Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Obra Revolutionaria, Havana, No. 9, 16 June 1960, pp 5-20

Comrades in the food sector:

We have gathered tonight in a meeting -- which is certainly well
attended -- because we have many things to talk of (applause).  I believe
that I am not expressing myself well ...  I wanted to say that between all
that the comrades preceding me have said and the little which I have to say
... (exclamations of protest).

Some days ago, when we met in this same theater with the construction
sector, we told then, we explained to them, how a revolution is a very
complex process, and it sometimes happens that the laws of the revolution
or the attitudes of the revolution not only affect the interests of rich
institutions or persons, as they always do, but that despite the fact that
the revolution is a process the basic object of which is to aid the most
humble sectors of the country, the most needy, it sometimes happens that a
revolutionary measure does harm to a humble sector, too, an inevitable
thing in such a process. This happens, only occasionally of course, but the
workers should never be concerned if a worker's sector is occasionally
adversely affected by the revolution, because we never will forget the
situation in that sector, that is to say, we are always conscious of it. We
explained how, for example, the controls on exchange, the policy of
consuming national products, might affect a part of the sector working in
these centers, as has also occurred with the food sector, and that day we
also mentioned that a part of the sector had been affected adversely by the
revolution, that is to say, more properly speaking, it was not adversely
affected, but the branch of the country's economy represented by tourism
was affected. Why were the workers not affected? Simply because to date we
have taken every measure to ensure that they would not be. More properly
and exactly speaking, we can say that only a very small group suffered.

I am going to explain some of the details.  In the large hotels, there
has been no decrease in personnel because on some occasions, at times of
crisis, they have been financed to avoid dismissing personnel.  However, we
have not been able to prevent tourist drivers, for example, from being

The revolution, from the very first, understood the difficulties which
would be encountered with regard to tourism.  Even when by means of a
revolutionary law an end was put to all types of gambling in the country an
exception was made of the casinos.  We had wanted to do away with
absolutely all illegal gambling, and we discussed allowing the casinos to
continue to operate as a policy to be pursued solely because of the
situation of the food workers.

Just as we knew of the importance of tourism to that sector, we
also knew very well that in our country no proper tourist policy had ever
been followed -- the tourists that came to Cuba were rich people, and to a
considerable extent gamblers, and the practice of sacrificing even our
national modesty provided certain interests profited was adopted. The
gambling was controlled by gangsters. Gangster "maffias" controlled the
gambling. But also these casinos were fed by thieving government officials,
who went there every night to gamble thousands and thousands of pesos. We
knew that when those "maffias" disappeared, when thievery within the
government ceased, there would be a substantial drop in the income of the
casinos and therefore the hotels, because there were hotels which could
only operate at a profit because of the casinos. And for this reason, as we
knew of the worries of the food workers in those days, which they set forth
in a meeting with us, and as we did not for the moment have a way of
resolving that problem, and as we also could not ignore the real situation
of those workers who earned their living from tourism, we did not want to
measure to the point of closing the casinos. And this, you will recall, was
the source of certain disagreements within the government, because there
were some, and we were not, so to speak, unanimous. There was one gentleman
in the government who was absolutely opposed to allowing the casinos to
continue. And the strange thing is that he was not a radical, because if it
had been a question of someone who was a partisan of agrarian reform and
all the radical measures undertaken by the government, we would have
thought well, he is a sincere revolutionary who wants to carry things
through to the end, committing absolutely no gambling, and thus he is
acting honestly. But it was a case of one of these deceitful radicals, a
so-called radical who was racial only in this.

We are speaking of those individuals who re radical in some things in
order to pretend to be revolutionaries, but who in fact are not
revolutionary at all, particularly when it comes to these details affecting
the workers, and who are radical at the expense of the workers, and
particularly, in this case, when it was very convenient, with meals served
every day -- and very nicely served indeed -- to adopt an attitude which in
no way served the interests of the workers who would be left without a
livelihood.  It was very convenient to adopt that attitude in these
conditions,  and on that day a serious discussion developed, and we had to
work hard to ensure that the casinos would be allowed to operate.
Naturally, the argument that allowing the casinos to continue meant leaving
an open breach for the development of gambling again later was used.

We could not conceive of the revolution in this way, and we looked at
things in exactly the opposite manner. The fact that we have reached this
point in one way does not mean that we will not move on to another. From
the very beginning, we regarded the revolution as a process of advance, in
which we must proceed by taking the steps which were possible. In this
case, as with all the other revolutionary measures, we have always tried to
adapt ourselves to the real situation, without renouncing the possibility
of progressing further. If the revolution had believed that its limitations
were established by the first measures adopted, there would not have been a
revolution, because the revolution is a process and above all, it is the
work of realistic men, but realistic in the proper sense of the word, not
in the immoral sense of those who talk of realism to justify rejection of
the highest goals.

Realism means for the revolutionary advancing with his feet on the
ground, but advancing (applause).

There are those who retreat with their feet on the ground (applause),
and they speak of realism, in order to retreat, while we always speak of
reality in order to advance (applause).

And I have recalled all this because it was the proof that we were
concerned with the situation of all the sectors and understood from the
very first that tourisms would have to be affected by the revolution. And
we did not limit ourselves in this concern to the first revolutionary
measures, for possibly never before has such an effort been made in our
country to attract tourists. Just recently we have had the American Society
of Travel Agents Convention, and more recently still, the Congress of Latin
American Tourist Agents (applause). The revolutionary government has
invested millions of pesos in tourism. Not only this, but never before has
there ever been such a plan for projects as we have carried out for the
building of tourist centers and the exploitation of the extraordinary
potential of this sort which exits in our country.

We have tried to offset the inevitable consequences of the revolution
in this sector, making a tremendous effort to promote tourism.  This does
not mean that we mistakenly imagined that in the midst of a revolutionary
process with the characteristics of the Cuban revolution, in a frontal
struggle against the powerful foreign interests which dominated our
country, it would be possible to maintain not only a normal but a growing
volume of US tourists.  But we could not fail to wage the battle.  The fact
of knowing that tourism would be substantially affected by the campaigns
waged from the very first and those we know would be waged as a result of
the revolutionary laws did not mean that we would sit back, for our duty
always is to fight the battles which are necessary, but we did hope to
prevent a drastic drop in that tourist flow.  Something has been achieved,
even if it is only the avoidance of an immediate crisis.

