Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Source:  Revolucion (Revolution), Havana, 11 October 1960

Speech by Conrado Bequer

Conrado Bequer Diaz, head of the FNTA, began his report by addressing
all those present there as "patriots and brothers."  He explained that
"only a profoundly just revolution, such as the Cuban Revolution, is
capable of rallying all of the factors in an industry, as happened at this
particular plenary meeting."

He explained the significance of competition in terms of the greater
growth of the militia forces in the sugar industry unions, as they compete
for the the "Camilo Cienfeugos" prize of honor.

In connection with repairs, he pointed out that these had been
practically completed and that millions of pesos had been saved for the
revolutionary administration in these budget items "because the sugar
industry workers know exactly what they are supposed to do and because they
understand the full meaning of the revolution and are prepared to defend it
with their lives."  The big sugar refinery at Jaronu was able to save
400,000 pesos.  At Pogreso, a small sugar mill was able to save 10,000
pesos.  Another medium-sized refinery was able to save 150,000 pesos.  And
so forth and so on -- in all of the sugar industry establishments.

"There are workers who are the equals of us sugar industry workers
here," he said, "but they certainly are not better than we when it comes to
aiding the Cuban Revolution."

Next he talked about the help that must be given to the Association of
Young Rebels which must be the "vanguard of the revolution" and which must
be given facilities in all of the unions; he also indicated that the
responsible officials in each zone must promote the recruitment of all
youngsters of sugar industry workers into the AJR [Asociacion de Jovenes R
bides--Association of Young Rebels].

The same must be done in the case of the Federation of Cuban Women said
Bequer, adding that there are unions which have made progress in this
respect, enabling the wives and daughters and other family members of sugar
industry workers to join this important and highly influential
revolutionary institution.

He urged everyone to work as hard as they could and with all their
enthusiasm in order to comply with the watchword issued by Comrade Fidel,
that is, to make the year 1961 the year of education.

"This year we must make sure that all of our sugar industry refineries
and plantations will have the happiest and most revolutionary Easter
holiday in our history; for this purpose it is necessary to create a
committee in each zone, and all elements involved in the sugar industry
must participate in this effort."  We must also see to it that everyone
will have a nice Christmas Eve dinner and we must help everyone celebrate
the New Year and we must also see to it that all of our children will have
toys at Epiphany.  "This would be the best way to demonstrate our triumph
and our joy over the fact that we are now celebrating the second
anniversary of our revolution."

He praised the extraordinary activity of the Social Security Bank which
day after day demonstrates great efficiency in handling applications and
processing cases -- many of which have been pending for a long time.  "We
must have another extension here," he said, "in order to correct the
abnormalities which were committed in many of these cases in which
contributors were stripped by their seniority."  He congratulated the
president of the Social Security Bank, Arnold Rodrigues Camps, and he also
extensively congratulated the functionaries and employees of that
revolutionary government agency.

Bequer then praised the solidarity displayed by the WFTU (which
represents 55 million workers).

Bequer also proposed -- add the plenum unanimously approved a
congratulatory message to Major Ernesto Guevara, who was in Hungary on that
day, for the great job he was doing for Cuba.

He also proposed, and the plenum approved, a message of greetings to
the government and people of the Chinese People's Republic; other
salutatory messages were then approved for dispatch to the Cuban
revolutionary organizations (M-26-7, PSP [Partido Socialista Popular --
Popular Socialist Party], Directive of 13 March, etc), praising their

The secretary-general of the FNTA also proposed -- and the plenum
received with extraordinary applause -- a special message to the president
of the republic, Dr Osvaldo Dorticos, to Prime Minister Dr Fidel Castro,
and the Council of Ministers, for the outstanding measure represented by
the nationalization of the entire Cuban sugar industry.

He talked about the elections which the sugar industry workers were to
hold this coming 24 February; he pointed out that "there must be united and
revolutionary slates of candidates"; on the basis of the positive
experience learned from the elections to the councils of the sugar can
cooperatives, he emphasized that these candidacies and slates should be
made up in this way -- something which, by the way, greatly satisfied Dr
Fidel Castro.  This united slate would make it possible to prevent our
forces from being splintered in the struggle; these are precisely the
forces that are necessary to advance the revolutionary tasks and to
guarantee unity.  The FNTA congress would be held in May but neither that
event nor the elections can be anything but the foundations for greater
support to the revolution and for greater sacrifices for the revolution.

He next referred to the need for arranging powerful and massive
memorial gatherings this coming 22 January, in recognition of Jesus
Menendez, the outstanding personality of the revolutionary proletariat.
There were to be evening meetings at all of the union headquarters and a
central ceremony was to be held in Havana.  The small farmers and other
elements from the people would be invited to attend these ceremonies
because "Menendez was not just a worker leader but a patriot who fought for
the entire people."

Bequer then castigated the big plantation owners, calling them shameful
and treacherous individuals who tried to prevent the small and medium
planters from attending this plenum; they even went so far as to assert
quite slanderously that the Rebel Army would pressure these smaller
planters into attending this event; this lie was circulated for consumption
by the imperialist news agencies and by Radio Swan.  He also indicated that
the planters' association had been liquidated; it never concerned itself
with the small and medium planters.

He urged these small and medium growers to fraternize with the workers
because they were all in the same boat, suffering from the exploitation of
the big magnates and their imperialists and because they share a common
desire for a higher standard of living.  He said that the small and medium
growers would find that the workers in the unions and in the FNTA are their

Then Bequer took up the need for coordinating our efforts with the
construction industry workers, in order to set up the Social Workers
Circles so that we would have 160 such circles in the 160 sugar industry
refineries as of 1 May.

In connection with the technical advisory councils, he explained that
assemblies would be held on the 27th in order to elect delegates.

He also talked about rationalization as a new technical method to be
applied in this industry.

He explained that the 4% wage contribution certificates, for national
industrialization, are already earning 7.5% interest.

It is difficult to increase productivity in a seasonal industry,
explained Bequer, but we will demonstrate that we can increase the output
by producing 5,000 t on sugar, per day, more; this will enable us to save
millions of pesos in terms of fuel, lubricants, equipment, etc; we must
avoid any unnecessary stoppages and we must brief the farm workers in order
to make sure that they will cut the sugar cane the way it is supposed to be
cut.  All of this can and must be done without any drop in our wages, which
are guaranteed.

He also emphasized the need for establishing good relations between
cooperatives and between these cooperatives and the other workers; he urged
everyone to be disciplined and to demand disciplined behavior on the part
of the rest.

Next he explained the measures to be carried out with respect to
vigilance.  He recommended that locks be put on the hoods of tractors and
other vehicles in order to prevent the theft of spark plugs.  He described
general harvest vigilance in greater detail; any strangers in any of the
zones would have to be watched and checked on; there would have to be
nighttime and daytime patrols, etc.  He pointed out that we are in a much
better situation today to repulse attacks from small aircraft but one
cannot deny that the counterrevolutionaries have now resorted to the use of
live phosphorus grenades which are launched from automobiles; he reported
that the worker assemblies had demanded the immediate execution of
saboteurs by firing squad.

"We may suffer some setbacks here and there but we will pull the
harvest off properly," we were told last year; but this year we say" even
though they may drop atomic bombs, we will successfully complete the
harvest of the Cuban people"; this remark by the head of the FNTA was
received with extraordinary applause by the tremendous gathering.

In an extraordinarily vehement paragraph, Bequer sketched the idea of
competition for all workers:  get together with all of the other factors in
production in order to plan for greater productivity, greater savings in
terms of expenditures, and greater profitability.

Bequer concluded his report with the following appeals:  patriots of
the country's most important industry -- the battle for the people's
harvest has been joined; our road ahead will be marked by the natural
obstacles which the enemies of our revolution will put before us but we
will win this battle, just as we were able to win the battle of the 4%, the
battle of the wage freeze, and all of the earlier battles; and if any of us
should run out of steam, we will simply stop and take a deep breath and
return to action, because we are the men specifically chosen by history; as
Cubans, we have always known how to do our duty.  Fatherland or death:  we
shall win.

Miscellaneous Details

This national plenum is the first in the history of Cuba at which all
of the factors making up the sugar industry have gathered; this includes
workers, sugar cane growers (planters), sugar refinery managers and
government officials.  This is also the first of these meetings at which
all of the nationalized sugar industry establishments were represented.

The worker delegates -- there are 4 of them for each of the 230
existing sugar industry unions, plus the provincial officers and the
members of the Executive Committee of the FNTA -- attended the gathering,
wearing the glorious uniform of the militia forces.

