Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speech by Dr Fidel Castro Ruz to the Revolutionary CTC in
the Blanquita Theater, 24 February 1960

Comrade leaders of the Cuban working class:

9        Perhaps this ceremony here today will be the most grandoise among
all of the revolutionary ceremonies which we have been holding since the
beginning of this phase of the revolution. And, by a very moving
coincidence, it happens to take place today, on 24 February.

Exactly 75 years ago, our compatriots met here to shout the cry
that initiated what for them constituted the final battle for the
liberation of the country.

We imagine that we are with them on that morning, after the long
history of the republic, we imagine that we are with those men who more
than half a century ago enabled their fatherland to achieve these tremen-
dous results, on an occasion when they decided to commit themselves fully
to this effort.

What was going through the minds of those revolutionaries? What
tremendous hopes! What dreams of happiness for their country, what illu-
sions! They were dreaming of a fatherland that would be completely free, a
republic that would be absolutely independent and sovereign, a people that
would be the master of its destiny; that was the dream they dreamed on that
day but this dream is now only beginning to take shape. And this ceremony
here, this ceremony which not only has a profound revolutionary, moral, and
patriotic significance but which also has an extraordinary significance
in terms of characteristics that we have never witnessed before, this
exceptional ceremony is in reality the beginning of an ideal that we are
now starting to implement.

For those of us who are profoundly moved by these things, for
those of us who know how to appreciate these things, for those of us who
think deeply on these problems, for those of us who remember the Cuba of
yesterday, the life of the republic of yesterday, and for those of us who
see the facts of today, the life of today, for those of us who think and
feel this way, there is a series of sentiments, of hopes, and of
recognitions and above all there is pride because, possibly never before,
have we had such a tremendous responsibility for taking all the necessary
steps so that we will not fail in achieving the extraordinary hopes that
reside in the revolutionary government; this very moment is a moment of
true pride for our people; as we reach this phase in our revolution, we can
feel truly optimistic and we can feel really secure because all of our past
efforts have not been in vain. And we could not imagine anybody getting
more than the revolution is getting from the people in terms of support and
collaboration. It is possible that many people will now begin to understand
the revolution in all of its meaning and in all of its greatness; so far,
this was just a word, a frequently repeated word, and it did not have much
meaning to many people, it was rather a confused idea, because anything was
called a revolution and because anybody could call himself a revolutionary.
It might look easy to make a revolution but it is in fact very difficult to
make a revolution. A revolution is not a simple fact in the history of a
people. A revolution is a complex and difficult thing; above all, a
revolution is a great teacher because it teaches us as we march along and
it helps us strengthen the consciousness of the people as we march; on the
march, we learn what a revolution really is. And to realize what this
really means, we must spend a certain period of time on this task, even
though this time may be rather short, because the revolution has been in
power only 14 months; nevertheless, we have learned a lot in the past 14
months. But something that is even more satisfactory resides in the fact
that we are sure and that we are convinced that the revolution is advancing
successfully; it is advancing in spite of all obstacles, in spite of all
the tricks and traps and maneuvers against it. And we can also say that it
will advance increasingly better each day.

For us, that is to say, the people, the task which we faced on 1
January 1959 was a great task and a hard task. There was much joy at that
time, joy at seeing the chains broken, the chains of hate and blood, the
chains of injustice and crime, the chains that kept a people in humiliation
and misery, above all, the chains that deprived a people of hope.

During those first few days there was nationwide joy, even though
we had a vague idea of everything that we still had ahead of us. The
revolution however had not yet taken shape as such, the revolution was
something like an outline that had not been clearly defined in the minds of
the people. The revolution was something like a hope and the happiness of
those days possibly prevented us from thinking of all of the things that we
still had to do. Breaking our chains did not mean that we had the
opportunity to start in right away; we could not right away begin this
complex and difficult task when we had the opportunity to do so, for the
first time, after our people had been fighting for this opportunity for
more than a century without ever achieving it; we of the present generation
had the good fortune of achieving this opportunity for the first time in
the history of our fatherland; on other occasions, factors more powerful
than the desires and aspirations and strength of our people had prevented
the achievement of this hope. But now this opportunity has fallen into our
hands, that is to say, the hands of our people.

Now, after one year, we can summarize what we have achieved; our
achievements are not sufficient for us to entitle us to feel satisfied; but
our achievements have left their mark on all of the aspects of our
country's life and we can certainly see these aspects very clearly. We have
achieved what we have achieved not without battles because over the past 14
months we had to fight many battles and among them was the battle against
our own lack of experience as to what a revolution is, the battle against
our own ignorance, and all of the other battles in which the people had to
participate, because these were not battles to be fought by just a group of
men; they were battles to be fought by the entire people, because we did
not achieve anything at all, we undertook nothing at all, unless we did it
with the people.

There were many tasks to be tackled because everything had to be
done in all fields and we began to work on these tasks; some of them were
more difficult than others but there was one that was more difficult than
all of the others together, there was one task that was the most decisive
task of the revolution: the battle against misery, the battle against
poverty, the battle against our economic weaknesses, in summary, the battle
against unemployment. In other words, the battle against the terrible
burden that has always been weighting on our people, the thing that has
always been a nightmare to our people, the problem whose solution
constituted the most important task of the revolution -- because to fail in
economic aspects would signify the failure of the revolution.

This was not an easy undertaking because we could not have taken
over the country under worse conditions; we could not have taken over an
economy that was weaker than our economy. And now, now that we have started
out on the road toward overcoming this obstacle, we can confidently say
that we will achieve our objectives because we are no longer working with
an ignorant people; we were not working behind the backs of the people, we
were not working before a million eyes that were closed to our realities;
instead, the people have begun to understand these issues, issues which the
vast masses never knew anything about, because the secrets of the economy
were privileges of very small groups that had the opportunity to tape the
sources of information and a good portion of those who had this privilege
were only interested in confusing the people or in deceiving the people or
in hiding the truth from the people, because there is one thing that is
certain -- something that nobody can deny -- and that is that the people
was kept in complete ignorance on those issues that most involved the
nation, on issues on which the security and tranquility and the well-being
of the families depended; all the people ever saw was the sacrifices and
the evils without ever getting an over-all explanation as to the causes of
these evils and as to the remedies for these evils.

Why do we, the leaders of the revolution, have the morality to
present ourselves to the people? The morality to reply to the enemies of
the people? We can do this because we can with the truth, because we did
not conceal anything from the nation and because we are going to the root
of the problems and because we can prove completely, in the face of our
enemies, that the revolution has acted correctly, that the revolution is
acting correctly, because there are reasons that are beyond debate, there
are facts that cannot be refuted, there are numbers that cannot be
contradicted. And when we look at all these figures, when we look at all
these realities, then the enemies of our revolution will have to shut up
because they never told the people the truth, they never tried to find any
remedies for our ills; in confronting the crucial issues, they came up with
ridiculous and impractical formulas which only served to prolong our ills
and which produced that accumulation of problems and that negative heritage
which they left to our people after 50 years of republic. When we see how
our effort advances from day to day, when we see how much our country has
advanced in one year, then we find it extremely painful to think what our
country could have been if all of this had been started from the very first
moment on, if we had not had to wait for so profound and tremendous a
revolutionary endeavor as we are making now, if we had always had honest
government and justice -- because then our country would not now have to
fight against the evils which it has to fight against now and then we could
not have - before our eyes the painful picture of what our country is after
50 years of republican government.