And also we have given you the conviction you have that we have done
everything possible for tourism (applause).  For the time being, our great
hotels were dependent on foreign tourism, basically US tourists.  Their
prices were very high and thanks to that tourist flow, a part of which, I
repeat, came to attend the casinos, along with the fact that thieving
government officials and misappropriators of state funds dropped hundreds
of thousands of pesos every week at the tables, those hotels were able to
operate at a profit.  Like everything in our country, tourism was
exclusively designed for the enjoyment of the privileged, and there was
never tourism in Cuba designed to encourage the US workers to visit Cuba
under conditions within the reach of these workers (applause).  The US
workers could not enjoy these advantages, just as the Cuban workers could
not enjoy (applause).  The Cuban workers had no reason to go to a gambling
casino, the Cuban workers could not lodge in any of these hotels, the
humble families could not allow themselves these luxuries.  But it was thus
that tourism was organized and although it was so improperly oriented,
although logically so from the point of view of this system of life in our
country, thousands of workers depended on this organization, and it was not
possible to find an immediate solution to this problem.

Thus the first 18 months of revolutionary government have passed, and
already it is clearly possible to see what the results have been.  On the
one hand, there has been a substantial increase in domestic consumption,
higher family income, which has permitted a considerable increase in
national tourism.

In this way, a part of the sector benefited, but the tremendous problem
of the large hotels, on the one hand, and that of the tourist drivers, on
the other, remained. Also there was the concern of the workers in this
sector, their continuing worry about their future, and the fact is that
while the owners or the "managers" -- my English is getting worse every day
(applause) -- the administrators of these hotels remained indifferent to
the tourist flow and even sabotaged tourism as much as they could, because
they were acting in accordance with their counterrevolutionary thinking and
the interests opposing our revolution, and the workers in the large hotels
were constantly worried about the number of tourists who arrived at the
hotel daily, the drop in the number of tourists, and it was they who
fretted and suffered anguish if the tourist flow dropped, as is the case in
all entertainment centers which depend on the foreign tourist flow. The
hotel workers were not and could not be clam, and the same is the case with
the tourist drivers. We remember well that when the campaign for foreign
exchange began, those who were first to bring in as many dollars as fell
into their hands were the tourist drivers (applause).

They did not keep their dollars to sell them on the black market, they
did not keep them to sell them at a higher price to those who were going
to travel abroad.  No, this is what the managers and the owners of large
hotels did -- they indeed acted as if it was logically to be expected they

While the humble tourist driver abstained from manipulating these
dollars and brought them to the National Bank, the owners and the managers
of the hotel who did not live in such poverty as these workers, who had
everything in abundance, were for their part incapable of acting honorably
to the benefit of the national economy. What always occurs happened: there
was egotism among those who had everything, egotism among those who were
swimming in the sea of abundance and there was infinite generosity on the
part of the worker, on the part of those who lacked everything. And thus
the dollars which came into the hotels did not come direct to the National
Bank, but on the black market of the eternal speculators, the eternal
dealers, those who, for their own profit and personal enrichment, ignored
not only the laws of a republic but also the most basic laws of morality
and human solidarity (applause).

A worker could not profit from the dollar, a worker deprived himself of
the satisfaction of being able to take his children some gift, and deprived
himself of it gladly, the worker was incapable of stealing a single coin
from the republic.  On the other hand, the enterprises, no, the enterprises
could not save a single coin for the republic (applause).  And we had a
chance to prove this fully, as soon as we took over the first hotel a few
months ago.  The foreign exchange this hotel sent the National Bank
increased substantially, and it was possible to see clearly how the
thousands and thousands of dollars which had been collected in the
preceding months had not been delivered to the National Bank as required.

And I said that the tourist workers, that is to day, the tourist
drivers, were these who met this obligation most punctually.  For this
reason, we were doubly concerned about their situation, knowing that they
were having a difficult time, until recently we happened to learn that some
30 tourist drivers had lost their vehicles, and this indeed made a bitter
impression upon us, because among those that I had the opportunity to see,
I noted a kind of resignation, a kind of tolerance, that is to say, an
understanding so great, that they did not even complain, that they did not
even express discontent with the revolution.  I saw in these men that
unselfishness, that spirit of sacrifice which is truly admirable, because
they had lost the only thing they had to help them earn a living -- their
vehicles, which represented all they had saved, the vehicles they had
bought on installments, which were sold to them at double the price because
we all know how those sales were made.  They sold automobiles dear, they
charged users' interest, they charged further for insurance,
administrative costs, legal expenses, etc., etc., such that a car bought on
time cost almost double, and naturally, as a result of the control
measures, all automobiles had increased substantially in price.  When a
tourist driver lost his car, the lending enterprise took it back, kept
all that had been paid and also had a car which was worth much more than
when it was sold.  This was a profitable business, like all the businesses
here in our country then (applause).

On the other hand, the workers at the National Hotel had already gone
three fortnights without being paid. On earlier occasions, the government
had not financed the hotels to ensure that the workers would receive their
wages promptly. But in fact, the revolutionary government had no reason to
subsidize these hotels indefinitely, because their managers did not even
try to contribute to our campaign for foreign exchange. We had no reason to
continue to tolerate a situation which was not justifiable from any point
of view, because to this we had to add the fact that the three largest
hotels had been built with national resources (applause). Among the
absurdities of this policy devoted to foreign interests was this matter of
the hotels. The Riviera was built with state financing, for the most part,
and then turned over to foreign interests. The National Hotel had been
state property for many years, and then was turned over to foreign
interests. But the final straw was reached with one of the most immoral and
shameful acts committed in our country in the case of the Hotel Hilton

The curious thing is that there is a gentleman who owns a chain of
hotels all over the world, and who must have a vast fortune, but he wanted
to have a hotel in Havana, too.  The logical thing, at the very least,
would have been for him to invest in order to add yet another link to his
chain.  But no, he did not need to invest any foreign currency in our
country -- for this he had his current foreman, servants and their gang of
helpers, because there is no other way to describe those who made this
operation possible.  Here was the Food Workers' Retirement Fund, here were
the millions of pesos which had been amassed by the seat of the workers,
here were the funds which were to ensure that the workers, after many years
of labor, would have the hope of a pension, well earned rest paid for with
the fruits of their contributions throughout their lives.  Here were the
workers' millions.

And the absurd thing, which can never be justified -- and it would be
well worth it for those who come here, full of resentment against our
revolution, to understand the proper and just form in which the revolution
acted (applause), to understand clearly whether there was or was not a need
for a revolution in our country, to understand if a radical revolution in
our country was needed or not (applause), to understand once and for all
that this revolution was the inevitable consequence of all the immoral
actions and outrages committed in the republic -- should serve as an
example. The money of the workers was invested in the building of a hotel,
a gigantic hotel., financing absolutely everything, all the installations
all the luxuries, which were then graciously handed over to a foreign
company. It was not even a question of what investment, but of the
investment of the funds of the workers, which were handed over to
foreigners, which is worse yet (applause)!

