|Fidel Castro, Cuban Dictator-for-Life|
I appeal to the public to disarm the ambitious. Why are clandestine arms being stored at this very minute? Why are arms being hidden at distinct points of the capital? Why are arms being smuggled at this moment? I tell you that there are members of certain revolutionary organizations who are smuggling and storing arms. All the arms that were found by the rebel army are stored and locked in barracks, where they belong. What are these arms for? Against whom are they going to be used?
Against the revolutionary government that has the support of all the people? Do we have a dictatorship here? Are we going to take up arms against a free government that respects the rights of the people? We have a free country here. We have no censorship, and the press is free. The people can gather freely if they want to. There is no tormenting of political prisoners, no murders, no terror. When all the rights of the citizens have been restored–and an election for the purpose is going to be held as soon as possible–why do we need arms? Are we going to unseat the President with the arms? Are we going to set up revolutionary organizations? Are we going to have gangsters?
Are we going to practice daily shooting on the streets of the capital? Why do we need arms? Yet I tell you here and now that two days ago elements of certain organizations broke into the San Antonio barracks, which are under the jurisdiction of Commander Camilo Cienfuegos and also under my jurisdiction as commander in chief of the armed forces, and carried away 500 small arms, (16?) machine guns, and 80,000 cartridges. I wanted to tell you about this and make use of the influence exerted by public opinion so that those who are planning any criminal adventure will not be able to recruit any troops to follow them. The theft of the weapons cannot be justified, because this is not a dictatorship. We are never going to use force, because we belong to the people. Moreover, the day that the people do not want us we shall leave. As soon as possible I will take the rifles off the streets. There are no more enemies, there is no longer anything to fight against, and if some day any foreigner or any movement comes up against the revolution, all the people will fight. The weapons belong in the barracks. No one has the right to have private armies here.
Governments that disarm their people always
use the argument that it’s for the greater good.