.
- Original Spanish: "Compañeros obreros y campesinos, esta es la Revolución socialista y democrática de los humildes, con los humildes y para los humildes. Y por esta Revolución de los humildes, por los humildes y para los humildes estamos dispuestos a dar la vida."
- On 16 April 1961, in a funeral oration in Vedado for victims of the air raids the day before, Fidel Castro referring to the January 1959 Cuban Revolution. Quoted in José Ramón Fernández. 2001. Playa Giron/Bay of Pigs: Washington's First Military Defeat in the Americas, p. 56
- Original Spanish: "Compañeros obreros y campesinos, esta es la Revolución socialista y democrática de los humildes, con los humildes y para los humildes. Y por esta Revolución de los humildes, por los humildes y para los humildes estamos dispuestos a dar la vida."
- If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains.
- Speech on the anniversary of the Granma landing (2 December 1961)
- I am a Marxist-Leninist, and I will be a Marxist-Leninist until the last days of my life.
- Speech on the anniversary of the Granma landing (2 December 1961)
- Variant translation: I am a Marxist-Leninist and will be one until the day I die.
- It is necessary that each Marxist-Leninist understand that he can contribute to Marxism-Leninism with an atom of his experience, that every solution he finds, every experience he acquires, in the act of solving a problem, will be one more experience with which he enriches Marxism-Leninism, because Marxism-Leninism has been enriched so much precisely by the experience of millions and millions of Marxist-Leninists acting in the reality of life.
- We believe that Marxism-Leninism is an incontestable truth.
- Kim Il-sung, one of the most prominent, bright and heroic socialist leaders of the present day, whose history is one of the most beautiful thing a revolutionary may have written in the service of the cause of socialism.
- Che brought the ideas of Marxism-Leninism to their freshest, purest, most revolutionary expression.
- The death of a fighter is not a reason to mourn, if we believe, as we have always believed, as our people have believed and as revolutionaries of every era have believed, that no true man, no true revolutionary dies in vain.
- Marx and Lenin represent precisely the two human personalities that will mark the passage between prehistory and the history of mankind.
- Fascism, with its violence, gets rid of everything: it attacks universities, it closes them and crushes them; it attacks intellectuals, represses them and persecutes them; it attacks political parties; it attacks trade union organizations; it attacks all mass and cultural organizations. Therefore, nothing is more violent, more retrograde and more illegal than fascism.
- Marxism-Leninism is an explanation of historical events; Marxism-Leninism is a guide for action, Marxism-Leninism is the ideology of the proletariat, which must guide, make its action conscious to overthrow exploiters, to establish a classless society.
- Marxism-Leninism is the ideology of the working class, the most complete political doctrine, the most accurate explanation of social and historical problems.
- Marxism-Leninism is the denial of the exploitation of man by man, that has been precisely the source of crimes, wars, oppressions and calamities that humanity has suffered over millennia.
- The figure of Lenin is a giant in history and his luminous ideas represents the common heritage of revolutionary fighters in every corner of the Earth.
- Comrade Ho Chi Minh, in a genious way, combined the struggle for national independence with the struggle for the rights of the masses oppressed by the exploiters and the feudals. He saw that the path was to combine the patriotic feelings of peoples with the need of freedom from social exploitation. National liberation and social liberation were the two pillars on which his doctrine was based. Furthermore, he saw that underdeveloped countries, in those conditions because of capitalism, could make a leap in history, building their economy along the path of socialism, saving themselves from the sacrifices and the horrors of capitalism.
- President Ho Chi Minh, understanding the extraordinary historical importance and the consequences of the glorious October Revolution, and assimilating Lenin's luminous thought, saw clearly that in Marxism-Leninism we could find the teaching and the path that had to be followed to find a solution to the problem of the peoples oppressed by colonialism.
- Fascism appears in the world precisely after the October Revolution; fascism appears in the world as a tool against Marxism-Leninism. Capitalist and imperialist countries created the conditions for the rise of fascism in the world; and the whole fascist campaign, since its first appearance in Europe, was based on anti-communism, on communists' slaughter and on the destruction of the Soviet Union.
- Marxism-Leninism is ultimately deeply internationalist and, at the same time, deeply patriotic.
