600 Jam Young Socialist Assembly
More than 600 people tried to squeeze into the tiny Boston Community Church Center last night to hear Venezuelan student Pedro Vargas "tell the facts" about Latin American revolutionary movements to a meeting of the Young Socialist Alliance.
The jammed, stiffling hot third floor chamber, combined with the efforts of numerous hecklers, created an explosive atmosphere which seemed to prompt volatile speaker Vargas to extraordinary extremes of fervor.
"Castro is for real!" he exclaimed. "At every step of the road Castro has acted for the people. He gave them food, land, and ... guns."
By contrast, he declared, the 1958 revolution in Venezuela had only provided a convenient disguise for U.S. businesses to hid behind as they "exploited" the people and the country. Vargas charged that Rockefeller's Standard Oil was the real master of Venezuela, and that it was splitting the country's wealth 50-50 with the government.
Not all the excitement was inside, though. On the street below, Harvard conservatives led a picket line against "YSA Dupes." Later in the evening, as a crowd of 300-400 began to gather, the students were joined by Cuban refugees, violently bitter about the showing of "Red movies" on Cuba.
The crowd soon was rent with heated arguments, which broke out into sporadic fist fights. Police arrived by about 10:30 p.m. to put a tamper on the restlessness.
Vargas admitted that "there is no doubt there is a bad, pressing need for real political democracy in Cuba," but claimed "every sign shows" Cuba is approaching this.
Attempting to prove that Castro has improved life in Cuba, Vargas reeled off a long list of production increases. At this point he was interrupted by a student heckler asking about "population increases." An elderly lady sternly told the lad "to mind his manners."
Of all Castro's actions, Vargas emphasized the formation of a "people's militia" as tremendously significant. "Guns are very important to freedom. Freedom is not possible unless the people have them.