Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
*We do not make laws by hate.
*It is not fair that our country keeps on
marching toward misery.
*Great landowners must adapt themselves to
the new times.
*Nobody has the right to distribute land by
his own initiative.
"Cuba will have the honor to be in first
place among latinamerican countries.

(May 17, 1959)

(On the promulgation of the Agrarian Law)

We believe that this Law initiates an entirely new era in our
economical life, and that a wonderful future awaits our country, if we
dedicate ourselves to work with all our might.

We are aware that this law will affect some private interests; we are
aware that it will find strong opposition, as all revolutionary measures.
Of course, we are conscious of our duties to the citizens and of all the
advantages that this law may offer.

However, we must declare, as we always have under such circumstances,
that we make laws only for the benefit of the nation, even if these laws
must some times damage certain interests.  We do not make laws by - hate,
as we do not hate anybody.  We understand perfectly that we are a
consequence of the past, we have the obligation to correct past mistakes.

What we have done, what we are, what we represent and what we do, are
mainly consequences of the past.  In fact, anybody in Cuba who thinks about
what this country has been up to now, about the destiny which - would have
been Cuba's destiny if changes were not introduced, if this person who
thinks is conscious and honest, she will have to a admit that these
measures are absolutely necessary.  It was not fair that our country
continue to go toward misery, toward chaos.

It is not our fault if the nation is what it has been up to now; the
mistakes of the past generations are not ours.  You do not understand this
until you go to the country, until you visit the peasant's houses, until
you see shoeless, hungry, sick children who cannot read nor write.  In
spite of all this, you are surprised to see how much kindness remains in
the hearts of our peasants.  When you notice those things you fell the
absolute conviction of the justice of the measures we are taking, which are
necessary and of benefit for the country.

These measures pretend to eliminate a situation that was legated to us
and of which we are not responsible.

The Agrarian Law damages an insignificant section of the people but
even these persons are not entirely sacrificed, as they will keep a
considerable amount of land; their standard of living will not be seriously
affected, and at the same time thousands of poor families will be
benefited.  We can very conservatively estimate that two hundred thousand
families will receive these benefits.

.. What I can say today is this:  when the Agrarian Law be entirely -
applicated, two million Cubans will have their income increased and they
will become buyers in the domestic market, which will be the basis of our
industrial development.  Through this, we expect to solve the economical
problem of Cuba.  On the other hand, the owners of the lands we intend to
distribute shall not be robbed; they will be compensated.  They will be
paid in government bonds, payable in 20 years, which will produce 4.50%
interest yearly.

Cuba will have the honor of being in first place among all
latin-american nations, thanks to this Law, so rich in consequences.

Great landowners must understand that their duty is to adapt themselves
to the new circumstances.  They shall have to produce more in reduced
extensions of land.  They will have to produce technically, economically,
trying to obtain all which is possible to obtain from the land, because
this measure is fair, because not a single Cuban must suffer from hunger.
It is criminal that there be uncultivated land in a country where people is
hungry.  These landowners must not allow selfishness to blind them.  Nobody
has the right to be selfish when his people is hungry.  Nobody feeling like
a Cuban, no real patriot, can fail to understand that this measure will be
of benefit to the Nation.

The Agrarian Law does not mean of course that a man has a right to grab
the piece of land he likes, that anybody has the right to distribute land
by his own initiative.  It does not mean disorder.  Now, more than ever, we
need absolute discipline, nobody has the right to act ignoring the
authority of the National Institute for the Agrarian Reform.  Those who
have taken lands without permission will have to give them back.  We make
this warning because we do not want our peasants to make mistakes.

The benefits of the Agrarian Law will attain the remotest places of
our country.  It is not necessary to speak more about it, because this Law
speaks by itself and because it will provoke a lot of discussion in days to
come.  We wish that all Cubans accept it as a fair measure which will offer
extraordinary benefits to our Country.