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Julio Lobo Addresses Graduation Class
at Louisiana State University
Dr., Hunter, honored guests, fellow alumni, ladies & gentlemen: Needless to say it is for me a great honor to be invited to address the Alumni body of this great university and to which I owe so much. Whatever little success I have had in my life especially in sugar, I owe in great measure to the education which I received here many years ago and to that great and eminent sage and pedagogue who was then in charge of the Chemical Engineering and Sugar Course, Dr. Chas. E. Coates, a great molder of character of men, whose technical knowledge was inspiration to all his students. For this reason I could not refuse our friend, and fellow alumnus, Tad Thrash's request to speak before this august body. However, when I asked him what did he wish me to talk about he gave me a wide range of subjects and a fairly unlimited scope. So due to the urgency and the immediacy of the problem, I have elected to talk to you about the insidious ways of Communism, and using it as an example, how it took over a beautiful, prosperous, cultured island very close to your shores, and the lessons we must derive from this take-over. I refer to Cuba. Let's examine what the true situation in the Island of Cuba was in 1958 before the Communist take-over.
The general misconception in this country that events in Cuba were brought about by low standards of living and social inequalities must and should be dispelled.
For the misinformed who did not know Cuba of that time, I will give the following exact and unimpeachable figures based on such international technical organizations as the C.E.P.A.L. (Comisión Económica para America Latina) and the year books and bulletins of the U. N. and the UNESCO. The Ordinary Budget was roughly 600 million dollars and the Extraordinary Budget roughly another 600 million dollars which, in proportion to our numerical population, is a percentage very few countries can boast of. You must remember that Cuba had only 7 million inhabitants and a territorial extension of only 44 thousand square miles. Cuba had one physician for every 980 inhabitants, 2nd place in America; one dentist for each 3,000 inhabitants, 3rd place in America; an infant mortality rate of 37 per 1,000, the lowest in the Americas including the United States; a general mortality rate equal or lower than that of the United States; a literacy rate which placed Cuba in the 3rd place of Spanish America after Argentina and Costa Rica. The expenditures for public education were $28 per inhabitant, first place in America. The number of inhabitants per newspaper was 8, 2nd place in America; a television set for each 18 inhabitants, first in America. In Cuba over 79 lbs. of beef were consumed per inhabitant, 4th place in America, and almost 9 lbs. of fish, first place in America. The average diet was 2,682 calories, 3rd place in America. There was an automobile in Cuba for each 27 persons, 3rd place in America; and a telephone per each 24 persons, first in America. The per capita income was the highest in Spanish America, including of course Brazil; and when we say America we mean this Hemisphere excluding the U. S.
Did the Cuban laborers live badly? Were their wages, social security and social legislation deficient? Of course not! The actual truth is that in 1958 in Cuba there existed all of' the social insurance and social laws of the most advanced labor policies. Wages stood among the highest in the world. According to the Geneva International Labor Organization, the average wage for an industrial laborer was $6 a day, highest in Latin America, and the per cent of remuneration to labor in Cuba in 1958 was 66%, 4th in the world after the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Now, what was the financial situation of the country the eve of the Red take-over? Cuba had in 1958 gold reserves of' 400 million dollars which legally covered all paper currency in circulation, for which reason the Cuban peso was at par with the dollar and at times even at a premium, and considered one of the most solid and stable currencies in the world until the Red take-over. Today, that same peso is quoted in the black market at 20 to the dollar, considering that some of that original currency was canceled and invalidated. In Cuba the annual index price rise was the lowest in the Americas at 1.4 against 19 for Argentina, 15 for Brazil and 8 for Mexico.
What about education? There were 6 state universities which were tuition free and numerous public high schools strewn all over the island. Not only that, but the Cuban Government subsidized parochial and church schools. The fact is that Cuba did have an ample and progressive public school system under which education at all levels - from primary schools to universities - was available free to all classes of the population, with discrimination or enrollment restrictions of any kind. There was no such thing as turning down an applicant for registration in a secondary institute or a teachers' college or a university for lack of plant equipment, or teachers. Likewise, private schools and universities, both religious and laic, were constantly expanding and improving their facilities throughout the Island. In 1957 Cuba 3,424 elementary schools, 315 high schools, 49 specialized training centers, 3,002 centers to fight adult illiteracy, and 6 universities - all public. In addition, there was 776 private elementary and high schools and 5 privately operated universities.