And thus nothing less than 27 million pesos were invested. The Food
Workers' Retirement Fund provided 14 million, but also there was an issue
of mortgage bonds totalling 13 million 500 thousand pesos, backed by the
Food Workers' Fund. On the basis of the investment made, the Hotel Havana
Hilton is the second most expensive in the world, and it was paid for by
money representing the sweat of the Cuban workers (applause)! And when were
the workers to have their 27 million back, with the little interest due
them? Any year, the first year, the fund collected by way of income the sum
of 180,508 pesos and 65 centavos. This means that on the basis of 200,000
pesos a year, it would take five years to pay a million pesos. In other
words, multiplying 5 by 27, I think that it would take 135 years to pay
back the money if I am not mistaken. Let us discount the interest to be
paid on the bond issue, and let us assume also that not a single centavo
with interest would be paid on the 27 million. The Food Workers' Retirement
Fund would still have to wait 135 years to recover its investment in that
hotel. Obviously, the enterprise did not invest a single cent, and on the
other hand, it had its profits guaranteed every year. Possibly the
great-grandchildren of the current food sector workers might, if the hotel
had lasted more than a hundred years, have been able to get something of
their investment back.

About the name of the hotel (shouts), this hotel which is yours,
belongs to you (shouts and applause), about the name of this hotel called
the Hilton (shouts and applause) we had a rather ironical idea in the
beginning, but later a worker suggested a better name to me. We had
thought, somewhat ironically, that if a US citizen asked for the Hotel
Hilton, we would tell him "Very well," and take him to the Hotel Hilton,
telling him that there was a comrade who died in the revolution and who
bore that name. But in such a case it might have been assumed that we were
using the strategy because we wanted to exploit the name of the hotel in
some way, and for this reason it pleased us, and we can decide this hero
tonight, when a comrade suggested the name with no connection with any
comrade in particular but which does indeed have a connection with all the
comrades in general: the name "Habana Libre" (ovation and shouts of "Habana

And since this is a name proposed by a worker and accepted by you, who
paid for the hotel, the hotel will be known henceforth as the Habana Libre
(ovation).  And let Comrade Rancano, who is the superintendent of the
hotel, take note of this, so that the name can be changed as quickly as
possible (applause).

It was necessary to seek and find a solution to the problem of the
hotels and tourism in general. It will constitute yet another victory for
the revolution, because tourism was used as a weapon of political pressure,
an attempt was made to use tourism as a tool of economic pressure, an
attempt was made to attack our country economically by making every effort
to prevent US tourists from coming. And, as a proof of the very high level
of the civic and cultural education of our people, at least as a proof of
the extraordinary maturity of the Cubans, we can state, to the pride of our
people, that despite all the campaigns of hatred waged against Cuba,
despite the poisonous propaganda which has been promoted against our
country by the press which has sold out to the great US interests, despite
the constant attacks, despite the air attacks, despite the welcome which
has been given and the aid provided to the war criminals, despite the many,
many reasons for just indignation against this policy, there has never been
an instance in which one of our citizens or a food sector worker has failed
to devote the greatest attention and to show the most extraordinary
evidence of the hospitality and consideration to every US tourist who has
visited our country in these 18 months (applause). This speaks very well
for our people, because never have they let themselves be carried away by
irrational hatred, because never have they let themselves be carried away
by blind passion, and this same people of ours which is ready to die in
defense of its sovereignty, which is ready to die in defense of its
revolution (applause), has always been gentlemanly and friendly to all the
US citizens who have visited our land. This speaks very well for what our
people represent, and shows the honest and intelligent effort our people
are making to advance!

But this attitude of ours has availed nothing -- the campaigns
continue, and the most absurd things have been written in US periodicals,
implanting not only fear but even terror in possible visitors to our
country, saying the most incredible things, stating without compunction
that US tourists have been murdered in the streets here.

And thus, against the efforts of our people, a constant campaign has
been waged against Cuban tourism. Because not only have there been threats
with regard to the sugar quotas, not only have our banks' credit lines been
suspended, not only have there been maneuvers to leave us without fuel, not
only have we been attacked in every possible way, but to all this they have
added attacks upon tourism. And all, absolutely all of these efforts, have
a single purpose: to ruin us economically, to create internal problems for
us, to create unemployment and hunger in our country and they have
undertaken the campaigns they did not wage when our young people were being
murdered in the streets, which they did not wage when the police stations
were centers of terror and death, which they did not wage when our citizens
were being murdered wholesale in the fields of our fatherland, which they
did not undertaken when there was corruption and vice everywhere, murder
and theft everywhere, which they did not undertake when the ministers were
so shameless as to go to the casinos at night to gamble away the money they
stole during the day (applause), the campaigns which they did not wage
then, against that regime of blood and corruption, they are waging now
against the revolution which put an end to crime and theft, which put an
end to corruption, and which has established this atmosphere of calm such
that even foreign spies can walk through our streets without fear

And this is the reality, the effort which has been made to create
problems for the revolution.  It does not matter that it means hunger for
the families of the workers, they do not care and why should they care
about the sufferings of the worker who is jobless.  This cannot be
important to them, as it never was important to them, so long as they can
defend their privileges by destroying the dignity and the revolutionary
awareness of our people.

Thus, to find solutions to the problems under such circumstances will
always be yet another victory.  To find solutions will mean a further
strengthening of the Cuban revolution, finding a solution to each
situation, an answer to each attack.  For this reason we are waging a
battle here against the enemies of our revolution, and we must win this
battle, as we have won and will continue to win all the battles (applause)!

If what they want is to ruin our tourist industry, that is if they want
to starve the workers in our food sector, they will not succeed!  If what
they want is to spread unemployment, they will not succeed!  If what they
want is to slow the development of our program of national tourism, they
will not succeed, because once again, they will come up against the spirit
of our workers and our people (applause).

And here are the first measures, not only central, but repossession of
the hotels belonging to the revolutionary government (ovation)!  Now the
people will manage their hotels, and the people will face the situation as
it should be faced.  Are these hotels unprofitable?  Does the Hotel Riviera
alone cost the republic 180,000 pesos a month, 180,000 pesos with which a
new labor center for the food workers could be built each month?