And when we analyze any effort, whether it be the construction of
housing units or the cultivation of our fields, or the development of our
wealth and natural resources, or the improvement of education -- then we
can understand what our country would have been, as we see how much we have
advanced in just one year; our country is so rich in natural resources, so
rich in intelligence, so rich in terms of people; then we can see what our
country would have been today, not what it is after having been a victim of
all kinds of plunder.

But in the face of the enemies of the revolution and as an
irrefutable argument for those who fight the battle of the revolution, the
battle which the revolution is fighting to solve our problems, it suffices
to give just one figure, a figure which is the result of 50 years, a figure
which we have inherited from all of the past.

If those who fight us from afar, if those interests that fight
against us, if they had been right, then we would not have received this
record -- and I am going to mention just one figure. I am not going to
mention the number of slums in our country; I am not going to mention the
number of towns that have no streets and no water supply systems; I am not
going to talk about the number of tuberculosis patients in our country,
without medical assistance; I am not going to talk about the number of
illiterates; I am not going to talk about any of those figures. I am going
to talk only about the unemployment figure, the number of unemployed we had
in our country, because that is an essential figure since all of the ills
of the country can be traced back to that evil, to the lack of a strong
economy in the country, to the lack of development of the country, to the
lack of jobs in the country.

And this only condemns everything that has been done until today
because this figure speaks for itself; the human individual has to live on
something and if it does not live on something, in other words, if it does
not live from its work, then it must live on something or it has to die of

And the word "unemployed" is the most atrocious word that we can
pronounce because it implies the idea of a human being in society, because
we do live in a society, we do not live separate from each other, we live
amid a nation, constituting a people, so that we can help each other -- and
the word "unemployed" implies the idea of a human being who has nothing to
live on, a person who has needs, but who is in dire necessity, somebody who
has to live somehow, the way these poor people used to live in Cuba, the
way many people still live in Cuba: on miracles.

But what measures were adopted, what remedies were applied for
these evils, what solutions were developed by those wise men who today
fight against our revolution? What solutions were developed for the
unemployed whom the revolution round when it came to power -- a situation
that was the consequence of 50 years? And that figure, these very same
figures, certainly speak for us because we can demonstrate irrefutably that
we have been gaining ground in the fight against unemployment, within just
one year of revolutionary government; and we do have irrefutable figures
which demonstrate the correctness of our effort in the face of the terrible
inheritance which they left us.

Here we have a statistical figure on the more or less exact number
of unemployed which we had in January 1959, when the revolution came to
power. Here is the number of unemployed, that is to say, unemployed and
underemployed, that is to say, people who worked only 20 or 30 hours a
week: the number of unemployed which we found in the country was 661,000,
of whom 371,000 were completely unemployed.

In other words, our island, so rich in natural resources, had no
way of finding full employment for 371,000 people who were capable of
working. This happened while vast areas were completely abandoned, in other
words, while we had plenty of empty land that could have been worked by
those who wanted to work it.

In other words, the revolution confronted the following situation:
an underdeveloped country, the monetary reserve of the nation virtually
exhausted; a series of debts, a series of commitments and obligations; the
social security fund dried up; the banks full of papers and certificates;
371,000 totally unemployed persons, 661,000 fully unemployed or
underemployed persons; that was the situation the revolution encountered.

A country that was disorganized, a country that was overburdened
by the administrative machinery of the government: these are the sort of
problems which any revolution faces, problems of population movement as a
result of the struggle and the problems left by the ousted regime, the
problem of wartime destruction, wartime disorganization; burned houses,
families without support, war victims, and worse: we also faced the
difficulties that the revolution would run into, the enemies who would rise
up against the revolution the moment the revolution decided to remedy our

In other words, in view of this situation, the country faced a
dilemma of either overcoming these obstacles or resigning itself to that
same situation, that is to say, to leave everything the way it was before,
because these were not just inherited difficulties, these were difficulties
that would spring up the moment we tried to resolve our ills, because that
meant that many interest groups had to be harmed, the interests of those
who opposed the development of the nation, the interests of those who had
strangled the nation.

And that was the situation, to put it briefly; this picture of
course could be broadened in many different respects, such as the
circumstance that were dealing here with a nation that was technically not
prepared to tackle this tremendous task. In other words, when the time came
to select competent persons to carry out this tremendous task, we found
that our people was not sufficiently prepared for this task because nobody
had taken care of this thing before, nobody had given these persons an
opportunity to train for this. And so the revolution began to tackle its
task under these circumstances and within just one year, within one year
alone, the revolution managed to reduce the number of those people who had
no employment whatever from 371,000 as of January 1959 down to 237,000 as
of January 1960. In other words, we reduced the number of unemployed
approximately by 134,000 persons.

As a result of this and due to the increase in wages, which
brought with it a series of measures concerned with the implementation of
the rights of the workers, who had been mocked for so many years, we had
the following difference between the total wages paid out in 1958 and 1959:

In 1958: 722,990,000 pesos, total wages paid out.

In 1959: 1,055,538,600 pesos. In other words, 332 million pesos
more in wages than the year before. And these are statistical data, taken
from the maternity fund, that is to say, these are documented data
pertaining to the difference in incomes. But can all of the economic
problems of the nation be solved so easily? Does this mean that all of
these economic problems of the nation can be resolved that easily? No!
Incomes increased when the workers were given fair rights or when these
rights were restored to them. Incomes went up as the number of jobs went
up. Incomes went up as works projects increased, as crop areas were
expanded, as factory employment increased; incomes went up as smuggling was
suppressed, for example; incomes went up as we created an atmosphere of
buying domestic products, as closed factories were reopened, as the number
of employees in operating factories was increased; as people began to work
a full week instead of just one or two days, for example, in the textile
industry; as the distilleries were opened up again and as the economic life
of the country was revived. But did this solution consist in merely
increasing incomes? As incomes go up, the family standard of living of
course also goes up, but you cannot solve the economic problem by simply
increasing the income. The solution to the economic problem is not as
simple as all that because, as I said once before, in addressing the
Council of the CTC, if these problems could be resolved simply by
increasing the income by decree, then we would have resolved all of the
economic problems of the republic, more than a year ago.

The problem might have looked like that, some time in the past,
when the truth was kept from the people, when there was a conflict of
interests between the interests that wanted to exploit the resources of the
nation and the labor of the people for the people's exclusive benefit. For
a long time this struggle was a struggle for an increase in incomes because
the national interest was not really being debated; there was no policy in
favor of the nation, and the economic problem of the nation was not tackled
resolutely and seriously.

An increase in incomes of course has its limitations and these
limitations are determined by the national production capacity, by the
total national output and the total national output is in turn determined
by the number of people and factories that are working. In other words, we
have a limit on our national output; that limit, that ceiling, is rather
low in an underdeveloped country, in a country where more than half a
million persons are without work. This means that more than half a million
persons consume without producing. In a country without an industry, the
national output cannot be very great; in a country with big estates that
are not cultivated, the national output cannot be very high. In other
words, the improvement in wages does have a limitation and this limit is
the total national output; in other words, in a highly developed country,
incomes can reach that production level or you can get the total
consumption volume pretty close to the total production volume; but in a
country whose problem consisted precisely in lack of development, whose
problem consisted in the lack of factories and machinery for exploiting its
natural resources, in a lack of equipment for the development of
agriculture, in a lack of crops, in such a country, the problem naturally
was not one of consuming the total output but of consuming a portion of the
national output and investing the rest for national development. And this
is what the working class understood perfectly well when we told them what
the weak point of the revolution was. When we told them what the
fundamental problem of the revolution was, because if we allowed ourselves
to be deceived by the idea that the living standard can be increased by
decree, if we allowed ourselves to be swept along by the aspiration of
consuming as much as we produced or consuming more than we produced, then
the revolution would defeat itself, because that is precisely the weak
point of the revolution; our people are not educated in terms of the idea
of saving; ours is a country in which many people unfortunately not only
consume everything they produce but also consume more than they produce.