The representatives of the small and medium growers -- more than 300 --
were seated in the right wing of the auditorium of the CTC.  When two
speakers demanded the execution, by firing squad, of anyone who tried to
sabotage the harvest and when they demanded alert vigilance during each and
every 24 hour day in the fields and at the sugar mills, in order to prevent
counterrevolutionary sabotage, these cane growers applauded
enthusiastically; they rose to their feet and demanded weapons so that they
and their children could keep watch on the cane fields.

The plenum sat in continuous session from morning until night, with
only two recesses, one for lunch and the other for dinner, everyone sat
down together for these meals, in brotherly union, in the palace of the
Workers.  Here is the luncheon menu:  white rice, hash, bananas, bread,
and beer, served on special trays; the dinner menu included the following:
rice and bean stew, steak, bread, and beer.

The CTC theater was festively decorated with gigantic streamers,
reading:  "600 Sugar Cane Cooperatives Hail Fidel" and "We Demand the
Execution of Saboteurs and Counterrevolutionaries."

The assembly audience stood for a minute of silence in honor of a woman
comrade who died of asphyxiation while helping put out a cane field fire in

Major Fidel Castro Speaks

Amid a deafening ovation, which lasted several minutes, the maximum
leader of the revolution began his most interesting address.

Comrades in the sugar industry:

This is the first time in the history of our country that we have held
an assembly such as this.  Those who really produce the sugar are present
at this gathering.  What you see here is industry and agriculture in their
various forms of production.  First of all, we have the administrators of
the 160 sugar establishments which have been nationalized by the
revolution.  Each one of them is accompanied by the responsible officers of
the militia units from each one of the sugar establishments, the
secretaries-general of all of the sugar worker unions of Cuba, as well as
the administrators and coordinators of the 614 sugar cane cooperatives, and
the genuine representation of those who call themselves the planters of
Cuba.  But they are not really planters because they are not planting
anything; they cultivate their own land on the basis of the agrarian reform
law which gave land to the vast majority of the planters, that is to say,
those who had less than 2 caballerias; this land was given freely, without
any cost whatever.

It is clear that those who arrogated to themselves the right to
represent the first farmers were not aware of this fact because this
representation was fundamentally influenced not by the small growers but by
the big planters.  It was necessary to define this situation and it was
necessary to sit down here with the cooperativists, the administrators of
the sugar refineries and plantations, and so on, as well as the small
growers whom the revolution helped so greatly and whom it is prepared to
help even further.  This is why a meeting such as this could not possibly
have been held before the revolution.  Before the revolution, there was a
clash of interests in the sugar industry which does not exist today.  Today
all of the sectors of the sugar industry can rally here, that is to say,
all of the sugar producers of our country can meet here to discuss their
common interests.  In no way could something that is good for one planter
be in any way harmful to the others; similarly, anything that would be
harmful to some, would also inevitably he harmful to everybody.  In the
past, the sugar policy was directed by the big plantation owners and, in
general, by all ranchers and big operators as well as the big growers, in
complicity with the government that happened to be in power at that time.

The People Did Not Count

The interests of the people did not count at all.  The interests of the
industrial or agricultural worker did not count in any way.  They all were
exploited.  The big ranch owners and the big planters exploited the
agricultural workers and the industrial workers but, more than that, they
also exploited the small growers whom they forced to pay them the
equivalent of 5% of their sugar cane output and whose production quotas
they always sacrificed in favor of the sugar cane interests in the

Problems of unemployment were not of any importance.  Problems of idle
time did not concern anyone in authority.  The ranchers and big growers
preferred to sell less sugar at higher prices in order to make a greater
profit; they preferred to leave the fields standing from one year to the
next; they preferred to have completely unproductive land, instead of using
other and better methods.  The problem of sugar quite paradoxically became
the biggest source of starvation in Cuba -- even though it was the greatest
source of income and foreign currency for the country.

Sugar was our greatness and our tragedy.  It was a tragedy for the
people.  It was never a tragedy for a big ranch operator or for a big sugar
grower.  It was never a tragedy for the foreign company which owned the
largest portion of the land involved; and if it sometimes turned into a
tragedy for a small Cuban ranch or plantation operator, then this  tragedy
turned out to be a benefit to the foreign banks which acquired these
plantations during a period of crisis.  The big ranch operator and planter
did not have any problems.  During the short period of the harvest, they
were able to gather sufficient resources to achieve all of their
aspirations to the fullest extent.  They finished their harvest and they
then went to the capital of the country or they went abroad.  What did they
care about the fate of the agricultural worker after the harvest was over?
What did they care about the fate of the industrial worker as the harvest
drew to an end?

After the last sugar cane had been milled, work came to a halt and the
people were plunged into terror.  And this terror above all hit the sugar
industry workers; it was the terror of idle times.  And so, sugar cane
brought us two tragedies:  idle times or the slack season on the one hand,
and a single-crop economy, on the other hand.  This is how our industry was
organized, likewise.  How many such sugar refineries were set up?  As many
as the big operators wanted to set up.  When a foreign company or a group
of Cuban capitalists thought they could make a profit from a new refinery,
they would put one up.  But there was never any plan.  There was never any
policy.  The problem of unemployment for a period of 9 months throughout
the year never was a problem to them.  For them, the problem was easily
resolved, just so long as they made good profits.  What did they care
about the problem of idle time and the problem of the single-crop economy;
ever since we reached the age of reason, we have been hearing nothing but
talk about these evils.  There could never be any stability in the economy
of a country, there could never be any peace and quite in a labor sector
which was continually condemned, year after year, to a situation of
unemployment for the major portion of the time.

Industrial work was paralyzed and farm work was paralyzed.  Still, the
situation in the rural areas was the most criminal of all because there
wages were lowest, because there the workers had far less in the way of
possibilities of finding other jobs in the meantime.  And the terrible
thing is that this single-crop economy emerges in its full significance
especially when we look at it in terms of its struggle against these
problems, as we sit down and think about these problems, as we closely
examine a piece of land which is devoted to just one crop -- especially
this crop happens to be sugar; in a situation such as this, the
agricultural workers are inevitably condemned to starvation because one
caballeria of sugar cane requires approximately 600 pesos worth of
cultivation per year.

And a vast mass of workers on the big estates, the big sugar
plantations, had to live for most of the year from these 600 pesos --
provided the big landowners decided to cultivate the particular sugar
plantation; but when there was a sugar cane surplus, the situation was even
worse.  At any rate, a population which must live exclusively from one crop
-- especially when that crop is sugar cane -- is a population which is
fatally condemned to hunger.  And that was the situation which the
revolution encountered when it came to power.

Profound Change

But since then, the panorama has changed in many ways.  What
difference is there between this gathering today and the first meetings we
had?  How much has the situation changed since the representatives of the
sugar worker unions and we met here?  In honor of the sugar industry
workers we must say that they won the first battle, at that first meeting,
in support of the gains which we have achieved today.  On that day we could
have mortgaged the future of the national economy once and for all.  On
that day amid the despair born of widespread unemployment, the workers
thought that the problem could be partly solved by instituting four cycles
in the sugar industry.  That slogan was met with the impassioned sympathy
of the mass of sugar industry workers who, for the first time, saw in it an
appeal to the revolutionary spirit of the workers.  For the first time we
appealed to the faith of the workers and for the first time the workers
took a tremendous step forward and demonstrated the faith which they had in
the revolutionary government; they exhibited their tremendous capacity for
figuring out what would be best for them in the long run; together we took
a step which -- today enables us to look at the situation with absolute and
total honesty; but this step would not have been so successful if we had
not firmly stuck to our line; we would not have advanced if on that day we
had allowed ourselves to be stopped or sidetracked by a domagogic attitude,
if on that day we had not also demonstrated our faith in the workers; if
this had not happened at that time, then we could say that imperialism, at
that moment could have plunged the dagger into the heart of the fatherland.

It Was Necessary to Appeal More to Faith Than to Reason

On that day we had to appeal to the confidence of the workers.  There
was no such thing as a revolutionary consciousness at that time.  There was
no revolutionary enthusiasm.  There was revolutionary ardor; there was a
spirit of sacrifice; but we were still far from understanding clearly the
economic and social problems of our country, such as we understand them
today.  At that time it was necessary to appeal more to faith than to
reason.  Today, however, we understand the problems much better and today
we can address the workers in terms of reason because on that occasion in
the past, on that historical occasion, we took the first great step toward
our present policy; we understood perfectly well that there would be
inevitable battles against the big foreign and Cuban interests.  At that
time, however, our people was not sufficiently well organized, nor was it
sufficiently well prepared to go into this tremendous clash of interests;
certainly, it was not prepared as it is today.  We understood perfectly
well that these big sugar plantations and mills of the big foreign
monopolies would someday be Cuban.  We understood perfectly well that
someday the big sugar plantations and mills would belong to the people; and
for that day we made a tremendous effort in order to avoid steps that could
have stopped the advance of the revolution completely; because we were able
to avoid many of these pitfalls, revolution did advance and the revolution
can continue to advance and the country can defend itself against foreign

Industrial Employment Up 35%

What would the revolution have been like, today, in view of the
economic aggression and the suppression of our sugar quota, if we had
indeed instituted these four cycles in our sugar refineries?  Our position
would have been much weaker because the correct thing to do was not to
divide what little we had in the way of employment but rather to create new
jobs and because of this we now have 35% more jobs in our industry,
nationwide, with the exception of the sugar refineries, and we also have
200,000 Cubans working in the rural areas.

