US embassy cable - 99HAVANA75

CASTRO SPEAKS ON REVOLUTION'S 40TH BIRTHDAY

Identifier: 99HAVANA75
Wikileaks: View 99HAVANA75 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: US Interests Section Havana
Created: 1999-01-07 17:29:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV PINR CU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 071729Z JAN 99
FM USINT HAVANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0674
INFO ALL EUROPEAN UNION POST COLLECTIVE
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 
AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 
AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 
AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 
AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 
AMEMBASSY KINGSTON 
AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 
AMEMBASSY MEXICO 
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN 
AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 
AMEMBASSY PANAMA 
AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 
AMEMBASSY LIMA 
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 
CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL
JTLO MIAMI FL
USCINCSO MIAMI FL
AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 
AMEMBASSY CARACAS 
USEU BRUSSELS
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HAVANA 000075 
 
 
ROME ALSO FOR EMBASSY VATICAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1-6-09 
TAGS:  PREL, PGOV, PINR, CU 
SUBJECT:  CASTRO SPEAKS ON REVOLUTION'S 40TH BIRTHDAY 
 
REF:  FBIS 301938Z DEC 98 
 
(U)  CLASSIFIED BY MICHAEL G. KOZAK, PRINCIPAL 
OFFICER, FOR REASON 1.5 (D) 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  IN A RELATIVELY SHORT JANUARY 1 
SPEECH, FIDEL CASTRO RECALLED THE HEROIC MOMENTS OF 
HIS REVOLUTIONS TRIUMPH 40 YEARS AGO AND WARNED OF 
THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS HE SAID WAS INEVITABLE. 
ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, CASTRO SPOKE TO CUBAS YOUTH, 
TELLING THEM THAT CUBAS REVOLUTION "HAS JUST BEGUN", 
AND REMINDING THEM THAT "GLORIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS" 
AWAIT THEM, TOO.  CASTROS CHICKEN LITTLE SCENARIO 
FOR WORLD FINANCES AND HIS TOTAL AVOIDANCE OF THE 
CUBAN PEOPLES REAL PERSONAL CRISES GIVE NO EVIDENCE 
OF A PLAN FOR RESCUING CUBA FROM THE ECONOMIC AND 
OTHER CRISES IT FINDS ITSELF IN.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C)  CASTROS SPEECH, PRINTED IN ITS ENTIRETY IN 
THE JANUARY 4 EDITION OF THE WEEKLY "TRABAJADORES", 
TOOK PLACE IN SANTIAGO DE CUBAS CESPEDES PARK. 
CASTRO SPENT THE FIRST THIRD OF HIS SPEECH RECALLING 
THE SACRIFICES AND HEROISM OF THE GUERRILLAS WHO 
HELPED WIN THE FIRST BATTLES OF THE REVOLUTION IN 
SEVERAL EASTERN CUBA TOWNS.  FIDEL CALLED CAMILO 
CIENFUEGOS AND CHE GUEVARA "MEN OF IRON", AND 
ENCOURAGED CUBAN YOUTH TO READ CHES WAR NARRATIVE 
"PASAJES DE LA GUERRA REVOLUCIONARIA."  CASTRO NOTED 
THAT THE ONLY OUTSIDE ASSISTANCE THE REVOLUTION 
RECEIVED WERE 150 SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLES SENT BY THE 
VENEZUELAN ADMIRAL LARRAZABAL.  OTHERWISE, SAID 
FIDEL, "MORE THAN NINETY PERCENT OF THE ARMS AND 
MUNITIONS WITH WHICH WE MADE AND WON THE WAR WERE 
TAKEN FROM THE ENEMY IN COMBAT." 
 
3.  (U)  TRANSITIONING FROM THE BATTLEFIELD TO 
PRESENT-DAY CUBA, CASTRO SAID "FOR THE NEWER 
GENERATIONS, THE REVOLUTION HAS JUST BEGUN."  CASTRO 
NOTED THAT THOSE PRESENT WERE NOT THE SAME AS THOSE 
CUBANS PRESENT AT THE TIME OF THE REVOLUTIONS 
TRIUMPH.  CASTRO ADDED THAT HE HIMSELF WAS "NOT 
EXACTLY THE SAME MAN" THAT HE WAS FORTY YEARS AGO. 
"HE IS ONLY SOMEONE MUCH YOUNGER, WHO HAS THE SAME 
NAME, WHO DRESSES THE SAME, WHO THINKS THE SAME, WHO 
DREAMS THE SAME." 
 
4.  (U)  COMPARING DEMOGRAPHICS OF 1959 CUBA TO 1999 
CUBA, CASTRO SAID OF THE ROUGHLY 11 MILLION CUBANS IN 
CUBA TODAY, 7.2 MILLION WERE BORN AFTER THE TRIUMPH 
OF THE REVOLUTION, AND ANOTHER 1.35 MILLION WERE LESS 
THAN TEN YEARS OLD.  HE CLAIMED THAT "THIRTY PERCENT" 
OF CUBANS IN 1959 COULD NOT READ, AND "SIXTY PERCENT" 
HAD NOT COMPLETED SIXTH GRADE.  NOW, SAID CASTRO, 
TEACHERS AND PROFESSORS IN CUBA NUMBER 250,000; 
THERE ARE 64,000 DOCTORS, AND 600,000 UNIVERSITY 
GRADUATES.  "AN ILLITERATE PERSON DOES NOT EXIST, AND 
IT IS EXTREMELY RARE THAT SOMEONE NOT HAVE A SIXTH 
GRADE EDUCATION."  IN SUM, CASTRO SAID THE "HEROIC" 
CUBAN PEOPLES MOST GLORIOUS AND REVOLUTIONARY EPOCH 
HAS BEEN THE STILL-ONGOING "SPECIAL PERIOD", "AS WE 
REMAIN ABSOLUTELY ALONE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEST, 90 
MILES AWAY FROM THE UNITED STATES, AND WE HAVE 
DECIDED TO KEEP GOING FORWARD." 
 