This means that if a hotel has more employees than it really needs, we
will limit the number of employees to what each hotel requires, but never
without first finding an equally satisfactory job (applause), never without
having previously found an equally satisfactory position for each employee

The people must resolve their problems, but in this way.  The people
do not resolve their problems on the basis of the sacrifice of a single
worker.  And what it costs will be covered by the government while the
necessary reorganization is carried out, and jobs will be given to each of
the workers and employees not needed by these hotels.  The revolutionary
government knows where to find these jobs and for some time we have been
taking steps to make available the jobs necessary in various places in
order to place, that is, to say, to redistribute, the excess personnel at
each of these sites.

This is what the revolution has to do, to distribute the effort
properly, to make use of all its resources to continue resolving the
problems. We have done away with the worries of the workers in the hotels
Why? Because now they will no longer have to live in this uncertainty, and
in this worry. They now will have the certainty that however intensive and
slanderous the campaigns waged against our revolution may be, they are
same, they will not lose their jobs and their children will not have to go
without what they need (applause).

We will make the hotels profitable, in the only proper way and through
the only correct policy which the revolutionary government can pursue.  For
this reason, no worker in the food sector need concern himself about his
work, because no worker will be dismissed (applause).  And naturally, all
their social rights, if for example, they transfer from this sector to
another, they will keep all the rights acquired.  This means that as to
pensions and all the other value they have in this sector they will have in
any sector in which they go to work (applause), even the right to return to
this sector, if that at some later time job opportunities are available
again within the food sector (applause).

And when we have resolved this problem, we will have achieved another
victory and they will have one weapon less for political pressure or for
attacking the revolution economically, just as we have been resolving and
will continue to resolve all the problems, because those who want to
destroy the revolution are constantly calculating what our weak points may
be, constantly attacking the flank which seems vulnerable to them. They are
like an enemy trying to get into a fortress. And faced with this, what
should be our position as defenders of this fortress? We will go forth to
fight them wherever they attack us, we will face up to the attacks and
maneuvers, wherever they come from, whether it is tourism, oil or any other
sector. We will see who will win this battle (shuts of "we will"), we will
see who will be victorious, we will see if it is possible to defeat a
people like this, we will see if it is possible to destroy a revolution
which has as its defenders a workers' class like this (applause).

If these measures have produced results for them in the past, because
the people had not learned the historic lessons that our people have now
learned, it will be best for them to abandon their illusions, best for them
to change their tune (laughter) or rather better for us if they do not.
Ideally they should stop at once, for one by one we will win the battles.
Now it is a battle of tourism and then the other, that of petroleum
(applause), and another, that of foreign exchange -- there, too, we are
winning (applause). And thus we will continue to win, and this is why the
people say "we will triumph!" (Applause and shouts of "We will triumph!"
and "Yankees, no, Cuba, yes!").

And what will we do with the tourist drivers if there are no US
citizens to hire their vehicles.  What are we going to do?  Well, Cubans
will ride, because Cubans, too, have a right to travel.  What should we do
with those who have their vehicles and those who do not?  In this
connection, we have some ideas to discuss here today and we believe that we
can resolve the problem.

First of all, we have those who have not finished paying for their
vehicles and, naturally, who cannot pay this monthly sum. What do we
suggest? We suggest for the time being that they be given double the time
to make their payments (applause), through government credit, for example.
And not only this, for we can also consider the possibility (applause), we
suggest that the loan companies be asked, if we provide this credit, to
make a reduction, because apart from doubling the time, this would be
double the time without an increase in interest of any kind, first of all
(applause). But there is something more, involving a reduction on the total
loan in view of the fact that as we know the vehicles were sold t a high
price and the interest was very high. And with this sum reduced from the
total debt on vehicles not yet paid for, we would provide resources to the
tourist drivers who have lost their vehicles, so that they can obtain
vehicles again and pay for them through their work (applause). And the
trade union people will have to provide us with lists of those who have
really lost their vehicles because they could not pay and have been left
without work. We will make a study of the total sum they owe, in order to
make these suggestions, we will request these things now of the loan and
credit establishments, and resolve the problem for all.

But this alone will not suffice, and we also have another solution to
suggest. Currently we have a deficit in transport to the beaches and the
tourist centers. For example, the following occurred: on Saturdays, Sundays
and holidays and in general throughout the week, there are not enough
buses, enough transport to the tourist centers in the three western
provinces, for example, there is not enough transport to the beaches, to
Varadero, and so the following has occurred to us: to establish -- no, not
private tourist cars (applause). Here, there is a plan which the tourist
drivers trade union people have prepared and it certainly has positive
aspects, but it has some negative aspects, too. We are going to take from
it what is positive. They have planned a program of trips, trip 1, trip 2,
3, 4, 5... 8 trips, so when a family wishes to visit distant places, a
number of sites will be included in each trip to the beach, taking a number
of hours, and this is fine, there are many persons who can pay for such
trips. Here, for example, here is No. 3: "Departure from the capitol, Marti
Statue, Monument to the Students, La Punta Fortress, Maximo Gomez Monument,
National Amphitheater, Cathedral Plaza, Town Hall, Second Corporal's
Palace, National Capitol" -- this doesn't have any beaches (laughter).

Here is No. 2:  "Departure from the Capitol, Marti Statue, Monument to
the Students, La Pumta Fortress, San Lazaro Tower, National Hotel, Monument
to the Maine, American Embassy (shouts from the audience of "no")."  We can
leave out the Embassy (laughter).  "Havana Riviera Hotel, Camilo Cienfuegos
Recreation Park, Municipal Beach, Chorrera Castle, new Almendares River
tunnel, Coney Island Park, Dog Tracks, University, Villaneuva Church,
Cubanacan Workers' Club, Jaimanitas, Santa Fe, Baracoa (applause), El
Salado People's Beach (two hour visit), Barlovanto Tourist Center (half an
hour), residential country club, El Laguito, tourist centre at L and 23rd,
Hotel Habana Libre (applause), University of Havana, return to the Capitol
- duration 4 hours, and cost, 2 pesos 50."  And there are people who can
pay, but there are others who cannot and this is a problem.  But there are
also others, for example, trip 6:  "Departure from L and 23rd, Almendares
River Park, Havana Woods, Vedado Heights, Zoological Park, Republic Plaza,
return to L and 23rd."  There is one problem, and it may be that when a
person visits the Almendares River or the Havana Woods or the zoo once, he
will probably not want to go again, having seen it, and this plan would
inevitably attract fewer persons, because they would have already seen
these sights.  On the other hand, for example, those who go to a beach,
having gone once, go a second or a tenth time.  There are those who if they
have gone swimming once want to go eight times, or something like that

I mean to say that there are places which are not buildings, to which
individuals do not go once but many times, and this is the type of trip we
should plan mainly.  For the time being, we must establish prices which the
workers can pay.  Now how is it possible to maintain these programs for
persons who want to make use of these itineraries and this service?  But
there is another thing which occurs to us,  for providing these same trips,
for example, to the beaches.  Instead of making a trip with a vehicle
rented for four hours, and this is a reasonable period of time, but this
costs more -- instead, for example, dividing up the tourist vehicles in
general, assigning to the hotels the number needed on the basis of the
current tourist flow, and then with the balance organizing these trips, and
organizing a vehicle pool in the central Havana zone for people who want to
go to the beach and find that the buses are full or that they would have to
wait a long time, paying 30 centavos, I think it is 30 to go to Megano
(shouts from the audience of "22").  How much to Cuanabo?  I believe there
has been a decrease ...  And how much to Varadero?  (Shouts from the
audience of "1 peso 55".)

