Reflections by comrade Fidel
THE TWO KOREAS
October 19, 1950, more than 400 thousand voluntary Chinese combatants, on orders
from Mao Zedong, crossed the Yalu and waylaid the US troops that were advancing
towards the Chinese border. The US
units, surprised by the vigorous response of the country they had
underestimated, were forced to withdraw towards a region near the southern
coast, pushed back by the joint action of the Chinese and North Korean forces.
Stalin, who was immensely cautious, offered far less support than Mao had
anticipated, though the MiG-15 aircrafts piloted by the Soviets, over a limited
42.5-miles front, proved valuable help during the initial stage of the conflict
in protecting land forces during their intrepid advance. Pyongyang
was again recovered and Seoul
re-occupied once more, attempting to fight back the incessant onslaught of the
US Air Force, the most powerful which has ever existed.
was anxious to attack China
with nuclear weapons. He called for their use following the shameful defeat
they had tasted. President Truman saw no other choice but to dismiss him from
his command and appoint General Matthews Ridgeway head of US air, sea and
land forces in the theatre of operations. Next to the United States, the United
the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg,
Greece, Canada, Turkey,
Ethiopia, South Africa, the Philippines,
Australia, New Zealand, Thailand
took part in the imperialist adventure. Colombia, then under the unitary
government of conservative Laureano Gómez, who was responsible for the mass
slaughter of peasants, was the only Latin American country involved. As we said,
the Ethiopia of Haile Selassie, where slavery still existed, and a South Africa
still under the domination of white racists, also took part in the invasion.
had been scarcely five years since the world slaughter that began in September
1939 had come to an end, on August 1945. Following bloody combat in Korean
territory, Parallel 38 once again became the border separating North and South.
It is estimated that, in that war, about two million North Koreans, nearly half
a million or one million Chinese and more than a million allied soldiers
perished. Around 44 thousand US
soldiers lost their lives. No few of them had been born in Puerto
Rico or other Latin American countries, recruited to take part in
a war they were driven to by their condition as poor immigrants.
Japan was to
reap many benefits from the conflict. In a year’s time, industrial output grew
by 50 % and, within two years, it again reached pre-war production levels. What
didn't change, however, was how the acts of genocide perpetrated by China's imperial troops in Korea were
perceived. The governments of Japan
have paid tribute to the acts of genocide carried out by their soldiers, which,
had raped tens of thousands of women and brutally murdered hundreds of
thousands of people, as was explained in a reflection.
and tenacious, the Japanese have transformed their country, bereft of oil and
other important raw materials, into the second most powerful economy in the
measured in capitalist terms, though the data varies across different Western
sources, is today over 4.5 billion dollars, and the country has over one
billion dollars in hard currency reserves. This is twice China’s GDP, of 2.2 billion, even though China has 50% more hard currency reserves than Japan. The GDP
of the United States, of
12.4 billion dollars, for a country with 34.6 times more territory and 2.3
times Japan’s population, is
only three times that of Japan.
Its government is today one of imperialism's main allies, at a time when it is
threatened by economic recession and the sophisticated weapons of the
superpower put at risk the entire human species.
are historical lessons which cannot be forgotten.
war, however, took a considerable toll on China. Truman instructed the 6th
Fleet to prevent the landing of Chinese revolutionary forces that would achieve
the complete emancipation of their country by reclaiming the 0.3 percent of
their territory that had been occupied by the rest of the pro-Yankee forces of
Chiang Kai-shek that had fled there.
relations were to deteriorate later, following the death of Stalin, on March
1953. The revolutionary movement splintered nearly everywhere. The dramatic
call issued by Ho Chi Minh made evident the damage that had been done and
imperialism, through its immense media apparatus, poked the fires of extremism
among false revolutionary theoreticians, an area in which US intelligence
agencies were to become experts.
the arbitrary division, North
Korea had been dealt the most rugged part of
the country. Each grain of food had to be reaped through sweat and sacrifice. Pyongyang, the capital,
had been razed to the ground. Many, who had been wounded or mutilated during
the war, were in need of medical attention. They were enduring a blockade and
had no resources available. The Soviet Union
and other countries of the socialist block were in the process of recovering
from the war.