There are people who make a hundred or 120; if they make 120, they
spent 140; if they make 200, they spent 250. Our people are not educated in
the habit of saving. The only people who save anything are the businessmen
and they save through their production profits but they handle them the way
they see fit. They deposit these profits in the banks and they invest this
money but they invest it in what they want to invest it in. Our national
savings could be increased if all of the profits were added up but this
savings volume was never used in a planned fashion; these savings
exclusively belonged to those who owned them and who invested them as they
saw fit, in keeping with their interests. The interests of the people did
not matter at all; the necessities of the people did not matter at all; the
worker got his wages and he very often had to spend more than he made; very
often he was the victim of high speculative prices or he was the victim of
gougers, or he was the victim of high rents, or he was the victim of a
series of exploitations, such as for example gambling.

Now, these savings sprang from the profits of the businessmen and
they took their money abroad or if they kept it here they invested it in
real estate which they then held on to for 10 years in the hope that the
value would double or triple; they hoped to make lots of money whenever the
government would have to spend its money to build an avenue or a highway;
or they invested their money in loans or in housing construction so that
they could collect high apartment rents; and the people paid year after
year without any hope of ever getting rid of this evil. But the interests
of the people did not count at all and the state, presumably, did not
matter either. The state simply was "prohibited from interfering in those
problems." But the state was right there when the time came to dispossess
an unfortunate farmer; the state was always there when the time came to
summon a platoon of soldiers to break up a worker demonstration or a
student demonstration.

The state was always here to guarantee those interests, to
guarantee the inviolability of privileges in interests, but when it came to
economic issues, the slogan was: "Do not interfere in these economic issues
because the state must not interfere in economic issues." The state was
hamstrung, the state could not do anything about issues that were really
important to the people; the only thing the state did was to spend or
perhaps waste and misuse the portion of the national output which the
government collected through taxes.

And that was the situation in our country. And so, there was no
plan, the interests of the people did not count, nobody cared about the
hundreds of thousands who were out of work, nobody cared about the workers
who only had three months work cutting cane and who then were unemployed,
nobody cared about children who remained ignorant, nobody cared about
parasitism, nobody cared about the tuberculosis rate or any of the other
problems that beset our citizens; nobody cared about these problems and
nobody tried to solve them.

Now, what are they trying to tell us today? What are they trying
to tell us about the correct policy that the revolution is pursuing? They
are trying to tell us that we are on the wrong track, that the right road
is the road on which the people are victimized by also kinds of
exploitations, from rent all the way to electric light or telephone bills,
or any of the other services that were needed to live; they are trying to
tell us that it is bad system when a family, over 20 years, can own its own
home; they are trying to tell us that it was a good system when a family
would pay triple the amount for 30 years and would then someday be kicked
out into the street; they are trying to tell us that it is a bad system
when the fields are cultivated, when the tractors advance on the big
estates in order to convert them into centers of employment and wealth for
our country; they tell us that it was a good system when the poor farmers
lived in shacks and worked in the cane fields, exploited by the middlemen,
working for just a few months out of the year on the rich soil of our
fatherland which did not belong to any of them; this land should actually
belong to the people; but in the old days, when they talked about the
fatherland, nobody knew what they were talking about because the fatherland
was a country where a few owned thousands of acres of land while others did
not even have a square inch of land; but both of them were supposed to
believe in the fatherland of those days.

They are trying to tell us that it was a good system when the big
estates were still in existence, when produce was bought at low prices from
the farmers and when it was sold at high prices to the people; they are
trying to tell us that it was a good system when we had gambling and the
lottery and when we had politicking and robbery and smuggling and all of
the immorality which the revolution has erased; and they are trying to tell
us that it is a bad system when you have honor, when you have compliance
with the law, when you have rectitude, whenever everybody pays their
customs duties, when jobs go up in the factories, when there is no more
smuggling, when there is no more bribery, when the smugglers no longer land
their products along deserted stretches of the coast, when the smugglers
now have to put their products ashore where the customers service can get
at it and on the airports; they tell us that it was a good system when
nobody could go to the beach, when only a few could go to the beach, when a
population of more than a million inhabitants had no access to the sea;
they tell us that the old system was good and that the new system is bad,
the new system which has converted the natural beaches of our country into
a magnificent tourist center for the enjoyment of the people; they tell us
that it was a good system when government officials enriched themselves and
exclusively served the big interest groups; in a situation where the
problems of the workers were always resolved in favor of those interests,
when the workers did not even have the right to elect their own leaders,
when they had no way to defend themselves against abuses and attacks; they
are trying to tell us that the old system was good when the soldiers would
serve the big landowners and the big interests, when the police would lean
on everybody, when the inspector would become rich overnight. They are
trying to tell us that our system today is bad, our system in which we have
honest civil servants, soldiers in the service of the public, because it is
the people who pays them and supports them.

For them, a good system was a system in which there were no
schools in the rural areas, a system where the children were illiterate.
And they are trying to tell us that the revolution is bad because it
concerns itself with converting fortresses into schools and because it
brings thousands upon thousands of teachers to the rural areas.

They are trying to tell us that it was a good system when the
country was sold out to foreign interests, when it was subjugated to
foreign interests, when our commerce was limited, when our products could
not be sold on any of the markets of the world, except just a few, when our
possibilities for commercial expansion was restricted, when the people
could not live without trading with each other, when some people required
the products of other people, when some people produced a surplus of
certain products which they could exchange for other products that they did
not have and when, on the other hand, a surplus of other items was produced
in other countries.

They are trying to tell us that it was a good system when they
told the government not to interfere, while there was misery throughout the
nation and while the government, on the other hand, did interfere to defend
the privileges and the big interests; and then they called upon the state,
then they placed their own key men in key positions in the government, to
defend their own interests and their own privileges, while they tried to
prevent the state from doing anything at all to defend the interests of the

The problem of our country was not an easy one; it was logical
that each and every family should have the hope of increasing its income;
but the revolution could raise these incomes up to a certain point, to the
extent that the economy of the country permitted this. And, indeed, the
revolution did raise family incomes, it improved incomes in almost all
sectors of labor, and it furthermore reduced a series of family
expenditures, such as rent, utilities, including light, as well as a number
of other products on which the revolution could reduce prices.

However, other problems are left and these problems are left
because we suddenly produced an income of 332 million pesos in one year;
this meant that consumption would go up 332 million pesos but the economy,
in other words, the national output, was geared to a consumption of 722;
the national output and the resources spent on imports were geared to a
consumption of 722 million and suddenly we had a consumption of 1 billion.
This sort of thing would not have been serious in a country with large
money reserves, which could easily cover any increase in consumption
through imported articles. But our problem, and the problem of others, was
that we had a shortage of reserves, and we were going to have an increase
in consumption compared to an output that was geared to a consumption of
300 million less; and there are indeed some products whose production can
be increased rapidly. Some factories, the textile factories, for example,
which were working one or two days a week, for a consumption level of 700
million pesos in wages, began to work 3 days, 4 days, and 5 days and 7 days
a week to meet this consumption requirement. The shoe factories, the beer
breweries, and many other factories did the same thing. There are products
where we can increase the output volume almost immediately; there are
agricultural products that can be extended a little more, for example, for
one year; here, for example, we have the case of rice where we achieved an
increase within one year, by about 1.5 million quintals, even though the
increase in consumption was almost 1 million quintals. In other words, that
1.5 million would help us only cover approximately 500,000 quintals out of
the 4 million which we imported.