- Democratic Korea, its leaders and its people will always live in our feelings of revolutionaries, patriots and fighters for the triumph of socialism.
- Marxism-Leninism is the richest doctrine in ideas of justice, freedom, equality, fraternity among men.
- I propose the immediate launching of a nuclear strike on the United States. The Cuban people are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the destruction of imperialism and the victory of world revolution.
- As quoted in "Castro Wanted a Nuclear Strike" in The New York Times (October 23, 1992)
- The Alliance for Progress is an alliance between one millionaire and many beggars.
- Interview with C. L. Sulzberger, The New York Times (November 7, 1964), p. 26.
- Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution! The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!
- If we wanted to express how we'd like our revolutionary combatants, our militants, our men, to be, we should say without hesitation of any kind: that they be like Che! If we wanted to express how we'd want the men of future generations to be, we should say: that they be like Che! If we wanted to say how we'd want our children to be educated, we should say without faltering: we want them to be educated in Che's spirit! If we wanted a model of a man, a model of a man who does not belong to this time, but who belongs to the future instead, I'd heartily say that this model without a single stain on his conduct, attitude or behavior, is Che! If we want to express how we want our children to be, we must say with all the heart of vehement revolutionaries: we want them to be like Che!
- Scorn relations with the imperialist Government of the United States, a Government of genocide and decadence
We have supported, we are supporting and we shall support revolutionary movements in Latin America.
We feel very well outside the O.A.S., in fact better than inside. The O.A.S. is an organization that is bound to disappear.
- 19 April 1971 in Havana, according to 20 April 1971 New York Times article
- You know my eyes are not very strong. So every day to make them stronger I force myself to look at the sun. I find it very hard. But do you know what I find harder? That is to look into the blue of your eyes.
- Early in 1976, speaking to Margaret Trudeau, according to page 317 of Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968-2000 by John English.
- We have a theoretical concept of the Revolution which is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters.
- As quoted in With Fidel : A Portrait of Castro and Cuba (1976) by Frank Mankiewicz and Kirby Jones, p. 83
- Variant: The revolution is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters.
- As quoted in Words of Wisdom : From the Greatest Minds of All Time (2004) edited by Mick Farren, p. 138
- What was fascism in Italy, in Germany? The exaltation of racial prejudices. Instead of fighting racial prejudice, which is what a revolution does, fascism exalts prejudice and turns it into hatred.
- With what moral authority can they speak of human rights — the rulers of a nation in which the millionaire and beggar coexist; the Indian is exterminated; the black man is discriminated against; the woman is prostituted; and the great masses of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Latin Americans are scorned, exploited, and humiliated? How can they do this — the bosses of an empire where the mafia, gambling, and child prostitution are imposed; where the CIA organizes plans of global subversion and espionage, and the Pentagon creates neutron bombs capable of preserving material assets and wiping out human beings; an empire that supports reaction and counter-revolution all over the world; that protects and promotes the exploitation by monopolies of the wealth and the human resources of whole continents, unequal exchange, a protectionist policy, an incredible waste of natural resources, and a system of hunger for the world?
- The economic management and planning system was not set up so that we can play at capitalism; and some people are shamefully playing at capitalism; we know this, we see it, and thismust be set right.
- Rectifying the Errors of the Cuban Revolution (1986)
- It is really impressive what a filth system capitalism is, that can't guarantee its own people employment, nor health, nor adequate education; that cannot prevent youth from being corrupted by drugs, gamble, and all kind of vices.
- We cannot ignore Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the useless use of nuclear weapons, an absolutely unnecessary use that, in any case, could have been employed against some military facilities that fell, however, on civilian populations of hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, to establish the era of the atomic terror in the world.
- Las ideas no necesitan ni de las armas, en la medida en que sean capaces de conquistar a las grandes masas. (Ideas do not need weapons, to the extent that they can convince the great masses.)
- I never perceived a contradiction in the political revolutionary field between the ideas I maintained and the idea of that symbol, that extraordinary figure who had been so familiar to me since I began to reason.
- Let us yield a bit. Let us grant socialism a few more years. Socialism is so obsolete, it is dying by itself.… Did I say socialism? I assure you on my honor this was not a mental slip. This was a slip of the tongue. Do not forget that. Capitalism—and I say it with such gusto—capitalism is so obsolete that it is dying by itself.