Today there are no private or parochial schools in Communist Cuba, and the public school system has been radically changed to fit its new purpose of preparing and indoctrinating the students for life in a totalitarian society. Changes have been made in history and geography books, and it has been recently discovered that several Russians until now unknown played leading roles in what you have always known as the Spanish-American War. Teachers whose polítical reliability was doubtful to the Communist cause were eliminated, and those remaining are learning the techniques of instilling in their pupils a hatred of the United States and a hero worship for Castro as the God-like savior of Cuba. The 15,000 students at the University of Havana have traditionally been opposed to whatever government was in office, and it was not long after Castro gained power before opposition groups became active on the campus. Castro met this opposition head on with typical Communist tactics and thoroughness - "goon squads" were formed of pro-Castro students and agitators who were enrolled in the University but who never attended any classes. They were directed by the Castro-designated head of the Student Federation, who now operated from a radio-equipped police car, and their function was to break up any meetings of anti-Castro students. The situation became so unbearable that the faculties of entire colleges began resigning in protest, and by the middle of 1960 practically the entire faculty of the state universities had resigned and the students had either been intimidated or forced to leave school. The road to government control of the universities was opened when the Charter of the University was suspended for 90 days in April 1959. A board was set up for purging functionaries, officers, professors, students, teachers and employees of the universities.
A Purge Board composed of 3 professors and 2 students was set up with a student prosecutor. A group of' teachers and students tried to organize and defend the universities' autonomy, but this brief rebellion ended in July of the same year with the expulsion of all counter-revolutionaries and anti-Communists, and the total control of the university passed to Communist Government hands. In August a hand-picked group of students and teachers took over definitively the reins of the now exclusively Communist university. In sum, as you have seen the economic and cultural situation of Cuba before the Red take-over was even at its worst superior to the rest of Latin America. Why, then, was Cuba selected by the Communists as the point of penetration into Latin America, Cuba the most improbable of all places where such penetration could succeed. This selection believe me was not spontaneous or accidental by any means - it was planned way back shortly after the Spanish Civil War roughly thirty years ago.
The reason was the Communists figured that if they could take over Cuba, the most difficult of all places in Latin America because of its high standard of living and because of its proximity to the United States the rest of the Continent would be easy. That logic was sound. Here I show you the Coat of Arms of Cuba, which except for the for change of the fridgean or republican cap instead of the Spanish Royal Crown and the Cuban colors instead of the Spanish gold and red is exactly the same as 4 centuries ago when King Philip II in 1562 issued his famous dictum: "whoever owns the Island of Cuba has the key to the New World". You will see the key between two land promontories in the Coat of Arms. That amongst others was the reason for Cuba being selected as the point of penetration.
You must realize that this is a chess game in grand style, where nations and peoples are simply chessmen and pawns. The Russians have been and are champion chess masters having won almost every world chess championship at least in this century. The only American that we can recall who ever won a world chess championship was Morphy of New Orleans, around the middle of the last century, and he was French. Incidentally Capablanca during this century was the other world chess champion from this Hemisphere and ironically enough, as you doubtless know, he was Cuban. A good chess player knows how to feint; how to predict the various alternative moves which his opponent might make against his move, and the counter moves which he in turn might take against the various optional moves his opponent could make. At the end of the Spanish Civil War a forced was mass migration of roughly 25,000 Spanish children running in ages from 5 to 8 took place to Russia. Most of them were orphans from the Red side or just children kidnapped from their parents. This was not done with any altruistic purpose, as you can well imagine; it was done for one purpose only as you now must realize: to train those boys so that 25 years later they could be used in the penetration of Latin America. The children were obliged to preserve their Spanish names; their Spanish mother tongue; they talked like Spaniards, but they are Communist to the core as they were well trained in the Communist way: they were even kept together in a hamlet near Moscow now called Spanish Village. A good many of them, now over thirty are now in Cuba and in other Latin American countries, and some travel with Cuban passports. This I can vouch for and know for a fact.