There are other products, however, where we cannot produce an
increase overnight. One example here would be milk. If our milk production
is geared to a consumption of 700 million in terms of wages, that
production volume might be inadequate for a consumption volume of 1
billion; this is one item where we cannot increase production just like
that; it takes a longer period of time. In other words, when employment
went up throughout the country, and when the purchasing power of the people
increase as a result, we had to confront difficulties, difficulties in
terms of national products, where we could not increase the output
overnight; we also had difficulties with imported products because our
basic talk is to industrialize the country and this is why we must save
foreign currency. If we solve the problem by spending our foreign currency
on consumer articles, then the republic would be lost because we simply
must have these foreign currency resources for investment in the kind of
machinery that we have to import. And this was one problem which the people
have begun to understand. In other words, as employment goes up and as
wages go up, there is an increase in consumption; but a production increase
cannot be achieved in all items overnight; besides, we have to save our
foreign currency for investment purposes. And so, one fine day, we
addressed the labor leaders and we explained all of these problems to them
the problem of wage increases -- which was not an issue that could be
resolved by decree. We explained to them also that the control measures
adopted by the national bank -- would mean that the profit deposited in the
banks constitutes a portion of national savings volume because these
savings cannot be moved abroad since they must remain in the country
because they are savings; in other words, the profits which were earned by
certain enterprises could be computed in terms of national savings because
that money could not be moved out of the country; these national savings
are a portion of the resources which the nation can invest for its
development. In other words, national savings now are not in the hands of
the big powerful interests of the past; here is what national savings mean:
national savings constitute resources to be invested in accordance with the
interests of the nation. And foreign currency -- well, foreign currency
cannot be spent in an arbitrary fashion; foreign currency is also a part of
the national inheritance and this foreign currency must be invested in
accordance with the national interests. When did the moment come to save
the foreign currency which we earned? We do not sacrifice the raw material
of the factories; we do not sacrifice food for the people; we do sacrifice
unnecessary expenditures, luxury expenditures, that is to say, foreign
currency savings must not be achieved at the expense of the people; foreign
currency savings are made at the expense of luxury articles. Foreign
currency savings are achieved by eliminating unnecessary expenditures. And
the people did not have to suffer anything at all as a result of the policy
of foreign currency savings because when the moment came to save foreign
currency we did not save it at the expense of the people; we saved it at
the expense of those who were spending money on luxury items, on trips
abroad, on things that were not indispensable;

And so, as we explained these problems and as the people began to
understand them, solutions began to come from the people, solutions to the
economic problems of the country. If a country wants to develop an industry
of its own, it must have capital. Capital is simply investment, the
expenditures that must be made in terms of machinery, in terms of labor to
exploit the resources of a nation. If a country does not have capital, it
has to get it somewhere; it can get this capital by saving, that is to say,
by saving a portion of what it produces. The important thing is not to
import anymore than the country exports; but this is precisely one area
where we were very deficient. We were a people accustomed to importing more
than we exported but we could do this because we had 500 million in
reserve. And if each year we import 50 or 100 million more than we export,
then these reserves would of course shrink.

But when the revolution came to power, the reserves could no
longer shrink anymore and we still faced a people accustomed to importing
more than it exported. In this situation, a country -- which wants to
invest -- either has to save money or it has to get capital from abroad.
Well, what was the thesis that could oppose our thesis of saving and saving
our currency, that is, in order to develop our industry? Well, they
established the thesis of importing private capital. Now, this may be
national private capital, in other words, capital that is here in the
country; but when this involves imported capital, then we have the
following situation: foreign private capital does not come in out of
generosity; it does not come in as a result of an act of noble charity; it
does not come in out of a desire to help the people. Foreign private
capital is mobilized out of a desire to help itself. Foreign private
capital is the capital which weighs heavily on a country and which is moved
to another country where salaries are lower and where living conditions are
worse, where raw material is cheaper, in order to obtain the greatest
possible profits. The thing that moves capital, foreign private investment
capital, is not generosity but the profit motive and the thesis which has
always been advocated here was the thesis of guaranteeing private
investment capital, in order to resolve the problems of industrialization.

But, what happened? Private investment capital did not come here
and was not placed where it was needed most but it was placed where it
could earn the greatest profit. Private foreign investment capital demanded
certain conditions. And, do you know what those conditions were? Do you
know that the very first condition they demand is the fight to fire workers
because they think that the right of the workers to a permanent job and to
job security is contrary to the ideal conditions of investment capital
because they think that a certain moment they might get greater profits by
firing workers; they want to be able to move workers around, to lay them
off, and the very first thing they ask is the right to lay off workers and
to pay them low wages. Now, what they call conditions and guarantees for
foreign private investment capital are actually terrible conditions for the
workers because, as we can see, they know that the country needs the
capital and they therefore feel that they can impose their conditions and
these conditions of course are to the detriment of the workers. So much for

Second, foreign private investment capital comes in because it is
looking for a profit, profit to pay off the capital invested, profit to
amortize the interest on that capital and to get a wide profit margin and
to extract the very juice of a country indefinitely -- there are no limits
to this.

All right, then, how could anyone expect a revolution to hope for
a solution to these problems through foreign private investment capital?
How could anyone think that a revolution -- which demanded rights for the
workers, which demanded a guarantee for those rights of the workers who had
been abused for so many years, how could anyone expect a revolution to try
to look to foreign private investment capital for a solution to those
problems -- particularly since that capital would not be invested in those
articles that are most needed by the country but in those production lines
that would earn the greatest profit? The revolution thus could not possibly
choose this alternative, this colonial alternative,this road of
exploitation. The people had been told a thousand times, 10,000 times, and
a million times, that guarantees for private investment capital where
necessary in order to solve the problem and this is the solution that had
been presented to the people over and over again. But did they not have all
of these guarantees for 50 years? Did they not get all of these guarantees
from all nations of the American continent? And did they solve any of the
tremendous problems of those nations? Did they solve the problems of
unemployment, education, public health? Did they enrich the people in any
way? What solutions have they brought us during the past 50 years? Was it a
solution to have 662,000 unemployed -- not counting all of the many
unemployed all over the underdeveloped countries of Latin America?

How could anybody imagine that a revolution would place its hopes
for the solution of its problems in a system that had not produced any
solutions in 50 years? A system that had produced conditions that were
increasingly burdensome for the workers of the country. How could anybody
possibly select this alternative? And if this was not to be the
alternative, then we had to select another alternative for ourselves. We
had either the alternative of resignation to the life of yesterday, the
life we have always lived, or we could select a true solution for all our
problems, a final solution.

If the revolution had resigned itself to the past, then it would
not have had any problems with those interest groups, then it would not
have had any problems with those privileges, it would not have had any
problems with any big landowners, with any big foreign companies which owns
thousands upon thousands of acres; it would not have had any problems with
the "trusts" which operate the public utilities; it would not have had any
problems with the mining companies that remove our raw materials without
even paying taxes; we would not have had any problems with the producers of
those articles which we import because we simply would have continued
importing the way we always have; if we had resigned ourselves to the past,
then there would have been no solution either. Nor would we have had any
revolution and we would in effect have had to choose between resignation
and revolution.

