© Associated Press
"The following is the text of a speech/commentary delivered by Fidel Castro on Cuban radio and Tv, Saturday evening, November 23, 1963, one day after the assassination of President Kennedy. The speech gives the reader insight into the immediate analysis of the assassination which a political expert such as Castro was able to make.
This English translation of the speech was released by the Cuban delegation to the United Nations in 1963. It is here reproduced with minor editing of grammar and punctuation."
Excerpted from History Will Not Absolve Us
(1996) by Martin Schotz
Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy
November 23rd, 1963
by Fidel Castro
Always, when something very important has happened, national or international, we have thought it desirable to speak
to the people, to express our opinions. And in every such case to express the orientation of the Government, the orientation of our Party, so that each one of us all know the attitude we should adopt in each one of these situations.
It is true that we are somewhat accustomed to various types of unexpected events, important, serious events, because since the victory of the Revolution our country has had to face a series of problems, a series of situations that have prepared the people to carry forward their victorious revolution.
Therefore, because of the events of yesterday in the United States in which the President was murdered, because of the
repercussion these events can have, because of the role that the United States plays in the problems of international policy, because of this, we believe that we should make a specially objective and calm analysis of these events and of their possible consequences.
The government of the United States, the former administration of Eisenhower and the Kennedy administration, did not practice precisely a policy of friendship toward us. The policy of both administrations was characterized by its aggressive, hostile, and implacable spirit toward our country.
Our country was the victim of economic aggressions intended to cause the ruin of our economy and the starvation of our
people; it was the victim of all kinds of attacks that caused bloodshed; hundreds of our compatriots have lost their lives,
defending themselves from attacks of U.S. imperialism, and not only this. The hostility and the aggressiveness of U.S. imperialism toward our country took us to the brink of war which was fortunately avoided, took the world to the brink of thermonuclear war.
And even when we were not facing a situation like the crisis of October, and the time of the invasion of Giron [Bay of Pigs], we were all perfectly aware that if the plots they were planning against our country had been carried through, that is to say, if imperialism had been able to establish a beachhead on our shores, that struggle would have cost our people tens of thousands, and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of lives.
We have been victims of the constant hostility of the United States. And among the rulers and the leading men of the United States, there falls on Kennedy an important responsibility in these events.
Nevertheless, the news of the murder of the President of the United States is serious news and bad news. We should analyze it thoroughly in order to understand it; above all, analyze it serenely and dispassionately, as revolutionaries should analyze these things.
I say it is bad news, leaving aside the human question, in that the sensitivity of man, any man, is affected by an act of this
nature, by a crime, by a murder. I say that leaving these questions aside, I always react and I am sure that this is the
reaction of the immense majority of human beings - we always react with repulsion toward murder and toward crime.
We cannot consider this to be a correct weapon of struggle - no, we cannot consider that. Above all under the conditions in which it happened, because - like all these things - it is always necessary to consider the atmosphere, the things, the
In other settings, under other circumstances, whatever they may be in a normal situation, in a peaceful situation, a deed of this nature is never justifiable. Especially in the middle of a crowd, in the presence of women, all these things, which above all - I say - are the circumstances that lead us to take a condemnatory attitude toward something, even though some deeds of a political nature, some crimes of a political nature, may or may not be justified.
In the circumstances that surrounded the assassination of President Kennedy, we believe it has no justification.
But analyzing the question from the political, objective point of view, I also said it was serious news, bad news.