The problem we have is this: the number of travelers to the beaches, to
these centers, has increased, but the number of buses has not increased and
there is a shortage. We cannot promote competition on these routes, because
there is not enough service available. We are resolving the problem by
establishing a carefully calculated price such that for some more or less
the same or a little higher than they would to pay on the bus, people can
travel by car, those used by the US millionaires (applause), and thus the
cars will not have to stand idle. There could be, for example, a large
station area where the cards could gather, with various places marked with
the different costs of trips to distant beaches -- Bacuranao, Megano,
Bermajo Beach (shouts from the audience of "El Salado"), El Salado on this
side, toward the east, now, Varadero, and then El Salado. Then, before El
Salado there would be the Cubanacan Workers' Club, and also, all the
tourist centers which lie to the west -- Soroa, Vinales, San Diego, the
hacienda called the Cortina Hacienda -- no, there was a discussion about
this. It was to be called the Guira Hacienda, but the truth is it had a
name, at any rate, like the Morro Castle, and we are not going to change
it. Here we must leave the name as a reminder of what a large estate was,
although it is now one of the most beautiful recreations centers which has
been built (applause). Then there is Soroa, Bairen Beach, which has been
newly established, and finally, all these marvelous valleys and, as a
worker has said, the cooperatives which are also worth seeing.

And to the east it is also possible to go the the Zapata Swamp and
other sites.  Finally, we can make a cost plan.  If someone wants to rent a
vehicle for a whole day, with his family, it will be rented to him.
Otherwise, whenever five or seven people, depending on the number of
passengers which can be carried, are gathered, then they will be taken
where they want to go and brought back.  Possibly they can pick up
passengers too and these vehicles will be working steadily.  This requires
study.  We must establish prices which will cover the costs and allow just
payment for their work, but we must remember that the more economical it
is, the more people can enjoy this service and the more certain their use
will be.  It need not, for example, be in the summer.  There will always be
a number of places to which the people will go in increasing numbers, and
you can thus have your work guaranteed, among these various possibilities.
At the beginning, perhaps, there will be some problems.  All undertakings
have to overcome certain obstacles at the start, but then, we will
authorize, in ordered fashion, these vehicles which have been affected by
the foreign tourist problem to establish motor pools and undertake these
programs.  This is what they have done of their own accord when someone
wished to make such a trip, following this suggested program of taking and
bringing back various passengers instead of hiring the car for a given
number of hours.

We are placing these suggestions in the hands of the tourist workers'
trade union, so that it cannot only resolve its problem, but contribute to
solving the problem of the workers too, who often cannot go to the beaches
because there are inadequate transport facilities.

Now, for example, there is also the Workers' Club, which is asking that
the lines be extended to it, and I know that in many of these cases there
are problems of sufficient equipment to provide this service, and the
tourist drivers, with their vehicles, can contribute substantially to
resolving these difficulties.  You must suggest and explain to the trade
union what are your greatest needs, and I am certain that they will resolve
your problem, with measures supplementing the other measures of economic
nature.  And in fact, they will be benefiting the entire people, because
the number of people going to the beaches is greater every day (applause).

There is another problem which we must resolve properly.  It is the
actions on the part of the leaders of the food workers in accordance with
the interests of the revolution.  In other words, we have established the
National Institute for the Tourist Industry, which is responsible first of
all for managing the recreation centers which have been recovered, and also
all the recreation centers which have been built, and now and in the
future, as soon as the problem of these hotels has been resolved, they will
manage them too.  Currently, there are a large number of beaches and
tourist centers throughout the island, you have been able to visit some of
them.  And it is the plan of the revolutionary government to continue to
establish other recreation centers for the people and, most important,
within the reach of the people.

Before they could not go to a beach.  Those of you who live nearby know
this.  The beaches were for a very limited number of families, and those
who used one of these beaches without permission were arrested and,
naturally, they could not obtain-permission.  If they were humble workers
or Negroes, permission was not granted.  Only a very limited number of
families had access to them.

Today all the beaches are open.  The rates are very low, and food is
within the reach of the most humble families.  The prices charged cover
only what is necessary for personnel costs, because those who work there
are food workers, and to recover th investment, on a small scale, but only
so as to invest it again.  The prices have been established at the lowest
limit possible economically for this organization.

You know that there, in the cafeterias, food is so very cheap. It is
necessary to maintain these prices, but these centers should have a
rational and very perfect organization. Why? Not only so that they will be
profitable, but so that they will allow a small income which will guarantee
the continuity of the program. The revolutionary government is providing
the Institute for the Tourist Industry with about a million pesos a month,
so that it can develop its plans (applause), so that it can continue
building recreation centers within the reach of the people. If this money
is invested in building unprofitable centers, the program will be
paralyzed. The aim should be not only to be able to invest this sum
provided by the government every month, but to obtain a small income from
all the tourist centers, so that it can be reinvested and the program

This is the only possible way, because if we do not have resources to
invest, this will mean that the program will be paralyzed, and we will not
be able to create new work centers for the food sector workers.  Without
resources we cannot invest and we must organize things in such a way that
the program can continue with unlimited development, without interruption.

Some workers' leaders do not understand this. You know who the good
leaders are, and I will not mention names. There is no need, and I am going
instead to define what a good leader is, not who the good leaders are. A
good leader often has to decide very difficult things. A good leader sets
forth these problems and seeks answers which suit the workers and the
nation. A bad leader is not concerned with this. A bad leader does not
demand an accounting, does not make calculations, does not think of what
the economy of a country is, is absolutely unconcerned with the real fact
that to invest it is necessary to have something to invest.