- They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
- Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the moral, nor the ethics, nor the will to solve the problems of poverty.
- Capitalism produces beasts, socialism produces men.
- As I have said before, the ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry but they cannot kill ignorance, illnesses, poverty or hunger.
- This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell.
- Capitalism is a system based on blind, destructive and tyrannical laws imposed on the human species.
- When I was a young boy, my father taught me that to be a good Catholic, I had to confess at church if I ever had impure thoughts about a girl. That very evening, I had to rush to confess my sin. And the next night, and the next. After a week, I decided religion wasn't for me.
- As quoted in The Atheist's Bible (2007) edited by Joan Konner, p. 62
- Soon, I'll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them.
- They corrupt the morals of young girls and destroy posters of Che! What do they think? That this is a bourgeois liberal regime? NO! There is nothing liberal in us! We are collectivists! We are communists! There will be no Prague Spring here!
- As quoted in Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him (August 2008), by Humberto Fontova
- Revolution is the sense of the historical moment; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is being treated and treating others like human beings; it is emancipating ourselves, by ourselves and with our very own efforts; it is challenging the dominant powerful forces within and outside of the social and national arena; it is defending the values one believes in at the cost of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism; it is fighting with audacity, intelligence and realism; it is never telling a lie or violating ethical principles; it is the profound conviction that there is no force on earth that can crush truth and ideas. Revolution is unity, it is independence, it is fighting for our dreams of justice for Cuba and the world that is the basis of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.
- The USSR self-destructed in an incredible way. The responsibility for that self-destruction undoubtedly lies in the hands of the country's leaders, those who led that nation. Now, some of them were aware they were destroying it and others were not. That is what I was trying to say, more or less, and we saw it all from the beginning.
I cannot say Gorbachev played a role in which he was aware of the destruction of the USSR because I have no doubt that Gorbachev intended to fight to improve socialism.
We approved of Soviet efforts to improve socialism in the USSR. But we could not approve of, and never would have agreed to, not only the destruction of socialism in the USSR, but also the destruction of the USSR itself. That inflicted terrible damage on all peoples of the world and created a bad situation for the Third World in particular.Imperialism would have been able to disintegrate the Soviet Union, had the Soviets not destroyed themselves, had those responsible for the strategies and tactics and for the country's political and government policies not destroyed the country. In other words, socialism did not die from natural causes: it was a suicide, socialism was murdered. That is what I meant.
- I believe Stalin made big mistakes but also showed great wisdom.In my opinion, blaming Stalin for everything that occurred in the Soviet Union would be historical simplism, because no man by himself could have created certain conditions. It would be the same as giving Stalin all the credit for what the USSR once was. That is impossible! I believe that the efforts of millions and millions of heroic people contributed to the USSR's development and to its relevant role in the world in favor of hundreds of millions of people.
History Will Absolve Me (October 16th, 1953)
- I want to be fair above all else, so I can't blame all the soldiers for the shameful crimes that stain a few evil and treacherous military men. But every honorable and upright soldier who loves his career and his uniform is duty bound to demand an to fight for the cleansing of this guilt, to avenge this betrayal and to see the guilty are punished. Otherwise the soldier's uniform will forever be marked of infamy instead of pride.
- Fidel Castro Reader, p. 61
- It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that an imputed offense must correspond exactly to the type of crime described by law. If no law applies exactly to the point in question, then there can be no offense.
- Ibid. p. 53
- Let me tell you a story: Once there was a republic. It had its constitution, its laws, its freedoms, a president, a congress and courts of law. Everyone could assemble, associate, speak and write with complete freedom.
- ibid., p. 89-901
- Poor country! One morning the citizens woke up dismayed; under the cover of darkness, while the people slept, the ghost of the past had conspired and had seized the citizenry by its hands, its feet, and its neck. That grip, those claws were familiar: those jaws, those death-dealing scythes, those boots. No, it was no nightmare; it was a sad and terrible reality: A man named Fulgencio Batista had just perpetrated the appalling crime that no one had expected.
- ibid, p. 90
- I sincerely believe revolution to be the source of legal right; but the nocturnal armed assault of March 10 could never be considered a revolution.
