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Castro: 1962 Speech to Athletes
Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish to Latin America 1718 GMT 9 August 1962--E (OFFICIAL USE ONLY)

Havana--Prime Minister Fidel Castro advocated the maintenance of a spirit of sportsmanship during the Central American and Caribbean games as he bade farewell to the 270 Cuban athletes who will compete in this event and whom he visited hours before they departed from Kingston, Jamaica. He said that "we would like, and someday we will, have track meets where the peoples will participate--all the peoples-- with the same spirit of sportsmanship and a great competitive spirit, as it should be. And a day will come when the people may compete and there will be no interests contrary to the people. "Then," he added, "nobody will attend with political and antisports motives."

Referring to the attendance by Cuba in this event being held in Kingston, he pointed out "we are going to compete. We are going because we consider sports an important activity for the people, because we consider that sport is not a luxury or a privilege for minorities but the right and opportunity of all citizens." After saying "it would be ideal if all were going to compete with a truly sportsmanlike spirit, as we are," he emphasized: "the enemies of our country and our revolution are not going there with that spirit. "They go with a political spirit," he declared, "with a political spirit, to those Olympic games." The revolutionary leader indicated that "they (the North American imperialists--PRENSA LATINA) are afraid of our victories and intend to convert a sports event into a battlefield against our revolution. They will try to create for it and our athletes the greatest difficulties."

Further on Castro recalled that the Cuban teams will be harassed because "the imperialists will try to create problems for the Cubans." He pointed out the interest shown by the United States in the Puerto Rican athletes. Fidel expressed the opinion that the Cuban athletes will encounter difficulties and problems, "because the imperialists are interested in demonstrating that national independence is bad, that the redeeming and just revolution is bad, that the government of the humble is bad, that the government of the monopolies on the other hand is good, that exploitation is good, that colonialism is good, that privileges are good, and that discrimination is good."

He then said that, to try to demonstrate these things, "they will train their weapons on us, their influence, their press, their groups of saboteurs, and their groups of counterrevolutionaries, to create difficulties for us and to attempt to blind us. They will do more. They will try to bribe athletes, they will try to seduce them, they will try to inject treason into the fatherland and promote desertion."

He recommended that the delegation compete in Jamaica "not only like good athletes, but like vigorous youths, impetuous and brave, exponents of a people who are afraid of nothing. A people who have not fallen to their knees before any powerful adversary, a people who have carried out their revolution and are carrying it forward against the will of the great monopolies and in the midst of sabotage and aggressions of all types. "The people who are being represented there by you," he declared, "are the people of Maceo, Marti, Calixto Garcia, and Maximo Gomez. With them, they began their struggle which has been carried on indefatigably to the present time when new generations have crowned their sacrifices with victory."

In another part of his speech, the prime minister and secretary general of ORI explained: "You may be able to combat the people who go there, but you cannot underestimate them. "They may make the Cubans victims of hostilities," he emphasized, "but they will not be able to sneer at them. Wherever they see a Cuban and wherever they see the Cuban flag they may look upon them with hate if they wish--with the hate of the interests of the privileged--but they will have to look upon them with respect as well."

Then he said: "The revolution can feel satisfied with what it has done in sports. It has raised prestige of sports to an extraordinary degree. It has encouraged sports and has converted sports into an activity of the masses and continues to develop sports to the maximum. Our revolution has removed from sports the commercial character and that makes us very proud," Major Castro emphasized.

Castro recommended to the 270 Cuban athletes that they "fraternize" with other athletes competing in the Ninth Central American and Caribbean Games "and make them objects of the affection and warmth of our people." Castro added: "You will be the pioneers of sane sports in our country and you will set the marks and the successes which will be the goals that coming generations will have to exceed."

Castro then recalled that in Cuba "ballplayers are no longer bought and sold; there are no longer any enterprises which monopolize athletes and which can buy and sell an athlete as if he were a race horse. An athlete is no longer bet on as if he were a pedigreed rooster, a horse, or a dog." Finally, the prime minister exhorted the Cuban athletes to give an energetic answer to the provocations and vexations which the counterrevolutionaries and agents of Latin American reaction may organize against them.
 

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