Bad leaders seem unaware that money does not come from the skies, that
money is obtained from work and is accumulated through savings, that each
one of these centers costs a hundred thousand pesos which come from
production which come from the resources of the country, and that if a
revolutionary government has undertaken the task of developing all the
tourist centers and is carrying this forward on an unprecedented scale, as
the projects visible to all show, it is necessary to invest to develop this
program in which hundreds and thousands of food sector workers are engaged

There are those who are absolutely unconcerned with this.  The centers
are not profitable?  It does not matter.  And where will the money come
from?  They have no idea that the money must come from the people, that it
comes from labor, that each peso which is invested in one of these
projects is a peso produced by a worker.

The bad leader is unconcerned with the economy of the nation.  He is
ignorant, or malicious, or at the very least misguided or irresponsible.
And the workers' leader who, in a revolutionary era, under a revolutionary
regime such as this, is not concerned with the economy of the nation is not
a revolutionary (applause).

There is a very easy way of pretending to be a revolutionary.  There is
even a way which could be called agreeable to appear to be a revolutionary,
when one has no clear understanding of what a true revolutionary is, and
this is to appear to defend the interests of the workers, an interest of an
economic nature, when in fact, one is obtaining temporary advantages at the
expense of future failure, when one is probably defending something which
seems good to the workers, but is nonetheless bad, which might mean the
ruin of an institution, although it may lead or seem to lead to a given
advantage.  This is the method of the demagogue, who does not speak clearly
to the workers, and this awakened egotism, the egotistical concept of
resolving problem temporarily, or the problems of a group, forgetting the
general interest.

As we have said on other occasions, at the time of the establishment of
a new work center, it is not a work center for the sons of millionaires,
but for the son or the brother of a worker.

When we invest we are resolving the problem of a humble man and a
humble family, the problem of the worker in construction who labors there
and the problem of the regular employee who earns his living there, serving
these centers (applause).

If we do not have money to invest, the tourist sector will be
paralyzed.  If we do not have money to invest, we cannot provide jobs to a
single worker more.  If the problem of those who are working is resolved,
that of those who do not have work is not even remotely settled.  Thus, we
must invest, to increase employment.  We must invest, to develop the
economy for all. We must invest to progress.  And, to invest,
establishments must be profitable.  If they are not profitable there can be
no investment, without investment there is no progress, by paralyzation.
Thus, each worker must concern himself with whether his center is
profitable, because this center does not belong to this or that foreign
enterprise,  it does not belong to a private interest, it belongs to the
economy, to the people, the owner of the center is the people, and what is
invested in it is invested for the people (applause), what is saved at this
center does not go into anyone's pocket, but is invested to make more
recreation centers for the people, recreation centers to which you and your
children can go, where the humble children and families of our country can
go, who had nowhere to go before.  These are centers of happiness and
relaxation, of health and joy for those who never had these opportunities,
labor centers for the construction workers, job centers for the food sector
workers.  If what is saved is invested to the benefit of a food sector
worker, it is the workers in the food sector who should be most interested
in ensuring that the centers are profitable (applause).

The leaders who do not understand these realities may deceive the
workers a part of the time, but they cannot deceive the workers all of the
time. The leaders who practice this policy of ignoring the great interests
of the class and the nation will in the long run be cast aside as befits
demagogues and false leaders in a revolutionary process (applause)! Because
what is important in a revolution is not the interest of the moment, but
the future interests, the eternal interests of the workers. What is
important in a revolution is not what is most convenient, but often, that
which is most difficult.

And making enterprises profitable does not mean sacrificing salaries,
it does not mean sacrificing current income. Profitability often is a
matter of distribution and organization. Thus, for example, we have
sometimes gone to the beach and found that there are nine workers employed
in the restaurant, or nine employees in the kitchen, but the same number of
people working during the weekend work on Saturdays and Sundays. They are
too few on the weekends, and too many during the week. A little
organization shows that there should be a smaller number during the week
and a much larger number on Saturdays, so that the employees will not be
idle during the week nor will they have to exert a superhuman effort on
Saturdays and Sundays, to the detriment of their health and at the expense
of good service. Naturally, the status of those who work two days a week
would not be the same as that of those working all week, but there would be
a priority list, and those working two days a week should have first chance
at new permanent job opportunities (applause).

We believed that the solution to the problem of profitability in a
number of centers which had been recovered was the establishment of new
work centers.  That is, if one of the centers was not operating at a
profit, a new one was built, and a redistribution of personnel would be
made, sending some of the excess personnel from an unprofitable center to a
new one.  With this in mind, substantial sums were invested.  We did not,
of course, resort to the procedure of dismissing personnel, but rather
establishing new centers, in the hope of redistributing the excess
personnel at any unprofitable center.  While we were promoting this idea,
we found that some poorly oriented leaders were exerting pressure on the
National Institute for the Tourist Industry, on the basis of a truly
mistaken concept.  There were two interests to be served, that of those on
the list of applicants, and that of the workers employed at unprofitable
centers, as well as the interests of the institute, which was a single one,
because if one suffers, all will suffer.  But what did these leaders
advocate?  Well, they said that the new center should not take a single
employee from the old ones, but that in all cases, employees should be
chosen from the lists of applicants, and that personnel should be dismissed
from the centers with too many workers, and these people would then be
added to the applicants' list.

They were asking an absurd thing, because it is necessary to serve both
interests.  It is quite proper to watch over the interests of those on the
applicants' lists, and they must be taken into account, but it is absurd
and a very bitter thing to say to a worker already employed:  "We are going
to dismiss you, and you will be put in the last place on the list."  This
is taking jobs from those who have them, which is in fact a very harsh and
bitter thing.  But how, then, could the Institute make any center
profitable?  Impossible, because they would have to have recourse to
leaving workers without jobs for many months, and the Institute could not
do this.  How could ever more new recreation centers be established, since
they require great investments?  It was not possible to make a single one
of the centers with too many employees profitable.

This was an erroneous solution. The correct one would have been to
divide up the new jobs: half for those on the applicants' lists and the
other half for the surplus or unnecessary personnel in a center which was
unprofitable because of the surplus (applause). This was the proper
solution, and the other was demogogic, perhaps resulting from aspirations
of a personal political nature, since it seemed to defend the interests of
those who were without work, but it in fact conspired against their
interests, because if because of the unprofitability of these centers, the
National Institute for the Tourist industry could not invest a single
centavo, and could not create a single job, it would never be able to
resolve the problem of those on the applicants' lists. And the leader who
seemed to be speaking in favor of those without work was in fact working
against them, because how could the problem be resolved without
establishing centers? And thus what may seem just is in reality demogogic,
in reality, damaging to the interests of the workers (applause).