Resignation could not have been the alternative because to resign
oneself to the past would mean that 20,000 Cubans had died in vain, to
resign oneself to the past would mean that all of the sacrifices of these
many generations had been in vain. If we wanted to give land to the
farmers, if we wanted to produce articles which we can produce here instead
of importing them; if we wanted to sell our products in all markets of the
world, if we wanted to protect our industry; if we wanted to protect our
reserves, if we wanted to defend people -- then we had to tackle those
problems. But the road ahead was full of problems, full of enemies of our
people; but it was the only revolutionary road to take; the other formula
would have been a settlement with interests contrary to the progress of our
people, a road of treason to the people; and we could never possibly choose
the road of treason to the people. We could not pick the easy road of the
rulers of yesterday; we had to pick the risky road, the tough road, the
difficult road, but the only correct road and the only road through which
we could enable the people to progress and win true happiness; the only
true road to the solution of the people's problems.

We had to confront those interests; we could not expect those
interests to come and resolve our problems for us. To solve our problems,
we had to confront those interests and we had to face the consequences of
the measures we were going to take; and so there was no alternative; the
revolution followed the correct road. The revolution did not tell the
people: "Spend more than you consume." "Consume more than you product." It
does not matter if foreign capital comes to make you a slave. We told the
people, do not expect your solutions to come from foreign capital. Consume
less than you produce. Save in order to be able to invest because you
cannot hope to get any money from abroad; you have to get the money here,
at home, the money which you have to save; the money has to come from
national production, from that portion of our national output which we
invest instead of spending it. In other words, instead of eating the 100
pounds of wheat which we produce, we are going to spend 90 pounds and we
are going to invest 10. We cannot consume all of these pounds because if we
do then we will not have anything to plant; if we do this, then we will not
be able to give work to those who are unemployed; nor will we be able to
raise the living standard of the people.

And this was the only correct road for a people that wanted to
liberate itself. And if foreign capital does come, it will not be foreign
investment capital; it will be capital that will be given to the nation so
that the nation may invest it, so that the industries may belong to the
nation; and the nation will pay through its production; but the enterprises
must be national enterprises; the country cannot continue to depend on the
will of foreign masters. The country must be the master of its own wealth
because a country cannot be free if its economy belongs to foreigners.

They do not want to control only the economy they also want to
control politics and they want to control all aspects of the nation's life.

The detractors of the revolution and the reactionaries advised us
to pursue a policy of handling the economy over to the foreigners so that
the country would have foreign masters; so that the happiness of the
people, the security of the people, the standard of living of the people
would not depend on the strength of the people, on the will of the people,
but on the all-powerful will of the foreign masters of our economy; and
this anti-national road was the road proposed by the reactionaries. And
they criticized us, they criticized the revolution because we did not
select this alternative of trying to find foreign masters for our economy;
because, instead, we chose a road that would lead the nation to the full
dominion over its own natural resources and its own wealth.

In these questions, on these issues, there is no middle ground and
the people understood this. Could anybody doubt this? Who could doubt that
the people fully understood all of these truths once they became evident to
the consciousness of the nation? Who could doubt that the initiative would
spring from the workers themselves, the initiative to give up a portion of
their wages?

And so they made this gesture -- not they, who had the most; this
gesture came from those who had the least. The gesture came from the
workers who momentarily are prepared to deprive themselves of a portion of
their income in order to invest it, that is to say, instead of consuming
100% of their wages, they will retain 96% of their wages and they will keep
4% and they will give that to the nation so that the nation may develop its
wealth, so that the fatherland may not have any foreign masters, so that
the economy may be in the hands of Cubans, so that our happiness will not
depend upon the will of the foreigners, so that the will of our own people
will prevail, so that every worker will give to the revolution 4 centavos
out of every peso he makes. He will take these 4 centavos away from his
family and from his children and he will devote them to the liberation of
the country, to the development of the resources of the nation, to the
effort the nation is making now, and to the national savings drive. And
this is the truly moving aspect of this, this is the extraordinary aspect
of this gesture by the workers -- because this is not a measure imposed
upon the people by the government; it was not a measure which the state
imposed upon the workers but it was a measure which sprang spontaneously
from the workers themselves. In other words, a non-democratic government
would have imposed this measure upon the workers. We have loyally and
patriotically defended the interests of our people and the interests of the
workers and the workers very simply have responded with this attitude and
they have spontaneously adopted a gesture which we can display before the
world with true pride because I am sure that our revolution has the
privilege of being able to count on having the support of the people, the
privilege of drawing from the people a gesture as unique as this, when the
people are prepared to give a portion of their income to the nation,
especially that segment of the people who has the least income.

Now, what does that mean if it does not mean patriotism? What does
this mean if it does not mean a revolutionary consciousness? What does this
mean if it does not mean that we have a magnificent and extraordinary
people here? It means that Cuba has every right to look forward to victory,
that Cuba has the most legitimate right to guarantee the security of its
triumph because we have a people such as this. Could this have been done if
the people had not understood it? Could this have been done if the people
had not been aware of this truth, if the people had not been aware of its
duty? Could this have been achieved if the people had been deficient in
terms of revolutionary consciousness and in terms of a spirit of sacrifice?
Could this have been accomplished if the people had not been prepared to
make sacrifices? Could we have pushed on ahead if we had not had such a
people to count on? What would be the destiny of a people that would not
understand this? Well, it would be failure, it would be regression to the
past, it would be an aggravation of the people's ills, it would be ever
greater subjugation to the foreign masters of our economy. And what does it
mean that the people understands this? What does it mean that the people is
prepared to make these sacrifices? It means that the people has every right
to expect triumph because you triumph when you do the necessary things to
triumph, you triumph when you take the measures that are necessary to bring

You triumph when you take the correct road. And is this a
sacrifice that will not receive any compensation? It will be a sacrifice
that will receive the greatest compensation. There are compensations that
are not just material. Satisfaction which is experienced by any of our
fellow citizens when he knows that a portion of his income or a part of his
day helped the agrarian reform is a satisfaction that cannot be compared to
any material satisfaction. The satisfaction which a worker gets when he
again and again contributes a portion of his wages to the defense of
national sovereignty, to the purchase of arms and aircraft, that is a
satisfaction which cannot be compared to any material satisfaction. Perhaps
on that day he had to forego the movies, perhaps on that day he could not
buy something he wanted, perhaps on that day he deprived his family of some
item -- but the sacrifice was made and it passed and it then turned into
satisfaction, the moral satisfaction of having done a noble deed, of seeing
the fruits of that action; that is a satisfaction that does not vanish and
that compensates the individual for any sacrifice he may make. While a
material item can be enjoyed in just one moment, a moral good can be
enjoyed always; and the satisfaction of a working class that knows that it
is playing a decisive role in the destiny of its country and in the fruits
of that effort, that satisfaction will above all constitute reason for
pride and that pride will be eternal. But in addition our people will
receive material satisfactions because of the sacrifices it is making
today. And what does it mean that they are going to invest 4% which they
are saving in this way? It means that the people are going to guarantee the
development of the nation's economy, that they are going to raise the
national output, and that the income of each Cuban will go up as national
production goes up. As we industrialize the country, as we cultivate our
fields with the most modern techniques, as we build dams and irrigate our
crops, as we plant the best varieties, as we make sure that our factories
will be the most modern and will have the highest output, as the army of
unemployed -- who today consume without producing -- enters the production
effort -- so will the living standard of the whole nation go up; and when
the workers or the families ask themselves why they have no more income,
what the causes are, why they cannot spend more each month, then there will
be only one answer: the cause is the lack of economic development. The
cause is the lack of production, because you cannot enjoy what does not
exist, you cannot enjoy what does not exist, you cannot enjoy what you do
not produce, and each time the family thinks of the reasons for these
limitations, the only answer will be that these limitations today are due
to the lack of economic development of the country, due to the lack of
production, due to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people
without work, due to the fact that we have no industries, due to the fact
that we have to import manufactured articles from abroad instead of
producing them here and that the only way to raise the family living
standard, the only possible way, is the road of increasing national
production; and as we industrialize the country more and more, this
generation will receive the fruits of the sacrifice which it is making

But getting the benefits deriving from an increase in the income
will not be all. The children will be guaranteed a higher standard of
living than we have today. The children of our families will be guaranteed
a better life than we have had.