- ibid, p 92
- I now come to the close of my defense, but I will not end it as lawyers usually do, asking that the accused be freed. I cannot ask for freedom for myself while my companeros are already suffering in the ignominious prison of the Isle of Pines. Send me there to join them and to share their fate. It is understandable that honest people should be dead or in prison in a republic where the president is a criminal and a thief.
- ibid, p. 104
- I know that imprisonment will be harder for me than it has ever been for anyone, filled with cowardly threats and hideous cruelty. But I do not fear prison, as I do not fear the fury of the miserable tyrant who took the lives of 70 of my companeros. Condemn me, it does not matter: history will absolve me.
- ibid, p. 105
At the United Nations (1960)
- Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the world wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite some time.... Are we, the Cuban delegates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have received? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confinement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us, hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.
- Now, to the problem of Cuba. Perhaps some of you are well aware of the facts, perhaps others are not. It all depends on the sources of information, but, undoubtedly, the problem of Cuba, born within the last two years, is a new problem for the world.
- For many, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizens of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. As far as the map was concerned, this we not the case: our country had a different color from that of the United States. But in reality Cuba was a colony of the United States.. It was not because of its origins; the same men did not colonize the United States and Cuba. Cuba has a very different ethnic and cultural origin, and the difference was widened over the centuries.
- Cuba was the last country in America to free itself from Spanish colonial rule, to cast off, with due respect to the representative of Spain, the Spanish colonial yoke; and because it was the last, it also had to fight more fiercely.
- Spain had only one small possession left in America and it defended it with tooth and nail. Our people, small in numbers, scarcely a million inhabitants at that time, had to face alone, for almost thirty years, an army considered one of the strongest in Europe...
- For thirty years the Cubans fought alone for their independence; thirty years of struggle that strengthened our love for freedom and independence.
- But Cuba was a fruit — according to the opinion of a President of the United States at the beginning of the past century, John Adams —, it was an apple hanging from the Spanish tree, destined to fall, as soon as it was ripe enough, into the hands of the United States.
- Spanish power had worn itself out in our country. Spain had neither the men nor the economic resources to continue the war in Cuba; Spain had been defeated. Apparently the apple was ripe, and the United States Government held out its open hands.
- Several apples fell in to the hands of the United States. Puerto Rico fell — heroic Puerto Rico, which had begun its struggle for independence at the same time as Cuba. The Philippine Islands fell, and several other possessions. However, the method of dominating our country could not be the same. Our country had struggled fiercely, and thus had gained the favor of world public opinion. Therefore the method of taking our country had to be different.
- The Cubans who fought for our independence and at that very moment were giving their blood and their lives believed in good faith in the joint resolution of the Congress of the United States of April 20, 1898, which declared that “Cuba is, and by right ought to be, free and independent.”... But that illusion was followed by a rude awakening. After two years of military occupation of our country, the unexpected happened... a new law was passed by the United States Congress... stated that the constitution of the Cuba must have an appendix under which the United States would be granted the right to intervene in Cuba’s political affairs and, furthermore, to lease certain parts of Cuba for naval bases or coal supply station.
- ...Under a law passed by the legislative body of a foreign country, Cuban’s Constitution had to contain an appendix with those provisions. Our legislators were clearly told that if they did not accept the amendment, the occupation forces would not be withdrawn. In other words, an agreement to grant another country the right to intervene and to lease naval bases was imposed by force upon my country by the legislative body of a foreign country... Then began the new colonization of our country, the acquisition of the best agricultural lands by United States firms, concessions of Cuban natural resources and mines, concessions of public utilities for exploitation purposes, commercial concessions of all types. These concessions, when linked with the constitutional right — constitutional by force — of intervention in our country, turned it from a Spanish colony into an American colony...