Currently, thanks to the summer season, I understand that virtually all
of the lists of applicants have been exhausted, that is to say, all these
people are employed.  I understand, moreover, that the food sector in
general has many more employees than it had prior to the triumph of the
revolution (applause).  This means that the increase in national tourism
has benefited numerous centers and that on the other hand, the large
hotels and certain entertainment centers, as we are perfectly well aware,
have been adversely affected.  However, in general, the situation as a
whole is much better, and the fact that the problem of the applicants has
been resolved for the summer season means we still have to invest more and
establish more centers, but also that we will have to reorganize, so that
every center will be profitable, and the probability must be the first
concern of each food sector worker, because this is what will make it
possible to provide jobs for other members of their family in the future,
or for other workers, or their children, or the children of other workers,
because you will remember that the population is increasing, and the young
people are growing up.  And thus, we have the vast problem of finding jobs
for those growing up, finding jobs for those without work, and if we do not
do this and if we do not find jobs, who will come to do it for us?  Is it
perhaps the enemies of our revolution who will resolve these problems?  Or
are we perhaps waiting for others to come to resolve them?  No, it is we
who have to resolve them, and to resolve them properly (applause)!

For this reason, close collaboration with the National Institute for
the Tourist industry is necessary, as is constant concern with the
profitability, because our aim must be to make all the labor centers
profitable (applause)!

And finally, the single trade union is now a slogan generously approved
by all the food sector workers (applause).

Some workers were concerned about whether the single union would work
against their interests, and when they asked about this, we answered:  "The
revolutionary government would never approve of anything which would
endanger the interests of the workers."  (Applause).  It is possible that
some were worried about this, but what is certain is that the number of
leaders in the sector was very large, that the costs of the branch were
very high, and that the food workers' sector had something over a hundred
leaders.  This promoted rivalry, this promoted aspirations of a personal
nature, and conspired against the unity of the workers and in the unity of
the workers lies their tremendous strength.  Also, the unity of the various
trade unions which made up the food workers' sector will also be the source
of the great strength of this sector (applause).  This will not adversely
affect the interests of any worker.  The revolutionary government would
never agree to anything which would adversely affect the interests of a
single worker.

And what we should have added was something about an idea which the
revolutionary government is going to put in practice, and which has greatly
to do with you, too -- the creation of the workers' social circles
(applause).  Before the workers had no entertainment centers, no recreation
centers, because in each village we found a casino of this or that chamber
or group, this or that group.  The workers had no recreation centers.
There was no social center for workers in any village.  The first workers'
center was established when a club in which the state had graciously
invested a million pesos to improve the comfortable conditions in a club of
those who had money enough to buy their own entertainment.  Subsequently,
the Ministry for the Recovery of Property took over this club and made it
into the first workers' club (applause), where it is not necessary to buy
the right to be a member, and where dues are based on income.  If a worker
who earns 90 pesos pays 2 pesos, one who earns 350 pesos will pay 6 pesos
to be a member of this social circle.  Rather than clubs, we are going to
call these workers' social circles (applause).

But one workers' circle would be nothing, because there are many
workers who live in Luyano, in distant parts of the capital, who may be
too far away to come at night, for example, to engage in some sports
activity at this social circle. One circle is not enough, we must proceed
to establish circles in all parts of the republic, workers' circles,
because there is one advantage the aristocratic circles did not have,
because each of them, each club had its little aristocratic group, its
elite, and the members of one club could not go to another. They were
eternally condemned to look at the same things as always and to go back
again and again to the same place (applause). The workers' circles cannot
be established with these narrow horizons, the workers' circles must be an
institution belonging not to a group of workers, but to all the workers
everywhere in the republic. This means that a worker from Santiago de Cuba,
if he comes to Havana, can visit the Havana Workers' circles, because he is
a member, not of a given circle, but of all the workers' circles in the
republic (applause).

And thus, for example, we already have the first workers' social
circle, that of Cubanacan.  There, as you know, we have some
installations, but they are not enough.  We do have golf courses covering
two caballerias there, which will suit admirably for the development of a
number of sports fields (applause).  Now the workers' circles will have a
new institution, the workers' theater.  And you know where the workers'
theater will be?  You are in the workers' theater (applause).

Some times the workers could not take their families to see a good
film, because they had to pay for comfortable seats at moving picture
theaters, they had to pay a pesos for each member of the family. Now with
this theater, which will be operated by the National Moving Picture
Institute, and which will be a part of the workers' social circles, there
will be a center where the workers can see the best films for 20 centavos
(applause). But also, if the worker is a member of the workers' social
circles, he will have to pay only 10 centavos (applause).

But this is not enough.  The municipal commissioner of Havana, Comrade
Llanuza (applause) is building various centers which will be placed at the
disposal of the organization of the workers' social circles.  A children's
recreation center is being built.  Marti Park is being built, others are
being built, and, the most important thing, a great idea is being launched.
Plans call for an investment of a million and a half pesos in a tourist
center oriented toward foreign tourists.  But under the new circumstances,
it has been decided that it is much better to invest this million and a
half in establishing workers' social circles in the various parts of the
capital (applause).

This means that the gymnasiums, the halls for lectures and fiestas,
swimming pools, indoor games, but not games of interest. I mean by parlor
games ping pong, for example (laughter), all these centers to which the
worker or his family can go, after working hours or on holidays, will be
located near their homes, and if they want to go to the Cubanacan Social
Circle, they will go. If they do not want to go there, they can go to the
movies and for 10 centavos, the worker can come, and he will pay the same
for the other members of his family (applause). And, of course, this will
not affect the other moving picture houses, the workers in the others,
because those who could not see them before will come to see these films.
What will happen is that more people will come and see certain films than
can now manage to see them, and the other moving picture houses will
continue to have their high attendance. If the workers do not want to go to
the Cubanacan Circle or to the movies, they can go swimming at the pool of
the social circle in their quarter. If a worker comes here from Santiago de
Cuba on vacation, because we are going to organize vacations also based on
the system of 20 days every 7 months, instead of one month ever 11 months
(applause), if a worker comes from Las Villas or Camaguey to visit Havana,
he will have the right to go to the workers' social circles in the capital.
And if a worker goes from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, he will have the same
right to go to the workers' social circles in the capital. And if a worker
goes from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, he will have the same right to visit
the workers' social circles in Santiago de Cuba, this will mean that, for
moderate dues and no admissions fee, the workers will obtain benefits that
in the past not even the millionaires had, because the millionaires, since
there were closed circles then, stayed with their little groups and could
not go to more than a single club. It is simply that when a country is
organized properly, when a country is organized on the basis of just and
equitable and generous norms, a worker can have much more than the
millionaires had before (applause).