We must recall this today because it demonstrates the importance of
knowing how to anticipate and because it demonstrates the importance of
thinking more of the future than of the present; it shows us that it is not
worth-while to exchange a few temporary advantages for future problems;
instead, it teaches us that it is much better to exchange future advantages
for present sacrifices because tomorrow is very close, even though it may
look rather far away right now.  And the present certainly may look much
closer to us and nevertheless be far away.  Two years ago, this meeting we
are having here today and the time we spent here today could have looked
far off to us; nevertheless, we have reached this point now and those first
few days of the revolution, way back then, may appear to be far away.

Let Us Gather in the Harvest

The present must not matter to us.  Only men who fail to plan ahead,
only men who are condemned to live a life without progress, will think that
the present is more important than the future.  The present is a time of
struggle; the present means a hard fight; but we will have the present
behind us because the present will keep passing and as we go forward we
will gather in the abundant harvest of all that we are planting today.

Today, the sector of the people in whom the revolution has the
greatest hopes has gathered here.  Today, the sector of the people that has
made the most sacrifices and that has been the most embattled, has gathered
here.  The blue shirts of our militiamen (ovation), which make all men look
alike here today, is perfect proof of the fact that this is a fighting
worker sector, that this is a worker sector of which the people and the
fatherland have the right to expect that it will know how to fight the
battle better, how to fight harder, and how to fight the most decisive
battle against the aggression of the enemies of the fatherland.  (Ovation)

They Want to Destroy Us Through Starvation

The enemy hoped that he would encounter a beaten people today.  The
worst attacks of the enemies of the revolution and of the fatherland were
directed against you, the workers in the sugar industry.  The enemies
thought that they could force our sugar quota down through starvation among
the people; but they were not just hitting at the sugar industry workers
who were involved in sugar production, as they used the weapon of
starvation; no, they were striking at the whole nation because they thought
that they could hurt the country most through you; they wanted to spread
starvation and through starvation they wanted to spread nonconformity and
defeatism; through starvation they wanted to subjugate the country and
destroy the revolution.

The enemy attacked one sector of the Front and He hit that sector of
the national front hardest where our sugar workers stood; but instead of
finding a beaten people, instead of finding a defeated industry, the enemy
now finds himself facing a sector that has been converted into a militia
force, organized in battalions (Ovation), a sector that has been converted
into a invincible bulwark, a sector that has been converted into the
vanguard of the revolution.  Where they thought that they could sow
defeatism, they planted dignity and heroism instead.  Where they thought
that they could plant the seeds of pessimism they found optimism sprouting
instead.  And here, gentlemen of imperialism, here you have the men whose
homes you wanted to strike down through hunger, whose children and wives
you wanted to kill through starvation; here you have honest family fathers
whom you wanted to strike at, whose wages you wanted to cut and whose
income you wanted to decrease by cutting the sugar quota; these are the
men whose slack season you wanted to lengthen and whose misery you had
already been responsible for for a period of more than 50 years; you did
this because the revolution wanted to do away with the slack season,
because it wanted to end misery and because it wanted to make sure that
there there would be no more slack season, no more idle times, no more big
land holdings,no more single-crop economy; but the other side wanted us to
have more starvation, more idle time, and more misery in order to establish
even greater oppression and subjugation so as to guarantee even greater
profits and even more severe control over the economy of Cuba.  Ah!  you do
not want hunger? Well, in defeat there would be more than hunger!  And you
do not want any more idle time?  Well, in defeat there would be more idle
time!  You want an agrarian reform?  Well, then you will all have to boil
in the cauldron of the agrarian revolution and you will have to die of
hunger and you will have to surrender and you will have to declare
yourselves beaten and you will have to go down on your knees!

The Guilty Big Shots

This was the criminal trend of though which was responsible for the
conduct of the imperialist government when it took our sugar quota from us.
That was the basic idea of the men who are responsible for starvation, the
men who are responsible for misery, the men who are responsible for the
hunger of your children, the men who are responsible for the fact that your
children have no schools, no hospitals, no clothing, no shoes; this was the
idea of the men who are responsible for the fact that you were not able to
light the fire in your hearts everyday; these are the men who are
responsible for production ceilings, for misery and terror -- at a time
when we want to put an end to a situation which we believe to be unworthy
of human beings; at such a moment, they wanted to condemn us to even
greater starvation and even greater misery.  This is why there can be only
one reply from the revolution, only one response from you:  "No, our
children shall not go hungry, our wives shall not go hungry, even though
you want it so; our people will not go down on its knees, the way you want
it to do; our response will not be what you had hoped for:  in other words,
the surrender of our people and our surrender.  Our response will be our
readiness to fight and to struggle, our readiness to work and our readiness
to win."  (Ovation)

We Are Very Familiar With Starvation

"They certainly could not threaten us with an evil that we know so
well: hunger. To us, hunger has a familiar ring.  But they cannot threaten
us with hunger because we are veterans of the struggle against hunger which
you established in our fatherland 50 years ago; to do away with starvation,
we have always been prepared to suffer as much hunger as necessary.  But
there was hunger also because there was so much idle time; there was hunger
because we had a single-crop economy; there was hunger because there were
big landed estates and hunger will disappear along with the disappearance
of idle time, single-crop economy and big land holdings; hunger will
disappear as soon as we can proclaim the end of big land holdings and as
soon as we can report the disappearance or the beginning of disappearance
of the single-crop economy in our country; that is when hunger will have
vanished; but there was hunger because the land did not belong to us; there
was hunger because the factories did not belong to us; there was hunger
because the economy was not in our hands; there will be no more hunger, the
moment the land, the factories, and the economy are in our hands."

Need to Hammer Out Sugar Policy

And there will be less and less hunger, if the enemies of the
fatherland find themselves facing men such as you.  Today we have gathered
here to determine what we are going to do.  Today we have met here in order
to decide what policy we are going to pursue with respect to sugar.  Today
we have gotten together here in order to decide what measures we are going
to adopt in response to the economic aggression and to the suppression of
our sugar quotas.  The aggressors hope that we will find ourselves in big
trouble.  The aggressors, hope, sometimes quite gleefully -- they really do
entertain the vain hope that their maneuvers will be successful -- they
perhaps hope with malicious glee that we will fail; there have in the past
been a series of dogmas which must be smashed; the dogma that we would die
of starvation without the Americans; the dogma that the revolution would be
destroyed if we were deprived of our sugar quota.  This is a series of
secular lies and those who believe in them hope to see us fail and founder,
particularly through the economic aggression which they have launched
against our country; in the past, the imperialists could have defeated any
government in Cuba by doing much less than that.  But the thing that is
happening in Cuba today is a revolutionary phenomenon; it is not the same
thing to defeat a government and to destroy a revolution; something that
may have been enough to oust one government will certainly not be enough to
defeat the Cuban revolution.

The Big Mistake of Imperialism

In the past, whenever such aggression took place, the big range
operators and landowners, through their instruments of force and public
opinion control, always made sure that they would do the bidding of the
imperialists. But the imperialists made one big mistake:  they fail to
understand that the working class would never be an instrument of their
designs.  They fail to realize that the working class would never react the
way the big operators and landowners reacted.  They fail to see that the
exploited class would never react the way the exploiter class reacted and
that the working class would not dance to their tune.  They fail to see
that the working class, in the face of this kind of aggression, would not
play the game of imperialism but would reassert its revolutionary spirit
and strengthen its fighting position.

The working class has never been inspired by fear and never will be
moved by fear in the future.  The landowners, who were constantly on their
knees before imperialism, they were inspired by fear.  Cowardly ranch
owners were constantly in fear.  And so the other side thought that it
could frighten the working class but instead it has only made the working
class tougher.  It has helped fill the working class with more valor than
ever before and with more determination to fight against this economic
aggression.  They have only speeded up the revolutionary process.  Through
this aggression they have only speeded up the process of takeover of the
monopolies by the Cuban people themselves; they have only speeded up the
process as a result of which the big sugar refineries and the big estates
are passing into the hands of the Cuban people as such.  And so, here we
are, with the monopolies, the sugar refineries, and the big estates in the
hands of the Cuban people, ready to go forward.