- The National General Assembly of the Cuban people condemns large scale landowning as a source of poverty for the peasant and a backward and inhuman system of agricultural production; it condemns starvation wages and the iniquitous exploitation of human work by illegitimate and privileged interests; it condemns illiteracy, the lack of teachers, of schools, doctor and hospitals; the lack of old-age security in the countries of America; it condemns discrimination against the Negro and the Indian'; it condemns the inequality and the exploitation of women; it condemns political and military oligarchies, which keep our peoples in poverty, prevent their democratic development and the full exercise of their sovereignty; it condemns concessions of the natural resources of our countries as a policy of surrender which betrays the interests of the peoples; it condemns the governments which ignore the demands of their people in order to obey orders from abroad; it condemns the systematic deception of the people by mass communications media which serve the interests of the oligarchies and the policy of imperialist oppression; it condemns the monopoly held by news agencies, which are instruments of monopolist trusts and agents of such interests; it condemns the repressive laws which prevent the workers, the peasants, the students and the intellectuals, the great majorities in each country, from organizing themselves to fight for their social and national rights; it condemns the imperialist monopolies and enterprises which continually plunder our wealth, exploit our workers and peasants, bleed our economies to keep them in a backward state, and subordinate Latin American politics to their designs and interests.
- In short, The National General Assembly of the Cuban People condemns the exploitation of man by man, and the exploitation of underdeveloped countries by imperialists capital.
- Therefore, the National General Assembly of the Cuban People proclaims before America, and proclaims here before the world, the right of the peasants to the land; the right of the workers to the fruits of their labor; the right of the children to education: the right of the sick to medical care and hospitalization; the right of young people to work; the right of students to free vocational training and scientific education; the right of Negroes, and Indians to full human dignity; the right of women to civil, social and political equality; the right of the elderly to security in their old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and scientists so fight through their works for a better world; the right of States to nationalize imperialist monopolies, thus rescuing their national wealth andresources; the right of nations to their full sovereignty; the right of peoples to convert their military fortresses into schools, and to arm their workers -- because in this we too have to be arms-conscious, to arm our people in defense against imperialist attacks -- their peasants, their students, their intellectuals, Negroes, Indians, women, young people, old people, all the oppressed and exploited, so that they themselves can defend their rights and their destinies.
- Some people wanted to know what the policy of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba was. Very well, then, this is our policy. (ovation)
Words to Intellectuals (1961)
- This is not some special law or guideline for artists and writers. It is a general principle for all citizens. It is a fundamental principle of the revolution. Counterrevolutionaries, that is, the enemies of the revolution, have no rights against the revolution, because the revolution has one right: the right to exist, the right to develop, and the right to be victorious.
- In other words: Within the revolution, everything; against the revolution, nothing. Against the revolution, nothing, because the revolution also has its rights, and the first right of the revolution is the right to exist, and no one can oppose the revolution's right to exist. Inasmuch as the revolution embodies the interests of the people, inasmuch as the revolution symbolizes the interests of the whole naion, no one can justly claim a right to oppose it.
- The revolution cannot seek to stifle art or culture since one of the goals and fundamental aims of the revolution is to develop art and culture, precisely so that art and culture truly become the patrimony of the people.
- Our conclusion is that the compañeros of the National Council of Culture are as concerned as all of you are about achieving the best conditions for the development of creative work by artists and intellectuals. It is the duty of the revolution and the revolutionary government to see that there is a highly qualified agency that can be relied upon to stimulate, encourage, develop and guide - yes, guide - that creative spirit.
- You have the opportunity to be more than spectators, you can be actors in the revolution, writing about it, expressing yourselves about it. And the generations to come, what will they ask of you? You might produce magnificent artistic works from a technical point of view, but if you were to tell someone from the future generation, 100 years from bow, that a writer, an intellectual, lived in the era of the revolution and did not write about the revolution, and was not a part of the revolution, it would be difficult for a person in the future to understand this. In the years to come there will be so many people who will want to paint about the revolution, to write about the the revolution, to express themselves on the revolution, compiling data an information in order to know what it was like, what happened, how we used to live.
- Fidel Castro Reader, pp. 238
The Second Declaration of Havana (1962)
- The capitalist system of production, once it had given all it was capable of giving, became an abysmal obstacle to the progress of humanity.
- All reactionary classes in all historical epochs, when the antagonism between exploiters and exploited reaches its highest peak, presaging the arrival of a new social regime, have turned to the worst weapons of repression and calumny against their adversaries.
- Divisionism, a product of all kinds of prejudices, false ideas and lies; sectarianism, dogmatism, a lack of breadth in analyzing the role of each social layer, its parties, organization and leaders - these obstruct the necessary united actions of the democratic and progressive forces of our people.
- This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly bound in our suffering Latin American lands. A struggle of masses and of ideas. AN epic that will be carried forward by our peoples, mistreated and and corned by imperialism; our peoples, unreckoned with until today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins to be terrified of tat flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees its gravediggers.
