Granma International
October 14, 2002

The truth about Cuba’s participation in the crisis is clearly established

                   • Affirms José Ramón Fernández, vice president of the Council of

                   VICE President of the Council of Ministers José Ramón
                   Fernández, who headed the Organizing Committee of the
                   recently held conference on the October Missile Crisis, told
                   Granma International that the meeting allowed the truth
                   about the persons involved and Cuba’s conduct during and
                   after the crisis to be clearly established.”

                   But although the world may have thought the October Crisis
                   lasted only 13 days, in Fernández’ opinion the dangerous and
                   insecure situation for Cuba did not end once the Soviet
                   missiles were removed from the island at the end of 1962. “If
                   we’re going to speak of crisis we have to take another look at
                   the early years of the Revolution when there were very clear
                   attempts to assassinate leaders of the revolutionary
                   movement. The permanent hostility, the blockade, diplomatic
                   aggression, sabotage, assassination attempts, pressure on
                   other countries not to invest in Cuba, fabricated lies, and
                   prohibiting people to travel to the island,” all constitute, in
                   his opinion, more than eloquent examples.

                   Nonetheless, he said the conference’s debates demonstrated
                   that a culture of peace could be constructed. “People openly
                   said what they wanted to and what they were thinking, in
                   mutual respect for others’ opinions. We weren’t looking to
                   create confrontation among positions, but to contrast one
                   another’s opinions and information and contribute to a
                   clarification of the truth.

                   With respect to that difficult time in 1962, he recalled the
                   words of Che who considered the days “enlightening and sad.”
                   Sad - Fernández stated - because of how the crisis was
                   handled and how it ended (referring to the solution decided
                   by the two Powers, taken without consulting the
                   Revolutionary government). Enlightening because,
                   independent of the unfavorable conditions created, the
                   revolutionary leadership knew how to remain strong, clearly
                   explain the situation to the Cuban people, and in its five
                   points defined the objectives that both the Cuban government
                   and our adversaries should follow.”

                   Cuba wanted the five points to be considered and fulfilled
                   after the United States and the former Soviet Union
                   negotiated an end to the Missile Crisis. They included the
                   right of the small island not to be subjected to further U.S.
                   aggression, that is: sabotage, terrorist attacks, introduction
                   of counterrevolutionary forces, death threats and blockade.
                   The return of the territory occupied by the U.S. Naval Base in
                   Guantánamo was also requested.

                   “These are our rights. We aren’t asking them to give us
                   anything. Even though we didn’t succeed in the fulfillment of
                   our aims, the Cuban people have stood firm for more than 40

                   “When one reflects on this event and looks back,” Fernández
                   highlighted, “any man or woman in the world - and the 74
                   U.S. participants here are no exception, on the contrary - can
                   see how much reason was on our side, and how dangerous
                   our adversaries have made life for us throughout so many
                   years.” (Marelys Valencia)