Speeches by Fidel Castro Responding to 9/11

◼︎WORKING-CLASS POLITICS
◼︎CUBAN REVOLUTION

Official Statement of the Cuban Government
Issued September 11, 2001

During a speech delivered on September 11, 2001, Cuban President Fidel Castro read an official Cuban government statement issued in response to the terrorist attacks that day against the United States:

The Government of the Republic of Cuba has learned with grief and sadness of the violent surprise attacks carried out this morning against civilian and official facilities in the cities of New York and Washington, which have caused numerous deaths.

Cuba’s position against any terrorist action is well known. It is not possible to forget that for over four decades our country has been the target of such actions fostered from within the United States territory.

Both for historical reasons and ethical principles, the Government of our country strongly repudiates and condemns the attacks against the aforementioned facilities and hereby expresses its most heartfelt sympathies to the American people for the painful, unjustifiable loss of human lives resulting from these attacks.

In this bitter hour for all Americans, our people express their solidarity with the American people and their full willingness to cooperate, to the extent of their modest possibilities, with the health care institutions and any other medical or humanitarian organization in that country in the treatment, care and rehabilitation of the victims of this morning’s events.

Remarks by Fidel Castro
September 11, 2001

Fidel was speaking at a ceremony organized to address school construction and education in Cuba. He spoke as planned but also devoted considerable time to the attacks a few hours earlier in the U.S.

Today is a day of tragedy for the United States. You know very well that hatred against the American people has never been sown here. Perhaps, precisely because of its culture, its lack of prejudice, its sense of full freedom — with a homeland and without a master — Cuba is the country where Americans are treated with the greatest respect. We have never preached any kind of national hatred, or anything similar to fanaticism, and that is the reason for our strength, because our conduct is based on principles and ideas. We treat all Americans who visit us with great respect, and they have noticed this and said so themselves.

Furthermore, we cannot forget the American people who put an end to the Vietnam War with their overwhelming opposition to that genocidal war. We cannot forget the American people who — in numbers that exceeded 80% of the population — supported the return of Elián González to his homeland. We cannot forget their idealism, although it is often undermined by deception, because — as we have said often times — in order to mislead Americans to support an unjust cause, or an unjust war, they must first be deceived. The classic method used by that huge country in international politics is that of deceiving the people first, to count on their support later. When it is the other way around, and the people realize that something is unjust, then based on their traditional idealism they oppose what they have been supporting. Often these are extremely unjust causes, which they had supported convinced that they were doing the right thing.

Therefore, although unaware of the exact number of victims but seeing those moving scenes of suffering, we have felt profound grief and sadness for the American people.

Fidel also addressed the issue of terrorism waged against Cuba throughout its revolution, at that time 40 years old, by the United States government itself or by terrorist organizations operating within U.S. borders with Washington’s tacit support.

[W]e have been affected by terrorism for more than forty years. We have even published that on specific occasions we have informed the U.S. government of serious risks to the lives of Americans. Here is an example; it is a page and a quarter long.

After the terrorist attacks against our hotels by the terrorist mob in Florida that organized and paid for the terrorist attacks against Cuba, as well as the assassination plots organized against me when I have needed to travel abroad, a group headed by that monster Posada Carriles — we had already caught some of his accomplices, who were foreign mercenaries, when they entered our national territory — intended to repeat the sophisticated procedure used with the bombs planted in hotels or places frequently visited by foreign tourists, like La Bodeguita del Medio Restaurant, that could explode up to 99 hours after being set up. They could travel here, plant the bomb on the plane, party for three days, and go back to their country before the bomb exploded. There was the case of a Salvadoran mercenary who planted five bombs in hotels and other public places and attempted to make them blow up almost simultaneously, one after the other. You can see how far they had gone…

Plans for terrorist actions against Cuba continue to be hatched and paid by the Cuban American National Foundation using Central American mercenaries. Two new attempts at setting up bombs in tourist resorts have been undertaken before, and after, the Pope’s visit…

[T]hree mercenaries were arrested with explosives and other means. They are Guatemalans. They would have received [$1,500] for every bomb exploded…

Thanks to many friends that we have everywhere … the country has been able to defend itself from that terrorism…

The United States is the country with the largest number of extremist organized groups, 400 of which are armed.

The hijacking of planes — a method used against Cuba — became a universal plague, and it was Cuba that solved this problem when, after repeated warnings, we sent two hijackers back to the United States. It is painful because they were Cubans but we had issued public warnings, so they came and we returned them. We complied with our public pledge, yet they never again provided us with any information about them to give to their relatives. They have their own ways of doing thins. No one knows what they will do. I know they were sentenced to 40 years imprisonment, and that put an end to those hijackings.