We know now that Castro was trained as a Communist in 1946 and 1947 in the Russian Embassy in Cuba; we know new that Castro was sent to Bogotá to disrupt the Conference of Prime Ministers in 1948, where he took a very sinister participation, killing with his own hands several people on that tragic day, according to his own boast. Sr. Nino, who was head of the Secret Police at that time in Bogotá, gives facts and figures in his book "Secret Antecedents relating to the 9th of April" (the day when the massacre of over 3,000 persons took place) which were then ignored by the powers that be. Another most interesting book is "Soviet Penetration in the Latin American Continent" by Fandino, published in Bogotá in 1956. These two books give so many details as to the Communist activities of Castro during that period, that it is incredible that he was not only not prevented but actually permitted, aided and abetted in the process of taking over Cuba. Another interesting pamphlet published by your government press in Washington is William Pawley's testimony under oath on "Communist Threat to the United States through the Caribbean" of September 2 and 8, 1960. It is worthwhile reading. We also know now, alas although too late, that more than 60% of the crew of the boat "Gramma" which brought Castro to Cuba at the end of 1956 was formed by expeditionaries who were already avowed and well-trained Communists, Che Guevara, for example, was one of them. The Communists under the guise of freedom fighters against Batista west to the hills to join the guerrillas, and civilian resistance, both active and passive, became more open and effective. It is noteworthy that the laborers and peasants whom Castro purported to endeavor to save had maintained a stony indifference to Castro' summons for a general strike. It was the idealistic bourgeois and the intellectuals who were what Kruschev called "useful idiots" who assisted and helped unwittingly the Communist take-over. As Castro himself said very recently that had he revealed the true nature of his movement, he wouldn't have lasted five days in the hills nor would he have gained the support of the American press, American public, and even in any sectors of the government. The Cubans and the Americans were duped - so were many others.
Now, let us examine the Communists' method of take-over, based on the string of promises that Castro made and then broke as he undermined the will to resist of the Cuban people. His basic method is "divide and conquer". To win the Revolution, he promised the regular Army protection of the "status quo" of the soldiers and non-coms. However, upon seizing power, Castro boldly set about dispersing the Armed Forces til only the Revolutionary Militia remained. To weaken the wealth of the country he resorted to sectional and selective confiscations while promising protection to the remaining capitalists. Eventually, as we know, all property was confiscated without compensation. I left Cuba on October 15, 1960 without a tooth brush - fully and completely confiscated. Then Castro turned on his own Rebel Army and purged the members who resisted indoctrination. Eventually he turned over all real power under him to the Popele's Militia which are his basic military support. Labor was infiltrated after a vote during the early days of the Castro regime defeated the Communist Castro-backed candidates. Immediately, anti-Communists were expelled by force and labor unions became a branch of the Red government. Under the new labor rules a worker had no choice of employment but must work at forced labor when and where he is directed. For example, office and city workers are at this very minute cutting cane under duress, and woe to him who dares to refuse.
Land reform which was such a bone of contention from the start has proven to be a farsical remedy, tragic and fraudulent. In the first place, the average farm in Cuba had only 141 acres as compared with Venezuela's 820, Mexico's 203 and the United States' 192. Castro promised the lands to the rich to the people. In point of fact, all lands are now organized as collectives or State farms and no one can own a farm of any significant size. He has made the rich poor, and the poor much poorer, for they lost whatever little they had in worldly possessions, and their freedom as well. This is the present situation in Cuba today: there is no question that Communism has failed economically and from every point of view in Cuba just as it has elsewhere. It has nothing to offer except slave labor, hunger, and infinitesimal wages. Those same people who as I told you at the beginning of this talk had abundance of everything and the highest standard of living in Latin America, where are they today? What is their situation? They have no food, no clothing, no medicines, no soap nor means of transportation. The bread lines and bus queus are continuous and lengthy and some even prefer to go hungry and stay at home rather than have to stand waiting in the hot sun for hours and hours. The sugar crop has diminished from 7 million tons to 3 ½ million tons this year due to their incapacity, and their system. There are approximately 350 thousand Cubans who have migrated in the last 5 years by whatever and any means possible. Because of the high standards of education of Cuba most of these men have found work and have become a credit to the community where they have been able to settle. But believe me it is not easy at their age to adapt themselves to new customs, habits and language. May you never have to go thru such experience. As the educated and middle classes have fled the country, the ratio of professionals and native technicians which have been forced to remain behind have dropped to Mongolian levels. There is no incentive to work or produce. The populace is too weak, physically and spiritually, and in that reign of terror it has no incentive to produce. In the meantime, the Communists have succeeded in importing an abundant supply of Soviet, satellite and Chinese technicians. The amount of Russian soldiers and weaponry is tremendous, and indoctrinate of the low classes continues at a speedy rate to the extent of even shipping boys and girls in quantity to Russia to be indoctrinated at the expense of the Russian Government. University