. . . As a result of low and illegal tactics by the will of those who rule today, and the weakness on the part of those who judge, here I am in this little room in the Civil Hospital, where I have been brought up to be judged in secret so that I might not be heard, so that my voice be muffled, and that no one might learn the things I am going to say. Why then not have an imposing Palace of Justice where the judges, no doubt, would be much more comfortable? It is not wise, I warn you, to impart justice from a room in a hospital surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets, because the people might believe that our justice is sick . . . and that it is a prisoner . . . .
. . . I listened to the Dictator on Monday, July 27, while I was in a shack up in the mountains, when there were still eighteen of us under arms. Those who have never before lived such moments will never know the meaning of bitterness and scorn. Just as the long-cherished hopes of liberating our people came tumbling down, we saw the despot loom over them haughtier than ever. The flood of stupid, hateful and repugnant lies and calumnies that gushed from his mouth were only equal to the flood of youthful and clean blood being spilled since the night before, with his full knowledge, complicity, consent, and applause, by the most heartless gang of assassins that a human mind can conceive. To have believed what he said even for one second, would have been sinful enough to make a conscientious man live repentant and ashamed for the rest of his life. With a ring of more than a thousand men closing in on us, carrying weapons of longer range and greater power than ours and with orders to return with our bodies, I didn’t even have the hope then of ever tattooing on his miserable forehead the truth which would stigmatise him for the rest of his days and unto eternity. But on this day with the truth beginning to be known, when I finish the mission which I imposed upon myself I can die a peaceful and happy death. Therefore, I shall withhold no blows against those furious murderers.
. . . The Prosecutor seemed very interested in knowing what our possibilities of success were. Our possibilities were based on technical, military and social reasons. Some have tried to establish the myth that modern arms make impossible an open and frontal fight of the people against tyranny. Military parades and pompous exhibition of war equipment have, as a primary objective, the fomenting of this myth, thus creating among the citizens a complex of absolute impotence. But no weapon, no force is capable of overcoming a people who are determined to fight for their rights.
. . . When we speak of people, we do not mean the well-to-do, conservative segments of the nation always ready to reap some advantage from any regime of oppression, from any dictatorship, and from despotism, kneeling down, if need be, before each master in turn. When we mention the people in connection with a struggle we mean the unredeemed masses to whom everything is offered but nothing given except deceit and betrayal; the group that longs for a better and more worthy and just country; the group with ancestral longings for justice, having suffered injustice and mockery for generations untold; the group that desires great and wise changes in all the order of things, being ready to give the last drop of blood in order to attain them once it believes in something or in someone and, especially, when they believe sufficiently in themselves.
. . . When we speak of battle and we refer to the people, we mean the six hundred thousand Cubans who are out of work and who want to earn an honest living here instead of having to emigrate in search of a better opportunity; we mean the five hundred thousand farm workers who live in miserable huts, working four months and going hungry with their children the rest of the year, with not an inch of land to farm, and whose existence would move us to compassion were it not that we are so stony-hearted; by people we mean the four hundred thousand industrial workers and labourers whose retirement funds have been robbed, and from whom all benefits are being taken away, whose housing consists of single rooms in tenement houses, whose salaries go from the hands of the employer to those of the money lender, whose future is a cut in wages and dismissal, whose life is one of never-ending work, and whose only hope for rest lies in the grave; by people we mean the hundred thousand sharecroppers who live and die working a land that is