Now let us suppose that a worker is not a member, that he does not want
to be a member or does not care about being a member.  This does not mean
that he cannot enjoy these centers, if in the end he wants to come.  He
will only pay 10 centavos more, because it is necessary to provide
advantages to the worker who is a member and who pays his dues promptly.
Workers who are not members are not excluded.  They can come, and any of
the people may come.  And if the millionaire wants to come -- if there are
still millionaires here, if they wish to visit the workers' circle, the
workers will not do to them what they did to the worker.  The worker will
allow them to come to their workers' social circles (applause).

And in these social circles, there will not be bitter discrimination of
the past against any Cuban.  They will be like these recreation centers
which the public beaches are today, where everything is happiness and order
and morality, because the behavior of the workers and the man of the
people has far surpassed all the examples of conduct we had witnessed
earlier.  The morality and the behavior of the workers in the centers,
not those established by the revolution, shows that a new morality prevails
in our fatherland, the extraordinary morality of the humble.

And we said that we had to encourage those who join, because this is
what will really allow us to have a fixed quantity of resources every
monthly to cover the expenditures of the social circles. The first, because
for us the first is naturally the most expensive, because it was a
recreation center for important groups and it did not matter there if the
means were very expensive in the past, because they also paid large sums of
money and they had a certain volume of personnel. However, as we cannot
reduce the number of these workers, we have to proceed to find a way to
make it all profitable. And if we manage to obtain, for example, a hundred
thousand, or two hundred thousands, or several hundred thousand members of
the workers' circles, this will guarantee the functioning of this new
organization. But still the revolutionary government can do more, because
although the cost of the National Institute for the Tourist Industry
tourist centers is very economical, when a worker member of the social
circles goes to use the services of the institute, we can also give him a
slight reduction (applause).

Thus, little by little, we will create these new institutions which are
the reflection of the change which has occurred, which is occurring in our
country.  In the past they were the casinos of the few, the associations of
the few.  The workers did not have recreation centers, the workers did not
have social circles.  These social circles belonged to the dominant class.
Today the workers and the peasants are marching in the vanguard of the
revolution.  Today the workers are organizing militias to defend the
revolution at any cost.  Today the workers, jointly with the peasants, are
building a new fatherland, and the workers' social circles will be the
social and cultural expression of the new era which our fatherland is

In the past the workers could not pay for, and neither they nor their
children nor the members of their families had a right to recreation and
culture. Today, the workers count, and just as in the past the elite
establishment in each little village was this or that colony or casino, in
the future the most select, the most illustrious and most distinguished
site in each little village will be the workers' social circle (applause),
because this day, too, will come. Certainly there are many who did not even
understand these realities. They were so accustomed to be deprived of their
rights, no accustomed to deprivation that certainly many never stopped for
a moment to think why does that family belonging to a club? Why can that
family go to dance on New Year's Eve or on Saturday nights, or bathe in
that swimming pool or play on the field while I can't? Why can their
children go while mine cannot? Why can his wife go, while mine cannot? Why?
Certainly, many were so accustomed to this that they did not stop to ask
why. And this was logical, because what deprived these people of everything
was a regime of privilege, it was a world which had been created by those
who enjoyed all these benefits, thanks precisely to the efforts of those
who worked, thanks to those who produced. This was not slavery as in
earlier centuries, but it was something like slavery, something which on
occasion was more cruel than slavery, because the owners of the slaves took
care that they did not die, while those who had profited from the labor of
the workers did not care if a worker, provided they did not need him, died
of hunger. (applause).

They had created their world, the world organized in accordance with
their way of thinking and enjoying what others worked to produce.  This is
what they so stubbornly defended, this is what the enemies of the
revolution mourn, this is what they dream of reestablishing, this is what
they painted as the ideal for a nation, whereas the sad reality is that the
vast majorities were deprived of the most basic things of life, deprived
even of the healthiest and simplest joys.  They knew nothing but work.  It
was others who knew happiness.  It was others who gained an education,
others who enjoyed conveniences, others who enjoyed abundance.  They had  |
nothing.  Today slavery appears to us to be a very unjust thing.  However,
there were times in which citizens passing a slave regarded him as the
most natural thing in the world.  They saw that man torn from his world in
some distant part of Africa, snatched from the warmth of his family, from
the landscape where he grew up and which had become dear to him and brought
to a world where a language he did not understand was spoken, sold to a
master who had no pity, who enchained him, who made him work from night
until morning, and not only was he slave, but his children would be born
slaves, too, and those innocent creatures would also be destined to wear
shackles on their ankles one day too (applause).

And there were those who passed chained slaves and found this natural,
because they had become accustomed to ignominy.  They saw the fiestas with
their abundant perfumes, colors, silks and brilliant textiles and it seemed
natural to them that while they laughed or traveled in carriages, the
chained men were kept in some enclosure or cell or in a corral like cattle.
They had become accustomed to what seems to us today to be a tremendous
injustice, but yesterday it seemed natural to those who were accustomed to
it.  And when the first men began to talk of freeing slaves, those who
benefited from that system defended it stubbornly and furiously, and they
were ready to fight the most heated battles to prevent these men from being
liberated from their chains.  They did not want to lose their slaves, and
there were those who defended these slaveowners, periodicals which spoke in
favor of them, they had mercenary spokesmen and pens to defend that
iniquity, they had innumerable reasons for justifying it, and they even
said that the world would collapse on the day the slaves disappeared.

Well, then, we are seeing something similar today.  The slaves without
chains, but slaves when all is said and done just as the others were,
because they worked so that others could enjoy the product of their efforts
-- these slaves are being liberated and are creating a just world.  They
are struggling for a different future.

Today, as yesterday, the great interests, those who profited from this
situation, are trying to defend their privileges seriously, and they say
that the world will fall apart if our country does not continue to live as
we lived yesterday.  Thus, one day we, too, will look back with amazement
on the days when the workers was nothing, when the peasant did not have his
plot of land, when his sons had no school to go to, when the workers did
not even have a modest circle to which to go to rest from his labor in his
leisure hours.

When we see the transformation which is occurring in our fatherland,
when we see the efforts which are being made to hinder the people in their
just and noble purpose, we think of those times now past, which we
understand better today, as they will understand tomorrow better than today
the work which this generation is doing. (Ovation)