Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
*Without the agrarian reform it is impossible
to eliminate unemployment.
*We do not want to make anybody poorer, we
want to enrich all.
*On the Sierra Maestra I noticed just how
hard Cubans can work.

(February 19, 1959)

The latifundium is the worst enemy industry's development can find and
it is necessary to eliminate it now if we do not want to suffer it against
10 or 15 years from now.

Which is the maximum of land that a single person or entity can own  In
our 1940 Constitution lat. was forbidden.  The country could not eliminate
it because many interests maneuvered against this Law.  As a result of
that, during the last 19 years many peasants have been forced to leave
their land and the lat. have increased.

Then the Revolution came to power, and it is our duty to find the
solution to this problem.  What should the Revolution do for the peasants?
It should put an end to "dead" investments, to capital invested in
portages, in real estate, in unproductive land.

It is not a novelty that a farm that was bought years ago for - $10,000
is now worth $300,000.  How is it possible that this happens?  It is very
simple:  the Nation has progressed and the value of the land has increased.
So, the person who owns a "latifundium" gets a benefit that he has not
earned, because he has done nothing to better the country' economy.  It is
now the moment to put an end to this.

How is it possible that a private company owns several hundreds of
thousands of acres?  Why?  Do you not understand that 30 or 40 companies
could - so own the whole country?  These "latifundia" become sorts of
empires, and the local police as well as the government employees become
like private employees of the rich owners.

Is it known here how much a sugar cane cutter earns?  I remember that
some years ago I visited one of these "lafitundia" and I noticed how the
peasants managed to grow some vegetables in the little piece of land they
were allowed to use.  This made me remember the old concept that the Cuban
peasant is lazy.  But, how can you call lazy a man that kills himself to
work for his own in the land they lend him almost by charity, after he has
finished his work for the boss?

It was in the Sierra Maestra that I could convince myself that this was
not true.  The peasants down there live and work like animals while the
great owners just earn money an live an easy and empty life.  Let - people
visit these "latifundia", let them penetrate in the peasant's miserable
houses, and tell afterwards if someone can be so selfish, after seeing this
to wish to have a million dollars.

But do not think we want to make beggars of the rich, we just want

Man has created his own civilization and his own society, but we must
admit that, socially, Man has not progressed so much as technically; what
should then be the ideal of a human society, if not to obtain a social
advance as important as the advances he has attained in his technique?

A man earning $300 or $400 dollars a month could live much better than
Louis XV lived because this king could not take advantage of civilization's
progresses.  And yet, very often we see that a man cannot take advantage of
something he has invented.  How could any man take advantage of something
when he must knock on every door to ask for a job?

This is not a political question.  I have never been so sorry as the
day I became Prime Minister.  We have been in the opposition for so long
that even the word "government" makes me sick.  The people is used to see
all the bad things represented by the government, we should perhaps try to
find a new word for it.

In order to industrialize the country, we must consider that we cannot
compete with the United States in manufacturing automobiles, nor with
Switzerland in manufacturing watches or with Germany in manufacturing
cameras.  We must develop industries consecrated to supplying national

How we must ask:  is it possible to have an industry when nobody can
buy what it produces?  How can we have industries when our peasant earn
$150. a year?  This brings us to the conclusion that we cannot have
industrialization without agrarian reform.

We confiscated a farm owned by a Batista's collaborator.  There were
300 hundred families working on it, and each family earned between $150 and
$200 a hear.  We distributed the farm among these families, as a result of
which their annual income is 12 times bigger no as it used to be.  That
means also that their acquisitive power increased in the same proportion.

If we can industrialize the country, the cities will demand three times
more workers and the land will have to produce three times more consumers
goods.  That is the reason why we need the agrarian reform.

We can sinthetize in three points our Agrarian Reform:

1.- We "seat" the peasants in their land.

2.- We propiciate the industrial development of the country.

3.- We obtain the only possible solution to unemployment.

And these are the bases of our Agrarian Reform.