And all of this will not be limited to material benefits. This
money which we are saving today, this money will pay off with interest,
high interest. Why are we going to pay high interest rates? Because these
high interest rates will go to the people; we are not going to pay high
interest to a gentleman who has many millions; we are not going to pay him
interest of 7.5% per year, compound interest, which would enable him to
duplicate his money in 10 years and to quadruple it in 20 years; we are
going to pay these high interest rates to the people only. In other words,
every penny derived from that 4% figure will be as if it had been deposited
in a savings bank and everybody will benefit to the degree that he
contributes and everybody will draw interest and everybody will be able to
get savings certificates, with the interest, at the end of 5 years from
now. And the individual might draw this out at the end of 6 years or at the
end of 10 years.

In other words, this generation, which is making the sacrifice,
will receive a third compensation, that is, repayment with interest. And
this is why we are now saving in order to increase production, so that we
may enjoy the fruits tomorrow.

In what are we going to invest these 40 million during the first
year? The workers have to know in what this will be invested, in what kind
of factories. And here several comrades have been working many long days,
drawing up this plan. This is the revolutionary government's first little
industrialization plan. And here in this little plan, here we have the
industries and the amounts we are going to invest out of those 40 million
which we get from the workers. Some people have asked whether they would
have any profits coming to them; but it seems that they are a little bit
confused because they think that the worker would be turned into something
like an absentee stockholder of those companies, the kind we are accustomed
to having here. No, sir! The worker is not going to become an absentee
stockholder because the worker is not going to exploit the other workers.
The worker will become a creditor for the benefits derived from the
development of the country and he will become a creditor for a portion of
the compensation which the people will gladly give him in return for his
effort; this is what the nation will give him for his effort. And we know
what goes on in a company; if the company runs smoothly, then there are big
dividends for the shareholders; if the company runs poorly, then there will
be losses and there will be no dividends and the value of the shares will
drop and the investors will lose money. How could we possibly come out with
this conventional method and how could we tell the worker that he will be
part of an economic adventure and that if the undertaking goes badly he
will lose money and if it goes well he will gain a lot? No, sir, here
everybody shares the risk, that is to say, everybody makes the same profit.

We are going to establish ten factories and if one of them has a
big output then there will be a big profit and the other factories will
make less or very little. We are not going to break up the profit here over
any specific group of workers, those perhaps who contributed more and those
who contributed less; this is not a matter of luck; this is a total
investment and the resources belong to the nation; the individual worker
will not run any risk in his investments, this will not be a matter of luck
for him. No, sir: the state will guarantee his interest, his profit; quite
possibly, there are no companies that are going to pay the kind of profits
that the workers of the nation are going to get. The factories can be made
to work only with the resources of the nation and the nation can gain as it
develops its own wealth; this money will multiply; this wealth will
multiply and it can then be distributed as just compensation for the
sacrifice that is made today.

Now, where will the state get the money to pay that interest? From
its resources. We will certainly pay those profits, we will turn them over
to the people, we will not turn them over to any private company; this is
not an absentee corporation, nothing of the sort. These factories are going
to belong to the "People's Company, Inc." These are industries of the
people; they are industries of the people where the people are going to
contribute, the children, because the children of the workers are putting
their little pennies in, and that will help make up those 4 centavos, so
that the kids will also be able to contribute to industrialization.

And the people are going to get the benefits because the state --
what would the state want these profits for? The state is not a company;
the state is not an employer; what would the state want these earnings for?
The state does not have a purse, the state does not have a bank account.

The money belonging to a private individual is kept in a bank and
he spends it through the bank; but the income of the state is spent on
hospitals, on teacher pay, on universities, on all of the public services
rendered by the state, on highways, on roads, on sanitary facilities, and
on doctors. The state has no private account, no pocketbook of its own; the
state keeps nothing. And this revolutionary state does not rob anybody of
anything. If anybody unfortunately should forget what time we are living in
and if he should take something that he should not take -- well, for that
we have the revolutionary tribunal.

The state, all of its resources, all of these resources belong to
the people; the state does the accounting and manages the expenditures,
manages the way in which the resources are spent; and every penny the state
gets through taxes, which are a part of the national output, is invested to
satisfy the needs of the people. I wish the state had a lot of money so
that it could take care of all of the necessities we have in terms of
hospitals, the many necessities for which we have to wait for a number of
years before we can meet them, because these 40 million cannot be invested
in building parks; we have to invest them in industries because our problem
is a problem of development.

Now, in what are we going to invest these 40 millions? We are
going to invest it in the following industries: first of all, in the
agricultural and animal husbandry industry. One pre-cooked rice factory:
250,000 pesos; oil extraction and storage facilities: 3,220,000 pesos; the
first of these factories will employ 25 workers; the second one, the
extraction and storage facility will employ 30 workers; there will be the
one factory turning out jute bags: 6 million pesos, 400 jobs. One factory
turning out yucca starch, 470,000 pesos and jobs for 17 workers. One rice
paper factory: 2.3 million pesos and jobs for 200 workers. A cotton mill:
1,840,000 pesos, 100 workers. A feed factory: 1,720,000 pesos, 600 workers.
A feed raw material plant, dehydrated sugar cane juice: 200,000 pesos, jobs
for 1,600 workers.

Total for the agricultural industries: 16.6 million pesos, with
jobs for 2,874 workers.

Second, we have the mining industries: the manganese program, 48%
synthesized mineral; 500,000 pesos. Jobs for a maximum of 947 workers.

The copper program, 30% concentrated mineral: 3,560,000 pesos;
jobs for 1,273 workers. Total: 2,220 workers.

The textile spinning industries: one plant in Matanzas, costing
4.6 million pesos; 539 workers. One plant in Havana, costing 3.7 million
pesos; 431 workers. One plant in Oriente, 4.6 million pesos; 539 workers.
Fabrics, one plant in Matanzas: 2 million pesos; 272 workers. One plant in
Havana: 1,450 million pesos, 191 workers.

One plant in Oriente: 2 million pesos, 272 workers. Total, 2,244
workers in the textile industries with investment of 22,750,000 pesos. In
the agricultural and animal husbandry industries, in the mining industry,
and in the textile industry, we will thus have a total investment of 40
million pesos. And these 40 million pesos will be part of a greater plan
covering five branches of industry: first of all we have the agricultural
and animal husbandry which we mentioned before, and then we have the
chemical industry, the steel industry, the mining industry, and the textile
industry. This entire plan covers these three categories and in which we
are going to invest 40 million pesos, plus two categories, the chemical
industry and the steel industry; and so we are going to have the following
breakdown: agriculture and animal husbandry, 16,000,600 pesos; jobs for
2,874 workers; chemical industry, 32,700,000 pesos, jobs for 645 workers.
Although the chemical industry does not employ large numbers of men, it
nevertheless vital to the development of our agricultural plans, above all.
In the steel industry, 66,2340 [sic] pesos, with jobs for 2,787 workers.
Mining industry, 4.6 million pesos, 2,220 workers; and textile industry,
22,750,000 pesos and 2,244 workers. For the entire plan to be carried out
by the national institute of the agrarian reform, covering our industry for
the next 12 months, we thus have a total investment of 151,846,000 pesos
and we are going to be able to give jobs to 12,770 workers. These
industries will be distributed all over the country, in accordance with the
location of the raw materials and the requirements of each region; they
will be well distributed on a basis of equality. This amounts to an
investment of 151,880,000 pesos, in other words, almost 152 million pesos.

