The Guardian October 3, 2001

Castro speaks about "Infinite Justice"

Fellow countrymen:

No one can deny that terrorism is today a dangerous and ethically 
indefensible phenomenon, which should be eradicated regardless of its deep 
origins, the economic and political factors that brought it to life and 
those responsible for it.

The unanimous irritation caused by the human and psychological damage 
brought on the American people by the unexpected and shocking death of 
thousands of innocent people whose images have shaken the world is 
perfectly understandable.

But who have profited? The extreme right, the most backward and right-wing 
forces, those in favour of crushing the growing world rebellion and 
sweeping away everything progressive that is still left on the planet.

It was an enormous error, a huge injustice and a great crime, whomever they 
are who organised or are responsible for such action.

However, the tragedy should not be used to recklessly start a war that 
could actually unleash an endless carnage of innocent people and all of 
this on behalf of justice and under the peculiar and bizarre name of 
"Infinite Justice".

In the last few days we have seen the hasty establishment of the basis, the 
concept, the true purposes, the spirit and the conditions for such a war.

No one would be able to affirm that it was not something thought out well 
in advance, something that was just waiting for its chance to materialise.

Those who after the so-called end of the cold war continued a military 
build-up and the development of the most sophisticated means to kill and 
exterminate human beings were aware that the large military investments 
would give them the privilege to impose an absolute and complete dominance 
over the other peoples of the world.

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 restraint is 

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 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 centres.

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 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 and possibility would be taken by 
military actions, war and crimes as infinite as "Infinite Justice".

Can there be any hope left after having listened to the speech made by the 
President before the US Congress?

I will avoid the use of adjectives, qualifiers or offensive words towards 
the author of that speech. They would be absolutely unnecessary and 
untimely when the tensions and seriousness of the moment advise 
thoughtfulness and equanimity. I will limit myself to underline some short 
phrases that say it all:

"We will use every necessary weapon of war."

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any 
other we have ever seen."

"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are 
with us or you are with the terrorists."

"I've called the armed forces to alert and there is a reason. The hour is 
coming when America will act and you will make us proud."

"This is the world's fight, this is civilisation's fight."

"I ask for your patience [...] in what will be a long struggle."

"The great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now 
depend on us."

"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. 
[...] And we know that God is not neutral."

I ask our fellow countrymen to meditate deeply and calmly on the ideas 
contained in several of the above-mentioned phrases:

"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

No nation of the world has been left out of the dilemma, not even the big 
and powerful states; none has escaped the threat of war or attacks.

"We will use any weapon."

No procedure has been excluded, regardless of its ethics, or any threat, 
however fatal  either nuclear, chemical, biological or any other.

"It will not be short combat but a lengthy war, lasting many years, 
unparalleled in history."

"It is the world's fight; it is civilisation's fight."

"The achievements of our times and the hope of every time, now depend on 

Finally, an unheard of confession in a political speech on the eve of a 
war, and no less than in times of apocalyptic risks:

"The course of this conflict is not known; yet its outcome is certain. 
And we know that God is not neutral."

This is an amazing assertion. When I think about the real or imagined 
parties involved in that bizarre holy war that is about to begin, I find it 
difficult to make a distinction about where fanaticism is stronger.

Before the United States Congress, the idea was designed of a world 
military dictatorship under the exclusive rule of force, irrespective of 
any international laws or institutions.

The United Nations Organisation, simply ignored in the present crisis, 
would fail to have any authority or prerogative whatsoever. There would be 
only one boss, only one judge, and only one law. We have all been ordered 
to ally either with the United States Government or with terrorism.

Cuba, the country that has suffered the most and the longest from terrorist 
actions, the one whose people are not afraid of anything because there is 
no threat or power in the world that can intimidate it, with a high morale, 
Cuba claims that it is opposed to terrorism and opposed to war.

Although the possibilities are now remote, Cuba reaffirms the need to avert 
a war of unpredictable consequences whose very authors have admitted not to 
have the least idea of how the events will unfold.

An objective and calm friend should advise the United States Government 
against throwing the young American soldiers into an uncertain war in 
remote, isolated and inaccessible places, like a fight against ghosts, not 
knowing where they are or even if they exist or not, or whether the people 
they kill are responsible or not for the death of their innocent fellow 
countrymen killed in the United States.

Cuba will never declare itself an enemy of the American people that is 
today subjected to an unprecedented campaign to sow hatred and a vengeful 
spirit, so much so that even the music that sings to peace has been banned.

Cuba will make that music its own, and even our children will sing their 
songs to peace while the announced bloody war lasts.

Whatever happens, the territory of Cuba will never be used for terrorist 
actions against the American people and we will do everything within our 
reach to prevent such actions against that people. Today we are expressing 
our solidarity while urging to peace and calmness. One day they will admit 
we were right.

We will defend with honour and to the last drop of blood our independence, 
our principles and our social achievements if we are attacked!

It will not be easy to fabricate pretexts to do it. They are already 
talking about a war using all the necessary weapons but it will be good to 
recall that not even that would be a new experience.

Almost four decades ago, hundreds of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons 
were aimed at Cuba and nobody remembers any-one of our countrymen sleepless 
over that.

We are the same sons and daughters of that heroic people, with a patriotic 
and revolutionary conscience that is higher than ever. It is time for 
serenity and courage.

The world will grow aware of this and will raise its voice in the face of 
the terrible threatening drama that it is about to suffer.

As for Cubans, this is the right time to proclaim more proudly and 
resolutely than ever:

Socialism or death!
Homeland or death!
We shall overcome!

* * *
The text of a speech by Fidel Castro to the Cuban people. September 22.

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