REMARKS BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF CUBA, AT A GALA DINNER FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE 9TH IBERO-AMERICAN SUMMIT. HAVANA, NOVEMBER 15, 1999
I can guess your concern but there is no reason to worry. I will be brief.
Sometimes many words say nothing while some other times a few words can say something.
We have not discussed the issues of the Summit yet, nor shall we go into that now. We are obviously very excited to have you all here with us. It is a great privilege, indeed.
Suffice it to say that the 480th anniversary of the foundation of our City of Havana will be commemorated tomorrow. Five centuries ago the Great Admiral visited us and took possession of this island on behalf of the Spanish Monarchy. Of course, he did not ask for permission but then to the future zealous defenders of this nation he left a gracious and undying phrase: "This is the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen."
Perhaps, at that time the land was much more splendid than it is today, full of natural beauties with a great variety of plants and virgin forests of precious wood later used in the construction of El Escorial.
Presently, I would not say the most beautiful land. I would rather say the most heroic and honorable people that human eyes have seen in this century.
I would also say that the biggest giant that human eyes have seen in the course of history has failed to defeat it through dirty war, mercenary invasions, threats of nuclear war, a blockade or the use of the mass media to disseminate lies and slanders, their most powerful and sophisticated weapons at the moment.
This is not a government led by corrupted people, by cowards or lackeys, nor is this a nation of illiterate, divided and uneducated people that are welcoming you today. We are here with you tonight because the inspirational example of Martí, who was together with Bolívar the greatest integrationist of the peoples he called Our Americas, has led us in struggle and victory. We have proved that Ibero-Americans are not inferior to anyone, neither in their talents nor their courage.
We are with you here today sharing our love for a flag that over an evocative and glorious red triangle proudly shows a lone star that chose to be so. And, it will remain a lone star until the day comes when it will definitely join the symbols of those who share the same culture, the same history, the same blood and the same language. We are here because we are what we wanted to be and we will be what we want to be.
Thanks to you, Their Majesties, for having privileged this generation of Cubans with your friendly and fraternal presence. In over five hundred years this is the first time --even if on the occasion of a Summit-- that a King of Spain sets foot on this land that his forefathers described as the most beautiful that human eyes ever saw.
It is for so many symbols, for so many historic bonds and memories; it is for you, Their Majesties; it is for you, representatives of our sister nations of Ibero-America, for the prevailing spirit of cooperation and unity and for the success of our Summit that I raise my glass in a toast.
Thank you, very much.