The day the most illustrious of our soldiers, Antonio Maceo, and his young assistant, fell has always held special meaning for Cubans.
Upon choosing this date to bury the remains of our internationalist heroes who fell in different parts of the world, mainly in Africa, from where Maceo’s ancestors and a good part of our blood come, December 7 has become as an occasion to remember all Cubans who gave their lives not only in defense of the homeland, but of humanity as well. In this way, patriotism and internationalism, two of the most beautiful values that man has been able to create, are joined forever in Cuba’s history.
There are historical events that no one can erase. There are revolutionary examples that men and women of future generations, within and beyond our country, will not be able to forget.
Cuban Communists, and millions of revolutionary combatants that make up the ranks of our heroic and combative people, will know how to fulfill the role that history assigns us, not only as the first socialist state in the Western Hemisphere, but also as unwavering defenders in the front line of the noble cause of the world’s humble and exploited.
We have never aspired to be awarded the glorious flags and principles that the revolutionary movement has defended throughout its heroic, beautiful history, but if destiny were to assign us the role, one day, of remaining among the last defenders of socialism in a world in which the Yankee empire managed to embody Hitler's dreams of dominating the world, we would know how to defend this bulwark to the last drop of our blood.
These men and women, to whom we now give an honorable burial in the warm earth where they were born, died for the most sacred values of our history and our Revolution ... May we be capable of following their example!- Source: Speech delivered in the memorial service for internationalists killed during the performance of honorable military and civilian missions, held in El Cacahual, December 7, 1989.