- The anxiety felt today is an unmistakable symptom of rebellion. The very depths of a continent are profoundly moved, a continent that has witnessed four centuries of slave, semi-slave, and feudal exploitation beginning with its aboriginal inhabitants and slaves brought from Africa, up to the nuclei of nationalities that emerged later: white, black, mulatto, mestizo and Indian, who today are made brothers and sisters by scorn, humiliation and the Yankee yoke, and are brothers and sisters in their hope for a better tomorrow.
- At Punta del Este a great ideological battle unfolded between the Cuban Revolution and Yankee imperialism. Who did they represent there, for whom did each speak? Cuba represented the people; the United States represented the monopolies. Cuba spoke for America's exploited masses; the United States for the exploiting, oligarchical, and imperialist interests; Cuba for sovereignty; the United States for intervention; Cuba for the nationalization of foreign enterprises; the United States for new investments of foreign capital. Cuba for culture; the United States for ignorance. Cuba for agrarian reform; the United States for great landed estates. Cuba for the industrialization of America; the United States for underdevelopment. Cuba for creative work; the United States for sabotage and counterrevolutionary terror practiced by its agentsthe destruction of sugarcane fields and factories, the bombing by their pirate planes of the labor of a peaceful people. Cuba for the murdered teachers; the United States for the assassins. Cuba for bread; the United States for hunger. Cuba for equality; the United States for privilege and discrimination. Cuba for the truth; the United States for lies. Cuba for liberation; the United States for oppression. Cuba for the bright future of humanity; the United States for the past without hope. Cuba for the heroes who fell at Giron to save the country from foreign domination; the United States for mercenaries and traitors who serve the foreigner against their country. Cuba for peace among peoples; the United States for aggression and war. Cuba for socialism; the United States for capitalism.
- And to the Black? What "alliance" can the system of lynching and brutal exclusion of the Black offer to the fifteen million Negroes and fourteen million mulattoes of Latin America, who know with horror and rage that their brothers in the North cannot ride in the same vehicles as their white compatriots, nor attend the same schools, nor even die in the same hospitals?
- To the accusation that Cuba wants to export its revolution, we reply: Revolutions are not exported, they are made by the people.
- p. 261
- For this great mass of humanity has said, "Enough!" and has begun to march. And their march of giants will not be halted until they conquer true independence = for which they have died in vain more than one. Today, however, those who die will die like the Cubans at the Bay of Pigs - they will die for their own, true, never-to-be-surrendered independence.
- Great as the epic struggle for Latin American independence was, heroic as that struggle was, today's generation of Latin Americans is called on to engage in an epic that is even greater and more decisive for humanity. That struggle was for liberation from the Spanish colonial power, from a decadent Spain invaded b the armies of Napoleon. Today the battle cry is for liberation from the most powerful world imperialist center, from the strongest force of world imperialism, and to render humanity a greater than that rendered by our predecessors.
- The Fidel Castro Reader, p. 265
On Behalf of the Movement of Nonaligned Countries (1979)
- We are united in our determination to change the present system of international relations, based as it is on injustice, inequality and oppression. In international politics we act as an independent world force.
- We aspire to a new world order, one based on justice, fairness and peace; one that will replace the unjust and unequal system of prevailing today, in which, as the final summit declaration states: "Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few powers whose wasteful economies are maintained by the exploitation of workers as well as by the transfer and plunder of of the natural and other resources of the peoples of Africa, Latin America, Asia and other regions of the world."
- Human rights are very often spoken of, but we must also speak of humanity's rights. Why should some people go barefoot that others may travel in expensive cars? Why should some live only 35 years that others may live 70? Why should some be miserably poor that others may be exaggeratedly rich? I speak on behalf of the children of the world who do not even have a piece of bread. I speak on behalf of the sick who lack medicine. I speak to you on behalf of those who have been denied the right to life and human dignity.
University of Havana address (2005)
- Speech at the Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of his admission to University of Havana (17 November 2005)
- I would dare say that today this species is facing a very real and true danger of extinction, and no one can be sure, listen to this well, no one can be sure that it will survive this danger.
