Message to participants in the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in South Africa

Compañeras and compañeros:

 

 

It is very gratifying for me and a great honor to respond to the request that you sent me to convey a message to the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students that is taking place in the homeland of Nelson Mandela, a living symbol of the struggle against the odious system of apartheid.

 

Cuba has hosted two World Festivals: the 9th, in 1978; and the 14th, in 1997.

 

For the first time the Festival did not take place in Europe in order to hold it in a country of this hemisphere.

The decision was taken by the 9th Assembly of the World Federation of Democratic Youth which took place in Varna, Bulgaria, at the end of 1974.

Those were different times: the world was confronting serious, but less dramatic problems. The most progressive youth were fighting for the right of all human beings to a dignified life; the old dream of the greatest thinkers of our species when it was evident that science, technology, labor productivity and the development of consciousness was making that possible.

 

Within a short space of time, globalization accelerated, communications reached unimagined levels, the means to promote education, health and culture multiplied. Our dreams were not unfounded. The 11th Festival of Youth and Students, in which our people also participated, took place in that spirit.

 

The General Council of the World Federation of Democratic Students, which took place precisely in South Africa in early October 1995, approved Havana as the venue for the 14th Festival, with the participation of more than 12,000 delegates from 132 countries. At that time, our country had spent almost 37 years waging the political and ideological battle against the empire and its brutal economic blockade.

 

Throughout the decade of the 1980’s, we had the existence not only of the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea, which had endured genocidal wars and yankee crimes, but also the European socialist bloc and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, an enormous multinational state of 22.4 million square kilometers, with vast resources in agricultural land, forests, oil, gas, minerals and others. Facing the imperialist superpower, with more than 800 military bases deployed throughout the entire planet, the socialist superpower arose.

 

The dissolution of the USSR, whatever its errors at one or another moment in history, constituted a severe blow to the world progressive movement.

 

The yankees moved fast and extended their military bases and the use of facilities built by the USSR to more closely encircle with its military machinery the Russian Federation, which was still a major power.

 

The military adventurism of the United States and its NATO allies increased in Europe and Asia. The Kosovo war was unleashed and Serbia disintegrated.

 

In our hemisphere, even before the disintegration of the USSR, they invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965; they bombed and intervened with mercenary forces in Nicaragua; they invaded Grenada, Panama and Haiti with their regular troops; promoted bloody military coups in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay; and backed Stroessner’s brutal repression in Paraguay.

 

They created the School of the Americas, where they not only trained thousands of Latin American officers in conspiracy and coups d’état, but also familiarized many of them with doctrines of hatred and sophisticated torture practices, while presenting themselves to the world as the champions of “human rights and democracy.”

In the first decade of this century, the imperialist superpower would appear to be bursting its own banks.

 

The bloody events of September 11, 2001, in which the New York Twin Towers were destroyed – a dramatic episode in which approximately 3,000 people lost their lives – and the subsequent attack on the Pentagon, fit the unscrupulous adventurer George W. Bush like a glove in terms of orchestrating the so-called war on terror, which is simply a dangerous escalation of the brutal policy which the United States was already implementing on our planet.

 

The shameless complicity of the NATO countries with such reprehensible warfare is more than demonstrated. That military organization has just proclaimed its intention to intervene in any country of the world where it considers that its interests – in other words, those of the United States – are threatened.

 

The monopoly of the mass media, in the hands of the large capitalist transnationals, has been utilized by imperialism to sow lies, create conditioned responses and develop egotistical instincts.

 

While youth and students were traveling to South Africa to fight for a world of peace, dignity and justice, in the United Kingdom university students and their professors were fighting a pitched battle against the hefty and well-equipped repressive bodies which, on skittish horses, were attacking them. At few, perhaps no, other points in history could a similar spectacle of capitalist “democracy” have been witnessed. The governing neoliberal parties exercising their role as gendarme of the oligarchy, betraying their electoral promises, passed measures in Parliament raising the annual cost of university studies to $14,000. Worst of all was the barefaced attitude with which neoliberal parliamentarians affirmed that the “market would solve that problem.” Only the rich were to have the right to university degrees.

 

A few days ago, commenting on the secrets disclosed by WikiLeaks, Robert Gates, current defense secretary of the United States, stated: “The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments — some governments — deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.”

 

More than a few intelligent and well-informed people harbor the conviction that the yankee empire, like all those which preceded it, has entered the final stage and that the signs are irrefutable.

 

An article published on the TomDispatch website, translated into English by the Rebelión website, poses four hypotheses of the probable course of events in the United States, and in all of them world war figures as one of the possibilities, although this does not exclude other outcomes.

 

It adds that that country will definitely lose its dominant role in global exports of merchandise, and in less than 15 years seems set to lose its dominant role in technological innovations and the privileged role of the dollar as a reserve currency. It cites that this year, China has already reached 12%, to the 11% of the United States, in world exports of merchandise, and refers to the presentation by the Chinese defense minister in October of this year of the Tianhe-1A super-computer, powerful enough, as a U.S. expert stated, “to liquidate the number one machine existing in the United States.

When our dear compatriots arrived in South Africa, one of their first activities was to pay deserved tribute to the internationalist combatants who gave their lives fighting for Africa.

 

For 12 years in neighboring Haiti our medical mission has been providing services for the Haitian people; today, with the cooperation of internationalist doctors graduated from the ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine). They are also fighting for Africa there, combating the epidemic of cholera, the disease of poverty, to prevent it extending to that continent where, as in Latin America, there is much poverty. With the experience acquired, our doctors have reduced the mortality rate in an exceptional way. Very close to South Africa, in Zimbabwe, and according to the Harare Herald, the same epidemic erupted “in an “explosive form” in August 2008. Robert Mugabe accused the governments of the United States and Britain of introducing the disease.

 

As evidence of the total lack of yankee scruples, it should be recalled that the government of the United States delivered nuclear weapons to the apartheid regime, which the racists were at the point of using against the Cuban and Angolan troops who, after the victory at Cuito Cuanavale, were advancing in the direction of the south. There, the Cuban command, suspecting that danger, adopted appropriate measures and tactics which gave it total aerial control. If they had attempted to use those weapons, they would not have been victorious. But it is legitimate to ask: what would have happened if the racist South Africans had utilized nuclear weapons against the Cuban and Angolan forces? What would the international reaction have been? How would the USSR have reacted? These are questions that we have to ask ourselves.

 

When the racists relinquished the government to Nelson Mandela, they did not say one single word about that, or what they did with those weapons. The investigation into and exposure of such acts would be of great service to the world at this time. I urge you, dear compatriots, to raise this issue at the World Festival of Youth and Students.

 

¡Patria o Muerte!

¡Venceremos!

 

Fidel Castro Ruz
December 13, 2010

Translated by Granma International

 

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