I arrived at the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea on March 7,
1986, nearly 33 years following the destruction caused by the war, it was still
difficult to believe what had transpired there. That heroic people had
constructed myriad things: large and small damns and canals to store water in,
generate electricity, service cities and irrigate fields; Thermoelectric
plants, large mechanical and other types of industries, many of them underground
in the depths of the bedrock, all created through hard, methodical labor. Because
of cooper and aluminum shortages, they had been forced to use iron to create
electricity-guzzling transmission lines, iron which, in part, was produced from
coal. The capital and other cities that had been devastated were reconstructed,
inch by inch. I estimated that millions of new homes had been built in urban
and rural areas and that tens of thousands of other kinds of facilities had
been set up. Countless hours of work were contained in stone, concrete, steel,
wood, synthetic products and machinery. The fields I had the opportunity to
see, wherever I went, looked like gardens. Well-dressed, organized and
enthusiastic people were everywhere, ready to greet visitors. The country
deserved cooperation and peace.
was no issue I didn't discuss with my illustrious host Kim Il Sung. I shall
never forget this.
divided into two parts by an imaginary line. The South was to have a different
experience. It was the more densely populated part and endured less destruction
during the war. The presence of an enormous foreign military force required the
supply of local manufactured and other products, from crafts to fresh fruits
and vegetables, not to mention services. The military spending of the allies was
huge. The same thing occurred when the United States decided to retain
extensive military forces in the country indefinitely. During the Cold War,
Western and Japanese transnationals invested considerable sums of money,
siphoning out incalculable wealth from the sweat of South Koreans, a people who
are as hard-working and industrious as their brothers in the North. The great
markets of the world were open to their products. They were not blockaded.
Today, the country has high levels of technology and productivity. It has
suffered the economic crises of the West, following which many South Korean
companies were bought over by transnationals. The austere nature of its people
has allowed the State to accumulate significant reserves in hard currency.
Today, it is enduring the United
States' economic depression, particularly
the high prices of oil and food, and the inflationary pressures from both.
South Korea's GDP –787.6 billion dollars– is
almost equal to that of Brazil
(796 billion) and Mexico
(768 billion), countries with abundant hydrocarbon reserves and incomparably
larger populations. Imperialism imposed its system upon these nations. Two fell
behind; the other made much more progress.
is hardly any emigration from South
Korea to the West. There is emigration en
masse from Mexico to what is
territory. From Brazil,
South and Central America, people emigrate
everywhere, in search of employment and lured by consumerist propaganda. Today,
they pay them back with rigorous and contemptuous laws.
position of principles on nuclear weapons supported by Cuba within the Non-Aligned Movement, ratified
during the Summit Conference held in Havana
in August 2006, is well known.
met the current leader of the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea, Kim Jong Il, when I arrived
at the Pyongyang
airport. He was standing discretely beside his father, to one side of the red
maintains excellent relations with his government.
the Soviet Union and the socialist block collapsed, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea lost important markets and sources
of oil, raw materials and equipment. As in Cuba’s case, the consequences were
severe. The progress that had been attained through great sacrifices was at
risk. In spite of this, they showed themselves capable of constructing a
the nuclear test was conducted around a year ago, we conveyed the government of
North Korea our points of view on the damage this could cause poor Third World
countries that were waging an unequal and difficult battle against imperialist
designs, at a decisive moment for the world. It might not have been necessary.
Kim Song Il, at that point, had already decided, beforehand, what he had to do,
mindful of the geographic and strategic characteristics of the region.
are pleased to see North
Korea’s declaration on its intentions of
suspending its nuclear weapons program. This has nothing to do with the crimes
and the blackmail of Bush, who now touts the declaration as proof of the
success of his policy of genocide. North Korea's
gesture was not aimed at the government of the United
States, before which it never budged an inch, but,
rather, at China,
a neighboring ally, whose security and development is vital for the two States.
World countries are interested in the friendship and cooperation between China and the two Koreas,
whose union need not be from coast to coast, as was the case of Germany, today a US ally in NATO. Step by step,
unhurriedly but indefatigably, as befits their culture and history, they shall
continue to knit the bonds that will unite the two Koreas. With South Korea, we
are developing more and more ties. With North Korea, these have always
existed and we shall continue to strengthen them.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 24, 2008