Now, how much do we have to spend in terms of foreign currency? A
portion of this we are going to pay with national currency, that is to say
construction projects; but for a series of expenditures we are going to
have to spend foreign currency on imports amounting to 98,323,000 pesos; in
other words, this program, this first "little" industrial "plan" of the
revolutionary government will cost us 98 million in foreign currency. This
is the foreign currency which Comrade Guevara is now saving for us in the
National Bank. And so, if you hear that certain luxury items are no longer
on the market, and if you hear any complaints from those people who have
been enjoying these luxury articles so far, then it will simply be because
we are saving foreign currency in order to industrialize the country. Now,
this program is a part of other plans which include industries such as
refineries and metallurgy; this also includes a steel foundry and a steel
processing plant so that we can produce steel ourselves; these plants are
more expensive and we are going to plan them and we are going to establish
the various projects in this industry with the 100 million peso loan which
we are getting from the Soviet Union. But those industries, which involve
the figure of 152 million that I mentioned earlier, will take about a year,
maybe 12 to 14 months, to set up and get going. The others will take more
time because they will take a long time to study, it will take a long time
to do the necessary research on these projects and to do some prospecting
for the various deposits and then to build these facilities. These "little
savings" of ours are in addition to the credits which we can mobilize; but
we must not be content with that; we have to try to invest more and more
each year, as our output increases and as our wealth increases; we have to
invest more each year. This is the first plan, based on our exclusive
savings from the people, the resources which the INRA can mobilize for this
industrial plan, which means jobs for about 15,000 workers immediately --
but it also signifies jobs for 40,000 workers, indirectly.

And this does not only mean jobs; it also means the transportation
and production of raw materials. An oil extraction plant can employ 25
workers but thousands of people are busy producing the raw material for the
oil and they cultivate the fields and they transport and store the material
and they distribute these products. Furthermore, a spinning plant might
create jobs for 300 or 400 or 500 people but thousands of persons are busy
growing cotton, packing cotton, storing it, transporting it. In other
words, first you have the direct employment possibilities and then you have
the indirect employment possibilities; in addition we must also add the
fact that the increase in consumption will force us to produce more in
other factories, such as cigar factories or factories turning out other
products, and these factories will likewise consume raw materials and this
in turn will lead to an increase in employment in those factories.

This is the industrial plan of the National Institute of the
Agrarian Reform this year; in addition we have an agricultural plan
involving another 150 million pesos.

All of these industries are set up in a certain specific order. We
are studying these industries with a view to determining the most important
necessities; all of these industries are intended to enable us to avoid
having to import articles from abroad. And so, all of the industries we are
going to study in accordance with our order of priorities will be based on
realistic needs, not on any arbitrary opinions. Sometimes, factories are
not built in accordance with requirements and sometimes five factories are
built to turn out the same items and money is wasted. But how could we
possibly waste any money? What we have to do is to invest our money wisely,
on the basis of our priorities and in keeping with our needs.

In agriculture, we are going to have an extraordinary employment
situation and in many parts of Cuba, in the rural areas, we have already
done away with unemployment. We are also going to revive animal husbandry
and we are going to drain the Zapata Swamp. This does not include
investments in public beaches and tourist centers; this does not include
investments in housing facilities; it does not include investments in other
public works, nor does it include investments in schools. In other words,
we have already taken the first step toward industrialization; as Comrade
David Salvador put it so well, we had issued our "call for the
industrialization of the country" on this 24 February.

We will invest 300 million in agriculture and industry. This is
the battle for the economic development of our country and for the
elimination of our ills. Of course, this is not an easy road; you know who
is threatening us; you know who is talking about economic reprisals; you
know who is talking about maneuvers and cutting our sugar quota and so
forth and so on -- while we are trying to sell our products, to develop our
economy, and to sell our products. Does this by any chance mean that we
have to retreat? Does this mean that we have to abandon all hope of
improvement because they are threatening us? What is the correct road for
the people, for a people that wants to make progress? Do we by any chance
want to live off the labor of other people? Do we want to live off the
wealth of other peoples? Is that want we want? What do we want here, we
Cubans? Well, we certainly do not want to live by the sweat of somebody's
brow; we want to live by the sweat of our own brows. We do not want to live
off the wealth of others, we want to live off our wealth, we want to
exploit it intelligently, so that we may be able to satisfy all of the
material needs of our people; on this basis we want to solve all of the
other problems of the country, because we are not talking economics purely
in economic terms; we are also talking in economic as a basis for
satisfying all of the other needs of the country; the need for education;
the need for a hygienic and healthy life; the need for a life that will be
not just a life of work but also a life of recreation and relaxation; the
need for satisfying the great spiritual and cultural necessities of the

In other words, we are fighting for the most legitimate objectives
any people can fight for, for a right that is so just that nobody could
possibly challenge it. We can say a million things, but that does not
automatically mean that they are all right; if we ask an assembly of the
peoples of the world whether it is just for each people to aspire to live
off its own wealth and off its own efforts, then all of the peoples of the
world will say that this is the fairest thing for anybody to do.

And peoples were enslaved precisely whenever somebody wanted to
violate this principle. When somebody violated this principle, then we had
war and disasters and humanity must march toward the aspiration that each
people can live off its own efforts and its own resources; of course, some
peoples can help others, but no peoples can ever exploit other peoples.

This, very simply, is the essence of the revolutionary effort;
this is the reason for the existence of the revolution which need not
reproach itself for anything. There may be some mistakes made; the
revolution is not omniscient; and men are not omniscient either. The
leaders of the revolution are not wise men; they are like all other people,
like all men who work had to see to it that everything goes well; they are
only doing their duty at the post that has been assigned to them. But the
revolution has nothing to reproach itself for because it is absolutely sure
that it is doing the right thing.

If our enemies had any idea of what a people is really worth, if
they were sensitive enough to appreciate the moral qualities of their own
people, then even our enemies would have to recognize the admirable essence
of this event today, this unprecedented act in our country, an act that is
possibly unprecedented in other countries likewise; this preparedness of
the majority of the people to make a generous and great sacrifice for a
program, this spectacle of a people doing the governing, because we have
come here today to report to the people, to talk to the people, to talk to
you, you who are the representatives of all the workers, you who are going
to launch this plan. We have come here to give you an accounting of what we
have done, of what we have been able to do, and, for example, the
revolution has not only raised the income level by 300 million but we have
also rendered many other services, services to the people; every highway we
opened has been a service to the people; every beach we developed has been
a service to the people, people who in the past did not enjoy these
benefits; every tourist center, every school has been a service to the
families who are going to enjoy a series of services such as they never had
before and who are going to enjoy benefits they never had before.