And what did we do with those sugar refineries and mills?  What did we
do with all this land?  What did we do with the sugar cane?  Here we must
remember the stupidities and the vain illusions of our enemies and we must
reassert our confidence in ourselves and in the future.  What did the
spokesmen of the landowners and the industrialists say?  They said that the
cane fields were being ruined.  They maintained that they knew all the
answers and that without their management the country would go down the
drain; they said this because they believed that, without them, not a
single sugar refinery could be made to run, not a single sugar cane field
could be cultivated.  The first thing the imperialist publications printed
was the idea to the effect that the country had to get ready for a drop in
sugar output.  They said that the people -- the "mob" as they liked to call
it -- would not be capable of growing a single stalk of cane.  But they had
forgotten that the people who had cultivated the sugar cane were the
workers themselves -- not they, the managers.  They had forgotten that
those who rose at 0600 every morning to cultivate the sugar cane and to rip
out the weeds were not they but the agricultural workers, they had
forgotten that those who planted and cultivated and cut the sugar cane and
who loaded it on the vehicles were not they but the agricultural workers;
They forgot that those who operated the sugar refineries were not they but
the industrial workers, that those who moved the machines and the trains
were not they, but the industrial workers.  The workers did the most
difficult jobs and they, the managers, did the easiest jobs.  The workers
did everything, except reap the profits.  And today the workers are doing
everything and they are also reaping the profits -- and that is all very

What has been the result?  Most of the refineries have been repaired
and a number of them are operating.  The repair of the sugar refineries was
accomplished with tremendous savings, also in terms of sugar cane, because,
very simply and plainly, we have more sugar cane than they ever had.  But
it is not only that the sugar cane was better cultivated and better
fertilized; in addition, there has been more rainfall this year, in honor
of the sugar cane cooperative farmers.

A groat lie has been smashed:  the lie that we would produce less sugar
this year.  This was the lie that the plantations would be ruined and that
the industry would be wrecked.  The first thing they told us was that
everybody would get one little piece of sugar cane estate or plantation, as
soon as these plantations were divided up.  Well, here is what we told them
in response:  we are not going to redistribute the sugar cane land but we
are going to organize cooperatives.  Here is what they argued at first:
the land would be broken up into many little pieces and it would not be
properly fertilized and would not be properly cultivated.  They said that
the revolutionary promises had not been kept.  But in all our speeches
since 26 July 1953 we had been talking about the cooperatives.  They hoped
that we would make the big mistake.  Just imagine what it would have meant
to divide caballerias among 250 families; that would have been 1/3
caballeria per family.  Each individual would then be living off a tiny
parcel of sugar cane land; there would have been 250 administrators, 250
loans, 250 contracts, 250 tractors, and the need for rallying the will and
determination of 250 persons.  Was this anyway to build a nation?  You bet
it wasn't.  Would this have given us an opportunity to build one big
educational center?  Certainly not -- and the children would have had to
walk 4 km each day.  Would we have an an opportunity to install electric
light for these people?  Certainly not.  Could we have diversified our
crops in this way?  Of course not.  If the land was used for pasturage, it
would certainly not have been available for growing peanuts.  If the land
happened to be good for sugar cane and not for rice, then it would have
been necessary to plant sugar cane and live on that.  On an area of 80
caballerias there is always a good spot for corn, a good spot for potatoes,
a good spot for beans, and a good spot for cotton.  There will always be
land for crop diversification and there will be an opportunity to create a
model of diversified production which will enable everybody to have enough
work throughout the year.  If one man was given one-third of his land in
the form or rocks or sand, he would die of starvation whereas another
fellow who happened to get a fertile piece of valley, would live very well.
And you already know what the cooperatives are and the people know it
likewise.  Today, the sugar cane cooperatives are the backbone of our
economy.  What the sugar cane cooperative members have done constitutes a
real production miracle and a true promise for the future.  We must really
admire what the agricultural workers have accomplished in the sugar cane
cooperatives.  By way of example we might mention that the cooperatives
were allocated 34 million pesos, corresponding to the number of sugar cane
which they had to take care of as well as a specific number of arroabas of
sugar cane development land.  And with these 34 million pesos the sugar
cane cooperative members have accomplished the following:

They spent something like 24 million pesos for crop fields alone and
they spent 15.4 million pesos on sugar cane seeds.  They bought 64 tons of
fertilizer for 3,820,000 pesos; for 38,360,000 pesos they bought 38,000
cows and 600 bulls.  For 1 million pesos they created a work accident fund.
They earmarked half a million pesos for the construction of 10 settlements.
They earmarked 1.5 million pesos for crop diversification as well as for
subsidies to Cuban workers who worked for the United Fruit Company.  This
left them with more than 5.5 million pesos.

They planted the following:  790 caballerias of beans, 592 caballerias
of corn, 192 caballerias of tomatoes, 142 caballerias of potatoes, 250
caballerias of lesser fruit, 582 caballerias of miscellaneous crops.  In
addition to cultivating and maintaining the sugar cane fields, they also
planted 2,800 caballerias of miscellaneous crop land and 600 caballerias of
horticultural land.

Just about 3 months ago we proposed to promote the establishment of a
dairy farm on each sugar cane cooperative, a target to be achieved by the
middle of next year.

We already have 38,400 cows and 4,800 caballerias of pasture land for
colts.  Another 14,000 cows will be provided for by the coordinators and
this will give us a total of 50,000 for the beginning of the year.  All of
the cows which we have bought so far were bought with the savings that have
been achieved, that is to say, savings that were made from funds earmarked
for the crops.  We bought 50,000 cows, we paid for work accidents, and we
subsidized the producers.  Through the savings which they made out of the
34 millions allocated for crops, they will be able to cover at least the
cost of our dinner here which, by the way, was obtained at cost.  In other
words, the bill will be only something like 5 pesos per member, here.

So much for the sugar cane cooperatives -- and this is just the
beginning. The spirit of the sugar cane cooperative members is fantastic.
Land plus work equals wealth.  Land plus work equals well-being.  These
people have learned that they cannot simply set around and wait for
somebody to take them by the hand and to tell them:  take this and plant
it.  They know that they can get this land to produce and to yield wealth
as a result of their own efforts.

There is one cooperative in the zone of Las Villas, by the name of
Miguel Yabres where the members have cultivated [illegible number in
photostat] caballerias of beans with an average yield of 200 quintals, they
obtained 80,000 lbs.  You can distribute 20,000 pounds among the families
of the cooperative -- we suggested to them -- and with the sale of the rest
you can make 3,000 pesos; this would still leave the cooperative with 4,000
pesos to show as profit for the sale of these beans.

As we go along we will perfect the cooperatives.  And you will see that
nobody will go hungry.  Next year, when next spring begins, all children
will get milk at the cooperatives.

In January we launched a course in artificial insemination and we will
make sure that, of the calves we get from these cows, 50% will grow into
milk cows; here again we want to make sure that all of these cows, within 4
or 8 years, will turn out 12, 14, and 15 liters of milk, each.

This is one area where we thus have almost defeated hunger.

As soon as the harvest is over, we will start the construction of
housing facilities in each sugar cane cooperative.  We are already building
some developments here.  In addition to these 45 settlements, which are now
being put up, we will also launch the construction of 100 developments at
the sugar cane cooperatives.

In 5 years or in 6, at most, thousand of these settlements or
developments will have been built.  Some of these will be paid off on the
installment plan because you cannot pay for the construction of 650 of
these developments at the very moment they are finished.  But this will
mean lots of work for many cooperative members as they build their own
housing development.  Each housing development will have a social circle, a
kindergarden, electric light, running water, and all of the conveniences
that are needed to take care of the necessities of their families.

Next year, they will buy tractors, another 1,800 tractors, that is.
They will spend more than 6 million pesos for the construction of stables;
they will spend 6 million more for pastureland, for the construction of
silos, not figuring on 8 million more for the purchase of cows that are
still needed here.

Eliminate the Slack Season

We want to emphasize this because it demonstrates how starvation can be
made to disappear when the people control the land and their economic
resources.  It shows how a nation can help the poorest sector, the sector
that has suffered most, while this very same sector can improve itself and
stand with the nation as we all confront any kind of economic aggression
that may come to us and as we try to eliminate the two evils of the
single-crop economy and the slack season in agriculture; next year we will
have eliminated the single-crop system and the slack season once and for

Earlier, we explained how this was going to be done.  It is undoubtedly
more difficult to eliminate idle time or the slack season in the sugar
industry.  It is much more difficult to eliminate this idle time in the
industrial sector.  In agriculture, however, it is easier,much easier to
diversify.  In industry, this sort of thing takes a lot more time.  In
industry this is much more difficult; to eliminate the bane which we call
"idle time" in the industrial sector, we must gradually provide for more
and more work.

