Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


(Editor's Note--E) Havana, Union Radio, in Spanish to Cuba, Mar. 27, 1960
at 2243 GMT began broadcasting a speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel
Castro to the Cuban Sugar Workers Union. Castro told the sugar workers it
was better to die than to resign oneself to the return of Pedraza and the
other criminals supported by foreign money. He said it is easy to
understand that if this should happen the people are ready to go out and
to meet the enemy. That was easier to understand that what the sugar
workers had just done.

"We have just suffered the sabotage of the La Coubre and planes have
attacked us," Castro said, "and this can be understood." Economic problems
were not so easily understood. The people could learn how to use weapons
but could not understand the economic problem. There had been interests
which the people had not understood and to justify these interests it had
been necessary to invent a system which could not be understood without a
university education. The economy, as it had been, was difficult to
understand because there was no explanation or justification for it. The
workers' lives were spent in a society where their interests were of no
account and only the interests of the higher groups were taken into

Words had to be found by labor leaders to explain the economy in terms the
people could understand.  All that had been necessary was some clear
talking and now the people understand.  The people are being told how to
solve the economic problems.  Each citizen has a share in the operation of
the government.  Their contribution of four percent of their wages was not
due to any government measure but some spontaneously from the people
themselves.  The sugar workers themselves took the initiative after
listening to what the government has been telling them.

The Prime Minister expressed surprise at the nation's high awareness,
declaring that it was higher than "we had every imagined" and that "the
workers' decision was a true surprise." The decision was "most
revolutionary" since "it restricts salary increases." He said that all the
Cuban people would benefit by their decision.

Castro then referred to limitations set by the government on trips abroad
and other luxury items. Businessmen could not take their money out of the
country or spend it on luxuries.

It would be logical not to import any gold for jewelry but the jewelry
workers must be taken into account and gold imports cannot be stopped to
leave these workers unemployed. Imports of luxury items were not for the
sake of people with money but for workers whose employment depends on

The Prime Minister asserted that the picture has changed for the benefit of
the people.  Those who are not happy over the measures taken to this end
have had to invent ways of confusing the people and striking at the
revolution.  They strike at it with treason and divisionism.  Those who
today are attacking the revolution never did anything for the people.  How
could a nation be called sovereign and free if it could not take a single
measure in the defense of its own interests?  All the revolution did was to
change this state of affairs.  There have been many changes.  There will be
many more.

The agreement to accept a wage cut if necessary showed how the people have
awakened and understand are willing to make sacrifices. What the former
regime stole from the workers has vanished. It was not put into new
factories but was squandered or sent abroad.

The exploitation of the Cuban worker could no longer be permitted. With an
increase in production their wealth will increase. The consumption of
chicken in Havana has increased but the organization to meet this demand is
not yet ready. The same thing is happening with meat, rice, and other
commodities. The goal is to increase production as quickly as possible.

Those who invested money in Cuba took out more than they invested. This
policy, which is defended by the DIARIO DE LA MARINA, is the road to
poverty. Many people are hungry, in ill health.

"We could not change things overnight," Castro declared. "Many problems
exist; hunger, poverty, lack of education, illiteracy, and poor health.
Here, in Cuba, only a few are able to attend school. The rest of the
children live in misery and in want. The unfortunate one was never helped
because he did not count. We are going to change things. What is our
doctrine? Our doctrine is that we are going to do here what it is necessary
to do."

"These men who attack us from abroad," said the Prime Minister, "know
nothing about our problems. We will solve our own problems. We know what we
have to do."

Pointing out that the sugar quota was not a Cuban invention, Castro
promised a diversified agriculture and industry because the people wished
to rid themselves of one-crop economy.

The Prime Minister exhorted the workers to give more even if they receive
less. "We must think of those who haven't anything," he said. He said the
money would be invested in industrial plans.

Castro revealed that the latifundias would be converted into cooperatives
and that future sugar crops would be harvested on a cooperative basis. He
prophesied that within 10 years Cuban economic problems would have been

The people now understand what is going on, he said, and though many Cuban
guajiros could not speak or understand English, they knew how to defend
their nation. He warned against accepting propaganda and encouraged a
revolutionary awareness. What was formerly called democracy kept the people
oppressed but what is now called democracy in Cuba gives the people rifles
to defend themselves.

The sugar workers, he said, had been especially loyal in the defense of the
revolution and hold a leading place in the ranks of its supporters. Sugar
mills are the basis of the economy and must be defended. Every mill must be
a fortress. Every sugar worker must be organized, trained, and prepared to
defend the mill in case of aggression. "The road of the revolution,"
concluded the Prime Minister, is clear, straight, and without confusion or
confusionism. With faith in our people we may be sure than Cuban cannot be