Compilation of Manuel Cano Churches/ collaborator of Radio Cadena Agramonte.
Before a huge crowd, on March 5, 1960, to dismiss the grief of the victims in the explosion of the French ship La Coubre, Fidel said for the first time the slogan Homeland or Death!
From a improvised platform on the back of a trailer at the intersection of Avenue 23 and Calle 12, Fidel spoke in the middle of a special silence.
The emotion invaded all. The Commander-in-Chief described the facts, circumstances, details, and all kinds of arguments at the end showed the impossibility of an accident, to consider convincingly that it was an intentional explosion.
Fidel said in his speech that we would resist any aggression, overcome any aggression, and that "…again we would have no other choice than the one with which we started the revolutionary struggle: the freedom or death. Only now that freedom means something more still: freedom means homeland. And the dilemma of our Homeland or Death!".
At dawn on Friday, March 4, 1960 the merchant The Coubre, from Belgium, was spotted in the vicinity of the Havana bay. The day had dawned cloudy and the passage of buses, cars and people who were marching to their normal work characterized a peaceful atmosphere in the central Avenida del Puerto.
After docking, it began the unloading of goods of their wineries and the removal of the bullets that were part of a cargo destined for the Revolutionary Armed Forces.
Hours later, there was a shocking explosion. More than a hundred people was dead, several hundred received wounds of a different kind. Many were disabled for the rest of their lives.
Not a few tried to help. About 30 minutes after the initial detonation was heard; the second fell everywhere bits of iron and wood. The Leader of the Revolution personally directed the work of rescue and salvage.
Three months later, Fidel would complete the challenge, when in the Congress of the National Federation of Workers of barbershops and beauty salons, expressed "…for the people, which in the long run will emerge victorious, the slogan is: "We Shall Overcome!".
Since then, the verdict of the Cuban people against any attempt to defeat the Revolution and hinder their progress has been, and is, that exclamation point of struggle and virility: Homeland or Death! We shall prevail! (Photo: http://razonesdecuba.cubadebate.cu/)