Well, the fact that the species would not survive was discussed about 2,000 years ago. I remember that when I was a student I heard of the Apocalypse, a book of prophesy in the Bible. Apparently, 2000 years ago someone realized that this weak species could one day disappear.
- We are speaking of life, because whenever we speak of universities, we speak of life.
What are you? If I were asked that question right now, I would have to say that you are life, you are symbols of life.
- Man is born egotistical, a result of the conditioning of nature. Nature fills us with instincts; it is education that fills us with virtues. Nature makes us do things instinctively; one of these is the instinct for survival which can lead to infamy, while on the other side, our conscience can lead us to great acts of heroism. It doesn’t matter what each one of us is like, how different we are from each other, but when we unite we become one.
It is amazing that in spite of the differences between human beings, they can become as one in a single instant or they can be millions, and they can be a million strong just through their ideas. Nobody followed the Revolution as a cult to anyone or because they felt personal sympathy with any one person. It is only by embracing certain values and ideas that an entire people can develop the same willingness to make sacrifices of any one of those who loyally and sincerely try to lead them toward their destiny.
- Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone really knew something about socialism, or that someone actually knew how to build socialism. It seemed to be a sure fact, as well-known as the electrical system conceived by those who thought they were experts in electrical systems. Whenever they said: “That’s the formula”, we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a physician. You are not going to debate anemia, or intestinal problems, or any other condition with a physician; nobody argues with the physician. You can think that he is a good doctor or a bad one, you can follow his advice or not, but you won’t argue with him. Which of us would argue with a doctor, or a mathematician, or a historian, or an expert in literature or in any other subject? But we must be idiots if we think, for example, that economy is an exact and eternal science and that it existed since the days of Adam and Eve, and I offer my apologies to the thousands of economists in our country.
- All sense of dialectics is lost when someone believes that today’s economy is identical to the economy 50 or 100 or 150 years ago, or that it is identical to the one in Lenin’s day or to the time when Karl Marx lived. Revisionism is a thousand miles away from my mind and I truly revere Marx, Engels and Lenin.
Quotes about Castro
- Fidel is a man of tremendous personal magnetism, destined to assume the role of leader in any movement in which he takes part. He has all the characteristics typical of a great leader: audacity, force, the desire to keep his ear attuned to the will of the people. But he has other important qualities: the capacity to absorb knowledge and experience, a grasp of the overall picture in a given situation, boundless faith in the future.
- Che Guevara in 1961, as quoted in Marxism in Latin America (1968) by Luis Aguilar, p. 173
- He had it all in his hands, without having to turn it all over to any power, and then he goes and turns himself over to the worst of powers, the Russians.
- Juanita Castro, as quoted in "Fidel Castro’s Sister, an Outspoken Critic, Takes No Joy in His Death", The New York Times (November 28, 2016)
- This man more than superseded my every expectation I had...if you live with a man under duress (this is before the victory…) he is I think…he will rank in history with some of the greats.
- The most honest, courageous politician I have ever met.
- Jesse Jackson, during a 1984 visit to Havana, as quoted at the Latin American Network Information Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- In the eyes of Castro and his revolutionary comrade Che Guevara — who frequently referred to gay men as maricones, “faggots” — homosexuality was inherently counterrevolutionary, a bourgeois decadence.
- Fidel Castro's Horrific Record on Gay Rights, James Kirchick, 27 November 2016, The Daily Beast
- I wanted to meet you for many reasons, above all, because you are a very brave man.
- Jawaharlal Nehru, during a 1960 visit to New York, as quoted at the This Day That Age dated September 29, 1960 Nehru meets Castro
- Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution never bowed to the U.S. empire, not once in over half a century. The Cuban revolution produced the finest educational system in the Caribbean and much of the world. They sent their doctors all around the earth. The world mourns the passing of a giant. Fidel Castro Ruiz, comandante de la revolución, presente.
- He is the idea that never dies . The ones that are criticising him in a few years will not even be on Wikipedia anymore. Fidel and the cuban revolution are History.
- Fidel made it clear in his opening remarks that the parents were important but not nearly as important as the baby. In some pictures Fidel had a big patch of wet saliva on his uniform because he had come over early to cuddle the baby. … A very warm and charming man — I enjoyed him. … It was very kind of him, he was very proud of what he was doing with their children in establishing them as strong citizens.
