Fidel Castro Speech at the UN

Synopsis: The longest timed speech at the United Nations was made by Fidel Castro of Cuba at the 872nd plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 26 September 1960. The time listed is 269 minutes.

Mr. President, Fellow Delegates

Although it has been said of us that we speak at great length, you may rest assured that we shall endeavor to be brief and to put before you what we consider it our duty to say. We shall also speak slowly in order to co-operate with the interpreters.

Some people may think that we are very annoyed and upset by the treatment the Cuban delegation has received. This is not the case. We understand full well the reasons behind it. That is why we are not irritated. Nor should anybody worry that Cuba will not continue to the effort of achieving a worldwide understanding. That being so, we shall speak openly.

It is extremely expensive to send a delegation to the United Nations. We, the underdeveloped countries, do not have many resources to spend, unless it is to speak openly at this meeting of representatives of almost every country in the world.

The speakers who have preceded me on this rostrum have expressed their concern about problems the whole world is concerned about. We too are concerned about those problems and yet, in the case of Cuba, there is a very special circumstance, and it is that, at this moment, Cuba itself must be a concern for the world, because, as several delegates have rightly said here, among the many current problems of the world, there is the problem of Cuba. In addition to the problems facing the world today, Cuba has problems of her own, problems which worry her people.

Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the world wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite some time. The dangers that other peoples of the world can regard as more or less remote are dangers and preoccupations that for us are very close. It has not been easy to come to this Assembly to state the problems of Cuba. It has not been easy for us to come here.

I do not know whether we are privileged in this respect. Are we, the Cuban delegates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have received? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confinement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us, hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.

Perhaps not one among you, fellow delegates, you, who are not the individual representatives of anybody, but the representatives of your respective countries and, for that reason, whatever happens to each of you must concern you because of what you represent, perhaps not one among you, upon your arrival in this city of New York, has had to under go such personally and physically humiliating treatment as that which the President of Cuban delegation has received.

I am not trying to agitate in this Assembly. I am merely telling the truth. It is about time we had an opportunity to speak. Much has been said about us for many days now, the newspapers have referred to us, but we have remained silent. We cannot defend ourselves from such attacks in this country. Our day to state the truth has come, and we will not fail to state it.

As I have said, we had to undergo degrading and humiliating treatment, including eviction from the hotel in which we were living and efforts at extortion. When we went to another hotel, we did all in our power to avoid difficulties. We refrained from leaving our hotel rooms and went nowhere except to this assembly hall of the United Nations, on the few occasions when we have come to General Assembly. We also accepted an invitation to a reception at the Soviet Embassy, yet this was not enough for them to leave us in peace.

There has been considerable Cuban emigration to this country. There are more than one hundred thousand Cubans who have come to this country during the last twenty years. They have come to this country from their own land, where they would have liked to remain for ever, and where they wish to return, as is always the case with those who, for social or economic reasons, are forced to abandon their homeland. These Cubans were wholly devoted to their work; they respected and respect the laws of this country, but they naturally harbored a feeling of love for their native country and its Revolution. They never had any problems, but one day another type of visitor began to arrive in this country, individuals who in some cases had murdered hundreds of our compatriots. Soon they were encouraged by publicity here. The authorities received them warmly and soon encouraged them, and, naturally, that encouragement is reflected in their conduct. They provoke frequent incidents with the Cuban population which has worked honestly in this country for many years.

One of such incidents, provoked by those who feel supported by the systematic campaigns against Cuba and by the authorities, caused the death of a child. That was a lamentable event, and we should all regret such an event. The guilty ones were not the Cubans who lived here. The guilty ones were, even less, we, the members of the Cuban delegation, and yet undoubtedly, you have all seen the headlines of the newspapers, which stated that "pro-Castro groups" had killed a ten-year old girl. With the characteristic hypocrisy of those who have a say in the relations between Cuba and this country, a spokesman for the White House immediately made declarations to the world pointing out the deed, in fact, almost fixing the guilt on the Cuban delegation. And of course, His Excellency, the United States Delegate to the Assembly, did not fail to join the farce, sending a telegram of condolence to the Venezuelan Government, addressed to the victim's relatives, as though he felt called upon to give some explanation for something Cuban delegation was, in effect, responsible for.

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Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. more…

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Submitted by acronimous on September 19, 2017

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