We have an institution here which is called the sugar refinery; these
sugar refineries or sugar mills turn their boilers on at the beginning or
in the middle of January and they keep them going until the middle or end
of March and no more.  Nothing is done to create any further job
opportunities.  The sugar industry is perhaps the only industry in which
this is done.  We have cotton baling facilities, we have the people's
farms, etc.  Now, as far as the sugar cane industry is concerned --
assuming that it were possible to begin to reorganize the entire sugar
industry effort -- what we might do, first of all, is to select the best
land for this type of crop and to determine how many sugar refineries we
need.  We do have sugar cane fields and mills in regions where the land is
more fertile and we have others in regions which are marginal.  We have
sugar cane zones, such as those of the Washington refinery, where the
shipment of sugar cane to the mill costs 250,000 pesos each year, whereas
there are vast pieces of land full of Cuban weed, right near the mill.
There are mills with a huge output and there are mills which are not worth
the trouble.  What caused all this?  Who is responsible for all this?
Well, we can say that is was greed.  A bid landlord had money in the
bank and wanted to build a mill on the peninsula of Guanahacabibes -- and
so he put one there; the yield, the output volume, did not matter.

First of all we must admit that we simply have to concentrate our sugar
mills.  This is the most difficult work to pronounce here.  But we here do
not react the way the big plantation operators did; here we discuss the
issues among ourselves and we must discuss them intelligently and we must
try to find solutions.  We must tackle the job of cutting down on the
number of our mills.

I know that both a revolutionary government and a sincere man must say
something even though they may be tough and hard to take.  This is a tough
thing because the worker becomes rather fond of his place of employment.
But we are sure that none of these employment facilities will be closed
down until permanent employment has been guaranteed to each and every one
of these workers.

We had better be very familiar with the policy to be pursued in the
future.  We must tackle the job of concentrating our output and increasing
the working time at those mills; we must supplement them through the
establishment of other industries whose development we must promote on a
priority basis and we must give work to those workers of a sugar mill who
were not transferred to other sugar mills.

Now, this does not mean that we are going to shut down a large number
of mills; but there is a certain number of sugar mills which are so
outdated that the method used there will not be worth pursuing in the
future anyway.

The only problem is for us to begin to understand that it will be
necessary to pursue this policy in the future.  This will inevitably be
accompanied by a search for jobs for each one of these workers because our
objective here is to eliminate idle time and to find employment for

The Industrial Sector

The problem in the industrial sector is more difficult however, we can
be sure that employment will increase extraordinarily next year in the
rural areas and that the number of new jobs next year will amount to
200,000 roughly.  In other words, this will partly help us solve the
problem of unemployment in industry.  Apart from the construction of a
social circle at each one of the sugar mills, we will begin next year with
the construction and repair of the existing housing facilities.

But the most important problem has not yet been taken up.  While we
look at all these problems, we are also facing a harvest and the
imperialist government has told us that it will not buy our sugar.  The
industrial workers have listened to us and yet we have less to offer them
today than anyone else; we did come here with this preoccupation.  How
little we have to offer our industrial workers now!  In spite of everything
they have done, in spite of the tremendous effort they made, in spite of
the collaboration they offered and in spite of the revolutionary spirit in
that sector!  How hard it is for us not to be able to tell them:  next year
all of your problems will be solved!  And, as we face the realities before
us, it is certainly tough for us to have to say that the struggle in this
sector will be a long and rough one but that we will fight it and that some
day, which we hope will not be too far off, we will be able to have some
more specific and immediate comments for the workers in the industrial
sector.  The battle against idle time in this sector will take us a long
time but we will fight it and we will defeat that enemy, just as we have
defeated other evils which appear to be the more difficult but which we
manage to conquer nevertheless.

The Cost of the Harvest

As I just told you, we still have not tackled the most important
questions, the most urgent issues.   We must arrive at some agreements here
and we must state some of our major issues here.  We are now facing the
coming harvest and the big question is how this harvest is going to turn
out.  What will the harvest volume be; how much will be paid for the work
done and how are we going to pay for this work.  Last year, around
mid-year, when we still needed 1 million tons for exports to the United
States, in other words, sugar which was produced for the United States at a
high cost, they clamped down on us and they took that million tons away
from us.  The result was that, even though the average price had already
been pegged at 3.64 and even though the planters were paid at the rate of
3.64, the average price, as a result of the Yankee feeling, was reduced to
3.43.  This meant a difference of 22 million pesos.  Wages were paid at the
rate of 4.70, but the sugar cane was sold at 3.64, and the average turned
out to be 3.43.

This blow immediately hit the economy in terms of the small cane
growers.  This cut had also been meant for them, in other words, it was
intended to cut their income; it put the revolutionary government in a
situation in which it had sold the sugar at 3.64 while the provisional
price was 3.43.  The revolutionary government absorbed the blow and did not
want the burden of this to fall on you.  The revolutionary government
absorbed the loss of 22 million pesos and stopped the Yankee blow which was
intended to cause discontent among you.  Ah, yes, the leaders of that
association who made so much noise at that time, the string-pullers of that
association, did not sent you any bulletin, telling you that the
revolutionary government had made this sacrifice of 22 million pesos in
order to prevent the burden from falling on your shoulders.  The meddlers
from the ranks of the big planters, who patted themselves on the back and
who maintained that they spoke in the name of tens of thousands of growers,
-- pretending that it was possible for privileged groups to continue to
speak in the name of the exploited in the midst of a revolution -- did not
resign themselves to a situation in which the association of planters would
have a truly revolutionary board of directors.  It was necessary once and
for all to enable the small planters to speak for themselves and for their
own interests; it was necessary once and for all to see to it that the big
planters would stop talking in the name of the small planters.  It was
necessary to make sure that the representatives of the small planters, in
other words, you here, would have the right to speak for you, instead of
the representatives of the big plantations.  One of these fellows has
already gone abroad and launched a counterrevolutionary campaign, in the
belief that he could rally the vast majority of the sugar cane growers and
in order not to have to call them "growers" or "planters" anymore, he
called them "small sugar cane farmers."

Growers Freed From Rent Payments

At this point we must emphasize the importance of the fact that the
growers were freed from the obligation to pay rent, in other words, they
ceased to be planters as such; the small tenant farmers involved here
actually became the owners of their own pieces of land and they were able
to count on the support of the revolutionary government.  We have small
farm operators in many parts of the country now; some of them grow coffee
and cocoa and others grow tobacco or sugar cane.  Of course, we have not
been able to help all of them to exactly the same extent; circumstances
have caused us to help some more than others.  For example, the small
tobacco sharecroppers were given more aid because their market was a
domestic one:  the big tobacco growers had always been robbing them blind
in the past.  When the revolution took over, the total value of their
output was 25 million and they had to pay for their own seeds, fertilizer,
and so on, at very high prices; and big tobacco plantation owners also
robbed these sharecroppers in terms of price.  But the situation is not the
same in the case of sugar; this industry depends on a price that is fixed
abroad.  The revolution liberated those 1/3-sharecroppers who had to give
all of this on their own, in the past; instead it now gave them the seeds
and the necessary fertilizer and at much lower prices and it bought the
yield from them at a good price.  In the past, the value of the output was
25 million but last year this figure went up to 45 million; this is the
figure for the total value of the tobacco harvest in that particular
province and almost all of this money remained in the hands of the small
tobacco growers.

But we were unable to help the small cane growers in the same way and
this once again brings us to one of the inconveniences of the single-crop
economy.  Sugar cane prices are determined on the world market and the best
we could therefore do for you, in order to absorb the blow that was
directed against you, was to take this loss of 22 million; still, we can
give you more, we can see that you get loans and equipment for the
diversification of your production.  Many people, who were unable to
register for retirement benefits, have aspirations which can now be easily
resolved.  Agriculture will continue to be divided, that is to say,
agricultural production will be divided into three sectors or media of
production:  cooperative, small farms operators or growers, and people's

Animal Husbandry Output

We have another single-crop operation going here, in addition to sugar
cane.  This is animal husbandry, where the situation is worse than in sugar
cane because this section always had less jobs to offer.  To give you an
idea of the backwardness in that sector, it suffices to say that sugar cane
was produced under a big landownership system in Cuba in the past.  We had
a prehistoric system of sugar cane production.

To produce meat for consumption, alone, we had an area of 350,000
caballerias.  One head of cattle had to live and to be pastured for 30, 32,
and even 36 months before going to the slaughterhouse.  How could they
possibly avoid unemployment in the rural areas with that kind of system!
The method of production here again was a big-land holding production
system.  But here was one tremendous obstacle here:  the price of
production on the big-estate scale is low because no thought is given to
any planning, the grazing areas are natural and unplanned, and no one tries
to figure out whether a certain type of meat that can be produced cheaply
is really good or whether it is bad.  A rational system however is entirely
different.  Under such a system, one caballeria of pangola can feed as much
as 120 head of cattle.  In our prehistoric system, the figure was 10-12.
In an intensive production system involving 50,000 caballerias, we could
produce all of the meat which our country consumes and we would still have
300,000 caballerias available for diversification.