Autonomy has been suppressed and government supervision of courses offered for education along Communist lines goes from kindergarten all the way to post-graduates many of whom are sent to Russia or Czechoslovakia to finish their studies. Such is the situation of the Cuban people today; a people in desperation; a people without hope; despondent because they cannot expect help from anywhere and no longer have any illusions. They have been forsaken by their closest neighbor and most powerful friend. Their spirit has been broken and that is of course the main Communist objective. I have explained to you how the Communist penetration into America was accomplished, and what have been the sad and disastrous results, not only to the Cuban people now in slavery, but to the Hemisphere as well and very specifically to your own country; for while Castro and the Communist remain in Cuba there can never be peace in this Hemisphere. How, we must decide what can be done and how to do it in this most grave crisis which your country has had to face since you became free, for, now you have an insidious and powerful enemy 90 miles from your mainland and permeating into South America. First, you must understand the nature of the malad, in order to be able to prescribe. Let's consider this Hemisphere as a human body of which let's imagine the United States is the head, Brazil the stomach, Chile one leg, Argentina another leg, and so on. If that hemispheric body has a cancer, and make no mistake this is a cancer, what do you do? Use antibiotics, hot water bottles and aspirin? Of course not. You excise the cancerous ulcer before the metastasis thereof spreads all the way to the toe of South America. To grave maladies we must apply heroic remedies. Second, we must know the nature of the enemy if we are going to defeat him, and this, ladies and gentlemen, don't fool yourselves, is a moral struggle between two systems of life, two ideologies, a fight to a finish, a crusade to preserve our way of life, and the institutions which are so dear to all of us.
The Communist system obviously doesn't work.
It cannot be a mere coincidence that the Communist, Socialist, Stalenist Leninist, Marxist countries or whichever way you want to call them, are all going hungry in spite of their tremendous natural resources, and so-called capitalistic, democratic, free enterprise countries or whichever way you want to call them have a super-abundance of everything. Nor can it be a coincidence either that from the Communist countries everyone wants to flee even at the risk of their lives and that of their dear ones left behind to a democratic free world. Take the case of the Berlin Wall. All the migratory current is to the West - none to the East. Take the case of Cuba. Why are so many, and not in the higher classes, some of which who have already left, but the lower classes - laborers, fisherman, and besides women, children, old men - leaving in row and sail boats or any other clandestine way or contraption at the risk of their lives? Why would they be wanting to leave if that were such a paradise. I can here unqualifidly state that if there were a bridge between Havana and Miami and exit permits freely given out, Cuba would be completely depopulated, and even Castro would leave because he would find himself too lonely to stay there. He would be a Robinson Crusoe What is the reason then for the tremendous failure of the Communist system? It is simply that there is no known substitute yet for free enterprise; it gives the incentive to create and the enthusiasm to work. The profit motif doesn't exist. The function of this great country, therefore, in this crisis is one of education and dissemination of your system of life and your system of free enterprise to the rest of the Latin American countries. You have a noble tradition and you have very much to teach the world; however, you have an enemy now who is remorseless, cruel, brutal. and ruthless: don't underestimate him. However must the leaders of the Communist conspiracy may lie to their subjects about your conditions of prosperity or about your policies and aims, one thing they believe themselves implicitly, and that is that you are in an advanced state of moral decay. But most of all do you know what really scares me about the Communist? It is not their polítical system which is primitive and savage; it is not their economic system which works so badly that progress in few directions is purchased at the price of progress in all the rest. It is their consecration to false ideals and gods; it is their dedication and self-sacrifice; and their ruthlessness to accomplish their ends.
And what scares and worries me even more is the complacency of the people of this great nation refusing to see or understand or evaluate the great danger that lies ahead. In all my travels, since confiscation, up and down Latin America I have had the opportunity of meeting and conversing with practically every head of state, every president, practically every influential politician or citizen, and while the gripes and problems of each one republic differ from the other vis-a-vis the United States the common denominator was the vast misunderstanding between South and North America I dare say the reverse is also true. You, from the North, do not understand your Latin neighbors. And, so I say as first step lets bridge this gap between North and South America, lets dispel the mutual mistrust which exists between our respective continents so that by welding them together we can present a monolithic block of resistance against the insidious and pernicious undercover and subversive attacks of Communism to our Hemisphere. I was just telling your President and my dear friend, Dr. John Hunter, that in this crusade in which we are engaged, this University was a very definite place, for you are at the very gate that leads to South America and you have a numerous students from there. You, students of today, alumni, and faculty of this great University have a tremendous mission to fulfill in this great struggle in bridging the gap and dispelling suspicions and misunderstanding. You have a great destiny ahead - lets fight fire with fire - for this is a crusade - lets save our way of life for our own good and that of the world.