In other words, we have been able to raise income levels up to a
certain limit and no more but in return for this we have improved other
services to the nation and we have resolved incalculable problems and we
have built for the people; and because of this, for example, many peasant
families today have teachers or they will have them within a few months, to
terminate our program for sending out 2,000 teachers, on the basis of the
effort we are making here. For example, we can mention here not just the
school cities which the Rebels are building but also the fortresses which
we have converted into schools. Today we had the satisfaction of dedicating
one of the biggest of these facilities: the fortress of the old regiment of
Holguin. We have transformed it so that nobody will recognize it now; we
have turned it into a splendid and marvelous educational center which has
left a lasting impression on us because in terms of its beauty and
magnificence it exceeds anything and everything we had expected to come
from the efforts of the workers and the technicians and engineers of the
Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Education. This is the third
such facility which we have turned over, ready to go, and we are going to
go on to similar facilities in Las Villas, Matanzas, and Pinar del Rio,
plus Ciudad Libertad, where they are still working. In other words, in
terms of military barracks and fortresses that have been turned over to the
people, we have created spaces for 40,000 children; that is to say, 40,000
children are going to study at primary school centers, with all of the
necessary athletic fields, with all of the necessary recreational and
hygienic facilities. And we are going to have buses to pick them up, those
who live far away, and we are going to take them to the beaches; and we
have accomplished all this in a very short time, not counting the schools
which we are building; not counting, for example, the 30 or so schools
which we have built in the city of Havana alone; 39 or so school centers
which we have converted from fortresses; we have adapted them in such a way
that 40,000 children will be able to start out in the next academic year;
and that means 40,000, not 4, not 40, not 400, not 4,000, but 40,000
children who are going to get an education, under conditions that used to
be the privilege of the rich who were able to afford these schools; and the
poor, if they had any schools at all, they had to go crumbling schools
without any facilities, without any recreational facilities. And this is
only a beginning but we are building a school city apart, not a facility
that used to be a fortress; we are building one in front of the Sierra
Maestra, this is part of the construction program for the construction of
school cities and that school city which has not yet been finished, that
school city which will take about two and a half years to finish, in other
words, we are now finishing the first of these 35 units, that school city
there already has 200 or so children there because we do not want to lose
any time. We hope to finish this facility in 3 years and then it will take
about a year of organizing this facility so that the students will be able
to move in during the 4th year. No, we are finishing a building there; we
are going to fill it up with children and these children are going to be
participating in the planting of fruit trees. These are services which the
families will receive. Now, these will be 40,000 children from humble
families, worker families, who will get an education that they could
otherwise not have afforded. A family that has 3 or 4 children will
actually get a wage increase because the worker can spend this wage
increase with his family and when he gets services that are worth 30, 40,
or 50 pesos, that is certainly tantamount to an increase in family income;
and we are certainly improving his living standard when we give him a
pretty house with a garden, such as the INAV is doing now, when we give
that house to a worker for 20 or so pesos.

In other words, this is the achievement of the revolution which
has converted the vice of gambling into the virtue of saving, the
revolution which fills the country with schools, which turns the fortresses
into educational centers, which cultivates the fields, which organizes the
beautiful and scenic spots throughout our country for the recreation of our
families, so that the workers can get rest and recreation there; this
revolution employs more than 100,000 Cubans in just one year; this
revolution increases production in all areas; this revolution prepared an
industrial program. In other words, this is a revolution which is making
every effort within its limited resources, to help solve the problems of
the people, utilizing everything we have available, utilizing the
enthusiasm of the people. This is the government; this is what a government
should be. We actually have forgotten what a government should be like; we
thought that a government was a group of gentlemen here who lived as well
as they could possibly live and who plundered whatever they could get their
hands on, with nobody saying anything. Governing is a very simple concept:
it means working to represent the nation, it means following the sense of
the nation, it means interpreting the needs of the nation, but shoulder to
shoulder, arm in arm, with the nation. This is what the government is, men
who are displaying their high sense of responsibility, men who work for the
people --not men who hold power because they pulled off a cou d'etat; we
had neither armies nor rifles nor anything and we had to start from
scratch. How could the revolution ever come to power if the people had not
helped it? And why is the revolution in power? Why is the revolution in
power if not because the people supports it? And so, in spite of all of
these threats and all of the enemies we have, the revolution is in power
because it has the support of the people. Not even our most stubborn
enemies could deny this, not even those who accuse us of all kinds of
things, not even they could deny that the revolutionary government has the
absolute majority support of the people. And one thing they cannot explain,
one thing they can never explain is why we have the support of the people;
if we were the kind of government they say we are, if we were an
irresponsible government, if we were an inept government, how could we have
the support of the people? In other words, why should the people give us
their support? The people do not support bad governments; the people sight
against bad governments. Our people has always, almost, always
systematically been the enemy of all governments; but for the first time
the people now support the government and they are identified with the
government because for the first time the people have the feeling that the
government serves them; the people have the feeling that the government
fights for them; for the first time, the people can be sure that the
government looked out for their interests and that, within the existing
limitations both in terms of men and resources, we are making every effort
to help the people because we perfectly well understand our obligation,
just as you have understood it.

And it was only logical for the people to respond to us. The
people responded -- no matter how painful this may be to the enemies of our
people. And it is logical that those who do not serve the people cannot
count on the people. And we count on the people so that we can better serve
the people. We do not presume to be any wiser than anybody else; we simply
presume -- and actually we do not just presume, we simply take action -- we
simply presume that we are acting in keeping with our duties and our
convictions, because we understand these problems. And on the basis of this
conviction we try to march forward, without any worries and without any
fears. Here, everybody is calmer day after day, everybody worries less, and
we are sure that we will continue to solve our problems as we continue on
this road, untold as we are, people and government making common cause, the
way a people and a government should be.

And someday we will reap the reward -- above all the future
generations will earn the prize. This generation will receive its portion
of the prize and the future generation will receive a larger part; and this
same generation will receive its benefits and we are today producing for
those who are yet to come; we produce for the younger generation, the
thousands of youngsters, we are working so that all of these thousands of
youngsters may turn into adults, we are working so that all of this army of
unemployed may be put to work and so that our youth will have safe jobs.
Today we are working for the children who cannot work as yet; we are
working for the old people who can no longer work; we are working for the
disabled who cannot work; we are working for a future generation; we are
working for the children who are growing up, who will be better trained
than we; and they are going to have many more schools and universities;
they are going to produce much more than we; they are going to have more
knowledge and more experience, all of those thousands of children, all of
those intelligent minds to whom the light of knowledge is now available;
from this seed, which we are planting now, we will also harvest the fruits
because we will have a much better prepared generation, with the necessary
mechanical and technical resources, with sufficient educational resources
to produce double and triple and maybe 5 times more than we produced.

And someday our generation will be old, someday we will retire,
someday these children and these younger generations of today will be
producing and they will be working; and as we were successful in training
this younger generation and in developing our wealth, so will this younger
generation, as it grows up, guarantee our security because today our
generation is working for them but tomorrow they will be working for those
who can no longer work, they will have to work for their parents, they will
have to work for those who have retired. And as we manage to multiply our
production output, each and everyone of our citizens will have a guarantee
for a happy and secure life. Unlike today, when we meet old people in the
streets, we will no longer have situations in which old people approach us,
old people for whom we cannot do anything individually because if we could
do something for them individually we would not be living in a
revolutionary system; we have to solve their problems through our
organizations, we have to give them what we can on the basis of our
circumstances. And this is why we all suffer.

And this is why I said that it is very sad to think what our
fatherland could have been like if we had not lost all this time. And this
is why we suffer but we also have the hope that things will be vastly
different in the future and we have the right to think that the dreams of
those who founded this revolution and who launched the struggle on 24
February, 75 years ago, the dreams which we have proposed to carry out, we
certainly have every right to hope that these dreams will be reality