In addition to this, we used to import 40 million dollars worth of meat
products and various fats.  This explains the kind of unemployment we had
here in Cuba.  Hundreds of thousands of families lived in miserable
quarters and, in addition, we had a situation of widespread unemployment
because very few people were working these vast ranch lands.  It was
difficult to organize a cooperative at a cattle ranch; it was necessary to
train a dozen individuals as cowboys, so to speak, who would take care of
all of the cattle of the ranch.  It was necessary to make major
investments, and there were agricultural areas where not a single family
was living.  We then launched the struggle against the single-crop system
in two distinct sectors.  In the sugar cane sector we launched it through
the sugar cane cooperatives and in the animal husbandry sector we launched
it through the people's farms.

In this way we are fighting the single-crop system from two different
angles and we are moving toward a process of intensification in the
production of meat and animal fats.  We have promoted this production
system in the areas of rice and animal husbandry.

These, then, will be the three production systems we are going to have:
a cooperative system whose basic nucleus will be the sugar cane
cooperatives; the people's farms whose basic nucleus will be the old animal
husbandry ranches; and the small farm operators whose basic nucleus will be
the old sugar cane planters or growers, the tobacco sharecroppers, and the
coffee and cocoa farmers.

Credits for Farmers

Next year we will launch a production system in coffee and cocoa by
granting loans to farmers in the mountains.  We are going to launch a
program of coffee production improvement.  In the coffee industry, there
are peasants who believe that they will harvest more coffee if they plant
more bushes on a certain piece of land.  But we will not only have teachers
going out to the mountain areas; we also have built hospitals there and we
will grant 30,000-40,000 loans of 40 pesos, each, for a period of 4 years,
to an equal number of small growers in the mountains, in order to promote
the production of cocoa and coffee.

Today we product barely enough for our own consumption; but within 5
years, we will be exporting more than 30 million pesos worth of cocoa.
There will be not a single square foot of land left in the mountains which
we will not plant with something.  And this is how we are going to solve
the problem of more than 30,000 small farmers in the mountains.  And we are
similarly ready to give prompt aid to the small cane growers.

Let us organize a large association of small growers including all
those who produce sugar cane, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, potatoes, etc; then
agricultural production will be advanced through the national
administration of cooperatives, the national administration of people's
farms, and the national association of small growers.  You, the small
growers, will not allow yourselves to be deceived.  It is a lie to say that
we want to turn all of the small farmers and growers into cooperative
members.  If any group of small farmers wishes to convert itself into a
cooperative group, we will give it the necessary facilities; but the
revolutionary government will never force any small farmer to become a
member of a cooperative.

Finally, you will be able to enjoy your status as small farmers so long
as you want to, without any fear of the lies spread by the
counterrevolutionaries.  We are prepared to give you -- the small farmers
-- all the aid you need.

Right now, we are beginning to receive large numbers of tractors.  Next
year, we will have the model C-100, in other words, heavy machinery, and
something like 5,000 farm tractors which will be purchased in
Czechoslovakia, Romania, the Soviet Union, and other countries.  Right now,
we have 192 bulldozers clearing the Cuban weed land for agricultural
utilization.  In addition to this large number of tractors, we will get
another 150 bulldozers and this will give us a total of 350 heavy pieces
of earth-moving equipment.

Tractor Plant

In 1962, we will get another 500 units of heavy equipment.  A project
for the construction of the first tractor plant is now in progress; we are
going to get that plant from Czechoslovakia; that plant will turn out
tractors and trucks and so on.  This is the long-range outlook in
agriculture.  We are going to constitute three columns of agricultural
production:  you, the people's farms, which have already been able to
guarantee us 500,000 chickens, 50,000 turkeys for this Christmas and which,
by the end of 1962, will turn out a poultry production volume worth 100
million pesos, as well as pigs worth 200 million pesos.  The current value
of the entire sugar cane crop is 250 million pesos.  Within 2 years we will
be producing 300 million pesos worth of hogs and poultry, alone!  And we
can also say that 140,000 persons will find permanent employment in the
production of 5 million hogs.

After the end of the harvest, next year, we will launch the
construction of a thousand high-quality hog farms and this will help us in
the production of fats, meat, ham, and other products which we are now
importing.  This is the long-range outlook in agriculture.  Agriculture
will do away with unemployment.  It is advancing much more rapidly than
industry because the latter requires more time.  These are the long-range
prospects for the country.  We will invest 200 million pesos in new
agricultural development projects and we are planning to employ another
200,000 people next year.

I have taken up your time with this explanation because it will help
understand the general situation, the general framework within which we
must resolve our problems and tailor our sugar policy.  The heroes of
tonight will not be you but the industrial workers because it is they to
whom we have less to offer.

The Problem of Sugar

And now, let us resolve the issue of sugar.

No, let us look at some major points here first of all.  First of all,
we must decide how much sugar we are going to mill.  And we must figure out
how we can do this here, amongst ourselves, in this sector.  Our enemies
have challenged us, they have cut our quota; one long summer night they
dreamed that they would defeat us; they mobilized everything they could in
this society; they have mobilized spies and terrorists and pro-Franco
clergymen, mercenaries, hack writers and criminals of all kinds.  But that
is not all; they even went so far as to prohibit a most worth priest,
Father Lence, from saying mass.

And here -- where some falangista priests have begun to preach fascism
-- here we have the face of the reactionary forces.  But here, where no
clergyman has ever been prohibited from saying mass, here they have not
prevented the most worthy Cuban priest, Father Lence, from saying mass; and
there are even rumors as to the excommunication of Father Lence.  If they
do excommunicate Father Lence, then they are going to have to excommunicate
the revolutionary government and along with the revolutionary government
they are going to have to excommunicate the Cuban people.

But they do not excommunicate the priest who defends Fanco, with his 2
million assassinated Spaniards, with his reactionary nobility, with his
exploiter cliques.  They do not excommunicate the assassins of the
Congloses, they do not excommunicate the big criminals, they do not
excommunicate Cardinal Spellman, who works hand in hand with exploiting
fascist capitalism, which supplies those who plant bombs here.  They do not
excommunicate the criminals and they dare try excommunicate a priest for
the simple fact that he defended a revolution which in turn defended his

They Will Have to Excommunicate All Cuba

And so they try to excommunicate a priest who simply defends his
fatherland.  For this, they will have to excommunicate the entire
revolutionary government, if they excommunicate Father Lence, and along
with the revolutionary government, they will have to excommunicate the
entire Cuban nation.

Against the revolution, imperialism and its blood-dripping dollars have
mobilized the worst elements.  Imperialism has done this in an effort to
destroy us but it will fail and there is no doubt about that.  And those
who might still have doubts after that, these people will be convinced in

Imperialism and its allies know that they are fighting a battle against
a great revolution, a profound and true revolution; and we all know that we
are fighting this battle for ourselves.  They know that they play the game
of imperialism and they spend every last penny they have, they hire every
assassin they can find, in order to try to liquidate this phenomenon, in
order to crush this tremendous force by virtue of which you were able to
acquire the management of the big estates and the big sugar refineries.
But they have no remedy for the phenomenon they encounter here and they
have no way to solve the serious problem they face; but they will keep on
trying to find a way to defeat us and bring us down.

And this is the explanation of the brutal and criminal repression, this
is the explanation for the cut in the sugar quota to which we had a
historical right.  While attacking us and depriving us of our sugar quota,
imperialism is trying to rally the governing circles in other countries
against us; it is trying to stockpile weapons and dynamite and it is
constantly sending them against Cuba; it is constantly dropping weapons by
parachute over our territory; they even explode rockets on our territory.
The beef-eaters in the Pentagon, right now, are trying to figure out how we
managed to get out of this situation.

First of all, I want to say again, we must figure out how much sugar
cane we are going to cut, at what price we are going to cut it, and how we
are going to sell it.  We have some information on this already.

We would like to give you some examples now.  We have the case of the
United Fruit Company which milled 53 million arrobas and which left us with
46 million arrobas of sugar cane.