5.  (U)  CASTRO DEVOTED ALMOST THE ENTIRE REMAINDER 
OF HIS SPEECH, ROUGHLY SIXTY PERCENT, WARNING 
LISTENERS THAT THE CURRENT ECON0MIC SYSTEM IS 
"UNSUSTAINABLE", THAT "THE ECON0MIC ORDER THAT 
PREVAILS TODAY ON THE PLANET WILL INEVITABLY FALL", 
AND THAT "MARKET THEOLOGY IS SECTARIAN, 
FUNDAMENTALIST, AND ANTIECUMENICAL." 
 
6.  (U)  USING INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC, CASTRO 
DISCUSSED THE "WOLVES" WHO SPECULATE IN FOREIGN 
CURRENCIES, CREDITING GEORGE SOROS WITH "BRINGING 
GREAT BRITAIN TO ITS KNEES" THROUGH SPECULATION IN 
THE BRITISH POUND.  THE CUBAN LEADER ALSO SAID "THE 
WHOLE WORLD IS TALKING ABOUT AN INTERNATIONAL 
FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVENT FOUND OUT 
ABOUT IT ARE THE AMERICANS:  THEY HAVE SPENT MORE 
THAN EVER, AND THEIR SAVINGS ARE LESS THAN ZERO." 
 
7.  (U)  CASTRO DESCRIBED TO THE SANTIAGO CROWD A 
WORLD IN WHICH COMPLEX FINANCIAL STRUCTURES HAD 
GOTTEN OUT OF CONTROL, COMPARING THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL 
SYSTEM TO A HUMAN BODY INFECTED WITH AIDS.  FIDEL 
SAID THE WORLD HAD TURNED INTO "ONE BIG CASINO" WHERE 
"CURRENCY SPECULATION" AND TRADING IN 
DERIVATIVES--EVEN "EMPLOYING COMPUTERS" TO MAKE 
"SOPHISTICATED CALCULATIONS"--HAD BECOME 
COMMONPLACE.  CASTRO CITED THE COLLAPSE OF THE LONG 
TERM CAPITAL FUND IN WHICH "TWO NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS 
IN ECONOMY AND SOME OF THE BEST PROGRAMMERS IN THE 
WORLD" COMBINED TO BRING THE FUND TO THE VERGE OF 
FINANCIAL COLLAPSE, THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHICH WERE 
"INCALCULABLE." 
 
8.  (C)  ALSO NOTEWORTHY IN CASTROS REMARKS WAS HIS 
CALL FOR THE THIRD WORLDS (PRESUMABLY INCLUDING 
CUBA) PROBLEMS TO BE RESOLVED FROM OUTSIDE.  "THERE 
ISNT THE MOST MINIMAL IDEA OF HOW TO RESOLVE THE 
THIRD WORLDS PROBLEMS."  "WHERE ARE THE CONSUMERS OF 
THE THIRD WORLDS PRODUCTS?"  CASTRO SAID THE 
UNITED NATIONS, PROVIDED IT "PUTS AN END TO THE 
DICTATORSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL", COULD HELP 
PROGRAM WORLD DEVELOPMENT.  CERTAINLY, SAID CASTRO, 
THAT RESPONSIBILITY CANNOT BE "IN THE HANDS OF 
MULTINATIONALS AND IN THE BLIND AND CHAOTIC LAWS OF 
THE MARKET."  CASTRO ADDED THAT THE AUTHORITY OF THE 
U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHOULD BE BROADENED. 
 
9.  (C)  COMMENT:  CASTROS SPEECH IS TYPICAL IN ITS 
FOCUS ON TWO CURRENT THEMES: THE "MILITARY MIRACLE" 
OF HIS REVOLUTIONS OVERTHROW OF THE BATISTA 
GOVERNMENT, AND THE "INEVITABLE" GLOBAL FINANCIAL 
COLLAPSE BROUGHT ON BY UNBRIDLED FREEDOM OF THE 
GLOBAL CAPITALIST SYSTEM.  WITH LITTLE TO OFFER IN 
DOMESTIC ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE, CASTRO (AGAIN) 
CONCENTRATED HIS REMARKS ON THE CERTAINTY OF THE PAST 
AND PLAYED ON FEARS OF A WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS TO 
VINDICATE THE CORRECTNESS OF HIS OWN INSISTENCE ON 
RETAINING A SOVIET STYLE COMMAND ECONOMY.  HIS 
REMARKS COMMEMORATING THE REVOLUTIONS 40TH 
ANNIVERSARY GIVE LITTLE ROOM FOR HOPE THAT HE IS 
PREPARING FOR ADDITIONAL MARKET ORIENTED REFORMS. 
APPARENTLY WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE CUBAN 
ECONOMY AGAIN REACHES THE SORT OF DIRE SITUATION IT 
FACED IN 1994 BEFORE CASTRO AND HIS REACTIONARY 
COLLEAGUES WILL BE FORCED TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE 
NEED FOR REFORM.  NOTE:  FOR ANOTHER RECENT EXAMPLE 
OF GOC SPEECHMAKING REMOVED FROM REALITY, SEE 
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT RICARDO ALARCONS SPEECH 
ENDING THE ASSEMBLYS MOST RECENT SESSION (REFTEL). 
 
KOZAK 

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