- Sexiest man I’ve ever met.
- Margaret Trudeau, as quoted in "Margaret Trudeau, ‘flower child’ turned prime minister's mom, ends self-imposed exile from spotlight" by Tristin Hopper, in National Post (4 November 2015) and in "Margaret Trudeau returns to the spotlight" by Tristin Hopper, in Montreal Gazette (5 November 2015)
- Article refuting internet rumors in "Is Justin Trudeau Fidel Castro’s Love Child?" Snopes (30 November 2016)
- It was no surprise that one of Nelson Mandela’s first trips outside South Africa – after he was freed – was to Havana. There, in July 1991, Mandela referred to Castro as “a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people”. At the end of his Cuban trip, Mandela responded to American criticism about his loyalty to Castro: “We are now being advised about Cuba by people who have supported the apartheid regime these last 40 years. No honourable man or woman could ever accept advice from people who never cared for us at the most difficult times.”
- [Fidel Castro was] a brilliant person who predicted everything that has happened in the world since 2001... I made the film Comandante with the idea that it would be a historical profile of the man. The film can be seen on YouTube, but it could never be screened in theaters in the United States because they censored it and removed it a week before it was due for release...Then we made Looking for Fidel, which was possibly the most aggressive interview with Fidel. I asked him very difficult questions and that movie was screened on HBO. However, given the good job that Fidel did answering the questions they do not put it on enough on U.S. television. HBO instructed me to ask Fidel hard, tough questions, to put him on the spot. As you all know, that was not easily done and he was brilliant in his answers to all my questions. I think that’s why HBO has not shown the movie again.
- The most significant thing of... Fidel's words before the largest body of the UN was ...his attack against the brutal philosophy of war. The denunciation of many actions by the U.S. government against the Cuban Revolution and the use of force through the growing arms race were the central arguments of the speech that provoked repeated ovations and applauses. Fidel criticized how war was used to monopolize underdeveloped countries and steal their resources, and attacked U.S. policy toward Cuba and other nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. "From the beginning of human history, wars have arisen, fundamentally, for one reason: some people's desire to deprive others of their riches. Let the philosophy of plunder disappear, and the philosophy of war will have disappeared,' he said. He also showed how the arms race has always been a big business for monopolies, which like the crows 'feed on the corpses brought by wars." The hostility of the U.S. authorities towards the Cuban delegation was sustained until the last moment, when they confiscated the aircraft in which Fidel had to return to Havana, and Nikita Khrushchev offered a plane. In January 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower's administration cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba and in April of the same year, shortly after assuming as President, John F. Kennedy ordered to invade the Bay of Pigs. The attempt failed and it turned out to be for Cuba the victory of Playa Giron.
- Fidel Castro died this day 2016. He liberated Cuba played a decisive role in destroying Apartheid in South Africa Sought to liberate Latin America from fascism. He stood with the fighters in Vietnam and Congo. He turned Cuba from a casino and bordello into an icon to all. RIP.
- "Fidel Castro" profile at American Experience (PBS)
- Guide to the Cuban Revolution Collection, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library
- Deena Stryker Photographs of Cuba, 1963-1964, Duke University Libraries Digital Collections
- Fidel Castro: From Rebel to El Presidente - timeline by NPR
- "Fidel Castro Visits Boyhood Home of Che Guevara" BBC News
- "Three Days With Fidel" at The New York Times
- A Visit With Castro by Arthur Miller, in The Nation (24 December 2003)
- "The Fidel I Think I Know" by Gabriel García Márquez in The Guardian (12 August 2006)
- Cuba's Castro an Inspiration, Not a Role Model by Tom Gjelten, NPR Audio (15 September 2006)
- "Fidel Castro Will Always Lead Cuba, Locals Say" The Washington Post (22 February 2008)
- Archive of Fidel Castro's speeches in 6 languages
- Fidel Castro History Archive at Marxists Internet Archive
- Collection of Castro's speeches
- "We Don't Hope for Favors from the Worst of Empires"
- "Where Have All the Bees Gone?"
- "In Spite of Everything: Reflections on the Pan-American Games"
- "Time for an Alliance of Civilizations Against Empire"
- СССР TV: "Fidel Castro meets L.Brezhnev (USSR) (1974)" on Soviet TV portal (in Russian)