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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Revolutionary giants Kim Il Sung and Fidel Castro during Castro's visit to the DPRK, March 1986

Updated: Mar 8

Revolutionary giants Kim Il Sung and Fidel Castro during Castro's visit to the DPRK, March 1986

From Fidel Castro's speech upon arriving, March 8, 1986:

I would like to say, first of all, that visiting this heroic and revolutionary country, personally meeting its great leader, President Kim Il Sung, to whom we are bound by such close ties of affection and admiration, entering into direct contact with the self-sacrificing and fraternal Korean people, was a firm purpose that had been sustained for a long time. In the midst of the tense struggle in which our homeland is engaged, we have waited for this opportunity for many years.

I must say that the impressions received today will be indelible.

I don't really have words to describe the feelings we experienced upon our arrival in Pyongyang, before the warm welcome and the extraordinary popular demonstration at the airport and in the streets.

I do not come to receive tributes; I come to pay tribute to the people of Korea and their glorious and combative history.

We come from far away to know and express our warmest feelings of admiration and solidarity to a people that throughout its history never gave up in the battle for its independence, against foreign oppression and exploitation. I pay tribute to the heroes who rose heroically with arms in hand, under the guidance of comrade Kim Il Sung against the occupation of Japanese militarism. I pay tribute to the people who later resisted the barbaric aggression of [US] imperialism, rebuilt the ruined homeland, forged a new society and have held high, for more than 30 years, in the conditions of a cruelly divided country, with the southern part of the peninsula turned into an aggressive US military base, the dignified and unwavering banners of revolution and socialism.

The heroic deed of the Korean people is undoubtedly one of the great revolutionary events of our time, and a permanent source of inspiration for fighters and peoples throughout the world.

It was that struggle, together with the struggle of the Cuban people, that has made it possible for our two countries, so distant, to develop exemplary bonds of collaboration and deep feelings of brotherhood and solidarity. Our homeland has never lacked the warm and generous hand of the Korean people in the most difficult moments. In the same way, the just position of the Korean Party, people and Government for the peaceful reunification of their country, the resolute attitude towards the maneuvers and provocations of imperialism and its allies in the region, have always been able to count on our most vigorous and determined solidarity.

We are living in difficult times today in which it is necessary to strengthen as never before the unity of action among all the forces of independence, peace and progress of peoples. Never before has humanity experienced such dangerous and complex moments. The irresponsible policy of arms, confrontation and force, applied by the United States government, has increased to intolerable limits the danger of a devastating war, from which the world could not recover. At the local level, imperialism also encourages interference, aggression and terror. Only our strongest determination to resist and our unwavering determination not to give in to blackmail can thwart such reactionary designs.

But imperialism does not only attack the peoples with the force of arms. Our epoch is witnessing the most relentless upsurge in the economic plunder and exploitation of peoples, especially those of the Third World. The economic crisis is driving many countries into a desperate situation of hunger, backwardness and misery. Today's ruthless foreign debt is associated with the criminal practices of dumping, unequal trade and protectionism, which deprive the underdeveloped and neo-colonized countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa of the most basic hopes for the future. That is why we have said and reiterated that the decisive battle for peace is inseparable today from the battle for the repudiation of foreign debt and the establishment of the new international economic order demanded by our countries.

We arrived in Korea moved by a deep political interest; We also want to appreciate its original and millenary culture, and we aspire to know to the maximum the admirable achievements of this people and their revolutionary experiences. Although the time available to us, for reasons beyond our control, will not be as long as we would have liked, we are sure that our contacts, our discussions with dear President Kim Il Sung and with our Korean comrades, will give new impetus to our friendship, our mutual knowledge, cooperation and solidarity between the two parties, states and peoples.


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