But, listen, they have 800 groups of extremists. Sometimes they have locked themselves in a place for a certain reason and have burned themselves to death. They have groups, which due to political or sometimes religious reasons are prone to the use of force or to prepare poisons and products to act against the US authorities. I am not talking about the Mafia people. I am talking about the hundreds of extremist organized groups acting within the United States. They blew up that building in Oklahoma not so long ago…

Whenever there is a tragedy like this one, no matter how difficult to avoid it may be, I see no other way but to keep calm. And if at some point I am allowed to make a suggestion to an adversary who has been tough with us for many years … for the well being of the American people and based on the arguments I have given you, we would advise the leaders of the powerful empire to keep their equanimity, to act calmly, not to be carried away by a fit of rage or hatred and not to start hunting people down dropping bombs just anywhere.

I reiterate that none of the world’s problems — not even terrorism — can be solved with the use of force, and every act of force, every imprudent action that entails the use of force anywhere, is going to seriously aggravate the world problems.

The way is neither the use of force nor the war. I say this with the full authority of someone who has always talked honestly, of someone with sound convictions and the experience of surviving the years of struggle that Cuba has lived through. Only reason, and the intelligent policy of seeking strength through consensus and international public opinion, can definitely eradicate this problem. I think this unexpected episode should be used to undertake an international effort against terrorism. However, this international struggle against terrorism cannot be won by eliminating a terrorist here and another one there, by killing people here and there, using similar methods to theirs and sacrificing innocent lives. It can only be won, among other ways, by putting an end to State terrorism and other repulsive forms of killing, by putting an end to genocide, and by seriously pursuing a policy of peace and respect for moral and legal standards. The world cannot be saved unless a path of international peace and cooperation is pursued….

The world cannot be saved in any other way, and by that I mean the situations of violence. Let us seek peace everywhere and protect all the people from that plague of terrorism, which is only one of the plagues, because there is another horrible plague today, which is called AIDS [or now COVID in 2021], for instance. There is another plague, which kills tens of millions of children, teenagers and adults in the world, that is, hunger, disease and a lack of health care and medicines.

In the political arena, there are absolutist ideas, and attempts to impose a single way of thinking on the world; this fosters rebellious attitudes and irritation everywhere.

This world cannot be saved — and this does not have anything to do with terrorism — if this unfair economic and social order continues to be developed and applied; an order that is leading the world to disaster, along a path from which there is no escape for the 6.2 billion people living today and the future inhabitants of this planet, suffering ever greater destruction and plunged further into poverty, unemployment, hunger and despair. This has been proven by the masses in places that have already gone down in history, like Seattle, Quebec, Washington and Genoa….

Read the full text of Fidel Castro’s speech.

Remarks by Fidel Castro
September 22, 2001

Fidel Castro delivered further remarks at a speech on September 22, 2001. These are a few excerpts archived online.

After the shock and sincere sorrow felt by every people on Earth for the atrocious and insane terrorist attack that targeted the American people, the most extremist ideologists and the most belligerent hawks, already set in privileged power positions, have taken command of the most powerful country in the world whose military and technological capabilities .would seem infinite. Actually, its capacity to destroy and kill is enormous while its inclination towards equanimity, serenity, thoughtfulness and restrain is minimal…

The first victims of whatever military actions are undertaken will be the billions of people living in the poor and underdeveloped world with their unbelievable economic and social problems, their unpayable debts and the ruinous prices of their basic commodities; their growing natural and ecological catastrophes, their hunger and misery, the massive undernourishment of their children, teenagers and adults: their terrible AIDS epidemic, their malaria, their tuberculosis and their infectious diseases [including COVID now in 2021] that threaten whole nations with extermination.

The grave economic world crisis was already a real and irrefutable fact affecting absolutely every one of the big economic power centers. Such crisis will inevitably grow deeper under the new circumstances and when it becomes unbearable for the overwhelming majority of the peoples, it will bring chaos, rebellion and the impossibility to govern.

But the price will also be unpayable for the rich countries. For years to come it would be impossible to speak strong enough about the environment and the ecology, or about ideas and research done and tested, or about projects for the protection of Nature because that space arid possibility would be taken by military actions, war and crimes as infinite as “Infinite Justice,” that is, the name given to the war operation to be unleashed.

Can there be any hope left after having listened, hardly 36 hours ago, to the speech made [by] the President before the U.S. Congress?


Title image is an unattributed photo released to the Public Domain by Mike Goad


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