Thousands of Caballerias of Sugar Cane Land Not Utilized

At the San German sugar plantation, we are left with 40 million
arrobas, that is to say, 1,200 caballerias of sugar cane, at what is
presently called the "Guatemala" plantation; we had 1,000 caballerias of
sugar cane at the "San German" plantation, 30 million at "Miranda," 20
million at "Palma," and 50 million at "Moron"; this gives us 800,000
caballerias, altogether; and in some plantations, thousands of caballerias
of sugar cane land were not cut.  What are we going to do with 1,000
caballerias of fertile land planted to sugar cane, it we do not cut the
cane and if we do not utilize and land otherwise?  They might just as well
be planted with Cuban weed.  If we do not cut the cane, if we do not
utilize the cane nor the land, what sense is there in the existence of
thousands of thousands of caballerias of the best land planted with a crop
which we do not utilize, and which we do not even convert to other crops?

In other words, the greed which condemned us to a situation in which we
have thousands of highly fertile caballerias which are completely useless,
has been the expression of an absurd policy pursued by the big landowners
and the Yankee monopolies which kept this sugar cane land in reserve, just
in case there was some rise in the price of the Korean crisis and the Suez
crises, which were provoked by imperialism, did indeed result in price
increases; it was then that the monopolies operated these sugar cane
fields.  But they have left us more than 10,000 caballerias of land, prime
land which is completely unused.  This results in a situation in which, on
the one hand, we drain swamps and clear Cuban weed, whereas on the other
hand, we have more than 10,000 caballerias that are planted to sugar cane
-- which we simply do not cut.

We Must Cut That Cane

The first conclusion which we must draw from this is that we must cut
this cane, cost what it may (Ovation).

How could we spend millions of pesos, purchasing bulldozers to clear
the land, if we have thousands of caballerias which require only cane
cutters to be sent over and to be harvested?

We can certainly cut these thousands of caballerias of cane land.  The
first conclusion is that this sugar cane must be cut, at any price.  We are
running a risk here because we produce a lot of sugar and the prices might
then drop further.  But why must we bring this sugar to market?  We can
feed it to the animals.  Well, we have two problems here:  the cutting of
this can and the processing of this cane or the products of this cane, as
well as its sale, in other words, the marketing problem.  You perhaps agree
that this cane must be cut.  (Shouts of "Yes" from the audience)  But at
what price?  (Repeated shouts of "Yes" from the audience)

All right, then we are going to cut this cane (applause); but if we cut
this cane, we will turn it into sugar and we will hold on to it.  But if we
cut this cane and turn it into sugar and then hold on to it, we are going
to have to do this at a low price.  All right, then, what are we going to
propose in view of this crisis or in view of this aggression against us?
We want to propose the following:  maintain the working conditions of last
year, up to a certain sugar tonnage figure.  (Ovation)  For example, 4
million under the same conditions.  Are you prepared to do that?  (Shouts
of "Yes" from the audience)  Are you prepared to mill 4 million tons under
the same conditions as last year?  Yes?  (Affirmative ovation, shouts of
"Yes" and applause.)

We Must Mill 4 Million Tons Under Same Conditions as Last Year

All right, let us now propose the following -- and this is the proposal
with which we are going to defeat this economic aggression; here is what we
want to propose and this is how we can also gain a good position on the
market:  we are going to mill 4 million tons under the same conditions as
last year and we are going to mill the rest of the sugar cane at 2.5

(Ovation interrupts the speech at this point and the audience shouts:
"Let us cut it!  Let us cut it!)

I can assure you, comrades, that if we do this, we will defeat the
imperialist maneuver and if this is the price of victory, then it will not
be a high price for us to pay because we are going to mill 4 million tons
under the same conditions, that is to say, we are going to pay 4.70, in
other words, the same as last year, up to the figure or 4 million.

We Will Make the Imperialists Tremble

We are going to produce the rest and we are going to create a stockpile
for ourselves, yes, we will create a backstop with the rest of the sugar,
for sale on the domestic market or on the world market; this is where we
can get rid of what we are left with, in other words, the part that would
be left over for us, and with the rest we are going to create a stockpile
for ourselves, in other words, are we going to sell it?  We do not really
have to sell it because if this sugar is left over as a surplus, we can
conduct numerous experiments with this sugar, as fodder, for instance, and
we can produce these fodder items cheaply. And I can tell you we are going
to make those imperialists tremble and, about the plans for the development
of new sugar land, if they come off all right, then we are not going to get
rid of our sugar, in other words, we are going to hold on to it here; if
there is no development of new sugar areas, we are going to keep the sugar
here; and those who thought that, by falling in line with imperialism, they
could get rich at our expense, will find that they were mistaken and more
than one company, more than one capitalist sugar establishment will be
ruined.  If we do this, and if we establish this stockpile, then we can
sell our share on the world market at a good price and we will keep the
rest for fodder, so that we will be able to keep them at bay in this way.

This will put us in a rather advantageous situation.  Do you know why?
Well, I am going to tell you:  because the government of Cuba has just
signed an agreement with the Socialists bloc countries by virtue of which
-- if the United States does not buy our sugar -- the Socialist bloc will
buy 4 million tons of sugar at 4 centavos per pound.  (Ovation)

This Year We Will Cut to the Very Last Sprout

Our delegation, under the chairmanship of Comrade Ernesto Guevara, has
just put out a joint announcement with the Soviet government on this
agreement.  In other words, by virtue of the agreements signed with the
countries of the Socialist bloc, the Soviet Union will purchase 2.7 million
tons; the Chinese People's Republic will buy 1 million; and the rest of the
Socialist countries will buy 300,000 tons at 4 centavos.  Now, what does
this mean?  It means an opportunity for us to create a backstop for
ourselves and to defend our market.  It means that we can gain time for the
diversification of our agriculture, because this year we will cut all of
the cane which we have left.  Otherwise, we would be in the rather absurd
situation of leaving this cane standing, even though it is ready to be cut.
And, furthermore, we will be producing in accordance with the demand.
Through our sugar surplus we will be able to build up a stockpile.  If we
do not sell it, we can convert it into meat and fat.  It is very good idea
to produce this cheap sugar here.  And this would appear to be the only way
to do this because, in this way, imperialism would fail in its strategy.
We can produce sugar at 2.5 centavos -- something which no other country in
the world can do -- with the assurance that imperialism will tremble and
that the allies of imperialism will tremble as they hear about these 4
million tons of sugar.

Above all, we must consider the formidable advantage which we have over
the imperialist plans in having this sugar stockpile ready; we will manage
this stockpile in accordance with our interests.  In other words, we will
keep the price as high as possible.  In short, we will be able to pay up to
4.70 and you, the members of the cooperatives and the small growers, will
get 4 centavos.  In addition, we will have the same total income volume as
last year.  But this is true not only in terms of total volume.  We will
also have 300,000 tons on the local market and all of this we can sell at
2.50.  Anything that is sold below that price, the revolutionary government
will assume the loss for.  If we sell above 2.50, the cooperative workers
and the small farmers will be entitled to a price differential.

In other words, you will be assured of a differential which you will
get at the end of next year, when we can make our calculations.

It is good to think of the formidable advantage which we can derive
from this.  Otherwise, we would have to limit the harvest and we would have
to leave tens of thousands of caballerias unused.  Just think that the
cutting of this volume of cane, which we are going to cut, will provide
jobs for thousands of Cubans and will earn us millions of pesos.  In all of
these areas we will diversify agriculture by planting all products.

In other words, this policy has been discussed with all of the comrades
who are responsible for running the revolutionary government and they
agree.  Otherwise we would have to limit the harvest and incomes would
likewise have to be limited.  Our policy would be more compromised because
imperialism wants to create new sugar producing areas.  But this stockpile
will put us in the driver's seat.  In this war we have always tried to
seize control of the situation.  We have something like 800,000 tons from
last year which did not cost us a lot and which we are going to produce at
2.5 centavos:  this will enable us to employ thousands of workers.  It will
enable us to diversify agriculture in thousands of caballerias.  Just think
of this:  one caballeria of land planted to potatoes will yield more in
wages than 8 caballerias of sugar cane.  Then we are going to diversify,
away from sugar cane.  This small farmers likewise will be assured of
getting rid of the sugar cane which they have.  With these resources we are
going to develop the economy of the country and we are going to defend the
sugar industry.  If the future sugar market should at any moment require a
larger quota, we would plant sugar cane so as to be able to mill 10 million
tons -- of course with 18 months of advanced notice.

We want to tell all of the companies, which are playing the game of
imperialism, that we are going to hold on to that sugar.  Then we are going
to cut the cane down to the last sprout.  You might sharpen your machetes.

Although we are organizing all of the battalions and although we have
the weapons ready for them, we still need some submachines guns for the
guards.  We are going to send 10 semi-automatic rifles for use by the
guards at each refinery and we are going to send 10 for each sugar cane
cooperative.  The small sugar cane growers will also have to organize
themselves and create their own militia forces so that the
counterrevolutionaries will not be able to hide out in their fields.

The People Has Placed Its Greatest Hopes in You

We are also studying antiaircraft defenses now.  Every round you fire,
you have to pay 10 centavos for.  You really have to husband your
ammunition carefully.  If you have to fire in order to defend your sugar
cane fields, you are going to have to justify this.  We cannot have you
firing at ghosts.

And you people, from the refinery, any ammunition you fire away, the
refinery is going to have to pay for, in other words, the union.

The coming year will be a year of tremendous importance.  It will be
the year of the literacy drive, the year of the intensification of
agricultural production, the year of sugar production and the struggle
against the terrorists and counterrevolutionaries.  It will be a decisive
year and it will definitely bring triumph to the revolution.  You are the
vanguard in that battle and it is in you that the nation has put its
highest hopes.

Fidel Said:

The problems of unemployment do not matter.  The problems of idle time
do not matter.  The problem of sugar quite paradoxically has become the
greatest source of hunger throughout the country, even though it is certain
that sugar is the greatest source of foreign currency for the country.
Sugar is our greatness and our tragedy.

It was a tragedy for the people.  It was never a tragedy for the big
landowner and the big planter.  It was never a tragedy for the foreign
company that owned vast stretches of land.

What did they care about the fate of the agricultural worker after the
end of the harvest?  When the last sugar cane had been milled, work stopped
and terror struck the sugar workers:  the terror of the slack season.

There was never a plan, there was never a policy.

The terrible thing is that the single-crop system can be fully
understood when we keep in mind that we must fight against these problems
and when we think hard on all of these problems.

A population which must exclusively live from just one crop is
inevitably condemned to starvation.  This is the situation which the
revolution encountered when it came to power.  Since then, the picture has
changed a lot.

What a difference between this meeting and the first few meetings!  How
much the situation has changed since that time when the representatives of
the sugar worker unions met with us here!

The sugar industry workers demonstrated their faith in the
revolutionary government from the very first moments on.

If, on that day, we had not put our faith in the sugar industry
workers, we can say that imperialism would have plunged the dagger into the
heart of the fatherland today.

On that historical occasion we had to appeal to the faith of the
workers.  Today we can appeal to the workers' reason.

At that time, our people was not especially well prepared to confront
this tremendous clash of interests, as it is today.

We understood perfectly well that some day all of the sugar plantations
and mills would belong to the people and we made a tremendous effort to
prevent situations which could slow the revolution down and its advance.
Because we were able to avoid many mistakes here and there, the revolution
advances and is now able to defend itself against foreign aggression.

The correct thing to do is not to break the few jobs up which we have
now but to increase the job opportunities.

In our industry, nationwide -- with the exception of the sugar
industry, we now have 35% more jobs and there will be 200,000 more Cubans
working in the rural areas.

It is not worthwhile exchanging temporary advantages for future
problems; it is much better to exchange future advantages for current

The present must not matter to us.  Only people who do not plan ahead,
only men who are condemned to live a life without progress, assign more
importance to the present than to the future.  The present is a time of
struggle; the present is a time of hard fighting; we have the present
before us; but the present will pass and we will go on, gathering the
entire harvest which we are going to plant today.

This event here today is a gathering of the sector of the people in
whom the revolution has the greatest hopes.  This is the sector that has
the greatest sacrifices and that is the most hard hit among the people:
the blue shirts of the militiamen here make all of us look alike.  This is
good proof of the fact that this is a fighting sector which will know how
to fight the most decisive battle against the aggression of the enemies
of the fatherland.

The enemies of the people think that they could take our sugar quota
away from us and thus defeat us through nationwide starvation.  The dagger
thrust was directed against the entire nation but it wounded you must
directly; this was done to produce starvation and through starvation to
subjugate the country and destroy the revolution.  But instead of
encountering a beaten people, instead of encountering a defeated industry,
the enemy has run into a sector that has been converted into a militia
force, a sector that has been organized in battalions.

This is a sector which has been converted into the vanguard of the

Where they thought they could sow defeatism, they planted dignity and
heroism instead.  Where they thought they could plant the seeds of
defeatism, they grew optimism instead.  Here, gentlemen of imperialism, you
have the men whose homes you tried to starve into submission.  Here you
have the honest heads of families whom you are trying to deprive of their
sugar quota and whose wages you are trying to cut, whose idle time you want
to increase and whose misery you have been fomenting over the past 50 years

At a time when we tried to put an end to a situation that is unworthy
of human beings, they wanted to condemn us to even greater hunger and
greater misery.  This is why the only response can be:  no.  Our children
will not go hungry, even though you may want it so.  Our response will not
be surrender, the way you want it.  Our response is a readiness to fight
and a preparedness to work.

Imperialism cannot threaten us through starvation because we are
veterans of the struggle against starvation which they have forced upon us
over more than 50 years.  But there was hunger because there was idle time.

There was hunger because we had a single-crop economy.  There was
hunger also because we had big land holdings.

There will be no more starvation as soon as idle time is eliminated, as
soon as big land holdings have disappeared, as soon as the single-crop
system has been done away with.

There will be no hunger as soon as the land, the factories, and the
economy are in our hands.

We have gathered here today in order to decide what we are going to do
in this current harvest.

Our enemies and aggressors hope to strike at us again by cutting our
sugar quota and they want to destroy us.

But it is not the same thing to defeat a government, on the one hand,
and to destroy a revolution, on the other hand.

In the past, they could easily overthrow governments but this will not
be enough to defeat the Cuban Revolution today.

But the one thing which the imperialists failed to realize is that the
working class would no longer react the way it reacted in the past, that
the working class, in the face of this kind of attack, would refuse to play
the game of imperialism and would reassert its revolutionary beliefs and
its fighting position.

The working class cannot be frightened and it will never be motivated
by fear again.  They were able to frighten the land owners who were always
on their knees before imperialism; they were able to frighten their
subjects and they were able to frighten the cowards.  They thought that
they could frighten the working class and they only succeeded in stirring
the working class up.

And here we are, with our sugar plantations, with our big estates, with
our sugar cane, with our national wealth, ready to go on, ready to go

What did the spokesmen of the landowners and the industrialists tell

They told us that, without them, the crops would be ruined and the
industries would be wrecked because "the people are incapable and inept" --
as they said -- and not a single stalk of sugar cane would be grown.  But
they forgot that those who did the planting and those who cut the cane,
those who lit the fire under the boilers and those who moved the trains and
the machines and those who processed the sugar were not they but the
workers.  The workers did everything, except reap the benefits.   Today,
the workers do everything and they also reap the benefits.

The sugar refineries and plantations have been repaired and some of
them are operating now.  We made tremendous savings in our repairs.  And we
have more and better cane now.

The revolution did not subdivide the sugar cane plantations into little
parcels of land; instead it organized cooperatives in order to maintain
large-scale production.

In an area of more than 100 caballerias there will always be pieces of
land that can be diversified for various crops.

The people know what the cooperatives mean today:  the cooperatives,
the sugar cane cooperatives, today are the backbone of our economy.

The achievements of the sugar cane cooperative members have been true
production miracles and show tremendous promise for the future.

The sugar cane cooperatives were allocated 34 million pesos,
corresponding to the cane which they had to take care of.

Out of these 34 million, the sugar cane cooperative members spent only
14.4 million pesos on crops; they spent 593,000 for the purpose of planting
500 caballerias of sugar cane; for 3,165,000 pesos they bought 35,800 cows
and 600 bulls; they spent 1,557,000 pesos to buy more cows; for work
accidents and for the construction of 10 developments, they set aside
1 million; for crop diversification they earmarked 849,000 pesos; 260,000
pesos went for subsidies to 10,000 operators; 152,000 pesos were spent
in subsidies for employees of the United Fruit Company (Cuban employees,
that is); they spent 186,000 pesos for administration and miscellaneous
expenditures.  This left them with more than 5.5 million pesos.

They cultivated 790 caballerias of beans, 522 or corn, 149 of tomatoes,
52 of potatoes, 31 of oranges, 250 of vegetables, and 589 caballerias of
miscellaneous crops.  In other words, 2,383 caballerias in addition to the
sugar cane.

Furthermore, we have 600 caballerias of horticultural land.

By the middle of next year, each sugar cane cooperative will have a
dairy farm with no less than 200 cows.  Right now, we have an average of 50
cows per cooperative, in other words, 36,400 cows more; 14,000 cows are
being rounded up by the coordinators and this will give us a total of
more than 50,000 cows for the beginning of next year.

All of the cows will be purchased with the savings from the funds
initially allocated for crops.

In the coffee and cocoa industry, we are going to launch a
production program next year by granting certain loans.

We have already worked out a coffee cultivation program for the
mountain areas.

Within 5 years, we will be importing more than 30 million pesos of

We are prepared to give you all of the aid you may need, if you want to

We will build the first tractor plant in Cuba which we are going to get
from Czechoslovakia.  We will also produce trunks, automobiles, and other